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  • Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Oath of Allegiance

    In a couple of years the UAE will be 40 years old. And with the Arab Spring, the UAE has remained stable. But will you sign you allegiance? The UAE has provded opportunity to many different people from different walks of life from all over the world. But what must you commit to, to show your gratitude.

    Enjoy the celebrations.


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    Monday, November 14, 2011

    24 hours in Dubai

    A haunting yet amazing time lapse video of 24 hours in Dubai centred on Burj Khalifa. Worth 5 minutes of your time. You will want to watch it again.

    If you are looking for things to do in Dubai in 24 hours check out our itineraries.

    24 hours in Dubai


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    Friday, November 11, 2011

    The Diversity of Dubai

    The Dubai Airport Flash Mob Video shows the diversity of people who travel through Dubai - which is a reflection of the people who live in Dubai. Enjoy!


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    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    Dubai's Sewage from the Sky

    Name another world record that the World's tallest tower, the Burj Dubai? The world's highest toilet (in a building). And in a recent interview, Kate Ascher on NPR talked through some of the problems of the Dubai Sewage system, in advance of her new book, The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper, released tomorrow.

    The book is not really about Dubai - it's about skyscrapers, but any reference to Dubai anywhere always gets a level of bashing - so this one turned into a discussion of the sewage system - or lack of it...

    Here's the transcript.

    GROSS: So what is currently the tallest building in the world?

    ASCHER: The tallest building in the world is a mixed-use building that open in Dubai last year called the Burj Khalifa, which holds hotel, office, and residential accommodations.

    GROSS: And how many stories is that?

    ASCHER: It's about 140 stories, I believe. It may be 150. It's about 2,700 feet tall, so it's very, very tall.

    GROSS: Have you been in it?

    ASCHER: I haven't been in it. The last time I was in Dubai it was only 115 stories, but I couldn't see the top of it because it was in cloud. I'm looking forward to going back and seeing if I can make it on the observation deck elevators all the way to the top, which for somebody who doesn't like heights, this should prove quite a challenge.

    GROSS: Right. So you know, you write that in Dubai they don't have, like, a sewage infrastructure to support high-rises like this one. So what do they do with the sewage?

    ASCHER: A variety of buildings there, some can access a municipal system but many of them actually use trucks to take the sewage out of individual buildings and then they wait on a queue to put it into a waste water treatment plant. So it's a fairly primitive system.

    GROSS: Well, these trucks can wait for hours and hours on line.

    ASCHER: That's right. I'm told they can wait up to 24 hours before they get to the head of the queue. Now, there is a municipal system that is being invested in and I assume will connect all of these tall buildings in some point in the near future, but they're certainly not alone. In India many buildings are responsible for providing their own water and their own waste water removal.

    So it's, it's really – we're very fortunate in this country that we assume we can plug into an urban system that can handle whatever waste the building produces. That's not the case everywhere else in the world.

    GROSS: Well, it really illustrates one of the paradoxes of modern life, that we have these just incredible structures that reach, you know, that seem to reach to the sky and then in a place like Dubai you have a 24 hour long line of trucks waiting to dispose of the waste from those buildings.

    ASCHER: Right. Well, you know, you have to remember that a place like Dubai really emerged in the last 50 years. It was a sleepy, you know, Bedouin town half a century ago. And what you do is when you bring in the world's, you know, most sophisticated architects and engineers, you can literally build anything, including a building of 140 or 150 stories. But designing a municipal network of sewage treatment is in some ways more complex.

    It certainly requires more money and more time to make it happen, so one just seemed to jump ahead of the other.

    it certainly does feel as if it is cart before the horse. The flip side is that when everything took off - it seemed as if there was a race to build as much as possible to maintain momentum. Now Dubai is a modern day metropolis - let's just hope the sewage system can be sorted out - or it will become a smelly one - if the expenditure to maintain the primitive method of trucks to plant can not be maintained.

    Next time you see a truck driving into the desert, think twice.

    Interview Transcript

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    Friday, November 04, 2011

    UAE Bribery

    Surveys come out on all sorts of things. And people don't like it when they come bottom. It didn't quite happen for the UAE but they didn't do very well with the Corruption Perception survey. Essentially this refers to bribery.

    From the National:

    Companies in Russia are the most likely to pay bribes when doing business abroad, according to a list released by anti-corruption group Transparency International (TI). China, Mexico and Indonesia follow closely behind, with UAE and Argentina tied next and then Saudi Arabia just right after. Firms from Russia and China have collectively invested $120 billion overseas in 2010. The survey interviewed 3,000 business executives and looked at 28 leading export countries and territories, which account for 78 percent of the total outflow of goods, services and investment worldwide.

    What's the impact of this? Sometimes nothing - but with laws around the world changing, the impact could be drastic. The recent UK Bribery Act is one such example.

    UK Law Firm, Fortune Law, advises that the law has far reaching consequences. One such offence:

    The offence of bribing a foreign public official is in itself an international offence

    Fortune Law can offer advice on such matters, for UAE firms operating in the UK to help prevent such issues and also to advise about this new act.

    UK Bribery Act 2010 - Advisory by Fortune Law
    Fortune Law
    UAE companies debut with 5th place in bribery global survey

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