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  • Monday, March 29, 2010

    Arab Power List and the UAE Power List

    The World's Most Powerful Arabs have been compiled by Arabian Business. It's always an interesting list to see who pulls the strings. Here are the top 10:

    1 Prince Alwaleed (Saudi Arabia)
    2 Dahi Khalfan Tamim (UAE)
    3 Dalia Mogahed Egypt (Egypt)
    4 Mohammed Alabbar (UAE)
    5 Samia Al Amoudi (Saudi Arabia)
    6 Ahmad Al Shugairi (Saudi Arabia)
    7 Hassan Shehata (Egypt)
    8 Adel Ali (Bahrain)
    9 Fadi Ghandour (Jordan)
    10 Abdo Khal (Saudi Arabia)

    The 10 most powerful people in the UAE, the UAE Power list are:

    1 (2) Dahi Khalfan Tamim - Head of Dubai Police, Intent on breaking Mossad
    2 (4) Mohammed Alabbar - Chairman of Emaar, Mastermind of Burj Khalifa
    3 (11) Khaldoon Mubarak, CEO of Mubadala, Chairman of Man City
    4 (12) Al Ghurair Family, Masreq Bank, Masafi water and Speaker at the FNC
    5 (16) Hussein Al Jasmi, Singer
    6 (18) Mohammed Hassan Omran, Chairman of Etisalat
    7 (20) Dr Sulaiman Al Fahim, Property Mogul
    8 (31) Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chariman of Dubai World
    9 (32) Wedad Lootah, Author of the first sex education guide in the UAE
    10 (38) Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director General of DNRD

    It's always worth checking out the detail, the winners and losers, and rationale. Naturally, there are no Sheikhs in this list. If there were there wouldn't be any room for anyone else. So the question is - is this the wasta list?

    The Arab Power List 2010
    Prince Alwaleed retains top spot in Power 100

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    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Hand Gestures in the Middle East

    Be aware what you do with your hands. In Egypt, tapping two fingers together doesn't mean "no don't do that...." It means somewhat the opposite and then some....

    See what it means at:

    Hand gestures you had better get right


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    Monday, March 22, 2010
    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Sexy Texts and The Minority Report

    A couple in Dubai have been found guilty of having the intention to have an extramarital affair. Yes, that's right - there was no evidence of an affair, but there was evidence of intention. Guilty...and 3 months in the hole. Is this Minority Report in action - no this is using texts to demonstrate intention.

    Steamy text messages have resulted in a three-month jail sentence for an Indian man and an Indian woman in Dubai. Judges ruled that they had planned to "commit sin", a reference to an extramarital affair - which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates. The unnamed pair, aged 47 and 42, were working as cabin crew for Dubai's Emirates airline. Their "sexy texts" first surfaced last year, in a divorce lawsuit by the woman's estranged husband.

    It could have been a lot lot worse if they had actually had the affair.

    Moral of the story: If you are thinking, don't think.

    Dubai jails Indian pair for 'sexy texts'


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    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Traffic City Abu Dhabi - (drive at age five!)

    Imagine being able to drive at the age of five. It's chaos enough on the bumper cars, but on a real life simulated street? Well, that's the latest project in Abu Dhabi. it sounds crazy, but there is a little "method" in this one. Traffic City is being penned as a Traffic Disneyland. Not sure what that means - but I guess, if you like traffic, this is the place to be. Well, if you like traffic, you just need to come to the UAE - you'll get oodles here. Seriously though, here what The National says:

    With its network of roads complete with roundabouts, bridges and traffic signals, it has all the elements to test the most experienced of drivers.The motorists on these streets, however, will be as young as five. This is Traffic City, a police-monitored village where children and teenagers can drive real cars on real roads to learn how to be good drivers from a young age.At a projected cost of Dh150 million (US$49m), Traffic City will provide as realistic an experience of driving as possible. The plans are grand. They include a revolving restaurant, a go-kart circuit and a piano that works in harmony with a fountain. In one section, children aged five to 12 will be able to drive cars that run on batteries at a speed of 15km/h. In another section, youngsters aged 13 to 17 will be provided with cars that run on petrol and can travel up to 20km/h. They will be monitored by a police control room watching out for any violations.

    The question is: is this completely crazy or is this complete common sense? The UAE has one of the worst mortality rates when it comes to driving, so this goes some way to addressing that, but there are other things to consider: accountability, addressing balance, limits. You know what I mean.

    Will traffic city be a hit? Well, we'll find out within years.

    Traffic ‘Disneyland’ to teach children


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    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Information on ADIA - Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

    Ever thought you relied on wikipedia too much? Well, all the "facts" on ADIA used to remain there. That has now moved on with a swanky new website, a review of 2009 and some more info on how ADIA runs. There's not too much detail on actual investments, but it's the first step in a move for more transparency. As the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, it doesn't have to, but this is a welcome step to reach out to the world. What this step does is move away from the jealousy pedestal and create an authority organisation whose view will be listened to. After all, you probably have some of the smartest people in the world working here, 1200 of them.

    Worryingly, 2010 is not looking great:

    ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), considered the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, said the global economy still faces "considerable uncertainty," in its first annual review aimed at enhancing transparency. The fund, believed to have assets of around $500 billion to $700 billion, said the sustainability of a global economic recovery was uncertain as governments were considering rollbacks of stimulus measures. "Indeed, the timing and nature of exit strategies, will probably dominate the economic debate and outlook for quite some time," Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, ADIA's managing director, said in the 2009 review, adding: " ... considerable uncertainty remains about the outlook for 2010." Economic recovery may be slower in developed markets, with higher interest rates and taxes hampering growth, Sheikh Ahmed wrote in a letter published in the first annual review.

    Abu Dhabi SWF Sees More Global "Uncertainty" in 2010
    Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund starts to open up
    Biggest Sovereign Wealth Funds in 2010
    We're not that rich


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    Saturday, March 13, 2010


    The chicken kings are closing in on the humungous market of Saudi Arabia. Al Baik has other plans.

    Middle East Food Wars


    Posted by at 1 comment :

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    Computer Shisha / YaHookah

    YaHookah! The computer you can smoke



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    Thursday, March 04, 2010

    Sleeping around in Dubai

    Have you ever been accused of sleeping around in Dubai? More specifically, have you been accused of sleeping around in Dubai Airport. You're thinking I'm going to talk about adultery in Dubai and what it can get you, timewise, in jail. Unfortunately not. For those who have struggled between flights, using Dubai as their route hub across the world, stuck in transit, and fed up of duty free, there is now an attraction to putting your feet up in the "quiet area".

    What's the solution? Sleepbox. Apparently Sleepbox will be coming to Dubai Airport.

    Rumor has it that Dubai Airport is installing 50-70 ‘Sleep Boxes’. Sleep Boxes are small cubicle spaces that are available at public places like Airports, train stations etc where people can book the ‘box’ for set time period to catch some sleep. It offers a small resting space while you wait for that connection in few hours. Ofcourse it doesnt come with attached washroom…you can use a public one for that. The concept is not new as Japan already has ‘Capsule Hotels’ that serve the same purpose. The only difference is that Sleep Boxes are bigger in size and give space to sit and sleep.

    Imagine the situation that you are in the modern metropolis, where you are not a local resident, and you have not booked a hotel. It is not comfortable situation, because in the modern, aggressive cities there are no opportunity to rest and relax. If you want to sleep, while waiting your plane or train, it may cause many security and hygiene problems. We believe that urban infrastructure should be more comfortable for people. For this purpose we have developed a device SLEEPBOX. It provides moments of quiet sleep and rest from the city without wasting time searching for a hotel. Here are the possible locations for SLEEPBOX:
    - Railroad stations
    - Airports
    - Expocentres
    - Public and shopping centers
    - Accommodation facilities
    In countries with warm climate SLEEPBOX can be used on the streets.
    Thanks to SLEEPBOX any person has an opportunity to spend the night safely and cheaply in case of emergency, or when you have to spend few hours with your baggage.
    SLEEPBOX is a small mobile space (box) 2mx1.4mx2.3m (h). The main functional element in it is a bed 2x0.6 m., which is equipped with automatic system of change of bed linen. Bed is soft, flexible strip of foamed polymer with the surface of the pulp tissue. Tape is rewound from one shaft to another, changing the bed. If a client wants to sleep in maximum comfort, he can take the normal set of bed linen for an extra fee. SLEEPBOX is equipped with a ventilation system, sound alerts, built-in LCD TV, WiFi, sockets for a laptop, charging phones. Also under the lounges is a place for luggage. After the clients exit, automatic change of bed linen starts and quartz lamps turns on. Payment can be made on a shared terminal, which provides the client with an electronic key. It is possible to buy from 15 minutes to several hours.
    SLEEPBOX is intended primarily to perform one main function - to enable a person to sleep peacefully. But it can also be equipped with various additional functions, depending on the situation. Application of the device can be very broad, not only in the form of paid public service, but also for internal purposes of organizations and companies.

    Supposedly, you can rent it for between 15 minutes and a few hours.

    Perhaps the sleepbox might actually be used for sleeping around after all?

    And then a career path will emerge for the Dubai Sleep Police.

    Sleep Box from Arch Group
    Sleep Box coming to Dubai Airport


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    Tuesday, March 02, 2010

    Owl City, Fireflies & Free marketing

    Dubai may have had some bad press recently, but it's currently getting some free marketing. The "group" Owl City, famous for their recent single Fireflies have featured the Burj Al Arab on their cover

    But the big question is Why? Why does the Owl City album have the Dubai hotel, Burj Al Arab on it? The answer: "It encompasses that dreamy feeling I get from looking at the ocean. That's all."

    In an interview with the beeb:

    The album cover is a photo of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. Are you trying to get a free holiday there? I had no idea where it was or what it was when I first saw it, I do now but I thought it encompassed the album title and I guess it was more of an aesthetic thing.

    Dreamy Dubai. That's a new one.

    Owl City Music
    On the verge: Owl City is a state of mind, not a place
    Talking shop: Owl City


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    Death by UAE Road

    UAE driving is legendary for danger - much of it due to fast crazy driving of cars too big for the egos of the drivers driving them. But some is due to bad bad planning. Now one man is trying to change things:

    On 17 march 2009 my sister was on the way to university. It was last day of university and she was on the way with her friend. Two hours later we received call from hospital that she had an accident and we rush to the hospital. Four hours later my sister passed away due to operation where she lost blood. Getting the bits and pieces together , the conclusion was the car on u-turn on highway E11 was responsible for the accident. She was on left lane and the car on u-turn hit her , on impact she hit the tree beside the u-turn.

    Sign the petition if you want to help

    Petition: Close the U-turn on E11 opp RAK Police stations

    RIP Sister


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