Tag Archives | Dubai

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:
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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.

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The World’s Tallest Building: A Symbol of Global Excess in Dubai

Juan Cole writes on Informed Comment:
The world's tallest building, Burj Khalifah or Khalifah Tower, was unveiled in Dubai on Monday: Dubai is a finance hub, the bubble of which has burst, so the building's opening now seems a critique of past excesses more than the triumph originally dreamed of. Now that Dubai is having to be bailed out by its oil-rich sister emirate, Abu Dhabi, the tower had to be named for its ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, rather than retaining its original name, Burj Dubai. Many critics have seen it as a monument to hubris likely to remain mostly empty, as the 21st century Tower of Babel. As you can see, Dubai nevertheless went all out to celebrate the opening. The Burj Khalifah is a symbol of everything wrong with our present moment. Rooted in a finance and real estate bubble, planned as big for the sake of bigness, opulent, now saved from disaster by Abu Dhabi's unsustainable oil revenues, it casts its shadow on a nation of guest workers, many impoverished and exploited. If global warming proceeds at the pace some climate scientists fear, and the seas rise substantially, it may, ironically enough, be all that is visible of the low-lying United Arab Emirates a century from now.
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Dubai: ‘Something Darker Is Going On…’

In November 2008 I went to Dubai for the inaugural International Conference on Ancient Studies (ICAS). It was an opportunity to reconnect with Disinformation authors and contributors like Michael Cremo, Robert Bauval and John Major Jenkins as well as to meet other luminaries in the world of ancient mysteries. It also enabled me to visit the Middle East and to see just how vibrant a city Dubai has become. In February 2010 I'll be returning for the second ICAS, which again features a stellar lineup including another Disinformation author, Graham Hancock. Needless to say, I'm greatly looking forward to it and this time I'll actually have an official role as MC (but don't let that put you off). I asked a friend of mine who lives there if the recent news about Dubai World would have any impact on ICAS and this was the somewhat surprising response I received, essentially assuring me that the Dubai World debt problem is a smokescreen for something far more serious:
"I doubt it. Not much has changed here and people here just wonder what all the trouble is about. The fuss is about one single company (called Dubai World) who simply said it would delay (not default) its first installment repayment to a couple of international banks by 6 months. The amount is about 4 billion dollars which is a drop in the ocean considering banks in the US and Europe will have to actually write off about 2.8 trillion by 2010. Does it make sense that this rather common occurrence sends world markets crashing down? I mean, in the US alone hundreds of banks and companies actually defaulted since 2007 and hundreds everyday are probably requesting to delay payments in their quest to remain afloat. Even the actual international banks who lent the money to Dubai World are not very worried and are also wondering what the fuss is all about. So why all the fuss? It is a diversion. Something darker is going on and the perpetrators were just waiting for an excuse like this one to play their cards once again...
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