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Heading to Dubai Expo 2020 this weekend? Here’s what not to miss:

Connecting minds, creating the future; after making us wait for another year, Expo 2020 Dubai is finally here. Celebrating the best of the human spirit – from an unprecedented cultural programme and pioneering feats of innovation, to inspiring immersive experiences, the Expo offers a vibrant glimpse of our interconnected tomorrow.

Expo 2020’s Inspiring Districts

Al Wasl Plaza that connects the districts features the worlds largest projection dome. All images courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai
Al Wasl Plaza that connects the districts, features the world’s largest projection dome. All images courtesy: Expo 2020 Dubai


From faster-than-light connectivity and green initiatives that promise of a better future, three themed districts and an impressive public plaza are the focal point of the global event.

Cutting-Edge Country Pavilions

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Inspired by the falcon, the UAE pavilion features dynamic panels that symbolize the bird in flight. The pavilion was designed by Santiago Calatrava. Photo credit: Barbara Burg + Oliver Schuh

From UAE, the host country’s kinetic pavilion and Saudi Arabia’s futuristic building, to India’s shape-shifting pavilion, Pakistan’s vibrant structure and New Zealand’s pulsating showcase, Expo 2020 Dubai is host to some of the most exciting country pavilions that bring exploratory architecture together with interactive storytelling and inspiring cultural programming.

Experience Virgin Hyperloop

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Experience the future of travel and transportation at Expo 2020 Dubai. There has been so much talk about the Hyperloop coming to the UAE, and yet, much of the project itself has been shrouded in mystery – till now. Get a glimpse of the Virgin Hyperloop here.

Walk Around A Mysterious Water Feature

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Situated between Al Wasl Plaza and Jubilee Park, the Expo 2020 Water Feature combines the elements of water, earth and fire in a way that both surprises and delights.

Take A Break At The Flying Park

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Garden in the Sky is arguably the best vantage point on the site. Photo Credit: MAHMOUD KHALED

Offering 360-degree views of the Expo 2020 Dubai site, Garden in the Sky might just be your best bet to soak in the energy and vibrancy of the wondrous event.

Discover Equinox, Terra Sustainability Pavilion’s Captivating Installation

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Envisaged by Matt Collishaw, the installation is a poetic retelling of the fragility of our insect ecosystem. Photo Credit: Dany Eid
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The Dutch Pavilion’s monumental vertical farm, Latvia’s immersive ‘Sounding Forest’, Singapore’s solar powered hanging gardens, Malaysia’s Rainforest Canopy and Switzerland’s virtual hike through a foggy landscape… Expo 2020 Dubai tackles environmental issues in accessible, informative and fun ways that promise to positively impact our appreciation, understanding and advocacy of our planet’s most pressing matters.

Discover A New Generation of Regional Design

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MENASA – Emirati Design Platform celebrates cross-cultural collaboration.

Telling stories of the UAE through exclusive design collections developed for Expo 2020 Dubai, the Expo’s MENASA – Emirati Design Platform presents more than 40 local and international designers.

The Feather-Light Expo Portals

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Welcoming visitors to the site, the portals embody the spirit of the expo.

Woven entirely from strands of carbon-fibre composite, the portals that took architect Asif Khan three years to develop are the first thing that visitors will see as they set foot in the site that is larger than 600 football fields and features some of the most exciting innovations in architecture, design and art.

The Kaleidoscope Lighting Festival

Osama Zaid AlZbeidis illuminated landscapes at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Osama Zaid Al-Zbeidi’s illuminated landscapes at Expo 2020 Dubai.

A stunning outdoor night-time light festival will bring Expo 2020 Dubai’s site to life for the mega-event’s entire six months. Visually striking and emotionally resonating, Kaleidoscope will harness the beauty of photography, light and visual arts, connecting Expo 2020’s impactful initiatives, global entertainment, and international festivals such as Diwali and Christmas, to tell powerful stories of the human experience. Plus, Expo Beats, a unique monthly festival will take visitors on a journey around the globe through music, dance, creativity and Expo’s collaborative music series, Late Nights @ Expo.

Before you head out to Expo 2020 Dubai, here is everything you need to plan your visit.

People riding a bike in Copenhagen

What City was crowned the Safest City for 2021?

Safety has long been a paramount concern for travelers when it comes to deciding which destination to visit. But the world has been turned on its head in recent years due to the global pandemic and the notion of exactly what makes somewhere “safe” has changed significantly.

This may help to explain the shake up at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI,) which ranks 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security, as well as environmental security, a new category for this year.

While Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have continuously occupied the top spots year after year, it’s a European destination that holds the number one position for 2021.

Copenhagen has been named the world’s safest city for the first time, scoring 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report.

Denmark’s capital jumped from joint eighth place in 2019 to the top of the list, largely thanks to the introduction of an environmental security section, which the city scored particularly well in, along with personal security.

Social Cohesion

“One key factor that makes Copenhagen such a safe city is its low crime rate, currently at its lowest level in more than a decade,” Lars Weiss, lord mayor of Copenhagen, says in the report.

“Copenhagen is also characterized by great social cohesion and a relatively narrow wealth gap. It is a mixed city where both the cleaning assistant and the CEO meet each other at the local supermarket and have their kids in the same school.

“This is one of the very cornerstones of Danish culture, and it contributes greatly to the high levels of trust and safety that we benefit from.”

Canada’s Toronto just missed out on the top spot, taking second place with 82.2 points, while Singapore was third with 80.7 points.

Although Sydney came fourth, with 80.1 points, the Australian city topped the digital security category, while 2019 winner Tokyo was awarded 80.0 points, putting the Japanese city in fifth place.

Covid-19 Impact

Hong Kong tied with Melbourne for eighth place on the list.
Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

“Copenhagen is definitely a worthy overall leader and Toronto a well-deserving runner-up, but as much because of long-term success in making residents secure as from any particular improvements in the last two years,” reads the report.

“Toronto and Copenhagen do noticeably better in the new environmental security pillar than do any of the top three cities from earlier years.”

The Netherlands’ Amsterdam was sixth with 79.3 points, while New Zealand’s Wellington came in at number seven with 79.0 points, and was the overall leader in the environmental security category.

Asia Pacific cities Hong Kong and Melbourne scored joint eighth place after receiving 78.6 points each, while Sweden’s Stockholm rounded off the top 10 with 78.0 points.

New York was the highest US city on the list, sharing the 11th spot with Spain’s Barcelona (both cities received 77.8 points).

Washington DC was close behind in 14 place, while London and San Francisco tied at 15th.

There were few surprises at the other end of the list, with Nigeria’s Lagos, Egypt’s Cairo, Venezuela’s Caracas, Pakistan’s Karachi and Myanmar’s Yangon making up the bottom five.

Urban Resilience

Australia's Sydney was fourth on the overall list, but topped the digital security category.
Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

But while the cities with the lowest overall scores have found themselves near the bottom of all categories in recent years, this isn’t the case here.

In fact, the report notes that “some signs exist of a shift mirroring that seen among the leaders,” with Lagos scoring “slightly above average in environmental security, while 55th place Casablanca comes 41st in digital security.”

Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 is constantly mentioned throughout, particularly in the assessments on health security, which Copenhagen scored much lower in than other categories.

According to Nima Asgari, director of the Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, the subject of urban resilience has previously been focused on disasters and floods rather than health crises, “probably because people never thought the health system would collapse as a consequence of continuous demand from outbreaks.”

The report suggests that this missing link may have to led to some destinations being less prepared, and ultimately less successful in limiting the impact of coronavirus.

“Covid-19 teaches that there is always a blind spot, even when there is a lot of activity,” adds Michele Acuto, a professor of global urban politics at the University of Melbourne.

Turning point?

Sweden's Stockholm was awarded 78.0 points overall, rounding off the top 10.
Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Naka Kondo, senior editor at The EIU and editor of the report, notes that digital security has become an even bigger priority now that “more work and commerce have moved online,” and adjustments will need to be made in light of this.

“Those responsible for infrastructure safety have to adjust to dramatic changes in travel patterns and where residents consume utilities; agencies responsible for personal security need to address a large, lockdown-driven shift in crime patterns,” says Kondo.

The report also acknowledges that the pandemic has brought about “a potential turning point across every pillar of urban safety,” providing an opportunity for cities to “reassess longer term dangers in the way of achieving safe, sustainable, liveable cities as well as opportunities for getting there.”

“A renewed, more holistic understanding of urban safety gives hope for cities that are not just more secure, in every sense, but more sustainable and enjoyable places in which to live,” it adds.

Six cities, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore and Sydney have all made it in the top 10, every year since the report was launched back in 2015, while Copenhagen has been a regular fixture since 2019.

What, in your opinion, makes a city safe? Let us know.

ustainable fuel sticker on a jet

While we wait for Electric Planes, Sustainable Fuel may be the Answer for the Climate Crisis

More than 50 airlines including Delta, BP and Boeing, pledged on Wednesday to replace 10% of global jet fuel supply with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030.

It is one of the boldest commitments yet to tackle the environmental impact of air travel and will require an exponential increase in the production of SAF, which currently accounts for only 0.1% of jet fuel used in commercial aviation.

Produced mainly from recycled food and agricultural waste, such as used cooking oil, SAF is a type of biofuel that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, and is viewed as critical to reducing aviation’s fast-rising carbon emissions.

Given that electric and hydrogen-powered planes won’t be available for at least another decade, even for short-haul flights, SAF “holds one of the most important keys to decarbonizing aviation,” said Matteo Mirolo, aviation policy officer at Transport & Environment, a green campaign group in Europe.

SAF currently costs between two and eight times more than its fossil fuel-based alternative. In 2019, fewer than 200,000 metric tons were produced globally — less than 0.1% of the roughly 300 million metric tons of jet fuel used by commercial airlines, according to a November 2020 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and McKinsey, which has also signed up to the pledge as a business that relies on air travel.

The report found that if all publicly announced SAF projects are completed, volumes will reach just over 1% of expected global jet fuel demand in 2030 — a fraction of the target unveiled on Wednesday. “This is a fundamental step up in the industry,” said Anna Mascolo, president of Shell Aviation, which this week announced it would produce 2 million metric tons of SAF a year by 2025, or 10 times more than what was produced globally in 2019.

“We need to put more effort into decarbonizing the aviation sector,” Mascolo says, adding that “sustainability will have a price.” Who will pay is unclear. Germany’s Lufthansa says fewer than 1% of its passengers currently make use of an option to offset their CO2 emissions by paying more for their tickets to cover the extra cost of using SAF.

According to Mascolo, cargo operators, whose revenues are more resilient than passenger carriers, will play a key role in SAF investments, as will companies that want to offset emissions from business travel.

Workers refuel an Airbus A350 with sustainable aviation fuel at Roissy airport, north of Paris, on May 18, 2021.
Workers refuel an Airbus A350 with sustainable aviation fuel at Roissy airport, north of Paris, on May 18, 2021.

Fueling demand

“Carriers alone aren’t going to be able to carry the cost burden,” Uppink Calderwood said. “If they were to commit to purchasing the fuel they wouldn’t be able to sustain their business,” she added, saying that the purpose of the coalition is to distribute the risk and cost across the value chain.

A growing number of airlines around the world are already using SAF in their operations, but generally in small amounts blended with standard jet fuel. Over the past decade, SAF has been used on 360,000 commercial flights, the vast majority of which took place in the past five years, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Governments are also adopting policies to promote and even mandate the use of SAF, which experts say will be critical to boosting supply and demand. Norway and Sweden, for example, require that a minimum amount of aviation fuel sold in the countries must be SAF. SAF mandates have also been proposed in the United Kingdom and European

“In 2016 there were two countries that had a SAF policy, now there are 36 countries,” said Chris Goater, head of corporate communications at IATA. “More and more governments are starting to see the benefit of embracing SAF in different ways. Ultimately, that’s got to give momentum to some sort of global agreement,” he added.


A tanker truck fuels a plane with SAF produced by Finland's Neste at Helsinki Airport.
A tanker truck fuels a plane with SAF produced by Finland’s Neste at Helsinki Airport.

Decarbonizing aviation

The pandemic delivered a sharp cut to aviation’s carbon emissions in 2020, but the reduction promises to be temporary.

Global air traffic is expected to double to 8.2 billion passengers in 2037, according to IATA, which predicts that aviation’s 2019 emissions peak of around 900 million metric tons of CO2 will be exceeded within the next two to three years. At the same time, the window to cut the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and avoid catastrophic changes to the climate is closing rapidly.

While the aviation sector has not yet committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 — a goal that some experts say is necessary to align with the Paris climate goals — SAF will nonetheless be critical to helping the industry reach its existing goal of halving carbon emissions by 2050 relative to a 2005 baseline. That amounts to a threefold reduction on emissions in 2019.

“Aviation has a huge climate problem and if we don’t provide it with SAF, it’s not going to start solving its problem,” said Mirolo at Transport & Environment.

But not all SAF is created equal. There are multiple ways to produce the fuel, not all of which are considered sustainable. For example, reusable plastics and even some edible oils and sugars generate more CO2 than jet fuel over their lifecycle when burned. There are also concerns that fueling planes with edible material may increase demand for land, putting food security at risk while contributing to deforestation and therefore increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Sustainable aviation fuel can live up to its name only if the feedstock fulfills sustainability criteria,” according to the report by the WEF and McKinsey, which lists waste and residue oils, such as used cooking oil and animal fats, as among the more sustainable raw materials. Other sustainable raw materials include various agricultural and forestry residues and municipal solid waste, although the processes to turn them into SAF are more complex and the technology not yet available at scale.

By far the cleanest means of producing SAF is through combining green hydrogen with carbon dioxide captured directly from the atmosphere to produce synthetic fuel. This is sometimes called e-kerosene or power-to-liquid

But the technology to develop this is immature and it could take a decade before it is widely available, according to Sami Jauhiainen, vice president of business development at Finland’s Neste, currently the world’s largest SAF producer.

“We are actively looking at investment opportunities on the e-fuel side,” Jauhiainen says. He said that the challenge of decarbonizing aviation is such that a range of technologies and feedstocks need to be explored. “If you look at the urgency we are dealing with in tackling climate change, and the carbon budget we have available to meet a 1.5 degrees Celsius trajectory, we can’t wait to have e-fuels,” he added.

Ideal cities for remote work

Adapting to the New Norm: The 6 Ideal Destinations for Working Remotely

The pandemic has changed how and where we work from drastically. With more individuals working from the comfort of their homes than any other time in recent memory, remote working is not only possible but encouraged.

It is only usual that after months of working confined between the walls of your apartment, that you may feel the need for a change of scenery. Remote work can be from coastal getaways to buzzing inner-cities, or even scenic mountains. There is an option available to suit every taste and budget.

Let’s break down for you a list of destinations perfect for setting up your laptop and recharging that work-flow.

Berlin, Germany ideal for working remotely
Berlin, Germany

6. For those who admire culture and history: Berlin, Germany

Berlin needs no introduction; known all over the world for its thriving arts and culture scenes it is an ideal place for those of you interested in visiting galleries on lunch breaks or theaters and museums after working hours.

Choose from a range of coffee shops and co-working spaces to work from; wherever you are in Berlin you are guaranteed to experience something new. (Editor’s tip: Send that last email and head to the ZigZag Jazz Club, one of Berlin’s many music venues; it’s a must visit!)

Rijeka ideal for working remotely
Rijeka, Croatia

5. For those who seek a peaceful escape: Rijeka, Croatia

Those of who who require more peace and quiet as they get to work should seek out Rijeka, one of Croatia’s most majestic port cities.

Rijeka is known to be home to sparkling blue waters, with a wide range of cafes and restaurants along the city’s Korzo promenade. You will find that you are not the only digital nomad seeking out a quiet spot to pass away the hours in the gorgeous Croatian sun.

Sydney ideal for working remotely
Sydney, Australia

4. For those who crave a city buzz: Sydney, Australia

Into the fast-paced hustle and bustle lifestyle of an inner-city? Then Sydney is the place for you. This city has it all; the high energy of a working city as well as easy access to beaches and green spaces.

Similar to Berlin, Sydney is considered to have one of the best infrastructures for remote working. It provides excellent internet speeds as well as distinguished coworking spaces, presenting a chance for anyone wanting to start afresh.

Valencia ideal for working remotely
Valencia, Spain

3. For those who desire a waterfront living: Valencia, Spain

Valencia; Spain’s dreamy coastal city, is perfect for you sun-seeking remote workers. Its sandy beaches are endless and ideal for a stroll during lunch breaks. In between shifts, you can visit cultural wonders such as the Silk Exchange followed by a dine out in Valencia’s Central Market, filled to the brim with the greatest culinary delights the Mediterranean has to offer.

If that is not enough to get you to pack your bags immediately, Valencia also ranks as one of the most affordable cities for remote workers, with cheap accommodation and great access to public transport.

Tallinn ideal for working remotely
Tallinn, Estonia

2. For those saving up but still want a new adventure: Tallinn, Estonia

Did you know that Estonia is considered one of the most digitally advanced societies in the world?

It is considered as a popular destination for remote workers since it has a cheap cost of living, as well as great access to accommodation and public transport. Whether for a short-term or long-term stay, Tallinn is guaranteed to provide you with all your working needs.

Krakow ideal for working remotely
Krakow, Poland

1. For those who are in-touch with their intellect: Krakow, Poland

Voted as the most ideal destination for remote workers, Krakow is home to one of the oldest academic institutions in the world. One of those institutions is Jagiellonian University, which opened in 1364, and consistently ranks amongst the best universities in the world.

Apart from that, Krakow is home to the Opera Krakowska, the marvelous national opera company which stages 200 performances on average each year. Add on top of that a great array of coworking spaces and cafes designated for remote workers at a relatively affordable rate, you must be thinking: why not base myself out of Krakow?

Are you still working remotely? If so, where from?