United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates
دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة
Flag of United Arab Emirates Coat of arms of United Arab Emirates
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Allah, Nation, President"
AnthemIshy Bilady
Location of United Arab Emirates
Capital Abu Dhabi
22°47′N 54°37′E / 22.783°N 54.617°E / 22.783; 54.617
Largest city Dubai
Official languages Arabic
Ethnic groups  34% Arab (19% Emirati and 15% other Arabs), 8% Iranian, 50% South Asian, 8% other expats (inc. Westerners & East Asians)[1]
Demonym Emirati
Government Islamic Federal constitutional monarchy
 -  President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
 -  Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Establishment December 2, 1971 
 -  Total 83,600 km2 (116th)
32,278 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
 -  2006 census 4,621,399 
 -  Density 64/km2 (150th)
139/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $200.5 billion[2] 
 -  Per capita $39,077[2] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $269.956 billion[2] 
 -  Per capita $56,667[2] 
HDI (2008) 0.903 (high) (31st)
Currency UAE dirham (AED)
Time zone GMT+4 (UTC+4)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+4)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ae
Calling code 971

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Arabic: دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة‎, transliteration: Dawlat al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) is a federation of seven emirates situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.

The UAE, rich in oil and natural gas, has become highly prosperous after gaining foreign direct investment funding in the 1970s. The country has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking 31st globally[3], and had a GDP purchasing power parity of $200.5 billion in 2009 according to the IMF.[4]

Before 1971, the UAE were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a nineteenth-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs. The name Pirate Coast was also used in reference to the area's emirates in the 18th to early 20th century.[5]


[edit] History

The United Arab Emirates was originally formed from tribally-organized Arabian Peninsula sheikhdoms along the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. It had been part of Oman and was then called Oman's Gulf. The UAE was established in 1971 when the emirates bonded together and became one united country. It has since evolved into a modern, high-income nation.

[edit] Portuguese

Portuguese expansion into the Indian Ocean in the early sixteenth century following Vasco da Gama's route of exploration saw them battle the Ottomans up the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The Portuguese controlled the area for 150 years in which they conquered the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. It is noteworthy to mention that Vasco da Gama was helped by Ibn Majid, an Arab from Julphar (now known as Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE emirates), to find the route of spices.

[edit] British and Ottomans

Then, portions of the nation came under the direct influence of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. Thereafter the region was known to the British as the "Pirate Coast", as raiders based there harassed the shipping industry despite both European and Arab navies patrolling the area from the 17th century into the 19th century. British expeditions to protect the Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1819. The next year, a peace treaty was signed to which all the sheikhs of the coast adhered. Raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853, they signed a treaty with the United Kingdom, under which the sheikhs (the "Trucial Sheikhdoms") agreed to a "perpetual maritime truce." It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement.

Flag of the Trucial Coast

Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the UK with other Arabian Gulf principalities. The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack.

In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with Oman over the Buraimi Oasis another territory to the south. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi border dispute; however, the agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE government and is not recognised by the Saudi government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999.

[edit] Sheikh Zayed, oil and the Union

In the early 1960s, oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, an event that led to quick unification calls made by UAE sheikdoms. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and the British started losing their oil investments and contracts to U.S. oil companies.[citation needed]

The British had earlier started a development office that helped in some small developments in the Emirates. The sheikhs of the Emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. They formed the Trucial States Council,[6] and appointed Adi Bitar, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The Council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed.

In 1968, the United Kingdom announced its decision, reaffirmed in March 1971, to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms which had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. The nine attempted to form a union of Arab Emirates, but by mid-1971 they were still unable to agree on terms of union, even though the British treaty relationship was to expire in December of that year.

Bahrain became independent in August and Qatar in September 1971. When the British-Trucial Shaikhdoms treaty expired on December 1, 1971, they became fully independent.

The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai decided to form a union between their two emirates independently, prepare a constitution, then call the rulers of the other five emirates to a meeting and offer them the opportunity to join. It was also agreed between the two that Adi Bitar write the constitution by December 2, 1971.

On that date, at the Dubai Guesthouse Palace, four other emirates agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined later, in early 1972.

The UAE sent forces into Kuwait during the 1990–91 Arabian Gulf War.

The UAE supports military operations from the United States and other Coalition nations that are engaged in the liberation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) as well as operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism for the Horn of Africa at the Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi. The air base also supported Allied operations during the 1991 Arabian Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch.

On November 2, 2004, the UAE's first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the constitution, the UAE's Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa as president. Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

[edit] Geography

The United Arab Emirates is located on the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering mainly the Persian Gulf and partially the Gulf of Oman, as well as the countries of Oman and Saudi Arabia. The country’s north-easternmost tip is an enclave belonging to Oman and forms the strategically located Strait of Hormuz, a vital passage for much of the world’s crude oil. UAE’s total area is approximately 77,700 square kilometers with 1,318 km of coastline. However, its exact size is indeterminable as much of the border area with Saudi Arabia lies on the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert and remains undemarcated. Additionally, island disputes with Iran and Qatar remain unresolved.

The UAE comprises seven emirates of which Abu Dhabi is the largest accounting for 87 percent of total area and the smallest is Ajman at only 259 square kilometers. Its lowest point lies at the Persian Gulf (0m) and the highest point is an unnamed knoll across the border from Jebel Bil Ays in Oman reaching 1910m.

[edit] Emirates

Emirates of the UAE (click to enlarge)

The United Arab Emirates is a federation which consists of seven emirates. The largest emirate is Abu Dhabi which contains the nation's capital city Abu Dhabi. Five emirates have one or more exclaves, in addition to the main territory. The seven emirates:

Major cities of the United Arab Emirates

There are two areas under joint control. One is jointly controlled by Oman and Ajman, the other by Fujairah and Sharjah.

There is an Omani enclave surrounded by UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of Oman, on the Dubai-Hatta road in the Emirate of Sharjah. It covers approximately 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi) and the boundary was settled in 1589. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely 10 metres (33 ft) away. Within the enclave is a UAE exclave called Nahwa, also belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah (formerly known as Bhubi Dhubhi). It is about 8 kilometres (5 mi) on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange.

[edit] Politics

The UAE’s political and governmental structure is composed within a framework of a federal presidential elected monarchy and composed of a federation of the seven Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain.

The Presidency and Premiership of the United Arab Emirates is de facto hereditary to the Al Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum clan of Dubai. The President of the United Arab Emirates and the head of state is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, is the ruler of Dubai and the head of government. The political influences and financial obligations of the Emirates are reflected by respective positions in the Federal government. While each Emirate still retains autonomy over own territory, a percentage of its revenue is allocated to the UAE’s central budget.

The federal system includes the executive branch which consists of the President, Vice President, the Federal Supreme Council (composed of the Emirates’ seven rulers), and a Cabinet, or Council of Ministers. The legislative branch consists of a parliamentary body, the Federal National Council. A constitutionally independent judiciary includes the Federal Supreme Court.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union's president from the nation's founding until his death on November 2, 2004. The Federal Supreme Council elected his son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president the next day. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the heir apparent.

The Supreme Council elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed/elected forty-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. The UAE’s parliamentary body represents the Emirates, and is half appointed by the rulers of the constituent states and the other half elected indirectly to serve two-year terms. The council carries out the country’s main consultative duties and has both a legislative and supervisory role provided by the Constitution.

There is a federal court system; all emirates except Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have both secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts.[7]

The UAE took its first steps towards indirect elections for the country’s parliament on National Day, December 2, 2005 upon the official announcement by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan which followed the formation of an Electoral College. A National Electoral Committee was created and the UAE’s first election occurred during mid-December 2006. The election and appointment of nine women (comprising 22.5 per cent of the Council) strongly signified advancement and political participation of women in the United Arab Emirates. The long-term objective is for the FNC to be wholly-elected.[8]

[edit] Foreign Relations

The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization has prompted extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries. It plays a significant role in OPEC, the UN and is one of the founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Regionally, the UAE have a very close relationship with other GCC members as well as most of the Arab countries. The Emirates have long maintained close relations with Egypt and remain the highest investors in the country from among the rest of the Arab world. Pakistan has also been a major recipient of economic aid and relations have been extremely close since the founding of the federation. Pakistan had been first to formally recognize the UAE upon its formation and continues to be one of its major economic and trading partners with about 400,000 expatriates receiving employment in the UAE. India’s large expat community in the UAE also has for centuries evolved into current close political, economic and cultural ties. The largest demographic presence in the Emirates is Indian. Like most countries in the region, the UAE and Iran dispute rights to a number of islands in the Persian Gulf but this has not significantly impacted relations due to the large Iranian community presence and strong economic ties.

Following the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait, the UAE has maintained extensive relations with its Western allies for security and cooperation towards increasing interoperability of its defense forces and for liberating Kuwait. France and the USA have played the most strategically significant roles with defense cooperation agreements and military material provision. Most recently, these relations culminated in a joint nuclear deal for the US to supply the UAE with nuclear technology, expertise and fuel. Commercially, the UK and Germany are the UAE’s largest export markets and bi-lateral relations have long been close as a large number of their nationals reside in the UAE.

[edit] Demographics

The UAE population has an unnatural sex distribution consisting of more than twice as many males as females. The 15-65 age group has a male(s)/female sex ratio of 2.743. UAE's gender imbalance is the highest among any nation in the world followed by Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia - all of which together comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).[9] The GCC states are also what most South and Southeast Asians refer to as the Persian Gulf especially in context of emigration.[10]

A woman shopping at Dubai Duty Free Company

UAE has one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East.[11] 19% of the population is Emirati, and 23% is other Arabs or Persians.[12] An estimated 74% of the population is non-citizens, one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born in any nation. In addition, since the mid-1980s, people from all across South Asia have settled in the UAE. The high living standards and economic opportunities in the UAE are better than almost anywhere else in the Middle East and South Asia. This makes the nation an attractive destination for Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Afghans and Bangladeshis along with a few thousand Sri Lankans. In 2007, there were approximately 1.4 million Indian nationals, half of whom came from Kerala, making them the single largest expatriate community in the oil-rich nation.[13] Persons from over twenty Arab nationalities, including thousands of Palestinians who came as either political refugees or migrant workers, also live in the United Arab Emirates. There is also a sizable number of Emiratis from other Arab League nations who have come before the formation of the Emirates such as Egyptians, Somalis, Sudanese and other Persian Gulf Arab states, who have adopted the native culture and customs. Further, Somali immigration also continued in the 1990s as a result of the Somali civil war.

There are also residents from other parts of the Middle East, Baluchistan region of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Post-Soviet states, and North America. The UAE has attracted a small number of very affluent expatriates (Americans, British, Canadians, Japanese and Australians) from developed countries. Recent migrants from India are also quite affluent. They are attracted to a very warm climate, scenic views (beaches, golf courses, man-made islands and lucrative housing tracts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), the nation's comparably low cost of living (but in 2006, thousands of real estate properties are valued over millions of dollars) and tax-free incentives for their business or residency in the UAE. They make up under 5% of the UAE population; mainly English-speaking. Expatriates abide by the law and are required to respect the customs of the UAE.

The most populated city is Dubai, with approximately 1.6 million people. Other major cities include Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, and Fujairah. About 88% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is urban.[14] The remaining inhabitants live in tiny towns scattered throughout the country or in one of the many desert oilfield camps in the nation.

[edit] Religion

The Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai

Islam is the largest religion in the United Arab Emirates with approximately 96% of the population adhering to Islam (noted by CIA World Fact Book). It is a number which has been condensed by large scale immigration from the West and South East Asia.

Christians, most of whom are Roman Catholic, are the next biggest population. Many of the Christians are of Filipino, Indian, Lebanese and European background. There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country. Hinduism is also present in the country through immigration from South Asia. There is also a Hindu temple in the region of Bur Dubai.

Although it is legal to follow these faiths, it is illegal in the UAE to spread the ideas of these religions through any form of media as it is a form of proselytizing. In fact even the sign of the cross is not allowed to be displayed on the exterior of churches within the UAE.

The UAE provides complete freedom for religious practice and this is something which is largely respected and employed. However non-Islamic proselytizing is considered illegal. Prisoners who convert to Islam and can recite verses from the Quran can at times have sentences reduced.

[edit] Economy

Dubai skyline with Burj Dubai, the tallest man-made structure on earth, under construction

The United Arab Emirates has a rapidly growing economy with a high GDP per capita and energy consumption per capita.

The GDP per capita is currently the 14th in the world and 3rd in the Middle East after Qatar and Kuwait as measured by the CIA World Factbook, or the 17th in the world as measured by the International Monetary Fund; while at $168 billion in 2006, with a small population of 4 million, the GDP of the UAE ranks second in the CCASG (after Saudi Arabia), third in the Middle East — North Africa (MENA) region (after Saudi Arabia and Iran), and 38th in the world (ahead of Malaysia).[15]

There are various deviating estimates regarding the actual growth rate of the nation’s GDP. However, all available statistics indicate that the UAE currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to a recent report by the Ministry of Finance and Industry, real GDP rose by 35% in 2006 to $175 billion, compared with $130 billion in 2005. These figures would suggest that the UAE had the fastest growing real GDP in the world, between 2005 and 2006.[16]

Although the United Arab Emirates is becoming less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. A massive construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector are helping the UAE diversify its economy. Nationwide, there is currently $350 billion worth of active construction projects.[17] Such projects include the Burj Dubai, which is slated to become the world's tallest building, Dubai World Central International Airport which, when completed, will be the most expensive airport ever built, and the three Palm Islands, the largest artificial islands in the world. Other projects include the Dubai Mall which will become the world's largest shopping mall when completed, and a man-made archipelago called The World which seeks to increase Dubai's rapidly growing tourism industry. Also in the entertainment sector is the construction of Dubailand, which is expected to be twice the size of Disney World, and of Dubai Sports City which will not only provide homes for local sports teams but may be part of future Olympic bids.

The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the Emirati Dirham.

[edit] Education

The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and high schools. The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary.

The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education to serve and protect children's education. The Ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions, including the five largest centers of higher education: Abu Dhabi University,United Arab Emirates University,Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi university, Zayed University, Gulf Medical College and Higher Colleges of Technology. There are also many other private universities and colleges in the country, including the University of Sharjah, University of Wollongong in Dubai, American University of Sharjah, Institute of Management Technology Dubai, S.P Jain Center of Management in Dubai, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, the American University of Dubai and Ras Al Khamiah University for medical and health sciences. Finally, other universities based in foreign countries have established campuses in the United Arab Emirates. For instance, there is a Paris-Sorbonne campus in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the presence of the world-renowned institute BITS,Pilani has taken Dubai to new educational heights.

The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and institute for enterprise development.

[edit] Human rights

Migrants, mostly of south Asian origin, constitute 95% of the UAE’s workforce and are subject to a range of human rights abuses. Workers typically arrive in debt to recruitment agents from home countries and upon arrival are often made to sign a new contract in English or Arabic which pays them less than had originally been agreed.[18] Visa and travel costs are typically added on to the original debt, and thus within hours of their arrival, workers often find that their debt-repayment time has increased significantly, possibly by years.

Confiscation of passports is officially illegal, but in reality employers have been known to retain the passports of their semi or unskilled employees. All of the workers interviewed by Human Rights Watch in a 2006 report had had their passports confiscated.[19] The kafala system of employment, which ties an employee to one employer and prevents him or her from seeking alternative employment without the expressed approval of the original employer operates in the UAE. Workers are therefore dependent on their employer for housing, wages and healthcare. The lack of proper enforcement mechanisms of the country’s labour laws means that in practice employers may break laws with little fear of prosecution. Accordingly, non-payment of wages, cramped and unsanitary living conditions, poor safety practices, physical and mental abuse are widespread.

The issue of sexual abuse among female domestic servants is an area of concern, particularly given that domestic servants are not covered by the UAE Labour Law of 1980 or the Draft Labour Law of 2007, which was heavily criticised by Human Rights Watch.[20] In 2007 the falling dollar meant workers were unable to service debts and the incidence of suicides among Indian workers had reportedly been on the increase.[21] Worker protests have been heavily cracked down on with reports of collective expulsion and imprisonment.[22] The government has ignored international pressure to introduce trade unions despite repeated promises to do so going back to 2004.[23]

From the perspective of international human rights law, the UAE is in violation of its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in particular where its treatment of non-citizens is concerned. It is in violation of its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, particularly where its treatment of domestic workers is concerned. Recent initiatives to stamp out the practice of child labor have headed off criticism that it violates its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is also an argument that the UAE is in violation of its obligation to stamp out the debt bondage and furthermore that the state is itself involved in it and profits from that debt bondage.[24]

Even though the UAE government has made some advances in the protection of human rights, the U.S. Department of State notes in its annual[specify] report on human rights practices that numerous fundamentalist practices and policies exist to the contrary.

Guest workers are brought in from South Asia, and a common objection is that they are underpaid as their passports are held by their employers. There have been many reports of unskilled workers getting underpaid, and complaints of segregation abound.

As Sharia prohibits 'sodomy', homosexual relationships are not commonly disclosed.[25][26] Homosexual behavior in public may result in imprisonment and/or deportation.[27]

The UAE also does not allow individuals past retirement age to stay within the country without a job. Upon retirement, residents must return to their country of origin. People with TB, Hepatitis C and AIDS are also at a disadvantage as any non-citizen found with these illnesses may be deported.[28][29]

Discrimination in the workplace has also been reported; prospective employers will specify religion, nationality (and even regional origin in some cases) and also specify the sex of required candidates within job advertisements. However, this is often a necessity due to modesty considerations in traditional societies as well as language requirements in a country where much of the population does not speak the national language. Different pay scales may also occur depending on nationality and sex in order to reduce an overwhelming reliance on foreign labour. Policies are in place in certain instances where state employers are required to fill in vacancies with UAE nationals, a process called Emiratisation.

[edit] Transportation

Inside the Dubai International airport terminal

Dubai has a public transport agency called the Dubai Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). This authority is responsible for the bus network currently in operation. Recently, the RTA purchased 300 buses from Germany's MAN AG in an effort to reduce the city's growing traffic problem. RTA is also developing the Dubai Metro system. The first line (Red Line) is expected to be completed by September 2009. The yellow lines, currently in development, will go through the man-made Palm Islands.

Lately, the Emirate of Dubai created a new electronic toll collection system in July 2007, which emphasizes the system’s congestion management objectives as well as the choice of technology for the toll system. The new system, which is called Salik (meaning clear and smooth in Arabic) utilizes the latest technology to achieve free flow operation with no toll booths, no toll collectors, and no impact to traffic flow, allowing vehicles to move freely through the toll point at highway speeds. Each time one passes through a Salik toll point, the toll of AED 4 (1.09 USD) is deducted from his or her prepaid toll account using advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The new system was implemented by the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai.[30]

[edit] Airline history

The national airline of Abu Dhabi was formerly Gulf Air, operated jointly with Bahrain and Oman. On September 13, 2005, Abu Dhabi announced that it was withdrawing from Gulf Air to concentrate on Etihad Airways, designated as the new national carrier of the UAE, established in November 2003.

In 1985, Dubai established its airline Emirates, which, as of 2007, is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.[31]

Air Arabia, a leading discount airline in the Persian Gulf region, is based in the Emirate of Sharjah.

RAK Airways is the fourth national airways of the United Arab Emirates, was established in February 2006, is based in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.[32] Fly Dubai, a low cost airline will open in 2009 and will be the fifth airline in the UAE.

[edit] Ports and harbours

The United Arab Emirates has several major ports, including one of the world's largest, Jebel Ali Port. Other important ports in the UAE include Port Zayed, Khalifa Port, Port Rashid, Port Khalid, Hamriyah Port, Port of Ajman, Saqr Port, Um Al Quwain, Khor Fhakan and Fujairah Port.[33]

[edit] Technology, media and telecommunications

[edit] Media

Media is one of the first industries that the emirate of Dubai has sought to develop through a number of micro-cities. Dubai Media City has helped to make Dubai the media hub for the region, encompassing both the creation of media, from print through television and new media, and the advertising and marketing industry.

A number of international news organizations, including Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones Newswires, CNN and the BBC, all have a presence in Dubai Media City, and enjoy complete freedom to report on local and regional events.[citation needed]

The leading English-language newspapers based in the UAE are:

From late 2007, the international editions of The Times of London and its sister paper The Sunday Times will be printed in Dubai for local distribution.

The Association of Journalists caters only for those who work for the government owned media . Memberships is denied to media professional who do not work for state owned media, and excludes on line media professionals. And according to its members section only the 29 local journalists’ members who work for the state owned media can vote and participate in decision making, thus the decisions do not represent the interests of all journalists. And only journalists working for the state owned media can benefit from the free legal protection scheme should they encounter ‘legal disputes’ especially when both the victim and the accused happen to be both journalists as in the case reported by Abdullah, A (2005) where the member of the association only had the legal support while the other journalist working for a TV station owned by a private investor was denied legal help.

Abdullah, A (2005). TV Journalist says paper falsely quoted her in the slasher report. 20 June 2005. Khaleej Times. available online at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2005/June/theuae_June566.xml&section=theuae The UAE Printing and Publishing Law, 1980, article 81 states that it is prohibited to publish news that causes harm to the national currency or causes damage to the national economy. As a result, foreign publications are censored before distribution.

[edit] Internet

UAE has 2.3 million internet users.

Internet access is often filtered over the local proxy server of the telecommunication company Etisalat.[34] Etisalat blocks access to sites it deems controversial. All websites of Israeli origin — ending with .il — are blocked in UAE. Gay themed websites are also blocked. VoIP is blocked, however officials have never released a clear statement concerning the reason for this. The only statement released is that the UAE has no regulation for VoIP and only the local telecommunication companies are allowed to use this technology.

Du which is also an Internet provider is also filtering the content and use now the same policy than Etisalat. One of the new website blocked is Flickr. Also YouTube has some of his content blocked. Even for the Media (ex.: Dubai Media City) the ban occurred.

The relative cost of broadband services in the U.A.E compared to Europe is high, for example a 2 Mbit/s connection costs AED349 (95 USD) per month from Etisalat or Du.

[edit] Culture

[edit] Sports

New sports are becoming popular alongside traditional camel racing. Examples include include golf, with two European Tour events in the country (the Dubai Desert Classic and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, held annually in March.

Aside from the international circuit events, the UAE has a healthy indigenous sporting environment with the local community participating in a wide variety of clubs and establishments. The seven emirates regularly compete in national leagues and cups in a multiplicity of sports that are controlled by specialized governing bodies.

The country itself is a prime location for sporting events. The high quality sporting venues (both indoor and outdoor), in addition to the climate, ensure the continuation of activities throughout the winter season. Construction of Dubai Sports City is underway to take advantage of these benefits, and to establish the country as a hub for sports throughout the world.

[edit] Association Football

Stadium at Al Ain

The UAE has a huge interest in football. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was first established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game, organizing youth programs and improving the abilities of not only its players, but of the officials and coaches involved with its regional teams. The U.A.E. football team qualified for the World Cup in 1990 - with Egypt it was the third consecutive World Cup with two Arab nations qualifying after Kuwait and Algeria in 1982 and Iraq and Algeria again in 1986.

The UAE National Team won the 2005 Kirin Cup, sharing the cup with Peru after a 1–0 victory over host country Japan.

The UAE team played a four-team friendly in Switzerland in July 2005, in which they beat both Qatar and Kuwait but lost 5–4 on penalties in the final against Egypt.

In 2003 the UAE was the host nation of the FIFA U-20 World Cup between November and December 2003.

In April, Dubai Holding agreed to provide the national team with Dh20 million (US$5.45 million) sponsorship money over the next four years. The fund will also go towards developing the sport.

The UAE also recently won the Gulf Cup soccer championship held in Abu Dhabi January 2007.

The UAE are currently ranked 110th in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings.

Abu Dhabi United Group have recently purchased Manchester City Football Club. A Dubai consortium known as DIC (Dubai International Capital) is also interested in buying the English Premier League club, Liverpool F.C.

The UAE under 16 football team qualified for the 2009 Youth world cup which will be held in Nigeria. The UAE under 19 football team was also qualified for the World Youth Cup finals to be held in Egypt next year.

[edit] Tennis

A tennis match during the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (part of the ATP World Tour 500 Series at the Aviation Club, Dubai) was bigger than ever in 2000 with no less than six of the top-seeded women’s players taking centre court, a first time appearance by tennis’ golden boy, Andre Agassi, and the return of the celebrated Roger Federer, who was seeking his third title crown, resulting in some dramatic court action. In an unprecedented move, Dubai Duty Free, organisers of the championship, decided to switch the men’s tournament to the first week of the competition so that it ran from 21 to February 27 and the women’s was played from February 28 to March 5.

On February 15, 2009, the Women's Tennis Association reported the United Arab Emirates had refused to grant a visa to a female Israeli tennis player, preventing her from competing in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai. UAE could lose its membership in the WTA since WTA policy says no player should be barred from competing in a tournament for which she has qualified. [35]

[edit] Cricket

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely due to the expatriate population from the Indian subcontinent. Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah has hosted 4 international Test matches so far. Sheikh Zayed Stadium and Al Jazira Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi also host international cricket. Dubai has two cricket stadiums (Dubai Cricket Ground No.1 and No.2) with a third, 'S3' currently under construction as part of Dubai Sports City. Dubai is also home to the International Cricket Council.[36]

The United Arab Emirates national cricket team qualified for the 1996 Cricket World Cup and narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

[edit] Camel racing

The inhabitants of the Persian Gulf states have enjoyed camel racing for many years as it is considered a traditional sport.[37] Formalizing camel racing was one way of maintaining its central role in UAE life. In the past, UAE had a reputation for exploiting South Asians as jockeys. However, robot jockeys are now used after strict government regulations were passed prohibiting underage jockeys from racing.[38]

The UAE now has no fewer than 15 race tracks across the seven emirates. Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, 10 kilometers outside of Dubai, Al Wathba, 30 kilometers south-east of Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain track, which is 20 kilometers west of Al Ain, are all large, well-equipped camel tracks with high-tech facilities. Two smaller tracks are located in Sharjah, one in Ra’s al-Khaimah and one in Umm al-Qaiwain. Others are spread throughout the desert areas.

[edit] F1

A Saker Falcon Flying

In February 2007 it was announced that Bernie Ecclestone had signed a seven year deal with Abu Dhabi, to host a Formula 1 race there from the 2009 season. The 5.6 km circuit is to be set on Yas Island and it will include street and marina sections similar to Monaco's course.

[edit] Rugby Union Sevens

U.A.E. hosts Dubai Sevens round of the IRB Sevens World Series. Previously this was held at Dubai Exiles Rugby Ground, but from 2008 onwards it has been held at the new stadium The Sevens on the Dubai-Al Ain road.

[edit] Falconry

The U.A.E. is well-known for its falconry as it is also considered a traditional sport.[39] Many of UAE's rulers were enthusiasts in falconry as the nation imports falcons from all across the globe.

[edit] Endurance riding

Endurance riding and racing is a national sport in the UAE. It involves long distance races on horse back. UAE patriot Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a premiere endurance rider. The UAE claim to be the global leaders of the sport and are campaigning for it to be in the olympics. At the top level, horses cover 160 km in a day.

[edit] Holidays

Date English Arabic
January 1 New Year's Day Ra's as-Sana al-meladiah رأس السنة الميلادية
variable Day of the Sacrifice Eid ul-Adha عيد الأضحى
variable Islamic New Year Ra's as-Sana al-Hijria رأس السنة الهجرية
variable The Night Journey Al-Isra'a wal-Mi'raj الإسراء والمعراج
December 2   National Day Al-Eid al-Watani العيد الوطني
variable End of Ramadan Eid ul-Fitr عيد الفطر

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ World Factbook - United Arab Emirates
  2. ^ a b c d "United Arab Emirates". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2008/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2004&ey=2008&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=466&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=39&pr.y=8. Retrieved on 2009-02-11. 
  3. ^ http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/
  4. ^ "IMF Data Mapper". Imf.org. http://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/index.php. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition; XXI:188; II:255 (1911)
  6. ^ "Al Khaleej News Paper". http://nasibbitar.net/adi_sr/DocumentsArticle4.jpg. 
  7. ^ Library of Congress http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/aetoc.html
  8. ^ National Media Council, “United Arab Emirates Yearbook 2008,” Trident Press Ltd. London, (Government section)
  9. ^ "cia.gov". https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2018.html. 
  10. ^ Steve Raymer. "Dubai’s Kerala Connection". Yaleglobal.yale.edu. http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=5992. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  11. ^ "Editorial: The Ideal Prince". Arabnews.com. 2004-11-03. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7&section=0&article=53888&d=3&m=11&y=2004. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  12. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook - United Arab Emirates". Cia.gov. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html#People. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  13. ^ "Keralites, largest Indian expat community in UAE". http://ibnlive.in.com/news/keralites-largest-indian-expat-community-in-uae/52694-3.html?from=search-relatedstories. 
  14. ^ "Table 3.10 Urbanization" (PDF). World Development Indicators. World Bank Group. http://devdata.worldbank.org/wdipdfs/table3_10.pdf. Retrieved on 2006-10-24.  (link to HTML page with the PDFs)
  15. ^ "imf.org". http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2007/01/index.htm. 
  16. ^ "khaleejtimes.com". http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/business/2007/May/business_May692.xml&section=business&col. 
  17. ^ "wam.org.ae". http://www.wam.org.ae/servlet/Satellite?c=WamLocEnews&cid=1179091517887&p=1135099400228&pagename=WAM%2FWamLocEnews%2FW-T-LEN-FullNews. 
  18. ^ Dr David Keane, Nicholas McGeehan, 'Enforcing Migrant Workers' Rights in the United Arab Emirates' International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, Volume 15, Number 1, 2008, pp 81 - 115
  19. ^ "Human Rights Watch: Building Towers Cheating Workers: Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in the United Arab Emirates". http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/uae1106/. 
  20. ^ "Human Rights Watch: UAE Draft Labour Law Violates International Standards". http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2007/03/25/uae15547.htm. 
  21. ^ "Despair pushes Gulf returnees to suicide". http://www.khabrein.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9211&Itemid=61. 
  22. ^ "Indian Workers Jailed in Dubai over Violent Protest". http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-32118620080224. 
  23. ^ "Workers' rights in the UAE". Mafiwasta. http://www.mafiwasta.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  24. ^ Dr David Keane, Nicholas McGeehan. "Enforcing Migrant Workers' Rights in the United Arab Emirates". Volume 15, Number 1, 2008. International Journal on Minority and Group Rights. 81 - 115. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mnp/ijgr/2008/00000015/00000001/art00004;jsessionid=utxuestt1d9p.alexandra. 
  25. ^ "SodomyLaws.org". http://www.sodomylaws.org/world/uae/united_arab_emirates.htm. 
  26. ^ "SodomyLaws.org (Google Cache)". 
  27. ^ Advanced Digital Technology www.adtworld.com. "Women get jail and deportation for kissing on Dubai public beach". Gulfnews. http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Police_and_The_Courts/10216005.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  28. ^ Advanced Digital Technology www.adtworld.com. "Future of Hepatitis C patients in UAE hangs in 'ministerial' balance". Gulfnews. http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Health/10226397.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  29. ^ "KAKAMMPI News: UAE adds Hepatitis C to list of deportable diseases". Kakammpi-news.blogspot.com. 2008-05-08. http://kakammpi-news.blogspot.com/2008/05/uae-adds-hepatitis-c-to-list-of.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  30. ^ Salik - United Arab Emirates Roads & Transport Authority
  31. ^ "emirates.com". http://www.emirates.com/usa/AboutEmirates/AboutEmirates.asp. 
  32. ^ "Book your flight to Ras Al Khaimah, Calicut, Dhaka, Chittagong, Colombo, Beirut with RAK Airway". RAK Airways. 2008-03-15. http://www.rakairways.com/. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  33. ^ "Interactive Map with UAE sea ports". http://www.athenashipsupplies.com/en/seaports.htm. 
  34. ^ "Internet Filtering in the United Arab Emirates in 2004-2005: A Country Study". OpenNet Initiative. http://www.opennetinitiative.net/studies/uae/. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  35. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/02/15/tennis.uae.israel/index.html
  36. ^ "Cricinfo - Grounds - United Arab Emirates". Content-uk.cricinfo.com. 2008-06-17. http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/other/content/ground/country.html?country=27. Retrieved on 2009-01-12. 
  37. ^ Dubai By Terry Carter, Lara Dunston, pg. 17
  38. ^ The United Arab Emirates Yearbook 2007 By Ibrahim Al Abed, Peter Vine
  39. ^ Folklore and Folklife in the United Arab Emirates by Sayyid Hamid Hurriez, Sayyid Hurreiz, pg 143

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