United Arab Emirates– AN OVERVIEW
Location -Middle East.
Area - 77,700 sq km (30,000 sq miles).
Population - 4.6 million (2009).
Population Density - 59 per sq km.
Capital - Abu Dhabi. Population: 1.7 million (2010).
Federation of seven autonomous emirates. The highest federal authority is the Supreme Council of Rulers comprising the absolute rulers of the seven emirates. Decisions reached by the council must have the agreement of at least five members, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two largest members. The council appoints a president to act as head of state. There are no political parties.
The Emirates are bordered to the north by the Gulf and the Musandam Peninsula, to the east by Oman, to the south and west by Saudi Arabia and to the northwest by Qatar. They comprise a federation of seven small former sheikhdoms. Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate, and the remainder (Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain) are known collectively as the Northern States. The land is mountainous and mostly desert.
Abu Dhabi is flat and sandy, and within its boundaries is the Buraimi Oasis. Dubai has a 16km (10-mile) deep-water creek, giving it the popular name of ‘Pearl of the Gulf'. Sharjah has a deep-water port on the Batinah coast at Khor Fakkan, facing the Indian Ocean. Ras al-Khaimah is the fourth emirate in size. Fujairah, one of the three smaller sheikhdoms on the Batinah coast, has agricultural potential, while Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain were once small coastal fishing villages.
Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken and used as a second language in commerce.
Mostly Muslim, of which 16% are Shiite and the remainder Sunni.
Time - GMT + 4.
Muslim religious laws should be observed. Women are expected to dress modestly and men should dress formally for most occasions. Alcohol is tolerated, with non-Muslims allowed to drink alcohol in the city's bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels. Smoking is banned in public places. Under 20s are not allowed to buy cigarettes and are barred from designated smoking areas. It is illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan.
220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are widespread.
Head of Government
Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum since 2006.
Head of State
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan since 2004.
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