Former New York Times reporter Michael Janofsky was contacted for an unusual freelance assignment: blogging
as a United Arab Emirates royal. [more inside]
The houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)
is a turkey-like bird found in sandy and stony desert-like regions. The bustard is a favored prey of the falcon, though it has a strong defense against its predator: the forceful excretion of a dark green anal slime
The bustard's meat is prized as an aphrodisiac (or possibly a diuretic) by falconers
, and its mating display
is flamboyant, though slightly disorienting. [more inside]
Pro-government newspaper Gulf News reports that five Emirati bloggers go on trial today
behind closed doors. While blogging has been on the rise in the UAE
, internet access is tightly controlled by state-run Etisalat, many sites, including Flickr Groups
and lists of blogs
, blocked by the Etisalat firewall.
Who is Reflex Responses Management Consultancy LLC
? Only "the Premier Security Consultant and Training supplier for the United Arab Emirates," of course. Frequently referred to as R2, the company specializes in nuclear facility security, special-forces operations, revolt quelling, cybersecurity, and (somehow) protecting the U.A.E from Iran with one battalion of foreign mercenaries. Oh, and it's led by Erik Prince
, formerly of Blackwater (now Xe). [more inside]
UAE phone company pushes BlackBerry update with embedded spyware.
The United Arab Emirates phone company Etisalat
recently sent out a firmware update to its BlackBerry-using customers, billed as a “performance enhancement patch”. After customers reported the patch degrading their handsets' performance and draining their batteries more rapidly, a programmer examined it and found that it contained spyware from a US company
, which could be remotely activated to forward all emails and text messages to a third-party server. [more inside]
"50,000 Years of Resilience May Not Save Tribe."
A deal to provide a member of the UAE royal family with a personal Tanzanian playground may be the final nail in the coffin for the remaining 1,500 members of the ancient Hadzabe people and their unique language
. Read a Westerner's account of living among the Hadzabe here
Halliburton Moves Corporate Headquarters to Dubai, UAE.
Oil services giant Halliburton, parent company of soon to be spun off KBR, and recipient of many no-bid government contracts, is moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the US and the UAE are working on a free trade agreement
. The UAE and China are the two largest exporters to Iran
, and some speculate that the purpose of the move is to open up Iran as a legitimate market for Halliburton,
because as a US firm its acknowledged trade with Iran
is of questionable legality. Among the implications of this corporate move is that the US military will now be heavily dependent on a contractor that is a foreign company.
? If you did, then it's New Years Day and you're sitting in your chair
watching a little TV
while listening to a little music
They hate Flickr for it's Freedom.
(and government controlled monopoly) in the United Arab Emirates
has decided to ban access to Flickr for it's citizens, apparently due to the complaints of a couple of UAE expats
in the UK
. Of course, said blockage won't apply to them. Most interestingly, they blame the rest of the world's non-flesh-fearing photographers as opposed to their ISP (and by proxy their own oppressive government.) Now Flickr joins Skype
, AtomFilms, Friendster, AOL, and anything from Israels top-level domain, as outlawed content and services
in the UAE (related study here
). Well, if they don't care, why should we? Via linkfilter
- The United Arab Emirates is to mount robot jockeys on racing camels later this year after a ban on using children in the region's popular sport.
The World Islands
A man-made island project from the folks
that brought you the Palm Islands (mentioned in the blue here)
Think 250 to 300 small private artificial islands
ranging in size from 250,000 to 900,000 square feet with the key cool factor of the islands being arranged into the shape of the world's continents
. It is located four kilometres off the shore of Jumeirah, Dubai
in the United Arab Emirates
(Also the subject of an FPP
Starting at a mere $6.85 million, you can find your place in The World
(QT video sales pitch and the WMV
version), construction should be completed by the end of 2005. Thinking about relocating to Dubai
? It is a cutting edge city
with a strong economy
, imagine Maine
generating $57 billion a year from oil production primarily.
Haifaa al-Mansour might be the only active female Saudi filmmaker in existence. Her film
recently debuted at a festival in the United Arab Emirates, and although it didn't win, it did create quite a stir
among the attendees. Her father, also a director, and her family helped her get the project off the ground in a country where some believe even owning a television set is a sin, and where women have very little opportunity outside the home.
Using the web as a means of distribution, al-Mansour hopes to someday see her creations on the big screen all over the world.
The president of a counterterrorism consulting firm has been charged with possessing 2,352 unregistered small military missiles.
Investigators also found 4,000 pounds of explosives at High Energy Access Tools (HEAT)
, an anti-terrorism and police training company that was conducting classes for students from the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. More....
recently completed a survey of Gulf countries. Much of the content is 'premium access only' or available in the print version. This article, subtitled "The Gulf states have come a long way, fast. Now they need to think about where they are going" is online and examines the swift changes in economy, institutions, and population trends in this in-the-spotlight region. Some fascinating stuff.
UAE Information Ministry calls for greater freedom in the Arab World 'In my view, religious extremism that begets terrorism will not recede without a review of Arab and Islamic conditions,"
he said. "We cannot speak of stamping out extremism without revising the educational system and without rethinking our political state of affairs and economic problems."
CNN: Taleban claims unmanned US spy plane shot down
The UAE also withdrew diplomatic recognition for the Taleban.