NEWS FROM THE U.A.E.
Excerpts from U.A.E. Dailies
15-year-old vehicles likely to be banned
DUBAI — 24 May :In a bid to reduce the rising pollution levels in Dubai, the Roads Transport Authority has proposed a regulation not to renew registration of cars that are more than 15 years' old, an official at the RTA told Khaleej Times.
The proposal follows the results of recent studies conducted by the Strategic Planning Department for Transport at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai which showed that vehicles contribute to 80 per cent of environment pollution in the emirate, followed by factories. Vehicles that are over 15 years' old emit higher amount of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons, according to experts.
The studies indicate that factories are known to be a greater source of pollution in other GCC countries. The studies were supervised and monitored by Salem Al Shafei, Director of Strategic Planning for Transport.
Other alternatives proposed by RTA to keep the pollution levels in check include limiting the use of private vehicles and switching to public transport, using natural gas instead of other fuels like petrol and diesel and using equipment like catalytic converters and exhaust filters.
The RTA also has plans to regularly inspect vehicles for their pollution levels, which would be set following the adoption of international standards shortly.
“The number of cars registered last year stood at 6,25,000, signifying a 10 per cent increase over the last few years,” Salem Al Shafei revealed. He noted that the gases emitted from vehicles include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and huge amounts of lead.
“These gases cause various respiratory disorders and even lung cancer due to their high toxic levels. Frequent braking and speeding also contribute to increased emissions from vehicles,” he added.
He noted that there is a direct relation between the pollution emitted and age of the car, as older the car, higher is the pollution level. “Cars will be checked for their emission levels of carbons and hydrocarbons and will have to be within permissible levels before registration,” he added.
Statistics also reveal that among the various gases emitted, hydrocarbon levels are well below the prescribed limits, unlike what has been noticed in most other countries in the region. Between 1.5 to 10 per cent of the cars emit carbons and hydrocarbons beyond permissible levels.
Responding to a question on the high levels of sulphur in locally used diesel, Al Shafei said that the study did not involve heavy vehicles and almost all light vehicles in the UAE run on petrol. He noted that while the RTA could propose measures in this regard, such policies are made at the federal level and are more logical and effective when implemented across the country.
Girls outshine boys in CBSE exams
Dubai: 24 May:The pass percentage in the Central Board of Secondary Education grade 12 stood at 93.45 per cent.
The results which were declared yesterday saw girls outshining boys. A total of 5,807 pupils from 53 schools from the region sat for the examination. About 5,483 pupils passed.
95.6 per cent of girls passed the exam as against 91.42 per cent of boys in the region.
Abu Dhabi Indian School (Science stream) - Roshan Mathew John: 93.2%, Areshdeep Singh: 93%, Alan Ranjit Jacob: 92.6%.
Commerce: Caroline E. Abraham: 92.4%, Akansha Nath: 89.6%, Reeya Siddharth Joshi: 89.4%.
Arts: Naila Siddiqi: 64.2 %
Delhi Public School, Sharjah (Science stream) Avinash Ramchandran: 89.2%, Nitesh Sood: 87.4% Rohan Arora and Misbah Vaseem Baig: 86.6%.
Commerce: Neera Arya: 89.4%, Vaidehi Hrishikesh Chavhan: 89.2%, Kaamna Bhatia: 85.8%.
Arts: Richa Sulochana Gejji: 79.6%, Bhairavi Atulkumar Thanki: 77.4%, Sakina Zoher Sapartwala: 76.4%.
Our Own English High School, Al Ain (Science): Manju Sara Oommen and Neha Nair: 90.6%, Kiran Thomas: 86%, Don Sunny: 85%.
Commerce: Laji Geo Abraham: 84%.
The Millennium School, Dubai (Commerce): Jibby Mathew: 90.4%.
Science: Vishvas Samuel Suryakumar: 85.2%.
Gulf Indian High School, Dubai (Science): Sana Safatul Islam: A1 grade in all subjects followed by Afiya Banu and Fatema Shabbir, Pankaj Lalwani: A1 grade followed by Faez Mohmud and Dheeraj Sudarshan Gangi.
Commerce (girls): Jasmeet Kaur, Heena Morwani, Amandeep and Rudila Matin, Lukhbr Singh followed by Jaswant Singh and Irshad Nazir Ahmad.
Gulf Asian English School, Sharjah (Science): Shamrose Razak: 82%, Umme Khulsum: 70% Commerce: Yuvika Justin: 77%, Navtika Sinha, Megha Srikumaran and Aateqa Salma Khan all scored 76%.
Asian International School, Ruwais: Razia Sultana: 87.4%, Kashpia Asma: 83%, Dalin Ann James: 80.2%
Our Own English High School, Dubai
Science: Anchal Agrawal: 96.8%, Archana Krishna: 95.8%, Anjel Joseph: 94.6 %.
Commerce: Preeti Subramanian: 91%, Sangeetha Sathyanarayanan: 90.4%, Natasha: 89.8%.
Humanities: Kriti Madrecha: 88%, Karishma Atmaramani: 84.4%, Shazia Anjum Khan: 81.6%.
St. Joseph School, Abu Dhabi
Science: Anjana Venugopalan: 95%, Ann Marie Thomas: 89.2%, Maya Radhakrishnan and Melody M. Coelho: 87.6%.
Commerce: Tania Tom Thomas: 88%, Reshma Surendran: 86%, Kaajal Umesh Bhatia: 83%.
Indian Public High School, RAK
Science: Reema Mohamad: 83%, Simranjit Kaur Nehal: 76.6%, Steffina Varghese: 76.2%.
Commerce: Bijna Mohanbabu: 89.6%, Neelima N. Pillai: 87.2%, Reda Bou Najem and Romesh Anwar-86.8%.
Emirates English Speaking School, Dubai
Commerce: Manisha G. Khiani-84%, Meenal Bharath Kumar: 83.4%, Joyti Raj Ahuja: 80.4%.
Science: Gaurav Sushil Sukhija: 79.8%, Faraz Mohammad Saeed Sonde: 77.2% and Anil David Ramakrishnan: 76.2%.
Indian School, Ras Al Khaimah
Commerce: Shaima Rahman: 90.2%, Batul Kalabhai and Reshma Namburimadam: 89.2%, Moinuddin Rahman Mahtab: 86%, Hamdan Rashid Mohd Tajir Shirawi: 84.4%.
Science: Madonna William: 88.6%, Anisha Abdul Rasheed: 86%, Mohammad Shazin Nasar: 85.8%, Ishan Mandhan: 85%.
Indian School Ajman
Commerce: Krishna Harshan: 93.8%, Fatima Abbas: 92.6%, Diana A. Dias: 92.2%.
Science: Lekshmi Radhakrishnan: 92.6%, Madhurya P.: 91.4%.
Indian High School, Dubai
Science: Jolly Anna Thomas: 94%, Gayathri Gopa Kumar: 93.4%, Arun Jose Palatty: 93%.
Commerce: Akshay Sanjay Joshi: 94.8%, Gopika RanganathanL: 94%, Nikhil Rajendra Thakur: 93.4%.
Sunrise English Private School, Abu Dhabi
Science: Tanaya S.: 92.6%, Vineet Sukumar: 89.8%, Jesheera Mohammad Kutty: 88.6%.
Commerce: Dana Mohamad: 80.8%, Mehnaaz, second and Nusrath Mohammad Kutty secured the third place.
New Indian Model School , Dubai
Commerce (girls): Bindya Surendra Babu: 88.2%, Nehal Aklaq Ahmad: 87.4%, Farheen Sultana: 86.6%.
Among boys: Suraj Sasidharan: 84.4%, Irfan Ali C K- 83.8%, Abdul Aziz M. Hanif: 82%.
Science: Deepesh Aravindakshan: 86.8%, Shabna Shajahan and Amina Nubla Nizar 84.8%, Minu Sanjeev Kumar: 83.6%, Aisha Mehnaz B G: 80.4%, Shibu Balan 81.6% , Nabeel Mohammad 77.8%.
Darul Huda Islamic School Al Ain
Science: Mohammad Idrees: 90.6%, Arshi Fatima: 79.4%, Khawla: 89.2 per cent, Sharmi Walter: 86.2%.
Commerce: Ahmad Abdul Azeez: 85.6%, Amanulla: 82.2%.
Indian Islahi Islamic School, Abu Dhabi
Science: Sirajudheen Nellur Ahamed Kutty: 87%, Nadine Najeem: 81.4%, Hafezudheen Khalid: 82.2%.
Commerce stream: Rishana Khaulath: 90% Asif Mohammad Sharif Erfan Shah: 84%, Ramsheena Abdul Basheer: 84.2%.
Central School, Dubai
Commerce: Hassan Fatta Madni: 84.8%, Adeel Fayyaz: 82.2%, Ayesh Heena: 81.8%.
Science: Rashida Haji Ahmad: 84.8%, Zakiya Kanitha: 77%, Suaad Hafiz was placed second.
Our Own English High School, Fujairah
Science stream: Amrita Dasgupta: 91%, Manalel: 88%.
Our Own English High School, Sharjah
Commerce: Janet James: 93.6%, Natasha Cutino: 93.2%, Jane James and Natalia R Charles: 92.2%, Gagandeep Singh: 82.6%, Abhishek Deshpande: 82.4%, Thomas Oomen: 79.4%.
Science: Neha Ramesh: 92.8%, Pooja Pillai: 90.4%, Anusha Aneel and Geethu Murukadasan: 88.4%, Saurabh Paul: 89.9%, Mradul Sharma: 88.6%, Asif Mohammad Salim-88.2%t.
Indian School, Al Ain
Science: Mohammad Awais Imtiaz: 94.40%, Jijin John: 91%, Richa Zara Nizar: 90.2%.
Commerce: Vidya Viswanath: 93.6%, Kiran Daniel and Neethu Varghese: 87.8%, Ansi Rahila: 87%.
Our Own Indian School, Dubai
Science: Binny Sabu, Arjun Kanumarath and Sumit Ninan
Commerce: James, Vineet Jayadevan and Abdul Basith
Science (girls): Anjali B. Pillai, Merry Pauly and Reshma Sunny
Commerce: Helena George and Aiswarya Mariam Mathew.
UAE expresses alarm over risk of Gulf water pollution
Abu Dhabi - 24 May: The UAE is set to be part of discussions with Iran over that country’s nuclear programme.
And an expert says the UAE’s lifeblood – its desalinated water supply – may be at serious risk from the presence of nuclear plants should anything go wrong.
“If the Gulf is polluted in any way from their nuclear programme it will affect life and the lifestyle of the people in this region,” UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said at a joint news conference with his German counterpart on Monday, Reuters reported.
A Gulf Cooperation Council delegation will visit Tehran in the near future to put its concerns for the region forward.
“Iran the neighbour, the Islamic state, the partner in trade and in social ties… should be patient and show understanding towards the fears in this region,” Al Nahyan said.
If nuclear waste were to leak out or contaminate Gulf waters in any way, desalination experts say the UAE and its nearby neighbours, all of whom are dependent on the waters to run their countries would be very seriously affected.
“The majority of water in the UAE right now comes from the Arabian Gulf. If it were to be made radioactive by any nuclear process, there would be no way to make that water drinkable for some time. The technology for that does not yet exist,” said Rami Ghandour, the executive director of Metito, the largest desalination technology provider in the region.
Contamination of Arabian Gulf water would mean complete reliance on the few purification plants that exist on the country’s smaller Indian Ocean coast.
“In a worst-case scenario, taps would not run dry completely, but water would have to be heavily rationed. There would be no extra water for irrigation, agriculture or car washing,” he said.
Move to solve parking problems caused by Metro
Dubai - 24 May: Dubai Roads and Transport Authority is looking to solve parking shortages in Diera after areas were closed due to construction work on the city’s metro system.
Rigga Road is going to house a major underground station for the metro’s Red Line and the work has meant removing some 120 parking spaces in the area. The spaces will not available in the next two years.
Shop owners have complained that the lack of parking is affecting their business and the authority is now looking to provide additional spaces, said Abdulmajid Al Khaja, Director of the Dubai Metro department at the authority.
“We have approached the owners of empty plots of land in the area to ask for their permission to use them as temporary parking areas,” said Al Khaja.
Last month, newspapers reported that owners of shops in the area had asked for compensation, complaining that the construction is affecting business.
Earlier this month, senior Metro officials met with the traders. Al Khaja said that except for the parking issue no other complaints were voiced during that meeting.
Authority officials are also meeting with the developers of new communities along the Emirates Road, along which the metro’s third line is going to run, said Al Khaja.
The exact locations of stations on the Blue Line will be known later, once a consultant is chosen to design the project in August.
The Blue Line will connect the Dubai International Airport with the new Jebel Ali International Airport under-construction.
The authority and the developers also discussed ways to integrate the line with transport systems servicing the developments
National faces charges for selling labour permits
Dubai: 24 May: A UAE national was referred to the public prosecutors after officials discovered he sold labour permits, in one of the first cases where the Labour Ministry has taken legal action against nationals involved in the trade.
The Labour Ministry's press office issued a statement yesterday, saying they had referred Mohammad Al Shehi to the public prosecutors after a labour inspector found his business, Naif Roastery, did not exist.
Officials were alerted to the case after a Palestinian woman asked the ministry to relieve her of Dh15,000 in expired labour permit fines. According to the release, Al Shehi said he created the business to provide the woman with a labour permit. Two other people were also on the business' sponsorship.
Humaid Bin Deemas, assistant labour undersecretary, confirmed yesterday that a similar case was referred to the public prosecutor two months ago.
Long serving labour officials had said the ministry rarely, if ever, referred such cases, even though it is considered a significant labour problem, because many workers who purchase labour permits stay in the country illegally after their permits expire.
Such workers also keep salaries down and have no rights if they are not paid, or injured, while working for another company. Many pay thousands for the permits, and are left in debts, which they may work for years to pay off.
Such situations lead Bin Deemas to earlier describe the practice as "a form of human trafficking".
Many construction workers deported
Dubai: 24 May: Dozens of construction workers were deported after attacking colleagues who broke a five-day protest for better wages, costing their company millions.
Eighty-six Besix construction workers were deported on Monday, confirmed a senior government official involved in labour affairs.
The official said the men had organised the protest which began on May 16, when 8,000 Besix labourers stopped work across the UAE, for a Dh5 daily increase, a bigger food allowance, and several other demands.
Some protesters beat up 50 colleagues on Saturday evening, lightly injuring the men, after they went to work, effectively breaking the strike.
The protest halted work on about 17 projects, including on Burj Dubai, causing a direct loss of Dh5 million, and an indirect loss of between Dh10 million to Dh15 million. The official said building two floors of Burj Dubai was also delayed.
Plans for Dubai's third metro track finalised
Dubai: 24 May: Plans to build a third track called the Blue Line to expand the Dubai Metro system have been finalised, confirmed a senior official.
"The project for the Blue Line will enter the design stage in August this year while its construction will be complete by 2011 a year after the completion of work for the Red and the Green Lines of the Dubai Metro," said Abdul Majeed Khaja, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Metro at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
According to initial studies, the Blue Line will be around 47km long and will also provide a shuttle service between Dubai International Airport and the new airport being built at Jebel Ali.
Khaja told Gulf News the Blue Line will also serve communities being developed on the Emirates Road.
"We have started meetings with major developers to specify their needs, especially to chalk out locations for stations for the Blue Line," he said.
The Blue Line will also be connected with the Red Line at Rashidiya and with the Green Line in Al Nahda.
Khaja said the Emirates Road developers will run an internal light railway or tram system, which will be linked with the Blue Line stations.
"We need to have a transport system in the new communities to transport passengers to and from metro stations," he said.
He said the developers were ready to have an internal public transport system in new communities, which the RTA was ready to build and run.
Khaja said the Metro is designed to achieve an integrated transportation solution, taking into consideration other modes of transport including buses, taxis and abras (water taxi).
"The aim of transport integration is to complement these other modes of transport and incorporate strategic bus/boat feeder points with flexible and user-friendly metro interchange stations."
The RTA will provide parking spaces to shopkeepers affected by the metro underground station construction on Al Rigga Road. Construction of an underground station at Al Rigga Street has blocked parking spaces at a stretch of about 300 metres on both sides of the street.
Abdul Majeed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Metro said the RTA had already opened a call centre to inform residents about construction work, traffic diversions and to receive any complaints and suggestions.
Residents can call 8009090.
Man spends his friends’ Dh11,000 at night clubs
FUJAIRAH — 24 May: An expatriate stole Dh11,000 of his compatriot’s savings and spent it all on friends and belly dancers at night clubs.
Nonetheless, he was arrested the moment he returned home.
The case unfolded last January when a worker, named Mohamed Sabil Khan, hailing from Pakistan, rushed to the Fujairah Police and reported the theft of Dh11,000. The police initiated investigations, and took the fingerprints from the dwelling located in Sakamkam area. All the plaintiff’s friends and fellow mates were taken into custody, interrogated, and had their fingerprints collected.
A 22-year-old worker, identified as Asad Ali Amjad, a friend of the pursuer, proved to have fingerprints identical to the collected ones.
He disappeared since the time of the crime. Yet, the police could apprehend him the moment he arrived home late at dawn. When confronted with evidences, Asad admitted to sneaking to his friend’s room, breaking open his private box, where he used to keep his savings, robbed Dh11,000, but left Dh2000 to avoid qualms. He wasted the whole money at a nightspot with friends and sex workers. The accused was referred to the Public Prosecution, which charged him with robbery, and prayed that he be penalized in consonance with the rulings of Islamic Shariah, and the Federal penal Code.
The Fujairah Court of First Instance sentenced the culprit to six months in jail. Being discontented, the convict contested the judgment before the Fujairah Court of Appeal, which reduced the earlier jail term to three months.
Contact lenses users beware
DUBAI — 24 May: Opthalmologists in the UAE have cautioned users of contact lenses to exercise proper care following the recent withdrawal of an eye lens care lotion from the market after a blindness scare.
Dr Anupama Rao, Specialist Ophthalmologist, Welcare Hospital, said, “The use of contact lenses (CL) is very common in today’s age. It has been estimated that about 125 million people use contact lenses worldwide. Most people use them to correct their vision but some use cosmetic lenses to enhance their appearance.”
“Although contact lenses have a lot of benefits, especially for those who have high refractive errors or for those whose occupation makes wearing glasses difficult, we need to be aware that things can go wrong at times. It is therefore very important for the CL wearers to be familiar with the hygienic practices that need to be followed during the use,” she said.
Explaining the multitude of lens types available in the market, Dr Rao said that these can be classified under different heads depending on the function — as corrective, cosmetic and therapeutic. The lens types can also be classified on the basis of wearing time — as daily wear which has to be removed prior to sleeping, extended wear for continuous overnight use and continuous wear for long periods like 30 consecutive nights. Another parameter is disposability — as daily, fortnightly or monthly or quarterly or annual lenses. Classification is also by shape — as spherical or toric lenses (used to correct astigmatism); by material — PMMA, polymacon or silicon hydrogel lenses; by implantation — intraocular or implantable contact lenses which can be placed inside the eye.
She also said that CL wear can be a safe method of vision correction. “There is always a risk whenever a biomedical device is used in the eye, but one can minimise the risks by being rigorous in one’s approach to lens care and hygiene,” she added.
Dr Rao described the main forms of ocular inflammation that can arise due to bacteria and other microorganisms from various sources and also recommended important points to be checked by CL users.
Hands: One must always wash hands with soap before handling the lenses.
Solutions: It is very important that the solutions used to clean and store lenses are sterile. The main source of contamination is the bottle nozzle — one should be careful not to touch the bottle tip or leave it uncovered. Once opened, solutions should also be discarded every month, regardless of the expiry date.
Lens cases: Cases should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water at least once a week, dried with a lint free cloth and then left to completely air dry before lenses are put back into the case.
Tap water: One should use sterile solutions to clean and store your lenses and never tap water for this purpose.
In case a problem arises, one can identify it early by checking for a few things everyday. The five most important things you should check for each day are:
Redness — A red eye indicates an irritated or inflamed eye. You may not feel any discomfort so always check in the mirror.
Compare the eyes — increased redness in one eye is highly suspicious and should be checked at once.
Unusual eye secretions — This is typically associated with discomfort, but not always.
Light sensitivity — Most CL wearers find their eyes are slightly more sensitive to light at first. You may need to wear sunglasses more often. However, be cautious if you notice a sudden increase in the sensitivity of your eyes to light. Seek attention from your eyecare professional, particularly if it occurs in one eye only.
Discomfort — never ignore discomfort of your eyes while wearing lenses. Some things like a speck of dust or lint under the lens can be easily removed by sliding the lens onto the conjunctiva or by removing, rinsing immediately, or cleaning and disinfecting, then reinserting the lens. More serious problems will cause a progressive decrease in comfort. The sooner this is assessed and treated the better.
Vision — If you don’t see well, or have blurry vision, please seek attention from your eye care professional.
Ask yourself these three important questions each day that you wear your lenses: Do my eyes look good? Do my eyes feel good? and do I see well?
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to all of these, or you have any other doubts concerning your contact lenses, remove your lenses immediately and seek the advice of your contact lens practitioner.
Licensing for healthcare insurance scheme starts
ABU DHABI — 24 May: The General Authority for Health Services (GAHS) for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as part of its efforts to deliver high quality services in accordance with international accredited standards, has announced the first phase of licensing insurance and healthcare providers.
The licensing that authorises participation in the healthcare insurance scheme covers an array of beneficiaries in the insurance sector, including insurance companies and brokers licensed to operate within the UAE and third-party administrators licensed to operate in the field of insurance within the country, sources at the GAHS said.
In respect of the healthcare sector, the gamut is spread over hospitals, medical centres and clinics, licensed to provide healthcare services, besides diagnostic centres and pharmacies licensed to operate in the emirate.
The mandatory health insurance scheme is applicable to all expatriates residing in the emirate, beginning July 1.
The GAHS has urged all entities in these sectors to apply for their licensing within a week.