The National newspaper of Abu Dhabi sees layoffs after sale

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A state-backed newspaper in the United Arab Emirates that was bought by an Emirati who oversees the English football club Manchester City is undergoing layoffs.

Those with knowledge of the layoffs told The Associated Press that staffers at The National were informed Sunday they had been let go. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.

Repeated calls to the newspaper rang unanswered Monday.

International Media Investments, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Manchester City, bought The National in November from state-owned Abu Dhabi Media.

The English language paper was founded in 2008, staffed with top writers and editors from Western newspapers.

The paper broke local stories, but largely stayed away from controversial topics in a country with strict laws governing speech.