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Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower

Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower
On Jan. 4, 2010, Dubai opened the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, standing at an impressive 828 meters tall. (AFP)
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Updated 21 May 2020

Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower

Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest tower

SUMMARY:

Summary

On Jan. 4, 2010, Dubai opened the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, standing at an impressive 828 meters tall. It had been six years in the making, with the excavation works taking place in January 2004 and the external cladding of the structure completed five years later in September 2009.

Its opening ceremony was televised around the globe at a time when the world was only just beginning to show signs of recovery after the worst recession in our lifetime, making a defiant stand for prosperity. Since the Burj Khalifa was opened, there has been talk of other, even taller towers, but currently that is all it has been — talk.

DUBAI: The day the Burj Khalifa was opened, it stood as a sign of prosperity at a time when the world was on its knees, crippled by the worst recession of our lifetime. Dubai had already rung in the new year, waving a relieved farewell to a turbulent 2009, with this vast 828-meter-tall tower acting as the center of the world’s highest firework display — its roots held solid in the foundations of Dubai Mall, one of the world’s biggest.

Four days later, it was the turn of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum — on the anniversary of his accession — and the official opening of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Dubai, as it was then known. For those of us lucky enough to cover the story on Jan. 4, 2010, there was a sneak peak of the observation deck and a chance to take in the breathtaking views — allowing for the mist and haze.

We met with executives of Emaar, the developers behind the tower, who spoke proudly of the achievements as the media formed a scrum around them. There was no mention of the name change — they did not even reveal the tower’s closely guarded height. It was only during the evening’s spectacular firework display that the latter two “secrets” were revealed. 

Sheikh Mohammed had ordered its construction years before, when the world’s economy was much healthier. It was clear before the recession that Dubai needed to diversify its economy — move away from oil reliance — and the service and tourism industries seemed to be the obvious way forward.

The sheikh wanted an icon for Dubai that would be recognized around the world. And he was not satisfied with just another tower — the world’s tallest was not good enough. This one had to smash all existing records — Sheikh Mohammed was raising the bar. “It started with a dream, and then a journey of seeing that dream every day getting built higher and higher,” Ahmad Al-Falasi, executive director of Emaar, said of the project.

“At a time of profound pessimism and sky-high debt around the world, the sky-high Burj Khalifa ... is a mighty finger pointing upward toward better and altogether more prosperous times.”

Arab News editorial, Jan. 5, 2010

The previous record-holder at 508 meters tall, the Taipei 101, is now the 11th-tallest building in the world after six years (2004-2010) at the top. The Burj Khalifa boasts the highest observation deck, there are views of the world’s largest choreographed fountain, and one side of the tower hosts the world’s biggest lighting display — inside are the highest apartments, nightclub and restaurants.

When the tower was completed in 2010, the opening was overshadowed by a financial crisis that had taken its toll everywhere, and Dubai was no different. The Arab News editorial the day after the official opening event, while acknowledging the architectural achievements, did also remind readers of the hardships experienced everywhere — not least in Dubai.

“Burj Khalifa is a reminder of the vision which has driven the quite remarkable real estate development in the emirate (of Dubai),” the editorial explained on Jan. 5, 2010. But the column went on to add: “So at a time of profound pessimism and sky-high debt around the world, the sky-high Burj Khalifa, as it is called now, is a mighty finger pointing upward toward better and altogether more prosperous times.” 

Creating the world’s tallest tower requires a lot of attention to detail — details that would ultimately save lives. The building is a series of interwoven towers that stop at different levels — no single surface runs all the way to the top. This shape prevents the strong winds from causing vortexes that would cause the building to sway too much. 




A page from the Arab News archive showing the news on Jan. 5, 2010.

The external glass is designed to reflect more than 70 percent of the sun’s heat; without it, temperatures would be deadly in the summer. A “faraday cage” style structure was created on the exterior of the tower to act as a massive lightning conductor to prevent lightning strikes from hitting its interior. There are two vast chiller systems outside the tower that pump chilled water into the Burj’s air-conditioning system. 

The tower’s design includes an escape network with a lift that travels 138 floors in less than a minute (the farthest any one lift travels in the world), in a shaft encased in fire-resistant concrete — it is the Burj Khalifa lifeboat. There is also a series of safe refuges at intervals down the building that are also encased in fire-resistant concrete and have a supply of fresh air that is delivered at high enough pressure to deflect smoke, should there be a fire.

The design was so advanced that the architects and engineers even had to consider how to deal with the messy business of sewage. A straight drop from the top would not work — that would mean a flush of the toilet at the top would reach speeds of up to 160 km per hour by the bottom.

As such, sewage is sent down a few floors at a time through a series of sound-proofed pipes and pumps, while super-pressured pumps send fresh water to a series of water tanks up in the building.

The Burj was a first in many respects, and it will always mark the moment that architecture changed forever, but it will likely lose its crown when Saudi Arabia completes the 1,000-meter-tall Kingdom Tower.

  • Peter Harrison, Arab News’ Dubai bureau chief, attended the opening ceremony of the Burj Khalifa as a reporter. He’d already been given access to the At The Top attraction earlier in the day when it was still Burj Dubai.


Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
Updated 18 min 21 sec ago

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
  • Turkey’s Karadeniz supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Karadeniz, which supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges, told Beirut to halt action by the Lebanese prosecutor to seize its vessels and said it must draw up a plan to settle arrears to avoid a cut in supplies, a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson for Karpowership, a unit of Karadeniz that operates floating power plants, was speaking on Tuesday after Lebanon’s Finance Ministry cited a lawmaker saying the country had been threatened with a cut to its supplies.
A Lebanese prosecutor issued a decision last week to seize the barges and fine the firm after TV channel Al-Jadeed reported corruption allegations tied to the power contract. The firm denies the charges and says it has not been paid for 18 months.


Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
Updated 33 min 24 sec ago

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday

Sweden reports 13,812 new COVID-19 cases, 44 deaths since Friday
  • Sweden of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217
  • The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks

STOCKHOLM: Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has registered 13,812 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.
The figure compared with 14,950 cases during the corresponding period last week.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 44 new deaths, taking the total to 14,217.
The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors’ but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.


Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
Updated 38 min 19 sec ago

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
  • Revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551million

RIYADH: Suez Canal revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551 million compared to a year earlier, Asharq Business reported, citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie.
Rabie also discussed plans to expand and deepen the southern sector of the canal in which the container ship Ever Given was stuck in March, creating chaos across the global supply chain.
That incident which brought a large proportion of seaborne trade to a near halt for a week, highlighted the need to ensure the  smooth operation of the key trade artery.
Rabie also revealed plans for dredging works for the maintenance of the navigational channel of the canal.
A plan is being implemented to restructure the authority’s companies, he said.
This year witnessed a slight increase in the number of ships passing through the waterway to 1,840 in April 2021 from 1,731 in April 2020, Al Arabiya reported.


Renowned US authors Tayari Jones, Brent Weeks join Abu Dhabi Book Fair lineup

US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)
US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)
Updated 11 May 2021

Renowned US authors Tayari Jones, Brent Weeks join Abu Dhabi Book Fair lineup

US author Tayari Jones is set to take part in the event. (File/ AFP)

DUBAI: Renowned US fantasy author Brent Weeks, US author Tayari Jones, Emirati writer Eman Alyousuf and Kuwaiti writer Taleb Alrefai are all set to participate at the upcoming Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre at the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, the 30th edition of ADIBF will see the participation of more than 800 exhibitors from 46 countries around the world, and will comprise more than 104 virtual and physical sessions.

Dr. Ali bin Tamim, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “Despite the challenges we have faced in the wake of the pandemic, the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is committed to ramping up its efforts to support the publishing industry and to promote cross-cultural dialogue. We are proud to host this event which reinforces our position as one of the most prominent intellectual and literary forums in region, and gives us the opportunity to highlight Arab literary output while simultaneously celebrating the pioneers of arts and culture from across the world.”

As part of its cultural programme, the fair will feature the artistic and literary works of authors and artists from multiple fields. Among those will be American author Tayari Jones, considered one of the most important writers of her generation, who will hold a session to discuss her latest work. In another session, the fantasy great Weeks will talk about the importance of science fiction novels in transporting readers away from the monotony of their daily lives. Providing a regional perspective, Kuwait’s Alrefai will participate in a dialogue with Emirati writer Alyousuf, to discuss how the pandemic has encouraged reading.

British television presenter and historian Bettany Hughes will join a conversation about the impact of plagues and pandemics on civilisations, while Emirati writer Sultan Al-Amimi will speak about with the importance of short stories and their role in enhancing literary diversity. .


Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
Updated 29 min 38 sec ago

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
  • The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter

RIYADH: Egypt’s unemployment rate reached 7.4 percent of the total labor force in the first quarter of 2021 — up from 7.2 percent in the previous quarter.
The new data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), reflects the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter, representing a decrease of 2.3 percent, Al Arabiya reported.
The labor force in urban areas reached 13,034 million, with 16,250 million living in rural areas.
Gehan Saleh, economic affairs adviser to Egypt’s prime minister said in April that the second stage of the country’s economic reform program would be launched soon.
She said the plan aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and tackle unemployment through job-creating investments.