domingo, 26 de dezembro de 2004

Um modelo para o Médio Oriente

Uma Cidade Estado e Principado (...absoluto), parte de uma pequena e efectiva federação, perseguindo o comércio como o seu pilar de existência.

"This month, Dubai's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Rashid Maktum warned his fellow Arab leaders to "change, or you will be changed" at a forum attended by intellectuals, Middle Eastern politicians, business leaders and former president Bill Clinton.(...)

In a sign of Dubai's priorities, the world's tallest building -- a more than 2,500-foot spear known as the Dubai Tower -- and a $750 million mega-mall are rising on former military land.

Meanwhile, the city-state is pushing a development scheme of "world firsts." A German consortium has announced plans to build the world's first underwater hotel, to be named Hydropolis. The largest mall outside North America is scheduled to open next year. But that will quickly be trumped by the mall at the Dubai Tower complex, featuring an aquarium, amusement parks, a "floating fashion island" and a "seven-star" hotel, which will be the largest in the world.

Even that distinction will not last long: A still larger shopping center is planned for Dubailand, a collection of zoos, sports complexes, houses, spas, amusement parks and an indoor ski slope proposed by an Iranian investor group.

From the start, trade was central to its governing ethic and remained so even after oil was discovered here in 1966. Dubai's reserves pale in comparison with those of Abu Dhabi, which in 1971 became the capital of a federation of six emirates and largely finances the budget for each. A seventh joined a year later and each has developed a distinct character, from the traditional and pious Sharjah to cosmopolitan Dubai.

Dubai's majority immigration population has arrived from the east over the past three decades to build its gleaming infrastructure and sustain an economy based on tourism, real-estate development and industries spun off from the booming tax-free port. Oil accounts for about 5 percent of Dubai's economy, and in the past five years its non-oil sectors have grown at a combined annual average rate of more than 9 percent."

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