by Meredith Martin Tuesday January 5, 2010

The Debate: United Arab Emirates, December 18, 2009



The Debate: Iceland , December 15, 2009


The Debate: Greece in Crisis, December 16, 2008


For the past two seasons, just prior to the holidays The Agenda has featured countries that have a tendency to go unnoticed in the news. Well, three of those countries are in the news today.

United Arab Emirates
Much to the chagrin of Toronto, Dubai boisterously unveiled the world’s tallest tower/building on Monday. Unfortunately, the mixed use building (residential, business, and a hotel) has not reached full occupancy yet, as discussed on The Agenda’s examination of the countries’ financial woes.
According to the Financial Post:

The occupancy rate at Burj Dubai may reach 75% this year, with office leasing proving the biggest challenge for investors, said Roy Cherry, an analyst at investment bank Shuaa Capital PSC. While mainly residential, the 200-story tower will have 37 floors of office and retail space. "Those who bought with the intention of leasing will face a difficult time because few companies today can justify paying premiums for luxury," Mr. Cherry said.

According to The Globe and Mail:

Iceland’s plans for Economic recovery and the future of its government were thrown into doubt on Tuesday when the island’s president forced a referendum on a bill seen as key to restoring its access to foreign capital. President Olafur Grimsson refused to sign a bill repaying % $5 billion to Britain and the Netherlands for money lost by savers in those countries when it’s Icesave bank collapsed in 2008.

The Icesave program is clearly a contentious issue in Iceland one that was highlighted on the show.



It was December 2008 when we shone The Agenda spotlight on Greece and at that time the country’s troubles were primarily political. Today they are economic. According to The Globe and Mail:

A team of EU and ECB officials is due in Athens this week to discuss fiscal measures in the euro zone’s weakest link. The government had pledged in December to cut he deficit to 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 from 12.7 per cent last year under the EU ceiling by the end of 2013. “Greece has to realize the tough situation it is in and prepare a credible plan of reducing the deficit, which would contain details of how they plan to do it, not only empty promises,” said an EU official who declined to be named.

And so begin a new year, a new decade in fact, of current affairs programs. Happy New Year everyone!