Today, the LEGO Group has launched the new LEGO F.R.I.E.N.D.S Apartments Set – which allows fans of the iconic Warner Bros. TV series the chance to recreate their favourite scenes. The 2,048-piece set, features both Monica and Rachel’s, and Chandler and Joey’s New York apartments, plus the adjoining hallway.
Following the hugely popular LEGO Ideas Central Perk set, which was released in 2019, the LEGO Friends Apartments set is complete with iconic features and props, such as the classic moment when Monica put the Thanksgiving turkey on her head, the one where Joey and Chandler only had a canoe as furniture and when Phoebe’s dollhouse went up in flames.
Other accessories from the show include the Poking Device; Gladys, Phoebe’s creepy art piece; the cheesecake that falls on the floor; Pat the Dog; the chick and duck, and many more. The set also gives fans the real sense of the original filming studio with set lights and allows you to display both apartments either separately or linked together with the hallway.
Additional features of the set include; new minifigures of the whole gang, in some of their most memorable outfits; Rachel’s iconic plaid skirt; Ross’ too-tight leather pants; Monica in an apron; Phoebe in a classic floral look; Chandler in a suit and loud designer tie; and Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes. And for the first time ever, Janice will also feature as a minifigure in a classic over-the-top gaudy outfit.
Anderson Ward Grubb, LEGO Set Designer commented “Following the success of the LEGO Ideas Central Perk set, we wanted to develop another tribute to this iconic TV show with a focus on the famous apartments. We worked directly from production photos of the set as well as watching and re-watching a lot of episodes so we could capture as many iconic moments as possible. One fun challenge was figuring out how to represent some aspects that change over the course of the show that appear in some episodes and not in others. I am looking forward to seeing if the eagle-eyed fans will spot them.”
LEGO The Friends Apartments set will be available at LEGO Certified Stores from 1st June 2021.
London-Based World Mobile to Launch Unique Balloon-Driven Hybrid Mobile Network in Zanzibar
World Mobile is launching its unique hybrid mobile network supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar, as it plans to roll out its innovative service providing reliable mobile internet to more people at a lower cost throughout the African continent. World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, providing a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people compared to rolling out legacy internet infrastructure. The remotely controlled aerostat balloons are powered by solar panels, inflated by helium, and tethered to the ground. Once airborne, they act as floating cellular base stations transmitting radio signals to ground stations and personal devices.
The project – the first since a successful $40 million raise – will deliver coverage and access to the digital economy for over 1m million people in Zanzibar by end of 2023. It is the first step in World Mobile’s mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs. Data from the United Nations shows almost half the world’s population, 3.7 billion people, the majority of them women, and most in developing countries, are still offline.
Beyond Zanzibar, World Mobile is in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators. It plans to have 20 mesh sites – local Wi-Fi nodes – rolled out by January 2022 and 120 sites during the first six months of 2022 including the first aerostat balloon launch.
The rollout will cover approximately 75% of Unguja Island and provide access to the wider digital economy including communications, e-commerce, finance, healthcare, and education to the islands’ 896K people. Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said, “We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is truth, and a world where people are able to jump on the opportunities that the internet creates. Zanzibar will become the world’s first smart region powered by World Mobile, connecting businesses, schools, and society as a whole.”
“Mobile internet services are becoming quite popular in Zanzibar, like everywhere else around the globe. These services bring online access to information and communication to the masses through their mobile phones, helping bridge the existing rural and urban digital gap. More crucially, however, these services are singularly responsible for promoting financial inclusion by allowing the banked and underbanked in Zanzibar to participate fully in the emerging digital economy. While these services have become indispensable, the high price of communication is a major entry barrier for the poor majority. World Mobile’s service launch of affordable internet service in Zanzibar will be a game-changer allowing the vast majority of Zanzibaris to fully participate in the digital revolution,” added Said Seif Said, Director General of Zanzibar’s E-Government Agency.
World Mobile already has agreements in place with the Zanzibarian government to provide connectivity for 300 schools, and a four-step plan is in place to unlock Zanzibar’s Blue Economy, across marine industries. The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social, and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application of its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators.
UAE Rail Program Announced
In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the UAE Government announced the launch of the UAE Railways Program, the largest integrated system for transporting goods and passengers across the country.
The program constitutes an integrated strategy for the railway sector in the UAE for the coming decades, as it includes a national network of railway projects that link the emirates and the key cities of the country. Stage One of the Etihad Rail has been fully operational since 2016, with opportunities to expand beyond the borders of the UAE.
The UAE Railways Program falls under the ‘Projects of the 50’ which is a series of developmental and economic projects that aim to accelerate the UAE’s development, transform it into a comprehensive hub in all sectors and establish its status as an ideal destination for talents and investors.
The UAE Railways Program was launched during a special event celebrating the projects of the 50, held at Dubai’s EXPO 2020. The event highlighted the objectives of the program and the stages of the “Etihad Rail” project, which connects Ghuwaifat on the border with Saudi Arabia to the port of Fujairah on the Eastern Coast.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “The Etihad Rail is the largest project to consolidate the strength of the union for the next fifty years. It will connect 11 key cities and regions across the UAE.”
His Highness added: “The UAE’s infrastructure is among the best in the world, and the Etihad Rail will further enhance UAE excellence in the logistical field. The project comes in line with the environmental policy of the UAE and it will reduce carbon emissions by 70-80%,”.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, “The National Railways Program reflects the true meaning of integration into our national economic system, as we see the largest partnership between government entities at the federal and local levels. It comes to support a national vision to connect the country’s key centers of industry and production, open new trade routes and facilitate population movement, creating the most developed work and living environment in the region.”
H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Chairman of Etihad Rail said that the UAE Railways Program is a key milestone in the road transport sector and a true reflection of ‘The Principles of the 50’. H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan added that the UAE Railways Program extends an opportunity to qualify and train Emirati talents and enable them to lead this vital sector in the future.
Qualifying and Training National Cadres
Shadi Malak, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Rail, said that the Etihad Rail is operated by Emirati talents who possess an exceptional experience they gain during Phase one and two, pointing out that the UAE Railways Program provides more than 9000 jobs by 2030. Malak added that the Rail Passenger Services will enhance the transportation system across the UAE allowing passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes.
Eng. Kholoud Al Mazrouei, Deputy Project Manager of Etihad Rail said that Etihad Rail supports the public transport system in the UAE, pointing out that the key milestones are achieved during Stage One including the transportation of 30 thousand tonnes instead of transporting 5 thousand tonnes of granulated Sulphur through trucks, which have contributed to the UAE being the world’s leading exporter of sulphur, and eliminating 2.5 million truck trips, which translates into increasing the level of road safety, reducing maintenance costs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Three Strategic Projects
The UAE Railway Program aims to develop a sustainable road transport system that supports economic development efforts in all sectors, including the environment, industry, and tourism. The program also aims to connect the emirates of the UAE and provide a reliable transportation system.
The investments of the UAE Railway Program amount to AED50 billion, 70% of which target the local market. The program contributes to providing more than 9,000 jobs in the railway sector and supporting sectors by 2030. The program contributes to reducing 70-80% of carbon emissions, a move that supports the UAE’s efforts to preserve the environment and achieve its goal of carbon neutrality.
The UAE Railway Program includes three key projects; the first project is the Freight Rail, which includes the Etihad Rail freight services. The second project is the Rail Passenger Services that aim to connect 11 cities with the UAE from Al Sila to Fujairah. At a speed of 200 km/h the Rail Passenger will connect 11 cities within the UAE, where passengers can travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 50 minutes, and from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 100 minutes.
By 2030, the number of passengers is expected to reach more than 36.5 million annually. The third project is the Integrated Transportation Service, where an innovation center will be established to ensure the integration of smart transportation solutions. A network of light rail will be connected to the Rail Passenger System to facilitate transportation inside UAE cities.
Additionally, smart applications and solutions will also be developed to allow planning and booking trips, integrating logistics operations, port and customs services, and providing integrated logistics solutions.
The UAE Railway Program creates enormous economic opportunities amounting to AED200 billion; the estimated benefits of reducing carbon emissions amount to AED21 billion, road maintenance AED8 billion, in addition to achieving tourism benefits estimated at AED23 billion during the next 50 years, meanwhile the public benefits on the UAE economy will reach AED23 billion.
Etihad Rail launched operations of Stage One in 2016. Etihad Rail commenced construction of Stage Two in early 2020, achieving in less than 24 months 70% of this stage, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Etihad Rail has continued to forge ahead and complete the project according to its clearly defined goals and comprehensive work plan.
180 entities have been cooperating and more than 40 thousand official papers have been issued. 27 thousand people are working in more than 3000 constructions sites across the country achieving 76 million working hours so far.
RYSE Launches SmartShade
RYSE has launched its SmartShades – a motorised shade. The company claims that it is the only retrofit solution, meaning it can be set up on any window shade already installed in your home, office, hotel room, or anywhere. The device involves a Chain-Drive system, in which the motor is mounted on the window frame and controls the chains or cords of your window shade. The idea is surprisingly simple – the motor essentially acts as a pulley system for your window shade.
Installation takes a matter of minutes. In 3 easy steps, you can transform your cord-controlled shades into motorised ones. All you have to do is install the mounting bracket on the window frame, loop the chain/cords through the cogwheel, and snap the device onto the bracket to tighten the chain/cord – that’s it. You can then program the SmartShade to lock the top and bottom positions into memory.
This motor is guaranteed to lift your window shade, regardless of its size or weight. How is this possible? This is because the clutch that already comes with your window shade helps reduce the required force needed to pull. While you can power the RYSE SmartShade with an AC Plug into the wall outlet, many of the company’s partners, including hotels and commercial office space, wanted a sleek clean look that is wire-free.
So the company created a removable, rechargeable battery pack that can last up to a staggering 9 months on a single charge, and you can simply recharge the pack via USB.
Control your shades via the buttons on the device or with our mobile app, where you can even create schedules – you can have them set up to rise at 7 am to help me wake up to natural sunlight, and close at 8 pm to give you privacy. Or integrate with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit and control your shades by saying a few simple words. “Hey Google, open my window shades!”
Forget paying thousands of dollars per window just to have Smart Shades. RYSE SmartShade retails for only $149 – a fraction of the cost of competing solutions in the marketplace today.
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