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Travelling to the FIFA World Cup 2022

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Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Qatar aims to give itself a winning image.

The opening match, which will pit Ecuador against Qatar, will take place at the Al Bait Stadium on Sunday, November 20. The group stage will be played from that day until Friday, December 2. From then on, the dates are as follows :

 

  • Round of 16 : December 3 to 6.

 

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  • Quarterfinals : December 9 and 10.

 

  • Semifinals : December 13 and 14.

 

The third and fourth places will be played at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday, December 17, while the 2022 World Cup final will be played at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18.

 

What to do during the World Cup besides the matches?

Between matches, there is plenty of free time to discover this small country of just 11,500 square kilometres but with many attractions, some of which are truly state-of-the-art and explicitly created to visit during the FIFA World Cup 2022.

In between the matches, fans tend to cherish the tournament experience by keeping an eye on the World Cup odds qatar 2022 and speculating on what team’s more likely to capture the cup. Besides, they engage in popular exploratory activities in Qatar, as it is an unsuspected outdoor paradise with the inland sea, the desert, mountains for climbers, and sporting events.

With that in mind, here’s how to plan your trip and what not to miss in the Arab country during FIFA World Cup 2022 :

 

1. Stroll or take a dhow along La Corniche

A beautiful waterfront promenade from the Museum of Islamic Art to the Sheraton Park, walkable at any time of day or night, the Corniche is a 7-km pedestrian strip that follows a crescent shape around Doha Bay.

The Corniche was created after dredging the Doha Bay area, which shaped it and gave rise to the waterway. More recently, the waterfront has been landscaped and equipped with leisure, sports, and dining facilities.

The Promenade is one of the most spectacular views of Doha, with the skyline of its famous skyscrapers. There are many places to eat and drink, fewer than 150 establishments, three stages for live concerts, water, light shows, and even a Bedouin village. From the harbor, you can also ride on a “dhow,” a sailboat of Arab origin characterized by triangular sails and a shallow draft.

 

2. Free tours and discounts with the Qatar Museums Culture Pass

The Culture Pass is the official membership and benefits program of Qatar Museums. It offers members access to Qatar’s cultural institutions and exclusive benefits for unique and memorable experiences, including the Qatar National Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, Al Riwaq Gallery, M7, Fire Station, Qatar Olympics 3-2-1 Museum, and Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art.

It offers a comprehensive program of benefits to satisfy all artistic passions and allows enjoying exclusive behind-the-scenes access to tours, lectures, and workshops. Culture Pass Plus and Family members can have unlimited access to all Culture Pass program events, which provide an opportunity to learn about Qatar’s heritage, culture, environment, and vision for the future.

In addition, there is up to a 25 percent discount in restaurants, cafes, and gift stores and offers at participating hotels.

 

3. Try international cuisine

Travelling to Qatar, you should taste the traditional and elaborate Arab cuisine. Of course, we are talking about food from Qatar, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Yemen.

The best place to experience it is Souq Waqif, with its endless alleys. However, if you want to expand the range of exotic cuisines, go to Aziziya Street, a bustling commercial area between Salwa Road and Al Waab Street with great food options, from high-end to quick and cheap.

 

Here you can enjoy Chinese, Egyptian, Lebanese, Qatari, Thai, and Turkish dishes and Western ones. But if you want a European touch, you must go to Qanat Quartier, an exclusive island with Venetian-style streets and its Marsa Arabia, with an exceptional view of the marina and luxury yachts there.

 

4. Discover the Katara Cultural Village

Katara Village is an architectural project still under development but can already be visited, created to create a space for culture. It is known as the most significant cultural plan in the country. The name of this majestic space comes from the fact that Katara was the historical name used for Qatar before the 18th century.

The complex is built in a style that combines oriental architecture and classical romanticism, giving it a unique look different from the newest cultural buildings in Doha. Prominent among the attractions is the amphitheater, an architectural beauty balanced between the concept of classical Greek theater and features of Islamic tradition. Its construction was completed in 2009 and had a capacity of 5,000 people.

 

 

5. Ride the desert dunes by camel and 4X4.

What could be better than a camel ride on the soft dunes before venturing on an exciting desert safari to Khor Al Adair, accessible only by 4×4 vehicles? Surfers can have a unique experience sandboarding on the dunes or exploring the dunes by quad, ATV or buggy.

You can also try the Qatari’s favourite pastime, camping, by day, evening or night, with one of the many companies offering this Bedouin-style experience in the desert, with all the comforts of home.

 

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Canadian military would be ‘challenged’ to launch a large scale operation: chief of the defence staff

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OTTAWA –

Canada’s military forces are “ready” to meet their commitments should Russia’s war in Ukraine spread to NATO countries, but it would be a “challenge” to launch a larger scale operation in the long term, with ongoing personnel and equipment shortages, according to Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.

Eyre told Joyce Napier on CTV’s Question Period in an interview airing Sunday that while the forces in Europe are “ready for the tactical mission they’ve been assigned,” he has larger concerns about strategic readiness. He said there’s a lack of people and equipment, and further concern around the ability to sustain a larger scale mission in the longer term.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are still struggling to retain staff, with nearly 10,000 fewer trained personnel than they’d need to be at full force, and equipment stocks below what they require.

“We’ve got challenges in all of those,” Eyre said, adding the numbers reflect what’s been “let slip over decades, as we’ve focused on the more immediate (needs).”

Eyre said Canada’s military would be “hard pressed” to launch another large-scale operation like it had in Afghanistan, as an example, without having to redistribute its resources around the globe, as threats evolve.

“The military that we have now is going to be increasingly called upon to support Canada and to support Canadian interests, to support our allies overseas, but as well at home,” Eyre said, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change impacting the landscape in the Arctic, and an increase in digital and cybersecurity threats.

“It’s always a case of prioritization and balancing our deployments around the globe, not just with what, but when, and with who … and getting that balance right is something that that we’re working on,” he said. “Could we use more? Yeah, absolutely. But we operate with what we have.”

“We prioritize and balance based on what our allies need, and what the demand signals, just to make sure that we achieve the strategic effect the government wants us to achieve,” he also said.

Meanwhile Defence Minister Anita Anand said on CTV’s Question Period last week that Canada should “be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” and balance its NATO commitments with securing the Arctic and promoting peace in the Indo-Pacific.

Eyre said his number one priority is getting Canada’s armed forces up to full strength, with an attrition rate of 9.3 per cent between both regular and reserve forces, up from 6.9 per cent last year. The Canadian Armed Forces Retention Strategy was released just last month.

“We are facing the same challenge that every other industry out there is facing in terms of a really tight labor market,” Eyre said. “Every other military in the West is facing the same challenge.”

He explained the organization is working on streamlining its recruitment process, among other changes, to meet the increasing need, with the goal to get numbers up “as quickly as possible.”

“Ideally, would have been yesterday,” he said. “We’re looking at where we can accelerate the recruiting, the training, and optimizing our training pipeline.”

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How soccer is evolving in Canada

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Soccer wasn’t really a thing when I was a kid. I grew up in the 1970s and ‘80s. Sure, we all had soccer balls. And we played a lot of what should be more accurately called, Kick and Run. But I – and all my friends – did not really know the rules, the teams or the players. We might’ve heard of Pelé, but not more than that.

We followed hockey, baseball, football (CFL and NFL) and basketball, in that order. I did occasionally watch soccer on TV, but that was because we didn’t have a lot of channels and the soothing English accents often lulled me to sleep.

Things are much different now. My 13-year-old son is a massive soccer fan. He plays on a team three or four times a week. His schoolmates include a lot of second-generation Canadians, whose parents came from soccer-obsessed nations. He watches Premier League and Championship League matches. He’s watches La Liga and Bundesliga. He watches World Cup qualifiers and could tell me the backstory on most of the players. In fact, he watches classic games on YouTube and plays FIFA22 on his PS4 and as a result, knows more about Pelé than I ever did. But, because of him, I now watch enough football to know a game is a match, a goalie is a keeper and I know which plays end up in corner kicks or throw-ins.

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I once asked him, “How well do you know the Germany national team?” and he said, “Not very well.” He then proceeded to name seven of their 11 starters. It’s a different world.

I still know almost nothing compared to the other soccer dads, but like millions of Canadians, I watched Canada’s qualifying matches and I know we have a great team, with some stellar players who are worth watching. The qualifying matches regularly beat both hockey games and CFL football when it comes to viewership.

But we should care about more than just the matches themselves. The World Cup is one of the biggest and most lucrative sports spectacles on Earth. This will be the first one hosted in the Middle East. And although Qatar may look shiny and new on TV, it’s mired in what many Western nations believe to be medieval and backwards policies on working conditions, LGBTQ2S+ and women’s rights.

Finding people to talk about it in Qatar is NOT easy. One of W5’s goals this week was to talk to migrant workers to describe how they were treated, their living conditions and their labour rights. Most were too afraid to talk to us.

And to confound things, there have been many stories of journalists being detained or arrested for reporting on migrant workers. Last week, a Danish reporter was live on TV from Qatar and when asked what things were like there, he directed his camera operator to pan left – revealing security officials in golf carts, who immediately tried to stop the live hit. The next day Qatari officials apologized, but the message was clear: we can stop you from reporting when we want. It’s a fascinating video that’s been viewed millions of times around the globe.

The Qatari government denies they’ve put any restrictions on media. In a tweet, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy says “several regional and international media outlets are based in Qatar, and thousands of journalists report from Qatar freely without interference each year.”

Not everyone is convinced. Qatar ranks 118 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Press Freedom index, published by Reporters Without Borders. Freedom House, which is a U.S.-based freedom watchdog, gives Qatar a 25 out of 100 score on Global Freedom, which includes freedom of expression. (Canada ranks 98 and the US ranks 83).

A Reuters Institute column from last week on press freedom in Qatar suggests authorities obscure press freedom laws, by hiding behind trespassing laws.

“One of the most common risks when doing journalistic work in Qatar is to be accused of trespassing. This is what Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani of Norwegian state broadcaster NRK were accused of when they were arrested by officers of Qatar’s Criminal Investigations Department in November 2021, while covering World Cup preparations. The journalists were held for over 30 hours before being released without charge. They deny they were filming without permission,” says the article.

A little insider info: I have personally written, “we don’t want you to get arrested, but…” at least twice in correspondence with our team in Qatar. I’ve never encouraged anyone to break the law of course, but sometimes doing our jobs leads police or security into thinking they have a duty (or at least a right) to stop you.

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Don’t have a cow: Senator’s legen-dairy speech draws metaphor from bovine caper

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OTTAWA — Haven’t you herd? A dramatic tale of 20 escaped cows, nine cowboys and a drone recently unfolded in St-Sévère, Que., and it behooved a Canadian senator to milk it for all it was worth.

Prompting priceless reactions of surprise from her colleagues, Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne recounted the story of the bovine fugitives in the Senate chamber this week — and attempted to make a moo-ving point about politics.

“Honourable senators, usually, when we do tributes here, it is to recognize the achievements of our fellow citizens,” Miville-Dechêne began in French, having chosen to wear a white blouse with black spots for the occasion.

“However, today, I want to express my amused admiration for a remarkably determined herd of cows.”

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On a day when senators paid tribute to a late Alberta pastor, the crash of a luxury steamer off the coast of Newfoundland in 1918 and environmental negotiators at the recent climate talks in Egypt, senators seated near Miville-Dechêne seemed udderly taken aback by the lighter fare — but there are no reports that they had beef with what she was saying.

Miville-Dechêne’s storytelling touched on the highlights of the cows’ evasion of authorities after a summer jailbreak — from their wont to jump fences like deer to a local official’s entreaty that she would not go running after cattle in a dress and high heels.

The climax of her narrative came as nine cowboys — eight on horseback, one with a drone — arrived from the western festival in nearby St-Tite, Que., north of Trois-Rivières, and nearly nabbed the vagabonds before they fled through a cornfield.

“They are still on the run, hiding in the woods by day and grazing by night,” said Miville-Dechêne, with a note of pride and perhaps a hint of fromage.

She neglected to mention the reported costs of the twilight vandalism, which locals say has cost at least $20,000.

But Miville-Dechêne did save some of her praise for the humans in the story, congratulating the municipal general manager, Marie-Andrée Cadorette, for her “dogged determination,” and commending the would-be wranglers for stepping up when every government department and police force in Quebec said there was nothing they could do.

“There is a political lesson in there somewhere,” said the former journalist.

Miville-Dechêne ended on what could perhaps be interpreted as a butchered metaphor about non-partisanship: “Finally, I would like to confess my unbridled admiration for these cows that have found freedom and are still out there, frolicking about. While we overcomplicate things, these cows are learning to jump fences.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2022.

 

Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press

 

 

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