Welcome to the "Best of The National", your guide to some of our most compelling and important content from the past seven days.
The week ended with worrying developments for regional and maritime security. For the second time, oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
Coming a week after the UAE, Saudi and Norway presented evidence to the UN of "state actors" being behind limpet-mine attacks on four of their vessels, the tankers were damaged in attacks on Thursday morning.
The attacks are the latest event in a week of escalating tensions in the region and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the Iranian government over the incident. The American military released what it said is video evidence of members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships. Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said the US could not expect to “remain safe” while waging economic war against Tehran.
The National’s Khaled Yacoub Oweis, in his analysis of recent events, says cool heads are needed because with every attack, the potential for miscalculation rises.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Thursday warned Yemen's Houthis that they faced "grave consequences" for a missile attack on an airport that wounded 26 civilians a day earlier. "The continuation of the Iranian regime's aggression and reckless escalation, whether directly or through its militias, will result in grave consequences," Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman wrote in a tweet.
Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, travelled to Germany on an official two-day visit to strengthen ties – trade, commerce, cultural and educational – between the two nations. During the visit, he was greeted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
We looked back at the links between the countries – each vital trading partners – and an uncovered interesting and quirky history, stretching from Sheikh Zayed’s Mercedes-Benz to the 1990 World Cup. There’s a gallery of images marking the visit here
Before Sheikh Mohamed’s arrival in Berlin, reporter Ramola Talwar Badam spoke to the German Ambassador to the UAE, Ernst Peter Fischer, who said the visit would aid efforts to promote tolerance and counter extremism. Then, as the visit ended, Damien McElroy in Berlin reported how it has set the UAE on a positive path to further developing its relationship with Europe’s biggest economy.
Away from geopolitics, an announcement by retailer Amazon this week is set to shake-up e-commerce and on-demand streaming: the launch of Amazon Prime.
Locally, there was tragedy when a bus carrying holidaymakers returning from an Eid break in Oman crashed in Dubai, killing 17 people.
Private schools in Dubai are rejecting the timeworn method of measuring pupils’ knowledge: the end-of-term exam. Instead, they are exploring different ways to test their pupils after finding exams were failing as a measure of potential.
Model Halima Aden is no strange to controversy. In The National’s Luxury magazine, she talked about fashion, faith and family, "bad hijab" days, and resistance to her Sports Illustrated shoot.
Finally, from Sport, the world’s oldest international football tournament returned yesterday when hosts Brazil faced Bolivia in the opening match of the 2019 Copa America. Yet in the country often referred to as the game’s spiritual home, there is a distinct lack of fanfare or fandom, writes Gary Meenaghan.
Watch and be inspired by remarkable teenager Alia Abdulqader who wows family, friends and teachers in Sharjah with her musical talents – despite being deaf. Roll over, Beethoven.
Staying in Sharjah, we visited the emirate’s latest and most-startling piece of public art. The Scroll was designed by British artist Gerry Juday to mark the emirate being named Unesco World Book Capital.
If Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg didn’t have enough to worry about – here’s his insidious and ultra-realistic AI doppelganger bragging about stolen data. Art imitating life?
In this week’s Beyond the Headlines, foreign editor James Haines-Young is joined by reporter Stefani Glinski and International Crisis Group’s Graeme Smith. Together, they look back at 18 years of conflict in Afghanistan and examine the chances of finding peace through diplomacy as a military solution seems more distant than ever before.
Almost two years after Amazon bought Souq.com, the US shopping giant has launched its Prime service in the UAE – potentially a game-changer for e-commerce and streaming services in the UAE. In Business Extra, Mustafa Alrawi, an assistant editor-in-chief at The National, talks with assistant business editor Kelsey Warner and reporter Nada El Sawy about what the launch means for consumers and retailers.
And this week in The Cricket Pod, former Pakistan fast bowler Aaqib Javed reflects on his memories of playing at the Cricket World Cup.
Journalist and author Janine di Giovanni wrote passionately about reporting from the ground in Syria. In her opinion piece this week, she described the daily horrors faced by doctors who, she says, are fighting their own war to save lives despite constant bombardment from Assad’s forces.
The National’s Nick March bemoaned the end of Apple’s game-changing iTunes. Before the era of ubiquitous music-streaming, iTunes kept the model of the traditional record shop, the joy of browsing virtual shelves, and the now-anachronistic idea of owning and keeping songs alive, he writes.
Sholto Byrnes this week turned his attention to Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto ruler of Myanmar, and her seemingly relentless fall from grace. She nailed her colours to the mast, he says, when she embraced Hungary PM Viktor Orban, a man renowned for his Islamophobic rhetoric.