Our editor's wishlist Image Credit: Agency

Bobby Naqvi, UAE Editor

Bobby Naqvi Image Credit: Gulf News

New Year brings new hope, new expectations, both at a personal and professional level. The morning after New Year’s Eve celebrations, we pause for a moment and look back and ahead. Hope is what keeps us going, brings momentum and positivity to our lives. Here are three things I wish in 2019.”

Dubai-Sharjah Metro link: I am not personally impacted by the dreadful traffic but I do sympathise with those who endure long commutes between Sharjah and Dubai and back on a daily basis.

Sharjah residents start very early to reach their offices in commercial centres of Shaikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, free zone clusters in Dubai Marina and Jebel Ali, spending a big chunk of their time in cars, minivans and buses. A Metro link, say from Al Nahda, has the potential to dramatically reduce the commuting by half or even less, significantly bringing down the number of vehicles on the key arteries.

More open areas in cities: Empty pieces of land in congested residential neighbourhoods of Dubai and Sharjah are being converted into parking lots managed by private players. This should stop and civic authorities must dedicate these sandy plots, big or small, to open, green spaces where kids can play. Our children suffer from lack of spaces to play and almost every locality has empty land that can be reserved for greenery. We need small green patches of land with very basic amenities in our busy neighbourhoods. Dubai’s new gated communities have planned well by reserving land for leisure and recreation and our city planners must now think about older parts of the cities.

Positive outlook: My third and final wish for 2019 is from us, we the people, the expats who come here from all over the world. Let’s understand one thing very clearly. The UAE is not a place to get rich overnight. We must stop thinking: Oh, I am here to save some money and will be gone in a couple of years.

The UAE is not a place to get rich overnight. We must stop thinking: Oh, I am here to save some money and will be gone in a couple of years.

- Bobby Naqvi, UAE Editor

Dubai or Abu Dhabi is like any other city in the developed world and require a long-term commitment, a sense of belonging and hard work from residents. More importantly, we should show resilience to tide over setbacks like job losses and slowdowns. Every country goes through ups and downs and the UAE is no different. During such times, like elsewhere, only the fittest and the most dedicated survive.

Layelle Saad, Middle East Editor

Layelle Saad Image Credit: Gulf News

2018 saw the winding down of the Syria war and renewed diplomatic efforts to put an end to the Yemen war. These are positive developments. Much work needs to be done in 2019 to make sure the progress made does not unravel back into conflict.

My wishlist for this year:

End of Yemen bloodshed: I hope that tireless diplomatic efforts to put an end to the war in Yemen take shape. In 2018, the tragedy of Yemen made international headlines as the country, three years into war, faced severe malnutrition and the possibility of famine.

While the legitimate government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, battles Iranian-backed Al Houthis, the people are the main victims. I hope the international community holds Al Houthis accountable for the countless crimes they committed against innocent Yemeni people. There is a renewed hope with the Sweden peace talks, which reached agreement on a Hodeida pull-out, and I hope positive developments will come in 2019.

There is a renewed hope with the Sweden peace talks, which reached agreement on a Hodeida pull-out, and I hope positive developments will come in 2019.

- Layelle Saad, Middle East Editor

Opening up of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s vision for 2030 has made a major impact on Saudi society. Already, women are being given more freedom and encouraged to be more active participants in the economy by allowing more women into the workforce.

This, coupled with more freedom for entertainment and art, will make Saudi Arabia a key focus of regional commerce and entertainment. It has already opened up more to tourism and, hopefully, more foreign tourists will be able to visit the Kingdom to see its many historical and cultural wonders.

Syria back to the Arab fold: While the crimes committed by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad need to be accounted for, the growing reality is that he has won the war. While there is a lot of work to be done to make sure the future Syria is more inclusive and transparent, it is time for the Arabs to embrace the reality on the ground.

This is much better than to leave Syria under the Iranian fold. After all, Syria is an Arab country, and it is more advantageous for the Arab world to cooperate with Syria rather than to shun it. There is already talk of Syria’s re-entry to the Arab League, which could happen in 2019.

Scott Shuey, Business Editor

You wouldn’t think putting together a business wishlist for 2019 would be hard, considering the year we just had. The problem is not deciding what to include, but knowing how much gets left off. With that in mind, here are the Top 3 things we’re hoping to see this year: If, as the pro-Brexit supporters so often remind us, this is really about regaining British sovereignty, then there is no better way to exert their sovereignty than one last vote.

Scott Shuey Image Credit: Gulf News

You wouldn’t think putting together a business wishlist for 2019 would be hard, considering the year we just had. The problem is not deciding what to include, but knowing how much gets left off.

With that in mind, here are the Top 3 things we’re hoping to see this year: If, as the pro-Brexit supporters so often remind us, this is really about regaining British sovereignty, then there is no better way to exert their sovereignty than one last vote.

A farewell to tariffs: Despite US President Donald Trump’s statement to the contrary, trade wars are not easy to win. Since January, when Trump proposed implementing tariffs on steel and aluminium, the situation has only grown worse, quickly reaching the status of a global trade war.

Instead of tweeting threats, leaders need to replace the rhetoric with negotiations, preferably at the World Trade Organisation. The WTO may be flawed, but it is clear that Trump’s cure for global trade inequality is far worse than the disease.

- Scott Shuey, Business Editor

If the situation continues — or worsens — 2019 will be remembered for significantly slower growth, less trade and higher prices. Instead of tweeting threats, leaders need to replace the rhetoric with negotiations, preferably at the World Trade Organisation. The WTO may be flawed, but it is clear that Trump’s cure for global trade inequality is far worse than the disease.

A new vote: The UK deserves a second vote on whether to leave the European Union. Arguably, there were few people who really understood the consequences of what they were voting for in 2016; nor did they understand how difficult negotiations would be. Before the UK is forced to crash out of the EU in a hard Brexit in March, its people deserve one last chance to save themselves from economic catastrophe.

Anti-trustworthy

Long before governments had to protect companies that were too-big-to-fail, they broke up companies for being monopolies. It’s time for regulators to dust off the old law books and take a long, hard look at Facebook, Amazon and all the other tech giants who have amassed Exabytes (i.e. really huge amounts) of our personal data, while at the same time monopolising advertising, retail, and media. Oh, yeah, and all the while, avoiding taxes.

Few people love the tech industry more than I do, but it’s time to recognise that it’s the companies use of their own technology — not the tech itself — that is posing a threat. Luckily,

Alex Abraham, International Editor

Alex Abraham Image Credit: Gulf News

The past year has had its ups and downs, calamities and terrorist attacks. We can’t predict what’s in store for 2019, but we can at least wish that the world will be a safer place. Some of the decisions we make as individuals can have a tremendous impact on the state of the world. My wishlist for this year:

India and Pakistan begin peace talks: In an election year in India and after 70 years of enmity, it may be too much to wish for peace between India and Pakistan in a few months. But a start can definitely be made.

If the Koreas have made progress towards peace and if the FARC militants have signed a deal to cease fighting in Colombia after 50 years, surely the sub-continent neighbours can at least hold talks to see if there is any way to amicably settle the border dispute and help bring the people closer. The Kartarpur corridor may be a good beginning, but it will take much more for the two countries to sit at the negotiating table. What is needed is an intent to break the deadlock.

If the Koreas have made progress towards peace and if the FARC militants have signed a deal to cease fighting in Colombia after 50 years, surely the sub-continent neighbours can at least hold talks to see if there is any way to amicably settle the border dispute and help bring the people closer.

- Alex Abraham, International Editor

No refugee deaths: How I wish people do not lose their lives while trying to find a new life in another country. There is nothing more disturbing than seeing a child’s body being washed up on the shore after a boat capsize. While the refugee crisis hit the headlines a year ago, it has slowly made way for other issues. Whether it be in Europe, Africa or any part of the world, people fleeing their countries because of persecution, war or violence is heartrending. An economic crisis around the world may precipitate another exodus, but constant monitoring can help prevent deaths or at least minimise them.

Governance based on the needs of the people: With more and more populist governments taking office around the world, promises of varying kinds have been made — many to appease the electorate. On the pretext of fulfilling their promises, leaders have played havoc with the economy, trade and the very moral fabric of society. I wish the voices of the people will be heard in the new year — the cries for food, a better environment and the right to life. I also wish people turn a deaf ear to the politics of hatred and give a fitting reply where it hurts politicians the most — at the polls.

The New Year has quite a few blockbusters lined up. There is an Asian Cup football around the corner at our backyard in the UAE, a cricket World Cup coming back to England after 1999 and for those clued on, a Rugby World Cup later in the year. However, they don’t exactly figure on my wish list which is as follows:

A new men’s winner at the tennis Grand Slams: It’s all very fine to romanticise about a Grand Slam No. 21 for Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic continuing with his late resurgence with the Wimbledon and US Open in 2018, but my dream is to see a member of the Gen Next winning one of the four Grand Slam titles in the new year. The sight of Alexander Zverev holding the ATP Finals trophy at the 02 Arena in London was a heartening one, but that and the pressure of surviving through two weeks, winning seven matches (often five-setters if need be) can be a tough call.

Gautam Bhattacharyya | Sports Editor

Gautam Bhattacharyya Image Credit: Gulf News

The New Year has quite a few blockbusters lined up. There is an Asian Cup football around the corner at our backyard in the UAE, a cricket World Cup coming back to England after 1999 and for those clued on, a Rugby World Cup later in the year. However, they don’t exactly figure on my wish list which is as follows:

Virat Kohli mellows down:

I can already see the ‘Are you kidding’ glares – but then, this is a wish list. The Indian cricket captain and easily the best batsman of this generation has copped enough flak in the last couple of months for his misdemeanour at times.

Yes, he has gone on record saying he doesn’t care about improving his public persona but then here is the thing — when will he realise that the most consistent batsman in the world does not need to do this to be competitive or in your face? Maybe it will all happen in the New Year when he will become the ‘perfect gentleman’ – as coach Ravi Shastri described him.

Liverpool win

Premier League: When the Reds last won the Premiership way back in 1990, a certain Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of England and the Soviet Union was still in existence. It’s certainly time to end the nearly three-decade-long wait and the 2018-19 season looks a promising one for the jinx to end.

It could be a crowning glory for the master poacher Mohammad Salah, who failed to get a crack at the Champions League in 2018 after being felled in the final.

- Gautam Bhattacharyya, Sports Editor

It could be a crowning glory for the master poacher Mohammad Salah, who failed to get a crack at the Champions League in 2018 after being felled in the final. There is still a long way to go, but the way the team has galvanised under manager Juergen Klopp certainly gives me reasons to hope this time!