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The National refuses to advertise Doha Debates 14, January 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The Abu Dhabi based newspaper The National has refused to advertise a recent episode of the Qatar based Doha Debates. The motion debated in the show was ‘Is Dubai a bad idea?’ The key irony here is, of course, that the audience voted strongly (62%) that Dubai was not a bad idea, showing considerable regional support. Yet, in the wake of Dubai’s humiliation of having their towering, crowning glory the Burj Dubai forcibly renamed the Burj Khalifah, they presumably did not want to have the appearance of gloating or further angering intra-Emirate feelings.

Mastercard does the Burj Khalifah 12, January 2010

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

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.