News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

India plans MoU on labour in Gulf

Dubai: 29 May:India is working out on the modalities for drafting a memorandum of understanding on labour with countries in the Gulf, said a diplomatic source.

The source said the Overseas Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Indian missions in the Gulf to forward case studies on labour issues to the ministry. The concept of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on labour issues gained momentum after the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, visited countries in the Gulf.

While in Dubai, the minister had mentioned that a MoU would minimise the nuisance of illegal recruitment agents, provide a single window labour recruitment and cultivate more labour opportunities in the Gulf countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain.


In Dubai, Ravi had said a lot of groundwork needs to go in before the MoU is drafted. According to him it has become imperative to churn out skilled manpower.

"The case studies that were done by the missions pertain to non-payment of wages, labour accommodations and visa rackets," said the diplomatic source.

Regarding incidents of labour violence, the source said: "The minister has strongly disapproved of any kind of violence. ... But (he) had also shown his concern on complaints of non-payment of salaries."


Two men found dead in desert

Ras Al Khaimah: 29 May: The bodies of two men who had apparently succumbed to severe heatstroke and exhaustion after being lost for 20 hours in the desert were found on Saturday.

A UAE national from Al Saedi discovered them and reported the case to the police which sent its vehicles and ordered the Air Wing's helicopters to the scene.

The two men were Ukrainian geologists who had been undertaking a survey of the area, sources said.

Twenty-five other geologists who had been on the same trip as the men were rescued and taken to Saqr Hospital.

Colleagues' search

The sources said the geologists, who were all from the same company, did not report the case to the police even though they had mobile phones. They said this tragedy could easily have been avoided if they had called the police for help.

They said the geologists believed they could find their missing colleagues and had divided into groups to search for them. They had become worried when their colleagues did not return to the group's main location after 10 hours.

The sources said the men's bodies had not yet been delivered to their families for burial and the Public Prosecution is investigating the case.

The rest of the geologists have been discharged from hospital.


Worker dies after hoist crashes to ground

Sharjah: May 29: One worker died and five others sustained serious injuries when a construction hoist crashed to the ground from the 15th floor of a building, police said.

The incident had happened in Al Butaina at 6am yesterday morning. Police said the Asian workers had been taking heavy construction materials to the building's upper floors.


The workers were not abiding by safety regulations and the hoist had not been maintained, police said.

One of the workers had died on his way to hospital and the others had suffered severe injuries, including spinal fractures. The men were transferred to Al Qasimi Hospital and Al Kuwait Hospital.

Police said that when the incident was reported to Al Hira Police they immediately evacuated the building and the area.

After initial police investigations and questioning, it was found the site lacked basic safety measures. Police said safety equipment was not available to workers.

Police added all the equipment at the site was old and had not been maintained and the hoist had failed to work before. Other accidents had been reported earlier in the same building.

All contracting companies that did not abide by safety regulations would face severe penalties, police said, because they were putting workers' lives and other people's lives in danger.

Poor safety record

Police said the building contractors were not abiding by safety regulations and the hoist had failed to work before. Other accidents have previously been reported at the site.


Plan to encourage use of cycles in city

Dubai: May 29:Residents in Dubai will be encouraged to use cycles to cover short distances as part of the Roads and Transport Authority's plan for integrated transport system in the city.

The RTA has reviewed the available facilities for cyclists in the city and has decided to have parking spaces for cycles in addition to dedicated lanes for cyclists in some parts of the city, especially in the crowded Central Business Districts of Deira and Bur Dubai.

It will also help reduce traffic congestion in busy areas in addition to providing a healthy activity to residents.

The RTA is planning to devise ways to encourage malls, entertainment clubs, schools, colleges, hospitals and other companies in both the public and private sector to provide parking spaces for cyclists according to specified standards.

"We will seek to devise a comprehensive plan for the development of the cycling network that will include laying cycling tracks, providing the requisite facilities and framing guidelines and legislations for the use of bicycles," said Salem Al Shafei, Director of Strategic Planning for Transport.

Parking spaces

The RTA will soon provide parking spaces for bicycles in the souq areas in Deira and Bur Dubai.

The RTA will assess the viability of setting bicycle parking spaces near bus stations, metro stations and the existing and upcoming harbours to achieve the highest standard of integration of the transport system in Dubai.


25 held in RAK for making low-priced international calls

RAS AL KHAIMAH — May 29: As many as 25 people, all Asians, were arrested by the local authorities yesterday on charges of being involved in an illegal low-priced international telephone call racket.

They were caught while allowing some of their compatriots to make these international telephone calls at normal domestic call rates.

“They used to make illegal international calls by connecting a certain electronic device to the Internet line for a low fee charge of a dirham a minute, which is an illegal and punishable activity and causes great losses to the country's economy,” Colonel Abdullah Munachas, head of RAK Criminal Investigations Department (CID), said.

Acting on tip-offs received by the department from the RAK Etisalat Office, the CID launched a large-scale investigation into the case and succeeded in identifying and subsequently arresting the perpetrators, Munachas added.

Those arrested worked in different shops like grocery stores, private shops selling construction materials, fruits and vegetables stores, laundries and restaurants, besides car maintenance garages etc. The CID in a swift coordinated move raided all these premises simultaneously and made the arrests. The CID team also arrested some "clients" red-handed and seized PCs and other electronic devices used in the crime.

The law-enforcement authorities have referred all those arrested to the General Prosecution Office for further investigation. Later, their cases will be referred to the judicial authorities.


Software piracy rate in the country 34pc

ABU DHABI — May 29: Thirty-four per cent of the packaged software installed in PCs in the UAE in 2005 was pirated, a judicial source has disclosed.

Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Al Kamali, Director-General of the Judicial Institute, told Khaleej Times that this percentage was the lowest as per international levels. The countries with the highest piracy rates in 2005  were Vietnam and Zimbabwe at 90 per cent each. The rates in the Gulf region were 66 per cent in Kuwait, 64 per cent in Oman, 60 per cent in Qatar and 52 per cent in Saudi Arabia.

Al Kamali said that international intellectual property rights organisations affirmed that the UAE had been in the lead over the past 10 years in the fight against software piracy. ''The UAE-anti piracy drive is ahead of all Arab countries and many European countries including France, Italy, Spain and Greece,'' he maintained.

He explained that severe punishment given to violators had greatly  helped in reducing piracy rate in the UAE.

According to him, the UAE is among the first countries of the world in anti-piracy efforts and it had issued laws for protection of intellectual property rights as a strategic tool in protecting its national economy and social development.

Meanwhile, the Judicial Institute in coordination with the Business Software Alliance organised a symposium on software piracy at Rotana Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Practical problems in regard to software piracy were discussed.


Woman forces rude drivers back on track

Dubai - May 29: Motorists yesterday cheered on a woman who stepped out in front of cement trucks to block the road after she became frustrated with cars jumping ahead of her in a queue at traffic lights.

The incident took place at about 7.40am yesterday as tens of cars were piling up at the busy junction near The Greens, according to one witness.

The road has two lanes and while motorists turning towards Sheikh Zayed Road are in for at least a 15-minute wait, drivers going left to Al Khail Road do not have to queue at all, she said, adding that she takes this route every day on her way to work.

She said many drivers shorten their wait by taking the left-hand turn and merging back into the right lane, ahead of the queue.

“All of us think this is ridiculous,” said 26-year-old Katie Burke, who works at the Dubaibased Pipeline Magazine.

Yesterday morning, however, those jumping the queue were finally taken to task by an unknown woman, who walked out of her car and stood in the way of the selfish drivers.

The woman, who appeared to be south Indian and in her early thirties, made three cement trucks, two four-wheel drives and several other cars turn back.

“The truck drivers kept creeping towards her, but she would not move,” said Burke, saying the vehicles finally stopped several metres away from the woman, who was arguing with them in what appeared to be Hindi.

“You could tell she sits in this queue every morning. I think she had had just enough,” Burke said.

After about four minutes, the trucks turned away, followed by a 4x4, whose driver appeared to want to avoid the woman.

“She deterred three cement trucks, two Range Rovers and several other cars,” said Burke. “People were clapping and honking as she went back into her car. I know that normally you should not play the traffic police, but in this case I understand.” However, Khalfan Al Barwani, the traffic safety manager at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, said the woman had exposed herself to danger.

“She could have been run over. People should control themselves and not react to bad drivers. We all get frustrated, but all we can do is be good drivers ourselves.”


Acid death body flown home by holidaymaker

Dubai - May 29: A British man who is on holiday in Dubai has volunteered to pay for the repatriation of the body of Indian man Gatoo Jatasowami, who died after drinking acid.

Jatasowami, 28, drank the acid in a bid to have the Dubai Police arrest and deport him to India as he could not afford to pay for the air ticket home. Doctors, however, could not save him.

At the time, the victim’s brother, Naraish Jatasowami, 24, who works as a salesman at a grocery store in Al Nahda said: “About a week ago I was with my friends in a restaurant. One of my friends came running and told me that my brother Gatoo was lying on the floor.

“I rushed to him and when I asked him what happened, Gatoo told me that he drank acid as he wanted police to arrest him and deport him. My brother died before he reached the hospital.” Naraish said that he went to the court yesterday and completed all the formalities for the release of his brother’s body. “I am very happy that somebody has come forward to pay for the expenses. Finally my brother’s wish to go home will be fulfilled,” he added.


Public asked to report illegal street hawkers

Dubai - May 29: Dubai authorities have urged the public to help them in their efforts to reduce the number of street hawkers in the city.

The deputy manager of Precautionary Security at the Dubai Municipality, Abdeljaleel Mahdi Mohammed, said the hawkers were illegally hawking anything from cheap CDs and DVDs to fruit and even drugs.

“There is a huge acceptance of the peddlers in some residential districts – areas such as Al Manama, Hor Al Anz and Al Hamriya,” Mohammed said.

He urged the public to inform police on 04 269 4848 whenever they saw hawkers.

“Seventy per cent of all peddlers have entered the country illegally; thirty per cent have escaped from the municipal jailors,” said Mohammed.

He added that some of them had full-time employment, but that they took to the streets on Thursdays and Fridays.

“Some hawkers take CDs from the Chinese market, copy them and sell them at pedestrian bridges, parks and other places where there are large numbers of people.

“Some sell foodstuffs, such as boxes of apples or oranges. Most of the food sold by these street peddlers are not healthy. It is even possible that hawkers who have entered the country illegally, mighty be carriers of some infectious diseases.” Mohammed added that many street hawkers use the money their earn to fund other activities.

He gave the example of one street hawker, a disabled man, who attended mosques.When he was seized he was, however, found to have a large quantity of hashish and drugs on his person.

Mohammed said: “It seemed that the man was addicted to drugs, and used his disability to make money to feed his addiction.” (Al Bayan)


Hospital refuses to give birth documents of twins

Sharjah: May 29: A hospital has refused to release the birth documents of twins born three months ago. Their mother, a Palestinian doctor, remains bed-ridden with severe brain damage that has left her totally paralysed because of delivery complications, according to her mother.

Reem, 28, gave birth to twins in February, but went into coma soon after, as reported in Gulf News in March. Her mother, Zakiya Khalid, blamed "negligent treatment" by Al Qasimi hospital, after a Caesarean operation.

The hospital refused to give the family documents to get a birth certificate for the twins till they pay the hospital bill, Zakhiya told Gulf News yesterday.

She said that her daughter's twins, Gassan and Bisan, are now three months old "but they did not get to enjoy the love, tenderness and the hugs of their mother." "There should be some mercy in the hearts of those people as they ask us to pay the hospital bill and they want us to pay for her treatment till the rest of her life which we cannot afford." Reem is ill and her situation is deteriorating every day, she added.

"We are suffering. My daughter is paralysed and can only blink her eyes. Reem was a healthy and strong woman. She had never complained about anything in life," Zakiya said.

She added: "The hospital's management wants us to discharge her on our responsibility and to take care of her by ourselves. We cannot pay for her treatment anywhere. Doctors said that inflammation has now affected her brain too.

"I just quit my job to take care of my daughter's twins."

She said a delay in treatment and a lack of proper equipment at the hospital caused Reem's condition.

Earlier, Dr Arif Al Nuriani, Technical Manager at Al Qasimi hospital, told Gulf News that Reem, a first-time mother who had had twins suffered from "complications" after delivery which caused brain damage and she fell into a coma. She was transferred from the maternity ward to the hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Last month, Minister of Health Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami ordered an investigation into the case. The medical report issued by the ministry stated that malpractice was the main reason for Reem's state after a Caesarean section.

Sources said the report found the doctors and technical staff "negligent" in operating on the woman. It said the hospital was "not provided with the necessary equipment to conduct such complex operations."



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