27 November 2009
Investors have raised concerns about Dubai's ability to repay its multi-billion-dollar debts, after one of the emirate's biggest companies, Dubai World, said it was struggling to repay its loans. The company is owned by the government.
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For years Dubai appeared to have turned itself into a successful model - super-modern, yet Arab, spurring many of its neighbours to imitate the flamboyant Western architecture and its approach to diversifying an oil-based economy. It had also become a magnet for other Arabs dreaming of the material comfort of a Western lifestyle.
But as the debt crisis began to bite the dream turned sour. Reports speak of many forced to literally dump their cars by the airport and flee the country for fear of the consequences of defaulting on their personal loans.
The question now is whether Dubai's much richer Arab neighbours will come to its rescue.
Magdi Abdelhadi, BBC News
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- turned itself
become through a lot of effort
stimulating, or encouraging somebody (here, other countries in the region) to try harder
- diversifying an oil-based economy
making sure that its economy is varied and expands into many different areas of business other than only oil production
- a magnet
here, a place that many people are strongly attracted to (i.e. they want to come and live there)
- to bite
to be felt in a negative way
- turned sour
if something, e.g. a situation, turns sour, it is no longer enjoyable or hopeful
leave with no intention of coming back and collecting it
- defaulting on
being unable to pay off
- come to its rescue
here, provide financial support in order to help Dubai's economy