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Born Free

A pregnant woman staying at a Dubai hotel had to hurry from her room for a nearby hospital to deliver her baby. Luckily for her, she never made it.

Instead, the woman -- a Kazakh of Russian descent -- gave birth in the hotel’s lobby.

The hotel’s owner, Zafar Shah, took the birth of the child as a blessing. In a display of generosity, Shah has declared the child will receive free stays for life at the centrally located Grand Midwest Hotel. He has also offered several free stays to the parents, as well.

The room on the 17th floor where the woman was staying with her husband and 5-year-old son will be named after the newborn.

Dubai’s hotels are legendary and the city boasts one of the world’s most expensive hotel rooms -- the $19,000-a-night Royal Suite at Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab.

The move provides great publicity for Dubai’s hotels at a time when the city is still struggling to rebuild its pre-financial crisis swagger.

-- Joseph Hammond

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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