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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 February 2019

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Idex, Arab League, Kashmir, vaping and more

Hello from The National's newsroom in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE Armed Forces awarded Dh4.97 billion in contracts on the first day of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, with the lion’s share of deals going to international companies. You can find all our Idex coverage here. Check out the mock battle that was staged in the shadows of the exhibition centre and read our exclusive interview with Herve Guillou, chief executive of French shipbuilder Naval Group.

In regional news, the head of the Arab League has rejected suggestions that Turkish or European forces could be introduced to northern Syria with the establishment of safe zones following the withdrawal of US ground troops. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary-general, said the Syrian Democratic Forces should be supported to establish control over their own territories.

Elsewhere, India stands on the brink of another military confrontation with Pakistan over Kashmir after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops in the disputed region last week.

In domestic news, the UAE is to allow the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Manufacturers will be permitted to sell such products providing they meet certain standards and carry health warnings. Doctors have previously expressed concern over the negative health impact of e-cigarettes.

Here's a taste of what else we've been working on.

ARTS AND LIFESTYLE Would you pay $400 for a cup of coffee roasted in space? We talk to the Dubai entrepreneur who is hoping to persuade you to do just that. And find out where Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan was spotted recently in Abu Dhabi.

BUSINESS Check out the new “hack-proof” smartphone from DarkMatter. The phone has been designed specifically for use in military field conditions and other tough physical environments such as those encountered by emergency services and the construction, mining, transport and energy industries.

OPINION Dan Hancox argues that there are strong similarities between the present state of politics in the UK and Spain, which find themselves locked in a cycle of pervasive uncertainty. The editorial board’s view on the situation in Kashmir is also recommended reading.

SPORT Tennis star Naomi Osaka talks about her recent split from her coach Sascha Bajin. The Australian and US Open champion is in Dubai for this week’s annual WTA championship. Osaka says she wouldn’t put “success over my happiness”.

All this and more in The National – look out for the print edition, visit TheNational.ae, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter for round-the-clock updates.

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Nick March

Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Updated: February 17, 2019 09:56 PM

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