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Movie review: Is Men In Black International worth a watch?

Director F. Gary Gray’s “Men in Black: International”, the fourth instalment of the extra-terrestrial investigation, is a spin-off from the “Men In Black” film series, which is loosely based on the Marvel comics of the same name created by Lowell Cunningham. For the uninitiated, Men in Black is a top-secret organization established to monitor and…

Movie review: Is Men In Black International worth a watch?

Director F. Gary Gray’s “Men in Black: International”, the fourth instalment of the extra-terrestrial investigation, is a spin-off from the “Men In Black” film series, which is loosely based on the Marvel comics of the same name created by Lowell Cunningham.

For the uninitiated, Men in Black is a top-secret organization established to monitor and police, alien activity on Earth.

Stylishly mounted with comic book effects, that places equally intense attention to everything that suits its material, the film has a determined, more than natural, feel of high energy that propels the narrative about a mole in the Men in Black Organisation. 

Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), the blue-eyed boy of Agent ‘High Tea’ (Liam Neeson) is paired with a civilian, Agent M (Tessa Thompson) to save the Earth from Hive, an evil alien race. How they dodge the shapeshifting twins from Marrakesh on through the desert and fight Agent H’s former flame Riza (Rebecca Ferguson) to get hold of a tremendously destructive weapon, forms the crux of the narrative.

The script, penned by “Iron Man” scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, appears uninspiring, staid and predictable and the actions may fail to excite, but the effortless and cool charms of the protagonists, Thompson and Hemsworth are what keep us glued to the screen. While Thompson has a captivating composure, Hemsworth’s performance feels overly frantic and his performance at times is over the top. But together, they make an amiable pair whose on-screen chemistry is palpable. 

The duo is aptly supported by Liam Neeson as ‘High Tea’, the leader of MIB’s UK branch, Emma Thompson as Agent O, the head of the MIB US branch, Rafe Spall as the British Agent C who is suspicious of Agent H’s activities, Rebecca Ferguson as the multi-armed alien who has a soft corner for H, the Bourgeois twins Laurent and Larry (Les Twins from the World of Dance Champions) as the menacing, enemy alien species that move rapidly, and Kumail Nanjiani who lends his voice to Pawny the miniature alien that befriends Agent M. They all have their moments of on-screen glory and they elevate the viewing experience.

Mounted with ace production values, the film is visually sleek where aliens and cars seamlessly morph into humans and space-ships and vice-versa. And the narrative with its dauntless operatives, takes us to exotic places like Paris, London, New York and Marrakesh.

With a run time of 115 minutes, the first act drags a bit but picks up momentum midway right till the end. There are some really comical moments, either through dialogues or action strewn throughout the narrative. One that stands out is the faint reference to a Thor moment.

With Thompson in the lead, this edition simply gives a thrust to “Women in Black” and has a reference about it. So, those seeking a male-propelled narrative may find this tale disappointing.

Overall, “Men In Black: International”, even though it is not satisfying, simply holds your attention.

Director: F. Gary Gray; 

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson, Laurent Bourgeois and Larry Bourgeois; 

Rating: ***

 

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Combating coronavirus: GEMS schools in UAE get ready for students’ return

All staff involved in cleaning and sanitisation have undergone training and are required to wear full personal protective equipment. All GEMS schools across the country have been meticulously preparing for the return of their students and staff, implementing a host of safety measures. They are working with a globally accredited health and safety service providers,…

Combating coronavirus: GEMS schools in UAE get ready for students’ return

All staff involved in cleaning and sanitisation have undergone training and are required to wear full personal protective equipment.

All GEMS schools across the country have been meticulously preparing for the return of their students and staff, implementing a host of safety measures.
They are working with a globally accredited health and safety service providers, covering everything from food handling and deep cleaning, to school transportation and staff accommodation.
All staff involved in cleaning and sanitisation have undergone training and are required to wear full personal protective equipment.
Paul Slater, vice-president for operations and health, safety and environment at GEMS Education, said: “The safety of our students, parents, teachers and staff is of utmost importance and remains our top priority. Our preparations for reopening schools are already well under way.
“We have been reviewing practices across Europe and Asia to ensure we apply only the best global standards. We have a team of dedicated health and safety professionals who are working tirelessly to ensure we continue to follow the best, most up to date health and safety standards.
In the run-up to school reopening, all GEMS Education schools are undergoing regular deep cleaning and disinfection using hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectants that are commonly used in healthcare facilities.
Additional measures include repeated fumigation of all air conditioning vents, and GEMS Education’s Health and Safety Team is currently reviewing additional measures to enhance the safety of people coming into school, including the potential use of sanitisation tunnels at main entrances as well as IP thermal cameras for enhanced temperature checking.
In addition, professionals have been reviewing policies and procedures to ensure that social distancing and safety guidelines are implemented and followed.
[email protected]
Staff Reporter

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US announces $225 million in emergency aid to Yemen

RABAT: Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, deploying them for aerial surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.“This is a real craze. In just weeks, demand has tripled in Morocco and other countries in the region,” said Yassine Qamous, chief of Droneway Maroc, African distributor for leading Chinese…

RABAT: Morocco has rapidly expanded its fleet of drones as it battles the coronavirus pandemic, deploying them for aerial surveillance, public service announcements and sanitization.“This is a real craze. In just weeks, demand has tripled in Morocco and other countries in the region,” said Yassine Qamous, chief of Droneway Maroc, African distributor for leading Chinese drone company DJI.Moroccan firms have been using drones for years and Qamous says it “is among the most advanced countries in Africa” for unmanned flight, with a dedicated industrial base, researchers and qualified pilots.But restrictive regulations have long limited civilian drones to specific applications such as filming, agriculture, monitoring solar panels and mapping.That changed rapidly as the novel coronavirus swept across the world.In recent weeks, authorities have employed drones to issue warnings, identify suspicious movement in the streets and disperse illegal rooftop and balcony gatherings.A strict lockdown imposed in March has not been uniformly respected, with local media reporting on nighttime gatherings of neighbors and collective prayers on roofs, beyond the view of street patrols.Last week local authorities in Temara, a town near the capital Rabat, launched a high-precision aerial surveillance system developed by local company Beti3D, which previously specialized in aerial mapping.Other countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have also adopted technology deployed in China since the start of the pandemic, whether for tracking the movements of citizens, disinfecting public spaces or facilitating deliveries.“Drones have quickly emerged as a vital technology for public safety agencies during this crisis as they can safely monitor public spaces,” according to the website of DJI, by far the world’s top drone maker.Like most countries, Morocco primarily uses imported Chinese drones. But the emergence of new applications linked to the pandemic is also driving local production of specialized aerial vehicles.“There is real demand,” said Abderrahmane Krioual, the head of Farasha, a startup that has raised funds to produce drones for thermal surveillance and aerial disinfectant spraying.The aeronautics department of the International University of Rabat (UIR) offered its facilities, expertise and prototypes to authorities in March, deploying drones with loudspeakers or infrared cameras able to detect movement at night or spot individuals with high temperatures.Several projects are underway across the country ahead of the widespread deployment of various models of drones, said Mohsine Bouya, the university’s director of technology development and transfer.Teams are also developing tracking applications, but “we’ll have to wait for a change to the law” before launching them, he said.Moroccan authorities declined to comment on the use of drones or the numbers deployed since the start of the public health emergency in mid-March.Unlike in some countries, the use of surveillance drones has not sparked public debate in Morocco, where the kingdom’s authoritarian response to the pandemic is widely supported.Morocco closed its borders early and tasked law enforcement with imposing strict confinement measures on the population.They include movement restrictions and the compulsory wearing of masks, with a nighttime curfew since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan — enforced by a heavy police presence.Those found guilty of violating lockdown measures face one to three months in prison, a fine equivalent to $125, or both.Officials say 59,000 people have been prosecuted for breaching lockdown measures.Authorities say the measures have limited transmission of the virus, with 5,382 COVID-19 cases reported including 182 deaths since the state of emergency was announced.But the kingdom’s high number of arrests — some 85,000 people by April 30 — has drawn criticism from Georgette Gagnon, director of field operations at the United Nations’ Human Rights Office.Last week she listed Morocco among countries where repressive coronavirus measures have created a “toxic lockdown culture.”Morocco disputed this, saying its measures were “in line with legal frameworks respecting human rights.”

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Coronavirus: UAE-India repatriation flights to have 9-seat isolation zone

Passengers are requested to report to airport at least four hours in advance for medical screening. Evacuation flights from the UAE to India on Thursday will have an onboard ‘isolation zone’. Both the 186-seater Air India Express planes will fly 177 passengers each on Abu Dhabi-Kochi and Dubai-Kozhikode sectors. This will allow for creation of…

Passengers are requested to report to airport at least four hours in advance for medical screening.

Evacuation flights from the UAE to India on Thursday will have an onboard ‘isolation zone’.
Both the 186-seater Air India Express planes will fly 177 passengers each on Abu Dhabi-Kochi and Dubai-Kozhikode sectors. This will allow for creation of a bunch of nine empty seats at the back, which will serve as an isolation zone, Khaleej Times has learnt. 
Also read: 6,500 pregnant women to fly back home
Among precautionary measures, all crew will wear personal protective equipment on the flights.
While the flight from Abu Dhabi departs at 4.15 pm to Kochi, service from Dubai will leave at revised time of 5.10 pm for Kozhikode.
Passengers are requested to report to airport at least four hours in advance for medical screening and IGM/IGG test.
Additionally, each passenger, at the time of boarding would be handed over a safety kit containing two three-layered face masks, two pairs of gloves and pouches/small bottles of hand sanitisers.
“While on board the flight, the health protocol of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India will be strictly followed. This would include wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc. to be observed by the airline staff, crew and all passengers,” the Indian Embassy said.
Ashwani Kumar

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