Archive for November, 2013

Dubai chosen to host 2020 world expo

November 27, 2013

PARIS (AP) — Fireworks erupted in Dubai after the tiny Gulf emirate won the right to host the 2020 World Expo, becoming the first Middle Eastern city to organize the event in its more than 150-year history.

Dubai bested competing bids from Izmir, Turkey; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Yekaterinburg, Russia, after three rounds of voting by delegates of the 168-nation Bureau International des Expositions in Paris.

In line with its reputation for over-the-top glitz, Dubai lit the world’s tallest tower with glimmering lights. The skies around the Burj Khalifa, which towers at 2,717 feet, erupted with fireworks. The logo of its bid for the 2020 expo was plastered on police cars, convenience store bags, storefronts, taxis, receipts, government buildings and even on a flag on Mount Kilimanjaro.

A spending spree was already underway even before officials announced the host city. Dubai estimates a successful Expo 2020 bid will generate $23 billion between 2015 and 2021, or 24 percent of the city’s gross domestic product. They say total financing for the 6-month-long event will cost $8.4 billion.

In a statement after the vote, Dubai ruler and U.A.E. vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rahid promised to “astonish the world” in 2020. “Dubai Expo2020 will breathe new life into the ancient role of the Middle East as a melting pot for cultures and creativity,” he said.

Delegates voted behind closed doors over three rounds to choose the winner, with Sao Paolo and Izmir eliminated in the second round. Sao Paulo had proposed a renewable energy tower to convert solar energy into the electricity needed for the event and a new economic, tourism and education hub with hotels, schools, and shopping malls.

Izmir, an Aegean coastal city formerly known as Smyrna, had pushed global health and environmental issues for its bid and had chosen award-winning architect Zaha Hadid to design the park for the exposition.

Russia treated its bid to hold the expo as a state priority not unlike its bids to host the Winter Games and the World Cup. Organizers of the pitch for the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg were planning to build 103 pavilions for the expo and accommodation for exhibition participants, later to be converted into a residential area.

The announcement comes just days before the Dec. 2 U.A.E. national day, which celebrates the young nation’s 42 years of unity and independence from the British Protectorate. The official Twitter account for Dubai’s world expo bid wrote after the announcement that the win “will help unlock the vast potential of this region” and that it is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East.

“The UAE is proud to have been selected to host #Expo2020 in #Dubai under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’,” said Dubai authorities on their official expo bid account. While the World’s Fair no longer holds the popularity of other global events like the Olympics or World Cup, it remains a chance for millions from around the world to discuss and see the business of the future.

Last year Yeosu, South Korea, hosted the 2012 world expo. The next one is scheduled to take place in Milan in 2015.

Associated Press reporter Aya Batrawy in Dubai contributed to this report.

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Dubai to construct ‘frame’

By Justin Salhani
Nov. 25, 2013

Nov. 23 (UPI) –Dubai’s municipality announced last week that it would erect an icon to be called the ‘frame’.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: “We have opened tenders and will be giving the assignment to the apt contractor according to our plan.”

“We expect it will be a bridge between the past and future of Dubai and may become a name attached to Dubai like Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab,” he said.

The frame will be a large frame-like structure, similar to St. Louis’ arc but square, that frames old Dubai through one end and new Dubai through the other. The ground floor will be home to a gallery of Dubai’s history.

Source: United Press International (UPI).
Link: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/Blog/2013/11/25/Dubai-to-construct-frame/5991385380151/.

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Heavy rain reaches Dubai forcing airshow to close early

2013-11-21

DUBAI – Heavy rains and flooding forced the annual airshow in Dubai to close early on its last day Thursday while schools in the desert Gulf state were ordered shut.

“The Dubai Airshow is closed for now, we advise people to refrain from traveling to the site,” organizers said in an emailed statement.

Participants and visitors to the airshow that kicked off on Sunday posted on social networks pictures and videos of flooded exhibition halls.

No announcements of new deals had been expected Thursday as most manufacturers had on Wednesday given final figures of contracts sealed during the event.

As the turbulent weather swept across Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates ministry of education ordered public and private schools shut to ensure “students’ safety,” according to a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

Local media reported several accidents that brought traffic to a near-halt in several areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Local media had reported Sunday that one man was killed when floods swept through a valley in the northern Ras al-Khaimah emirate.

Flash floods sparked by torrential rain have hit other Gulf neighbors, some of which normally experience such low precipitation that religious leaders often organize special prayers for rain.

In Saudi Arabia, seven people were killed in three days of rain, the kingdom’s civil defense authority said on Wednesday, adding that five others were missing.

Meanwhile in Kuwait, civil defense authorities announced two people were killed as the amount of rainfall reached 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) in two days — Monday and Tuesday — equal to the average annual rainfall in the emirate.

Heavy rains have also been reported in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

Source: Middle East Online.
Link: http://middle-east-online.com/english/?id=62778.

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Egypt row: UAE recalls Tunisia envoy

AFP
Sunday 29 September 2013

DUBAI: The UAE has recalled its ambassador from Tunisia to protest calls by the Tunisian president for the liberation of Egypt’s deposed head of state, reports said Saturday.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki had called on the UAE-backed new rulers in Cairo to free Muhammad Mursi, in a speech this week at the UN General Assembly.

The UAE, where dozens of Brotherhood supporters have been jailed for plotting to overthrow the regime, had welcomed Mursi’s overthrow and, following his ouster, pledged financial aid to Egypt’s new rulers.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/news/466167.

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UAE uses former Palestinian official to create Turkish ‘Tamarod’ movement

Saturday, 07 September 2013

An informed source in Palestine has claimed that former Fatah leader Mohamed Dahlan, who is currently a senior government adviser in the UAE, has visited Turkey and met opposition groups. The close aide to Dahlan said that the visit was planned by UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohamed bin Zayed and that the ex-Fatah official entered Turkey using a false passport.

It is claimed that Dahlan met young Turkish and Kurdish activists who oppose the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the aim of establishing a Tamarod-style opposition movement in Turkey. The ultimate intention, it is believed, is to complete the overthrow of Islamist movements in the region by toppling Hamas in Gaza and Erdogan’s government in Turkey. The UAE backed the military coup which overthrew the Islamist government of Dr Mohamed Morsi in Egypt.

Turkey has opposed the coup since the beginning in a stance which has angered Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The government in Ankara is being targeted to be overthrown.

The UAE canceled investment projects worth $12 billion in Turkey as a result of Erdogan’s opposition to the coup in Egypt. According to media source Asrar Arabia, it is not unusual for UAE government actions to lead to business losses for companies in the emirates.

Dahlan is a former prominent official in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the secularist Fatah movement. As a result of his internal conflict with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as his failure to undermine the Hamas government in Gaza, he was dismissed from the authority and Fatah and now lives in the UAE.

Source: Middle East Monitor.
Link: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/7266-uae-uses-former-palestinian-official-to-create-turkish-tamarod-movement.

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Qatar: Iran nuke deal step for stability in region

November 25, 2013

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar is the latest Gulf Arab state to welcome the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, calling it a step toward greater stability in the region.

The Gulf’s main political power, Saudi Arabia, has previously expressed unease about U.S. outreach to Iran. The dialogue helped pushed along efforts by Washington and others to strike a deal with Iran seeking to ease Western concerns that Tehran could move toward nuclear weapons.

Saudi officials have withheld public comment on the first-step deal signed on Sunday in Geneva, but smaller Gulf partners have backed the accord. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the deal is an “important step toward safeguarding peace and stability in the region.”

Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have issued similar statements.

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Flash floods claim 15 lives

JEDDAH: MD AL-SULAMI
Tuesday 19 November 2013

At least 15 people have died and eight others are reported missing in flash floods caused by heavy rains in Riyadh and other parts of the Kingdom in the last 24 hours.

The Civil Defense Department said Monday that it had received more than 7,000 calls for help from different regions following rains. “We have rescued over 800 stranded people, while 450 vehicles have been pulled out from flooded areas,” it said in a statement. The department has urged the public to be cautious following weather forecasts for more rains in the next three days.

Col. Saeed Sarhan, the department’s spokesman in Makkah, said the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment has forecast the formation of thunderclouds over the southern Makkah region, Qunfuda and Al-Laith, as well as Makkah and Taif.

Deaths resulting from rain-related accidents were reported across the Kingdom, sources said.

Civil Defense officers found the body of a missing Filipino worker in the Northern Border Province on Monday. He was reported missing after his truck fell in deep waters on a damaged road. Three workers including two Filipinos and an Arab who were traveling with him, survived.

“They suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital for treatment,” said Maj. Abdul Rahman Al-Ahmari, deputy spokesman of Civil Defense in the region. Flash floods had washed away the entire road surface and the ground had also caved in before the truck attempted to cross it, eyewitnesses said. The Civil Defense received a report of four missing workers on Monday morning, he said. “There were light to heavy rains in many parts of the Makkah region, including Meesan and Adham,” Sarhan said, adding that his department had not received any emergency calls for help during rains.

The Civil Defense said efforts were under way to find the eight missing people who were washed away in flash floods. The department rescued 121 citizens and residents in Riyadh on Monday, including eight families.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/news/479821.

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