The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was formed in 1971 after Britain left the Persian Gulf. There are seven states (Bahrain and Qatar almost joined, but decided to go independent that same year) and you know of only two, as described below. It’s an Islamic country with hereditary leadership. The population is around 4.5 million, where in the 16-65 age group, there are 2.75 males to each female because 85% of the population are foreigners, mostly laborers. The GDP/capita is $42,275 and is ranked #3 by the CIA Factbook to Luxembourg and Equatorial Guinea (no, you don’t want to go there), but #12 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Abu Dhabi is the capital and one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The city has a population of 2 million and is actually an island. It is said to be the richest city in the world. Each natural citizen is worth an average of $17 million. In 2008, this emirate announced a $15 billion clean energy and hydrogen program, a breakthrough, being the first major Arab commitment to solar energy. The first paved road came in 1961, but in 2011 will open the $200 million Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry.
Dubai, the other known emirate, has no personal, corporate nor sales tax, and, surprisingly, less than 6% of its revenues comes from oil and natural gas. The 9/11 twin World Trade Center towers had 110 floors, while the tallest current building (in Taiwan) has 101 floors at a height of 1671 feet. The recently competed Burj Dubai, to be occupied within two months, has 206 floors and is 2684 feet tall, more than a thousand feet higher than #2. The Burj was built at a cost of $4.1 billion. (Going back in history, the Great Pyramid of Giza, with a height of 455 feet, had the title for almost 4000 years, until around 1300 when the Lincoln Cathedral was built in England.) Samsung, from South Korea, which constructed the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Taipei 101, handled the construction. To discourage competitors, Al Burj, on the Dubai Waterfront, has been proposed to be nearly 1000 feet taller. Looks like this skyscraper will now only be a memory.
It was a quarter century ago that I landed in Dubai, or was it Abu Dhabi, when Pan Am had aworld route. I did not see anything of consequence then, but, certainly, times have changed the landscape, and I look forward to returning to the United Arab Emirates in the Fall of 2010 and stay at the Burg Al Arab, while also venturing forth to Abu Dhabi to discuss plans for Masdar City, the presumed greenest city in the world to be readied for operation in about a decade. Now, who knows about even this adventure.
Dubai is not an independent country, chances are that the King or some organization in the UAE will bail them out. Dubai's debt to GDP ratio is 1.48, while that of the UAE is only 0.22. (Remember that the U.S.'s is about 1.0 and Japan is at 1.7.) With specific banking exceptions (Japan and the United Kingdom, plus, Citigroup of the U.S.), the world should weather this debt default problem.
Tropical Cyclone Nida is still at 150 MPH, but weakening and will move away from Japan.
The 126th nation just visit this site:
GABON POPULATION: 1,485,832
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|Only two autocratic presidents have ruled Gabon since independence from France in 1960. The current president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - has dominated the country's political scene for four decades. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in 2002-03 and the presidential elections in 2005 have exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Gabon's political opposition remains weak, divided, and financially dependent on the current regime. Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.|
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Remember how I indicated that China could run into problems attempting to exploit resources in Africa? Add Gabon to that list.