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Arabic press review: Downturn transforms Dubai into 'a ghost town'

Several shopping centres, hotels and bars have recently closed in the emirate. In Saudi Arabia, women join a long queue for driving licenses
Early morning at the Dubai Mall shopping centre (AFP)

Downturn in Dubai?

The Emirate of Dubai is suffering from a major economic recession which has seen shopping centres, hotels and bars close their doors, London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported.

Residents told al-Quds al-Arabi that Dubai is rapidly turning into a ghost town with the closure of many facilities and tourist sites. The Dubai gold souk, they said, was also empty for the first time in more than 40 years.

According to a report by the Kuwait Financial Center released earlier this year, sales of real estate projects under construction in Dubai dropped by 46 percent in the first quarter of 2018, while sales of previously owned properties fell by 24 percent. 

Liquidity in Dubai fell by around 35 percent in April alone, according to the report. 

Long queue to drive in Saudi

More than 120,000 women have applied for driving licenses and are still waiting to obtain them, according to Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.

The decades-old ban in the kingdom against women driving - and the last of its kind in the world - was lifted at midnight on Sunday.

Six centres have been set up across Saudi Arabia to teach women to drive and others will be established in the future, director general of the Directorate of Traffic, Mohammed al-Bassami said.

Forty female traffic accident investigators have also been appointed, he said.

Women will also be allowed to drive buses once they obtain the appropriate license, he added. 

EU considers refugee camps in North Africa

Leaders of 16 EU member states met on Sunday to discuss a proposal to set up detention centres for refugees in North Africa, according to the Algerian newspaper Echorouk el-Yawmi.

Morocco and Algeria, where many of the refugees come from, were discussed as possible locations for the centres but there appears to be a disagreement among member states over final locations.

The EU will hold another meeting on Thursday to address the migration problem which has become one of the biggest challenges facing Europe in recent years.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.