News headlines

Excerpts from U.A.E. Dailies

Drunk teen goes on rifle rampage in Dubai

Dubai: 28 May: A drunk British teenager is facing jail after trying to shoot a man who told him to stop driving his 4x4 like a lunatic in a family area.

The bullet from the teenager’s rifle shattered a window in Gulzar Zain’s car – missing him by inches.

Police raced to the scene close to Al Safa Park in Jumeirah, Dubai, and the 19-year-old at first denied having a gun.

He later confessed and is now in custody. Police have handed the file on the incident – which took place on Thursday – to the Public Prosecution.

The Diana 48 rifle was hidden at the home of a friend of the suspect and has now been seized by police.

Zain spoke about how he tried to reason with the teenager after seeing him racing around the area in his 4x4, which he also managed to put on two wheels.

The teenager swore repeatedly and then went into his villa, from where he shot at Zain, who works as a gardener.

Zain, a 35-year-old Pakistani who is married and has a three year-old daughter, said: “If it had hit me, I would have died on the spot.The boy was angry because I told him to stop driving dangerously.

“Following a quarrel he rushed to his villa near Al Raadi School. He opened [one of] the window and shot at me. I was stunned to hear the sound of the shot and it hit my window.

“I [later] rang the bell [at his villa] and the boy denied having fired the shot. The boy also denied having a gun.

“He later came out and offered to give me Dh500 to settle the matter. I did not want the money. I called the police, who came and took the boy away.

A top Dubai Police official confirmed the incident and told Emirates Today that the suspect was drunk.

He said: “The Dubai Police Operation Department received the complaint from a Pakistani man who said that a person shot the rear right door window of his vehicle from a villa in the Al Safa Park area.

“He said he went and rang the doorbell of that villa, and a young British man came out. He said when he questioned the British man, he denied everything and started swearing.” The official added that when the director of the Bur Dubai Police Station questioned the teenager, he confessed and said that he did shoot at the car.

“The suspect said that he shot at the car with his hunting air gun. The police ordered him to bring the gun, which he had hidden at one of the nearby houses. The gun was of a Diana 48 type made in Germany.” Police suspected that the teenager was drunk and he was sent to the Dubai Police Forensic Medicine Department to have a blood test.

The source pointed out that the case is now with the Public Prosecution for investigation, and the gun is with weapons experts from the Dubai Police Criminal Laboratory Department.


State-of-the-art free hospital is planned

ABU DHABI — 28 May:Plans are under way to set up a new hospital that will provide free-of-charge medical services to those who cannot afford treatment and medication fees, a top official has revealed.

Scheduled to be operational by the third quarter of 2007, the charity hospital will provide services to both expatriates and nationals across the country, Abdulla Mohammed Al Mahmood, Manager of Projects and Developmental Department at the UAE Red Crescent (UAERC), told Khaleej Times.

"The Red Crescent will establish a state-of-the-art medical institution that would be based in Abu Dhabi and cater to the needy and low-income group, both expatriates and nationals, with treatment as well as medications free of charge," he said.

The official stressed that priority would be given to residents of the UAE and emergency cases that require immediate medical intervention.

He revealed the high-tech hospital would provide medical services in nearly all major specialisations including paediatrics, internal medicine, trauma, obstetrics and gynaecology, ophthalmology, surgery and dentistry.

"An initial budget of Dh250 million has been earmarked for this mammoth humanitarian project. However, as the budget is garnered from contributions of philanthropists we hope to collect more to ensure quality of services provided for patients as we aspire to have a state-of-the-art facility," Al Mahmood noted.

He said that his department was contemplating entering into partnership with private hospitals outside the UAE so that the hospital will be well equipped by latest medical devices and highly qualified cadres.

"We still need the support of the government as well as other health authorities, to guarantee quality services and high efficiency. We will approach resident and visiting doctors to extend a helping hand to the charitable hospital," said Al Mahmood.

He said cooperation between the UAERC and many drug manufacturing companies in the country would secure availability of medicines at the non-profit hospital.

Answering a question about exemption mechanism, the official said each case will be studied individually by a specialised committee to decide on cases that require exemption from fees.

"We will strive to extend our services to as much people as we can because our goal is humanitarian. The committee will decide on cases that need complete or partial exemption," said Al Mahmood.


Stop this game of selling visas

UAE - 28 May: THE Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Hamed bin Dimas, was very frank when he admitted that 90 per cent of the complaints about absconding labourers submitted to the ministry by the sponsors of those labourers were not real ones.

He also disclosed that those sponsors indulged in such misconduct because they had fetched those labourers and deliberately let them run away in return for money, as they would be able to work in other places. We can also imagine those labourers to commit crimes and no one really knows what they could get involved in.

The complaints have become a cover for frauds, and there is a mafia specialising in selling visas. They do not know that such behaviour is a crime. Therefore, we call for strict measures against any company involved in such things and those companies which are allowing the recruitment of absconding labourers should have their licences cancelled by the Ministry of Labour.


Interim floating bridge for Creek

Dubai : 28 May:A temporary floating bridge over Dubai Creek has been planned in a bid to reduce congestion in the city, the Roads and Traffic Authority has said in a statement.
It will be a temporary solution until the authority constructs a permanent bridge in the same place, it said.

The floating bridge will lie half a kilometre away from Maktoum Bridge in the direction of Garhoud Bridge.The project will be launched tomorrow.

It is believed that the bridge will connect Al Ittihad Road with the Oud Metha area, where there are at least two schools as well as two big hospitals and a mall.

At present, there are the Garhoud and Maktoum bridges as well as the Shindagha Tunnel, which due to the large volume of cars going across the Creek, are some of the most congested spots in the city.

The authorities are currently building a six-lane bridge to replace the old Garhoud Bridge, while another crossing, the Ras Al Khor Bridge, is set to open in January next year.

Emirates Today has learned that apart from the structure that will replace the floating one, there are plans to build another bridge This will connect the areas around the BurJuman Shopping Centre and Union Square, where there will be major stations for the Metro project.

The floating bridge is expected to alleviate the pressure on the network until the new facilities are up and running.

“It will relieve traffic congestion on the two bridges,” said a transportation consultant who wished to remain anonymous. “Studies show that they cannot handle the amount of traffic.” Floating bridges are made of wood or steel and are commonly used as alternatives when conventional bridges are being repaired, according to the consultan


Man dies after game of badminton

Dubai - 28 May: A man collapsed and died after playing badminton at the Indian Club in Karama late last night.
The man, who has not been identified, suffered cardiac problems and collapsed shortly after finishing his match in an overfifties tournament.

A doctor also playing in the tournament administered firstaid until paramedics reached the scene. However, the man died at the Rashid Hospital from heart failure.

A witness said: “The man collapsed on the court shortly after playing his games and stopped breathing.There was no life saving equipment that could be found to help him. A fellow player tried to resucitate him but failed.”


Canadian plays detective to catch car fraud gang

28 May: A Canadian writer turned detective to track down her stolen Mercedes to a well-known car dealership less than a mile from her home – but has, so far, been powerless to get it back.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fell victim a year ago to a criminal gang who made generous offers of more than Dh100,000 for used cars, but paid with cheques that eventually bounced.

Her relentless detective work uncovered a network of criminals who sed the cars to Sharjah or Abu Dhabi, resell the vehicles to one another and finally export them overseas or sell them to a used car dealership.The Canadian’s 2004 Mercedes SLK200 has been at the 4X4 used car dealership since last May.

The Canadian said: “It’s all been my own detective work. I just want news of this criminal gang to get higher up so some proper action is finally taken.” She advertised the vehicle last May and was contacted by a man called Samir, who offered her Dh110,000. But the cheque bounced. She later discovered it had been sold to 4X4 just days afterwards for Dh65,000 cash.

Thanks to her sleuth work, two members of the gang who took her car are now behind bars with two more facing criminal charges.The court has also issued a decree preventing the car from being sold.

She said: “This is a gang operation. I uncovered a whole network and the same names just kept on cropping up.” Bahraini Fazel Ebrahim, was one of two men she sold her car to. He went under the name of Samir, but was caught when a sharp-eyed officer at Dubai Police’s traffic section at Al Awir saw him come in again to transfer the ownership of another vehicle.

The officer chased Ebrahim for almost a mile on foot before he was caught and subsequently jailed for a year last September for obtaining money fraudulently.

He was also found guilty of ripping off a Pakistani man for Dh36,000 in April last year by using a dud cheque to buy his Mitsubishi Galant.

A Lebanese man also fell victim to the same gang. After accepting a Dh100,000 offer for his Toyota Prado, the owner backtracked at the last minute and demanded cash.

But the gang member – Saudi Ali Al Rabian – tricked the owner into leaving the car unguarded for a minute and simply stole it before selling it on to 4X4 for Dh95,000 in cash. Al Rabian has been jailed for theft. He is also currently standing trial for defrauding a Turkish woman, whom he is alleged to have given a dud cheque for Dh40,000 in exchange for her Audi A3, and for obtaining money by deception from the Lebanese victim.

Both the Canadian and Turkish women were given dud cheques bearing the name of Svetlana Erimbetova – an Uzbek woman who had left the UAE three years previously.

A spokeswoman for 4X4 told Emirates Today: “The matter is with the court and we have no comment to make.”


Rape victim to receive Dh75,000

Dubai: 28 May: A 14-year-old boy who was raped by a fast food delivery man is to be awarded Dh75,000 in compensation.

The incident happened when the boy's sister ordered a meal for her brother from a multinational fast food restaurant. Police heard the boy was raped in his backyard when the Egyptian delivery man realised he was on his own.

The Dubai Court of Cassation upheld an appeal court ruling and ordered the delivery man, E.R., and the multinational restaurant to jointly compensate the Asian schoolboy, M.K., in a sum of Dh75,000.

The criminal court had earlier sentenced the delivery man to three years in jail to be followed by deportation.

The boy's family lodged a civil lawsuit against the accused and the restaurant claiming Dh5 million for financial, medical and emotional damages.

In an earlier hearing, however, the Civil Court of First Instance rejected the case against the restaurant and ordered the rapist to pay Dh55,000 in compensation. However, the Court of Cassation confirmed the appeal ruling and considered the restaurant responsible for the rapist's behaviour.


A handy way to detect Aids

Dubai: 28 May: A ready reckoner Aids test is available in the open market, Dubai Police said. The kit to detect HIV is available for as low as $15 (Dh55), and yields a result in three minutes, and it is 90 per cent accurate.

First Lieutenant Salah Al Marzouqi, Head of External Clinics Section of Dubai Police, told Gulf News yesterday that anyone who has doubts about being infected by the deadly virus can even carry out the test at home. The kit is similar to the one for confirming pregnancy, and can be used only once.

"We have already used the kit, Elisa test HIV 1-2, on some 700 inmates in various police stations," Al Marzouqi said. "We are the only police force in the world to have introduced this test."

A positive result leads to the person being checked again in two different government laboratories, with appropriate measures being taken following the new test results.

A police team working on an Aids awareness campaign for prison inmates has visited all police stations and carried out on-the-spot tests for the condition.

Al Marzouqi said a national organisation has donated nearly 2,500 such kits to support Dubai Police's campaign. "The strategy in the first phase is to carry out a check-up of all inmates at all police stations. Then, we will check all new prisoners before they are allowed to mix with existing inmates," he said.


Recalled lens solution back in the eye of the storm

Dubai: 28 May: Three cases of possible fungal eye infection among users of a contact lens solution, linked to a rare disease that causes blindness, have been reported in Dubai, Gulf News has learned.

Renu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution, manufactured by Bausch and Lomb, was permanently recalled recently after US health authorities concluded that it was "the root cause" for an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis among its users.

The FDA and the company found that the solution allowed a polymer to form around the Fusarium fungus, protecting it from the solution's disinfectant.

The three patients Ahmad Al Abbadi, from Egypt, Khalid Al Khatib, from Turkey, and a British national reported using the solution regularly. The first two are currently being treated at the Ophthalmic Ward at Dubai Hospital, while the other has gone to the UK for treatment.

Both Al Abbadi and Al Khatib are angry that Bausch and Lomb and its UAE representatives did not warn their customers about the dangers associated with the solution, although Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia first reported an outbreak in February.

Both, who were infected in April, believe the solution was responsible, although lab tests could not determine whether it was a bacterial or a fungal infection. Their treatment includes anti-fungal and anti-bacterial eye drops.

Al Abbadi is convinced that he has a fungal eye infection because he was always careful with personal hygiene.

"It is a fungal infection, most likely from Renu. Because where else am I going to get the fungus?" he asked.

The banking executive said the ulcer in his cornea was still not better, despite the intensive treatment he received in Egypt and in the UAE. He can barely open his left eye. On top of worrying the infection will get worse and blind him, requiring a corneal transplant, he is also worried that he will lose his job.

"I have finished my annual leave, my sick leave (quota). Now I'm entering into half-pay, and (in two weeks) I will be unpaid," he said.

Al Khatib, who was admitted to the hospital in April, told Gulf News that his eye was getting better, although still red and watery with a visible white spot on the cornea.

That did not lessen his anger, however. "It is really frustrating when something that you buy, that you pay for, makes you sick," he said.

Renu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution was available on shelves in the UAE till May 16, although a few pharmacies removed the product after Gulf News highlighted the issue a month before.

An ophthalmologist at the hospital, who declined to be identified, said he did not discount the possibility that the solution was responsible for the infections.

He said the hospital had seen an increase of patients with eye infections due to contact lens use in the last few months.

However, he declined to say how many of them used Renu with MoistureLoc contact lens solution.

Gulf News contacted Ahmad Jaber, managing director of Al Jaber Trading Agencies, UAE agent for Bausch and Lomb, who said he did not believe the solution was responsible as lab tests did not confirm the infection as Fusarium keratitis.


Woman falls into a coma after surgery at Al Qasimi Hospital

DUBAI — 28 May: “How long will patients fall prey to the faults of doctors?” question Abdul Fattah Thabet and Zakiah Khaled Al Najjar, parents of doctor Reem, 27, who slipped into a deep coma at the Al Qasimi Hospital since giving birth to twins Ghassan and Bisan.

Having passed eight months of normal pregnancy, exactly on February 27, Reem paid a routine visit to the hospital for a check-up of her embryo’s growth and development, she fell in a deep coma, and has not yet recovered consciousness.

My daughter, Zakiah Khaled (Reem’s mother) confirmed that it was only on a routine visit, when the doctor, following-up her pregnancy, ordered an immediate Caesarean operation. Since Reem was alone, the hospital called her husband to sign the documents required for the surgery. Everything was OK, yet my daughter is in coma, the agonised mother added.

Being pregnant, my daughter was suffering normal tumefaction, nevertheless the doctor-in-charge Woman falls into a coma decided on a caesarean section. Reem gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl. However, her health deteriorated, her tumefaction increased, and her weight doubled.

Having noticed her daughter’s critical case and severe pains, particularly in the neck, the dismayed mother rushed to doctors for help. They, ironically, gave her nothing but tranquilisers and painkillers. Weeping over her daughter’s ordeal, the mother pinpointed that Reem’s face quickly grew blue, despite suffering neither pregnancy nor puerperal fever. She had such severe spasms and convulsions all over her body that she instantly lost consciousness, falling in a deep coma. Doctors and nurses tried hard to get her back. She was even shifted to the ICU, and put on oxygen, but to no avail.

“We have ever since been involved in a big mess. Doctors failed to diagnose Reem’s case. They sometimes diagnosed her tumefaction as superfluous water ill-affecting her lungs and brain, while a desperate neurologist asked me to pray for my distraught daughter,” the anguished mother said.

We have lodged a complaint with the Sharjah Medical Region and the Ministry of Health, demanding investigations to punish those responsible for the dilemma. In response, Dr Abdul-Ghaffar Abdul-Ghafur, the Ministry of Health Assistant Undersecretary for Therapeutic Medicine, confirmed that the ministry had formed a committee to investigate the mother’s compliant. “All the doctors involved in Reem’s case will be interrogated, and investigations are set to conclude within a week,” he added.


What it is like dining blindfolded

DUBAI — 28 May: Can you imagine trying to negotiate a buffet without being able to see it? How would you find your way from the table to the buffet and how about trying to serve yourself without being able to see what is in front of you?

On June 5, hundreds of diners will support Foresight through dining in at restaurants throughout Dubai which have given tables in support of finding a cure for retinal disease. Each diner will also have a blindfold if they want to experience what it is like to eat one course without being able to see.

Eating in general is fraught with a myriad of potential difficulties when you take, being able to see out of the equation. How many foods would you avoid choosing from the menu?

Katy Newitt, founder of Foresight, shares her experience. Katy is partially sighted and also suffers from night blindness which means that the little sight she relies on in the day is completely absent in darker surroundings, typically the low ambient lighting of restaurants.

“Soup is always a good choice,” says Katy, adding: “The only problem I have is when I keep dipping my spoon in the bowl without realising that it is empty. I often find that my fork doesn’t contain food when I put it in my mouth as there is a high rate of failure to actually spear the food onto it when you can’t see!”

Nannette Midwood, DJ of Dubai Eye, described her experience live on air the other day as she donned a blindfold and tried to eat a rice salad and some quiche provided by Katy.

Nannette’s first reaction was how vulnerable she felt. She then fumbled around for her knife and fork and tried to eat.

“It’s incredibly messy, the only way I can tell where the food is on the plate is by putting my fingers in it,” she said, desperately feeling around for a napkin. “I bet you never order spaghetti,” she suggested to Katy.

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