30 June, 2006

Does Anyone Have More Details?

How many are familiar with the tragic story behind these beautiful residences. Do you know where they are and what the problem is? Actually I hope someone in the know can offer some informed explanations. Read the synopsis to this story at What's Wrong With These Beautiful Pictures?.

Situational Awareness...

Situational Awareness...


You are driving in a car at a constant speed. On your left side is a
valley and on your right side is a fire engine travelling at the same
speed as you. In front of you is a galloping pig which is the same size
as your car and you cannot overtake it. Behind you is a helicopter
flying at ground level. Both the giant pig and the helicopter are also
travelling at the same speed as you.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Click here for the answer.

29 June, 2006

Arabic Translation Available

I've added an Arabic translation link in the sidebar. But it seems not to work when clicked on. Instead, the link must be copied into the URL bar manually or opened in a new tab for those with tabbed browsing. Unlike the other translation links, this one is not yet banned by Etisalat.

Could an Arabic reader try it out and comment on the quality of the translation?

History Diving

These mild tremors made me wonder
Year 2012. You are on 178th floor in the Burj Dubai. Here comes the mild tremor again.

"In case of emergency, take the stairs" says the signboard. All the best :)

Unless they have a back-up plan, how long do you think they will take to evacuate the whole building?

Beirut, anyone?

AFP, via Yahoo News: Welcome to Beirut, Sin City of the Arab world

"This allows for a more permissive and less hypocritical society," she says, adding that "contrary to Dubai, it is not just a form of freedom aimed at creating the right atmosphere for business and tourism".
Obviously if I say I most certainly agree, I'll be called an unpatriotic local.

Anyways, I won't be able to see Hakeh Neswan ("Woman's Talk") any time soon, although I'd love to see it if they manage to get it here to Dubai.

Got a wet mattress?

Well, you can them dry them in Emirates Road under 'special living' conditions if some sources are to be believed. It is not getting any better for the labourers in the UAE, is it?

Muslim gays seek l3sbians for wives

Washington Post:
Across the globe and especially in America, hundreds of other gay Muslims have started to pursue marriages of convenience--or MOC, as they are known-- in which gay Muslims seek out lesbian Muslims, and vice versa, for appearances' sake.
. . .
Jack Fertig, a co-coordinator for al-Fatiha, a national advocacy group for gay Muslims, says he comes across at least one such e-mail request every month. "It's obvious that this is becoming a viable option," he said. "People are seeking, looking and trying to make connections that could develop into such marriages."
. . .
Muslim authorities around the world have repeatedly emphasized that homosexuality is not permissible. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America said there is no flexibility on this topic.

"Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. . . . No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer," he said. "People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education."

28 June, 2006

Oh No! Kish Airlines again.....

Oh No! Kish Airlines again.....

Quoting Gulf News:

Kish Airlines on closed runway Dubai
rep as Tu-154 Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:15 pm Post subject: Plane is damaged after it lands on unfinished runway

An aircraft was damaged when it landed on a new runway at Dubai International Airport that is not yet open for use. The Kish Airlines plane suffered a fuel leak and broken landing gear during the incident at about 1.30pm on Sunday. Officials have launched an investigation but said human error was to blame. None of the 70 passengers and 12 crew on board the flight from Tabriz in Iran were hurt during the landing. A spokeswoman for Dubai Civil Aviation said the aircraft had landed on a smooth surface but the runway was littered with construction materials. The runway is due to open by the end of 2007. "It was a small aircraft and so the landing gear broke and there was a fuel leakage from a tank in the wing. The initial investigation says it's human error but the investigation is still going on," she said. Six tyres of the airline's landing gear burst and one wheel is thought to have come loose and hit the right wing, causing the fuel leak, which was attended to "immediately" by the airport's fire brigade. The passengers disembarked normally. The aircraft has been kept on site for inspection by the General Civil Aviation Authority, which is investigating the incident. Other flights were unaffected. In 2004 a Kish Airlines Fokker F50 aircraft crashed close to Sharjah International Airport, killing 43 of the 46 people on board.

UAE Community Buttons

Hello All,
Here's some Buttons, add em to ur website with a link to www.UAEcommunity.blogspot.com

These r much smaller than they appear, you may check em out on my blog.

Attack of the Clones

What could be worse than a fake eBay website advertised as the Middle-East Marketplace in the UAE?

Another website called EmiratesMac (with the UAE flag inside a not-so-unfamiliar apple) happily referring to the former, ofcourse.

City of Construction Cranes

Read this AP article, via The Boston Globe: Dubai sprouts a forest of building cranes, but still needs more.

"New York has the Statue of Liberty. Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Dubai's symbol, for now, is the construction crane."
It's an interesting read.

27 June, 2006

Thank you, Dubai Ports :: Publius Pundit

Dubai Ports has gotten a new contract to develop Puerto Callao, in Peru, creating a vibrant container terminal where none existed, so that Peru can export its natural gas reserves and anything else would like to export, and get rich doing it. After all, they’ve got a free trade pact with the U.S., they might as well use it!

This port is extremely critical for Peru’s development and will serve as a beachhead from which Peru can challenge the energy export supremacy of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and his little Bolivian minime, Evo Morales. From this new port, tons of new energy will flow to the U.S.’s, Mexico’s and Asia’s markets, adding to world supply, driving down the prices, and in the end doing its part to put these dictators out of business.

Thank you, Dubai Ports International.

Dubai's Islamic Disneyworld

Link at Common Dreams News Center - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community: Dubai's Islamic Disneyworld.

The article is dated March 3, 2006 but it is new to me. Perhaps it is also new to you. A tidbit:
Super-sized Dubai-style poor taste may, in fact, be the biggest threat to U.S. ports. Would Dubai Ports World go beyond dinosaurs and develop a theme park in which tourists fend off lifelike terrorists?

Honesty compels me to admit that from a national security perspective, Dubai Ports World's motto — "The force that's breaking the industry mold" — is not particularly reassuring.

But leave that aside. Here's the real question: Is Dubai Ports World truly up to the challenge of turning ramshackle American ports into luxury theme parks?

My initial investigation was discouraging. The company's international website tends toward the pedantic, offering tedious detail concerning quay lengths, intermodal container traffic and gross crane moves per hour, but few hints of luxurious excess.

The company's United Arab Emirates website (www.dpworld.ae) offers more hope, however. The home page features "Captain Hamad," a winking cartoon lad in a sailor suit who beckons visitors to the "Kids Zone" for "an unusual tour" and "fun in the game zone." Need I say that winking sailor boys — with the words "unusual" and "fun" in close proximity — are all promising signs of Neverland-style theme parks to come?
If all this reads like the author's day job isn't breezy journalism, you are right. She's an academic.

It's also safe to infer that the Progressive Community in the U.S. isn't not a friend to Dubai. Rather, Dubya is Dubai's real friend in Washington.

Emirates Weblog Group meetup!

If you interested in mingling with fellow bloggers in the UAE then check out the Emirates Weblog Group. We have a meetup coming up this Thursday on the 29th.

For more information, click here

26 June, 2006


A Nigerian man was stopped at Dubai Airport with 121 plastic bags full of more than three kilos of heroin, a court heard. The man, in his 20s, was travelling from Pakistan to Nigeria when customs officials became suspicious, the Dubai Court of First Instance heard. The man claimed he was delivering the bags for someone else and had no idea what was in them. The case continues.

--More here.

25 June, 2006

The Crown of Antwerp

Robert Ditcham's Gulf News Business page article cites several reasons why Dubai can become the new centre of the world diamond market overtaking the Belgian city of Antwerp, which has held on to the position for around 400 years. Most curious of which is the one below.

"Belgium's tough federal legislation regarding money laundering and checks on the use of diamond money to finance ugly conflicts are leading manufacturers to turn their eyes to the tax-free haven of Dubai's freezones."

Does that sound like money-laundering and 'ugly-conflict financiers' are welcome in Dubai besides being a 'tax-free haven'?
Still a big issue for the self-described 'financial hub of the world' despite claims on addressing the same. The U.S News article is worth a look.

Horse sense

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Perhaps not 7Days' most tactful headline yet...

24 June, 2006

goodbye 20,000 odd pplz

ABU DHABI - The UAE has announced a ban on issuing employment visas to expatriate male/female secretaries. The ban also applies to more than 20,000 expatriates working at present in secretarial jobs.

--more here

Becoming Lebanese: A step-by-step guide.

you gotta see this folks.........

Becoming Lebanese: A step-by-step guide


Gulfnews: Curbs on maids draw mixed reactions

Gulfnews: Curbs on maids draw mixed reactions

On the request of tenants, Al Habtoor Group's real estate division, which manages the Emirates Oasis community compound, issued a notice on June 15, restricting housemaids from using the swimming pool and gym.

Martin Seward-Case of the Interim Steering Committee for Emaar's Springs and Meadows communities in the Emirates Hills said he was "glad" to hear that residents' concerns were being addressed at Emirates Oasis. "We believe that residents should have a greater right to use the facilities than those that are using them through employment," said the British national.
Julia Atherton-Dandy, a British national residing in the Gardens said she did not mind sharing the recreational facilities with maids but did not express the same enthusiasm for male employees at the compound.

So, curbs on females gets mixed reaction, but curbs on males does not?

23 June, 2006

Dallas Austin Arrested In Dubai For Drugs

Revered R&B and Hip-Hop producer Dallas Austin has been detained in a Dubai prison for allegedly transporting illegal drugs into the Arab country.

According to the New York Daily News, the producer was traveling to model Naomi Campbell's birthday party last month when he was incarcerated.

More here

fo shizzle.

Rugby in a hijab

SF Gate: Multimedia (image).

Why not? The built-in baseball visors are pretty cool, too.


Eggs double in price overnight!

big buildings

Check out this post on the 360east blog; it is a diagram showing all of the notable buildings in Dubai. They're pretty darn freaking huge.

EDIT: also posted by grapeshisha here

21 June, 2006

Iraq - The hidden story

The story of what does not get reported in Iraq by the mainstream media.

Paradise Now -- before it's too late

So, it's my first post on here. Anyways, I managed to watch it last Saturday. All I can say is that Paradise Now's a really well done movie. It did deserve the Golden Globe, and the many other awards it did get.

Its page on Cinestar's website says it's got 2 daily shows. Yes, just 2. Unlike the several more daily shows last week. It is worth the 30 dirhams it costs, possibly more. Get yourself a ticket and watch it.

Don't miss it, particularly if you've never really understood what goes through the minds of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Sleeping under the Stairs

1 Dhs per hour. That is what the companies in UAE, which are making windfall profits compared to the rest of the world pay a labourer for working overtime, according to Gulf News Property Weekly article. Not that it is surprising. Every day we come across press releases saying "XXX Billion Dollar Project Launched". Don't they have a few more dirhams to spare for these struggling labourers who are giving Dubai the competitive advantage over the rest of the world?

no more death

DUBAI • A United Arab Emirates (UAE) appeal court has commuted to imprisonment a sentence of death by stoning handed down by a lower court against a Bangladeshi convicted of adultery, reports said yesterday.

The court ordered Shaheen Abdel Rahman jailed for a year and then deported to his home country, the Khaleej Times newspaper said. An Islamic court in the emirate of Fujairah, one of seven that make up the federation, earlier this month handed down the death penalty against Abdel Rahman and a one-year jail sentence and 100 lashes against his unnamed co-defendant who was working as a live-in maid. Her sentence was upheld by the appeal court on Monday.
-- more here

Assuming they've handed down an equal sentence now; does that make a year in prison equal to a death sentence?

CAIR and Dubai

UAE - The Official Web Site - News: "Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, has endorsed a proposal to build a property in the United States to serve as an endowment for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to a senior official at the Washington DC-based organisation."

CAIR is a target of FrontPage magazine.com.

For those unfamiliar with FrontPage, here is the Wikipedia entry.

Paul Findley, who headed the CAIR delegation to Dubai was for many years one of the few critics of Israel in the US Congress.

I have to believe that Dubai sincerely wants to help CAIR in its "strategic plan on correcting the image of Islam and Muslims among the American public." I doubt that their alliance will do anything to improve the perception of Dubai or CAIR with FrontPage and its allies.

20 June, 2006

Can You Believe What This Church Is Promoting?

Can you believe what this church is promoting? In this day and age, anything is possible ... but don't be so quickly flattered UAE Community Blog! :) Digital Images & even Digital Videos are not considered authentic evidence anymore ...

Want to generate your own church sign? Sure ...

All your SMS are belong to us

“Etisalat keeps the content of text messages for five days while logs of the message, such as time, date and mobile number, are kept permanently.”

19 June, 2006

Blog Writing and Writing for a Living

This is my first post to the UAE community blog roll. I am not new to blogging, but I am new to the UAE, and of course any comments I make about the country should be taken with a grain of salt until a period of six months has passed and the bitterness sets in. So far everything is overwhelmingly positive, and thus I am not to be trusted.

And it is because of this that I will not really write about the UAE in this post, but rather about blog writing itself. Many of us, I have noticed, who write UAE based blogs are also paid to write for a living. That means many of us are journalists, in public relations, advertising, copy writing etc. Many of us are used to redoing and redoing the smallest piece of writing for a client's or boss's approval. Our written work that we do professionally is carefully done (that's the goal at least), or at least heavily scrutinized by someone down the line. Blog writing is different.

I have become depressed looking at some of the posts of my blog (autoguy.blogspot.com). They feel rushed and many are rambling. I am hoping it isn't the effects of the desert heat.

So this post is both an introduction of myself, and hopefully the beginning of a discussion on blog writing itself. After spending a day writing from the morning to the mid-evening, I can't bring myself to write too carefully, or expound too greatly for my blog. Everything is short and rushed, and the only motivation to adding an entry is just to tell others what is on my mind.

Bebida: Alcohol home delivery?

Today Gulf News has included a separate flyer advertising a company called BEBIDA, offering home delivery for drinks, including Alcohol. A case of Merlot for example for AED 514.-.
What's this all about? Who is sleeping here, the guy at the Economic Department or the printing press?
Even if the wine is so called "alcohol free" which doesn't really exist at all, there would still be an alcohol content of at least 0,5%.
What's next?
A home delivery menu of prostitutes?

Yet Another RSS Aggregator

It has been a while since I posted anything here or in my blog, but I have been busy with school and summer. I wanted to invite everyone to take a look at my experiment in AJAX and content aggregation.

I know…we don’t need another blog aggregator, but what I’m planning to do is to release by the end of summer a blog aggregator application that will run on your desktop and hopefully will have some unique features that are more suited to bloggers in our corner of the world, especially those that post in Arabic or a Mixture of both.

Give the site a visit and let me know what you think….

18 June, 2006

Seeing is believing

Here are some places in Dubai to zoom in at Google Earth.

This is somewhere near the airport. Read 'Dubai'

The World islands.

The Palm Jumeirah.

The Emirates Towers.

DUCAMZ and Dubai Used Car Complex (Top left). Zoom in to find your car. :/

The over-pictured building in Dubai.

Burj Dubai under construction.

Dubai International Airport's extension under construction.

Dragon Mart.


The Peoples Game

With each passing game, my frustration on not being able to watch the FIFA World Cup 2006 is growing. Here is a wallpaper for disgruntled football fans who are not able to watch the game in the comfort of their homes.
With apologies to the original Adidas advert.

17 June, 2006

Bad Business Practices at IATC

Anyone else had any problems with the IATC (International Automobile and Touring Club)? This organization which is contracted by HSBC to provide auto-recovery and other services to its customers is fraudulent. I waited 3-hours and several phone calls later for a pick-up on Thursday. They never came. (Meanwhile my car was in a workshop and needed to be transported to another.) They agreed to do it on Saturday, but I spent from 8 a.m. Saturday till 4 p.m. trying to get them to do this. They repeatedly LIED and said someone was coming, they would get back to me, etc. Avoid this fraudulent service provider!

Good writing, where present, almost not existing and unclear

Khaleej Times: "Such a strategy was almost non-existent and, where present, rather unclear, almost not existing, and if found by some people, on institutions level, it is unclear, Al Khazraji said."

oh noes

Apparantly the sky is not the limit...

Dubai tower developers hit flight path turbulence
Developers may face restrictions in areas of Dubai previously unaffected by limitations on building heights.
The race to build super-tall skyscrapers in Dubai is beginning to interfere with the flight paths of planes landing at the airport.

And developers are being forced to slash the height of proposed buildings — costing them millions of dollars in lost sales and rental income.

Read more here

UAE Web of Life - Issue 6 - The UAE Web weaves faster

The Internet Magazine on what's happening in the local UAE Internet community.
An ORB-UAE Creative Group Publication (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/orb-uae)

Issue 6



2. UAE WEB COMMUNITIES (June 1-15 2006)

- Creative Majlis organises a Unique Meet in Dubai
- ORB-UAE Creative Group Offliner: Dhow Cruise
- Writers meet in Dubai at the Caferati Read Meet
- UAECommunity Bloggers Forum updates and reorganises its UAE Blogs list
- Expat Football Club for football lovers in Dubai
- Dubai Arts & Crafts Web Group - Artisans of the Emirates (ARTE) Fairs
- Dubai Expats Yahoogroup meetup planned
- UAE Meetup Groups: Meets
- DubaiEnquirer.com - New Issue out

3. NEWS ABOUT THE UAE WEB (June 1-15 2006)

- ‘Mega Stadium’ for football fans soon
- DED, Tejari connect Dubai’s business community through ‘mylinkDubai.com’
- Middle East's first online community for university students
- Dubai Summer Surprises internet site goes online
- Middle East business information platform
- Australia issues online visas to Gulf nationals

- DAEX - World’s first hotel inventory system launched
- Mashreqbank offers eGate card facilities
- Brokerages set to drive retail trading online

- Dubai Land Department adopts ePay System
- Electronic database of patients in offing
- New E-Gate card can be used at all UAE airports
- Dubai eGovernment launches DirectDebit
- UAE e-link to Jordan ministry
- Customs takes service online

- Download Etisalat Modem Protector for FREE and enjoy safe surfing!
- UAE Internet bandwidth crosses 7.5 Gbps with capacity of 49 STM1 links
- Dotcom companies log on strongly after bust
- Study shows how people learn about UAE online

4. REGULARS - CUB & BUG Awards
- CUB Award - The Desert Mirage
- Best UAe-Group Award - J-AMFM Abu Dhabi (Japanese Anime Lovers Group)

5. INTERVIEW - Zekuu, founder of J-AMFM community

read it all at UAE Web of Life

16 June, 2006

Things to Do Instead of Killing Yourself

'Marriage gangs' prey on youths

Poor lambs. They try to do the right thing, and look what happens.

ring ring ring ring

I am looking for two second hand phones anybody got an idea where I can get them? I've looked in the papers with no luck and so I am hitting yall up for info.
The two that I want are:

nokia n90 and nokia 9300i send info to:



15 June, 2006

The First Strike

We need to get rid of this guy who represents and advocates everything that a cultured civilisation is not. And I do not mean the 7 foot bulk-heads (with exceptions, ofcourse) who just do what their masters ask them to do. It is the corporations, the companies and the authorities whose deep-rooted ignorance and prejudice that is undermining the very existence of a multi-cultural society.

Gulf News' claims of playing the activist medium against racial discrimination might be a little overstated, but this is defintely step on the right direction.

FYI: You can register complaints against the DTCM, Dubai or Dubai based establishments here.

14 June, 2006

Gulf blogs article

Internet blogs are giving rise to a new breed of Arab activist as ordinary residents increasingly use them to press for more political rights and civil liberties in conservative Gulf states.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has the region's second biggest weblog community, an Emirati male blogger writing in Arabic was censored one week after launching "The Land of Sands" in 2004.

But he has found a way to circumvent the Internet servers of Etisalat, the state telecommunications monopoly, and continues posting his writings in which he attacks clerics and charges their influence is rising in the UAE.

"They follow a systematic plan to penetrate the government, media, schools and the laws. They are 'Islamising' our world, mind and life," he told AFP in an email interview.

"Civil liberties and freedoms are definitely restricted... some emirates turn a blind eye on personal freedom in places like Dubai for business reasons only," he said, referring to the thriving commercial center and most tolerant member of the UAE federation.

More here

13 June, 2006

Missed Call


Read More.

Wonder of Wonders - The Falcons Crotch

A mention of Dubai in the in the present day media is unmistakeably accompanied by references to the rebuilding of the seven wonders of the world. Salim AlMoosa enterprises, with apparently 30 years of experience making castles in the sand has taken up this ambitious (Now, isn't that an understatement) project. If Dubai's architectural vision and capabilities are to be evaluated in 10 years time with a 'landmark' like this, the city has some serious issues to tackle.

Besides the ingenuity of making the project in the shape of the favourite bird of the UAE, the developers have done what no other company or architect has managed to do - make the Eiffel Tower stick out of the Falcon's crotch. Buildings as phallic symbols (unintentionally, I assume) are not very new in the world of architecture, but this one is really going to take the cake. But the real entertainment is on their website - a poetic essay on the vision behind the project and design rationale. Someone please tell me what the following means.

"The objective of Dubai Eiffel Tower [sic] is to provide prestigious units for the elits that are architecuraly sensitive and responsive to the context through using the original Eiffel tower historical statues and worldwide fame, while maximizing the net revenues associated with net development of the project."
"envisioning privacy and intigration in the same time seperation in both horizontal and vertical movement..."
Full text is available here and here.

Perils of the on-the-job blog

More news from the blogging world here

"On the first day of his internship last year, Andrew McDonald created a website for himself. It never occurred to him that his bosses might not like his naming it after the company and writing in it about what went on in their office."

I bet there are some great stories waiting to be told from the inside UAE companies. How about it, guys? Anyone willing to spill the beans? :P

Irreverent blogger to leave Microsoft

News from the blogging world:

Irreverent blogger to leave Microsoft

A prominent Microsoft Corp. blogger who sometimes bluntly bashed the software behemoth is leaving the company to join PodTech.net, a Silicon Valley video blogging startup.

Read the full story here:


Dubai Satellite Images

Hope this is not old news! This was posted on the Dubai Expats Yahoogroup:

Satellite pictures of Dubai & UAE now in Google Earth!

Download free Google Earth software from:


12 June, 2006

"Acts of war" - Complete arrogance!

(Cross-posted originally at BuJ Al Arab)

Today three inmates at Guantanamo Bay committed suicide. This is the Guantanamo Bay that was created outside the US so that it doesn't have to answer to the US legal system but satisfies both the White House and Pentagon. It has been called many things including "illegal", and calls for the camp to be dismantled are now louder than ever. This is the camp that has no prisioners, no convicted criminals, just detainees.

As a result of this suicide...

"The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says." (BBC website)

Doesn't this strike you of the highest form of arrogance?

How can people you have locked up for years wage war on you? You're the superpower! You're the one with the guns!

ufff, this just makes my blood boil!

11 June, 2006

Dubai's Unknown Soldiers

Perhaps in a more enlightened day a memorial will be erected.

Gulf News, published: 06/11/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)

Construction worker dies of heatstroke
By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter

Dubai: A worker died of heatstroke after collapsing at a construction site at around midday on Saturday, police said.

Police said the Indian worker, identified as Harinath, died in Rashid Hospital after collapsing at his worksite near Dubai's Knowledge Village.

Hospital sources said he died following complications after suffering heatstroke while working in the summer heat.

"The temperature was very high and the workers cannot tolerate such heat," a hospital source said.

Read also A Week of Consruction in the UAE.


Fujairah Shariah court orders man to be stoned to death for adultery

I didn't think they still did that in the UAE

EDIT: already posted by secretdubai over here

10 June, 2006

LiveJournal communities blocked

As of tonight, Etisalat/TRA has blocked the entire community subdomain at LiveJournal. This means that any community blog there is now inaccessible outside the freezones, by the old system:


However, community blogs are still accessible by LJ's newer system:


Compare and contrast:

http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt - blocked
http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com - unblocked

You can also still access these blogs through your and other peoples' LJ Friends page (example). You can also use a third party RSS reader such as Bloglines to read them.

I'm going out on a limb here because I believe this glitch is an error, and if it's not, then it's a massive threat and insult to UAE bloggers, who have overwhelmingly conducted themselves sensibly and legally over the past years.

Silence of the lambs

"There is no accountability and nobody questions the system because there are no political rights," said Mohammed al-Roken, a human rights lawyer and the former head of the Emirates' Jurists Association. "The elites are buying the allegiance of their citizens."

Being been banned indefinitely from writing in local newspapers, having public speeches frequently cancelled at the last minute and being refused permission to set up a human rights organisation was not exactly the change he was hoping for. As The Guardian finds out..

Although the Washington Post looks at the both sides, the Human Rights Watch minces no words in its analysis of Dubai.

Gulfnews: Water cut likely to hit labour accommodations for days

Gulfnews: Water cut likely to hit labour accommodations for days

Where in the labor contract does it say the worker bears the consequences of a sharp increase in the price of water? Their employer bears the responsibility to provide the water, the employer bears the authority to arrange for its provision, but the employer is not being held to account for his failures.

Where is the enforcer?

09 June, 2006

Into Africa; the Sharjah Rendition

Link: SABCnews.com - south_africa/crime1justice: "A white Gulfstream II jet, used to take Rashid from Waterkloof airbase outside Pretoria, is owned by Phoenix Aviation, based in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. The plane operates from the Sharjah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. Experts have confirmed that Gulfstream jets, similar to the one used to fly Rashid out of South Africa, are the preferred transport for the transfer of suspects under the American CIA's practice of rendition."

Sheikh Mohammed's new book

In Magrudy's yesterday the assistant said that the English language edition of "My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence" will be out next month. In the meantime, here's a lengthy synopsis and review from today's Gulf News, with translations, I think, by the reviewer.

A visionary's extraordinary mission
Reviewed by Abdul Ghafar Hussain, Special to Weekend Review

Shaikh Mohammad's book provides an understanding of Dubai's past and presents stimulating ideas for future growth.

- "I like people who candidly open their hearts while talking to me and say what they want fearlessly and straightforwardly. How can leaders learn from their mistakes if people would always tell them what you are doing regarding so and so is good while they hide another judgement?"

- "I like to exchange honest points of view with people. I am open to criticism which may be our guidance towards rightness."

- "A venture is an idea. If we would not find a new idea we do not need the venture. Then it will not be according to the global standards we have adopted."

Full feature.

Neglect of Labor Issues Not in Anyone's Interest

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The continuing news about the issues facing laborers are also issues with wider implications for the construction industry as a whole. Beyond protests, my fear is that workers will strike back through secret acts of sabotage. This may begin to plague Dubai construction works in the near future as resolution of laborers' issues drags on and more and more projects reach completion.

Some forumers talk about the economics of not doing things like implementing minimum wages or others measures to improve the conditions of workers. But the UAE has a mature economy and a global reputation to nuture and protect. It's time for labor practices to catch up with the 20th and 21st centuries. Dubai can afford the costs of implementing such policy.

50 degrees

Expert in international law?
Come and explain the significance of 50 degrees at my blawg

08 June, 2006

Life: Who says Dubai has no culture?

This was the Metrolife headline in yesterday's 7 Days, which I read this morning. I'd link to the article, but all efforts take me to today's issue only. Albob, Woke and BD discussed this very thoughtfully on June 1st Culture & Heritage for AED 50 Billion and I have nothing to add to that. (But here are some email responses in the online edition. )What got me was the comment by Pegah Arzi, of Centre Stage Management, "Shakespeare on the Lawn' at the Ritz-Carlton and nobody turns up. It was dhs400 for a ticket, and that included lovely wine, a full dinner and the show, but people said it was too much. Yet the same people went and forked out dhs600 a ticket for Robbie Williams."

Problem! I'm sure the dinner and wine were lovely, but 400Dhs is too much, and we didn't go to see Robbie Williams at 600Dhs a ticket, because that's too much too! If the Ritz-Carlton had not built dinner into the ticket price, I might well have gone, because I love live theatre, and we don't get the classics here very often. I understand that Food & Beverages is where hotels make their money, but unfortunately, my day-to-day budget does not have five stars. I hope that theatre will become more affordable for us residents when DUCTAC the new Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre opens its doors in the Mall of the Emirates.

07 June, 2006

Annals of a Space Cowboy: Snafi Duty

An uplifting pro-family message: Annals of a Space Cowboy: Snafi Duty

Do your homework while the kids are busy doing theirs.

An offering for the blogroll categories problem at UAE community blogs

Classify yourself with this simple question: What kind of blogger are you?

It's just a coincidence that the Media Blogger refers to her Number One Favorite Editor.

06 June, 2006

UAE to monitor sites via satellite

Click here to find out what sites.

While they are looking other kinds of sites could usefully be monitored - e.g., traffic congestion, road accidents, borders. Private grounds.

I wonder how powerful the zoom is on that thing.

Recognition for UAE Community blog

Hooray! Emirates Today's Blogbites may be somewhat absent at the moment, but UAE Community Blog is far from forgotten:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here's an screenshot of the article to preserve our fame forever!

05 June, 2006

Cultural swap

A new blog, Gimme Your Stuff, aims to promote a bit of cross-cultural sharing:

"Though I'm not in the UAE (I'm in Australia) I'd love to get some people from the UAE involved in our cultural exchanges. Our aim is to help people to learn a little about the world, and I think other people could learn a huge amount from Middle Eastern bloggers, probably in opposition to what they hear and read in the news.

Want some Tim Tams or Maple Syrup? Got a spare mosque clock or box of Bateel dates? Or even a baby camel that you want to swap for a polar bear? Click here.

Our heroes at Dubai Municipality

"I have told you a hundred times.. ", the Dubai Municipality official said to my puzzled Egyptian friend, ".. no touching, no mingling, no kissing..this is UAE..not America. You being an Arab should know. Not approved".
If you ever visited the DM office for approval of an outdoor advertisement (which is by the way, mandatory for every public display in the Dubai), you are likely to have a similar experience, especially if the artwork has a picture of a western couple holding hands which they would liken to the 156th sexual position in the Kamasutra. (Now dont go around hunting for number 156, they know better). My friend has been there, heard that a hundred times, but this time around he didn't anticipate a problem with a normal couple holding hands in front of their beachfront property to be displayed in a drum truck, paraded around in the city(Not to Sharjah, mind you).
One short walk in Bur Dubai or Rigga Road will convince anyone where the Moral Police should be turning their attention to. But such a crackdown on prostitution looks to be a distant possibility considering that the Emirate might lose out to other sex-tourism destinations in terms of tourist arrivals.
Meanwhile our friend at the DM office reluctantly accepts my friends offer to put the couple separate; the guy on the extreme right and the girl on the extreme left without any possibility of violation 156. So when our DM superbrain drives home after a week, he might just find a drum truck with a couple holding hands in front of a beachfront property. Ofcourse, he did not realize that putting the couple on the two ends of a drum truck display means that they are going to be together when it is stuck on a circular display. Just like everything else that happens in Dubai.

Support Saudi Eve

More bad news from the regional blogging scene, with Saudi Arabia blocking the blog of Saudi Eve.

A good summary of the background to this can be found on Aqoul.

Those of you that have a minute to spare, and support a freer internet, please consider taking time to submit an unblock request for Eve.

04 June, 2006

Alaa Abdel Fatah in Time Magazine

In case anyone is interested, the jailed Egytian blogger is featured in Time Magazine

UAE's photogenic representation at the Turin 2006 Chess Olympiad (Women)

Check out this page which has a collection of some of the photogenic female participants at the Turin Chess 2006 Olympiad.

You can rate which of the players are prettiest (1-5 rating) and the chosen photos are likely to be used to illustrate the Olympiads.

I voted for Bosnia and UAE :)

Einstein I.Q. Test

Einstein I.Q. Test

Check out your IQ, enjoy!

Want to put your creativity to good use? Here's the chance.

Creative Majlis invites you to explore various exciting opportunities to pool in your talent and skills with creative professionals from around the world for social causes and community service.

'How Your Talent Can Impact The World Around You'
An interactive session covering the broad scope of creative voluntary work in Dubai
Conducted by Maliha Raza

Proposed agenda:
* What is voluntary work? Why volunteer?
* Scope of voluntary work in Dubai
* How to use your special talents towards community service
* Open Space - an activity for members to explore their interest-areas in voluntary work & propose project ideas
* Creative Majlis as a platform for creative community service, locally and worldwide

When: 7:30 pm onwards, Monday, June 5, 2006
Where: The Grind, Al Manazel Building, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, UAE.
Contact number of the venue: Ph: 04-3989304

Entry and participation is free. Participants ordering refreshments need to pay for their orders individually.

Kindly RSVP here

We look forward to your participation.

Farrukh Naeem & Mayura Sandeep
Founders & Moderators
Creative Majlis
Email: creativemajlis@yahoo.com
Phone: 050-7151722

About Creative Majlis
Creative Majlis is a global network of creative professionals pooling in skills and resources voluntarily for community service and social causes. We are based in Dubai and our membership is across countries like the USA, South Africa, Germany, Singapore, Russia, India and of course, the UAE. Membership to Creative Majlis is open to all who wish to volunteer for social causes with their skills, experience, resources and most importantly, creative ideas. We welcome writers, copywriters, art directors, graphic designers, artists, journalists, PR professionals, publishers, printers, internet wizards, volunteers ready to devote time and efforts to community service.

About Maliha Raza
Maliha Raza is a core team member of Creative Majlis. She has an extensive experience of over 13 years in the field of organization development (OD). Maliha has consulted for organizations in eight countries over the globe and implemented OD assignments for leading international organizations ranging from the development sector (United Nations) to financial organizations (Amex) and the cellular industry (Airtel, Hutch) to IT. She is also a life coach, counsellor and a trained clinical psychologist.

Is it illegal to sit in a car with a lady?

'Emirates Evening Post' a seemingly obscure newspaper, with a not-so-remarkable editorial content, has again raised some uncomfortable questions, albeit unintentionally through their 'Ask your Lawyer' column.
A man and a woman, not legally related(can be friends, colleagues etc) are "not supposed to sit together in a car, or go for movies, or to restaurants etc.. " says the matter-of-fact lawyer to a bizarre question.
Wonder why some half-dressed male and female models clinging together in a showroom opening of an international brand as seen on a popular newspaper doesnt make the cut.

03 June, 2006

E-book project to give free access to third of a million books next month

June 02, 2006 (AP) -- Electronic book devotees may want to set aside
some extra screen time this summer, as two nonprofits are preparing to
provide free access to 300,000 texts online.

Project Gutenberg and World eBook Library plan to make ''a third of a
million'' e-books available free for a month at the first World eBook
Fair. Downloads will be available at the fair's Web site from July 4,
the 35th anniversary of Project Gutenberg's founding, through Aug. 4.

The majority of the books will be contributed by the World eBook
Library. It otherwise charges $8.95 (euro6.98) a year for access to its
database of more than 250,000 e-books, documents and articles.

The rest at http://www.physorg.com/news68484530.html

01 June, 2006


Imagine you are in Paris for Business and then get an SMS from your bank stating 'loan payment is overdue and make payment ASAP', and then you can't call them back because all their lines are busy. After a few hours of repeated trying you get through only to be told, 'it was a mistake'.

Who is going to pay for my roaming and international calls?
Thank you ABN AMRO, you suck!

Culture & Heritage for AED 50 Billion

The word culture, from the Latin colo, -ere, with its root meaning "to cultivate", generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significance. Different definitions of "culture" reflect different theoretical bases for understanding, or criteria for evaluating, human activity.

Egyptian Culture has 5000 years history of flourishing art, architecture, religion, literature and language. Indian culture is one of the oldest and has retained much of its illustrious art, architectural and musical heritage till date. Almost 1200 years of Roman culture and heritage is considered instrumental in shaping the social structure and civilization we see today.

So when a UAE government-funded property developer gives another-drop-your-jaws- here-is-another-press-release which says that“Culture City will offer the cultural soul that Dubai deserves”, I begin to wonder if you can really buy culture and heritage for 50 billion Dirhams. The not-so-distinguishable clichéd wind-tower(which itself has its origins in Iran and Bahrain) logo makes me all the more skeptical.

So what do you think? Is this the real culture and heritage of Dubai?

Why Americans Should Never Be Allowed To Travel

I had someone ask for an aisle seat so that his or her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.

A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

Why Americans Should Never Be Allowed To Travel

actual stories provided by travel agents


Booming Dubai alienating natives

Aljazeera.Net - Booming Dubai alienating natives

Suhail al-Awadhi, 37, a senior municipal official, says he "was living three years ago in Hamria, but it was invaded by Indians, Pakistanis and bachelors, so I moved out".

Al-Awadhi was referring to an area in Dubai's historic centre.

Like all Emiratis, those in Mizher received free plots of land from the government plus interest-free loans or grants ranging from 500,000 dirhams ($137,000) to one million dirhams to build homes, according to Awadhi.
. . .
In his new book My Vision, Sheikh Mohammed explains his aim to develop Dubai as a fusion of Middle Eastern and Western values and a melting pot of creeds and nationalities, comparing the city to Cordoba, the seat of the Islamic caliphate in Spain in the 10th century.

But areas like Mizher are proof the fusion is not there yet. Plus, some Emiratis do not share the vision.

Not our country

Ibtisam Suhail, a political science professor at the UAE University in Al-Ain says "many people oppose this hyper-development and wonder who are we building all these projects for".

"You feel this is not your country anymore. There is a great feeling of alienation among Emiratis," added Suhail, also a resident of Mizher.

Suhail, in her 40s, believes not much thought has been given to the social consequences of fast development or the fragile demographic position of Emiratis.
. . .
"Citizens have been sidelined in the decision-making process. People have not been asked whether they want this," she said.