Arab world tones down New Year's amid Gaza crisis

Dubai hotels scrambled to rework New Year's plans Wednesday after the tourist spot joined parts of the Arab world in muting holiday festivities because of the violence in Gaza. Beachfront fireworks at the recently opened Atlantis hotel were called off and live music acts were canceled following a last-minute order from the emirate's ruler officially banning "all forms of celebrations." Concerts were also nixed elsewhere in the region, including in Israel's neighbors Egypt and Jordan. Dubai's order, announced by state news agency WAM late Tuesday, called for "a somber tone as a token of solidarity" with the Palestinian people and with the Gaza Strip in particular. It was unclear if the ban truly marked a halt to the ritzy city-state's famous champagne dinners and raucous bar bashes, however. Many hotels, which are generally the only places licensed to serve alcohol, said they planned to keep food and drink sites open, but at a lower key.