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  • Friday, July 29, 2011

    Muslish - prejudice versus probability

    A very amusing piece by Stephen Colbert about how Muslims get accused of everything (due to the actions of a few) - and how the Western media jump on the anti Islam bandwagon every time a story on an atrocity occurs. And let's be clear - the Norway atrocity was just that - a heinous crime of unspeakable evil. But this joke is about the media. Enjoy

    Depending on rights, you should be able to watch one of these. If not hunt down Muslish and Colbert on a video channel. Or go to the Colbertnation website

    The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Norwegian Muslish Gunman's Islam-Esque Atrocity
    Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive


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    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Green Toilets

    An article in the National caught my eye this week - and I think it is a case of green for green sake. The story is of installing solar panels to power toilets in Dubai. But for me the numbers don't work:

    About 80 public toilets across Dubai run on electricity, including the fluorescent lights, exhaust fans and small water pumps. This power source will be replaced by solar power in the experimental toilets, Mr Al Fuqae said. He said solar panels installed on the roofs of the test toilets "will match the architecture of the neighbourhood and will save electricity." If the project is approved, Mr Al Fuqae estimated the amount spent on each toilet would be Dh60,000 to Dh80,000.

    Even at Dhs60,000, by the time you get to payback, the toilets will require a refit.

    Will the plan be approved? Who knows? But I think you should shove it down the toilet. Would you invest in green toilets?

    Solar-power proposal for Dubai's public toilets


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    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Ramadan Prayer Times in Dubai and Abu Dhabi 2011

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

    The question of when is Ramadan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is always on everyone's mind in the run up to the holy month. There's usually a moon sighting committee that calls it, but this yearly, we have been given a little more warning that Ramadan will start on the 1st of August 2011.

    Many expats new to the region wonder what is Ramadan. We give you a flavour here, but here is a snippet on what is Ramadan:

    Why is Ramadan important? Muslims believe that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed during this month on the of night of Laylat ul Qadr, which is on one of the last ten nights of Ramadhan - those are the nights when people will be awake all night praying.

    And for those of you who want the Ramadan Prayer Times for the UAE - here they are. Other Emirates are plus or minus a few minutes.

    Ramadan Prayer times for Dubai 2011

    Ramadan Prayer times for Abu Dhabi 2011

    We hope your Ramadan is fulfilling.

    What is Ramadan?

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    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Arab Summer Hip Hop

    Revolutions and music work together and in a great article from the BBC, there is reference to how an underground hip hop movement is becoming the music to this year's Arab Revolution. But the music came after the Arab Spring and talks of it rather than being part of it.

    The second wave:

    "Hip hop is always something where plain speaking, blunt-speaking, is hard-wired into the genre from the off," says Andy Morgan. But that also made it particularly difficult for musicians in many tightly-controlled Arab states to express themselves. Indeed, until now, hip hop and rap have had only a limited reach within the Middle East and North Africa - principally among Palestinians and in Morocco. But in recent months, hip hop appears to be gaining momentum rapidly in many Arab Spring countries, including Egypt, Libya, and Syria.

    Is hip hop driving the Arab Spring


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    Hell in Yemen

    An in depth article on what is going on in Yemen. Entitled Yemen on the brink of Hell, this gives the detail on the human factor of the uprising.

    “If anyone says there is a regime in this country, he lies,” Zabara told me before he left. “We are like Somalia now, but we have yet to start fighting.”

    The article is from the New York Times magazine and is recommended reading


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    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Dubai Street Art

    This gives bed space a new name. A great little piece called "repost repose" that shoes that Dubai has its own Banksy.

    There's a scene - according to the Khaleej Times - Graffiti leaves its imprint on UAE

    hat tip faesthetic


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    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Grapeshisha News

    We have some news about news. Sounds confusing? Well here's the clarity: We are delighted to announce the launch of Grapeshisha News, a new section that we have added to Grapeshisha. You can find it news.grapeshisha.com. Well, what is it? It's an aggregation of all the best news sources all in one place on the web, with a Gulf slant to it. So, if you are in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the UAE or in the Gulf, Grapeshisha News becomes your starting point to get all your news.

    Indeed, if you are interested in the region, or want to get a snap shot of what is going on, then this is the place to come. With feeds from best of the best media in the region - as well as some of the best in the world, you know you are getting a full view of what is going on right now from a variety of views.

    We have broken up the news into various sections including the UAE, Business, World, The Region and Technology and we hope to broaden the offering in time. We have some coverage of Qatar, and will look to add in some of the other countries in due course. We have also added in a blogger section where we have added some of our favourite bloggers.

    If you have any comments, additions or thoughts, feel free to email us or leave a comment below. We hope you find it useful. In this day and age, we need to be able to consume quicker and faster - and we hope that Grapeshisha News goes some way towards helping you use your time better to quickly read the news that you need, when you need it. It's perfect if you have an iPad or access from the net and it updates automatically.

    What we would say is - if you like Grapeshisha News, when you are on the site, please Facebook Like or Google+ it so that we can spread the word. And if you're really kind, you'll tweet or blog about it! Thanks.

    Bookmark Grapeshisha News today and make it your daily news location. Enjoy!

    Grapeshisha News UAE

    P.S. the first time you use Grapeshisha News, there will be a little delay as all the news caches, but it should be OK the next time you visit.

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    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Hamad in the sand from space - in Abu Dhabi

    Everyone this part of the world have known for a while about it - but the western media have started to pick up that Sheikh Hamad has etched his name in the sand and that it is viewable from space.

    View Larger Map

    I love it when the Western Media jump on a story that has been out for a while, and then proceed to get all the detail wrong: Apparently Sheikh Hamad is president of the UAE. Perhaps, the journalist could use the internet next time to do a quick search - I guess they were so fixed on the "public trial" of their boss Rupert Murdoch, that they just didn't have the time.

    Either way - more marketing for Abu Dhabi!

    Check out our new news section

    The Sun


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    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Women in Yemen

    TED providing another inspiring talk from Nadia Al-Sakkaf the editor of the English language Yemen Times. Enjoy!

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    Sheikh Zayed, the Play

    Honouring His Highness Sheikh Zayed is a difficult thing, such was the greatness of the man. But a play, in his honour is doing the global rounds. Having down the regional rounds, it is now going global

    WP says this:

    Hero worship knows no bounds, particularly when it’s paid for by vested interests. “Zayed,” a multimillion-dollar bio-musical performed Friday and Saturday, was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, which is also funding its overseas touring. Should we view it as a counteroffensive to the Arab Spring’s transformation of Middle Eastern autocracies? Perhaps that goes too far. But “Zayed’s” message is clear: Abu Dhabi really wants you to like this guy.

    but the crowds love it.

    The National


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    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Cold Desert

    The gigantic hairdryer is the image that stays with me from the latest Reuters article talking about the challenge of cooling during the heat and that's exactly how it feels stepping out from the aircon to the desert heat. Actually the air conditioning, we feel, is in direct proportion to the heat outside. Beware of raisin smuggling.

    "If I turn off the air-conditioning when I leave the house, I will spend even more energy to cool down the house when I'm back. So I leave it." Ali, whose name has been changed for privacy, is not unusual in this high-rise city that has rapidly transformed from a sleepy fishing village to an international financial center.
    Many of Dubai's estimated 2 million inhabitants leave their air-conditioning running 24/7, shrugging off tips from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) for electricity and water conservation. Dubai's non-stop running air-conditioners help drive the emirate's summer peak demand per person to more than three times that of Spain — where cooling demand from its 47 million citizens has also surged over the last decade in scorching summers on the Iberian Peninsula. Such heavy consumption in well-to-do UAE cities like Dubai and federal capital Abu Dhabi mean the wealthy Arab state could see another summer of sporadic power blackouts in the northern emirates. It will also face a ballooning gas bill for the fuel used to generate 85 percent of its electricity with global gas prices having doubled from a year ago.

    The interesting number is at the end - peak electricity consumption will increase by 12% between 2010 and 2020. That's not the overall number - it's the peak number!

    Solution: Nuclear

    UAE's mission impossible: Cooling the desert

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    Saturday, July 09, 2011

    The Etihad Stadium, Manchester

    Goodbye Eastlands, hello Etihad. Another Record broken and money changing hands back and forth between Abu Dhabi and Manchester and back again as Etihad signed the 10 year deal for naming rights to the stadium:

    The 10-year agreement, which means City's ground is renamed the Etihad Stadium, will be worth more than twice the previous record, JP Morgan Chase's $300m (£187m) for the new Madison Square Garden, while simultaneously demonstrating the growing disparity between the top clubs in English football.

    And with silverware now in the bag, with the FA Cup, and Champions League football ready for the taking, the future can now begin for Manchester City. But controversy will remain as despite the billions already thrown into the the club to buy players and funf their wages, Manchester City are still in the red. And so this deal will get the full sniffing over by UEFA:

    Etihad are owned by the Abu Dhabi government and the airline's association with the City owner, Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, will almost certainly prompt Uefa's Club Financial Control Panel, under the chairmanship of the former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, to investigate. A Uefa spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation and our experts will make assessments of fair value of any sponsorship deals using benchmarks." Under the terms of financial fair play, clubs have to show they can break even in the medium term if they are to take part in European competitions and, for City, that represents a significant issue given that their last financial figures reported a £121m loss and the next accounts, to be published in September, are expected to be worse. The club have, however, made extensive inquiries of their own, consulting with Uefa in the process, to ensure the Etihad deal fits in with the rules and cannot be construed, in essence, as a different twist to 'mates' rates'.'

    The deal couldn't have come at a better time. With Carlos Tevez complaining about the Manchester weather and how it is time to go home, they may need more cash to buy another world class striker to replace him.


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    The Value of the Burj Khalifa

    For anyone who thought that buying an apartment in the Burj Khalifa would lead to untold riches, they should have bought next door, because the value of the Burj Khalifa is not in the building itself, but in the area around the Burj. And who better to tell us this, but the designer of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai:

    There’s a strategy for developing super-tall buildings because in and of themselves they very rarely make money. So what they’re doing in China and in other locations like Dubai is they will use the tall buildings as a catalyst for developing the land around it and the person who owns the tall buildings and the land around it will make his money off the adjacent land. The tower itself gives the land around it the prestige, a location and an identity.

    The "Old Town" or "Down Town" Dubai is more valuable. The view of the Burj is more valuable than the view from the Burj, yet many still go "At the top" to say they are sky high and to ogle at Dubai.

    Read the full interview with Adrian Smith


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    Thursday, July 07, 2011

    Brusselssprout on Dubai

    If you haven't yet caught the issues from the new e-magazine Brusselssprout, you can find the latest one below as well as issue 1 and issue 2. We love issue 3 - it is a visual dictionary of Dubai, covering anything and everything from Dubai. It really is very good. We found issue 1 a little obscure, but as with all art, each to their own. Issue 2 took that art to the next level, but issue 3 is a real winner. We like this Reservoir Dogs style tribute, Emirati style:

    According to them:

    Brusselssprout is a free curatorial magazine on contemporary thinking and emergent art. Brusselssprout aims to become an open, independent and alternative platform offering content related to the artistic and cultural world. It strives, with the help of the curatorial endeavours of artists and projects that can contribute a different layer to the ever more monopolized artistic scene. Brusselssprout is a luxury for those of us doing it and hopefully for those who consume it. Adapted for the latest electronic devices (Ipad, Kindle, etc), Brusselssprout can be downloaded quarterly in ePub and PDF format from brusselssprout.org.

    And from a recent interview with core magazine, we find out why they covered Dubai for their first 3 issues:

    We think the criticism that Dubai has received from the West has been at the very least frivolous, without taking time to look. We align ourselves with and share the same views expressed by Rem Koolhaas and some of his collaborators at Al Manakh I & II. The view from within Dubai, on Dubai itself, barely exists and the view from the outside on Dubai is completely frivolous and distant. We looked around and found it impossible to understand how the city itself and everything around it has been excluded (almost) from the calendar of artistic production...Almost all current discussion of art seems to focus on the problem of identity, and in our opinion this has nothing to do with artistic production. Almost everything revolves around geographic, religious and cultural identity. The problem of identity is a consequence of the problem of the homogenization of production. No one can ask themselves who they are and be accepted by the rest. It's the others who ask who you are and if you try to answer—big mistake. Dubai, and by extension the Middle East, seems to be caught up in this dilemma.

    It surely is a magnificent achievement and worth 10 minutes of your time this weekend, if you haven't yet seen it. And if you haven't, enjoy! As we said, we think part 3 of the Dubai Manifesto is the best, but would love to hear what you think.

    Issue 1:

    Issue 2:

    And issue 3:



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