14 January 2009

* Work on Nakheel Tower "stopped for 12 months"

Construction work on the Nakheel Tower in Dubai, destined to become the world’s tallest when completed, has been stopped for a year, it was revealed on Wednesday.
 
Several labourers working on the ambitious project have been laid off as progress has been "stopped until further notice".

“Further work on the foundations of Nakheel Harbour and Tower will commence in 12 months. The foundation works are likely to take approximately three years to complete,” a Nakheel spokesman said in comments published by UAE daily The National.
A senior project manager told the paper that several employees had lost their jobs because “work has stopped until further notice”.

The tower plan is set to be the centrepiece of a 270-hectare marina development called Nakheel Harbour and Tower near Ibn Battuta Mall and the Arabian Canal in Dubai.

With 200 floors and 150 lifts, it is expected to soar to more than 1km high and take 10 years to complete in phases.

Nakheel announced late last year that it was delaying several of its flagship projects, including the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in addition to axing 500 jobs amid the global financial crisis.

The developer said the Frond N villas, Gateway Towers and the Trump tower on the Palm Jumeirah, one of three palm-shaped islands the developer is building off Dubai's coast, would all be delayed.

The company said much of its Waterfront project, a series of man-made islands set to be twice the size of Hong Kong, would also be pushed back.

Nakheel said work would continue on Madinat Al Arab, Venetto, Badra and the Canal District, but areas of the project, including construction of six man-made islands, would be put on hold.

The Universe, a series of man-made islands in the shape of the sun, the moon and the planets that wraps around Nakheel's The World project, has been delayed, the company said, with work restricted to preliminary engineering studies.

On the Palm Jebel Ali, the second largest of the three Palm islands, Nakheel said work on the fond villas and infrastructure for the crescent would continue, while other phases would be delayed.

It did not give details of how long any of its projects would be delayed for.

Nakheel said work on all other projects - which include The World man-made archipelago and Palm Deira, the largest of the Palm islands - would continue as planned.

The UAE's construction and real estate industry has been hit hard with Aldar Laing O’Rourke, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s largest developer and a British construction company, announcing last week it was cutting up to 250 jobs because of the changed economic environment.



(arabianbusiness)



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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.