News headlines

Excerpts from U.A.E. Dailies

Prisoner serving 15-year term found dead

Dubai: 12 May:A prisoner who was sentenced to 15 years in jail was found dead in his cell on Wednesday at Dubai Central Jail, sources said.

Police sources told Gulf News Abdul Rahman Koshi a 49-year-old Indian from Kerala suffered a heart attack.

A friend of Koshi said the man had spent six years in jail. Police said Koshi was jailed for drug smuggling and sentenced to 15 years.

His friends said Koshi said his morning prayers and after a while collapsed and died. Koshi's friends who called his family from jail informing them about his death, said he had suffered health problems.

Koshi is survived by his wife and two sons and one daughter who live in Kerala. His body will soon be returned to India.


Dubai firm implicated in Iran 'bomb components' probe in US

DUBAI — 12 May:A Dubai engineering consultancy is at the center of an international criminal investigation into a scheme to smuggle banned weapons technology from the US to Iran. The scheme aimed to ship 103 Honeywell pressure sensors, which can be used to trigger explosive devices, from an electronics company in Minneapolis, US, to a firm in Isfahan, Iran.

Court documents obtained by the Khaleej Times reveal the Al Turath Engineering Consultancy was used as an 'intermediary address' to disguise the sensors' real destination. Under the US’s International Emergency Economic Act, it is illegal to ship any technology that has weapons-making capabilities to Iran without special government approval.

This week, Mohammad Fazeli, 27, a US citizen of Iranian extraction, pled guilty to attempting to illegally ship the sensors. He faces 10 years in jail.

Federal court documents show Fazeli and an Iranian identified as Majid Samsar conspired to buy the sensors from Gopher Electronics, a distributor of industrial electrical components. Fazeli's mission was to get the sensors from Gopher and have them shipped to his home in Los Angeles, California.

Once there, Fazeli was instructed repackage the sensors and use false shipping documents to send them to the offices of Al Turath Engineering on the 5th Floor of the Al Attar Grand Building on Khalid Bin al Waleed Street, Dubai.

According to the company's web site, Al Turath is 'one of  the nation's leading scientific and engineering consulting firms providing

world-class expertise through product development and enhancement, Architectural and structural, Mechanical, Electrical & roads design modeling and simulation, materials engineering and testing.' The company boasts 'over 24 years experience' and says it can help customers  'customers solve their technical problems'.

According to evidence presented to the court, once the sensors were received at Al Turath, Samsar would arrange to have them shipped to their real destination, a company called 'Behpajooh Inc' in Esfahan, Iran. It is not known what was to happen to the sensors after that or, if there was another client standing behind Behpajooh Inc.

The plot began on September 6, 2004, when Samsar emailed Fazeli and instructed him to purchase the Honeywell sensors, which detect pressure changes in gas or liquid. The sensors can be used to make bombs that detonate at specific altitudes

Using his American Express card, Fazeli paid $1,525.43 for the sensors on September 14, 2004.

Using a Yahoo email account of, Fazeli emailed his contact, Samsar, telling him he had bought '103 PCs of the item this morning.' He later emailed Samsar to tell him he was having trouble with Gopher who had phoned him, he said, to say they couldn't ship the sensors to him without knowing where they were going. Fazeli wrote to Samsar that he had convinced Gopher the sensors would be staying in the US ‘I told them OK and it was the whole conversation,’ he wrote.

Samar told Fazeli to print out a fake commercial invoice to make it appear the sensors had not been shipped by Gopher and to declare their value as '$309 only'. Fazeli did as he was instructed an on September 29 mailed the sensors to Al Turath Engineering in Dubai.

However, the sensors were intercepted by US federal agents and, after a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) elite Arms and Strategic Technology Investigations team and, the FBI, Fazeli was arrested and charged.

An ICE spokesperson would not comment on what, if any, actions were currently underway against Al Turath and Majid Samsar.


Man held for stealing wallets and passports at airport

DUBAI — 12 May:A crack team at the Dubai International Airport, set up especially to catch thieves, has arrested one person for stealing some passports and wallets from distracted passengers while they were completing their arrival or departure formalities.

The thief, who was caught after being spotted on a surveillance digital camera, has not been identified.

Brigadier Ahmed Mohamed, Director of General Department Security Airports, praised the efforts of security personnel at Dubai International Airport and commended their role in performing their duties.

He affirmed that the department is constantly striving to upgrade the performance level of security personnel and such anti-theft units at the airport.


Schoolchildren suffer from asthma the most

ABU DHABI — 12 May:Asthma recorded highest percentage among ailments inflicting schoolchildren in the academic year 2004-05. The prevalence of the disease among students in grade 1, 5 and 9 remained 4.39 per cent.

According to annual statistics made available to Khaleej Times, the comprehensive medical check-up programme conducted on 2,717 students — 1,511 males and 1,206 females — showed asthma was dominant among those examined at the rate of 51 per cent among males and 49 per cent among females.

The statistics, which were compiled by the Central School Health Department as annual report, further revealed that anaemia (iron deficiency) was the second highest disease suffered by schoolchildren at the mentioned academic levels. The disease recorded 3.9 per cent prevalence among 2,411 students that underwent medical examination. Of these students, 876 were males and 1,535 females. Percentage among males was 36 and among females 64.

Malnutrition — ranked third among ailments detected in schoolchildren — registered 3.31 per cent prevalence. Check-up programme was participated in by 871 male students and 1,181 female students. Malnutrition among male students registered 42 per cent prevalence while in females it remained 58 per cent, according to the statistics.

Enuresis or involuntary bed wetting or urination remained 1.75 per cent in 1,082 schoolchildren — 532 females and 550 males. As many as 51 per cent males and 49 per cent females suffered from the condition, according to the released statistics.

Thalassaemia registered 0.52 per cent prevalence among 322 examined students, including 139 males and 183 females. Prevalence of the disease among males remained 43 per cent and among females 57 per cent.

The statistics showed astigmatism registered 0.46 per cent prevalence among 283 examined students. Schoolchildren who underwent medical tests included 74 males and 209 females. Astigmatism's prevalence remained 33 per cent among the examined males and 67 per cent among the females.


‘My baby has been dead inside me for three weeks’ 
Dubai:12 May:
One woman has spoken out over her anguish at being told that she had lost her baby after only 11-and-a-half weeks of being pregnant, despite her doctor insisting that everything was fine.
Celine Francis (name changed for legal reasons) yesterday learnt that her baby may have been dead inside of her for up to three weeks after seeking a second medical opinion.

“I did not believe it. How could this happen when I knew nothing about it. I wanted to know why,” Celine said, speaking of the moment she was given the shocking news.

The 30-year-old Indian mother of a 13-year-old daughter and wife of a Dubai-based engineer described the horrific moment she was told her baby was dead. Five days ago her obstetrician had said that her pregnancy was normal even after she began bleeding on Sunday.

After she noticed the bleeding, Celine said she was given an ultrasound scan by her doctor, who injected her with drugs to keep her uterus strong and stop the bleeding.The doctor did not say there was anything wrong with her baby.

But when the bleeding started again yesterday Celine went to a close friend and told her about the problem.The friend immediately took her to see her own obstetrician for a second opinion.

“I had another scan and she told me the baby had not been growing for three weeks and its heart had stopped beating. The baby was dead,” Celine said.

Celine’s tragic tale comes just days after global charity Save the Children released its annual State of the World’s Mothers’ report for 2006. It revealed the challenges and hardships facing mothers in 125 countries including the UAE.

Celine wants her story to act as a warning to other expectant mothers and to seek advice from another doctor immediately if they have doubts about their care.

Al Ain and Liwa hottest in country

Al Ain: 12 May:Al Ain and Liwa were yesterday the hottest spots in the country where maximum temperature rose to 42 degrees Celsius.

According to the Meteorological Office, these two cities also suffered from high humidity, soaring to 80 and 70 per cent, respectively.

The conditions were also tough in other UAE cities where the maximum temperature was around 40 with humidity levels of 80 to 85 per cent.

The Met Office forecast the continuation of hot weather in the next 48 hours, saying weather could get windy and cloudy to partly cloudy in some areas at times.

People advised to stay away from sun, drink lots of water

Al Ain: 12 May: People have been advised to avoid long exposure to sunlight and drink plenty of water to avoid danger of heatstroke in the increasing summer heat.

The mercury has been shooting up and the seasonal amount of Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation of the Sun has increased which could cause heatstroke, drowsiness, dehydration and confusion.

Dr Riaz Ahmad Minhas, a physician at the Emirates Clinic and Medical Centre in Al Ain, yesterday said labourers, field workers, elderly people and children who operate under direct sunlight or play in the open should be extra careful.

"Heat and long exposure to direct sunlight disturbs the thermoregulatory system of human body, leading to a dangerous rise in body temperature," he said.

Dr Minhas said the time between 10:00am and 4:00 pm is highly dangerous. During this time people should avoid excessive stay in hot humid environment and cover their head and neck before going into the sun.

Dr K J Zaidi, a general medical practitioner in Al Ain, said hot weather coupled with high humidity creates unbearable conditions for human body for at least four months May, June, July and August in the emirates.

Medical centres and clinics in Al Ain have already started receiving patients suffering from heat exhaustion. The number of patients is expected to rise in the days to come when seasonal maximum temperature goes up to 48 degrees or above.

Dr Zaidi said people with fair skin were more susceptible to get sunburns, heatstroke and other heat related illnesses than those with darker skin. "Protective measures, however, must be adopted by everyone regardless of their colours," she added.

Key safety tips provided were: Take plenty of water, at least 3 litres, reduce visits to beach and desert, wear light clothing and sunscreen, carry a hat or an umbrella and don't delay getting medical help.



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