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Drinking and eating gold at Dubai’s ‘seven-star’ hotel

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Burj Al Arab’s engineering director explains how gold is used across more than 2,000 square meters of the hotel. We also look at how gold can be an investment, an accessory and even a bridal dowry.

Gold has long been used in a wide variety of industries – from dentistry and medical fields to digital technology and even in the coatings of space crafts.

However, the world’s only supposed ’7-star hotel’ presents the shiny metal in a much more dazzling and exuberant manner.

Guests at Burj Al Arab bask in a golden hue from the second they step through its doors – and duplex suites in the property can cost up to $19,000 a night.

It’s opulent interior prominently features 24-karat gold, imported from France and Spain, covering more than 2,000 square metres of surface space.

Mounir Lakkis, the hotel’s director of engineering explains that gold is present in every five square meters of the 56-storey building.

“It could be in the chair, it could be in the frame, could be in the ceiling, it’s everywhere”, he explains.

For Lakkis, a flourishing artist, gold is a precious metal that’s close to his heart:

“For me personally, the gold is, I can see my shadow in it, “ he says.

“It can take my soul with it. You know it’s warm, it’s like I feel strong when I work with the gold. Especially when it is just a thin paper or leaves something like that. You feel that you are playing with something very valuable.”

Gold as an interior design embellishment is evidently costly. Should a single one of the hotel’s dining room chairs becomes damaged, for example, then the entire set of seats will need regilding.

“The reason of that is the colour [of gold] looks different with oxidation,” says Lakkis.

The ballroom regularly hosts lavish events and guests who hire it are often keen to match their menus to their luxurious surroundings.

Lakkis recalls that a guest once requested the six tiers of their wedding cake be covered in gold.

On a daily basis, the establishment also serves gold dust cappuccinos, 24-carat gold-topped cakes and drinks infused with liquid gold, gold pearlescence and golden sugar cubes.

The golden consumables are a definite hit with guests, according to Sudheera Fernando. The senior mixologist at Burj Al Arab says that the vast majority of the 200 cocktails he makes in a single day include a gold element.

Going for gold: to buy or not to buy?

Whilst some people might prefer to sprinkle gold on their coffee, others would rather use the metal to bolster their savings. And in times of financial uncertainty, ploughing money into the commodity is best practice amongst shrewd investors.

According to respected gold consultant Jeff Rhodes, gold remains the best “safe haven” around. He explains that the commodity has been the standard measure of value for more than 5,000 years.

Rhodes states that the metal’s value has increased 400 percent since the early 2000’s and he predicts that prices will head north of $1,500 this year.

The specialist suggests that if people set aside just 10 percent of their monthly earnings to buy gold, then they’ll reap the rewards in a matter of decades.

“Gold is not an investment, it’s a savings product – always remember that.” says Rhodes, “And when you get paid at the end of each month, put some of that into gold – a small amount and you’ll be happy. In twenty or thirty years’ time, trust me, that gold will be worth a lot more than it is today.”

Middle Eastern gold jewellery trends

Gold financial products aside, the acquiring of gold jewellery is particularly strong in the cultures of the Middle East.
And whilst Indian nationals are the largest consumers of gold worldwide, Dubai stands out as the largest international importer of finished gold jewellery.

In the year ahead, gold jewellery designs will continue to keep pace with trends that have emerged in New York and London, according to the Chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, Tawhid Abdullah.

Despite white gold’s popularity in recent years, the veteran gold trader believes that the pure yellow metal has come full circle to resume its place as the number one choice for shoppers.

“The yellow gold is back to be the big hero of the situation and I personally believe that over thousands of years it’s always been the best and it’s back to look so.” he says, “Yellow gold, sunshine, coloured stones and mother of pearl in different colours – they are back strong.”

For centuries, it has been customary to buy gold for wedding celebrations in the Middle East and North Africa. Gifts of the precious metal can weigh as much as three kilograms, according to a Reuters report.

This tradition is still going strong, with Arab millennials requesting bridal jewellery sets in yellow, rose and white gold tones – and with plenty of embellishments.

Emirati designer Fatema Al Daheri created the brand Ruwaya Jewellery three years ago and she caters to the UAE’s affluent wedding segment. General Manager, Jamil Dimachkie, explains that their gold-loving clients are mostly globe-trotting professionals whose tastes are inevitably influenced by their travels and the latest trends on social media.

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Feature

Powerless Batibo council responds to Ambazonian savagery

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The Batibo Council on its Facebook page this Monday writes Monday September 16, 2019 has condemned the brutal and inhuman murder of a woman in that municipality

“It is with anger filled trauma that I write condemning the burial of a life being in our municipality.
No matter the reasons, I shall never be part of such gruesome acts!
I say again, there is life after the crisis and each of us will give an account of what he/ she has done”. The council writes

The killing which has sparked outrage on social media was allegedly carried by Ambazonian fighters.  The fighter in a viral video said she is a “black leg”.

Batibo council in Momo division of the North-west Region is one the areas greatly hit by the socio political crisis in the Anglophone regions of tbe country.

In 2018 the administrative head of the Subdivision was kidnapped on a day Cameroon celebrated her youths. His whereabout have since remained unknown.

Many inhabitants of the Sub Division since the escalation of the crisis have since been seeking for refuge in other towns and cities. They are fleeing from atrocities committed as the conflict in Cameroons North West and South West regions continues to escalate.

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Editorial

Editorial: Biya flashes Amba light…..at last.

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In a highly awaited speech announced for September 10th 2019, the President of the republic Paul Biya has shocked many.

In one of his longest speeches as president since he took over office more than 36 years ago, the 86 years old focused on the Anglophone crisis ravaging the North West and South West regions

In his introductory note, the president regrets the killing by armed separatists, kidnaps and torture in the three years crisis.

For the first time since the crisis started, the commander in chief also gave his heart felt condolences to all the families affected during the crisis which he said has forced “thousands of our population to live in other regions and neighboring countries”

The President who has been blamed for the poor handling of the crisis moved to familiar territory, enumerating numerous measures he believes his government has taken to resolve the crisis which began as strike led by teachers and lawyers in 2016

In his long list of measures reminiscent to a campaign speech, he mentioned the discontinuance of judicial proceedings to over 200 persons, his offer for armed groups to lay down arms and the creation of national disarmament  and rehabilitation committee among other achievements.

“We will continue to make the necessary efforts to fully materialize these efforts” he adds

But in a speech were many where pregnant with expectations of a big announcement, the president in all honesty failed to deliver once again on the national stage

Opposition leader Maurice kamto and all political prisoners arrested and incarcerated were ignored entirely in the speech

President Biya refutes any claims of marginalization within his government, touting the appointment of prime ministers from Anglophone regions for close to a generation now

Grand dialogue announced

In what could have been a glimmer of hope for the long night, the president announced a massive dialogue which has been describe as panacea to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

President Biya says all sons and daughters of the republic will be called upon to participate in the dialogue to find lasting solutions in the country. The dialogue according to him will be chaired by the prime minister, rallying lawmakers, business leaders, security forces, armed groups and victims of the crisis among others.

Why the dialogue will be seen as a welcome move by many back in the Anglophone regions who have long clamored for any dialogue of this kind, the terms of the dialogue will certainly fail to please hardliners who say any such dialogue must take place out of the borders of the country and chaired by a third party.

Long speech, nothing new

In all, the president said nothing new in the highly awaited speech, touting regular phrases and achievements many believed was meant for International audience and CPDM supporters.

President Biya also failed to grant the much clamored amnesty to prisoners involved in the crisis, and rather intensifies his advocacy for a one and indivisible Cameroon, a statement critics perceives as a provocation to the separatists

For those who were expecting general amnesty, the President was clear, no one should be deceived that criminal acts would be pardon just to advance dialogue, he said, and made it sufficiently clear that perpetrators of violence abroad will face justice in no time as he slaps the wrong people and embrace the right ones

He however says that after the grand dialogue, a presidential pardon might be rollout to those incarcerated on certain conditions, while insisting that any such dialogue must take place within the constitution of the republic and the country.

National Reaction

Speaking to CRTV after the speech, the revered Catholic cardinal, Christian Cardinal Tumi who has been a vocal critic of the regime says he is positive with the announced dialogue, urging the prime minister to take all measures to ensure it’s a success

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Editorial

The nation holds its breath as Biya announces an unusual address.

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 Monday, September 9th, 2019. More than 20 million Cameroonians are on the edge as the minister, Director of civil cabinet of the Presidency announced in a press release an unusual address to the nation by the president of the republic.

Very few saw this coming and for a leader who has characteristically confined himself to his traditional addresses of the nation for the past 36 years, the nation cannot wait for the next 24 hours.

“Info Martin” and other French papers had carried botched plans to address the nation on Saturday 7th September 2019 and even though no reason was given for the 11th-hour cancelation, the reverberations for a planned unusual address were felt across the national triangle for those who believed

Many were those who saw the news as fake news, believing that the commander in chief cannot and will never go out of his usual routine to address the nation even as the state of our nation looks very in tatters

For any other country facing a major crisis in 7 out of its ten regions punctuated with the fact that its main opposition leader and more than 200 of his supporters have been arrested and incarcerated for refusing to accept Presidential elections addressing the nation could have been no news.

But the news here is that Cameroon is no another nation, and things happening in Yaoundé remains and happens only in Yaoundé

As news spread on social media about the planned addressed to an expectant nation yearning for a message of any kind from an increasingly distant government, the main question which comes to mind is the content of his address.

We look at five possible declarations in the historic address on Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Amnesty for all political prisoners

The national triangle is practically in flames with Boko Haram in the Far North and Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West being the most preoccupying. There has been pressure at home and abroad for the government to find long-lasting solution to the multiple crises in the country for the past three years now

But the incarceration of Maurice kamto and his supporters have caused the government more pain than the losses on the battlefield, unleashing a usual army of the disgruntled diaspora who have vowed to make life uncomfortable for the aging leader each time he comes to Europe

The life sentencing of Sissikou Ayuk Tabe and Co. have worsened the situation in the restive Anglophone regions, sparking two weeks of lockdown and plunging the regions into anarchy in the wake of back to school as local authorities scramble to contain the situation with disgraceful measures.

There have been  widespread call for the Ambazonian leaders, political leaders and all those arrested to be granted an Amnesty from the President of the republic as a sign of goodwill.

Planed inclusive dialogue

It has been the cry of the people and the hope of the compromised International community as Biya and his government has rubbished calls for meaningful dialogue to resolve the Anglophone crisis and insist on military strategy

The military solution they opted has failed and brought more chaos and disfranchisement amongst the Anglophones and friends of Yaoundé are fast running out of patience with the regime as many continue to die.

It is highly believed that there might be plans for immediate and urgent inclusive dialogue as called for by US, France, UN and other members of the International community to solve the crisis

10 state federation

Many are predicting the imminent announcement of a 10 state federation by the president of the republic, but coming at a time when a ministry of decentralization was recently created and plans to announce regional elections this 2019, many believe this would be one of the least tools in his hugely revered political toolbox meant to be used for tomorrow’s political offensive

Retirement

Can the president retire from office? There have been reports of some health issues with the country’s commander in chief in the past even though TeboPost cannot independently confirm.

But at 86, he is frail and weak and naturally must have some health complications. Images of the head of state shaking and seemingly confused during the post-national day celebrations party at the Unity Palace on May 20thhad led to speculations that the President was in dire need of rest. But his recent outings have shown a man strong and fit to lead, making this option quite confusing to guess.

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