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The World or World Islands is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located 4.0 kilometres off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai's shallow coastal waters, and are one of several artificial island developments in Dubai. The World's developer is Nakheel Properties, and the project was originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. Islands in the archipelago range from 14,000 to 42,000 square metres in area. Distances between islands average 100 metres; they are constructed from 321 million cubic metres of sand and 31 million tons of rock. The entire development is an area that covers 6 by 9 kilometres and is surrounded by an oval-shaped breakwater island. Roughly 232 km of shoreline was created. The World's overall development costs were estimated at $14 billion USD in 2005. The Times Online reports in September 2009 that work on The World had been suspended due to the effects of the global financial crisis. And in February 2010 the Daily Mail reported that the Islands have started sinking back into the sea. This was later denied by Nakheel and independent technical reports as wholly inaccurate. Despite the denial, The Daily Telegraph reported in January 2011 that an independent company, Penguin Marine, provided verification on the erosion of the islands and the silting of the passage ways between the islands. Due to finance and technical problems Penguin Marine, the company contracted to provide transportation to the archipelago, is attempting to get out of the annual fees of $1.6 million paid to Nakheel properties. The islands of Great Britain and Moscow on The World were acquired by Premier Real Estate Bureau in the Summer of 2008. The news was leaked in a Daily Mail article of January 2009, refuting claims that Great Britain was owned by Irish investor John O'Dolan, Richard Branson or Rod Stewart. Safi Qurashi, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur at the head of Premier and his business partner Mustafa Nagri, paid an estimated $64 million USD for the 11-acre piece of land; he was later convicted for non-payment of cheques and sentenced to seven years in jail. The Irish businessman John O'Dolan, who purchased the "Ireland" island, committed suicide in February 2009, after his consortium fell into financial difficulty. As of early 2011, only one of the islands is occupied by a building (a show home) on it, and commercial or residential properties are not currently being constructed on any of the other islands. Property prices in the emirate have fallen 58 percent from their peak in the fourth quarter of 2008. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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