Thursday, 19 August 2010

Britons sentenced to a month in prison for kissing in Dubai restaurant

Ayman Najafi, 24, a marketing consultant who lives in Dubai, and Charlotte Adams, 25, an estate agent from North London, were said to have been touching each other and kissing passionately as they dined with friends in a beachfront restaurant.

They were arrested and sentenced to a month in prison after which they were told they would be deported.

But the pair told a hearing at the Dubai Appeal Court on Sunday that they were the victims of a "huge misunderstanding" and had simply exchanged a friendly greeting.

"We kissed each other on the cheek as a greeting, nothing more,” Mr Najafi told Judge Aysar Fouad. Miss Adams pointed at her cheek to show where contact had taken place.

The two are not the first Britons to fall foul of the strict laws in the conservative Muslim state. Last year Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, were sentenced to three months imprisonment for having sex on a beach.

The latest incident took place when Miss Adams and Mr Najafi met along with four other friends for dinner at Bob's Easy Diner on the beachfront at the Jumeirah Beach Residence complex on November 27.

The police were called at around 2am by an Emirati woman sitting at a nearby table with her children and claimed her daughter had been upset by the display of affection.

"My daughter told me that the accused were kissing on the mouth,” she said.

“Then I spotted them doing so myself. I also saw them touching each other, as they were seated two to three metres away from our table. A number of customers witnessed the scene as well.”

After being arrested, the two were tested for alcohol and shown to have been drinking, though the readings of 22mg/dl are less than the drink-drive limit in Britain.

At the appeal hearing on Sunday, their defence lawyer Khalaf al Hosany said the couple admitted kissing each other on the cheek but denied any intention to break the law.

“It’s part of their culture to kiss on cheeks as a greeting,” he told the judge.

But their pleas of not guilty to indecency were rejected and they were sentenced to a month in prison followed by deportation.

They were also fined 1000 dirham (180 pounds) for being in a public place after consuming alcohol – an offence in Dubai, though drinking alcohol itself is not.

Mr Najafi has lived in Dubai for 18 months, where he works as a consultant for the Hay Group, a marketing firm.

Miss Adams, 25, was visiting the country and staying with another friend.

Her flatmate Jade Christa Williams, acting as a spokesman for Miss Adams, said what had happened was simply "a huge misunderstanding".

"She is completely innocent and is looking forward to coming home soon to carry on with her life and put this behind her," she said.

The pair were released on bail and are awaiting an April 4 verdict.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Dubai Property - Price Report from Collier International

Prices for UAE property came down again in the last quarter at an average of 4 per cent, with villas performing the strongest, according to Colliers International House Price Index, suggesting a trend for the remainder of the year.

"We anticipate a further slowdown and we have an ongoing concern of the new supply entering the market, which will further impede recovery," said Ian Albert, regional director, Colliers International.
Another 33,000 units expected to come online by year end are the main reason to be less optimistic about the market despite stabilising since the steep high and subsequent drop of 2008 and 2009. However, some of the supply could be further delayed into 2011, but current occupancy figures suggest that there is enough on the market as it is.
"There are already more than 340,000 residential properties in Dubai with an average occupancy rate of 87 per cent, with further declines anticipated. The market simply cannot absorb the additional supply unless the population grows and/or the release of stock is slowed down," Albert said.
House prices are back to the earlier parts of 2007 yet, according to the Colliers Index, house price values overall still enjoyed a 7 per cent increase when comparing the second quarter of last year with the current one. The index is based on statistics of lenders transactional prices and sets the blended average house price for the second quarter at about Dh1,014 per square foot.
Villas are tops
Villas fared better than apartments, comparing this quarter to the first of this year. The former decreased by only 3 per cent, whilst the latter's prices fell 5 per cent. Interestingly, townhouses took the biggest hit of an 8 per cent price reduction.
"The reason why townhouses have taken a larger hit than villas is simply because as the market corrected, many families upgraded to villas as more became available and affordable," said Tom Bunker, Investment Sales Consultant, Better Homes.
Reason he says, villas are typically larger and in most cases have a half decent back yard, sometimes absent in townhouses. "Many of the townhouse communities are a little more out of the way," he added.
Villas also trumped on the number of transactions with 49 per cent of the total, followed by apartments with 34 per cent and the 17 per cent remaining going to townhouses. Interestingly, buyers seem to spot value, the number of transactions has been 15 per cent higher this second quarter than in 2009's.
Hot spots
Popular villa communities are in the Emirates Living District thanks to the quick and easy access to Shaikh Zayed Road and beyond, said Bunker. The favourite within is The Lakes, reckons Kim Robinson, residential sales and leasing manager, Cluttons.
"The Lakes is an upgrade to The Springs. Prices dropped so much that families who are looking for space, better feel and facilities can now afford The Lakes independent villas. We recently sold one upgraded to a five-bed for Dh3.6 million net," she detailed. Others in vogue are the Montgomery Maisonettes, luxury townhouse type.
The average occupancy rate in Dubai's existing 340,000 residential properties is 87 per cent and is expected to decline, according to Colliers. With rents at half of what they were in 2008 the lack of return on investment is further subduing buyer's appetite, Albert said.
Top five by price
  • 1 The Palm Jumeirah — Villas
  • 2 Downtown Dubai
  • 3 The Palm Jumeirah — Apartments
  • 4 Dubai Marina
  • 5 The Lakes — Villas
Top 5 developments by number of transactions
  • 1 Arabian Ranches
  • 2 The Springs
  • 3 Victory Heights
  • 4 Downtown Dubai
  • 5 Green Community

Dubai Property Prices (Aug 2010 Update) - Still going down

-Dubai property prices fell 4% during the second quarter of 2010, compared with the first three months of the year, the first quarter-on-quarter contraction in 12 months, U.K.-based real-estate consultancy Colliers International said Sunday.
Despite the second quarter slide, Colliers said its quarterly price index showed a 7% increase in overall house price values compared with the second quarter of 2009.
The average price of property slipped to 1,014 U.A.E. dirhams ($276) per square foot in the second quarter of 2010, compared with AED1,061 in the first quarter, Colliers said in an emailed statement.
The real-estate consultancy warned that forthcoming housing supply and declining rental incomes are likely to put downward pressure on Dubai house prices moving forward.
"We anticipate a further slowdown and we have an ongoing concern of the new supply entering the market, which will further impede recovery," said Ian Albert, regional director at Colliers International.
Dubai's property market has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and prices have slumped close to 50% since their peak in 2008 while many of the emirate's most ambitious projects are on hold.
Colliers said it expects around 33,000 units to be released onto the Dubai market by the end of 2010, down from its earlier estimate of 41,000 following project delays or rescheduling. However, given Dubai's history so far, a large number of these units may not be delivered on time and may cross over into 2011, it added.
"There are already more than 340,000 residential properties in Dubai with an average occupancy rate of 87%, with further declines anticipated. The market simply cannot absorb the additional supply unless the population grows and/or the release of stock is slowed down," said Collier's Albert.
Compounding the situation are dwindling rents in the emirate with Dubai's overbuilt residential market contributing to more than a 50% decline in average rental rates since 2008, discouraging ownership and further dampening demand, said Colliers.
Do you really think that the Google (GOOG) shares of stock at 489 or the shares of stock of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) at 284 are really that high priced? There are actually several stocks that trade above a thousand dollars per share. However, if you are considering including some of the high prices shares in your portfolio, you will probably want those that trade on a regular basis, excluding such stocks as Indians Inc....

Goldman Sachs is bullish on Gold and Oil in 2011

Goldman Sachs recently shared its analysis for commodities and how they expect commdities to behave in 2011. As per their projections, commodities will continue rally in next 12 months and price of gold can achieve USD 1350. While seeming aggressive, this projection is logical and can be explained by US treasury continuing pumping money onto the world and smart investors are continuing to accumulate gold bullion. Another commodity which....

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Dubai Prime Property Values Approach Floor, BofA Says

By Camilla Hall

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Property prices in centrally located areas in Dubai may be reaching a “floor” after values dropped by 45 percent, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.

“We see an emerging floor for prime assets, particularly in the retail sector, which has the smallest supply pipeline,” Dubai-based analysts including Karthik Sankaran and Abdelrali El Jattari wrote in a note to investors today. Growth in retail, trade and tourism should resume, helping the real-estate industry, the analysts said.

Dubai property projects stalled after the global credit crisis pushed up the cost of financing, prices plummeted and buyers defaulted on payments. The market’s collapse followed a construction boom that created thousands of homes just as demand began to evaporate. Average residential prices across the emirate may fall a further 15 percent this year, according to the bank.

Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties PJSC is the Bank of Americai Merrill Lynch’s “preferred developer” because “substantial negativity is priced in.” The analysts reinstated coverage of Emaar Properties PJSC, which opened the largest skyscraper this year in Dubai, giving the company a “neutral rating” and a 12-month share price target of 4.4 dirhams. Emaar closed at 3.75 dirhams yesterday and Aldar at 3.77 dirhams.

Migration within the United Arab Emirates will support established residential locations, though that isn’t a “panacea,” the analysts said. Dubai would have 44,000 vacancies this year “even if all qualifying expats from Abu Dhabi and Sharjah relocated to Dubai tomorrow.”

The completion of a “significant” number of new homes in Dubai later this year will put pressure on prices after they rose 2 percent in the first quarter, Colliers International said in a May 9 report.

Nakheel PJSC, the Dubai World-owned property company seeking to restructure $10.5 billion of debt, restarted work on projects that have been put on hold, Al Bayan reported today, citing people it did not identify.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Dubai - The Vulnerability of Success

"This is the best study of Dubai that I have read and an important contribution to the still meager literature on the extraordinary formation that is the United Arab Emirates. Especially interesting is the book's discussion of the emirates' founding under British rule and the continuing influence of this imperial history on its politics and society; the imported character of its 'Arab' identity; and the regional context that informs everything from security concerns to demography." -- Faisal Devji, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, and author of Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity

"Davidson traces Dubai's rise from sleepy Gulf port to player on the world scene." -- Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times

"Mr. Davidson nicely lays out this flashy emirate's astonishing ascent from tiny fishing and pearling village to global hub." -- New York Times

"Davidson offers a detailed historical and topical study of the Dubai phenomenon." -- Foreign Affairs

"Davidson gives an excellent overview of Dubai, the UAE in general, and its path to economic development... Recommended." -- Choice
Get this book now at AMAZON - Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success 

Dubai Houses Prices - May Update

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- The completion of a “significant” number of new homes in Dubai later year will further pressure prices that rose 2 percent in the first quarter, Colliers International said.

Colliers, a global real-estate-services firm, estimates that 41,000 residential units will enter the market by the end of 2010, mostly in the low- to mid-income segments. House prices in the first quarter were on par with 2007 levels, rising on average to 1,061 dirhams ($289) a square foot from 1,037 dirhams a year earlier, Colliers said in an e-mailed report today.

“There will be significant oversupply in the market by the end of the year, so it is anticipated the index will experience fluctuations in value going forward,” Colliers’ regional Director Ian Albert said in the report. “Demand is not expected to match the growth in supply, creating downward pressure on property prices,” according to the document.

Dubai’s property prices have slumped more than 50 percent since their peak in mid-2008 as the financial crisis forced companies to dismiss workers. The market’s collapse followed a construction boom that created thousands of homes just as demand began to evaporate.

Apartment prices in the emirate gained 6 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three months and villa prices rose 2 percent while the cost of townhouses was down 4 percent, Colliers’ house-price index showed.

Banks ‘Selective’

“Numerous” banks and mortgage providers increased the loan-to-value ratio to between 75 percent and 90 percent in the first quarter, according to Colliers. Some also lowered interest rates on mortgages to between 6.5 percent and 8.5 percent.

“Banks remain selective in offering finance, providing it against specific projects, mainly completed or near completion, and only to borrowers who can meet the strict lending criteria adopted by most banks,” Colliers said in the report.

The change of demand from speculative investors to end- users places more importance on the “liveability” aspect and there will be better demand and greater stability for projects that offer a “community lifestyle,” according to the report.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


"If given a choice between investing in someone who has read REWORK or has an MBA, I'm investing in REWORK every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur."
--Mark Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and and owner of the Dallas Mavericks

Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit From the Economic Collapse

If you have not heard the name of Peter Schiff, you are missing a lot. This is a great economic adviser (I do not want to use the word guru...) - and he explains complex things using very simple terms and definitions.

I absolutely love Peter Schiff. He's astute, sound financial mind, and always right on. "Crash Proof" was written before the crash and Peter had explained exactly how the bubble was blowing up and how it was inevitably was going to burst, which it did. The updated version brings us into the modern age of disgusting deficits, unacceptable government spending, and horrendous regulation into the free market. Schiff predicts that government isn't making things better with all this additional spending and intrusion into the market and that we're not out of the woods--as some people are claiming--and that it's actually making things worse. He concludes with his solid foreign currency assets and commodities-centered investment strategies that will help you avoid the next crash (and the coming collapse of the dollar). If you had taken his advice in 2006, you'd be much better off today.

Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success

This is the best study of Dubai that I have read and an important contribution to the still meager literature on the extraordinary formation that is the United Arab Emirates. Especially interesting is the book's discussion of the emirates' founding under British rule and the continuing influence of this imperial history on its politics and society; the imported character of its 'Arab' identity; and the regional context that informs everything from security concerns to demography...

2010 - a good year for Dubai properties and real estate

The prices of real estate in Dubai are returning to pre-crisis levels and indicates a very good year for real estate investments in 2010, claims a leading industry report.

The worst part of the economic meltdown is generally believed to be over, and investors are full of cheer and looking forward to 2010.

Most of the investors in 2010 will be those who ensure that their assets are realistically priced, professionally managed, and will offer long-term stable liquidity, said a recent report by Jones LangLa Salle.

The MENA region was the last to feel the pinch of global economic meltdown, with property prices falling up to 50 percent in few areas in the past year, but, its real estate market was the fastest to cope with the economic crunch.

With the financial pressures beginning to ease, the sale activity is likely to pick-up marginally in 2010 and this will a psychological boost for investors, thereby increasing market confidence. The investors with sufficient cash too invest will benefit immensely, with the low sale prices, almost equivalent to the 2006 levels, said Matthew Green, Head of Research and Consultancy, CB Richard Ellis.

The report mentions that investors are now happier with the state-of-the-market during recent months. This sunny optimism is primarily driven by the overall economic strength derived by hydrocarbon-based economies.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi property markets will be among the first to recover in the region, with stronger economic fundamentals and government initiatives. These markets will see greater increase in performance and pricing during the coming year.

Dubai, in particular, is likely to grow at a steady pace of four to six percent per year until 2015. Investors are considering Dubai to be the regional leader in terms of city competitiveness and real estate infrastructure, says Brendan Coakley, Managing Director at Chesterton International.

The success of Dubai in the past comes largely from its name being built as a city with good infrastructure. However, concerns still remain about the availability of capital for real estate purposes and supply-demand dynamics. The lack of liquidity and resentment on the part of few financial institutions to resume lending is proving to be a barrier for the Dubai Market.

However, taking into account the huge volume of new stock either completed or in pipeline, and combined with minimal levels of demand, the supply-demand imbalance is the main issue for the future recovery of the market, Green said.

Therefore, in future, there is increased need transparency and honesty on the part of developers, brokers and investors themselves.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Burj dubai , burj khalifa live video opening ceremony

This is a live video from the opening ceremony of Burj Dubai (or Burj Khalifa as it is called now) - this is a ust to watch this week.

Burj Dubai / Khalifa - The World's Tallest Skyscraper - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
828 m | 2716 feet

Burj Dubai is now Burj Khalifa

Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened the world’s tallest tower today and renamed it after the ruler of neighboring Abu Dhabi, which bailed out Dubai during the country’s debt crisis last year.

The 200-story Burj Khalifa cost $1.5 billion to build, said Mohammed Alabbar, chairman of developer Emaar Properties PJSC. The tower takes it name from Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also president of the United Arab Emirates. While mainly residential, the building will have 37 floors of office and retail space.

During the five years of the tower’s construction the sheikhdom’s debt-fueled property market went from the world’s best performing to the worst, forcing officials to renegotiate loans and seek bailouts from Abu Dhabi. The Burj’s occupancy rate may reach 75 percent this year, with office leasing proving the biggest challenge for investors, said Roy Cherry, an analyst at investment bank Shuaa Capital PSC.

“Those who bought with the intention of leasing will face a difficult time because few companies today can justify paying premiums for luxury,” Cherry said.

Burj Khalifa has a height of 828 meters (2,717 feet), Alabbar said in a telephone interview today. Apartment prices in the tower, formerly known as Burj Dubai, have fallen to less than half of the 10,000 dirhams ($2,700) a square foot that they reached at the 2008 peak.

Burj Dubai -World's tallest building

The 828 metre (2,717 ft) supertall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is being opened with much fanfare despite the doom and gloom that has surrounded the emirate's economy in recent weeks.

Crews of cleaners today rushed to finalise preparations for the grand inauguration of the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world. With batteries of fireworks and an invited crowd of 6,000 guests, the rulers of the Gulf emirate will tonight attempt to convince the world that their financial troubles have been overstated with a lavish celebration of a glass and steel building that tapers almost a kilometre into the sky.

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is expected to make a triumphal ascent of the spire-shaped tower which rises over 800m from the Arabian desert. He will announce the exact height this evening in a move intended to draw a line under the country's financial crisis, which has left a trail of outstanding creditors.

"Crises come and go, and cities move on," said Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, the state-owned developer of the building. "You have to move on. Because if you stop taking decisions, you stop growing."

With swimming pools on floors 43 and 76 and plans for the world's highest mosque on the 158th floor, the $1bn "superscraper" dwarfs both the world's previous tallest building, the 508m tall tower 101 in Taipei, and the 629m KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota, the tallest man-made structure. It is so high, the temperature is said to be 10C cooler at the zenith than at the base.

But with many investors in the building's 1,044 apartments already facing losses after property prices in Dubai slumped, the Burj's owners are struggling to present their architectural achievement as anything but a pyrrhic victory. The offices and most of the flats are still an estimated two months from completion and the emirate's neighbours in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, which provided Dubai with a £15bn bailout last year, are also understood to be unimpressed at the ostentation of the building.

The fountain outside cost a reported £133m and the 160 room hotel was designed by fashion designer Georgio Armani and boasts a nightclub, two restaurants and a spa. Meanwhile, labourers on the project, including many immigrants from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, earned low wages. Skilled carpenters took home just £4.34 a day and labourers, £2.84.

Security is expected to be tight. Local newspapers quoted Major General Mohammed Eid al-Mansouri, head of the protective security and emergency unit for Dubai police, saying more than 1,000 security personnel, including plainclothes police and sharpshooters, will be deployed to secure the site for the opening.

But even by the standards of an emirate which has created miles more beach front by building vast islands from millions of tonnes of sand in the shapes of palms, the tower stands out as Dubai's most remarkable achievement. Around 12,000 people are expected to live and work in the tower which is part of a 500-acre development known as "downtown" Burj Dubai.

Alabbar said Burj Dubai was "another demonstration of Dubai's ability to achieve what few people thought possible".

"The tower is a global icon," he said. "It represents the determination and optimism of Dubai as a truly world city. It is a powerful symbol for the entire Arab world."