10 hottest stories that made news in 2011

The year’s biggest news stories ranked by the number of times they were ‘viewed’ by our readers

And yet another year passes by. It’s time (well, almost) to bid final goodbye to 2011 and say hello to a brand new 2012.

The year 2011 will be remembered for a myriad of things – not least for failing to live up to the expectation of being the year of the economic recovery. In contrast, it was one that kept volatility at the heart of matters.

One of the first things that spring to mind when looking back at the year is Arab Spring, which literally changed the face of many a nation in the Arab world, and promises to herald a healthier future for millions of people in the region.

There were some notable deaths in the year, including Apple founder Steve Jobs, Bollywood icons Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor, Hollywood’s Liz Taylor and singing sensation Amy Winehouse and famous Indian painter M.F. Hussain, among many others.

As we get on our toes to welcome 2012, we can just hope that the coming year is better than the one going by.

But before we welcome the new, let’s look back at what made headlines this year, and what got you, our loyal readers, interested and excited.

We at Emirates 24|7 can now safely claim that we’ve fully emerged from the shadow of our previous avatar – for the sake of our new readers, allow me to recall that we were once a business daily – and have managed to establish ourselves firmly in the UAE’s and, indeed, the global news landscape.

The year 2011 was a good one for us in terms of numbers, with the number of unique visitors to our website jumping three times and the total number of website visits going uo by more than two-and-a-half times when compared to 2010.

Even though I say so myself, that is truly a remarkable feat considering that we’re talking about tens of millions of visits in the year. What’s more, not only did more readers visit us this year, more of you spent a considerably more time on our website – with the average time spent by readers on the site up by more than 40 per cent during the year.

We’re glad you like the news-mix we offer and he changes we’ve made in the presentation format, and promise, on behalf of Emirates 24|7, that we will continue to spare no effort in offering you the most exclusive and best news stories, better and faster than anyone else.

Finally, let’s get down to scanning the most read news stories of 2011. As the saying goes, numbers don’t lie (not most of the time, anyways). So, based on the number of views received by a particular story, our ‘top stories’ list has an array of stories you’d expect to be there – and some others, well, completely offbeat.

Tied for the No. 10 spot on the most popular list are two stories that you’ll expect to find in there: ‘Man jumps to his death from Burj Khalifa’ – the first suicide (and, thankfully, the only so far) from atop the world’s tallest tower. And sharing the last spot on the list of the 10 most popular news stories of the year is ‘Visas for Canadians at under $70’ – about the cost of visa that Canadian nationals now have to pay for entering the UAE.

One spot above is an article that ranks the best companies to work for in the UAE. No surprises there – as expected, we all want to know which are the best places to work for in the country, and the list was, obviously, popular with our readers.

Often, a story generates loads of reader interest due to what might be termed as ‘intrigue value’.  Next in line is a report that can be termed bloodcurdling - Jumeirah jinns giving residents a spookfest. The story lived up to its promise and is chilling narration of some rather frightening affairs at one of Dubai’s poshest of localities.

But it wasn’t only local headlines that were popular. At No. 7 is a news story on which Russian PM Vladimir Putin slams the US and UN for their military intervention in unsettled Libya, and voiced his concern about the increasing ‘trend’ of the US firing before taking an aim when it came to meddling with other countries’ affairs. Strong words that obviously interested a lot of our readers as well, making ‘Putin condemns 'trend' of US military intervention’ one of our top 10 stories for 2011.

Then there are stories that are on the list for perhaps being incredible. Take, for instance, the one about the UAE resident who bought a custom-made Bugatti cost a cool Dh9 million – making it the world’s most expensive car. In line with our penchant for the tallest, highest, richest, most expensive and the like, we got clicking to find out more about the man and his car. That made ‘UAE man buys world's most expensive car’ land at No. 6 on our popular stories list.

Technology – particularly gadgets – gets our heart pumping a wee bit harder. And so does bargains. Combined, it’s a sure seller. That was perhaps why ‘iPhone 4S prices in UAE begin to slide’ is among the top 5 stories of the year. But not just that – it is a great story, with all the usual ingredients of what makes a good read on the Web. A bit of suspense in the headline, a lot of meat in the copy – and it was exclusive.

Celebs sell, period. And if it’s hot news about one of the world’s most beautiful women belonging to the world’s second most populous country – it can only be a hot seller. And so it was – ‘Aishwarya’s  baby name... a very private ceremony’ – continues to be a popular story even though the actor delivered a baby girl more than a month ago. The reason? Bollywood’s first family (the Bachchans) haven’t yet named (or, more likely, revealed the name of) the Aish and Abhi’s baby girl. It’s still a hot topic with our readers, with a number of you continuing to suggest names starting with ‘A’ for the youngest member of the Bachchan clan.

At no. 3 on the list is ‘Three islands on The World up for sale.’ The story, as implied by the headline seemed so outlandish it would be hard to pass it up. Most of you didn’t. It is about three islands among the man-made ‘The World’ islands cluster in Dubai, which were (some say still are) up for grabs.

Also controversial was another of our exclusive stories about illegal sex toys being sold in the UAE. This was a sharp investigative story that exposed the gall of some of the offenders in the UAE who were flouting the law. The story became an instant hit the moment it went online, and ended up as ninth on the list of the top 10 most popular stories of the year.

At No. 2 was the controversial tale of a man who claimed to represent God. ‘Alleged prophet held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah’ was the secnd most popular story of the year.

And topping the list was a sad story indeed. ‘KS Chitra's daughter drowns in Emirates Hills swimming pool’ – this story broke the sad news of the untimely death of the eight-year-old daughter of a famous Indian singer in a freak accident in Dubai. The young girl, believed to be born with Down syndrome, accidentally fell into swimming pool and drowned. This was indeed a sad news and was shared by a number of people around the world.

In conclusion, here’s Emirates247.com's Top 10 list for 2011, as made by you:

1. KS Chitra's daughter drowns in Emirates Hills swimming pool
8-year-old Nandana, believed to be born with Down syndrome, was found dead in the pool


2. Alleged prophet held at the Grand Mosque in Makkah
Saudi man told worshippers he was a prophet and their saviour before being seized by police

3. Three islands on The World up for sale
Finland, Sapporo and Kathmandu up for grabs for between Dh50m-Dh80m each


4. Aishwarya's baby name... a very private ceremony
Friends and relatives keeping mom and daughter busy

5.iPhone 4S prices in UAE begin to slide
Online bargains offering 16GB handset for Dh4,189 now; 32GB handset comes at Dh4,899

6. UAE man buys world's most expensive car
The custom-made Bugatti cost a cool Dh9 million

7. Putin condemns 'trend' of US military intervention
Slams UN resolution allowing military action on Libya as a "medieval call to crusade"


8. Jumeirah jinns giving residents a spookfest
Tenants, gardeners and maids report mysterious apparitions, doors slamming and things moving on their own

9. Top 10 firms to work for in UAE
Great Place to Work Institute publishes inaugural list


10. Man jumps to his death from Burj Khalifa
Worker said to have left a note saying his leave had been refused

10. Visas for Canadians at under $70
mirates and Etihad offer alternative to expensive embassy route






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