View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dubai the International Metropolis

This is a guest editorial by Hamptons International- property management company.

In this economic downturn some things have been able to remain stable in the Middle East, one of which is real estate and more precisely Dubai.

The property sector was affected for awhile when the economy bottomed out, however the growth of real estate in Dubai seems likely to stay this time. Over time Dubai has become the epicenter for real estate.

Until a number of years ago, there were restrictions on the sale of Dubai real estate to foreigners. However, the lifting of this restriction made the property market in Dubai extremely dynamic. Of late there has been a lot more movement of residential properties in Dubai, after the exceptional growth seen in years immediately after the restriction was lifted. Dubai’s government still has a focus on diversification and is active in shifting its economic base to other fields such as finance, commerce and tourism.

With globalization Dubai has truly become an international city. Walking on the streets of Dubai is just like walking down 5th Avenue in New York or Knightsbridge in London. Dubai offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a multitude of entertainment options. Dubai is situated on the serene Gulf coast and enjoys year-round sunshine.

There has been lots of speculation about property prices in Dubai, however major economic indicators have suggested that the growth rate of property should maintain steady growth. Another benefit from buying Dubai properties is 100% freehold ownership. Rental yields from Dubai residential property is presently between 8 and 10%, better than many developed cities around the world.

Dubai remains a strong real estate market. There is something to choose from for every investor, whether as an owner-occupier or owner-investor. Types of properties available range from residential apartments and signature villas, to office and commercial space, and it is a major attractor for international investors. Dubai real estate boasts amazing projects such as The Palm and The World - the world's largest artificial island clusters, developed with villas, apartment towers and holiday resorts.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “Dubai offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a multitude of entertainment options.”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New York Court America’s Cup Decision takes the Wind out of UAE Sails

The people of the UAE are waking up to learn that a New York court has rejected Alinghi’s proposal that Ras Al Khaimah be the venue for the sailing of the 33rd America’s Cup in February 2010.

The airwaves and Internet today are being bombarded with headlines that RAK has been robbed and the America’s Cup competition is on the rack.

There has been a substantial monetary investment in the AC facilities at the Al Hamra harbour but the loss of face contributes greater disappointment as does the loss of an opportunity to host a big event and showcase the Emirates to the world. Arab hospitality has been lauded for centuries but this decision in a New York court kicks sand into the face of those preparing to welcome the world into the Emirati tent.

With all the allegations about the unsafe location of the Middle East, accentuated by RAK’s proximity to Iran, the UAE has lost the chance to pull off a successful event and help dispel these widespread misconceptions, particularly among Americans.

This court decision is a blow to the America’s Cup tradition which could have added a colourful Middle Eastern chapter to its illustrious story. Instead the America’s Cup continues to be marred by legal wrangling among billionaires and ego-driven sailors who have hijacked the competition and lost thousands of disillusioned spectators and a host of sponsors.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “RAK has been robbed and the America’s Cup competition is on the rack.”

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Israeli Flag Flies for First Time but are all Israelis able to Visit the UAE?

Israeli Flag Flies in UAE
Israel National News reported that the United Arab Emirates raised an Israeli flag for the first time this week in recognition of an Israeli delegation attending an international energy convention.

“Israeli representatives Simona Halperin, of the Foreign Ministry, and Dr. Avraham Arbiv from the Ministry of National Infrastructures, sat under the flag while participating in the committee meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi on Monday.”

“‘Despite the fact that Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, the Israeli representatives were received as equal members, and the Israeli flag flew for the first time in that country,’ said the ministry in a statement.”

Importance of International Relationships
The decision to enable the UAE to serve as the international headquarters of IRENA has been an important factor in the Gulf nation easing its restrictive policy towards Israel.

Any future successful bids to host significant international conferences and major sporting events such as the Olympic Games will require a warming of ties between the two nations and a change to the UAE’s visa policy.

Israeli-UAE Relations on the Tennis Court
An international uproar broke out in February 2009 when Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was denied a visa to attend a tennis tournament in the UAE.

A few days later the decision looked as if it had been overturned when a male player from Israel was granted a visa to play in Dubai’s men’s competition. The Dubai organizers received a significant fine, a protesting TV network withdrew from giving coverage and the UAE was threatened with having the annual tournament taken from it.

Need for Clarification
The decision to admit the male Israeli tennis player to the UAE was accompanied by the rider that the UAE was not reversing its policy of withholding visas to Israeli citizens. It is pleasing to see Israeli citizens attending the meetings of IRENA and flying the Israeli flag.

Web sites still abound, like this one that declare the UAE’s traditional policy (shared by many Arab states) in preventing people from entering the country if they present an Israeli passport or have a passport with stamps they obtained from visiting Israel.

The visa policy needs to be clear and consistent so that Israeli citizens know whether they are welcome or not in the United Arab Emirates.

Link
Zalman Nelson, Israeli Flag Raised in the United Arab Emirates, Israel National News, 15 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
See the Textile and Spice Souks of Dubai UAE, Experiencing the Emirates, 14 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Inaugural Fujairah Fishing Classic is Al Luring, Fujairah in Focus, 16 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Israeli delegates Arbiv and Halperin at the IRENA meeting and the Israeli flag flying for the first time in the UAE. (Photo courtesy of MFA)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

See the Textile and Spice Souks of Dubai UAE

Go with Kevin on an abra (small boat) across the Dubai Creek.

On the way he asks an Emirati guide how to barter for souvenirs and he receives a course in Arabic 101.

This short video in the Emirates Airline ads gives people a taste of what is wonderful and pleasurable about visiting Dubai and the UAE:

* Strolling around the textile souks and looking for a pashmina shawl or scarf to take home

* Buying some traditional Emirati clothes

* Following the scents of the spice souks

* The Creek is a good place to get a different perspective on Dubai.

The souks contribute to the atmosphere of Arabia and provide ample opportunities for buying souvenirs to remind you of the Dubai experience.

See Dubai Creek & Spice Souk in Dubai



On Related Sites
National Animal Symbolic of the UAE, Experiencing the Emirates, 13 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

New Hotel Development along Fujairah Corniche, Fujairah in Focus, 14 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Spice souk in Dubai.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

National Animal Symbolic of the UAE

National Animals
Albania has the lion.

Antigua has the blue whale.

Argentina has the cougar.

Australia has the kangaroo.

Bangladesh has the Royal Bengal tiger.

Canada has the beaver and the Canadian Horse.

China has the panda.

Indonesia has the Komodo dragon, the orangutan, the Javan rhino and the Sumatran tiger.

What animal/s symbolize the United Arab Emirates?

Have a look at this interactive produced by Gulf News on the Arabian oryx and learn about measures that are being taken to ensure its survival.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Ski the Snow Slopes at a Dubai Shopping Mall, Experiencing the Emirates, 12 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

See How Rural is the City of Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 11 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The Arabian oryx. This isn’t necessarily the national symbol of the UAE. In some lists the Arabian horse or the camel are claimed to be the national symbol of the UAE. The more the merrier.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ski the Snow Slopes at a Dubai Shopping Mall

When some of your family want to shop and other family members loathe shopping what do you do? Go to Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates where some can ski the slopes while the others can shop the shelves.

To ski in a shopping mall seems incongruous. To ski on powdery snow in the middle of the desert when it is minus 2 degrees inside and 45 degrees outside is absolutely bizarre.

When my brother came to visit us I thought it was a timely opportunity to make my debut on the Dubai snow. I was pleasantly surprised at how exhilarating it was, how long the runs were and how steep were the challenging parts of the course. It didn’t seem to be as hard a slog as when skiing at New Zealand’s Ruapehu or Coronet Peak.

From this new video footage it seems that Ski Dubai is improving its facility all the time especially with the ski jumps and the cushions that some may wish to use for landing.

This video is part of the attractive Emirates Airline channel. Sure, they are advertisements but they inform, whet the appetite and communicate persuasively why Dubai is a great tourist destination.

See For Yourself



On Related Sites
Fly to and From Fujairah by Seawings Seaplane, Fujairah in Focus, 11 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More about Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fly to Fujairah or Take a Fujairah Flight by Seawings Seaplane

New Fujairah Marina Base
One of the advantages of Fujairah’s new ‘banana’ breakwater is the protection that it gives to seaplanes like those belonging to the Seawings operation in the UAE.

While Seawings has been arriving and departing from a base near the Al Aqah beach the seaplane company had many of their staff in Fujairah last Friday (9 October 2009) to investigate the feasibility of developing the Fujairah Marina as an additional base and one that is central to the east coast city.

Canadian, Scott Macdonald captained the trial flight last Friday morning. The winds were unusually strong for Fujairah but Captain Scott gave the base the thumbs up saying that the ‘banana’ offered superb protection and created smooth waters for landing and taking off.

The Fujairah Marina satisfies all the criteria necessary to function as a Seawings base and this flying company is appreciative of the invitation and support that has been given by the Fujairah International Marine Club through its Major, Ahmed Ibrahim Mohamed.

Fly to Fujairah and/or Back
For Abu Dhabi and Dubai-based residents and tourists thinking of coming to Fujairah for the weekend by seaplane, check out the features and rates for the Tours to the East Coast.

If you wanted to return by plane, visit the page entitled Tours from the East Coast.

Fujairah Aerial Tour
If you reside in Fujairah or will be staying in the eastern emirate for the weekend Seawings provides the East Coast Pearl Experience which is a 30 minute flight. This gives you the opportunity to see and take aerial pictures of Fujairah’s scenic coastline and get a bird’s eye view of the magnificent Hajar Mountains.

The flights leave from the Fujairah Marina (free car parking available) and return to the same location so the new Harbour Club (located in this facility) is a great place to get a coffee before you leave and celebrate with the drink of your choice upon your return.

At the moment these flights are available on Fridays and Saturdays but as demand picks up Seawings could be available on other days.

Ready for Take Off
Get a small group together, make an enquiry and place a booking at this link. Individual bookings are fine and you don’t have to put a group together.

There are a variety of Seawings packages from and to different places around the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah etc.) so check these out or come up with your unique charter proposal.

Current Rates
The current rate for the 30 minute East Coast Pearl Experience around Fujairah is Dh795 for an adult and Dh675 for a child.

Special Deal—5% Discount
When you book with Seawings tell them you saw this article about their flights on Fujairah in Focus and/or Experiencing the Emirates and you will receive a 5% discount. Do this by phoning Seawings at +971 (0)4 8070708 or emailing at this address: reservations@seawings.ae

Get a Taste of the Seawings Experience
Check out this short video on the Seawings web site or follow this link for the Seawings YouTube Channel to see footage of flights around Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah among the increasing number of videos.

Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

UAE’s Gulf News Web Site Gets a Makeover, Experiencing the Emirates, 11 October 2009.

Have You Seen the New ‘Banana’ at Fujairah UAE? Fujairah in Focus, 10 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Seawings plane arriving on its trial flight with Captain Scott Macdonald in the cockpit. The new Fujairah base with the distinctive ship-shaped marina building is in the background.

Overcoming Taboos about Breast Cancer in UAE and Middle East

CNN, in this week’s varied package of ‘Inside the Middle East’, devotes two segments to the issue of breast cancer in this Breast Cancer Awareness month.

No Mammogram No Insurance
Stan Grant interviews Dr Patricia Snozyk, Consultant in Family Medicine with the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, to discuss why 64% of women in the Middle East present themselves to the doctor when their cancer is at the latter stages, which significantly reduces the possibility of cure.

Dr Patricia highlights the various aspects of the UAE government’s initiative to highlight breast cancer awareness including a regulation that women over 40 seeking or renewing their health insurance cover must undergo a mammogram before the insurance is granted.

Innovative Film Gives New Perspective
CNN journalist, Paula Hancocks introduces a creative approach in the Middle East to highlighting breast cancer awareness.

The death of a Palestinian woman in 2004 has inspired filmmakers to produce an innovative animated film entitled ‘Fatenah’ to raise the sensitive subject in the Palestinian territories.

The heart-wrenching tale follows Fatenah's pain and humiliation as she struggles to leave Gaza for treatment after finding few Palestinian doctors willing to help.

At first, one doctor suggests she loosen her bra, while another says her condition will probably go away once she marries. It takes six months for Palestinian doctors to treat her concerns seriously and diagnose her with breast cancer.

The film's executive producer Saed Andoni said it was a gamble telling such a tragic story using animation. But he believes that bet has paid off.

“I think the animation has softened the harshness of the topic,” he said. “Breast cancer and illness and death and Gaza and the siege, it's all heavy stuff, it's all harsh stuff. Put it in an animation style, give it a new dimension, give it a new perspective.”

At a screening in the West Bank city of Ramallah, audience members wept after hearing Fatenah's story, saying they related to her plight.

The woman's father said he cried when he watched it. “It's a very human story and if it can touch the real family, it is a great moment,” Andoni said.

Discussing Taboos & Watch Some of the New Film 'Fatenah'



Links
Breast Cancer Awareness Taboos, CNN Video, 8 October 2009.


Paula Hancocks, Animation Confronts Gaza Breast Cancer Taboo, Inside the Middle East, 7 October 2009.

Further
CNN’s Stan Grant Tours the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and F1 Race Track in Abu Dhabi, Experiencing the Emirates, 10 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

UAE’s Gulf News Web Site Gets a Makeover, Experiencing the Emirates, 11 October 2009.

Have You Seen the New ‘Banana’ at Fujairah UAE? Fujairah in Focus, 10 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: A still from ‘Fatenah’, the first commercial animation to come out of the Palestinian Territories (Image courtesy of DAR Film Productions at the above link).

UAE’s Gulf News Web Site Gets a Makeover

Gulf News online has a new design that projects a clean, fresh, uncluttered, professional appearance.

I like it! Congratulations!

Check it out for yourself by starting with their home page.

Then read what Gulf News thinks it is trying to do by reading this article.

Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Review of New Book: Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City, Experiencing the Emirates, 9 October 2009.

Have You Seen the New ‘Banana’ at Fujairah UAE? Fujairah in Focus, 10 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Gulf News Online Home Page today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

See the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and F1 Race Track in Abu Dhabi

CNN’s Stan Grant and his ‘Inside the Middle East’ team are working to provide a glimpse into the region that is new and fresh.

UAE viewers will be delighted to see the ‘My Middle East’ programme this week which focuses on the nation’s capital.

Abu Dhabi’s Greatest Landmark
Stan takes a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and discovers that is has taken 13 years to build and it is still in the making even though it is used for daily prayer.

The video footage gives a glimpse of the amazing architecture that Stan Grant finds breathtaking:

“It is unbelievable! I don’t think you can find a more beautiful structure,” says the Aussie front man now hosting Inside the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi’s Biggest Event
On the same footage Stan shifts to the capital’s newest landmark, the Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit.

Go trackside with Stan, join the tour and see what will be distinctive about this historic event for the Middle East as the final race on the Formula 1 2009 calendar comes to Abu Dhabi.

Inside Abu Dhabi with Stan Grant




Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Review of New Book: Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City, Experiencing the Emirates, 9 October 2009.

Have You Seen the New ‘Banana’ at Fujairah UAE? Fujairah in Focus, 10 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Review of New Book: Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City

Richard Spencer reviews for readers of the Telegraph, Jim Krane’s new book entitled, Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City.

Link
Richard Spencer, Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City: Review, Telegraph, 9 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Said of Obama: ‘He’s Not a Muslim. He’s a Good Man’, Experiencing the Emirates, 7 October 2009.

Thanks to the Many who Serve in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 8 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Front cover of Dubai: The Story of the World’s Fastest City.

RAK the ‘Sleepy City State’ and ‘Ugly Duckling of the Emirates’

While Alinghi is in the dock at Al Hamra and BMW Oracle is in the dock at a New York Court journalists are spending the impasse writing stories about anything but sailing and in the process calling Ras al Khaimah names.

A Wall Street Journal journalist calls Ras al Khaimah the ‘sleepy city state’ while a writer for the New York Post gives the northern emirate this barrage of put-downs:

“A little-known, oil-poor sheikdom in the United Arab Emirates….the underdeveloped ugly duckling of the United Arab Emirates, controlled by a heavily perfumed crown prince named Saud al-Qasimi….the tiny emirate….the port of choice for Iranian smugglers to bring in illicit weapon materials and flout UN sanctions.”

Hopefully BMW Oracle will soon have a change of heart and docks so the attention can be focused on the preparation and the racing of yachts.

Ras al Khaimah will then become known as the successful host of the first America’s Cup race in the Middle East.

Other Stories and Related Sites
BMW Oracle Objection to RAK More About Light Winds than Iranian Dangers, America’s Cup in the UAE, 9 October 2009.

Said of Obama: ‘He’s Not a Muslim. He’s a Good Man’, Experiencing the Emirates, 7 October 2009.

Thanks to the Many who Serve in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 8 October 2009.

Hugh MacLeod on the Key Element in the Best Stories, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Ras al Khaimah, home of the 33rd America’s Cup Campaign.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Said of Obama: ‘He’s Not a Muslim. He’s a Good Man.’

How many times will American politicians make this statement?

Speaking last week at a conference sponsored by Atlantic Magazine, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham said of President Obama, “He's not a Muslim. He's a good man.”

To give the Senator credit, he was opposing fringe elements in his party who were casting doubts as to whether Barack Obama was born in the USA. The full quote went as follows:

“I'm here to tell you that those who think the president was not born in Hawaii are crazy. He's not a Muslim. He's a good man, and let's knock this crap off and talk about the real differences we have,” Graham said.

Listen to the Clip (It starts at the 2 minute mark)



But in condemning the so-called ‘birthers’ Graham equated being Muslim with being evil or not a good man.

The same footage was played on Larry King Live (6 October 2009) with Senator Graham making the statement: “He’s not a Muslim. He’s a good man.” (See transcript).

Sadly none of Larry’s guests picked up on this blunder. Would they have challenged the statement if Graham had said of someone else, “He’s not a black [Catholic/Jew/homosexual/woman]. He’s a good man.”

He might say that his two sentences were separate but in stating a negative (‘He’s not’) and then following it with a positive (‘He is’), the Senator is perpetuating a widespread prejudice about Muslims.

Slip of the Tongue or Stereotype?
Was this a slip of the tongue? The issue or a variation has arisen many times before and most publically from the mouth of Presidential hopeful, John McCain, while on the campaign trail in Minnesota (10 October 2008).

At one point McCain passed his wireless microphone to a volunteer who said, “I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh — he's an Arab. He's not — " before McCain regained the microphone and replied:

“No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab].”

It was heartening to see John McCain tamping down many of the outrageous outbursts and mistruths but on this issue he left himself with ambiguity and questions about his view of Arabs. The woman said, “He’s an Arab!” to which John McCain said, “No, ma'am. He's a decent family man…”

As John McCain reinforced the view that Arabs are indecent people that you cannot trust so Lindsey Graham has perpetuated a destructive stereotype about Muslims.

Coming from leaders in public office who are speaking before international television audiences this language is unacceptable and must be challenged.

Links
Tom Baxter, South Carolina Republicans Firing Lots of Salvos This Year, Southern Political Report, 6 October 2009.

Lindsey Graham Speaks Out Against Beck and Conservative Fringe Elements, YouTube, 1 October 2009.

Larry King Live, Transcript, 6 October 2009.

John McCain: What is Wrong with Arabs? Experiencing the Emirates, 14 October 2008.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Sheikh Zayed Named by Newsweek as One of the Postwar Transformers, Experiencing the Emirates, 7 October 2009.

Watch First Western Media Report from Ras al Khaimah, America’s Cup in the UAE, 7 October 2009.

Sew Why This Fujairah Resident Has a Smile on His Face, Fujairah in Focus, 7 October 2009.

Ricky Gervais Speaks of Being ‘Born Again’ to the Joy of Work, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 4 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Senator Lindsey Graham.

Sheikh Zayed Named by Newsweek as one of the Postwar Transformers

Sheikh Zayed, the ‘father of the nation of the UAE, has been named as one of the ‘transformers’—postwar leaders who radically remade their countries (‘bringing drastic social, economic or political change) during their time in office.

He is associated in this galaxy with Brazil’s Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, China’s Deng Xiaoping, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Poland’s Lech Walesa and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

The following statement is made about Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who served in public office for 33 years in the UAE:

“Although he was born in a tent at an isolated oasis on the Arabian peninsula in 1918, Zayed created the blueprint for the United Arab Emirates as a modern, relatively tolerant regional economic powerhouse. Born into the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, he worked with the British overlords of Trucial Oman to depose his older brother and take power in 1966. He then convinced rulers of the other emirates in Trucial Oman to unite after the British withdrawal, forming the United Arab Emirates in 1971. As president from independence until his death in 2004, he liberalized policies on women's rights and religious tolerance, which still lagged behind much of the world but improved on other Persian Gulf countries and which laid the groundwork for the UAE's large population of Western professionals and rise as an international business center.”

Read the Entire Article by following this link:
David Graham, Transformers: When Leaders Radically Remake their Countries, Newsweek, 22 September 2009.

Further
Reviewing Sheikh Zayed by Frances LaBonte, Reviewing Books and Movies, 27 May 2008.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Back to the Future Art Museum in Dubai, Experiencing the Emirates, 6 October 2009.

See Alinghi Settling into Base at Ras al Khaimah UAE, America’s Cup in the UAE, 7 October 2009.

See Why this Fujairah Resident Has a Smile on His Face, Fujairah in Focus, 7 October 2009.

Ricky Gervais Speaks of Being ‘Born Again’ to the Joy of Work, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 4 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back to the Future Art Museum in Dubai

It is hard to imagine Dubai is in a recession when you look at this emerging project.

This image (pictured) shows the futuristic building plans for the Museum of Middle East Modern Art to be located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The project is being led by the UN Studio, an architecture company in the Netherlands.

Like many other projects in Dubai, this cultural building is defining new modern design ideas in a city that is investing in its future.

The museum will be located in Culture Village near the banks of Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai). With the blossoming wealth of the region one can only hope that its collection will rival that of other modern art museums around the world.

See other pictures in the photo gallery at this link.

Other Stories and Related Sites
See More Photos and Video of Alinghi in UAE Waters, America’s Cup in the UAE, 6 October 2009.

This Will Be One of the Highest Swimming Pools in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 6 October 2009.

Luxury Pen to Commemorate Gandhi’s Birthday is Not Write, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 4 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: One of the many images of the forthcoming Dubai Art Museum.

Your Business is My Business and My Business is Your Business in the UAE

It happened again this week. I visited a company seeking information and before long I was ushered into the General Manager’s office where the receptionist hoped I would get my answers.

The GM was on the phone speaking animatedly in Arabic. A woman was sitting on the other side of his desk waiting for service and two men were sitting on a couch a few metres back also waiting to be served. I was shown to a couple of leather armchairs to the side of his desk. Everybody could hear the telephone conversation and the issues to do with the female customer even if we all couldn’t understand the lingo.

After the telephone conversation the GM came over and plonked himself in one of the chairs alongside me and asked how he could help. I made gestures towards the other customers and said I did not want to be jumping the queue but he didn’t understand what I was saying and my Arabic wasn’t sufficient to clarify the matter. As a male and a western expat, I was seen to have ‘wasta’ (standing) so I was given preferential treatment.

I then launched into my request with everyone listening in to my business.

It has happened before especially when I have visited banks. I have been ushered into the manager’s office and asked to sit while he attends to other clients. Then when it was my turn, others were welcomed into the room and they sat in the ‘spectator gallery’ and tuned into my affairs that I shared with the manager.

It does not happen every time but it happens often here in Fujairah. My business is your business and your business is my business. I find it different and uncomfortable depending on the privacy and confidentiality of the matters I am seeking to raise.

Perhaps I should not be surprised that this happens in a country where the early dwellers lived in tents but now, in a country of veils, high walls and ‘a land of secrets’ as Michael Palin called one of UAE’s neighbors, I find this issue intriguing.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Americans Claim RAK Unsafe While Alinghi and Locals Highlight Peaceful Haven, America’s Cup in the UAE, 5 October 2009.

Rental Property Update in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 5 October 2009.

Luxury Pen to Commemorate Gandhi’s Birthday is Not Write, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 4 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sheikh Mohammed Riding Dubai Out of the Downturn

Dubai-based, Associated Press journalist, Barbara Surk has written about the downsizing of Dubai’s projects and the vision of its ruler.

The constant unveiling of glitzy, jaw-dropping projects has been replaced by a subdued approach with schemes being toned down and undertaken with caution.

Surk assesses His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, saying that while he has been credited for his city’s boom he has yet to take responsibility for the bust.

In this extensive article many people are quoted who analyze the ambition, confidence and vision of the Sheikh who is seeking to ride his emirate out of the financial storm.

Link
Barbara Surk, Dubai's Ruler Downsizes Ambitions Amid Crisis, AP, 4 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
Americans Claim RAK Unsafe While Alinghi and Locals Highlight Peaceful Haven, America’s Cup in the UAE, 5 October 2009.

Rental Property Update in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 5 October 2009.

Luxury Pen to Commemorate Gandhi’s Birthday is Not Write, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 4 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Emirates Pilots Speak of Fatigue and Safety Issues

Today [Sunday 4 October 2009], the Sunday Herald Sun in Melbourne exposes a serious problem within one of the world's biggest airlines:

“Emirates is the airline. Pilot fatigue is the issue.”

“Using US Freedom of Information laws in Washington DC, we have obtained documents that lift the lid on the true extent of this critical safety issue.”

“Among the documents are a formal complaint to US and Australian aviation authorities and internal emails between Emirates pilots and airline executives.”

“In the detailed complaint, dated December 21, 2008, the author says the document is written on behalf of Emirates pilots, stating: ‘There has been continuous pressure from the commercial department ... according to their (the pilots) opinion flight safety is becoming increasingly impaired.’”

“In other words, Emirates' pilots accuse it of putting profits ahead of the lives of passengers and crew.”

Emirates Replies:
Emirates Slams Paper for Pilot Fatigue Report, Xpress, 4 October2009.

Link to the entire article
Listen to the Pilots, Sunday Herald Sun, 4 October 2009.

Other Stories and Related Sites
The National Newspaper Seeks Readers in Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 2 October 2009.

Five Reasons Why Dubai Should Bid and Win the Olympics in 2020, Experiencing the Emirates, 3 October 2009.

See Alinghi’s Arrival in UAE while BMW Oracle Wants Valencia Venue, America’s Cup in the UAE, 3 October 2009.

Dying to Work or is Work Killing You? Stories for Speakers and Writers, 2 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: “Emirates is the airline. Pilot fatigue is the issue.”

Five Reasons Why Dubai Should Bid and Win the Olympics in 2020

Amid the emotion surrounding the selection of the venue for the 2016 Olympic Games, it is not too early to express the view that Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, would be an ideal location for hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

Here are five rings of confidence:

1. Location, Location, Location
The most compelling reason why Dubai should host the Olympic Games in 2020 is because of its Middle Eastern location.

Leaders of the successful Rio de Janeiro bid for 2016 have demonstrated that location was their ace card as they highlighted the fact that the modern Olympic Games has never been held in the continent of South America.

In its short history, Europe has dominated the hosting of the Summer Olympics with venues such as Athens, Paris, London, Sweden, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki, Munich and Barcelona (with some of these venues being selected several times). The fact that London is hosting the 2012 Games was a negative factor that Madrid could not overcome in its bid for 2016.

North America has had its fair share with St Louis, Los Angeles, Mexico, Atlanta and Montreal and this surely contributed to Chicago’s failure in its 2016 bid to become another host on this continent.

There was a freshness given to the Games when it made its virgin appearance ‘down under’ in Melbourne during 1956 and in Sydney almost half a century later.

The 1980 Games in Moscow was groundbreaking and did much to create understanding after the long years of the Cold War.

The Asian influence on the Olympic Games and thus to the world was significant in host cities such as Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.

Dubai 2020 would be the first time the Olympic Games would be held in the Middle East and this would be of mutual benefit to the region and to the whole world.

2. Unique Culture
The Olympic Games takes on a certain color and character from the city and the country where it is staged. There would be a unique Emirati, Arabic and Middle Eastern flavor that the 2020 Games would acquire, that the Olympic movement and its global spectators have never yet experienced.

By its charter the Olympic Games are commissioned to “encourage and support initiatives blending sport with culture and education” so this would be a significant contribution to a region that would experience lasting benefits from hosting the 2020 Games.

3. 2020 Vision
The UAE and the Middle East have an ancient and rich sporting tradition but Dubai, with nearby Abu Dhabi, has proved to have both the finance and the flair for the staging of major projects and sporting events in horse racing, the F1 Grand Prix, golf, tennis and in 2010, the America’s Cup.

The city of Dubai has exhibited a ‘can do’ spirit led by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum or ‘Sheikh Mo Mentum’ as he is being called in the USA.

Don’t you think there is a certain ring to ‘Dubai 2020’ when one thinks of the vision in this city that has been caught and converted into many impressive projects?

But Dubai is a young city and there is much more to be envisaged and created. If the IOC is charged with selecting venues according to the potential of the host to be encouraged in its “organization, development and coordination of sport and sporting competitions”, then this would be an enduring gift and impetus that the Olympic movement would give to Dubai, the UAE and the Middle East.

4. Playing it Safe
Much political advantage is being made at the moment by the BMW Oracle Racing team about the safety of the UAE as a venue for the America’s Cup in February 2010. Specifically the question has been raised about the proximity of Ras al Khaimah to Iran. This is a trumped up view and another expression of the acrimony between the defender and challenger.

When residents of the UAE travel to western countries, the first question they are often asked is, “Are you safe living there?” A perception of unrest has been cultivated by the media who for years has forged notions of the ‘Middle East’ with images of war and terrorism. Many UAE residents who have lived in the USA, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will testify that they have never felt safer than when living in the Emirates.

5. Playing for Peace
It is recognized that the Middle East has its ‘hot spots’ and certain parts have experienced long-standing conflict. To stage the 2020 Games in the United Arab Emirates would make a powerful statement about “the role of sport in the service of humanity” and would do much to promote peace in the region and throughout the world.

Other Stories and Related Sites
The National Newspaper Seeks Readers in Fujairah, Fujairah in Focus, 2 October2009.

It’s a Wonderful World in Dubai, Experiencing the Emirates, 2 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Rejects UAE Venue Citing Consent and Safety Issues, America’s Cup in the UAE, 2 October 2009.

Dying to Work or is Work Killing You? Stories for Speakers and Writers, 2 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Dubai 2020—five rings of confidence.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It’s a Wonderful World in Dubai

Dubai’s World Islands tops Web Urbanist’s latest list of 'Amazing Engineering Wonders of Today and Tomorrow'.

Following the successful completion of other offshore artificial island communities like the Palm Islands, Dubai’s World Islands was intended to be even more ambitious, larger and ‘pushing the envelope’ of what can be engineered on earth.

The vision is of a 300-island world in which owners can buy and live on their own country. The talk has been of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchasing Ethiopia, Sir Richard Branson occupying England, while Rod Stewart would border him in Scotland.

Web Urbanist signals that The World project has encountered some delays due to the global recession. Two further articles have prophesied that The World is coming to an end—the New York Daily News wondering whether The World is ‘delayed indefinitely’, while The Times of London says the ‘Credit Crunch Signals the End of The World’.

The article in the Times conjectures about some structural problems with the project and safety issues for shipping but it is important to read the comments to this article which indicate that a delay does not necessarily mean a cancellation of The World.

Link
7 More Amazing Engineering Wonders of Today and Tomorrow, Web Urbanist, 20 September 2009. Check out all the engineering wonders in the list.

On Related Sites
Try Out the Harbour Club Bar and Restaurant in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 1 October2009.

Dining in Dubai, Experiencing the Emirates, 1 October 2009.

BMW Oracle Rejects UAE Venue Citing Consent and Safety Issues, America’s Cup in the UAE, 2 October 2009.

Dying to Work or is Work Killing You? SFS, 2 October 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Visual impression of The World, Dubai.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dining in Dubai

What food do you serve in a Dubai desert?

This short video reveals the abundance of food from all over the world and the wide range of restaurants that are available in Dubai.

There is a vibrancy about the Dubai restaurant scene.

Interviews indicate that Dubai chefs are scooping international awards and are becoming known for their innovation and creativity.

Interestingly, diners visit restaurants in Dubai not just for a good feed and lubrication but for the experience and to take the taste buds on a journey of flavour.

Yes, this video is an advertisement for Emirates Airline who have targeted the epicurean experience as one of the reasons why international visitors might climb aboard.

See For Yourself



Related
Tasting the Emirates, Experiencing the Emirates, 30 September 2009.

Further
Sightseeing in Dubai, Discover Dubai, ETE, 28 September 2009.

Sport in Dubai, Discover Dubai, ETE, 28 September 2009.

On Related Sites
Try Out the Harbour Club Bar and Restaurant in Fujairah UAE, Fujairah in Focus, 1 October2009.

Readying Al Hamra Island for the America’s Cup in UAE 2010, America’s Cup in the UAE, 28 September 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: The innovative Al Mahara Aquarium Restaurant, Burj Al Arab Hotel.