Arab Running The Treadmill - video powered by Metacafe
Eid Mubarak and a Happy (Gregorian) New Year.
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:51 PM
Read more from the BBC as one Pakistani laments Dubai
Posted by grapeshisha at 5:07 PM
The Gulf emirate of Ras al-Khaimah has introduced a new dress code targeted in part at people wearing pyjamas to work. The head of the emirate's personnel department was quoted as saying that large numbers of civil servants were wearing sleeping clothes and pyjamas.
Sounds like a great place to work. Great final line:
It has recently launched a drive to catch up with the wealthier emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
I'm sorry, but if your staff are either sleepwalking to work, or arriving non showered straight from shuteye bed to shut eye job, the drive to catch up will be a long one...with a few zzzzs on the way.
Pyjama ban for UAE civil servants
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:32 PM
DSF: Damac offers plane, cars
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:37 AM
The recent Economist article summarises it quite well:
Dubai has spent a fortune and done virtually everything within its power to establish an attractive market. In the end, though, successful financial centres cannot be created by government fiat. Success now depends on forces that are largely beyond its control.
All that glisters... - The Economist
Posted by grapeshisha at 5:11 PM
Reuters: Dubai Ports to sell U.S. operations to AIG unit
Posted by grapeshisha at 1:28 AM
A good portion of the news coming out of the Gulf was typed up by the government propaganda ministries. Almost every time I see (UAE) next to an article, I'm immediately skeptical as the article is usually a puff piece about some new, marvelous, "world's best," Guiness record breaking project going on in Dubai. It's basically an article that could easily be broadcast on Sama Dubai, the Dubai government's official Dubai promoting channel that broadcasts wonderful things about Dubai 24/7.
Biased Media in the Middle East From Lebanese Political Journal
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:25 PM
Oman ‘will not join Gulf monetary union in 2010’
Posted by grapeshisha at 10:22 PM
Be it in Kuala Lumpur in 1997, Chicago in 1974, New York in 1930 or the biblical Tower of Babel long ago, mankind's penchant for architectural overreach is a strangely reliable omen of troubles.
It's an interesting theory, and while the announcement of all the "tall building" projects in Dubai was not a direct result of problems in the economy, it might have been part of the "ramp effect" that caused people to rush in to unchartered territories. The height is symbolic of the heights that leaders see to what can be achieved here in the UAE. However, skyscrapers are also good curtains shadowing those things underneath that might not be so successful. Whether you believe in the former or the latter, the skyscraper curse is one that always looms, especially for those that believe that the competition for the skies marks the beginning of the end of the world. For those that got stung by the Middle East stock market crash, the symbol of all these tall buildings is a constant reminder of when they thought their world had collapsed.
The `Skyscraper Curse' Is Worth Watching in 2007: William Pesek
Posted by grapeshisha at 3:30 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:41 PM
America should worry more about fixed exchange rates in the Gulf than the gently rising Chinese yuan
It might be best for the Gulf states as well as the world economy if they abandoned their dollar pegs and shifted to some sort of currency basket. A more flexible exchange-rate regime would allow them to regain control of their monetary policies and so cool down their overheating economies. By pegging their exchange rates to the dollar, they have had to adopt America's monetary policy, leaving real interest rates too low (often negative) for such fast-growing economies. Credit is growing too rapidly, inflation is rising and the prices of assets, especially property in places such as Dubai, have exploded.
This, along with massive current account deficits usually, held in dollars, could be the downfall of the dollar as we know it:
Counting only the Middle East oil exporters, the surplus has surged from $30 billion in 2002 to an estimated $280 billion this year. One reason why this gets much less attention than the smaller $160 billion increase in China is that only a fraction of it has gone into official reserves, which are publicly reported. Most of it is stashed in government oil-stabilisation or investment funds, such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which are much more secretive than the People's Bank of China—but which probably hold just as many dollar assets.
The petrodollar peg
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:34 PM
The latest report debunks the Arab conspiracy theory that promoting women's rights is part of a Western plot against Islam. On the contrary, the panelists point out, the advancement of women has long been an Arab goal — Egyptian women's rights organizations date back to 1881, for example. "The rise of Arab women," the report argues, "is in fact a prerequisite for an Arab renaissance and causally linked to the fate of the Arab world and its achievement of human development."
The report then goes on to draw a devastating picture of the plight of Arab women — while thoughtfully examining the complex background to the issue, and offering some creative proposals for progress.
This report is no doubt the first of many steps towards equality.
What's Holding Back Arab Women?
Arab nations urged to improve conditions, status for women
Arab women 'are still being denied equal opportunities'
UN Report: Low Position of Women Hinders Arab Societies
Posted by grapeshisha at 9:05 PM
A camel foams at the mouth as he is whipped by a robot jockey during a race at Nad al-Sheba on December 6, 2006 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is the first season that robotic jockeys have been used to race camels in Dubai.
The Camel Rights Watch are lobbying for a ban of camels, and robot camels will no doubt be on the race course within 3 years.
From Foreign Policy
Posted by grapeshisha at 8:53 PM
Posted by grapeshisha at 12:14 AM
Here are the top line recommendations:
To the Government of the United Arab Emirates
1. Establish an independent commission to investigate and publicly report on the situation of migrant workers in the country.
2. Prohibit companies from doing business with recruitment agencies, in the UAE and abroad, that charge workers fees for travel, visas, employment contracts, or anything else. Prosecute and implement significant penalties for employers and recruiting agencies that violate the law.
3. Aggressively investigate and prosecute employers who violate other provisions of the UAE labor law. Impose meaningful and consequential penalties on companies that violate workers’ rights, to put an end to the present atmosphere of impunity.
4. Provide quantitative and qualitative data on labor disputes, deaths and injuries at construction sites, and government actions to address these issues.
5. Increase substantially the number of inspectors responsible for overseeing the private sector’s treatment of migrant construction workers. Ensure that they carry out their duties to inspect construction sites to verify that they are safe and meet the requirements of law.
6. Take immediate action to inform and educate migrant construction workers arriving for employment in the UAE of their rights under UAE law.
7. Abide by the obligation under the UAE labor law of 1980 to implement a minimum wage.
8. Allow for the establishment of genuine and independent human rights and workers’ rights organizations.
9. Ratify the International Labour Organization’s Conventions No. 87 and No. 98 on freedom of association and collective bargaining, and amend UAE labor law to incorporate the conventions’ protections.
10. Ratify the International Labour Organization’s Convention No. 155 on occupational safety and health.
11. Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
To the Governments of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka
1. Enhance labor departments of your embassies and consulates in the UAE to assist migrant construction workers from your country whose rights are violated by their employers.
2. Raise formally with your counterparts in the UAE the importance of the UAE government’s establishing an independent commission to investigate and report on labor-related abuses of migrant construction workers.
3. Urge the UAE’s Ministry of Labor to fully implement its labor laws and to hold violators fully accountable under its laws.
4. Request immediate and full disclosure of causes of death when your country’s citizens suffer fatal injuries, and regular reports of all workplace injuries suffered by your citizens.
To the Governments of the United States, the European Union, and Australia
1. Condition the ratification of free trade agreements with the government of the UAE on improved protection for workers’ rights. In particular, insist that prior to adoption of the accords, the UAE reform its labor laws to bring them into compliance with international workers’ rights standards, including by explicitly and fully protecting workers’ right to organize, bargain collectively, and strike. Further require that, before ratification of the agreements, the UAE also take the steps necessary to effectively enforce its labor laws, including by adopting a minimum wage provision and following the other recommendations for improved enforcement set forth above.
2. Include in free trade agreements with the government of the UAE strong, binding, and enforceable workers’ rights provisions that require that parties’ labor laws conform with international standards and that the parties effectively enforce those labor laws.
I have no doubt that things are being done, in the background, especially since the initial data gathering happened in q1 2006. However, the response to Hadi Ghaemi's letter paints a picture that there is not really a problem. The response seems only to qualify the concept of "migrant workers", and that is not applicable to the UAE "temporary workers", thus negating any issues, if there were any. The tone of that letter, sent on behalf of HE Ali Al Kaabi, worries me. (See Appendix 1 and 2)
Never assume anything is fact. Read the report. Get the view of the media. See if you can see the situation firsthand. Then, take away the spin, the gloss, and whatever else that has been thrown in and make your own informed opinion. And then remember, that this is all about people's lives.
Building Towers, Cheating Workers - Human Rights Watch
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:19 PM
The anti-censorship community is developing new ways to evade censors in response. For example, when China blocks a proxy (Anonymouse.org's fate in that country), internet users can find a replacement by consulting a growing number of websites that compile and post lists of working proxies. E-mailed newsletters that provide links to proxy servers are also available. Some anti-censorship organisations spread the word via instant-messaging services: people looking for a proxy simply send an instant message to one of these groups and immediately receive an automated reply with a recently updated list of proxies.
With Iran's recent clampdown on "unholy sites", this is highly topical.
Cat and mouse, on the web
Posted by grapeshisha at 8:00 PM
The Quarterly: Are you worried that some of your neighbors in the Gulf are moving ahead more quickly?
Alwaleed: Saudi Arabia is the anchor of the region, just as Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom matter economically much more than Slovakia, Poland, or Greece in Europe. I don’t agree that we will be left behind, but we have to take lessons from what is happening now in, say, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is quite possible to be politically conservative and at the same time to encourage reform. In Saudi Arabia we have to unlink political conservatism from economic liberalism. There are still some hiccups in this respect.
Read the full interview, and sign up if you don't have access!
Posted by grapeshisha at 7:55 PM
Use Snarfer - it's linked in to bloglines - which I think is a first. Would be interested in any Arabic readers' views on this. Contact me in the usual way or leave a comment.
Posted by grapeshisha at 7:52 PM
Dubai developer to construct Russia city
Limitless unveils maiden foray into Russian market
Lessons in how to manage corruption? Word of advice, beware of the poison in your sushi....
Posted by grapeshisha at 2:57 PM
In U.S., fear and distrust of Muslims runs deep
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:26 PM
Liverpool in Dubai buyout?
Anfield in £450m Dubai buyout
but someone else has different ideas...
Harlem Globetrotters founder on verge of £450M Liverpool deal
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:11 PM
Get to work by helicopter. Well, kinda.
Posted by grapeshisha at 11:04 PM
every time you hear the “exciting new tourist destination” argument you can be sure there is an opportunistic building bubble on. Take Dubai. The city has become nothing but a huge building site. Hundreds of residential super towers are being built and it is estimated that over 50,000 properties will be completed next year and another 60,000 the year after.
If the population grows at 7%, says the Egyptian investment bank Prime Group, that means there will be 33,000 spare units in 2008. To fill those up with tourists, at least 1.7m people will have to take one-week holidays to Dubai. Is it really that nice? I doubt it. Analysts at Standard Chartered say they expect Dubai property prices to fall 20%-30% in the next two or three years.
Expect some fall out. Not sure I go with all the just the basic arguments. I conversed with a leading guru, last year, and his view on what was going on in Dubai was along the lines of "it's not normal". "Don't quote me on it, but what is going on in the Middle East is a very different market dynamic than what we are used to. It will stabiilise in a different way". What you can say is this - perhaps it is a little bi of a bubble, but dropping the price a little will give some stability. However, it is all about future demand, not really on what has gone on before. And that is where the market forces come into play.
Posted by grapeshisha at 7:23 PM
- ► 2013 ( 10 )
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- ► 2007 ( 34 )
- Resolution for 2007....
- Are you a "quality expat"?
- Pyjama Khaimah
- Buy house, get plane
- UAE Girl Power
- Dubai has done it right
- The end of the Ports saga?
- Is it really the 'bestest' (sic)?
- A kink in the armour?
- The Skyscraper Curse
- Investment ignores religious conflict
- Petrodollar Peg
- Give women a chance
- Robot Jockeys in Effect
- The Pixel Graveyard
- Forbes 400
- Building Towers, Cheating Workers
- Cat and Mouse on the Web
- An interview with Prince Alwaleed
- Arabic RSS
- Russia Rebuilding
- Crescent-shape tattoo?
- Kop Dubai
- Heli Taxi
- Property Pessimists
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