10 headlines that the UAE bagged recently in the international media
From beach scandals to inaugurating the A380, the world’s largest plane, the country has been hogging the limelight worldwide.
September 16, 2008 12:45 by kippreport
1. Number one would obviously be the “sex on the beach” scandal, involving 36-year-old Michelle Palmer and her partner, Vince Acors.
In July in this year, the two were caught allegedly having sex on a beach in Jumeirah beach. They are accused of ignoring a warning from the police, and when caught again, Palmer assaulted the arresting cop, according to news reports. The Brits currently face up to six years in jail. Global media is keenly following the case in court, even as it was adjourned for a month last week when the cop didn’t show up in court.
The UAE authorities are apparently showing no eagerness for a quick resolution to the case.
Some of the lurid headlines when it happened: “Beach cop saw Michelle on top”, “Revealed: The lonely Bridget Jones world of the British sales manager facing jail in Dubai” and “Who’s sorry now? Shame of Dubai ‘sex on the beach’ girl as she becomes a recluse”
2. In August this year, Emirates welcomed the media on board their new super-luxurious A380 even before its maiden flight. And as expected, pictures of the plane, its showers, the bar and the smiling air hostesses circulated throughout the world. More recently, the news that the airline will not be receiving its second A380 in time, thanks to delays in Airbus, also caught worldwide attention.
3. News of football club Manchester City takeover by Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) sent international media into a frenzy earlier this month. The group, backed by the Abu Dhabi ruler’s brother, reportedly ponied up more than $375m to buy the club. The new team also beat Chelsea to sign on Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid for about $61.6m.
4. Close on the heels of the Man City take-over came news that football club Newcastle United is currently looking for investors in Dubai. There was speculation about whether the Dubai International Capital (DIC) would be interested in the offer. The investment fund had attempted to takeover Liverpool earlier this year.
The fund’s response – “DIC can confirm that it is not involved in any negotiations to buy LFC and is not planning a fresh bid for LFC or any other football club” – is now in circulation.
5. Takeovers like these have also sparked much discussion in the media about sovereign wealth funds from the region. In July, the Abu Dhabi government forked out around $800m for a 90 percent stake in New York’s Chrysler Building. Mubadala also announced plans to become one of the 10 biggest institutional investors in General Electric (GE) as it entered an $8bn joint venture with the group.
6. Another prominent move from Dubai came in August this year, when Istithmar and Nakheel, part of state-owned Dubai World, acquired a 20 percent stake in the French- Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil. The circus troupe, considered the best in the world, will soon have a 1,800-seat permanent home on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah island.
7. Regional airlines also made headlines in July this year, when they pumped huge sums of money into buying new aircraft at UK’s Farnborough Air Show. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways was the single highest buyer at the event, and placed 55 firm orders with Airbus worth $12bn, and 45 orders from Boeing worth $9.4bn. Dubai Aerospace Enterprise placed an order for 100 Airbus planes worth $12.6bn, and Fly Dubai, Emirates’ low cost carrier is buying 50 Boeing planes worth around $3.7bn.
8. But while local money is flowing into companies around the world, the media dished up news of corruption and bribery within Dubai’s big corporates. In a string of investigations involving senior officials in Istithmar, Deyaar, Tamweel and Nakheel led to much talk about the lack of transparency on the city’s businesses scene.
9. Entertainment magazines have recently been seen feeding in the Gulf, thanks to the endless list of celebrities endorsing property here. From Brad Pitt’s newly announced “passion” for architecture (he’s now designing a five-star complex in Dubai), to Kylie Minogue’s performance for the opening of the Atlantis hotel in the Palm (she is rumored to be paid $4m for a gig), every star has managed to nab headlines.
10. The Blonde Baywatch beauty, Pamela Anderson also announced plans to build an eco-hotel in Abu Dhabi last month. Anderson apparently fell in love with the UAE capital while on a charity trip there in June with the Make a Wish Foundation for children.
She is smitten with more than just the location, apparently. Gossip magazines reported she is dating a dating a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. She apparently refers to him as “Milk-Sheikh” or “Milk” for short.