Tag Archives | Dubai

Dear Cities of the World: Please Stop Trying to Copy Dubai

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

So, the results are in for the recent elections in Nigeria (I’m sure everyone was paying close attention), and the big winner is Muhammadu Buhari. Last week, Buhari, who has already served as Nigerian head of state (albeit as a dictator, not an elected president), defeated incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan. His luck was bound to run out at some point.

The elections have drawn a fair amount of international attention for a number of reasons. First of all, democratic elections in Africa (such as they are) are sadly something of a rarity. Endless progressions of military coups have been the dominant status quo for many of these countries since the bad, old days of European colonialism. Second, Boko Haram, Nigeria’s resident sect of religious wackos, has been doing its best to be as evil as possible lately to suck up international headlines.

There’s also the fact that Nigeria has become increasingly important to Africa as a whole.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Dubai Police Will Wear Google Glass Eyewear With Facial Recognition Technology

Should you happen to visit Dubai and notice a bespectacled cop looking at you, chances are he’s running you through the local police department’s facial recognition database to see what they’ve got on you. Report on this Orwellian policing initiative via Reuters:

Dubai police plan to issue detectives with Google Glass hands-free eyewear to help them fight crime using facial recognition technology, a police spokesman in the wealthy Gulf Arab emirate said.

Google Glass Sunglasses

The wearable device consists of a tiny computer screen mounted in the corner of an eyeglass frame and is capable of taking photos, recording video and playing sound.

The spokesman confirmed a report in Dubai’s 7 Days newspaper that software developed by Dubai police would enable a connection between the wearer and a database of wanted people.

Once the device “recognized” a suspect based on a face print, it would alert the officer wearing the gadget.

The gadget would be used in a first phase to combat traffic violations and track vehicles suspected of involvement in motoring offences.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Earn Gold For Losing Weight (in Dubai)

320px-Mall_dubaiOh the irony: residents of Dubai, engorged and enlarged by the steady supply of petro-dollars, are being bribed by their government to lose weight with the promise of a gram of gold for every kilo lost. Via BBC News:

Authorities in Dubai are offering gold in return for weight loss in an scheme to encourage healthier living.

Those interested can sign up from Friday for the initiative which lasts over the next 30 days and coincides with Ramadan, a month of fasting.

For each kilogram lost, participants will receive a gram of gold, which is currently worth about $45 (£30).

Those taking part – dubbed “golden losers” – need to lose at least two kilos to receive the payout.

The three participants who lose the most weight will be entered into a draw to win a gold coin worth $5,400.

Called Your Weight in Gold the scheme was announced by Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Guy Fawkes Mask Banned in UAE

“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bullet-proof.” – V for Vendetta (2006)

Via Daily Dot:

Dubai police have declared the Guy Fawkes mask, the disguise most strongly associated with Anonymous, illegal. Police issued a warning was issued to anyone considering wearing the mask ahead of the UAE’s National Day on Dec. 2. They claim it symbolizes resistance to state authority.

“Using any symbol that insults the country or instigates unrest against its system is not allowed,” Gulf News cites an official as saying. “We urge citizens to celebrate using other symbols such as national flags, slogans or photos that are more appropriate to the happy occasion of National Day.”

Read more.

 

Read the rest

Continue Reading

American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies

Photo: Lovelac7 (CC)

Photo: Lovelac7 (CC)

An alarming (or is it alarmist?) report by Daniel Golden for Bloomberg News:

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.

The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.

Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.

The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million.

Hearkening back to Cold War anxieties, growing signs of spying on U.S. universities are alarming national security officials.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

If You’ve Wondered What Money Is With No Purpose: It’s Dubai

DubaiThey have an an indoor ski resort in the middle of the desert. They also built fake islands. A. A. Gill writes in Vanity Fair:

Its skyline erupting from the desert in just two decades, Dubai is a cautionary tale about what money can’t buy: a culture of its own. After gorging on the Viagra of easy credit, the emirate has the world’s tallest building, the world’s most expensive racetrack, and a financial crisis to match. From the Western mercenaries and Asian drones who maintain the gaudy show to 100-odd families who are impervious to any economic reality…

The only way to make sense of Dubai is to never forget that it isn’t real. It’s a fable, a fairy tale, like The Arabian Nights. More correctly, it’s a cautionary tale. Dubai is the story of the three wishes, where, as every kid knows, with the third wish you demand three more wishes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Global Debt Crisis Is the New Cold War

The Bank of Greece in Athens

The Bank of Greece in Athens

From New York Magazine:

The news from Greece today is … well, it’s not good. Greek citizens are angry, European politicians are testy, equity investors worldwide are getting nervous, and the headlines are getting increasingly hysterical. This morning, things even took a dip into surreality when Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos, frustrated by Germany’s criticism of his country’s accounting skills, actually whipped out the Hitler card.

“They [the Nazis] took away the Greek gold that was in the Bank of Greece, they took away the Greek money and they never gave it back,” he said. “I don’t say they have to give back the money necessarily,” he remarked to the BBC. “But they have to say thanks.”

Compared to that, the Times sounded like the voice of reason with their story pinning blame on our old friend credit default swaps, which prompted Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to announce he would investigate Goldman Sachs and financial institutions that might use instruments “in a way that intentionally destabilizes” the country.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Dubai Narrowly Misses More Terror Attacks At Largest Mall – By Sharks! (Video)

Just ten days ago I was in Dubai for the International Conference on Ancient Studies. We had half a day of free time before we flew out so most of us headed straight to the Dubai Mall, mainly to check out the excellent Book World as we wanted to make sure they were stocking our books (I was with numerous authors including Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, John Major Jenkins, Michael Cremo, Andrew Collins and Robert Schoch). Nonetheless, we also visited the world's largest mall's marquee attraction, it's aquarium stocked with 33,000+ sea creatures, including some very large sharks. It is very impressive, but as with the rival mall in Dubai that features a ski resort with real snow, it seems to be tempting fate. Yesterday that became all too apparent - check out the video below:
Continue Reading

The Truth About Mossad

Mossad CharterThe recent, outlandish assassination in Dubai may prove the most damaging yet in the Mossad’s history of high-profile, bungled operations. Ian Black asks how it squandered its reputation for ruthless brilliance, for the Guardian:

Last November, a sharp-eyed Israeli woman named Niva Ben-Harush was alarmed to notice a young man attaching something that looked suspiciously like a bomb to the underside of a car in a quiet street near Tel Aviv port. When police arrested him, he claimed to be an agent of the Mossad secret service taking part in a training exercise: his story turned out to be true – though the bomb was a fake. No comment was forthcoming from the Israeli prime minister’s office, which formally speaks for – but invariably says nothing about – the country’s world-famous espionage organisation. The bungling bomber was just a brief item on that evening’s local TV news.

There was, however, a far bigger story – one that echoed across the globe – two years ago this week, when a bomb in a Pajero jeep in Damascus decapitated a man named Imad Mughniyeh.

Read the rest
Continue Reading