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Dubai backs plans for world's biggest Ferris wheel

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February 13, 2013 02:35 PM EST | AP

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai's ruler has approval a $1.6 billion island development project that would be home to what's billed as the world's biggest Ferris wheel.

The project reflects a renewed appetite in Dubai for extravagance as the economy rebounds from a debt-driven slump during the past three years.

The official WAM news agency said Wednesday that the Ferris wheel – dubbed the Dubai Eye – will stand 210 meters (688 feet), exceeding the London Eye's 135 meters (443 feet). Construction is set to begin this year.

Dubai has proposed a series of mega projects reminiscent of its boom years before the downturn hit in 2009. The projects include theme parks and a satellite city named for Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashin Al Maktoum.