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  • Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    UAE Unemployment

    Is it really something that we can believe? With all the expats, with all the emiratisation policies, can there really be unemployment in the UAE? Can you consider that Emiratis are out of work, not through choice? Apparently so, and the Beit Al Khair is trying to help:

    Compared with the travails of migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates, Emirati poverty is nothing. But deprivation does exist and it stems from social problems. Most Emiratis who need help are widows, divorcees, orphans, disabled people, the ill and infirm, or the families of prisoners. Divorce in particular is soaring.

    Most Emiratis seek help in the first instance from their extended families. But last year Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE, doubled subsidies available via the ministry of social affairs.

    “The government has moved very fast,” says Mohamed Bakkar bin Haidar, general manager of the Beit Al Khair Society, a charity that provides for UAE nationals. “We cannot say that we don’t have any poor in the UAE; that also would be unfair. But we can say that we have the least.”


    And as you can see, the problems are more than just unemployment. All societies have social problems. And that includes the UAE.

    Life on the dole in the UAE

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    UAE Credit Crunch Turmoil

    The last month has proved that even the Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not immune from the credit turmoil hitting the Gulf. We live in unprecedented times. Whether there is 100 years worth of oil in the ground, if you invest in Western institution on the brink, you are exposed. If you tie your currency to the West, you are exposed. If you do business with the West, you are exposed. My friends, we live in a globalised world, in troubling times:

    The UAE and Qatar, two GCC states seen most likely to revalue, have been badly affected as investors realise that the strengthening dollar has removed pressure on central banks to unpeg or revalue.

    Central banks have also started to remonstrate with local banks, who had been only slightly marred by subprime exposure, for unhealthy overexposure to real estate, especially the frothy property market in Dubai. For the first time in years, fears of a slowdown in Dubai’s real estate market seem more real.


    Gulf dispatch: Gulf discovers that it is not immune from the turmoil

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    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix '09

    Following the success of Grand Prix’s first ever night race in Singapore on the weekend, Abu Dhabi looks on and prepares for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next year.

    It’s not a surprise to read that whenever the UAE buys into a brand, they not only copy it perfectly but improve it- insanely. This is evident with recent projects such as the Atlantis Palm, and even educational institutions such as the Paris – Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi. Projects in the pipeline such as The Guggenheim and the Louvre are being designed in such a way to attract visitors not only to the museum but to the surrounding facilities such as entertainment, shopping and housing thus creating a modernised village around the brand. This is the obvious intention with the new Grand Prix Abu Dhabi development. The circuit is being built on one of Abu Dhabi’s natural islands – Yas Island and will include a Ferrari theme park, a water park, branded hotels, a huge retail complex and apartments and villas.

    Like the majority of developmental projects in UAE, the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix complex will use the brand to not only build a new race track but further create a village full of entertainment and living means. Because the racetrack is being built from scratch, much thought has gone into its design and practicality allowing the creation of both a street and permanent circuit. There a handful of permanent circuits in the world and Abu Dhabi will be one of them.

    Taken from the official Formula One website, covering the announcment of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

    In a first for Formula One racing, the challenging circuit by renowned circuit designer Hermann Tilke combines a non-permanent section that will deliver all the drama of a street circuit with a high-speed permanent race track that incorporates a marina and state-of-the art stadia. The distinctive design will allow yachts to berth alongside the track as it wraps itself around the marina, giving the Abu Dhabi race its own unique identity.

    The website further states that 15,000 people are due to be working on the site during 2008 in order for successful completion in 2009.

    A provisional date for first race of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is 15 Nov 2009.

    Formula 1
    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Eid Al Fitr in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

    The moon sighting committee has spoken and the first day of Eid will be celebreated today, in the UAE.




    “It has been determined that Eid begins on Tuesday,” said Dr Hadef bin Jua’an al Dhaheri, the Minister of Justice, at the official announcement after last night’s meeting of the Shawwal Crescent Committee.

    UAE marks Eid al Fitr today
    Tuesday is first day of Eid Al Fitr in UAE and Saudi Arabia

    Eid Mubarak to one and all

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    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Temporary Economic Slowdown in Dubai

    Advice from the FT:

    How long before the financial crisis and economic slowdown will affect Dubai? When do you think the Dubai property bubble will burst?
    Yves G. L. Wolters, London

    MM: The financial problem in the U.S. has already impacted the Dubai market with stock prices down from their previous highs. As a result of that financial crisis, credit markets in Dubai have become tight. We therefore should expect difficult conditions temporarily.


    Emerging Opprtunities

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    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Who is Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan?

    When one mentioned Sheikh Mohamed in association with the Emirates, one may think of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid of Dubai. To clarify confusion, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is for Abu Dhabi what Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was to Dubai. He is the architect of what is happening to Abu Dhabi right now.



    His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He became Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in November 2004 and was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces in January 2005. Later that month, he was promoted to the rank of General. Since December 2004, he has also been the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.


    - The best bloopers are here

    General Sheikh Mohamed has held many positions of authority and draws upon a wealth of diverse experiences. In January 1993, His Highness was appointed Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces and held the rank of Lieutenant General from January 24, 1994 until January 2005, when he was promoted to the rank of General. On November 30, 2003, His Highness was appointed Deputy Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. On January 6, 2004, His Highness was appointed the Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

    His Highness received his formal education in the UAE and England and graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1979.

    His military training included courses in basic armor, basic flying, helicopter conversion, tactical flying, and basic paratroops. He has also completed the Staff College course. General Sheikh Mohamed's experience encompasses commanding an armored unit, a Gazelle helicopter squadron, the Air School and the Air College. He has been Commander of the UAE Air Forces and Air Defense, Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces.

    In addition to his military responsibilities, General Sheikh Mohamed was the principal advisor on security issues to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. General Sheikh Mohamed is the President of the ECSSR and an active member of the Supreme Petroleum Council, which has policy jurisdiction over oil and energy issues. He is also Head of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED), which is the premier economic planning institution in the UAE.



    His Highness is also the Head of the Mubadala Development which, since its establishment in 2002, represents the main investment vehicle for the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to achieve sustainable social and economic benefits for the Emirate. General Sheikh Mohamed is also the Head of the UAE Offsets Group. In addition, His Highness is the Head of the Abu Dhabi Education Council which was set up in September 2005 to develop education and vocational training.
    The private sector did not exist in the emirate of Abu Dhabi three years ago, according to chamber of commerce president Salah Salem Bin Omeir Al Shamsi. “The government’s vision is for the private sector to lead the development of Abu Dhabi to create a true global capital,” he says, crediting Abu Dhabi’s successful economic growth in recent years to the leadership of his royal highness the crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

    Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, is next in line for the presidency of the United Arab Emirates, after his brother Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for whom he acts as special adviser. Sheikh Mohamed has been widely credited for leading the Abu Dhabi executive council in its mission to develop and plan Abu Dhabi’s future by restructuring the public sector in order to introduce private sector participation.

    Although the development of Abu Dhabi has been accelerating rapidly over the past few years, a controlled and cohesive plan spearheaded by Sheikh Mohamed has ensured the emirate does not suffer the effects of traffic congestion and poor infrastructure, which more uncontrolled development in neighbouring emirate Dubai has created.

    Historically, most businesses in Abu Dhabi were family run and there was almost no market competition. Today, public shareholding companies play a strong role in the UAE’s economy and will continue to drive growth as the private sector becomes stronger. Foreign businesses must operate within joint-venture agreements with local partners but many believe this regulation will change with the introduction of industrial free zones as the city develops.

    And it is these industrial free zones that will attract and develop a more diverse industrial base in order to diversify from a largely oil-based economy. Of the seven emirates which make up the UAE, Abu Dhabi sits on 90% of the country’s oil reserves and 9.2% of the world’s known oil reserves as well as 4% of its natural gas.

    The abundance of its natural resources makes Abu Dhabi one of the richest places on Earth, with a per capita income of $30,000. But Sheikh Mohamed understands the dangers of overdependence on the oil and gas industry, embarking upon a proactive strategy of economic diversification calling upon the private sector and foreign investment to realise this ambition.

    General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has received numerous citations and decorations from the UAE, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Qatar, the Kingdom of Morocco, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.

    Born in 1961, General Sheikh Mohamed is married and is the father of nine children.

    Source: AbuDhabi.ae
    FDI magazine

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    Atlantis Dubai Launch

    Atlantis Palm Dubai opens its doors on time…but on budget?

    700 guests checked into the ‘hotel of the moment’ on Wednesday 24th September, eager to experience the latest 5 star glam hotel and it’s new attraction – Aquaventure the middle east’s tallest and fastest free fall waterslide – Leap of Faith with its scary 27.5 metre drop. Guests were approached on their verdict – some almost too overwhelmed at what they had just experienced but yet very eager to have another go.

    It’s truly commendable the Atlantis Dubai managed to pull off the opening as planned on the date set despite incurring fire damage to the inside and roof of the lobby caused by ceiling decoration sparking a fire whilst work was being carried out earlier this month. It is believed the cost of damage could escalate to $35 million. The catastrophe was resolved with the aid of thousands of labourers working night and day to rectify the damage with just a slight hiccup of a few cranes parked outside the main entrance on opening day.



    However, this has not discouraged people to book into the US$1.5bn hotel. Alan Leibman, president of the Atlantis told the radio station Dubai Eye occupancy rates are over 50 percent. But is the resort living up to the hype? Apparently so.
    5 star service and quality is being delivered left, right and centre according to most guests and the Aquaventure is far from failing to impress all age groups. But isn’t this what happens when all new hotels, especially 5 star hotels are born? All the publicity, and being part of the opening makes any Terry and June feel like BradJelina. Let’s watch this space and give time for the new hotel on the block syndrome to wear off and see if the Atlantis Dubai maintains its charm and best behaviour in months to come.

    If reading this article somewhat tempts you to booking your Christmas holiday early, Emirates Airline have announced an offer of a complimentary one and two night stay for all passengers flying on Emirates First and Business Class during the offer period. Check out their website for more details.


    The resort’s official opening party is on Nov 20 estimated at $35m, with a guest list of 2,000 all being offered complimentary stay. Kylie Minogue will throw a 60 minute concert and earn $4m and guests will view the most amazing firework display hyped to top the Beijing Olympics at a cost of $6.58 million. I’m invited….in my dreams!

    Atlantis Dubai
    Khaleej Times Article

    The National Article

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    Who is Khaldoon Al Mubarak?

    Khaldoon (or Khaldoun) Al Mubarak is a leading international business figure from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He currently runs one of the world's largest investment and development organizations, Mubadala Development Company.

    As CEO and Managing Director of Mubadala Development Company, he oversees a rapidly growing organization with significant interests in the energy, industry, infrastructure, aviation, real estate and commercial finance sectors. He also manages long-term partnerships between Mubadala Development Company and the world's most successful organizations, including GE, Ferrari and other industry-leading companies.

    Khaldoon holds a senior policy advisory role within the Government of Abu Dhabi. He is also Chairman of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, established to run the Emirate's inaugural Formula One Grand Prix in 2009. He was instrumental in the negotiations that secured Formula One for the UAE, and continues to oversee preparations for the inaugural race in 2009, including the development of the landmark Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

    He also sits on the boards of a number of leading companies in the UAE, including ALDAR Properties, First Gulf Bank and Dolphin Energy.

    Khaldoon holds a degree in Economics and Finance from Tufts University, Boston.

    Man City Future

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    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Observing Ramadhan

    Some great pictures regarding Ramadan/Ramadhan/Ramzan! As we draw to the end of this month, it's worth observing how Ramadan is undertaken all over the world.




    Observing Ramadan

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    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Banking jobs in Dubai

    Watch all the bankers in London and New York try for work in Dubai, but obviously at a lower rate:

    Now, as more bankers seek work in Dubai, the premier staging post for the booming oil rich region, the laws of supply and demand are kicking in.

    “Bankers who are under threat in London or New York may have less bargaining power if they are asked to relocate to the Middle East,” says David Johnson, regional chief for headhunter Whitehead Mann. “You may therefore see a reduction in packages being offered.”


    But the lower rate will also reduce the banking salaries for those already in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

    Rush to the Gulf set to lower salaries

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    Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism in the UAE

    The IMF have just released the above paper. Here are the key findings:

    1. A basic legal framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing is in place in the UAE, but that framework needs further strengthening in a number of areas. The AML law needs to be amended to expand the range of predicate offences and to provide greater powers for the financial intelligence unit. The FIU should also increase its own staffing so that it may operate as an autonomous unit, rather than relying on the resources of the Central Bank's Supervision Department and other regulatory agencies.

    2. The legal framework for the financial sector preventive measures in the domestic sector provides a basic grounding, but it mostly predates the revision of the FATF Recommendations in 2003, which have now imposed much more detailed requirements. While the central bank has taken various administrative measures to strengthen the regime within the domestic sector, these require a more solid basis in the legal and regulatory framework, especially with respect to the customer due diligence (CDD) and related obligations. The regime applied to financial institutions operating within
    2 the Dubai International Financial Centre tends overall to be relatively close to the FATF standards.

    3. The suspicious transactions reporting system delivers a lower number of reports than might be expected within a financial market of the size and nature of that within the UAE, and greater clarity is required about the basis on which institutions are expected to report transactions suspected of being linked to either money laundering or terrorist financing.

    4. The authorities have taken positive initiatives to address the issue of Hawala dealers, and have introduced a voluntary system of registration and reporting. The central bank intends progressively to formalize its oversight regime for this sector, which is to be welcomed.

    5. The basic AML legislation captures some of the DNFBP sectors, but no specific customer due diligence or related obligations have been extended to these entities, and there is no AML/CFT regulatory framework within the domestic sector. At the time of the onsite visit, Dubai International Financial Center Authority (DIFCA) had drafted regulations for DNFBPs. Measures taken within the various free zones vary substantially.


    The full 244 page report can be found here

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    Strategic Market Entry into Dubai

    Morgan Stanley may be going through a tough time at present, but a few years ago, they entered Dubai in the right way and are starting to reap the benefits now:

    “From day one we said we would take it seriously, that we’d be on the ground in a credible fashion. We have got to do business in this region like in any other developed market,” said Georges Makhoul, the bank’s regional head for the Middle East and North Africa, taking a different approach to the classic Middle Eastern banker who used to suck funds out of the region.

    He admits that some of the bank’s initial Dubai hires have been jettisoned, but have been replaced by some top executives from London and New York. The bank’s head count continues to rise to more than 100 at the headquarters in Dubai, compared with 60 a year ago.


    Those who haven't entered yet and were 50:50 about it then, must be kicking themselves now!

    Market entry in places like the UAE and Gulf are all about having a presence to be able to pick up the big win.

    Early punt rewards Morgan Stanley

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    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Driving in the UAE...

    ....can be dangerous


    How Ferrari's U-Turn In Dubai - Watch more free videos

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    Atlantis Dubai on the Palm and Kylie’s Two Million Pounds

    After seven years of construction into the sea, Dubai has a new piece of eye candy for its growing skyline called Atlantis Dubai. The three mile mega resort – The Atlantis Dubai boasts 1539 rooms due to open on schedule this month - 24th September despite a fire destroying its lobby beginning of September. A mix of opinions anticipate the opening of this impressive but unnatural concept of a themed hotel. Built on a man made island which overlooks the palm, another man made island and its dolphin conservation centre including shipped mammals caught in the Soloman Islands doesn’t really make it an eco tourist destination.



    Although we are not a hotel review site for Dubai, we can’t help but appear impressed at the length of creativity and thought that has gone into this super project.The £750m 5* hotel is in the same vicinity as the multimillion properties owned by the celebrity footballers Beckham, Owen and Ferdinand. However critics question whether it will match its breathtaking sister property, the Atlantis Bahamas. The fa├žade is a mix of concepts – Hollywood, arabesque and glam finished in a pale pink shade – not appealing to all perhaps and parts of the interior have been described as a mish mash of the 80’s Dallas series with a cutting edge contemporary feel. Still, some of the top world class restauranteurs have a spot here including the chic Nobu and renowned Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli. The standard rooms are said to be either chic and simple (which is unusual for a 5* Dubai joint) or bold if you go for mid range, with large picture windows looking into the hotel’s 11 m litre lagoon filled with sharks, rays and other sea life. The most expensive room at £15,000 a night will give you 3 bedrooms, four staff and a grand dining table to seat 18 and breakfast.

    For kids and adults alike the fabulously designed Aquaventure - a 42 acre waterpark in the hotel grounds will be the resort’s main pulling attraction. It is non- stop water with amazing rides and a 90ft drop near vertical slide called the Leap of Faith. The Lost Chambers – the main themed attraction is an underground maze filled with tunnels and extensive marine exhibits. It is said the total number of fish at the resort is twice as much as the London Aquarium and is managed by 165 marine specialists.



    The most extravagant launch party has been planned at £16m with A-list celebs, politicians and royalty on the invite list. The per head cost is anticipated at £5000 and pop princess Kylie Minogue is reported to be paid £2m for a 60 minute concert. It is also rumored that Michael Jackson and Madonna are to perform on the opening night. To pump things up even more, the designer of the Beijing Olympics will stage a £3m firework display promised to be even more exhilarating than the 2008 Olympics.

    Atlantis Dubai
    Atlantis Dubai
    Atlantis Dubai Review
    Atlantis Bahamas

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    Monday, September 08, 2008

    English Schools in the UAE

    English schools are extending themselves overseas to reduce the fees they need to charge in the UK. This extends brand, especially where quality is high, and in the Gulf, where supply is way below demand, these schools will be able to charge what they want for a good few years to come. By then, they will have associations with the larger companies who will hold places for senior employees and for expats moving out to the UAE. And so the circle of life maintains itself:

    In recent years, English private schools have sought additional sources of income by opening private schools in the Far East. Until now, however, they had shied away from the Gulf, deterred by fears that Islamic culture would make it hard to create sister schools with any resemblance to the original home model.

    The business opportunity arises from the attractions of an English private school education to the growing number of expats and Middle Eastern families. Fluency in English, internationally recognised qualifications and centuries-old brands are part of their appeal.

    Tradition and Englishness are also a selling point. There are already several international schools in the region. But Charles Bush, head of Oundle, says traditional English private schools have “a tremendous amount of expertise to offer”. Above all, some enjoy a reputation that could give them a head start.


    Schools look to expansion in the Gulf

    SCHOOLS IN DUBAI AND ABU DHABI

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    Who is SHEIKH MANSOUR BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN?

    SHEIKH MANSOUR BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN Believed to be the main financial backer of the purchase of Manchester City. The Abu Dhabi royal is married to Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of neighbouring Dubai, and chairman of Al Jazeera Football Club and the Emirates Horse Racing Authority. The Al Nahyan family fortune is more than £560bn

    Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed al-Nahyan is also a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal family whose wealth is estimated at more than $26 billion (£16 billion). He is the half-brother of the President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi, as well as a full brother of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and therefore is one of the most influential sheikhs in the Gulf.

    In his investments he is thought to be acting for the al-Nahyan family as it invests its oil-generated fortune. Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City Football Club for £200 million and has spent a further £3.5 billion for a 16.3 per cent stake in Barclays.

    You would never get the ruler or crown prince investing directly, so these investment are on behalf of them, so that there is no direct repercussion. These investments are brand building, smart business moves, and leverage some power in the world at a time where there is no money in the west.

    His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was born in 1970, and he graduated from the United States with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science.

    His Highness held the ministerial seat of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs since its inception in November 2004. Besides, he is the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Petroleum Investment Company; Chairman of the Board of Directors, First Gulf Bank (FGB); Member of the Higher Council for Petroleum, Emirate of Abu Dhabi; and Deputy Chairman for Sheikh Zayed Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.


    Key players in the tale of the City

    Emirates investor has all the right connections

    H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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    Dubai buying Manchester United

    You have got to love rumour. A great article in the Sunday Times detailing the real reason for buying Manchester City but also some great info on the tit for tat between Dubai and Abu Dhabi:

    Indeed it is in sport where the rivalry is best expressed, with a series of tit-for-tat deals to sign up the world’s best sporting properties. When Dubai became the home of the International Cricket Council, the sport’s governing body, Abu Dhabi offered English cricket $750m over 10 years to play host to its Twenty20 one-day competition. After Dubai became the venue for a top event on the men’s professional tennis tour, its rival funded a women’s championship. Aware of Dubai’s attempts to host a Formula One grand prix, Abu Dhabi bought a stake in Ferrari and secured a place on the circuit for next year.

    And then, tucked in as the last paragraph - BOOM - where did they hear that?

    The only thing that could put a damper on such gloating would be if the gossip circulating this weekend proves to be true. The American owners of Manchester United, so the rumours go, will soon receive an offer to buy the club that they cannot refuse – from the Dubai royal family.

    And if that was the case, then the Manchester Derby would become the Emirates Derby. They may even have to hold it at the Emirates Stadium. Can you believe it? Probably not. Could it happen? Hell yes!

    Abu Dhabi: the Sheikh's real goal

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    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    AbuDhabiWood

    You've heard of Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood - well here comes AbuDhabiWood. Well, that's not strictly true - as films funded by Abu Dhabi could be made all over the world.


    The emirate on Wednesday set out plans to become one of the world’s largest film producers, with $1bn to invest in productions to be made in Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond. The funding, provided by Abu Dhabi’s government, will allow the Gulf state to back up to eight films a year over the next five years, Edward Borgerding, chief executive of the Abu Dhabi Media Company told the Financial Times. ADMC [formerly Emirates Media Inc - EMI] has set up a company, called imagenation abu dhabi, to manage its film investments. Confirming a report in the Financial Times, the new company on Wednesday said in a statement: “Our target output of eight films every year will make imagenation abu dhabi one of the world’s top producers of feature films and establish Abu Dhabi as a leading centre for content creation.”


    And that will be the differentiator of Abu Dhabi - culture and content. Culture can not exist without content of some sort and so Abu Dhabi will become a media city, a media capital to house creativity in the Middle East, or at least in the Gulf states.

    Abu Dhabi is HOT right now. Any which way you turn, Abu Dhabi is being mentioned. Abu Dhabi has finally reached the global stage, and this is just the beginning. But, buying publicity is one thing, the hard part is buying respectability



    Abu Dhabi takes fortunes to Hollywood
    Dangers of those dazzling trophies

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    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Abu Dhabi Brand Awareness

    The proposed purchase of Manchester City Football Club by Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment marks the first time a major Middle Eastern fund has put its money into the eclectic world of English Premier League football. But, it's not yet complete, and Manchester City didn't get Berbatov, but, they did break the British transfer record fee for the purchase of Robinho from Real Madrid. That, along with all the press coverage for the purchase and all the last minute dabbling with purchasing of players on the last day of the transfer market have risen the brand value of Abu Dhabi. The number of people who now know where Abu Dhabi is, and who won't say Abu Dubai, is probably in the millions. That builds on all the work that the Abu Dhabi Brand Office and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority can do. This is the beginning of Abu Dhabi on the world stage. The only things that could dent the brand now is the deal falling through and Man City having a disastrous season.



    Money talks.

    Man City deal is Abu Dhabi United’s goal
    Abu Dhabi investors buy Manchester City

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Abu Dhabi United buys Manchester City

    ....or should that be Abu Dhabi City snubs Manchester United.

    Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment - which is essentially the Abu Dhabi royal family - have just bought Manchester United Football Club, and, at the same time, swipe Berbatov from the grasp of Manchester United.

    Mark Hughes (formerly of Manchester United, remember) must be pissing his pants with glee.

    Manchester City Owner Agrees to Sell to Abu Dhabi
    Spurs accept Citizens bid for Berbatov -Hughes

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    Ramadan Timings


    Ramadan Prayer Times in Dubai 2012
    Ramadan Prayer Times in Abu Dhabi 2012


    NB these are the timings for 2008. Go here if you want the Ramadan Timings in Dubai 2009 or the Ramadan Timings in Abu Dhabi for 2009.

    Ramadan Prayer Times 2011

    Somehow, grapeshisha always gets asked for the definitive timings for Ramadan. We always suggest using Gulf News. Some have a PDF, but this handy chart is essentially all that you need.



    Of course, these are Dubai timings for Ramadan prayers. For Abu Dhabi, add 4 minutes. Deduct 4 minutes for Ras Al Khaiman and 6 minutes for Fujairah, as you would usually do.

    Some have asked about the official labour law for Ramadan office hours. For some, it will be 2 hours less, some more, and some the same. In any case, this is not a month for companies coming to meet to do business. This is a month for conviviality. This is a month for prayer. And after the slow summer months, everything should go back to warp speed during October.

    Ramadan Kareem everyone... and enjoy your iftar buffets!

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