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Learning English - Words in the News
03 November, 2004 - Published 13:22 GMT
Veteran Gulf ruler Zayed dies
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan

The funeral of the President of the United Arab Emirates is due to take place on Wednesday. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan who was in his late eighties died on Tuesday. Dignitaries from around the world are expected in the capital, Abu Dhabi, to give their condolences. Our Gulf correspondent Juliet Wheeler reports:

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Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan was a revered figure in the Arab world. His influence and generosity extended well beyond the boundaries of the small country he helped create in 1971.

The pictures of Sheikh Zayed in Wednesday's newspapers, Arabic and English, tell the story of a young nation. This was a man who had a hands-on approach to government and is widely credited with taking the country from poverty to prosperity. But his influence extended further. He donated money for development elsewhere including to the Palestinian territories, North Africa and Bosnia.

Sheikh Zayed's funeral is due to take place on Wednesday afternoon. Mourners are being asked to pray in their local mosque but thousands are expected at the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi where the family and guests will pray together. Sheikh Zayed's body is then expected to be taken through the street by car for burial outside the city.

The Ministry of Information here says foreign dignitaries including King Abdullah of Jordan, King Mohammed of Morocco and the Pakistani President are due in Abu Dhabi to pay their respects. The British embassy says Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, are expected to offer Britain's condolences to the ruling Al-Nayan family.

Julia Wheeler, BBC News, Abu Dhabi

Listen to the words

a revered figure
a very popular person

well beyond the boundaries of
outside the area of something, here, outside of the country that Sheikh Zayed governed

if you are hands-on with something then you are involved in doing that thing rather than just talking about it

seen as being the person responsible for some particular success

the state of being very poor

the state of being successful, especially financially


people with important official positions

to pay their respects
to honour someone after their death, to show admiration for someone after their death

(usually, to offer an expression of) sympathy or sadness to the family of someone who has died

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