21.11.2009 to 28.11.2009A jet-wing pilot trying to fly between continents made an unscheduled landing in the sea, uninvited guests breached White House security in a TV stunt, and the world's oldest sheep died of heat stroke.
Two gatecrashers and a high-flying jetman all drop in
Min Bahadur Sherchan, a former soldier from Nepal, was recognised as the oldest man to climb Everest. Mr Sherchan was 76 years and 340 days old when he stood on the top of the 29,035ft peak in May 2008. After an appeal, his feat was finally recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records, which had previously listed a 71-year-old Japanese climber as the oldest man to reach the summit.
The death toll from a politically motivated massacre in the Philippines reached 57, as the government considered imposing a state of emergency in the southern island of Maguindanao. A convoy which included journalists and supporters of a local politician on their way to register for next year's elections was ambushed by a heavily armed gang. Politics in the region are divided along family dynasties, with the killers believed to be followers of a rival clan leader.
The suspected killer of a Bolivian taxi driver was arrested thanks to what has become known as the "world's worst photofit". A childlike drawing by a neighbour who witnessed the crime was used by police to track down the suspect. Under Bolivian law, the suspect cannot be identified, so newspapers and TV stations using his photograph have replaced his face with an image based on the drawing.
Saudi officials said that concerns about H1N1 had cut the number of pilgrims attending this year's Haj. Most of those dropping out were from the country itself, according to Gen Mansour al Turki, a spokesman for the ministry of interior, who said numbers were down by 40 per cent. Around two million Muslims normally take part in Haj, with international numbers said to be largely unaffected. Saudi health workers say they have taken measures to ensure there is no epidemic but say four overseas pilgrims have so far died from swine flu. A further 70 people were reported dead in Saudi Arabia after heavy rains swept the first day of Haj.
Al Ain will become a Google town after the city signed a deal with the internet giant to provide services for residents. Municipal departments will use Google documents for management and planning, with the inhabitants able to check information about developments in the city and even translate official documents.
King Abdullah dissolved Jordan's parliament halfway through its term and called for fresh elections. MPs have been accused of failing to tackle the country's problems, but the opposition said the parliament had been dissolved after just two years because the government wanted to push through legislation using emergency powers. Most recently, it had failed to win approval for an amendment that would have reduced the number of MPs in urban areas, where the opposition Muslim Brotherhood is strongest.
Mubadala announced plans to build a 65,000-seat stadium that will feature a moving roof. The stadium, the biggest in the country, will be built between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Mohammed bin Zayed City in what will eventually become the new Capital District. It is intended to be the home for the UAE football team and a concert venue.
The world's biggest animal sacrifice saw 250,000 water buffalo beheaded in Nepal. Worshippers of the Hindu goddess Gadhimai believe the slaughter means their dreams will be fulfilled, but has brought worldwide protests from animal rights groups. The ceremony is held every five years with an opening ceremony that involves the sacrifice of two rats, two pigeons, a pig, a lamb and a rooster.
A couple auditioning for a reality TV series managed to gatecrash the US president Barack Obama's first state dinner. Tareq and Michaele Salahi even managed to pose with the vice president Joe Biden, despite failing to obtain an invitation to the White House dinner, held in honour of Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India. The couple, who are trying to win a place on The Real Housewives of Washington, later posted photographs on their Facebook page, saying: "Honored to be at the White House for the state dinner in honour of India with President Obama and our First Lady!"
Lucky, the world's oldest sheep at 23 years old, died from heat stroke in Australia. The ewe was hand-reared by her owner, Delrae Westgarth, after being abandoned at birth and went on to give birth to 35 lambs. Her lifespan was twice that of the average sheep, with Lucky said to have perished after a heatwave sent temperatures above 30°C at Lake Bolac near Melbourne. Lucky had lost all her teeth and was suffering from arthritis, and died despite being moved to an air-conditioned shed.
Dubai World said it was asking creditors for a six-month stay on its debt repayments as the emirate announced it had lined up a US$5 billion (Dh18.35bn) bond with two Abu Dhabi-owned banks. Dubai World has an estimated $59bn in liabilities and its property subsidiary, Nakheel, is due to repay a $3.5bn Islamic bond on December 14. The announcement saw the cost of insuring Dubai's debt rise by around 15 per cent, while the price of Islamic bonds issued by Nakheel fell by more than 18 per cent. Dubai also announced that it had appointed British-based accountants to handle restructuring at Dubai World.
A pair of sunglasses inspired by the traditional Gulf burqa was unveiled in Dubai. Around Dh3.6 million (US$1m) was spent by GS Fitch to create what it describes as a product that "combines fashion with culture". The sunglasses, whose shape and gold rims echo the burqa, have also been compared to skiing goggles. The international design company says that the glasses have drawn interest from a local manufacturer and a member of the Royal Family.
An attempt to make the first solo flight between Europe and Africa using a jet-propelled "wing" failed when the craft plunged into the Strait of Gibraltar. Yves "The Jetman" Rossy, a Swiss inventor, was rescued from the sea after his engines failed minutes after the flight began in Morocco. Mr Rossy, a former fighter pilot, had previously accomplished a successful crossing of the English Channel.
A new unified driving licence and car registration card that will cover all seven emirates will be launched next month. Drivers will now be able to pay fines and process other paperwork at any emirate rather than the one where they first registered for a licence. Three million driving licences have been issued in the UAE and there are currently 2.4 million vehicles registered. The new licences will be silver and the registration cards gold.