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Mastercard does the Burj Khalifah 12, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Hat tip: UAE Community Blog

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Burj Khalifah will be late to open 8, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The National reports that not even a third of all the available office space in the Burj Khalifah will actually be ready in time for tenants to move in in March. More generally, the developers are pessimistic as to its final occupancy rates. They estimate that only 70-80% will be occupied in the next 12-16 months, a direct result of Dubai’s property crash.

Al Jazeera’s cheeky Burj Khalifah headline 5, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Al-Jazeera.
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Al Jazeera’s headline on a lead article discussing the opening of the world’s tallest building in Dubai is, I believe, an example of the type of journalism that angers various people around the region.

دبي تتجاهل الديون وتفتتح برجها

Dubai ignores the debt and opens its tower

My translation is, I think it’s fair to say, a kind one. The root of the verb that they use for ignore  VI جهل means, according to the universally recognised most authoritative arabic-english dictionary:

to ignore; to refuse to have anything to do; shut one’s eyes, disregard; to affect ignorance, pretend to know nothing

Whilst my arabic is in no way, shape or form good enough to pronounce something to be the case, I really would suggest that this is a really rather cheeky headline. This word has well-known connotations and other meanings that are rather negative. There is, incidentally, no way of knowing what the author really was trying to get at: he could have been meaning to say ‘Dubai pretends to know nothing about its debt and opens its tower'; both are written exactly the same in the Arabic language but mean, of course, different things. This kind of naughty quasi-double entendre is par for the course for many journalists as an interesting headline to attract attention. I doubt, however, whether the powers that be in Dubai would be quite as forgiving.

Update:

Poor form, I forgot the Hat tip: Abstract JK and his tip-top blog http://alajnabi.blogspot.com/

Burj Dubai renamed Burj Khalifah 4, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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In a staggering sign of the times, the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world and the epitome of all that is Dubai, has been renamed the Burj Khalifah, after the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. This comes after Abu Dhabi bailed out Dubai from its largely self-induced financial meltdown towards the end of 2009 to the tune of at least $25bn.

The unanswerable question is, of course, just how grudging Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was in changing the name of his premiere, world attention-gathering, pet project. Certainly, he would not have given up this huge honour lightly but given the scale of the help offered to Dubai by its sister Emirate, Al Maktoum must simply have been left with no choice. It was expected that Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, was going to be ‘creamed off’ by Abu Dhabi as part payment, but to my knowledge no-one predicted that the price would be quite this high.

Burj Dubai opens 3, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai, opens on the 4th January 2010. It is a potent symbol no matter which way you look at it. Either it represents the ultimate, hubristic and gaudy folly of Dubai’s arrogance or it is a daring symbol of change and progress; a pointer to Dubai’s ambition and – they hope – their future.

Some facts and figures:

  • It cost: $800,000,000 or $4,100,000,000,000 or $1,400,000,000,000 depending on who you believe
  • It is 818 meters or 2,684 feet tall
  • It has more than 50 lifts some going as fast at 40 miles per hour (allegedly)
  • It has 160 floors
  • Although Dubai is not a country known for its abundant water resources, there will be a $218 million fountain in the Burj Dubai lake shooting water some 150 meters into the air
  • It will surely have one of the gaudiest hotels in the world (designed by Armani) rivaling only the Burj al Arab in hideous over-the-top opulence

Here’s a rather nifty video taken from the very top.

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