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Sun 20 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Emmar set for Jakarta deal

Watch out for big news from Indonesia in the next few weeks. My sources tell me that property giant Emaar is due to sign a multi-billion dollar contract for the total regeneration of Jakarta.

|~||~||~|Watch out for big news from Indonesia in the next few weeks. My sources tell me that property giant Emaar is due to sign a multi-billion dollar contract for the total regeneration of Jakarta.

This project – possibly topping the US$10 billion mark – will see Emaar develop new infrastructure and buildings right around Jakarta. It will not only totally transform the capital city, but ease the massive traffic congestion problems. I hear that Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar has already made several trips to Jakarta, and that a deal could be announced soon after he returns from holiday in San Diego.
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Looks like there could soon be a new owner at Dubai free sheet 7Days. Word from the paper is that talks with a potential suitor are in their “final stages” and that an announcement could come within the next week.

7Days has been in talks with several potential buyers over the past year, including protracted discussions with UK based Associated Newspapers, owners of the Daily Mail. Other likely suitors are thought to include AMG, with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed an outside bet. However, licensing issues are thought to remain an obstacle.

Last night, one of the paper’s most senior executives, and a 7Days shareholder, told me: “Things are moving along and it is no secret that we have had discussions with several parties. I think we will reach agreement very soon, which is great for me because it means I can get some cash in return for all my hard work.”

Whether the rest of the hard working staff will get handsome bonuses or redundancy notices is less clear…


I am as always looking forward to this year’s Leaders in Dubai event, on 28-29 November. Once again the organisers have managed to secure a host of big names, including General Colin Powell, Lou Gerstner and Queen Noor of Jordan.

But I have a feeling the real action will be on Day 2 at 11.30am, when former Disney boss Michael Eisner takes the stage, to talk about “growth through innovation.”

The question and answer session that follows should be particularly entertaining. In case you didn’t know, Eisner owns Los Angeles radio station KABC 790Am. The station’s morning hosts are Gloria Alred and Mark Taylor, both known for their daily anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian views.

Eisner himself is no expert on the subject though, admitting just last month on his own television show: “I am not an expert on religion. But the religion of Islam, there’s a lot of controversy as to what is it-- what parts of it are parts to be concerned about, and what parts are not.”


Last week I revealed that Emirates Airline was feeling the pinch in the battle with Virgin Atlantic on the Dubai-London route. Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson’s Upper Class service was basically running circles around Emirates – but, as I said, there would soon be a response.

And it took just three hours after the piece appeared for Emirates to announce it was putting flat beds in Business Class for the first time. All of Emirates’ new long-range Boeing 777 aircraft on order will be fitted with lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the airline will also retfit its current fleet of 12 777-300 aircraft by early 2008

It will also offer the latest in inflight amenities and comfort, with the lie-flat seat boasting an in-seat massage function, large privacy dividers, and handheld controls.

Well. I'm chuffed to see that they are taking my advice. Let's hope there's even more luxury to come.||**||

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