NEWS FROM THE U.A.E.
Excerpts from U.A.E. Dailies
Etisalat may launch internet telephony
Dubai: 23 May:Etisalat, which has curbed the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, is likely to reverse its stand as the telecom sector liberalises.
This will drastically reduce communication costs, as most middle-class consumers in the UAE suffer from high telephone bills.
The company has commissioned a study on VoIP, an Etisalat official, who requested anonymity, told Gulf News yesterday,
It could materialise before the end of the year, after approval from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), he added.
"We are studying the possibility of allowing the use of VoIP in future after we guarantee the quality and security of the service," the official said.
Only TRA can legalise new services. "TRA now has the authority to let the providers introduce the VoIP service directly or other companies," he said.
Mohammad Nasser Al Ganem, TRA director-general, said the authority is still studying the possibility of introducing Internet services through private companies like cybercafes.
HOW IT WORKS
VoIP allows subscribers to make telephone calls using a computer over a data network like the Internet.
One way to make a VoIP call is to pick up phone and dial the number, using an adaptor that connects to high-speed Internet connection. The phone call goes over the Internet to the called party's local telephone company for the completion of the call.
A microphone plugged into a computer can be used instead. The number is dialled using the keyboard and is routed through your cable modem. A broadband connection is preferred.
Some VoIP providers offer their services for free, typically for calls to other service subscribers.
Some VoIP providers charge for long distance calls to numbers outside the calling area, similar to traditional telephone services. Other VoIP providers permit calls to anywhere at a flat rate for a fixed number of minutes. VoIP providers may permit users to select an area code different from the area in which they live.
Many VoIP plans allow users to talk for as long as they want with any person in the world. One can also talk with many people at the same time without any additional cost.
International call rates to be cut
Dubai: 23 May:Etisalat will reduce international call rates before the end of the year, a source told Gulf News yesterday, but the official declined to give the extent of the reduction and the countries involved.
"The announcement could come anytime," the source said, requesting anonymity. "Besides, we are planning to launch a number of new services that will continue to attract new subscribers."
This will impact both the fixed-phone and mobile services, which, analysts feel will affect the prospects of du, the country's second telecom operator, that is to launch services later this year.
Dubai to promote eco-tourism
Dubai- 23 May:Dubai will promote eco-tourism in Dubailand and also dedicate a 350 million square metre area to an eco-zone.
The eco-zone will be brought alive with life-size models of dolphins, elephants, giraffes and many other animals.
Salem bin Dasmal, Chief Executive of Dubailand, said: “We have designed and moulded an eco-zone in Dubailand to promote tourism and enrich the culture here.” The eco-zone will be home to three projects: Heritage Vision, A Western City and Al Khaheel – an equestrian museum.
The 40 million sq ft Heritage Vision, the biggest of the three projects, will tell the history of Dubai and the UAE through light and sound shows.
A 5,000-seat amphitheatre and a desert village and resort will be part of the village.
“The project will be very attractive with light and sound shows and water fountains with sand dunes in the background. The projects will open by the end of this year,” said Dasmal.
Future phases will incorporate themed hotel developments and authentic desert adventures.
A Western City, another leisure development, will depict the lifestyle of pre-gold rush times, and will feature rodeos, cowboy-themed villages and other attractions.
A Western City, which will span more than seven million sq ft, will include hotels, a zoo, farms, villas and a rodeo showground. The centre will be the first in the region to focus on horse riding and rodeo shows.
The most recent project that has been included in the ecozone is the Al Khaheel Park – an indoor space for horses.
“Horses are very much loved in this part of the world so we thought it would be interesting to provide a tourist attraction related to horses,” said Dasmal.
Al Khaheel will be home to 600 horses and will include ample riding areas and paddocks for riding enthusiasts along with a museum of the horse.
Al Khaheel will also include a desert safari area and an academy for horsemanship.
Policeman dies in fiery road crash
Dubai: 23 May:A young policeman was burnt to death in an accident on the way to work. The policeman, identified as F.M., was in his twenties.
While driving to work on Sunday at 2pm from Nad Al Hammar, he sped onto the curving slip road that would take him to the Ras Al Khor Road.
As a result of speeding on the curve, he lost control of his vehicle and hit an electricity pole, dislodging it.
His four-wheel drive vehicle caught fire and he died in the blaze. Civil Defence teams arrived and put out the fire.
The policeman's remains have been taken to the Forensic Department of Dubai Police.
300 families told to vacate six buildings by July 31
Sharjah: 23 May: More than 300 families who were told to evacuate their buildings by June because they were in the path of a road expansion project, were given an extension to leave by July 31.
The residents of the six Shaikh Abdullah buildings, located at Industrial Area 4 behind the Cricket Stadium here, were told on May 5 by the Directorate of Town Planning and Survey to evacuate their flats by June 8, giving them only a month's notice to leave.
After numerous complaints from residents, the Directorate of Town Planning and Survey extended the notice period to August 1 as of yesterday, in order to give them time to find another place of residence and for shops to relocate.
"I did not find any accommodation so far and I do not know what to do. The notice they have given us is too soon and there is not enough time for me to move out," said Mohideen P., a resident bachelor in one of the buildings for the past four years.
Shopkeepers are also afraid of how their business will be affected as a result of relocating and are reluctant to move, even after the evacuation notice was extended by two months.
"How is it possible to get up and leave my business? I have clients here and took many years to establish my business. Now, I will have to start all over again and lose my customers," said Dr Diya, a pharmacist who has been working in one of the buildings for nine years.
"I cannot leave my shop because I have given Dh100,000 credit to my customers," said Abdul Nasser, who runs a grocery shop. "I have to get the money back first before I can leave," he said.
Street development: 'We do not want project to be affected'
"We agreed to give the tenants two more months, but we cannot postpone the work any longer because we do not want the project to get affected," said Engineer Salah Bin Butti, Director General of Town Planning and Survey. "The department is always trying to co-operate with the public and study all possibilities to make it easier for them to adjust."
In co-operation with the Public Works Department, the Directorate of Town Planning announced in March that they would expand the city's roads by developing King Abdul Aziz Street that is expected to be completed at the end of the first quarter of 2008. The King Abdul Aziz Street Project includes the construction of a bridge on Emirates Road, and another bridge on Industrial Area 14, to ease traffic for road users.
The project also includes developing the road from Emirates Road to Industrial Area 14, then to King Faisal Mosque and finally to Al Layyeh area.
Dubai buses will operate round the clock, says official
Dubai: 23 May: Public transport buses will ply round the clock on city roads to match the 24-hour lifestyle of Dubai, said a senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority.
The RTA is in the process of revamping the public bus network, expand its service to areas currently not served and is strengthening its existing corridors with more buses on the roads.
"We are developing a new range of service products to cater to different market groups and their needs," said Abdul Aziz Malek, Director of the Public Bus Department at the RTA.
High capacity 'metro bus' service providing metro-style transport along high-demand routes, VIP buses to lure high-income commuters and express service with more direct routes are some of the new initiatives being taken by the RTA to encourage more people to use public buses.
To establish a public transport system in Dubai that exceeds international service and quality standards by the year 2010, the RTA yesterday signed an agreement with Gargash Enterprises, the official Mercedes-Benz distributor for Dubai, Sharjah and Northern Emirates, to purchase 80 state-of-the-art public transport buses at the cost of around Dh120 million.
"This latest development is part of an ambitious transport strategy for an Intelligent Transport System, which will integrate buses, water transport, the metro and the taxis by 2010," said Mohammad Obaid Mulla, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Transport at the RTA.
The fleet consists of low floor buses including 49 articulated (long) buses, 18 standard buses and 13 coaches.
New system: Dedicated bus lanes planned
Dedicated bus lanes have been planned in Dubai to increase the average bus speed from the current 12 km per hour to 19 km.
"We want to increase the use of public transport buses by providing faster and convenient bus services," said Abdul Aziz Malek, Director of Public Bus Department.
Number of buses: 576 and 80 to join in May, 2007
Passengers: 230,000 per day
Approximate passengers: 180,000 per day.
Directory for labourers in different languages
Dr Mohammed Abdullah Al Mur, Director of the Department, noted that the directory was published in a simple Q&A format so that the most commonly asked questions are answered.
The new directory was prepared under the directives of Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, by Aisah Ahmad Al Murri, Head of the Research and Studies section and Mohammed Musad and Mohsen Qayed.
"If every worker, labourer, or institution representative is well aware of these rights and obligations, many related problems can be resolved more easily," he noted.
The directory will be distributed to the largest possible segment of labourers and workers in the emirate.
3 teenagers jailed for posing as CID officials, looting
DUBAI — May 23: Dubai Criminal Court sentenced three suspects identified as Badarim Abdul Aziz Bluky, 19, and Mohammed Ali Abas and Fahd Saeed Abdul Rahman, both 18, to three month in imprisonment after they were accused of fraud and posing as policemen.
The details of the story took place in past December when the suspects stopped the victim Shahid Al Islam Alam Jabr, a Bangladeshi, and the suspect Badarim asked him to present his identity card.
The defendant Badarim claimed that he is from the CID and when the victim showed his identity card, he asked him to give him his wallet to be checked what is inside. They tricked the victim, got five hundred dirhams from the wallet, refused to return the money to Shahid Al Islam Alam Jabr, and left the area very quickly.
The victim led to the police and informed them about the details of the suspects and the car which they were driving during the robbery. Police succeeded in reaching to the car that was belonging to renting car agency and through the information, which they got it from the car agency, the police arrested the suspects and found with them three hundred and fifty dirhams with the third suspect Fahd.
Meanwhile, the victim recognized the suspects and police interrogated them where they admitted that they committed the crime and confessed that it is not their first time where they stole another person in the same day and the money with them belonging to the second victim.
According to the suspect Badram, he admitted that he got the military uniform from the second suspect Mohammed where he confessed that the uniform belonged to his uncle and he brought it for such target and he admitted as well hide the plate number of the car through pouring water and sands.
The police presented the suspects to the public prosecution where they admitted by their crime and referred them to the court, which issued its verdict by sentencing them to three month in jail and confiscated the military uniform.
The Dubai Police's Human Rights Department, in a move aimed at increasing labourers' awareness of their various rights and obligations, has re-printed its labourers directory in different languages.