28 February, 2007

Charles suggests McDonalds ban

"LONDON - Prince Charles suggested Tuesday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates that banning McDonald's fast food was crucial for improving people's diets, a British news agency reported.

Charles made the comments while visiting the Imperial College London Diabetes Center in Abu Dhabi for the launch of a public health campaign, The Press Association reported.

"Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key," Charles was quoted as asking one of the center's nutritionists.

A McDonald's spokesman, Nick Hindle, called the remark disappointing. He said other members of the royal family "have probably got a more up-to-date picture of us," alluding to reports that Charles' son, Prince Harry, was spotted eating a chicken burger at McDonald's in 2005."
-- more HERE

No word on his thoughts regarding Jabal Al Noor or Antar Cafeteria yet

Jumeira Islamic Learning Centre

Workshop on Youth Issues at Jumeirah Islamic Learning Centre

Thursday 01/03/2007
Timing: 8.30pm-10.30pm
+ Friday 02/03/2007
Timing: 4.30pm-8.30pm

Tel & Fax : 04 394 94 61
SMS: 050 6326937

27 February, 2007

How to blog it

Is blogging here like the West? No of course not, but that's the point; understand what's possible, and what will cause you strife, and your blogging future should remain bright.
So concludes ArabianBusiness.com journalist Matthew Wade's article on blogging in the region.

Read it here.

26 February, 2007

Browser Wars

What is the preference of the UAE's bloggers?

Disclaimer: Ignore this post if you couldn't care less about techie matters.

I recently came across a report on the popularity of browsers, as I debate to myself whether Firefox or Safari is better. As far as I'm concerned IE is out of the running, despite its 79.75% market share. I'm leaning toward Firefox. Anyone using Opera--and is there anything else out there? Oh yeah, there's AOL too.

when even death is funny

It's a rainy day in Gaza, and I'm working from home, leaving my colleague to the misery of our dank, muddy office. He's called me a few times out of desperation (he says it's news but secretely knows that the 5th release by the Popular Struggle Front on not joining the unity government is not news). The bordedom though, made him find these Gazan jokes, still funny in English _ even if I can't read them out with that distinct hyper-macho Gazan accent.
A Gazan woman is praising her boyfriend, "you're the hero, you're the strong one..." He says, without blinking, "of course, I was even a martyr!"
Israel clamps a curfew on Gaza...and Gazans go out onto the streets, to see what's going on
Hebron, Nablus and Gaza decide to build a connecting bridge between them. The Nablusis volunteer the stones, the Hebronites the cement and the Gazans, the steel.
A week after the bridge is built, it collapses over everybody's head.
"What a waste of stones!" laments the Nablusi
"What a waste of cement!" laments the Hebronite
"Good thing we didn't use the steel, eh?" one Gazan said to another, "otherwise it would have been wasted as well!"

A Gazan woman wanted to appear modern. She drank coffee with a straw.

Apart from that, it's the usual Gazan misery around here. Thank God though, for a Gazan sense of humour. Although, knowing a Gazans' luck, they'd die of laughter.

25 February, 2007

An interview with Minister of Economy Lubna Al Qasimi

In the McKinsey Quarterly (free reg. req.)

UAE releases cancer vaccine

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to release the HPV (Human Papilloma virus) vaccination “Gardasil” according to Dubai Health News. It protects against the two strains of HPV that are responsible for approximately 70% of Cervical cancer cases in women. According to UAE’s Cancer Registry Program, the annual average of the reported cervical cancer cases has tripled in 2005 when compared with that from 1998-2004.

Gardasil has come under attack in the USA as religious and parent groups resist mandated vaccinations of young girls. Meanwhile, in Australia where the vaccine was developed, the government is planning on spending over $436 million on programmes to vaccinate young girls with an ongoing cost of under $50 million per year.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health has approved the vaccine and it is available now, though no government subsidies are offered. The treatment consists of 3 injections over a 6 month period with a total cost of approximately 1860 dirhams and is available through most GP's and medical centres.

The Political Culture of Leadership in the United Arab Emirates

Title of a book coming out in March.

24 February, 2007

Police Salary raise

Congratulations for police staff for the new salary raise.

Lieutenant -General 69,000 AED
Brigadier General 54,800 AED
Brigadier 45,500 AED
Colonel 40,000 AED
Lieutenant Colonel 35,000 AED
Major 29,500 AED
Captain 25,000 AED
First Lieutenant 22,000 AED
lieutenant 20,000 AED

Senior managers allowance but the percentage hasn't been mentioned
Tickets allowance between 2,000 to 55,000 AED annually depending on the rank
Cars allowance between 200,000 to 350,000 AED for senior managerial ranks
Work environment allowance between 0% to 40% of the basic salary (which is 50% of the total salary)

Lower ranks get between 6,500 to14,800 AED

AIDS is a pleasure

The spelling mistakes, grammar errors and the general decline in quality in recent years in everything offered by the eServices Division in the Dubai eGov initiative has spread to SMS messages.

The Arabic Edition of Emirates Today [page 2] claims that a number of mobile users have received a public advertisement stating that "AIDS is a pleasure" from the Dubai eGov Offices. Though it seems that the message itself is a part of a nation wide campaign to raise awareness about the disease, the eGov office has managed to butch this up as well.

23 February, 2007

Arab states send message to Iran

New York Times -
As fears grow over the escalating confrontation between Iran and the West, Arab states across the Persian Gulf have begun a rare show of muscle flexing, publicly advertising a shopping spree for new weapons and openly discussing their security concerns.
“There has always been an acknowledgment of the threat in the region, but the volume of the debate has now risen,” said one United Arab Emirates official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “Now the message is there’s a dialogue going on with Iran, but that doesn’t mean I don’t intend to defend myself.”
“The message is first, ‘U.S., stay involved here,’ and second, ‘Iran, we will maintain a technological edge no matter what,’ ” said Emile el-Hokayem, research fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a research center based in Washington. “They are trying to reinforce the credibility of the threat of force.”
“They have been doing these kinds of purchases since the ’90s,” said Marwan Lahoud, chief executive of the European missile maker MBDA. “What has changed is they are stating it publicly. The other side is making pronouncements so they have to as well,” he said, speaking of Iran’s recent announcements about its weapons capacity.
My emphasis in the last paragraph quoted. For deterrence to work you need to know your opponent knows what you will do if attacked. That is a key to the plot of the movie Dr. Strangelove influenced by Economics Nobel prize winner Thomas Schelling.

The Times article has another thread -- the Arab Gulf states continue to lean on the US for defense. Reading between the lines of the story I see the hint of the suggestion that Arab Gulf states are building up not just because of increasing threats from Iran, but from the increasing likelihood that the US presence in the Gulf will diminish in the future.


There was a bit of a backlog on the blogroll additions list, I have now sorted this out.
A few notes:
  • If starting a new blog, I seriously suggest the title of your blog and the URL are identical or as close as technically permitted; the number of blogs I managed to confuse within seconds of reading their information was astounding.
  • No blogs with absolutely no relevance to the UAE will be added; if you live in the UAE (or in some cases have lived in the UAE), or blog about the UAE, your blog is welcome. There were several requests for obvious spam-blogs to be added to the blog rolls and these were ignored.
  • It's quite helpful that when requesting your blog is added to the blogrolls you include an address for the blog in question, there were at least two people who left anonymous messages asking for their blog to be added.

Also, On the first week of March I will be going through the entire blogrolls reviewing each blog, if you have not posted at least once in 2007, your blog will be removed.

Hosni no Likey Free Speechy

"Dictator? Hell, no. He's just like me, a decider, makin' decisions for his people..."

GULF NEWS reported yesterday that an Egyptian Blogger was tossed in jail for calling Hosni Mubarak a "dictator."

Personally, if it were me I would have removed the "tator" syllable -- but then again -- I'm not particularly known for my social graces...

22 February, 2007

Tales From the Metro

When and where was the last time you rode in a metro--if ever? Might be nice for some of us to share our experiences as we dream of what the Metro will be like in Dubai.

I believe my last time was in Los Angeles in 2005. It had some of the typically American idiosyncrasies. One could take it from the LA international airport, but it was by design rather less than convenient.

You had to take a bus from the terminal a mile or two away and wait in what seemed like a derelict, dangerous part of town for the train to arrive. Once on the train you had to contend with the occasional drunk and rowdy teenagers. And of course there was no direct run to the center of the business district. One had to get off and change to another train in an even more dangerous looking neighborhood than the first.

Let's hope Dubai's system will be a lot more convenient and appealing.

To feel more at ease I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler, who seemed like a safer bet to approach. I was the Japanese-speaking American resident of the UAE trying to make friends with an English-speaking Japanese resident of Boston, Mass. I remarked that at least the station we were waiting at had cop cars around it. She said they were there because it was an especially high crime area. On my return to the airport later in the day, the cop cars had been joined by a police helicopter. Not the most comfortable entrance and exit in and out of LA.

Impact of Print News

How significant is the impact of Gulf News and other popular publications on government policy and other forces of change in society? Yesterday a GN headline read, Freehold buyers face hidden costs, and today, Dubai to investigate service charges for freehold units. Wow! That's impressive.

Most readers here will probably recall the pair of news stories a couple of weeks ago when a German tourist cum heart-surgery patient was found penniless, sleeping on a beach, only to be rescued 2-days later by GN readers and resurrected on the newspaper's front page, all smiles.

Again, wow! How many others would love to see their trials and tribulations spread across the front page leading to swift resolution of their problems?

Back to the freehold articles, the more recent one reports,
If homeowners already holding title deeds wish to transfer their property to another party, they must produce a "no objection certificate" supplied by the developer. Nakheel says it charges Dh1,000 for this service, while Emaar Properties levies a Dh5,000 fee.
That is just outrageous. Government should look into such practices. Kudos to GN for exposing them and putting on the pressure.

BTW: I love the way linking allows one to reference this or that story so easily with sources and additional content. But have any of you noticed how the online news sites (particularly GN, with which I'm most familiar) fail glaringly to do so. They'll even reference a website in an article and not provide a simple link to it. Why not provide a link to the organization it (GN) refers to in the Ghaf tree story? Why not even provide a link from today's freehold story to yesterday's? Come on, guys--get with the online groove.

Protecting the Ghaf Tree

A noble drive, all well and good. See Gulf News today or better yet, AME Info on 19 Feb.

The best write-up is from a sponsor of the drive who explains,
“We will plant one real ghaf sapling in the desert for every ten planted in the virtual garden,” elaborated Al Mubarak. “Votes cast will strengthen our petition to the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water to bestow national tree status to the ghaf.”
I support the idea, but the organization's own website is somewhat confusing. It says you'll see a labeled photo of your sapling after planting it online. Huh?!

21 February, 2007

Road pricing...

....is not a stealth tax. So says claims an email sent to 1.8 million signatories of a petition opposing the introduction of road pricing.

For one thing there are stealthier ways to tax.

Road pricing is about reducing the congestion that affects our quality of life, raises business costs (that are passed on to us) and harms the environment.

It's clear building more roads hasn't been a solution. Yes, better public transportation should be part of the mix. But will you give up your car if your bus is as likely to be stuck in traffic and it's not free? Do you expect public transport to be free of charge like the roads? There should be a fee for both. And the fee for using the roads should vary with congestion.

No more Bol Dubai

Time to say goodbye, folks. I am leaving Dubai for good and will not be contributing to UAE Community nor updating Bol Dubai anymore. Thank you all for sharing thoughts on my blog and also for making the UAE blogging scene a happening place!

I will continue to visit UAE Community and blogs like Sam's One Big Construction Site, Prometheus' Moving Middle Finger, Secret Dubai Diary, Falapeno, Grapeshisha and the rest whom I have bookmarked.

I'm sure you still have a lot to talk about.

Watch your language

Link - Gulf News - Nation's Mother tongue loses in the race of languages

Languages are like computer operating systems. The more people who use them, the more useful they become and the more people who adopt them. English has become the Windows of languages - And similarly loved and hated. Individual decisions on adoption affect everyone.

Culture and language are closely interwined. What happens to a culture when a language falls into disuse? Certainly many of those in the culture will feel threatened. And when threatened there is a desire to place blame. Does the blame reside in the encroaching language? In fellow members of the culture who have switched to the new language?

Can the native language be protected without closing the culture to economic exchange with the outside world?

19 February, 2007

Roundabouts are back

Last summer I posted a series of entries about the roundabouts of Al Ain. It was a very popular series.

Now it seems that some of those photos are popular again. However, now they are popular over at Al Ain Daily Photo, where they and several other photos of mine - 15 in all - are being used without attribution or credit. I have links to two of these at my site.

The blogger is ilfikluz, and he doesn't provide an email address to contact him. His site is part of the City Daily Photo Blog, which looks like a great idea and so far as I know has nothing to do with the theft.

ilfikluz now seems to have deleted the Al Ain Daily Photo blog

18 February, 2007

UAE Among the Happiest in the World Map of Happiness

World Map of Happiness
click above for larger image

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, analysed data published by UNESCO, the CIA, the New Economics Foundation, the WHO, the Veenhoven Database, the Latinbarometer, the Afrobarometer, and the UNHDR, to create a global projection of subjective well-being: the first world map of happiness.

Read More ...

It is worth mentioning that the UAE is among the happiest nations in the world and the happiest among all the Arab countries:

Rank Nation SWLS Score
22 UAE 247
30 OMAN 243
33 BAHRAIN 240
38 KUWAIT 240
45 QATAR 233
79 TUNISIA 213
91 YEMEN 207
108 LIBYA 190
113 LEBANON 187
114 MOROCCO 187
134 ALGERIA 173
141 JORDAN 170
142 SYRIA 170
150 DJIBOUTI 160
151 EGYPT 160
173 SUDAN 120

17 February, 2007

Upside Down Tower in Dubai

Upside DOwn Tower in Dubai
click above for larger image

Have you heard about the (Upside Down Tower) in Dubai?

Read More ...

*Those little Update Stars*

Update StarsDo you want to know how to activate those little update stars so that UAE Community Blog readers can tell that your blog has been updated?

Click here to find out how to do it.

Gulf News: evolution theory will be removed from curriculum

According to Abdul Qader Eisa, Senior Supervisor of Biology at the Curriculum Development Centre in the Ministry of Education, the evolution theory is included in the curriculum for Grade 12 pupils in public schools but will be removed for the next academic year.
Public schools have only three classes per week in biology and the new curriculum cover demands the need to include a wide array of new "crucial topics such as the human systems, and recent advances in DNA technologies."
Private schools are permitted to address the subject as a scientific theory only without rejecting creationism.
Ironically, transmission of characteristics through genetics (r.e. DNA) is the mechanism that filled in a blank in Darwin's theory - it was unknown at his time.

As a practical matter it is a good thing that genetics will still be taught given its connection to high level of birth defects due to the high rate of "consanguineous marriages among UAE nationals" (Centre for Arab Genomic Studies, Dubai, Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Science). Surely blood tests before marriage will continue to be required.

The evening drive (@) home :: Gulf News

Doctors warn that prolonged stress and other emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, can cause a host of problems, including decreasing intimacy.

There is no denying that sex is important to strengthen a couple's bond and keep the relationship going, says Dr Saoud Al Moulla, head of the psychiatric department at the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms). "Sex plays a large role in love. It's important from a psychological and biological standpoint,” he said.
When you keep stopping and starting, watching for someone to turn, to adjust for something and be alert [in traffic jams], it can be more exhausting than driving on a straight long road ,” he said.

In the long term, this can lead to problems in the bedroom, with men temporarily losing the ability to have or sustain an erection.

This condition is called psychogenic erectile dysfunction, according to Dr. Rosie King, a sexual health physician from Australia, who is attending the 3rd Pan-Arab Society for Sexual Medicine Congress in Dubai.

She said the Global Better Sex Survey, which she helped design, found that the ability to have an erection, and therefore sex, was very important to both men and women. "A tired man is not a sexy man. Being stuck in traffic saps people's energy," she added.
Another cost of traffic congestion. Bring on the tolls.

16 February, 2007

International Business Student Competition

"Peak Time is the largest and most well-known International Business student competition in the Baltic States. During this event students apply and test their academic and empirical knowledge in a competitive and realistic environment. It is also an international forum where students and professionals from various academic and cultural backgrounds meet and make new contacts. Moreover, it is an environment that encourages the exchange of diverse ideas and insights, while expanding the mindsets and broadening the global perspectives of the participants."

The teams should consist of 4 undergraduate students

The first step to entry is the essay, and the topic for this year is:
“What are the main challenges entrepreneurs face on the global arena and how to deal with them?” The essay has to be a maximum of 900 words and the application deadline is March 1st.

As time is short on the hands of participants bizzwhizzdubai.com offers free assistance sessions for essay review and structuring. Good Luck!

15 February, 2007

Toll roads are coming to Dubai. Is that Salik?

Quoting Gulf News:
From July this year, motorists using Shaikh Zayed Road and Al Garhoud Bridge will have to pay a road toll. As part of the first phase of the introduction of the toll system in Dubai, the stretch of Shaikh Zayed Road, starting from the Fourth Interchange [near Mall of the Emirates] to Al Garhoud Bridge will be a "toll-controlled area."

"The toll system will be called Salik which in Arabic means clear," said Maitha Obaid Bin Udai, Chief Executive Officer of the Traffic and Roads Agency at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

She said Salik has been chosen as the brand name because it reflects the logic behind the toll system, which is to ensure smooth traffic flow.
Motorists crossing Al Garhoud Bridge or entering Shaikh Zayed Road from the Fourth Interchange will be charged Dh4 per entry.

The charge will be in both directions and round-the-clock. Toll gates will be installed at both locations. Also, a motorist who enters from Al Garhoud Bridge and exits from the Fourth Interchange and vice versa, will have to pay at both locations.
"The main idea of introducing Salik is to reduce congestion and for better traffic management on Shaikh Zayed Road, one of the most crowded highways in the city, and to make motorists use alternate routes and other mode of transportation," said Maitha.
One problem with the logic of this proposal is that it does not take into account time of day. This section of road is more congested at some times and the charge should be higher at those times.

Some will criticize the plan because there are few alternative routes and there is little mass transportation. But you do have the alternative of staying off the road and traveling off peak. Or consolidating your trips. Many people on the road are not commuting to commuting to work or school. There does need to be a midday rush. And there is the alternative of car pooling (to share the toll cost) - except ridesharing is currently illegal!

It's not just Dubai that's looking at tolls to solve traffic congestion problems. See here, and here.

Of course we should keep in mind that what we say we are going to do in Dubai, and what we do do doesn't always match up. Tolls have been promised (threatened?) since March 2005 according to this December 2005 GN story.

Creative Majlis Invites Creative Professionals and Community Service Enthusiasts in Dubai and UAE

Creative Majlis - a global network of creative professionals and community service enthusiasts pooling in their skills and talents for social causes - is celebrating its first anniversary.
In one year, we have grown from two founding members - Farrukh Naeem and Mayura Sandeep, both advertising professionals determined to use their skills for community service - to more than 300 members across the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, India, Pakistan, Hungary and of course - our home ground - the United Arab Emirates.
Creative Majlis members now include advertising professionals, copywriters, art directors, creative directors, film makers, doctors, psychologists, journalists, event managers, entrepreneurs, finance professionals, web designers, cartoonists - basically anyone who would like to volunteer time and ability and work together for humanitarian and social development efforts.
If you wish to join hands with people around the world and make a difference by contributing your skill and talent (we do not raise or ask for any funds or money - just your skills), we invite you to our anniversary celebrations:
The North Ballroom
Four Points Sheraton
Bur Dubai
17 February 2007
from 6.00 pm onwards
Entry is free for everyone but prior RSVP is essential, which you can do by calling or SMS-ing your RSVP (incuding number of attendees) to Farrukh Naeem, the co-founder of Creative Majlis on 050-7151722, or adding your 'Yes' at the event details page at the following link:
For more information on Creative Majlis and our projects, please visit www.creativemajlis.com

14 February, 2007

2007 Photobloggies - Vote Now!

Just a little (shameless self promotion) heads up - the 2007 Photobloggies nominations close in 19 hours...

It would be great for some photoblogs from the UAE to get a nomination for these awards.

If you happen to have the time, please go here and vote. It's easy...

http://dubaidailyphoto.blogspot.com and http://blog.basilkhleif.com/ and others will thank you!

Globalization of Valentines Day

Khaleej Times - "An overwhelming 62 per cent of the Arabs referred to themselves as ‘romantic people’. And 56 per cent claimed they had never celebrated Valentine’s Day before. But a whopping 69 per cent said they planned to do something special this year for their loved ones. ... The results of the survey indicated that among the respondents, Moroccans, Lebanese and Egyptians were most likely to celebrate the Valentine’s Day. Citizens of the six GCC countries were the least effusive."

Gulf News: "Among the specialists gearing up for the second busiest time of the year, after Christmas, is Gulf Greetings. With more than 50 outlets all over the region, the company is expecting to shift around 150,000 cards this Valentine's Day. And the man managing Gulf Greetings' Hallmark category is none other than the aptly named Valentine Braganza. The 38-year-old, originally from India...."

Read Gulf News on the history of St. Valentines Day.

One American's naive astonishment at the popularity of Valentines Day in Dubai.

The world, though, is not yet flat. The transmission of culture in going one way - absorption of Western (Christian) holidays in the Islamic world. We see Middle Eastern food becoming popular in Europe and North America, but we don't have potent examples like the popularity of Christmas and Valentines.

Borrower's Heaven (haven?)

Just as I was beginning to worry about how to finance all these ongoing constructions and new projects, a ray of sunshine poked its head through a crack in my head and said "'Booming' Dubai set to borrow $10bn+" WHEW!

Now again I can rest :)

Backstory: Dubai's mirage – having it all

There's an article in CSM about Dubai, that starts off with "Welcome to Dubai, where everything is "under construction."" There's nothing really new in the piece, but I thought the very end was interesting.

Sabir Ali Rehmani who has been selling dishdashs at the old souq on the creek for the last 20 years told the reporter: "This is a fantasy land... You forget what is real."

13 February, 2007

" Abu Dhabi projects worth close to Dhs 1 trillion"

"Dubai: The total value of announced and on-going projects in Abu Dhabi has inched close to Dh1 trillion, currently at Dh991 billion ($270 billion), a report says.

Abu Dhabi, the largest among UAE's seven states, is by far the wealthiest and in 2005 had the highest per capita income in the world at $46,147. It has proven oil reserves which are estimated to last for another 150 years and currently pumps 3.5 million barrels of oil per day generating in excess of $90 billion annually," it said.

Major players including Aldar, Sorouh, Escan, Tourism Development and Investment Company, Reem and Tamouh Investments are currently involved in projects estimated at over $60 billion.

The list of projects include the $14.7 billion Al Raha Beach development by Aldar Properties, the $27 billion Saadiyat Island by TDIC, $2.5 billion Shams Abu Dhabi by Sorouh, $1.4 billion Reem Island by Tamouh Investments and $3.5 billion Najmat Abu Dhabi project by Reem Investments.

The latest amendment to Abu Dhabi Property Law will help the emirate to attact more investment into the reality sector."


Basil's PhotoBlog

Hello Every1...

I'm an emerging photographer who has a month old PhotoBlog.
Below you will see a few of the photos that I have captured since my interest grew in this hobby.

Like to say something about my photos? Good stuff or bad... I'd love to hear from you!
I hope you enjoy my work and would be a frequent visitor of my Blog. A special Thanks to Secret Dubai to inviting me to this Community

The link to my blog is http://blog.basilkhleif.com

Enjoy the photos and hope to see you soon.

Jumeira Beach, Dubai

Madinat Jumeira, Dubai

Green Community, Dubai

Madinat Jumeira, Dubai

All photos are taken myself,
Basil Khleif


I apologize for publishing an irrelevant post earlier. I made a mistake while updating a post about my Baghdad.

12 February, 2007

Introducing Dubai Media Observer

[Update: thanks to permission granted for us to take on the Dubai Media Observer brand.]

Thanks for the invitation. We are Dubai Media Observer. In the media, about the media - what the region's media is too scared to discuss. There are a team of us writing this from the UAE and outside.

Worth seeing…

Well, dear co-bloggers, this may be a bit extravagant and should definatelly considered an adult joke but in my opinion it is worth seeing…

Condoleezza Rice lectures

It's Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month

Translation: carts = trolleys.


Will it catch on in the UAE? I'm not holding my breath.

New member; Midnight Siesta

Hello, i am a new blogger! just started a blog(Midnight Siesta)
about life in dubai as an expatriate. glad to have
found UAE community blog where we can rant
together :P. i'll try to be regular in my posts, and
publish enjoyable content =)

Is Emaar trying to get around the rent cap?

Take a look at this blog.

11 February, 2007

race day

camel track, nad al sheba (8am, feb 9, 2007)

10 February, 2007

Water Water Everywhere Not a Drop to Drink

A recently published report revealed that an estimated $100 billion in investments will be needed over the next decade for water and desalination projects in the GCC.

With only one percent of the world's renewable fresh water resources and five percent of its population, "the provision of adequate water supply is one of the key issues facing governments across the region today," the report said according to Gulf News.

Twenty-four million cubic meters of water per day, or approximately 70 percent of the UAE's daily water supply comes from desalination plants. "The scale of the demand is illustrated by the fact that the UAE consumes more water per capita than any other country with the exception of the US and Canada."

Read more

Huge as it sounds, it will beinteresting to see if mega-sized corporations would want to do such investments in this region. Ofcourse investments in WATER won't be quiet similar to investments in OIL unless we are going to have a GCC Wide Water Exchange.

The Wizards of Buzz :: Wall Street Journal

Link (paid subscription req.)

The next time you visit a buzzy Web site, see a funny video clip online or read an unusual take on the news, chances are you owe it to someone like Mr. Worthington. A new generation of hidden influencers is taking root online, fueled by a growing love affair among Web sites with letting users vote on their favorite submissions. These sites are the next wave in the social-networking craze -- popularized by MySpace and Facebook. Digg is one of the most prominent of these sites, which are variously labeled social bookmarking or social news. Others include Reddit.com (recently purchased by Condé Nast), Del.icio.us (bought by Yahoo), Newsvine.com and StumbleUpon.com. Netscape relaunched last June with a similar format.
To find the key influencers, The Wall Street Journal analyzed more than 25,000 submissions across six major sites. With the help of Dapper, a company that designs software to track information published on the Web, this analysis sifted through snapshots of the sites' home pages every 30 minutes over three weeks. The data included which users posted the submissions and the number of votes each received from fellow users. We then contacted scores of individual users to find which ones are tracked by the wider community.
At Netscape.com, a single user named "STONERS" -- in real life, computer programmer Ed Southwood of Dayton, Ohio -- was behind fully 217 stories over the two-week period, or 13% of all stories that reached the most popular list. (Netscape, which gained fame with its namesake browser, is now owned by Time Warner's AOL unit and operates a news site.)

On Reddit, one of the most influential users is 12-year-old Adam Fuhrer. At his desktop computer in his parents' home in the quiet northern Toronto suburb of Thornhill, Mr. Fuhrer monitors more than 100 Web sites looking for news on criminal justice, software releases -- and the Toronto Maple Leafs, his favorite hockey team. When Microsoft launched its Vista operating system this year, he submitted stories that discussed its security flaws and price tag, which attracted approving votes from more than 500 users.

Besides an electric guitar and an iPod, "my favorite thing in the whole world is my computer," says Mr. Fuhrer, who has lately also been studying for his bar mitzvah in June. In spite of a content filter his parents use to block him from viewing certain sites (including YouTube), he has managed to consistently make it onto the list of Reddit's highest performers.

09 February, 2007

Dubai Lynx 2007: World's top advertising creatives to gather in Dubai, UAE

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Dubai Lynx, the inaugural advertising and communication awards honouring creative excellence across the Middle East and North Africa has handpicked the jury members from creative teams across the world.

Which means that once again Dubai is going to host some of the top personalities of the advertising world, after it made history last year by having the largest ever World Congress of the International Advertising Association (IAA).

[Read more... Marketing, Advertising & Creativity in the UAE]

Help Me Please!!!

I can't post my photos in the middle of the blog any more? The new version will only allow me to display all my photos on top of my article and not in the middle if I wish to do so?? Please help me.

Emirates Airlines To Launch Dubai-Houston Direct Flights

Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines is set to launch services to Houston, Texas - its second destination in the United States starting 3rd December 2007.

The non-stop service between Dubai and Houston will initially operate three times a week, increasing to a daily service from 1st February 2008. Emirates will fly its new Boeing 777-200LR on the route, offering 266 seats in a three-class configuration and up to 18 tonnes of cargo capacity.

Read More ...

08 February, 2007

Blogging for Bucks?

Out of curiosity - is anyone on the UAE scene doing this?

Campaign ME is shut down

Word on the street is that ITP has suddenly pulled the plug on its successful advertising weekly Campaign ME. I tried to check the magazine's website, but it redirected me to Arabian Business magazine's website. There is no trace of any Campaign ME content, not even its blog.

To be honest, when i first heard the news, I thought it was a marketing stunt or something. But it seems to be for real and I also heard the whole thing has something to do with a licencing issue between ITP's management and the London-based Campaign.

Does anyone know what exactly is going on? Do share..

OMG! Another Construction Mishap

What used to be part of the promenade that made for a pleasant stroll along the Dubai Marina was breached when the excavation wall at the site of the Infinity tower gave way--noon yesterday. (Photo from Skyscrapercity.com forum.)

No one was injured but the Gulf News account suggests the 100 workers on site had to scramble to safety. The large excavation pit has now become a virtual extension of the Marina. Such accidents are not uncommon, reports one forum contributer. Even so, they surely result from either poor designs or poor workmanship.

Oddly, this story is almost buried in the Gulf News, especially in the online version.

The Arab Media

Last month, , Gulf News, 7Days and Khaleej Times agreed on posting the same piece of news in different titles : like UAE offers hope for injured Iraqi children , Police team visits 55 Iraqi kids in the hospital .I could not find 7 days article after I sent them an email asking them to publish the bad and good not just the good.

I would not doubt the credibility of the news, however

07 February, 2007

RAK Opportunities

A major conference next week will address the opportunities unfolding in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The ‘Ras Al Khaimah Conference 2007’, a conference jointly organised by the Investment and Development Office (IDO) of the Ras Al Khaimah Government with MEED will be held on February 12 and 13.

A must attend for budding and aspiring entepreneurs. As many of you attend we'd love to have your feedback.

The Jewish school where half the students are Muslim

Cool story via The Sudanese Thinker blog.
...half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority-supported school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day and hang out with the people some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world.
Read the rest of this heartwarming story here: The Independent Online

Nice Photos

Just came across some rather nice Dubai photos--circa 2004 by Majeed El-Chemor on PBase.

06 February, 2007

To Go Nuclear or Not?

I think nuclear energy is right for the Gulf and particularly the UAE. It is being considered (Gulf News). Some reasons why it is right to go nuclear:
  • It takes time to develop such an industry, this is an opportune time to begin.
  • It requires a substantial investment, which the UAE can afford.
  • Although some would prefer that solar energy replace petrochemical, the science is just not there for the scale of energy resources the UAE will need.
  • The risks that nuclear energy production pose can be adequately dealt with if a carefully devised plan is executed. The UAE has time to do this if it starts now.
  • Despite having been shunned by many, nuclear energy has over the years proven to have a quiet record of success (in Japan, France, and even the USA), one major mishap (Chernobyl) notwithstanding.

Dal'ouna Abu Dhabi

I've just posted a review of the Dubai Dal'ouna concert on my page, but I don't know how to post in two places at once without losing images and links, so please click here. Thank you!

Info from the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. Details towards the bottom of my post. Enjoy!

Pictures, but no names?

I don't get it. Why do news stories go like this:
Police arrested B.N and S.W., at the airport.

During the investigation, the two suspects said the passports were provided by a Sharjah-based man. A team from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah police departments launched another investigation, which led to the arrest of three more gang members in Sharjah. They were identified as S.M., A.N. and H.K.

They told the police the passports were forged by A.K., who lived in Ajman

And then give you a picture of the suspects -- in irons.

We're given initials, not names, but then we're given a picture. So it's not a question of protecting the identity of the arrested is it?

Here's the whole story including the picture.

There's a better example here (The Blind Boys of Jumeirah). In one story the names were given, and then in a later story only initials were used.

Cross-dressers and Sex in Schools

The Emirates Today have quite a set of articles. The English edition only has the "Hunt for cross-dressers". But the Arabic edition has a bit more than just that and talks about how to deal with "sex among children in schools", and it seems to focus more on same-sex activity. (On the front page and the sixth.)

Comments (mine and yours) I suppose should go for my post on my blog.

Dal'ouna in Abu Dhabi

If you live in Abu Dhabi, grab the chance to listen to Dal'ouna. I went to their Dubai concert last night, in aid of Bethlehem University. They are so good.

They will be on at the Cultural Foundation on Feb 7th - tomorrow. I'd post a link, but the main Time Out ticket page is down, but so you'd better contact the venue direct. Here's blurb: Highlights the classical, folkloric Palestinian and Oriental Repertoire, interpreting it in its on way. Dal’ouna also interpret some composition from Ramzi Aburedwan.

So good! Oud, a smaller lute, clarinet, percussion, accordion, two young singers. Such talent. Such music. Such an important cause. Just go!

05 February, 2007


There's a newish video hosting service available.

It looks a lot more organised than Google Video and YouTube with clearly defined categories and filters for viewing content.

There's always a danger when sharing info like this that it'll happen sooner than later, but let's see how long it lasts before it's broxied!


who's a naughty boy? don't do it again

"A British man yesterday pleaded guilty to molesting a Dubai Airport employee by slapping him on the buttocks - three times. The trial, which started yesterday, heard that the 30-year-old British visitor, AJ, who is charged with molestation and consuming alcohol"

This will be the FREE alcohol that the man was plied with on his Emirates flight would it?

It appears that alcohol consumption illegal in Dubai without a liquor license.

A work colleague of mine was jailed for 30 days for consumption only last year.

Yet they give the stuff away not only on flights into the UAE, but also to the fairer sex in just about every licensed establishment in Dubai.

Check out "Ladies Nights" in Time Out Dubai for your free booze sessions.

Just don't EVER put a foot, or indeed a hand out of place whilst you are in any way under the influence of alcohol in Dubai or the chances are you WILL be banged up.

The 7days story is highlighted to warn you of the dangers of consuming alcohol in Dubai without a liquor licence. A liquor license that is only available to residents.

AJ probably deserves punishment for smacking someone; be it on the arse or face, it's still pretty much assault; but whether he deserves to be charged with consuming alcohol is another matter all together.

Soliciting Feedback

Though some would think that this is another shameless plug for my own pet project map.ocit.ae, but from the logs at Google analytics it seems a lot of you have already sent huge amounts of traffic my way. Visitors have been coming in from every region of the Globe in increasing numbers. Thank all of you that have helped me get this site started.

I’m thinking of adding some new stuff to the site, namely integration with del.icio.us, digg.com or digg.com like features within the site and was almost ready to start work on flickr integration until our favorite ISP banned it again. Before I do so I wanted some feedback, ideas, and suggestion on the site over all. Does respond well? Is there something broken or un-usable? Is there something to be added?

All feedback is welcome and appreciated.

04 February, 2007

Saudi Writer Recasts Kingdom's History

Washington Post:
The pervasive religiosity permeating his childhood here, where Wahhabism is the state ideology, sparked a burning question in young Dakhil's mind: How had these Wahhabi clerics come to wield so much power and authority?

After decades of research and a doctoral thesis on the history of the Wahhabi movement, Dakhil came up with an answer. The clerics had inherited their power from Wahhab. The fiery, puritanical preacher had been instrumental in catapulting the House of Saud ahead of others vying for power at the time and became an influential and trusted partner in the first Saudi state. That alliance between the ruling family and the clergy continued down the generations, with the Wahhabis eliminating all other doctrines, taking charge of education and enforcing their strict brand of Islam in mosques and schools.

The religious connection also gave the Saud family legitimacy to oversee Islam's holiest places.

Dakhil's findings offer a new reading of the Wahhabi movement that contradicts the official narrative and could lead to a reduction of the clergy's power.
UAE connection:
Dakhil was allowed to publish only the first two of a set of three articles, and a rebuttal to attacks in the Saudi press on his work, before his newspaper, al-Ittihad, asked him to stop writing on the subject and then put him on indefinite leave. The paper is based in the United Arab Emirates, a close Saudi ally.
In an article in the Dubai-based Forbes Arabia, Dakhil suggested that members of the appointed consultative Shoura Council, especially if it becomes an elected body, join the royal council to weigh in on who becomes king. Local censors ripped out Dakhil's column in the December issue before allowing it into the kingdom.
("United Arab Emirates, a close Saudi ally"? Some closer than others, I believe.)

03 February, 2007


Any of you geeks out there having trouble using FTP? I've been completely unable to upload anything for the last two days. I know Itisalot have restricted bandwidth due to 'an earthquake', but this is beyond joke.

02 February, 2007

Dubai Ports World in the news again

One if by land, two if by sea. Dubai Ports World tries an inland invasion of the US this time. Hotel Washington - next to White House.

Story over at Emirates Economist.

01 February, 2007

DIC Pull Out of Liverpool Deal!!!!!!!

"Liverpool are on the verge of following Manchester United by slipping into the hands of an American billionaire after Dubai International Capital, dismayed at what it considers unacceptable procrastination by the Premiership club's board, decided to withdraw its takeover bid.
DIC, the state-owned private equity firm given exclusive rights to negotiate a takeover and scrutinise the club's books last month, announced yesterday it was "disappointed" but felt compelled to break off talks. The decision is understood to have been taken by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and imposed on DIC's chief executive, Sameer al Ansari, who had issued a 12-hour ultimatum to Liverpool to make a decision in its favour."
Full Ariticle : The Gaurdian

Fifa News
RTE Sports
Belfast Telegraph


Cool Deathspire videos

Two cool animations of the Deathspire by an architecture student:

(Click on either video to be taken to the full-size YouTube page).

I can't wait for this thing to be built ;)

Saadiyat Island in the NYT

The New York Times has a long, interesting and positive report on the plans for a cultural center on Saadiyat Island.

With once-proud cities like Beirut and Baghdad ripped apart by political conflict bordering on civil war, Abu Dhabi offers the hope of a major realignment, a chance to plant the seeds for a fertile new cultural model in the Middle East...

[I]n Abu Dhabi, Mr. Krens [,head of the Guggenheim Foundation,] has found a client whose interest runs deeper than collecting tourist dollars. Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan, chief of the tourist and development authority, says the emirate’s desire is to create a contemporary cultural locus with little precedent in the region.

“What is happening is unfortunate in places like Beirut,” Sheik Sultan said. “We want it to come back to its old days.” Ultimately, he added, the emirate hopes that Abu Dhabi’s arts district will become a cultural hub of the Middle East and a starting point for cultural exchange...