Gulf Arab press ignores British royal kiss

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Gulf newspapers on Saturday gave front-page coverage to the glittering royal wedding in London, but also left out the crowd-thrilling moment when Prince William kissed his wife Kate.

The privately run Al-Khaleej, published in Sharjah, did not give front page treatment to Briton's royals, instead putting them on page 36 to share space with a story on the woes of Venice and flood control.

The Dubai-based Arabic-language Al-Bayan front-paged a postcard-size picture of the newly weds riding in their carriage and devoted three quarters of page 33 to more coverage, but the iconic kiss was noticeably absent.

English-language dailies in the United Arab Emirates had more of the nuptials and carried big pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the front pages, but the public show of affection was consigned to the inside.

The UAE is seen as liberal compared with the ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and some of the other neighbours, but the display of affection in public is not encouraged.

Some of the 100,000 Dubai-based British expatriates were seen partying away into the night on Friday after watching the royal wedding on giant screens set up at almost every bar and restaurant frequented by foreigners.

However, local celebrations were muted.

At a bar in the fashionable Walk area in Dubai, hotel staff were taking down Union Jack decorations with photos of the royal couple even before the last remaining party-goers left.

One party organiser said on Friday that the political violence in the Middle East had not affected the party mood in the UAE which remained insulated from regional troubles.

In the run-up to the wedding, Gulf newspapers were lukewarm in their coverage. Not a single Arabic-language newspaper published in Dubai had a story about the royal wedding on the front page on Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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