Tuesday, February 28, 2006

modern living............some rules.............

Having stolen £50 million in an audacious armed raid it is probably best to consider going to ground for a while and perhaps working on laundering the money rather than, within 12 hours of the raid popping around to the local Bradford and Bingley with six grands worth of consecutively numbered £50 notes wrapped in paper bearing the name of the company you stole it from and trying to deposit it in your current account. Just a thought for future reference!

People. When you reach a cash till in, say, a shop or cafe, you will have to pay. This involves getting money or cards out of your purse. Here's a suggestion. Take the frigging purse OUT of your handbag and open it BEFORE the cashier tells you how much you owe. That way you won't have to fiddle around for five minutes working out exactly how you're going to pay. And the rest of us can get on with our busy lives.

Never answer the phone when you have just five minutes to go before leaving the office. You can guarantee it will be someone wanting to tell you his life story.

Tying a ribbon to your virtually bald infants head so the people will recognise them as female is a grave mistake to make; surely it is better that people think of your child as male rather than just plain unattractive.

Office Security Guards: Don't try and chat up the Receptionist; they will always see you as their inferiors and never date you. Just stick to your pointless, jobsworth living of making people, that you see on a daily basis, rummage through their bag/pockets for their pass to prove what you already well know; that they work for the company or serve your only real purpose of directing visitors to the the toilet's or nearest coffee shop.

After buying a pot of cotton buds. Immedietly open it and knock or kick them to the floor spilling them and spending an infuriating 5 minutes trying to cram them back into the now shrunken pot. This is an inevitable sequence of events. Just get it over with.

There's no point wasting valuable seconds watching airline cabin crews demonstrate how to use a lifejacket. Planes don't 'land' on water, they crash into it at about 600 miles an hour, and at that point, you won't be in any fit state to work out how to get the straps over your head, tie it in a knot and work out how to blow the tiny plastic whistle. Just tune out and continue getting pissed.

To avoid a messy divorce, find a woman you really dislike, and give her your house

Aussies and Kiwis: When in Rome, hang around exclusively with other Aussies and Kiwis in groups of 20 or more, taking note only to drink in Aussie and Kiwi themed bars, thereby isolating yourselves from the rest of the community.

A Freudian slip occurs when you say one thing, but mean your mother.

A fool and his money are soon partying.

Encyclopedias make very bad wedding gifts because the wife already knows EVERYTHING!

Originality is the art of concealing your source

Far from being a sophisticated tool for displaying detailed scientific results, the steffigraph is actually no more than a washed up female tennis star

Spanish men - wear a really small backpack with both straps on your shoulders and your hair in a greased back ponytail. Senoritas will love it!

Let sleeping dogs lie. Just get dressed quickly and close the front door quietly.

The 'eject' button on a VCR only works for videos, not for sandwiches my 2 year old daughter has tried to 'watch'.

you can never be too rich, too thin, or too well armed.

Never raise your hands to your kids, it leaves your groin unprotected.

Goth girls: Going to Halloween parties dressed as that scary woman in 'The Ring' is hardly pushing the boat out.

When a good friend is about to tell you a hugely important life-altering secret, before they have even finished saying "and you've got to promise not to tell anyone under any circumstances" you have already thought of the person you are going to tell.

People who have a degree from the university of life: well done. Bear in mind however that graduates from registered institutes of higher education not only have a degree from the university of life, but also have a piece of paper confirming a supplement degree which will open many more doors than the former

Never ask a 30-something single women if she feels like Bridget Jones...Unless you want to bludgeoned by an empty wine bottle.

There's no such thing as a free lynch, the rope alone costs a bloody fortune.

Gypsies: Avoid hassle from the authorities and eventual eviction from your illegal site by putting up a few fairground rides.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill... but it still has to be mowed.

You can pretty much guarantee that people looking for books in a "travel" section in a bookstore, will have no sense of direction or sense of discovery for themselves and will have to be led there by their hands, sobbing. Despite travelled all over South East Asia on their trust funds.

It is impossible to walk down an escalator at pace without looking like Michael Flatley.

Right wing journos: you can't possibly know what the 'silent majority' think, the clue is in the word 'silent'.

Show me a man with pride and I'll show you a man with limited options.

Girls: if you get a text from your boyfriend saying that he wants to kick your puppy and dual your aunt, take it with a pinch of salt as it's more likely that he just hasn't got the hang of predictive text yet...

Instead of wearing a bluetooth earpiece, just paint the word “sap” on your forehead. This makes it easier for people unaccustomed to modern day technology to single you out for abuse.

WOMEN: If - like you say - you don't like guys who have 'emotional baggage', then why not try doing your best NOT TO CREATE THE BAGGAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

If you live in London you do not need a giant four-wheel drive jeep or land rover to take your kids to school. Driving a smaller car but putting a sticker on the bumper saying "selfish git" gets the message across just as clearly.

Always let the sun set on an argument. Assuming that no one actually dies in the night and leaves the other with a lifetime of guilt, the issue will inevitably seem much less worth screaming over after a good night's sleep.

Alzheimers sufferers: At least you're not bored. You get to meet new people every day.

Males: if you own or wish to own a Friends DVD the chances are that you love Cox

When confronted by a person asking you for money, ask yourself, what would Patrick Bateman do?

Work is the burden of the drinking classes.

Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Official Web site of the US Central Intelligence Agency. ... CIA

This information is lifted from the official web site of the CIA no less, they keep a "World Fact Book" on just about every country there this, it's interesting reading. A lot of it is out of date and we look forward to the official 2005 UAE Cencus putting a few of these figures straight...................


United Arab Emirates
The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region.
Geography United Arab Emirates
Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates:
24 00 N, 54 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 82,880 sq km
land: 82,880 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maine
Land boundaries:
total: 867 km
border countries: Oman 410 km, Saudi Arabia 457 km
1,318 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
desert; cooler in eastern mountains
flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas
Land use:
arable land: 0.6%
permanent crops: 2.25%
other: 97.15% (2001)
Irrigated land:
720 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
frequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issues:
lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
People United Arab Emirates
note: includes an estimated 1,606,079 non-nationals; the 17 December 1995 census presents a total population figure of 2,377,453, and there are estimates of 3.44 million for 2002 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.3% (male 331,269; female 317,977)
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 1,115,826; female 707,058)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 66,404; female 24,678) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 27.9 years
male: 35.2 years
female: 22.9 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.54% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
18.78 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.58 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 2.691 male(s)/female
total population: 1.442 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 14.51 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.05 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.24 years
male: 72.73 years
female: 77.87 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.94 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.18% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Emirati(s)
adjective: Emirati
Ethnic groups:
Emirati 19%, other Arab and Iranian 23%, South Asian 50%, other expatriates (includes Westerners and East Asians) 8% (1982)
note: less than 20% are UAE citizens (1982)
Muslim 96% (Shi'a 16%), Christian, Hindu, and other 4%
Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77.9%
male: 76.1%
female: 81.7% (2003 est.)
Government United Arab Emirates
Country name:
conventional long form: United Arab Emirates
conventional short form: none
local long form: Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah
local short form: none
former: Trucial Oman, Trucial States
abbreviation: UAE
Government type:
federation with specified powers delegated to the UAE federal government and other powers reserved to member emirates
Abu Dhabi
Administrative divisions:
7 emirates (imarat, singular - imarah); Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Dubayy (Dubai), Ra's al Khaymah, Umm al Qaywayn
2 December 1971 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 2 December (1971)
2 December 1971 (made permanent in 1996)
Legal system:
federal court system introduced in 1971; applies to all emirates except Dubayy (Dubai) and Ra's al Khaymah, which are not fully integrated into the federal judicial system; all emirates have secular courts to adjudicate criminal, civil, and commercial matters and Islamic courts to review family and religious disputes
Executive branch:
chief of state: President KHALIFA bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 3 November 2004), ruler of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) (since 4 November 2004); Vice President MUHAMMAD bin Rashid al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister MUHAMMAD bin Rashid al-Maktum (since 5 January 2006); Deputy Prime Minister SULTAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 November 1990); Deputy Prime Minister HAMDAN bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan (since 20 October 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
note: there is also a Federal Supreme Council (FSC) composed of the seven emirate rulers; the FSC is the highest constitutional authority in the UAE; establishes general policies and sanctions federal legislation; meets four times a year; Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi) and Dubayy (Dubai) rulers have effective veto power
elections: president and vice president elected by the Federal Supreme Council (composed of rulers of the seven emirates) for five-year terms; election last held 3 November 2004 upon the death of the UAE's Founding Father and first President ZAYID bin Sultan Al Nuhayyan (next to be held 2009); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: KHALIFA bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan elected president by a unanimous vote of the FSC; MAKTUM bin Rashid al-Maktum unanimously reaffirmed vice president
Legislative branch:
unicameral Federal National Council (FNC) or Majlis al-Ittihad al-Watani (40 seats; members appointed by the rulers of the constituent states to serve two-year terms)
elections: President Khalifa in December 2005 announced that indirect elections would be held in early 2006 for half of the seats in the FNC; the other half would be filled by appointment
note: reviews legislation, but cannot change or veto
Judicial branch:
Union Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Asri Said Ahmad al-DHAHIRI
chancery: 3522 International Court NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 243-2400
FAX: [1] (202) 243-2432
note: consulates in New York and Houston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michele J. SISON
embassy: Embassies District, Plot 38 Sector W59-02, Street No. 4, Abu Dhabi
mailing address: P. O. Box 4009, Abu Dhabi
telephone: [971] (2) 414-2200
FAX: [971] (2) 414-2469
consulate(s) general: Dubai
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a wider vertical red band on the hoist side
Economy United Arab Emirates
Economy - overview:
The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 30% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for more than 100 years. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private sector involvement. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, and cheap credit in 2005 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. Any sharp correction to the UAE's equity markets could damage investor and consumer sentiment and affect bank asset quality. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$74.51 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$104.2 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $29,100 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 58.5%
services: 37.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
2.8 million
note: 73.9% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 7%, industry 15%, services 78% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
2.4% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.5% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
revenues: $34.93 billion
expenditures: $29.41 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.4 billion (2005 est.)
Public debt:
17.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish
petroleum, fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, petrochemicals, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
4% (2000)
Electricity - production:
45.12 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
38.32 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
2.396 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
310,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
2.5 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
97.8 billion bbl (2005 est.)
Natural gas - production:
44.4 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
33.7 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
7.19 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
6.06 trillion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:
$25.66 billion (2005 est.)
$103.1 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - partners:
Japan 24.8%, South Korea 9.9%, India 5.4%, Thailand 5.2% (2004)
$60.15 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - partners:
China 10%, India 9.8%, Japan 6.8%, Germany 6.5%, UK 6.2%, France 6.1%, US 6% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$23.53 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$30.21 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
since its founding in 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has given about $5.2 billion in aid to 56 countries (2004)
Currency (code):
Emirati dirham (AED)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Emirati dirhams per US dollar - 3.67 (2005), 3.6725 (2004), 3.6725 (2003), 3.6725 (2002), 3.6725 (2001)
note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications United Arab Emirates
Telephones - main lines in use:
1,135,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2,972,300 (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones; key centers are Abu Dhabi and Dubai
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber optic and coaxial cable
international: country code - 971; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat; submarine cables to Qatar, Bahrain, India, and Pakistan; tropospheric scatter to Bahrain; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 13, FM 8, shortwave 2 (2004)
820,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (2004)
310,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
56,283 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
1,110,200 (2003)
Transportation United Arab Emirates
35 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 22
over 3,047 m: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2005 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 4 (2005 est.)
2 (2005 est.)
condensate 469 km; gas 2,655 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,936 km; oil/gas/water 5 km (2004)
total: 1,088 km
paved: 1,088 km (including 253 km of expressways)
unpaved: 0 km (1999 est.)
Merchant marine:
total: 56 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 578,477 GRT/739,823 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 11, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 21, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 14 (Greece 2, Kuwait 6)
registered in other countries: 200 (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Al Fujayrah, Khawr Fakkan, Mina' Jabal 'Ali, Mina' Rashid, Mina' Saqr, Mina' Zayid, Sharjan
Military United Arab Emirates
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air and Air Defense Force, paramilitary forces (includes Federal Police Force)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 653,181
note: includes non-nationals (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 526,671 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 30,706 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.6 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.1% (FY00)
Transnational Issues United Arab Emirates
Disputes - international:
because the treaties have not been made public, the exact alignment of the boundary with Saudi Arabia is still unknown; boundary agreement was signed and ratified with Oman in 2003 for entire border, including Oman's Musandam Peninsula and Al Madhah enclaves, but contents of the agreement and maps showing the alignment have not been published; UAE engage in direct talks and solicit Arab League support to resolve disputes over Iran's occupation of Lesser and Greater Tunb Islands and Abu Musa Island
Illicit drugs:
the UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug producing countries; the UAE's position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering; anti-money-laundering controls improving

This page was last updated on 10 January, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A constant source of amusement

when I first moved to Dubai there was little in the way of UK media.

Cabbage Times, Goof News and Today and "listings" magazine Whats (not) On.

Last first, what an appalling read Whats (not) On re
ally is. What is it that makes Editors insist on their mug shot appearing along side the editorial every month? It can only be their vanity as it serves no other useful purpose and please, some editors have very little to be vain about.......
The content is weak and by nature of it's monthly distribution will always be late, left
behind, and inaccurate.
Ever planned an evening out on the strength of a Whats (not) On article.................

As for the old school news media, If you enjoyed reading Government press releases and agency news wire bulletins then your needs were duly satisfied.

Improvement over the years brought us dozens of magazines published locally, two new newspapers and the globally successful listings magazine Time Out.

Of the two new "newspapers", one is a further extension of the old, albeit in a far more convenient format a
nd the other is a free "metro" style offering that appears purely to be the sounding board of ignorant, arrogant, spoilt western ex pats living a life that very few could afford "back 'ome". Mission will be accomplished when the letters page takes up the whole rag and pushes more agency news wire material back to the paid for rags. Cutting edge? Regurgitate any old crap more like.

Finally, the i
nternational title Time Out is the only really source of honest journalism out there.
It that because it recruits professionals not keen amateurs?
Lets face it most of the "journalists" in Dubai appear to have little or no experience before joining the "professional" (and I use that world very loosely), ranks out here in the UAE.
Or perhaps that Time Out dares to speak it's mind and highlight certain issues "ignored" by other media albeit, and perhaps because of, it's light hearted tone?

It has it's faults, we do not really need to be reminded of the other rags gaffs, they are embarrassing enough first time around without the need to relive them. Still we do have at least an entertainments mag that we can be proud of, now if the other media can please take note and catch up...........