Dubai backs plans for world's biggest Ferris wheel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Dubai's ruler has approved a US$1.6 billion (S$2 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 on Wednesday that the Ferris wheel - dubbed the Dubai Eye - will stand at 210m, exceeding the London Eye's 135m. 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.