Dubai attempts to launch world’s largest fountain

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The Palm Fountain will spread over 14,000 square feet of sea water and come alive with more than 3,000 LED lights. (Supplied)
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The Palm Fountain will spread over 14,000 square feet of sea water and come alive with more than 3,000 LED lights. (Supplied)
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Updated 04 October 2020

Dubai attempts to launch world’s largest fountain

  • The Palm Fountain’s super shooter will stand tall at 105 meters
  • The fountain will attempt a Guinness World Record title on Oct. 22

DUBAI: The Pointe, a waterfront complex of upscale shops, restaurants and entertainment, by Nakheel Malls, is preparing to launch the world’s largest fountain in Dubai.
“The Palm Fountain,” the latest tourist attraction at The Palm Jumeirah, is seeking to break a Guinness World Records title on Thursday, Oct. 22 during its inaugural launch event, which will be open to the public.
Spread over 14,000 square feet of sea water, the fountain’s super shooter will stand tall at 105 meters and come alive with more than 3,000 LED lights.
“The attraction is the only multicolored fountain in Dubai and is a celebration of the emirates’ resurgence and ambition to aim for the sky,” The Pointe and Nakheel Malls said in a joint statement.
Nakheel Malls Managing Director Omar Khoory said that the fountain was “a celebration of Dubai’s resilience” and “a testament to our commitment to support retailers and push boundaries to provide our customers with unique experiences.”
Thursday’s event will include a day of activities and competitions. A concert will begin at 4 p.m. local time featuring multiple DJ sets, dance performances and firework displays.

Ahmed Al-KHajja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “The Palm Fountain is yet another incredible addition to Dubai’s list of world-famous landmarks and is sure to be a big draw among residents and visitors alike.
“Its launch further cements the city’s status as a must-visit destination where guests from around the world can experience the best sights and sounds as well as unrivalled retail and tourist spaces,” he said.
The Palm Fountain will have 20 bespoke shows. Five different shows will run daily between sunset and midnight (7 p.m. to 12 a.m.) with an array of popular songs including local, pop, classical and international music.
Beijing Water Design Technology cooperated in the design, construction and operation of The Palm Fountain. Its chairman, Xin Su, described it as “an extraordinary feat,” adding: “As one of China’s largest fountain specialists, this project was unique for us as we had the opportunity to tackle many firsts in ingenuity” and the “very best technology and expertise were utilized to bring this to life.”
Guinness World Records said that the fountain was a great addition to the long list of attractions that made Dubai iconic.
Shaddy Gaad, Guinness World Records senior marketing manager for the MENA region, said the organization was in the “process of verifying the largest fountain and they look forward to hopefully seeing this world-class landmark being declared Officially Amazing™.”


Tower of London ravens re-adapt to life after lockdown

Updated 19 October 2020

Tower of London ravens re-adapt to life after lockdown

  • The 1,000-year-old royal fortress was closed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions
  • This raised fears the birds — known as the guardians of the Tower — would fly away to find another place

LONDON: Chris Skaife has one of the most important jobs in Britain. As Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, he is responsible for the country’s most famous birds.
According to legend firmly rooted in Britain’s collective imagination, if all the ravens were to leave the Tower, the kingdom would collapse and the country be plunged into chaos.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions saw tourist attractions across the country close their doors, including the imposing 1,000-year-old royal fortress on the banks of the River Thames.
That left Skaife with an unprecedented challenge of how to entertain the celebrated avian residents, who suddenly found themselves with no one to play with — or rob food from.
It also raised fears the birds — known as the guardians of the Tower — would fly away to try to find tasty morsels elsewhere, and worse still, risk the legend coming to pass.
There are eight ravens in captivity in the Tower of London: Merlina, Poppy, Erin, Jubilee, Rocky, Harris, Gripp and George.
A royal decree, purportedly issued in the 17th century, stated there must be six on site at any one time but Skaife said he keeps two as “spares,” “just in case.”
They are free to roam the grounds but to prevent them from flying too far, their wings are trimmed back slightly.
Back in March when lockdown began, Skaife — who is in his 50s and a retired staff sergeant and former drum major in the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment — was furloughed.
But he still came to work to look after his majestic feathered charges, rotating feeding and caring duties with his three assistants.
“During that period of time, the ravens didn’t actually see anybody,” he told AFP.
“There were slight changes that I noticed. For instance, I had to keep them occupied without the public being there (and) there were less things for them to do.
“So I gave them enrichment toys that would help them enjoy their day.”
With no people around, he put balloons, ladders and even mirrors in their cages to keep them entertained, and hid food around the Tower grounds for them to find.
Breakfast time involves Skaife, in the distinctive black and red uniform of the “Beefeaters,” distributing a meal of chicks and mice, which the ravens cheerfully devour.
Skaife’s favorite is Merlina, he reveals with a smile.
She has become an Internet favorite from his frequent posts and videos of her on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, which have more than 120,000 followers.
Once feeding time is over, he opens the cages on the south lawn to allow them to stretch their wings.
The Tower reopened its doors on July 10 but the pandemic has had a devastating effect on visitor numbers.
Some 60,000 people visited the Tower every week in October 2019 but it is now only 6,000, according to Historic Royal Palaces, which manages the site.
During the three-month national lockdown, Skaife said the ravens were given more freedom to explore other parts of the Tower.
But to be doubly sure they didn’t fly off completely, their wings were clipped back further.
The birds are now kept in their cages more often to make sure they eat enough, as there are slim pickings from the Tower’s rubbish bins because of the reduced footfall.
“I don’t particularly like doing it,” said Skaife.
He says the ravens may be kept in cages but the Tower is their real home.
“So, I would never want to keep a raven in an enclosure.”
Now, as life returns to a semblance of normality, the ravens are re-adapting to seeing more humans again and their old routine.
Skaife has looked after the ravens for the last 14 years, tending to their needs out of clear affection but also out of a sense of historic and patriotic duty.
“Of course, we don’t want the legend to come true,” he said.