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February 4

February 4

UK firms owed $2bn in Dubai; ‘Lost’ in Tehran; NY Uni draws up UAE rights charter; Women as leaders, not stereotypes; When ‘BFF’ go to court; Dubai ‘makes Florida look prudent’; How to suck at Facebook.

February 5, 2010 2:09 by



UK firms owed $2bn in Dubai
British engineering groups and consultants are owed up to $2 billion by government-related companies in Dubai, according to The Times. The newspaper said the previous estimate of the money owed was $250 million – but did not specify a source for the higher figure.

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‘Lost’ in Tehran

Time magazine has a compelling piece detailing how the TV series Lost has become something of a national obsession in Iran. Shervin Malekzadeh reports from the capital, where street vendors sell pirate copies of the series to eager buyers. “Lost has absolutely dominated the underground DVD market in Tehran; and almost nowhere in the world is the sixth and final season of Lost as anticipated than in Iran,” writes Malekzadeh.

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NY Uni draws up UAE rights charter

New York University has drawn up a charter of rights for laborers working on the construction its Abu Dhabi campus. The rules protect how often the workers are paid and how many hours they can work in a week, reported the Washington Post.

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Women as leaders, not stereotypes

Forbes has a report on the second Arab Women’s Leadership Forum, held last month. Writer Sylvia Ann Hewlett says that the “unofficial goal of the conference was to re-position female Emirati and other Gulf-state women as serious players in the world of work”. She quotes May Al Dabbagh, director of the Gender and Public Policy Program at the Dubai School of Government, as saying that many workplaces are fraught with stereotypes about Arab women.

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‘My life is in ruins’, says Dubai ‘rape’ victim
The Sun – which is often first with stories of this kind – has an exclusive interview with the Muslim woman who was arrested in Dubai for illegal drinking and sex before marriage, after she herself had reported being raped to the police. “My life’s in ruins,” the 23-year-old told the newspaper, on her return to the UK. The newspaper reports that the woman has split from her fiancé, who was also arrested and imprisoned in Dubai, following the ordeal.
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Novel paints picture of Kuwait in the ’90s
A new novel by Anastasia Hobbet is based on her experience living in Kuwait in the mid-1990s, reports Mercury News. Small Kingdoms is set in the time between the two Gulf wars, and traces the stories of five strangers, who are brought together by their joint discovery that a teenage Indian housemaid is being brutally abused by her employer.

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When ‘BFF’ go to court

Kipp has less than fond memories of Paris Hilton’s irksome visit to Dubai last summer. And so, it seems, does Lionsgate Television, which produces the MTV show Paris Hilton’s My New BFF. According to entertainment website TMZ, Lionsgate is suing a Dubai company for allegedly bailing out on producing the series in the UAE. Lionsgate is suing Uniqon Emirates for more than $8 million in compensatory damages, alleging that did not come up with the funds to produce the show.

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Dubai ‘makes Florida look prudent’

We’re getting a bit sick of stories about the Burj Khalifa. But a typically elegant piece in the New Yorker is worth a read. Despite claiming that Dubai’s construction spree makes the “excesses of Florida look almost prudent”, the article is complimentary about the world’s tallest building. “[It] should be an easy building to loathe … yet the Burj Khalifa turns out to be far more sophisticated, even subtle, than one might expect,” writes Paul Goldberger.

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How to suck at Facebook

Lastly, a diverting piece on comic website The Oatmeal caught our attention. It’s a caricature of Facebook’s most annoying members, and the time-wasting requests they send via the social networking site. Our favorite is ‘The Quiz Taker’: “Christy took the quiz ‘What kind of rancid meat are you’… I am a rotting buffalo carcass!”



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