Dancer Sought

Hunt on for dancer.

[Kuwaiti] police have intensified their efforts to arrest the minor girl whose picture has been circulated among cell phone users with the Bluetooth technology, reports Al-Anba daily. The girl who speaks with an Iraqi accent is seen wearing a military uniform and dancing in front of three men and consuming alcohol with them. The clip first surfaced three weeks ago, says the daily. Sources say this is the third incident of its kind. An unidentified person called Al-Anba daily to say the clip was filmed in an apartment in Dubai, another said it was filmed in Salmiya and yet another gave the location as Hawalli. One of the callers also said the girl is Iraqi and was in the country on a visit visa.

Salmiya? Dubai? I swear this is nothing to do with me. I was in Korea. I have icicles to prove it.

(via Tim Blair)


Guilty until proven innocent

The shocking findings of the Council of Europe rapporteur that the CIA abducted people in Europe and transferred them to other countries for torture is not news for many people. However, this is the first time that such a high level authority has confirmed it.

reports today’s Gulf News. Well, it might be of news to the rapporteur himself, Dick Marty, who according to his latest statement has confirmed no such thing:

From a general point of view, the rapporteur underlined that the information gathered to date reinforced the credibility of the allegations concerning the transfer and temporary detention of individuals, without any judicial involvement, in European countries.

Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards. It had to be noted that the allegations had never been formally denied by the United States.

So, allegations are made and seem to be credible, but are still under investigation. The US has remained silent, as indeed as every EU member state. Somewhat different from a confirmation of US culpability. One would have hoped a national newspaper would be able to differentiate between an onging investigation and a guilty verdict.


Hollywood ignored, not forgotten

Perhaps the US has conveniently forgotten the grave dangers of global warming depicted by reputed film directors of its own province …

writes a Mr G. Cecil in today’s Gulf News. Of course, Hollywood productions are an excellent basis for governmental policy. Shame on the US for not doing more to prevent environmental catastophies, alien invasions, giant lizards, meteor impacts, rogue gorillas, and super intelligent robots from threatening the world. How can Bush be so stupid?


Shake Zayed Road

Yesterday residents of the UAE we all excited about the occurence of an earthquake in Iran which was felt by those in the northern emirates and part of Dubai.

This is interesting for me, because the company I signed up with before it was bought out by my present company were one of the world leaders in seismic engineering. In the first year in the job, I was building finite element models of nuclear power stations or the equipment inside and subjecting them to seismic accelerations to calculate forces and displacements at various places. As part of my training, I was sent on an earthquake engineering course in Glasgow, one of the lecturers of which was a very interesting and excitable young chap who knew his subject well: designing structuress to withstand earthquakes. I have long since chucked the course notes, but the one thing which stuck in my mind was his tales of how the seismic engineering consultants used to have furious rows with the architects over the design of the buildings.

The reason for this is that in order for buildings to stand a good chance of surviving an earthquake intact, they must have a uniform stiffness throughout their structure. In layman’s terms, this means they must be as boring as the stuff the Soviets used to throw up: regularly shaped, evenly shaped, every floor the same as all the others. So, no fancy flarings on the sides, no 3-storey atriums half way up, no spectacular sculptures on the roof, no bridges linking two otherwise separate towers. Numerous models were shown during the course showing what effect a “soft spot” in a building can have, plus several photos of collapsed buildings whose failure mechanisms were remarkably similar to those flapping about on the computer simulations.

And with the look of some of the buildings going up in Dubai, I wonder if any of the architects have bothered seeing how their piles of glass and cement behave when subjected to multi-directional accelerations from deep within the earth. I doubt it. I’m glad I’ll be living in my nice, square, uniform, 7-storey apartment block with a pool on the roof.


Pure Poetry

The last three paragraphs of Secret Dubai’s latest post are so beautifully written, especially if you are familiar with Dubai, that I feel compelled to give them a wider audience:

Freedom to roam again at last! To ride the wild roads of Sheikh Zayed once more, racing past sluggish white Nissan Sunnies as sheikhmobiles fly up the hard shoulder in a cloud of dust. Being able to snooze peacefully in the late afternoon at the wheel of the Shadow, as it rests in hour-long stationary gridlock.

Driving past the great sights of Dubai: the post-apocalyptic concrete monoliths of Jumeirah Beach Residence with their glittering, clanking cranes; the beautifully landscaped Beach Road with its lovely sandy trenches, lane closures, myriad plastic cones and glorious netting barriers lining each side; the white-trash-christmas flashing neon artificial ski slope at Emirates Mall.

Oh, the joys of driving in Dubai.

Why she’s not working as a journalist I’ll never know.


A Woman’s Role

Take heed, oh ungrateful hags:

The new rule issued by Iranian officials about women reaching home by dusk is indeed worthy of praise.

No matter how much one argues or tries to reason otherwise, the fact remains the family is held together, and the upbringing of the children, is the job of a woman.

Nobody else qualifies.

It is sad that we have women arguing against it. They just don’t know what’s good for them.


Ramadan Driving

From the Gulf News:

The emirate’s roads witnessed a tremendous rise in the number of accidents on the first day of Ramadan, a police official told Gulf News yesterday.

“There have been many accidents today. They are all minor, but the number is very high,” said Lieutenant Ali Mohammad from the operations room in Dubai yesterday.

“We have been receiving a great number of calls regarding accident reports. The number was so high that we had difficulty in sending police patrols to all the scenes.”

“We are surprised at the number of accident reports we are getting. I don’t really know the reason behind it, but it might be that Ramadan has affected motorists and their ability to concentrate while driving.”

Forcing drivers to become severely dehydrated in 30ºC+ temperatures causes an increase in accidents? Fancy that!


Silence of the Camels

Further to this story, a Mr T. G. Davies from Abu Dhabi writes an amusing letter to the Gulf News:

I assume the camel was not a consenting partner in these acts. That being the case, it is clear to me why more camels are not coming forward to report cases of abuse.

The offender gets three months in jail and the victim gets the death sentence. Hardly fair.


Driver Jailed for Bestiality

A man has been sentenced to three months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of bestiality.

reports today’s Gulf News.

The camel involved in the case is to be put down in accordance with Islamic law.

A court official said the Bangladeshi, who worked as a driver, had been spotted going into his employer’s barn on a regular basis.

His employer became suspicious as his duties did not involve him dealing with animals.

The official said the employer, a UAE national, followed his driver into the barn one day and saw him starting to have sex with a female camel.

The owner lost his temper and started beating him. He then took him to the police station to press charges.

The official said the driver confessed to police that he used to have sex with one particular camel.

The police arrested him and the case was referred to the Public Prosecution.

The official added the man told the prosecution that he had fallen in love with the camel and had sex with the animal.

The emirate’s Criminal Court sentenced him on Wednesday to three months in jail, to be followed by deportation.

It also stated that the camel be put down as its meat would now be tainted.

I’d say it’s not only the camel’s meat that’s tainted.


Backwarder and Backwarder

I missed this little gem from Etisalat, the UAE’s monopoly state-owned telecoms service provider, back in August:

The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE has stated that all use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony in the UAE is illegal. The TRA has instructed Etisalat to block all access to VoIP telephony.

Marvellous. So much for Dubai being the hi-tech communications centre of the Middle East.

(Via samuraisam commenting on Secret Dubai Diary)