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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

WATCH: the UAE's foray into art, space and taxes

2017 was another huge year of growth for the UAE. One of the biggest milestones this year was the much anticipated opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum of the Arab world.

Ten years in the making, the museum opened on November 11 to much fanfare and three days of celebration.

Moving upwards, much further upwards, this year was also monumental for the UAE’s journey into space. At the UAE Government Centennial meeting, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced Mars Scientific City. The Dh500 million project will cover 1.9 million square feet and simulate conditions for human settlement on Mars. Sheikh Mohammed also called on young locals to apply for the UAE Astronaut Programme which will send the first four Emiratis into space.

Back on earth, the UAE became the first country to appoint a Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence after a Cabinet reshuffle in October. Nine of the 31 ministerial positions are now held by women, making the country more gender equal than US president Donald Trump’s cabinet.

In Dubai, lightning struck twice in the same place when on August 4 a fire broke out at the Torch Tower, two years after a blaze tore through the high-rise building.

The fire, which started with a recklessly tossed cigarette, temporarily displaced hundreds of residents and re-ignited a debate on flammable cladding and the UAE fire safety code.

And finally, for the first time in UAE, a law on excise taxes doubled the prices of tobacco products and energy drinks while increasing the price of fizzy drinks by 50 per cent, after the law took effect on October 1. Officials said the tax would help discourage bad habits while diversifying the Government’s revenue streams.

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Year in Review:

Best images of the Year