Dubai loosens up its alcohol rules

One of the quirks of living in Dubai is the purchase of alcohol. Most people, like me, bought it at Duty Free, and hoped nobody would check the apartment for alcohol. Not only was it illegal to have alcohol in your apartment but it was also illegal for anyone walking outside to be found to have drunk alcohol. Going to an alcohol outlet, like MMI, w...
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Siouxsie Wiles: "They say, 'learn to live with Covid-19'. Here's what I say back"

Covid-19 is affecting everyone all over the world. And although this article is not specific to the Middle East it is relevant because all countries, from New Zealand to Norway, are wondering what the best approach is to controlling the disease. Should the end goal be total elimination – like New Zealand- or herd immunity- like Sweden? Dr Siouxsie ...
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Is increased trade between Israel and the UAE likely?

The UAE- Israel deal impacts the entire Middle East. Clearly, the UAE wants to be at the forefront of any normalisation of relations between the Arab World and the Gulf states. How will this deal impact UAE's relationship with Israel? Will it result in more trade between the countries? Will the UAE be viewed as a peacemaker or a dealbreaker? This a...
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Are relations between Israel and the UAE normalised?

I've been thinking hard about the deal between the UAE and Israel and what it really means. I'm sure there is more to it than it looks on the surface. Is it to give President Trump a dipIomatic boost ahead of the US election? I'd be interested in hearing some views on that. Whatever the reason, I'm sure that the UAE, Dubai in particular, will be a ...
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Is corruption behind Lebanon's explosion?

The explosion in Lebanon shocked everyone, not just those in the Middle East. How could it have happened? How could a government be so corrupt that 2750 tons of explosives were badly stored at the port? Now about 220 people or more people are dead and many more are missing. About 300,000 are homeless...an horrendous number. The protests have result...
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Lebanon's port explosion: how did it happen?

The explosion in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, has dominated the news for the past two days. And rightly so. But what is the real reason for the explosion? We know that 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in one of the port's warehouses was the purported reason for the explosion. However, given that here have been other explosions recently around the...
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Increased tensions on the Israeli-Syrian border

In recent days, there has been considerable action in the Middle East, especially between Syria and Israel. Tensions have risen along Israel's northern front since a Hezbollah fighter was killed in Syria two weeks ago . The Golan Heights is being targeted specifically. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had "thwarted an attempted sabotag...
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Is Iran covering up the real figures associated with COVID-19?

The Middle East, like the rest of the world, has been hard hit by COVID-19. Iran is ne of the worst hit countries in the region and there are now concerns that its death figures are much higher than it has given to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This article from the BBC explains what the figures are and how the COVID-19 pandemic is playing o...
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Is hyperinflation inevitable in Lebanon?

Lebanon is in the throes of an economic and financial crisis. The Lebanese pound experienced an 80% fall against the US dollar in June. As former Lebanese economy minister, Nasser Saidi, wrote in Abu Dhabi's National newspaper in early July: " Unsustainable monetary and fiscal policies and an overvalued, pegged exchange rate led to persistent fisca...
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After more than 30 years involvement in the Middle East will the US pull out any time soon?

I have spent about five years away from the Middle East now- only three of which I have been spent in New Zealand. I have spent about one year in the UK (again) and Europe, and one in Vietnam, and surrounding countries. The response I receive when I say I have lived in the Middle East for 8.5 years is "that must have been hard for you, especially b...
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Making the leap to entrepreneurship for seniors; why they are highly successful

by Lucia Dore Embrace the fear. That's the strapline on the website, NZOne Skydiving ( https://www.nzoneskydive.co.nz/ ). I didn't really think about "embracing the fear " when I embarked on a skydiving adventure. Four of us, (I'm 58 and my father is 86) had to jump from a plane when it reached 12,000 ft, with a freefall for 45 seconds. through clo...
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How is Israel responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Reading about how governments are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is interesting.  Maybe that is an understatement. How governments respond reveals not only a great deal about its communications strategy, but also how much it believes in science over other matters. Full disclosure here; I live in New Zealand where the citizens are very "co...
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What is the future of events?

It's hard to overestimate how the world has changed as a result of COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, people were reluctant to contact one another virtually, whether it be on Zoom or Skype or on another audio-visual medium. This has changed. People now contact one another virtually as a matter of course. This means workshops and presentations, of which there ...
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How COVID-19 discriminates against seniors

by Lucia Dore While the COVID-19 pandemic continues in most parts of the world (the US, the UK, Europe, Brazil and India are among the countries that are worst hit), the economic fallout from the pandemic affects everyone. Although international trade continues at a slower pace than before, international travel has stopped almost entirely- well, it...
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How long will it take for a post-COVID economic recovery in the Middle East?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic fallout everywhere. The extent of the fallout, however, seems to depend on how hard and fast an economy locked down in the first place and the choice the government made between health and the economy. Can the economy "open" if its population is concerned about its health? Hardly, was the answer the New...
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Is COVID-19 crippling Gulf entrepreneurs?

Being an entrepreneur is rarely easy and it's arguably harder during times of pandemic. So, it's great to have a resource like Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center, an entrepreneurship hub based in Sharjah, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates.  However, there's concern that governments and banks in the region are not doing enough to support...
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Emirates will make about 15% of its workforce redundant

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on many industries around the world, the travel and the aviation industries particularly. Fewer people are flying and in some countries, like New Zealand, which has no community transmission, people are reluctant to leave for coming back will mean spending another 14 days in managed quarantine. Moreover, people...
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Is the stock market a Ponzi scheme?

I have been thinking about the financial markets a great deal lately and have been considering why some people get rich and some people don't. In Dubai, in the UAE, (a city I know well) many people live a wealthy lifestyle, but do they really have money? This article made me question whether stockmarkets are a place to make money as I, and many oth...
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IS benefits from its manufacture of amphetamines

I was surprised to read that Syria is the world's largest producer of amphetamines, or stimulant drugs. They speed up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. This article tells how the Italian police confiscated 84 million Captagon tablets at the port of Solerno, south of Naples. The shipment was worth $1.2 billion, believed to be p...
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COVID-19: How the UAE is controlling the border

COVID-19 is crippling the global economy. International travel has almost come to a halt- for non-essential travel anyway. EU countries have opened its borders to 14 countries, New Zealand (where I live) is among them. New Zealand is one of the safest places to live right now, given that there is no community transmission of COVID-19. Some 22 live ...
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