UK paper apologises to Dubai ruler, amends article

LONDON – The Guardian newspaper has issued an apology to the ruler Dubai for the publishing of allegations that his office had advertised for a number of female assistants to help with a shopping trip in Europe. 

Last week, the Guardian reported that the Gulf country's leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Makhtoum, had placed the ad with an Italian fashion agency.

The article was published on April 7 and was amended a day later. The Guardian added a note to the end of the article stating, “An earlier version of the article stated that the advertisement was posted on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, UAE vice-president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai. Sheikh Mohammed's office has contacted us to confirm that no request, or authorization, for recruitment of assistants related to travel has been made by the palace or his office. We are happy to clarify that and apologize.”

The amended article removed the name of Sheikh Mohammed and instead states that a “Dubai sheikh” has a job opening. The article states that the requirements for the sales assistants include, “must be female, attractive, stylish, aged (or at least look) between 18 and 28, from the province of Venice, able to speak English (French and Arabic a bonus) and, most importantly, possess supremely sharp shopping skills.”

The article quotes the director of a casting agency, Marco Belcaro.

"I got a call from an agency in Dubai because we regularly cast fashion models and other roles in the industry,” he said. “They wanted Italian women because of 'their strong taste in fashion.'" The Guardian added that 100 women had applied, but only “one or two” had made the grade for the 100 euro-a-day job.

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