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Kenya expel 4 UAE ruling family members as terror suspects 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Kenya are currently furiously trying to apologise and reestablish amicable relations with the Emirates after Kenyan immigration officials interrogated four members of the ruling family for hours before deporting them as suspected terrorists.

Can you imagine how indignant and splutteringly angry they must have been? I bet there was some choice language to the effect of ‘but my family could buy and sell your whole country a hundred times!’ And I wonder how they entered the country. Through customs like everyone else? Or did they try to get themselves whisked away from the airport immediately without such small formalities which are clearly beneath them?

The Emirates have responded typically maturely and sensibly by tightening visa restrictions and only allowing in Kenyan graduates.

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Russia’s missile launcher in a box 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Russia.
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The ever inventive Russians have designed a vastly powerful missile system that is disguised as an ordinary shipping container. Reuters reports that

One of the missiles on offer is a special anti-ship variant with a second stage which splits off after launch and accelerates to supersonic speeds of up to Mach 3.

Apparently, Emirati authorities have shown an interesting in buying the Club K system, but then again, what piece of new technology have the not shown an interesting in buying recently?

Given the high and unprecedented ease with which this system can be moved around it is causing some consternation in Washington DC where it is feared that it might get into the wrong hands i.e. Iran.

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Qatar’s obesity epidemic 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, The Gulf.
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Anyone who has lived in the Gulf and has walked through a busy mall will know the scale of the obesity crisis. On an average day, the majority of the Nationals present appear to be overweight and there are always a good handful of really supersized Gulfies. The scale of this problem – pun firmly intended – has reached such levels that the venerable NYT has decided to run an article on it.

They focus on Qatar which has some of the highest obesity levels in the world. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s Qatar’s (and the Gulf’s) extreme wealth that makes a significant contribution to this problem. The article also suggests that Arab custom contributes too, with eating being a focal point of family life, yet I don’t really buy that argument as Arab culture is hardly unique in this respect. Indeed, going out to dinner with a Chinese friend or boss is every much a belt-busting ordeal as it is in the Arab world.

Another aspect that the article rightly picks up on is that relating to genetic disorders. Qatar again comes high up on these kinds of lists too. Families in the Gulf are notorious for intermarrying with predictable results. Given that there are less than 250,000 Qataris, these problems are really quite serious.

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Tax in GCC ‘by 2013’ 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait, The Gulf.
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The Arab Times reports that a ‘reliable source‘ in Kuwait’s Ministry of Finance stated that all GCC countries will introduce a range of individual and company taxes by 2013.

Whilst this is an obvious long-term necessity, getting GCC nationals to see things this way is another matter. Kuwait in particular with its über populist Parliament more used to pushing through £4 billion of debt relief for their already inordinately rich population than discussing tax will have severe issues, I expect, even broaching the topic. One senior Kuwaiti and high-profile businessman told me that the T word is just ignored as it will prove to be such an incendiary topic.

In short, I just cannot see, for example, a Kuwaiti paying personal income tax in the coming decade. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

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3 months for reckless murder in Dubai 27, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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Two Emirati youths have been sentenced to jail for three months for killing a man in his car after losing control during a drag race. The two murderers were driving heavily and illegally modified cars at more than twice the speed limit in a residential area. Whilst the three-month jail sentence may well be viewed as a horrifically lenient and pathetic sentence, it is important to remember that they were also banned from driving for a year AND banned from renewing their licenses for a year as well.

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