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Iraq approves 106 trillion dinar budget for 2016

The Iraqi parliament adopted yesterday a 2016 budget of 105.8 trillion dinars ($88.2 billion at the 1,200 dinars/dollar rate), based on projected oil prices of $45 per barrel and an average daily crude oil output of 3.6 million barrels. Iraq holds the world’s fourth largest oil reserves, some 143.1 billion barrels. Oil exports are by far the most important segment of Iraq’s economy, making up about half of the country’s GDP and nearly 90% of government revenue. But Iraq’s oil industry, and the government’s budget, is being squeezed by low oil prices. As a result, the nation’s finances are being hit hard. Iraq’s latest economic problems are also linked to the increasingly costly battle with ISIS, now in control of much of Anbar province and Mosul, the nation’s second-largest city. The budget will run with a deficit of 24.1 trillion dinars ($20.1 billion), which is planned to be relieved through loans from local and international lenders. There are two significant factors that could undercut a projected $68.1 billion in revenue. Firstly, the target of oil exports of 3.6 million barrels per day includes a total of 550,000 bpd from Iraqi Kurdistan and Kirkuk province, a large part of which is under the autonomous Kurdistan region’s control. Kurdistan has been exporting oil independently and is likely to continue doing so barring a deal with Baghdad, meaning $9 billion in revenue may not materialise. Iraq’s parliament, however, agreed a 17% share of the national budget for the […]

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Why do we make bad decisions?

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Do we pride ourself on being a good decision-maker? Well, chances are we aren’t one, and don’t even know it. Like everyone else, we’re subject to cognitive bias, a limitation in our thinking brought about by errors of memory, miscalculation or social attribution. Not all biases are negative, however. The placebo effect, for example, is important in the search for new medicines. This cognitive bias can be so […]

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A dinosaur inside a shopping mall

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Once upon a time long-necked dinosaurs roamed the world. The original skeleton of one such long-necked, whip-tailed sauropod that is over 155 million years old is on display at the Souk dome in Dubai Mall. The dinosaur was named DubaiDino in a competition. The dinosaur belongs to the family Diplodocidae, derived from the Greek words diplos (double) and dokos (beam). The […]

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World’s Largest Musical Fountain

Bridge beween Dubai Mall & Souk Al Bahar

The Dubai Fountain is the world’s tallest performing fountain, in Downtown Dubai. At over 900 ft in length – equivalent to over two football pitches – The Dubai Fountain is situated on the 30-acre artificial Burj Khalifa Lake between the Dubai Mall, the Souk Al Bahar, and the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Fountain has a unique design comprising five circles […]

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Mercato, Dubai

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Mercato Shopping Mall is located in the heart of Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s most prestigious residential areas. It’s on Jumeirah Beach Road. The mall epitomizes the Italian architecture and transports one back to the Renaissance period. The Renaissance era is highlighted in every aspect of Mercato’s colourful and detailed design. The architecture is a surreal blend of various styles and […]

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Discipline and Devotion

There was a discussion on discipline and devotion among my friends today. I am writing here my views on discipline and devotion. Most of us have an ambiguous relationship to discipline because our initial experience of discipline consisted in being trained to obey rules with the consequence of punishment for disobedience. We end up associating discipline with loosing freedom. This distortion brings up a rebellious attitude against discipline that has the detrimental effect of convincing us to settle for mediocrity. Being mediocre undermines the drive to pursue an attitude of excellence where you consistently strive to do your best. Discipline is a virtue one can cultivate and it becomes natural. For many of us fear of failure is what prevents us from taking action. Originally this may have been caused by being punished, criticised, or shamed for not meeting other’s people’s expectations. Discipline is action. Discipline is the act of working towards what you want. Discipline is not giving up. For most people devotion grows out of being disciplined first. It is an acquired virtue that emerges as you learn to maintain your attention grounded in your heart. Devotion includes daily ordinary activity and roles. For example, all mothers are devoted to their children; all husbands are devoted to their families. Devotion is a state of consciousness that can be perfected. It grows into a life style and becomes natural. This means that you are free to release the heavy mental and emotional burden of guilt, […]

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Schoolboy’s letter to parents to prepare them for bad report

A son gave his dad the fright of his life when he went ‘missing’ and left a note that confirmed every parent’s nightmares. The tale began with a dad who returned home to find his 15-year-old son was out and his room looked suspiciously tidy. The bed is made. His clothes are put away. The room is totally clean. And there appears to be an envelope on his son’s pillow. It says “Dad” on it. Rushing in the room, grabbing the letter, ripping it open nervously expecting something horrendously bad, he pulls out the note and begins reading: Dear Dad, It is with great regret and sorrow that I am writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with mom and you. I’ve been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve because of her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes, and the fact she’s much older than I am. But it’s not only the passion Dad; she’s pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with other people in the commune — […]

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Chhath Puja

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Chhath puja is an ancient Hindu Vedic festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya and Chhathi Maiya. The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. This festival is observed by Nepalese people and Indian people along with their diaspora. The Sun, considered as the […]

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Sohrai festival

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Sohrai, one of the biggest festivals among Adivasis (indigenous people) in the Indian state of Jharkhand, is celebrated during the same time when the Hindus celebrate Diwali. The morning after Diwali, the Adivasis across Jharkhand celebrate their festival — Sohrai. The word Sohrai is a Mundaric word for the stick, which is used to drive cattle as well as close the gate of […]

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