January 4, 2010 Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, is officially opened. Standing at 829.84 metres (2,723 feet) tall is rises around 183 metres (602 feet) higher than the world’s second highest man-made structure, the Warsaw radio mast. Among many other records it holds are the building with the most number of floors (160), the world’s highest mosque (on the 158th floor) and the world’s fastest elevators (64 km/h or 40 mph). Costing around 1.15 billion euros, it was originally to be called the Burj Dubai (literally the Dubai Tower). However its construction coincided with the global financial crisis, and after Dubai was bailed out of money worries by Emirati neighbour Abu Dhabi, it was renamed after the head of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The tower has proven controversial for several reasons: the property slump left many of the tower’s apartments uninhabited, and many questions have been raisedabout unsafe and exploitative conditions for construction workers, most of whom were drafted in from South Asia.
Also on January 4: Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistols to the United States government (1857); Burma gains its independence from the UK (1948); death of poet TS Eliot (1965).
Born on January 4: Isaac Newton (1643), Louis Braille (1809), Michael Stipe (1960), Beth Gibbons (1965).