World's tallest skyscraper opens

Monday, January 4, 2010 - 12:15pm

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Dubai has renamed its new skyscraper, the tallest in the world, the Burj Khalifa, state news agency WAM reported, in a surprise move apparently intended to honor the United Arab Emirates' president.

A multimedia presentation witnessed by Dubai's ruler and thousands of onlookers at the base of the tower said the building was 828 meters, or 2717 feet, tall.

Dubai is opening the tower in the midst of a deep financial crisis. Its oil rich neighbor and UAE capital Abu Dhabi has pumped billions of dollars in bailout funds into the emirate as it struggles to pay its debts.

Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and serves as the UAE federation's president.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai has opened the world's tallest skyscraper, hoping to shift international attention away from the Gulf emirate's deep financial crisis and rekindle the optimism that once fueled its turbocharged growth.

Thousands of residents and tourists have crowded around the tapering half-mile high tower, which stands at least 160 stories high.

Dubai's hereditary ruler unveiled a plaque at the tower's base, kicking off inaugural festivities that included traditional Gulf Arab dance performances and skydivers landing parachutes emblazoned with the colors of the United Arab Emirates flag near the tower's base.

The exact height of the tower remains uncertain. The building's developer has said it stands more than 2625 feet (800 meters) tall.