The Great Debate

Who’d want to host the Olympics?

July 26, 2012

Londoners are greeting the Olympics with all the enthusiasm of a child awaiting a root canal. The government has warned those unable to book coinciding holidays not to travel anywhere beyond walking distance of home as Communist-style “Olympic lanes” whisk dignitaries past the interminable traffic the Games cause. During the Olympics, London will be run under a curious kind of corporate martial law. Thousands of troops will handle security to make up for private contractor G4S’s staffing “shambles”; missiles have been placed atop public housing; an Orwellian “brand police” is sweeping the city to ensure no businesses other than 11 official sponsors use words like “gold,” “silver,” “bronze” and even “London.”

Does everyone have a price?

April 7, 2011


On Monday I went to Bloomingdales, the Gap and Starbucks but passed on a visit to Magnolia Bakery. Instead I  stopped by the St. Moritz bakery where you can order hot chocolate and sit by a video of a cozy winter  fire that overlooks the indoor ski slope and is just around the corner from the largest candy store in the world, which happens to face an aquarium that occupies an entire wall on one side of the world’s largest shopping malls. This by the way is opposite of what claims to be the world’s largest candystore whose mission statement is to make every day “happier’. Earlier, while exploring the watery depths of the bright Pink Atlantis Hotel (one of the white elephants of the property crash of 2007) I knew it was really the last kingdom because the fish swam around two cracked thrones and other kitschy stone artifacts.

Dubai can’t rely on friendly creditors

November 30, 2009

NeilUnmack.jpg— Neil Unmack is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —

Whether a “careful plan” or strategic blunder, Dubai’s request for a debt standstill for its Dubai World holding company has rattled lenders who were counting on government support.

Dubai must recover investor faith

November 26, 2009

BRITAIN/— Neil Unmack is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —

Some kind of debt restructuring was inevitable for Dubai’s myriad overleveraged borrowers, but the emirate’s decision not to support property developer Nakheel and seek a debt standstill for holding company Dubai World has devastated its standing in financial markets. Dubai’s future and ability to attract much-needed external capital will depend on how it handles the fallout.

Dubai will pay for Abu Dhabi aid

November 26, 2009

Alexander Smith— Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —