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The World’s Coolest Winter campaign, which celebrates the UAE’s most beautiful tourism destinations, is extending humanitarian support to more than 100,000 refugees and people in need through a new humanitarian initiative called Warm Winter.

The campaign has collaborated with Galaxy Racer’s Content Creator AboFlah, to support hundreds of thousands of refugees and families in need in Africa and the Arab world. It aims to raise over US$10 million to provide food, winter clothing, blankets, mattresses and critical aid to help displaced men, women and children prepare for harsh winter conditions.

Launched in partnership with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and Galaxy Racer, a Dubai-based lifestyle organization that specializes in esports, gaming, lifestyle and handles AboFlah’s presence and activations, the humanitarian campaign is calling on everyone to help vulnerable people get through the winter. It will provide aid and support to the largest number of refugees and people in need in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Food Banking Regional Network.

Anyone from anywhere in the world can donate to the humanitarian initiative. Contributions can be made to the Warm Winter campaign, which started on January 7th 2022, at MBRGI.ae/WarmWinter.

As part of the campaign, AboFlah is living in a glass room in Downtown Dubai, near the Burj Khalifa, until US$10 million is collected, with USD$4m raised so far. The live-stream is taking place on YouTube and other content creators and influencers will be collaborating and creating their own posts to raise awareness of the humanitarian initiative.

AboFlah’s YouTube channel is one of the fastest-growing YouTube channels in the world, with over 23 million subscribers and over 2.8 billion views. He is followed by millions of fans who avidly watch his vlogs, comedy shorts and formatted shows covering video games and popular culture.

Millions in Need of Support

AboFlah said: “Warmth in winter for those facing harsh winter conditions is no less important than food and water. There are millions of refugees and displaced people who need all the support they can get. I wanted to participate in this humanitarian initiative and hope everyone will contribute by bringing warmth to the lives of those who are deprived of it. The World’s Coolest Winter campaign deserves appreciation for launching Warm Winter in cooperation with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and I am proud to support it.”

 

Joint Efforts to Directly Reach Those in Need

For her part, Sarah Al Nuaimi, Director of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, said: “The Warm Winter initiative from the World’s Coolest Winter campaign represents joint efforts and fruitful cooperation between reputable institutions in charity, humanitarian and relief. We are pleased to see Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, UNHCR and the Food Banking Regional Network unite alongside influential content creators to raise awareness about this important cause. Warm Winter reaffirms the UAE’s established culture of compassion and humanitarian work. As we celebrate our nation’s beautiful natural and touristic attractions during the cooler months, we will not neglect nor forget refugees and needy families facing bleak, life-threatening conditions in other parts of the world this winter.”

Galaxy Racer Links Content Creators with Humanitarian Initiatives

For his part, Paul Roy, CEO of Galaxy Racer, said: “At Galaxy Racer, we believe in giving back to the community and all of us, including our content creators such as AboFlah, share this value as well. AboFlah has done a lot of charities in the past and has been an inspiration to many. We are confident this initiative is going to be record-breaking for the right reasons and we are happy to support the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and its partners into making this a reality for the greater good with positive impact.”

Founded in 2019 with its headquarters in Dubai, Galaxy Racer is the largest esports, gaming and lifestyle organization in the world, and plays a key role in supporting the campaign, by utilizing its leading global role to attract some of the most prominent content creators in the region. The organization has previously achieved several successes, including its global partnership with LaLiga, Spain’s top professional football league, organiser of the GirlGamer Festival World Finals in Dubai and organised a Dubai inter-school FIFA tournament, including awarding deserving scholarships worth a total of US$70,000 to the winners, which contributed to achieving Dubai’s vision in the field of the future of technology. Through its several activities, it encouraged young people to explore new job opportunities in the esports and gaming industry, to establish Dubai as a regional and global hub for competitive esports events.

Direct Access to Hundreds of Thousands of Beneficiaries

UNCHR and the Food Banking Regional Network will purchase basic supplies and necessities such as blankets, winter clothes and heating appliances and provide them to refugees in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. The assistance will also extend to individuals and families in Syria and Egypt. UNHCR estimates that there are 3.8 million refugees and displaced people in the Arab region, as well as millions in Africa, who need critical assistance to survive winter.

Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor & Representative to the GCC, UNHCR, said: “UNHCR provides vital support to millions of refugees and displaced people in the region. Through our cooperation with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, we can jointly implement large-scale campaigns to relieve hundreds of thousands of refugees from life-threatening conditions. We are pleased to support the Warm Winter initiative, which reaffirms the importance of the collective efforts led by the UAE to provide relief to those most in need, in cooperation with global partners.”

An Open Letter of Solidarity

Dr. Moez El Shohdi, Founder and CEO of the Food Banking Regional Network noted that the humanitarian initiative launched by World’s Coolest Winter campaign, which aims to provide all the necessities for a warm winter to all those in need, embodies the values ​​of compassion, kindness and human solidarity.

He said: “FBRN is proud to cooperate with MBRGI, UNHCR and content creators interested in humanitarian work on this critical project. Warm Winter will provide direct support to refugees and those in need, serving as an open message of solidarity to aid millions of refugees and displaced people facing bleak conditions this winter.”

Warm Winter is an extension of AboFlah’s past humanitarian work. A previous campaign in October 2021 raised US$1 million from 31,000 donors during a 28-hour live broadcast which garnered over 28 million total views, to support refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq in coordination with UNCHR.

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T1 to kick off VCT 2023 season training with NA boot camp

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The T1 VALORANT players are set to practice against North American teams prior to the start of the season next year, according to T1 player Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeong-woo

T1 will compete in the APAC international league in 2023 since the organization was selected to participate in its home region by Riot Games earlier this year. But T1 will face off against top North American teams now as practice since they are likely seen as better-quality opponents. 

T1 player Son “xeta” Seon-ho is in South Korea for personal reasons but he will likely join the team at a later date. He is practicing with the team from South Korea.

Some North American teams have started to practice, such as 100 Thieves, according to one player. A few partnered teams are still on a break, however. 

The season is still months away for partnered teams but Challengers teams will have to compete against each other in the next few weeks. Teams not directly invited to be a part of the Challengers circuit will have to qualify through the open brackets. 

The first event for partnered teams is set to begin next February. T1 are invited to the event alongside all 29 other partnered teams from across the world. All teams will face off against each other in a one-of-a-kind kick-off tournament, set to be held in São Paulo, Brazil

The kick-off tournament will run for three weeks until March 9. The first split for each of the international leagues will begin on March 26, with T1 set to face off against other APAC teams based out of Seoul, South Korea. 

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CS:GO caster Semmler makes transphobic comments while claiming to defend the women’s league he previously trashed

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Current CS:GO commentator and former Overwatch League talent Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat’s name has surfaced on the internet following anti-trans comments regarding ESL Impact season two, a CS:GO tournament for marginalized genders that was finalized yesterday.

“I’m afraid that you’ve been misled into believing that men can become women and vice versa,” Semmler said in a YouTube comment yesterday after the conclusion of ESL Impact season two. “Men should not be competing in a female league.”

It didn’t take long for Semmler’s comment to spark reactions in the CS:GO community—mainly backlash. But that didn’t prevent Semmler from expanding on his transphobic views on Twitter.

“Yes, I care about the integrity of the league for the female players,” Semmler said. “If the female players want to have a league to compete amongst themselves, they should get it. Allowing men to compete in that league defeats the purpose of the league.”

Aside from questioning Semmler’s anti-trans stance, the esports community also called out Semmler for being a hypocrite and for pretending to be on women’s side. After ESL unveiled the creation of the circuit, Semmler said in 2021 there would be no reason for women to compete with men if they could get a “guaranteed payday” in a “far less” competitive environment. Semmler also mocked the creation of the Impact circuit back then by asking when an “all-men” CS:GO tournament would be scheduled.

“He obviously has no clue what it’s like to be transgender human, and that’s exactly why he shouldn’t be making these comments,” a CS:GO fan wrote on the game’s subreddit. “Our nerdy gaming community should be at the forefront of diversity, inclusiveness, and acceptance.”

Semmler barely got to cast CS:GO games on official broadcasts this year. He stayed on the sidelines for the most part aside from casting at the BLAST Premier Fall Final over the past few days. His last gig as a commentator prior to that was at the PGL Stockholm Major in November 2021. Semmler has not apologized for any of his comments.

ESL Impact season two crowned the dominant year Nigma Galaxy had in the marginalized CS:GO circuit. ANa, Ksenia “vilga” Klyuenkova, Alexandra “twenty3” Timonina, Viktoria “tory” Kazieva, and Katarína “Kat” Vašková defeated FURIA in the grand finals just like they did at ESL Impact Valencia and ESL Impact season one earlier this year.



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Microsoft’s 10-year ‘CoD on PlayStation’ offer will reportedly get Activision deal approved

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Just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the New York Times reported that Microsoft had offered a 10-year deal to Sony to keep the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation. It seems, however, that this offer isn’t just a show of good faith but rather a potential requirement for Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard to be approved by international regulators.

This offer from Microsoft to Sony would be the main part of concessions that Microsoft will have to make to hold off objections to the purchase made by regulators in Europe and the U.K., according to a new report from Reuters. The other remedies that Microsoft would have to make to have the deal approved are currently unknown but will likely reduce the company’s ability to build a potential gaming monopoly, something opponents like Sony want to avoid.

The offering of concessions could reportedly shorten the regulatory process of the investigation by the European Commission and could also smooth out the processes with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

“Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Reuters. “We want people to have more access to games, not less.” This matches with Microsoft and Xbox’s public declarations over the past few months to keep CoD on PlayStation, as well as broaden access to gaming.

Sony has publicly opposed the acquisition since it was announced and has led the process of appealing to regulators around the world.

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