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  • Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Ramadan Pictures

    Every year the Boston Globe publishes its fave Ramadan photos. They're all great - and show Ramadan being celebrated around the globe. Here our favourite, but check them all out:

    Ramadan Prayer Times 2011


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    "Arabs are not used to being told what to do"

    Hat tip to Geoff Pound. The UK Tourism Authority are providing advisory ahead of the 2012 Olympics, "as part of its campaign to help enhance cultural awareness, avoid misunderstandings and boost performance in caring for customers"

    here's what it says about Emiratis:

    Remember Arabs are not used to being told what to do.
    Visitors from the United Arab Emirates can take great offence if you appear bossy. They appreciate being looked after by staff who have been trained to understand Arab culture. For example, it is culturally insensitive to ask an Emirati whether they want bacon with their eggs or to include a half bottle of wine with the table d’hote menu.

    Is that really how Emiratis are perceived?

    In other culturally insensitive news, the onion provides the funniest satirical take down on muslim generalisation as terrorists:

    Gentries, 48, said he had absolutely no interest in exposing himself to further knowledge of Islamic civilization or putting his sweeping opinions into a broader context of any kind, and confirmed he was "perfectly happy" to make a handful of emotionally charged words the basis of his mistrust toward all members of the world's second-largest religion."I learned all that really matters about the Muslim faith on 9/11," Gentries said in reference to the terrorist attacks on the United States undertaken by 19 of Islam's approximately 1.6 billion practitioners. "What more do I need to know to stigmatize Muslims everywhere as inherently violent radicals?"

    Man Already Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims
    Visit Britian


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    Million Dollar Bill

    Abu Dhabi may be known for its billions, but for one teller, being asked to change not one, but two million dollar bills into smaller denominations:

    A man has been arrested after a woman was tricked into trying to change two souvenir US$1 million notes at the UAE Central Bank. The 44-year-old suspect, AB, from Ivory Coast, convinced the woman that the notes were being used in currency markets and told her to exchange them in return for 30 per cent of their value, police sources said. The notes were, in fact, issued by the US-based World’s Millionaires Club as a souvenir for selected members and are sold at nominal prices. They do not have a value of US$1m.

    Apparently the suspect is claiming that he actually believed that notes were real.

    Woman asked bank to change fake US$1 million bills


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    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Floyd Mayweather Jr in Dubai

    The rumours are that Floyd Mayweather Jr's next big money fight will be in Dubai. Dubai has been talked about in boxing circles for many years - and if you are looking for a high profile fight, here it is (hopefully). If you are not familiar with boxing, Floyd Mayweather Jr is probably the best boxer alive, IMHO - unbeaten, and great value. He's a boxing machine:

    Floyd Mayweather

    Boxing: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Set to Announce Next Fight in Dubai

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    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    The Real Axis of Evil

    Two great videos worth watching. Maz Jobrani and Jamil Abu-Wardeh. Enjoy! A great cause. "I need to get to Zara."


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    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Abu Dubai = Abu Dhabi + Dubai

    Last week, Al Manakh published their piece on Abu Dubai that has featured previously in the amazing book that they published. Mishaal Al Gergawai puts together and interesting case as to how Dubai and Abu Dhabi will come together, as can be seen from the maps of "abu dubai" at Al Manakh:

    "In 2008, when Abu Dhabi and Dubai were both investing heavily in infrastructure, restructuring executive authorities and launching new initiatives on an almost weekly basis, it was already evident that the two cities were heading in a direction that neither of them had envisaged or openly admitted. Other nations had been able to maintain separate administrative and commercial capitals but with greater distances between them: Beijing-Shanghai (1,067 kilometers), Berlin- Frankfurt (432 kilometers) and New York-Washington DC (337 kilometers). With 120 kilometers separating them, Abu Dhabi and Dubai were destined to run up into each other. And that distance had already dwindled; their expanding outer regions, measuring from Jebel Ali to Shahama, were within 80 kilometers of each other. The result was turning out to be Abu Dubai, the then unspoken name of a metropolis phenomenon that recharged both of its halves."

    Why does Gergawi think it will happen? It's the inevitable. The land mass is there and eventually it will become one:

    Abu Dubai: a city never founded yet had to be. The cities remain officially Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and each maintains a municipal government. Yet among the public – as well as some academicians, historians, urban planners and a few other groups – they are referred to as Abu Dubai. What does it mean? Some cynics say it is the result of a circumstantial urban merger while romantics call it the maturing of two cities that together became more than what each could ever be alone. Debates aside, the fact remains that Abu Dubai is a sum and interaction of districts and islands from Musafah to Nahdah. Integration and synthesis continue.

    Al Gergawi's prediction of the future holds many truths. And there is a chance that a future generation will see the benefits. Being one but different. Stronger together. Al Imarat.

    In the mean time, here is Abu Dhabi and what it represents:

    Volume 23: Al Manakh Gulf Continued

    Volume 12: Al Manakh

    Al Manakh 2: Export Gulf


    Abu Dubai


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    Destitute in Dubai

    He finally returns to the UK after managing to find some wasta. This case highlights the issues with debt, cheques and the problems that come with banking in the UAE, in this case with Emirates NBD.

    Part 1
    Part 2


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    Thursday, August 05, 2010

    Bikinigate in Dubai

    It seems like a adolescent male dream - criticize a woman for wearing revealing clothing and she gets her kit off down to her bikini. It didn't quite happen like that. According to the Mail:

    'The British woman was wearing a very low top and most of her legs were on display.'The Arabic woman stopped to criticise her and that's when she stripped off. That's when things started to get out of hand.'We ended up questioning both women after receiving a call from the mall security staff.'

    And that's when the British tourist was arrested. But it beggars belief that one would do such a thing. Each country has its rules. If you choose to play in a country other than your own, then play by their rules.

    More PR for Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world. Yes, you heard it right: THE BIGGEST MALL IN THE WORLD (where the woman got arrested for taking her clothes off)

    This will be cited as another example of a clash of cultures:

    1. Charlotte Adams, 26, was jailed for a month earlier this year for allegedly kissing Ayman Najafi in public
    2. In 2008, Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were jailed and deported for having "sex on the beach".
    3. And now bikinigate.

    The Brits will no doubt complain that if the reverse were to happen in the UK, they would be accused of being racist. I ask you to consider the opposite: Imagine a British woman in Westfield Shopping Centre telling a Shayla clad woman that she's too covered up. And that woman covering up to a full niqab/burqa levels in defiance.

    Moral of the story: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the sun. Don't get hotheaded and get your kit off. It's just silly.

    I call on Noel Coward:

    Sparse detail thusfar, but we await to hear more. Good job this didn't happen in Iran or Saudi Arabia.

    Briton held for wearing a bikini in Dubai shopping mall after fight with Arabic woman

    UPDATE Charges are now dropped - according to the Sun:

    Bikini Tourist Nabbed in Dubai

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    Wednesday, August 04, 2010

    Dubai Aquarium's Sea Zoo

    Fancy being a p-p-p-p-penguin?


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    Sunday, August 01, 2010

    Blackberry and the UAE

    Fruit and phones, eh? First there was Orange, Blackberry, then Apple entered the market. If you have been asleep all day, the news is that the TRA (Telecoms Regulatory Authority) will suspend some RIM services from October, meaning that having a blackberry for anything other than using it as a phone device will be a waste of time. This is no surprise - as there were rumblings and grumblings a few days ago. And while the UAE and RIM are supposedly in discussions, it is our belief that this will go nowhere. Saudi Arabia and the UAE will not use back down over their beliefs. And RIM are certainly not going to back down over what their whole business model has been based on. Research in Motion has built it's reputation on its security and while usage has started to slip away from corporates away towards the teen market, it is still the device of choice amongst corporate execs.

    Is the UAE ban of these blackberry services justifiable? The UAE government or specifically the TRA can essentially do as they please. The UAE is an autocracy, not a democracy. They have banned numerous websites, and services including Skype and other voip related services. But their reason for banning services are to do with national security - the same reasons that the west point fingers at the Arab states when the radicals do their heinous deeds. And while some residents moan about the state of the telecoms industry in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE, the prying eye of the law makes Dubai and Abu Dhabi some of the safest cities in the world to live.

    Does the UAE ban of blackberry services matter? Not really. The UAE will continue to operate. There will be some way of cracking the security that some hacker will figure out - and RIM won't really lose their stranglehold on this part of the market. Essentially, they are a small overall player - and do they really care. The UAE is a small market for them in real terms. I'm afraid the global economy will continue to be about the BRIC+USA. It's a bit of a dent in RIM's armour, but to keep their reputation on security, they need to stand their ground. And now that RIM have looked to sidestep a potential blackberry ban in India, this blip will not worry them in the short term. RIM have more to worry about, namely how to survive in an overly competitive marketplace.

    What will happen now with regard of the blackberry ban in the UAE? Not much. It will be in the news for a bit and will be cited as anti democratic every time the UAE is referred to in the negative. But ultimately, less blackberry phones will be bought in the UAE. And more business execs travelling through the UAE will be using hotel Internet generating money for Etisalat, Du and the TRA. I jest - the end result is a pain for those investors in the UAE who hoped there wasn't another thing to remember when travelling through Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

    Right, I'm off to create a fruit branded telecoms company and court controversy to get some PR.

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