AOB – June 2017

27 June 2017

Packing has started!

25 June 2017

Oldie but still good: “When the new interviewees and their wives were taking the tour of the new EGHQ atrium area with all it’s glitz and glamour, one of the wife’s asked the tour guide lady, “Wow, this place is huge… how many people work here?” Without missing a beat the tour guide lady said, “Oh, about half of them”.

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Tai gave her notice today – planned leaving date from Emirates – 6 August 2017. Momentous.

It has been close to 11 years – time for a change.

23 June 2017

2017 Skytrax awards: Emirates:

Inflight Entertainment: 1st
First Class: 2nd
Overall : 4th
Business Class: 9th
Cabin Crew: 15th – and more cost-cutting to come?

The slide in the cabin crew rating is a reflection of poor morale and some questionable recruitment.

EK is not the powerhouse that it used to be.

Best airline award for the year went to Qatar.

19 June 2017

Lunacy in London – where this morning:

A van has driven into a crowd of worshippers after they left a mosque in north London.

Police have confirmed a number of casualties after the collision which happened at about 12.20am on Monday. Witnesses reported seeing up to 10 injured. There is at least one dead.

Witnesses have described the van swerving towards a group of people.

The white van hit people outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road. Two witnesses reported seeing three people leave the van.

The Muslim Council of Great Britain said the van had run over worshippers. In Ramadan.

The streets were crowded because it was shortly after prayers had finished at nearby Finsbury Park mosque

One man was arrested at the scene by the police.

One of the more correct responses: When islamist terrorists attack we rightly seek out hate preachers who spur them on. We must do the same to those who peddle Islamophobia. This includes extremists in the mainstream right wing media….yes that is the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun, who peddle too much hate.

The mayor of London has released a statement on Facebook, saying the attack was deliberate and targeted “innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan”.

“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect,” he said.

17 June 2017

Two days in Paris earlier in the week – nice weather and good to be back in one of the world’s great cities.

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Meanwhile another tragedy struck London with the Grenfell Towers fire on Latimer Rd in west London.

The eventual death toll will probably exceed 70 – but no one knows for certain as parts of the building are simply too dangerous for rescue workers.

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While in the Gulf the dispute with Qatar continues – how bad is it – Anwar Gargash, the UAE foreign minister, said its allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain did not trust Qatar. He was in London on a visit intended to rally diplomatic support for the embargo. Other than the USA there has been no noticeable support for the dispute with Qatar with western governments urging de-escalation and trying to mediate rather than take sides.

“We do not trust them. There is zero trust, but we need a monitoring system and we need our western friends to play a role in this,” said Gargash.

He said the monitoring would aim to ensure Qatar was no longer funding extremism, harbouring extremists in Doha, or providing support to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaida. Qatar denies supporting the groups.

This dispute has a long way to run.

10 June 2017

From the Guardian:

Where did that Labour surge come from? Memes, obviously, and a canny social media strategy. But beyond that, the answers were complex and indicative of a shrugging of the political landscape. There was the youth and student contribution. There was the fact that the disintegration of the Ukip vote did not land plumly in the laps of the Tories but sought out Labour too. There was the Labour manifesto, and the malfunctioning Conservative version. There was Wales. There was even Scotland.

You can follow the links!

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The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has written a poem for the election, entitled Campaign. It appears on the front page of the Guardian this morning:

In which her body was a question-mark
querying her lies; her mouth a
ballot-box that bit the hand that
fed. Her eyes? They swivelled
for a jackpot win. Her heart was
a stolen purse;
her rhetoric an empty vicarage,
the windows smashed.
Then her feet grew sharp
stilettos, awkward.
Then she had balls, believe it.
When she woke,
her nose was bloody, difficult.
The furious young
ran towards her through the
fields of wheat.

Don’t think I have ever seen the Poet Laureate be so political.

9 June 2017

The UK election descends into farce. A hung parliament. Mrs. May’s worst day since she ran through the wheat fields!

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Meanwhile in Dubai we are all being very cautious about any commentary that says anything other than everything is normal and we are happy.

8 June 2017

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is a high profile Emirati commentator – hugely sensible and moderate.

He posted this on Facebook this evening:

Over the past near decade of having a Facebook account I think I must have written less than 20 posts that were restricted to “Friends Only.” That decision was mainly in order not to hurt someone’s feelings. After the failure of the Arab Uprisings in 2012 I saw many activist friends transform their once public accounts into private ones, ranting about this or that issue – in private, effectively behind closed doors. I refused to do that despite personal risk and pressure from various parties. I recall thinking a couple of times how ironic it was for some individuals who have private or anonymous accounts to criticise me for not speaking up about a specific issue when they do so effectively in a closed and safe space or from a Western country. I was thinking about this because it saddened me to close my still and always public account to comments by non-friends due to recent cybercrime laws. I have so much more to say. Perhaps one day I will. But when I do, know it will be in public and not behind closed doors.

Welcome to our very cautious and self-censored world.

8 June 2017

As India and the UAE start discussing their air services bilateral here are the current numbers:

Carriers from India and the UAE fly a total of 134,441 aircraft seats a week, each way. These are divided between Dubai (65,200), Abu Dhabi (50,000), Sharjah (17,841) and Ras Al Khaimah (1,400). At present, Indian carriers operate 97,802 seats, while the balance 36,639 are not being utilised. On the other hand, the UAE carriers have fully utilised their quota.

7 June 2017

The escalating crisis in the Gulf feels ever more serious – today the UAE has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy towards Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported.

“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

On top of a possible jail term, offenders would also be hit with a fine of at least

2 June 2017

Our Dubai exit countdown is now underway. More on that later in the month.

But tired today after two weeks travel….

A friend of mine – yes I still have a few – confirmed today that she will vote Tory in next week’s election. From communist youth to capitalist tiger mother! We will still be friends.

500,000 dirhams, the newspaper said, citing a statement to Arabic-language media.

These are the sort of restrictions that countries create during wartime. We are not there yet.