Dubai splashes billions on mega projects ahead of Expo 2020

Dubai has the world’s busiest international airport. (AFP)
Updated 08 April 2018
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Dubai splashes billions on mega projects ahead of Expo 2020

Dubai: Dubai is splashing tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure and hospitality projects related to the international trade fair Expo 2020, Dubai-based BNC Network said in a report published Sunday.
The value of Expo-related projects under way hit $42.5 billion in March, according to the Construction Intelligence Report.
It said that $17.4 billion was invested in infrastructure and transport projects, $13.2 billion on housing and $11 billion for hotels and theme parks.
The projects include an $8 billion expansion of Al-Maktoum International Airport — located at the southern pole of the city and tipped to complement Dubai International Airport to the north.
Dubai airport was the world’s busiest for international travel in 2017, handling more than 88 million travelers.
Al-Maktoum, when complete, will have the capacity to handle 160 million travelers per year.
The emirate is spending $2.9 billion to develop a new metro line that will link its main transport hubs to the Expo site.
The new line will also link the $13.4 billion Dubai South Villages and Dubai Exhibition City, projects currently under way.
Authorities expect Expo 2020 to boost the real estate market and the hospitality sector, creating up to 300,000 new jobs and energising the economy.
The six-month event, the first World Expo to be staged in the Middle East, is expected to attract up to 300,000 visitors per day, half of them from abroad, when it opens in October 2020, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dubai, a city state which has established itself as a regional business hub and tourism destination, has the Gulf’s most diversified economy that is not dependent on oil.
The economy of Dubai, where the population of three million people is comprised mainly of foreigners, is based on finance, property, tourism and leisure.
Over 21 percent of this year’s public spending of $15.5 billion is earmarked for infrastructure projects.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.