There's no real analysis, just some data to help out and make life a little easier.
Please feel free to share with anyone you feel may find the information useful. And also, if you have any corrections or ammendments, I would welcome those as well.
You can locate it from the home page of the grapeshisha website.
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:30 AM
Andrew Carnegie once said "And while the law [of competition] may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department."
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:19 AM
It is amusing how the Observer pitches the whole play for tourism as a competition between Emirates and that now Fujeirah is stealing Abu Dhabi's thunder. I fear the Ms. Fearis is not aware that Abu Dhabi has bigger pockets. Each Emirate offers different things and is pitched as so. Whatever happens with Fujeirah, it will never be the same as Abu Dhabi which will never be same as Dubai.
Next thing they will be saying that Ras al Khaimah is the new NASA, or Cape Canaveral or Florida or moon or something farfetched like that.
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:08 AM
Talk of bans are all well and good, but the issue is enforcablity of the rule. Reports today suggest a taxing on tobacco products, pricing cigarettes out of the range of children. While we believe that shisha cafes should not be banned outright, due to cultural heritage, age restrictions, licencing and taxes are the basic legislation that need to be considered. Next should be to police the current no smoking areas, whether they be offices, malls, or restaurants. There is a current apathy to the ban by malls, for example, since there are no fines for non enforcing any such ban and supposedly the freezones are smoke free zones.
Here are some basics of legislation we would recommend:
1. Issue licensing for public establishements such as retaurants, bars and shisha cafes.
2. Tax tobacco products at a realistic level, but not as much as 500-700%
3. Make smoking illegal below the age of 18
4. Ban smoking in offices as part of HSE or Labour Law with relevant checking
5. Enforce severe punishments for anyone flouting such laws.
The fact that this has become a major issue very recently makes the upcoming legislation important. Being firm now, will be crucial for the future health of the youth of tomorrow. Being weak and cowing down to the apathy of smokers to health issues and passive effects on non smokers will lead to the shambles of previous , failed attempts to ban smoking in the UAE.
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:00 AM
The US has banned all imports, exports, FDI and anything not related to the US. This occurred after the Senate took control of the US after Presdient Dubya was caught redhanded accepting charity to help the people of the US. Cross border investment has been banned. Imports and exports have been banned. All US companies operating overseas have been ordered to cease operations and come back home. MacDonald are not happy.
Tom and Jerry are in shock today as they have found out that they are latest in the long line of victims to be banned in the Middle East. It has been argued that two dissimilar animals, both of the same gender should not be seen to be chasing each other for want of comparison to activities unbecoming of the culture.
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:23 AM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:15 AM
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:40 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 1:32 AM
"...because the ports operator is based in Dubai, it therefore almost certainly has links to Al-Quaeda and therefore will almost certainly look to bomb the Channel Tunnel in order to increase the ferry company's profits..."
Whether you consider the people are taking the homeland security view or the xenophobic one, there are more people than not who want to stop this deal, and have have been digging to get as much dirt as possible including linking two Bush officials to DP World:
But onlookers are beginning to voice concerns about what exactly is going on, including the chariman, or ex-chairman of P&O, Sir Jon Parker:
"What he does not understand is the xenophobic nature of some of the debate that took place in the course of the bidding process....'Dubai is a country that has not harboured terrorists, and I have great respect for the sultan, Ahmed bin Sulayem. I've had three and a half months of dealing with him, and he is a really professional businessman. With people like him running it, I'm not surprised Dubai is doing so well,' he says....'Security is not a factor. It is handled by the individual ports on a country-by-country basis, and a change of ownership will not affect that,' he insists."
But Lex of the FT and Jeremy Warner of the Independant have both pointed out that the deal is unlikely to be completely scuppered. At worst, DPW may have to sell on the US Businesses. In any case, DPW are more interested in the Far East Operation of the deal which give 60% of the profit versus the North American part at 12%. And just some final clarification, DPW wouldn't own the US ports, it would only run it under licence.
Bring on March the 2nd, then.
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:35 PM
Buying 27 horses - 41.9m
Securing a world record price for a horse - 9m
Annual upkeep per horse - 50,000
Not winning too much, but happy because everyone else can't afford to buy fillys any more - Priceless
There are Some Things Money Can't Buy. For Everything Else, there's Mastercard.
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:39 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:43 AM
Here are some facts:
1. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has already approved the deal, considering information from its own intelligence agencies.
2. All regulatory approvals needed for such a transaction have been passed.
Based on these two points alone, is it not a fair assumption that a full risk assessment has been undertaken? Indeed, if the intelligence agencies have been involved, especially in a post 9/11 era, then this assessment would have been extremely rigorous. You also need to look at this and understand that P&O was already foreign owned (by the Brits), and so the arguments are patently against the UAE, which brings me to my next points.
3. The UAE was not the operational base for the September 11th hijackers.
4. The UAE condemns terrorism of any sort and is committed to combatting terrorism
5. The UAE is a staunch ally of the United States
Why are the objectors so against the transaction, if it is a UAE company? Is this bigotry? Why, if the UK were looking after the ports for so many years, would they only object after the UAE takes it over. A certain ignorance (they even call Dubai a country) probably alikens their concerns on this basis - Arab = Muslim = Middle East = Terrorist = Anti US. None of these are patently true. Ok, many Arabs are Muslim, but not all. All generalisms. Either way, they are pocketing the UAE into a generalised terrorist state. Untrue, and unfair. They say that the UAE has a spotty record on terrorism. So spotty that there has been no terrorist activity in the UAE and the UAE is not anti-US. The arguments against the UAE are woolly at best. If they say funds were channelled through the UAE, it can be argued that funds were channelled all over the world including through the US itself. Further, because of current regulations, these are now tighter than world standards, especially considering cross border transactions.
6. Hilary Clinton's popularity has been waning in recent months
7. There is widespread Muslim demonstrations across the globe, from the cartoon row to critique over the Iraq war and the profiteering from that war.
It is no secret that Hilary Clinton wants to run for the US presidency in 2008, but with her popularity as it is, she certainly doesn't have it in the bag. For her to throw her weight behind the Nationalist 'protect out shores' vote is typical of desperation. And taken up the stance without qualifying her argument is unwise if she was to go to office, and lose the links that Billy Boy built up.
8. Dubai relies on foreign investment
9. There is very little oil left in Dubai
I wonder if some of these senators have actually been to Dubai. Just because it is on the same mainland as Saudi, doesn't mean that it shares all the same values. You could say the same of England and Scotland, Spain and Portugal, the US and Canada. The list is endless. Do they even know that if there was any link with terrorism of any sort, directly or indirectly, that the Dubai economy and the grand plan will fall away as quickly as you could say 'sand dune'.
10. P&O operates in more countries than just the US.
11. DP World operates internationally and is a 4th largest port operator
The other countries that the DP World currently operates do not object to its presence, and the other countries in which P&O have operations have not objected, so why should the US think any differently?
Given all this, I do understand why there is opposition to the takeover. Loss of nationalism, perceived safety issues etc. but the way that untruths have been flagrantly recounted is just underhanded. The way that UAE is being portrayed for political reasons, is plain disrespectful for a supposed ally. With lawyers getting involved in a messy legal system, I believe that either the deal will fall apart, or some sort of compromise will have to be made with regard to the US ports. But it will all be a shame, at a time where ties should made and bridges built.
Would such a debacle have occurred if Singapore had won the bidding war?
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:38 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:15 PM
"Sheik Mohammed, "asks a lot of questions and these three guys go looking for the answers.""
There is also an interview with Bin Suleyman in the Guardian.
Posted by grapeshisha at 3:38 AM
The fact is that the DP World has already gone through U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry. They could have blocked the transaction. Next thing Michael Moore will come up with some hair brained theory that this is the pre-cursor to the next 9/11, and make a film called Celsius or something.
Even though the UAE has taken patent steps to counter terrorism, handing over and expelling suspects, the US press seems to be generalising that 'Middle East' equals 'Terrorism' and therefore the UAE falls under that banner. What balony! If the UAE aligned itself in such a way or was seen to be doing so, the foreign investment would disintegrate over night and the fall out would lead to the decline of Dubai Inc. Perhaps 'Connie' will apologise for this next week.
More on the anti-UAE sentiment here, here and here
This is not good press for the UAE. What I can not understand is why the UAE Press are not defending the country on this. Maybe they are more worried about cartoons or swimming pool closures in The Springs.
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:19 AM
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:19 AM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:00 AM
I haven't been to RAK, and don't intend to go, from some of the bizarre stories I have seen in the press, but I'm sure that one day I'll need some good quality ceramic. And I suspect that it is safer to fly to RAK than go by road, what with the death rate from ego driving.
Posted by grapeshisha at 5:08 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 1:55 PM
"it was important to pay a high price so as to speed up the outcome of the deal."
Money is power, and now money is speed. The way that Dubai Ports did it, reminds me of the invincibles of Sport, Pele & Brazil, Mohammed Ali, Borg - you just know that they are going to win. Well, most of the time.
When someone at Dubai Holdings figures out what this information superhighway internet thingy can do, expect simultaneous bids for Microsoft, Oracle and Google.
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:51 PM
"You can find anything except your mother and father in Dubai"
This is starting to get confusing for me, what with the World in Dubai, 2 Taj Mahals in Dubai, Dubai in Algeria. What next? India in Dubai? Israel in America? The country formerly known as Denmark.
Posted by grapeshisha at 4:01 PM
This is the Dubai sandwich: at the bottom, cheap and exploited Asian labour; in the middle, white northern professional services, plus tourist hunger for glamour in the sun and, increasingly, a de-monopolised western market system; at the top, enormous quantities of invested oil money, combined with fearsome social and political control and a drive to establish another model of what modern Arabia might mean in the post-9/11 world. That is the intriguing question: can Dubai do what Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or almost anywhere else in the Arab world you might like to mention, have failed to do? Is Dubai, in fact, the fulcrum of the future global trading and financial system? Is it, in embryo, what London was to the 19th century and Manhattan to the 20th? Not the modern centre of the Arab world but, more than that, the Arab centre of the modern world.
At a time where the Western perception of the Middle East is at an all time low, this article gives a realistic view that rises to the surface of the gunk that seems to be written about the region nowadays and puts articles that link the UAE with 9/11 to shame
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:00 AM
Motorist reverses into a lot of mess
By Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter
Dubai: A motorist, who lost his composure while reversing, damaged nine cars on Sunday at the parking lot of Dubai Police Headquarters.
The Asian, who was leaving, reversed his car from the parking space.
However, instead of slamming the brake, he stepped on the accelerator and hit two cars, pushing one of them on to the pavement.
Then he turned his vehicle to the right, but again pressed the accelerator instead of the brake and damaged two other cars.
On impact, one of the damaged cars hit two other cars parked near it. Two more vehicles were reported damaged.
No injuries were reported in the incident.
Police said the man might have been confused.
And I am sure this guy had to go through the customary 5 tests before getting his licence, which probably led to him being so confused.
Posted by grapeshisha at 8:51 AM
It is not meant to be a work of genius, just something useful to make transitions to this country that much easier. I remember when first came over to this country, and the Economist didn't cover Dubai as part of their Big Mac Index.
Please feel free to share with anyone you feel may find the information useful. And also, if you have any corrections or ammendments, I would welcome those as well.
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:54 AM
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:20 AM
Having been emailed today to boycott goods with certain barcodes (which relate to specific countries), I think it worth reading the Q&A issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. I also found the Jyllands-Posten articles an interesting read. To this day, I am sure that I thought many other things happened, but I guess that is how the press can manipulate, in both directions. The whole situation is regrettable, and I hope and pray that the situation will start to calm.
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:06 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:11 AM
Media always plays a part in such debacles, and while I cant vouch for an opinion either way due to my lack of Arabic, Asharq Al-Awsat makes a shocking revelation:
Internet forums played an important role by publishing a number of stories attributed to the Queen of Denmark stating she despises Arabs and Muslims. The website alsaha.com was primarily responsible for stirring up popular sentiment. Based in the United Arab Emirates, the site is an extremist Salafi forum that discussed issues related to extremist Islam. It opposed US presence in Iraq and backed the kidnapping of foreigners. Despite the UAE government’s opposition to religious extremists, it has allowed alsaha.com to continue to incite readers through its threatening messages and al Qaeda clips. It is believed that more than 100 thousand internet users visit the site each day.
If it is true that a website such alsaha.com is inciting hatred, is based in the UAE, and nothing is being done about it, then will the UAE get officially dragged into this debacle politically?
Oh and by the way, I received this SMS from the British Embassy today:
Please be aware of the possibility of demonstrations after morning prayers tomorrow and where ever possible avoid large crowds, meeting spots, malls etc
Is this demonstration thing in Dubai becoming common place? For some reason I thought demonstrations were part of a democratic society. No matter, in any case Egypt play in the final of African Cup of Nations at 9pm, so the fickle crowds will be calm again by then.
I still worry though.
Posted by grapeshisha at 1:13 AM
"A kind of city-state in the mold of Singapore, this Persian Gulf archipelago hasn't experienced the same rush of foreign investment as neighboring city Dubai. But that's changing now that the Abu Dhabi government is pushing for more office and residential development. Experts expect to see less of the ultra-Vegas-style opulence that's taking over Dubai and more of the serious architecture associated with New York's Financial District. Key to realizing Abu Dhabi's faster growth is the abundance of petrodollars and a new, energetic ruler (Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan) who's actively promoting private investment in real estate."
It's always interesting to hear what the outside world think if what is going on here, and invariably it usually focuses on oil, property and opulence, even if they are not completely correct on the detail. The perception is there - we shall see if their predictions are correct.
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:50 PM
What I forsee is a very similar offering in a tricky market. Going to market in telecoms is easiest within the mobile sector first, and no matter how negative anyone is towards Etisalat, let's be real here - the mobile and landline offering is pretty damn good. Mobile availability (or 'service') is always high and local call charges are very low even in the context of the Middle East market but especially in comparison to the world. There are numerous other issues that fall into the negative, such as overpriced international call charges, the banning of VoIP, restriction of some innocent web sites on 'cultural grounds', and the list goes on. The main issues that Etisalat face with regards to complaint are transparency of decision, or lack of it, some price elements and service provision in the internet and new media markets.
What we need to understand here is that EITC will go to market first with mobiles. Service will be similar and price cant get much lower. Furthermore, the TRA has a hold on price and will regulate to prevent a price war in other segments, so overseas calls will be unlikely to reduce to the extent that one would hope, at least in the short term. But also, things take time people are often reluctant to change, no matter how much they try and convince you otherwise. I think EITC will take some market and will slowly increase their share, possibly in new sign ups and somewhat on renewal.
EITC may perhaps launch their internet provision by the tail end of the year, and that should give Etisalat enough time to get their offerings into gear. But the question is this - does it really matter to them, especially in the grander scale of things? Etisalat have not hidden the fact that they wish to be a top ten proovider in the world, as far as market share. Let's be real again. That is not going to happen by staying in the UAE market. There is significant growth in other large markets of lower penetration such as Africa and the Middle East markets of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and it is likely that Etisalat will enter some of these markets in the same way that they took a stake in the Pakistan market late last year. Expect also some other opportunistic ventures within other more competitive countires possibly in Europe. Being involved in a more mature saturated market will give Etisalat more market know how to be able to deal with their core offerings in their primary markets.
Whether Etisalat lose market share in their primary domestic market, they are not worried. They have or should have a very healthy bank account from operating as a monopoly for so long. Etisalat are more interested in long term strategy from a global perspective than losing a little ground which is a certainty that they can not change.
I look forward to seeing how the future unfolds over the coming year. Interesting times, my friends, interesting times.
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:16 AM
But let's look a little more closely at what has happened over the past 3 months. Is that a market down turn? Is this a volatile market? I will leave it to you to judge.
To check out all the Middle Eastern markets in detail, I would recommend the Gulfbase website, where I obtained the images above, and you can analyse the UAE megastocks of Aldar and Emaar amongst others.
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:39 AM
The itch has been there for a while and so, after pondering on the peace pipe, I have decided to take the plunge into the land of Blog. I have been writing a newsletter for a while on all things UAE, and recently launched a site, aiming to give further information and insight. The blog will be the midway point between both - random thoughts on random issues, but all related to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE, the Middle East, and Old Blighty. Well, mostly.
The future is not yet written. I may blog daily, or weekly. And I'll try to be different from expert blogs that are out there already. I hope that my flavour, the grape flavour, will provide something different.
I guess I'll smoke you later. Until then....
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:09 AM
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