30 August, 2009

Dead Blogs

what is happening to blogging? Oman Community Blog and the UAE Community Blog are dead or breathing their last breath, is it out of fashion to blog now? is everyone twittering only? or have all the blogging expats left the Gulf?

29 August, 2009

UAE seizes North Korean Weapons Shipment to Iran

From Bloomberg:
he United Arab Emirates has seized a ship carrying North Korean-manufactured munitions, detonators, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades bound for Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, diplomats said.

The UAE two weeks ago notified the UN Security Council of the seizure, according to the diplomats...

The council committee that monitors enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea wrote letters to Iran and the government in Pyongyang asking for explanations of the violation, and one to the UAE expressing appreciation for the cooperation, the envoys said. No response has been received and the UAE has unloaded the cargo, they said.

The Financial Times reports that "The seizure took place in the UAE, but not the shipping hub of Dubai, the person added, without elaborating."

22 August, 2009

Ramadan Kareem.... :)

18 August, 2009

Volunteer Day - Care packages for Labourers

For those of you interested in helping out:

Volunteer Day to assemble Care Packages for Labourers is August 21st, we'll be assembling the packages from 10am to 5:00 pm and then going directly to the labour camps to distribute them.

Join in whenever suits you. We're hoping to make at least 1000 packages. The Shelter in Al-Quoz has kindly offered its premises for Volunteer Day.

Bring your kids, your parents, your friends. Last time was a terrific, community-building, heart-warming experience for all of us.

We will also be doing a Hygiene Workshop at the camps alongwith distributing the packages. Trying to give practical help and some education of a sort to help them improve their living conditions. The don't have mothers/wives/sisters here so will give them some practical advice on how to take better care of themselves and their surroundings.

Each package will contain 3 months worth of toiletries, one month's worth of food items (especially dates, energy drinks and other items to make their iftaars a blessing after a hard day of fasting) and items that labourers themselves have said will really make a huge difference in their quality of life.

Thank you for all your incredible support and generousity creating the first mass batch of Care Packages for Labourers. The final headcount was 834 cartons! Meaning that 834 men got 3 months worth of supplies each to help them through the terribly hot summer months.

Since then, some other labourers heard about our project and got in touch, humbly asking for our help. They gave me a list of items that they felt would make a huge difference to their lives here. Honestly, the labourers' help-list is so simple and basic that it's quite heart-breaking. There are items such as "pillow cover with no lice" and "socks". At this camp, they have to eat their food off aluminium foil and a "plate" was another one of their wishes.

Helping these men by providing them with a pillow-cover "with no lice" is surely the least we can do during Ramadan to bring some dignity into their lives and to show them that there ARE people who care.

Please give zakaat/donations in monetary form or by donating items. Procuring at wholesale prices, same as last time, each complete package will cost around 160 Dhs. Every little bit counts.

Deadline for donations is Tuesday, August 18th. If you're bringing supplies, please let me know by Tuesday what you'll be bringing so that I can place the final orders accordingly on Wednesday.


- Tang Energy Drink - we need 2000 1kg packs or 4000 0.5kg packs
- Glucose Energy Biscuits - 2000 packs
- we are ordering 1000 new mattresses at 35AED each - cash donations are needed for this
- cash towards items that still need to be ordered
- your time!

The aim of the Summer Care Packages was to help them through the searing summer months. The aim of the Ramadan Packages is to give them a fresh, clean start...a gift of humanity and dignity.

Together we can make a difference. We've done it before. We can do it again.

Visit their facebook group for more information:


Location Map

17 August, 2009

Kuwait tent fire deliberate?

AFP have put out a report, quoting the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, saying the terrible wedding tent fire was started deliberately. Forty-three women and children died in the fire.

I read the report in Sydney Morning Herald here.

You can read the original Al-Qabas story
سكبتْ البنزين على الخيمة وأشعلتها بمن فيها انتقاماً here.

16 August, 2009

Building collapse in Dubai

Twitter user MaliZomg is posting some on-the-scene updates of a building collapse in the UAE (around Abu Hail area)
Click here (http://twitter.com/MaliZomg) to follow the updates.

Khaleej Times: Ten cars destroyed in Deira building collapse
"An eight storey building under construction in Deira, Dubai has collapsed destroying more than ten cars, a police officer said.The building, on Galadari Road next to Ramada Continental Hotel, collapsed at about 4pm and the officer was not able to confirm whether anybody had been hurt in the building collapse but said no workers were believed to be on-site at the time."
The National: Building collapses in Dubai

Gulf News: Building collapses near Al Ittihad Road in Deira

4 years

Today marks 4 years of this blog.

15 August, 2009

TEDx Comes To Dubai

Gulf News article about TEDxDubai conference October 10, 2009.

12 August, 2009

Feelings towards the UAE...

My fellow expats... is it normal to miss the UAE so badly after being away for just 2 months even though I clearly remember how much I was looking foward to going home before I left for vacation? 2 months on I am looking for a reason to reschedule my flight to a couple of days earlier to spend the last week of my vacation back in Al Ain...

10 August, 2009

Our rights as bloggers

Can I get into trouble for making a personal remark(on my blog) about any person or company over a certain incident that I might have witnessed especially when that person or company does not like what I said.....

09 August, 2009

007 on 5,000 a month

UAE implicated in Iran election trial

As Iran resumes mass trials of opposition activists and protesters, a detainee pleads guilty to spying for the United Arab Emirates and conducting intelligence work for the US. Reza Rafiyi-Forooshani, who was arrested over the course of Iran's post-vote unrest, was put to trial in Iran's Revolutionary Court on Saturday.

In a report published by Fars News Agency, Rafiyi-Forooshani admitted to having conducted espionage activities for the Intelligence Ministry of the neighboring UAE, located across the Persian Gulf from Iran.

He also confessed to passing information to an Iran policy planner at the US State Department through a monitoring post, reportedly set up in Dubai in 2006. Rafiyi-Forooshani named Jillian Burns, the first director of the Dubai office, as his handler for the US State Department. "I worked for two years for the UAE's intelligence service and received an amount of 5,000 Dirhams (UAD) per month," the defendant said.

"I sent the requested information through mobile calls; of course most of the data were my personal views and not specific information." He has also reportedly provided information on the effects of sanctions on Iran and the country's election-related issues for Nazi Beglari, a journalist working to US-funded VOA news channel.


Of course, these are the show trials of the regime in Iran, desperate to cling to power, trying to direct Iranian anger at those thieving Arabs across the Unicorn Gulf. The UAE is sending its top agents into Iran in order to steal the recipe for Chelo-Kabab and Doogh Yogurt drink. It is unknown if the defendant was charged 7,000 dirhams per month by etisalat, leading to the backfiring of the spy operation.

"Dubai refuses Sex and the City filming"

The National reports: 

The Dubai Government has refused permission for parts of the sequel of Sex and the City... to be filmed at Dubai Studio City.
Dubai Studio City said the producers of Sex and the City 2 had submitted the script to Location Approval Services (LAS).
“In accordance with its standard procedures, LAS referred the script to the relevant government authority to review the same by taking into consideration the multicultural fabric of the society and its perceptions,” Dubai Studio City said in a statement.
Further to the recommendation of the government authority, the request for filming was declined.

Personally, I think this is a great decision. The first SatC movie was a disaster and nothing compared to the original HBO series. Dubai government should certainly not allow this madness to continue.

On a serious note though, the first film was not shown in the UAE and it'll be safe to assume the second won't be screened here either. If that is the case, what difference would it have made if one was shot with Burj Al Arab / Ski Dubai in the backdrop? Dubai's general theme goes with the glitz and the glamour of the show. 

Dubai Healthcare City

It seems like some of the buildings at Dubai Healthcare City are affeced by the poor building quality.
During a recent visit I took those photos: (yes that black thing on the left is a hole)

08 August, 2009

Dubai malls join anti-indecency campaign

The Emirati side of the story:

Mariam Al Salem and her Emirati companions said visitors and expatriates should tow the line.
"Our rules must be strictly followed," Mariam said.

Khulood Ahmad, a 23-year-old Emirati and a college student said the situation has become uncontrollable. "Majority of shoppers don't adhere to our style's policy, and we don't think a sticker or leaflet will make them pay attention," he said.

Khalid Al Hammadi and his friends Nawaf and Majed, all of them Emiratis, said an aggresssive media campaign should be launched to deliver the message.

Najla Al Awadi, Federal National Council member, Deputy CEO of Dubai Media Inc and General Manager of Dubai One TV, said awareness of the rules should be done as early as while a visitor is processing his entry visa.

"I don't want to generalise and say that all expats behave in that inappropriate way. However, certainly many expats who come to our country are either not aware of our cultural norms or are just not respectful of them and choose to behave any way they want to.


04 August, 2009

Abu Dhabi Magic

Amusing story from the weekend:

Abu Dhabi // Two men have been arrested after offering to double an undercover agent’s money using a magic powder, the Ministry of Interior said yesterday. The suspects, Africans identified as SLD, 32, and ASN, 33, are accused of claiming that a “magic blend” sprinkled over banknotes contained in a bag would double the amount. Laboratory tests showed that the powder consisted of flour and washing powder. “It is all absurd,” said Col Maktoum al Sharifi, the director of the Criminal and Investigative Directorate (CID). “They would put some of the powder on the notes they want to double. They would then put the notes in a bag and ask their victims not to open the bag until the blend takes effect.” The usual method was to give the victims, most of whom came from the northern emirates, an initial “demonstration” of the powder’s inflationary properties before being asking them to hand over a larger number of notes. However, that money would be switched with fake notes that would then be covered with the powder and closed in the bag.

Just goes to show that all that glitters is not gold, even in Abu Dhabi!

Two held over ‘magic powder’ cash fraud