I joined a segment on HuffPost Live the other day to discuss Qatar’s 2022 World Cup.

The conversation kicked off with unbearable heat during summer and the possibility of shifting the games to winter, but expanded to include workers rights here, restrictions on homosexuality, and corruption within FIFA.

Anything to add?

(via Qatar Too Hot To Handle - HuffPost Live)

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GRAPHICS: Doha News gets a new logo

You may have noticed that we’ve changed up our look a little bit. Some two years after we launched this site - and more than four since we got started on Twitter - we thought it was time for some tweaking. 

Our aim, especially on social media, was to make sure the look was clean and simple, as well as easy to recognize.

Here’s what our designers, Check Out My [Designs], have to say about it:

The new look is not an overall change but simply a transition, hence why we’re keeping the color and the style.

We’re going away from the speech bubble as something of a cliche, but wanted to keep an element of it, hence the indent on the D - acting as negative space.

The D will be the official mark of Doha News from now on.

What do you think?

I like the simplicity of it

It has been one whole year since a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar led to the deaths of 19 people, 13 of them small children.
On this first anniversary, we have released an ebook looking into the tragedy: “Villaggio Fire: A Tragedy Silenced”
The in-depth report focuses on the causes and aftermath of the fire, as well as its implications for Qatar as a whole. 

It has been one whole year since a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar led to the deaths of 19 people, 13 of them small children.

On this first anniversary, we have released an ebook looking into the tragedy: “Villaggio Fire: A Tragedy Silenced

The in-depth report focuses on the causes and aftermath of the fire, as well as its implications for Qatar as a whole. 

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PHOTOS: The 2013 Qatar International Food Festival by Omar Chatriwala

Today is your last chance to check out the Qatar International Food Festival (renamed from the Doha Food Festival of previous years).

On at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, the grounds are sprawling compared to previous years, and between dining in the sky, snacking on the sea, walking through the numerous food stalls, or taking in the cooking and fitness demonstrations, it’s quite a spectacle.

Today’s hours are from 2pm-10pm. Vouchers are sold in QR40 increments, with a QR10 service charge - so make sure to buy more upfront if you think you’ll need them, to minimize service fees.

Also, parking at the MIA is limited, and has been closed off completely in the evenings. To avoid the hassle, park at one of the designated lots - at the Ministry of Interior building on the Corniche or a parking lot across from Al Sharq Village & Spa. A shuttle will transport you speedily to the festival. More tips here.

Thoughts?

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The flag is flying at half-mast at the Venezuelan embassy in Doha today after the country’s long-time president Hugo Chavez died last night.
Venezuela will have seven days of mourning to commemorate its late leader.
On its website, the embassy, which is located in Dafna, says:

With our deepest grief, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the State of Qatar announces the opening of a Condolences Book due to the sad demise of Commander HUGO CHÁVEZ FRÍAS, President of Venezuela and one of the fundamental leaders of Latin America.
The Book of Condolences will be open from today, Wednesday, March 6, from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM and on next Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

RIP Hugo Chavez.

The flag is flying at half-mast at the Venezuelan embassy in Doha today after the country’s long-time president Hugo Chavez died last night.

Venezuela will have seven days of mourning to commemorate its late leader.

On its website, the embassy, which is located in Dafna, says:

With our deepest grief, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the State of Qatar announces the opening of a Condolences Book due to the sad demise of Commander HUGO CHÁVEZ FRÍAS, President of Venezuela and one of the fundamental leaders of Latin America.

The Book of Condolences will be open from today, Wednesday, March 6, from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM and on next Thursday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

RIP Hugo Chavez.

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VIDEO: BBC’s Fast Track on road thrills, taboos and Qatar’s heritage

In this Qatar special, a BBC team from travel news program Fast Track looks at Qatar’s unsafe road culture, government-funded projects to promote tourism and culture, discusses social taboos on ice with Irish-Qatari comedian Hamad al-Amari, and gets a good look at the camel track.

The package is part of a series of programs aired by the BBC in recent weeks called Qatar Direct, covering the country’s global ambitions, its embrace of world football, the fast-disappearing ”old Doha” and profiling some of those who live and work here.

For this video, the Fast Track team spent a week in town, during which I took them across Doha, out west to Shahaniya, up north to Al Khor, and south to the desert and the inland sea.

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Here are some of my behind-the-scenes photos.

What do you think? Did they miss anything?

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Photos by Omar Chatriwala

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PHOTOS: Famed New York dessert shop Magnolia Bakery launches in Qatar

Magnolia Bakery, perhaps best known for its cupcakes and for appearing in the TV show Sex and the City, is opening its largest store in the world (so far) in Doha tomorrow.

Located at the new Dar Al Salam Mall in the Abu Hamour area, it is Magnolia Bakery’s fourth shop in the Middle East, starting with Dubai in 2010 and followed recently by back-to-back openings in Kuwait and Beirut last month.

“It’s an emerging market - a lot of the countries we’re going into are very interested in an American brand, but they’re also interested in quality brands, and our brand is all about quality and about consistency,” Bobbie Lloyd, Magnolia’s President and Operating Partner told Doha News at a media event earlier today.

News that the upscale bakery was coming to Qatar was first announced a year ago. The company also intends to expand into Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

The lineup of 160 rotating offerings at the Doha shop include American-style pies, old-fashion icebox cakes, banana pudding, and of course cupcakes.

Pricing is on the upper end - comparable with the likes of Red Velvet Cupcakery at Katara and Sugar and Spice at Lagoona Mall, with cupcakes at Magnolia going for 17-19 QR, and mini pies go up to 39 QR.

But Lloyd said she believes customers here will be happy to pay that price for a superior product. “Everything we bake is from scratch, we don’t start the day out and make a huge batch of something… it’s all being done in small batches,” she told Doha News.

On Wednesday, January 16, the bakery will host a opening reception from 6pm-8pm. Thereafter, Magnolia will be open daily from 8am-11pm.

Here are the event details:

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Will you be visiting?