23 December 2008

* Dubai raises US$490 million from Metro naming rights

UAE. Dubai raised AED1.8 billion (US$490 million) by selling naming rights and funding from companies for the light-rail metro system it is building, according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Companies will pay AED886.7 million for buying the naming rights and AED917 million for funding the project, according to the statement.

Rights to name the stations were won by local retailers, property developers and telecommunications companies, it said.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, made the announcement during a press conference on Monday.

"At the top of the brands that met the selections criteria of Metro Naming rights and partnership with the RTA are Majid Al Futtaim Group (Mall of the Emirates Station and Deira City Centre Station).

The list also includes Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat Station), Gulf General Investment Company (GIGCO Station), Sharaf DG Station, First Gulf Bank Station, Nakheel, which has three stations (Nakheel Station, The Palm Deira Station and Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station) and Dubai Airport Free Zone Station," said Al Tayer.

"Companies and organisations that contributed to funding Dubai Metro Stations include Dubai Holding, which will build six stations costing AED600 million, namely: Dubai Creek, Jaddaf, Emirates Towers, Dubai Health Care City, TECOM and Business Bay.

The list also includes Emirates Airlines (Emirates Airlines Station costing AED100 million), Emaar (Burj Dubai Station costing AED100 million), and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (Jumeirah Lake Towers Station costing AED117 million).

"Dubai Metro Naming Rights initiative commanded huge attention of CEOs and senior marketing executives of leading local and global companies and brands, representing the first batch of companies joining Dubai Metro Naming Rights initiative," Al Tayer said.


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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.