News headlines

Excerpts from U.A.E. Dailies

Child sitting in mother’s lap killed in car accident

Abu Dhabi - 06 June: A one-year-old boy killed in a road crash while sitting on his mum’s lap could have been saved if he had been sitting in a safety seat.

The parents of the child survived the smash in Abu Dhabi but the child suffered fatal injuries.

Traffic Police officials say the young boy, who at the time of the crash was travelling in the front passenger seat on his mother’s lap, would almost certainly be alive today if he had been properly seated.

“The death could have been prevented if the boy was in the proper child seat,” said Major Islam Al Tamimi, the manager of the Severe Accident Branch at the Abu Dhabi Traffic Department.

Eight other people were injured in the accident, which occured on Thursday evening, said Maj Al Tamimi.

All of the people were mildly injured except for the little boy’s mother, who suffered multiple face fractures.

Despite the fact that there was no danger to the woman’s life, relatives did not tell her about her son’s death for several days, sources close to the family said.

Maj Al Tamimi said the accident happened as the young boy’s father, who was identified as an Omani citizen, hit a car in front of him.

Another car then crashed into the rear of the family vehicle. Maj Al Tamimi said the accident was caused because the father was not maintaining enough distance between himself and the car in front.

Maj Al Tamimi urged all parents to take all precautionary measures when riding with their children. No statistics were immediately available about the number of children dying each year in Abu Dhabi for being wrongly seated.

Figures are not available for the whole country but in Dubai, four children under the age of 10 died and six were seriously injured in traffic accidents last year.

In addition 86 children sustained medium or light injuries.

Officials said most of these children were car occupants and could have been saved if they had been wearing a seatbelt or had been locked into a child safety seat in the rear.

This year, at least one death, that of an eight-year-old UAE national boy, was attributed to lack of proper seating.



Indian minister disappoints principals

Dubai: 06 June: Indian school principals said they were disappointed with Indian federal Minister for Human Resources Development Arjun Singh.

The principals, who came to attend a meeting with the minister yesterday at the Shaikh Rashid Auditorium, felt that the hour-long event was just a "public relations" exercise and did not have anything substantial to offer.

More than 50 principals from various Indian curriculum schools across the UAE came to attend the meeting.

Other officials included the education secretary, Indian Consul-General Yash Sinha, Indian Ambassador C.M. Bhandari and Chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education Ashok Ganguly.

One principal even called the meeting with the minister as a "protocol filling" exercise. "The minister commented on the good work that the principals were doing here. That is all what he had to say to us. He just spoke for less than ten minutes," said a principal from Dubai.

"There was no agenda chalked out for the meeting. We were informed by the consulate the minister will hold a meeting with school principals. I was very disappointed. It was not a gratifying experience as far as I am concerned. A complete waste of time," he added.

Singh is on a six-day tour of Gulf countries that include Saudi Arabia and UAE.

The media was also kept away from the meetings.

Later at a meeting at the Muslim Education Society, Singh said an Arab cultural centre will be set up by the Jamia Milia University to be funded by the University Grants Commission.


Police name man found hanging at airport

Dubai: 06 June: Police yesterday announced that they had identified the body of a man found hanging in Dubai International Airport.

Brigadier Khamis Mattar Al Muzaina, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department at Dubai Police, said the man found hanging from the ceiling in a narrow corridor has been identified as Makar Tamanj, a Nepali.

Brigadier Al Muzaina said he wanted to enter the UAE and had a work permit. However, when his passport was to be stamped, officials realised he was acting in a 'strange' manner and deduced he was mentally ill.

In a statement, Brigadier Al Muzaina said: "Police security at the airport banned Tamanj from entering the country and he was kept at the airport. He was to be sent back to his country."

He said while Tamanj was at the airport, he had climbed onto a ventilator over the corridor and then hanged himself. The body, which was discovered on Saturday evening, had been there for days.

Gulf News yesterday reported that the man's identity would be announced after police had completed investigations.

Brigadier Al Muzaina said the body had been sent for forensic tests. The forensic specialist's report allowed police to then identify the victim.


ID card scheme unveiled

Abu Dhabi - 06 June: The new federal law governing rules of the national ID card makes it mandatory on all UAE residents to have the cards, failing which they can be penalised with a maximum fine of Dh5,000 or a jail term of six months.

Dr Saeed Al Dhaheri, the director-general of the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) yesterday, said in Abu Dhabi that EIDA will take all possible measures to create awareness among the residents about the importance of having an ID card.

He said: “We have taken into consideration the cultural aspects of our multi-cultured society and have made provisions to avoid penalties and jail sentences for failing to have an ID card initially.

Penalties and fines can be imposed on people who fail to renew ID cards or give wrong and incorrect information, said Dr Dhaheri.

According to the law, all residents of over 15 years of age will be eligible for the card. For those under the age of 15 it is optional.

Dr Dhaheri said he expects the programme of issuing an estimated five million ID cards to be over by the end of 2010.

“We will be starting registration for expatriates and nationals by the beginning of next year. There will be 14 service centres all over the country and people can register in any of the centres, irrespective of the emirate they live in,” he added.

Presently, the EIDA has opened registration centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain.

The fee for ID cards with a five-year validity period, according to Mohammed Shamsi, the manager marketing and public relations of EIDA, will be Dh100 for nationals and Dh500 for expatriates and is renewable at the same fee.

The ID card will replace all other identity documents.


Police unveil proposal to fine drivers who talk on mobiles

Dubai - 06 June: Dubai Police has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Interior to create a law enabling officers to fine those who drive while talking on their mobile phones, a top police official said yesterday.

Brigadier Essa Aman Obaid, Deputy Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police said that while mobile phone use and driving form a dangerous combination, the current federal traffic law does not provide a mechanism for police to fine drivers who talk on their mobile phones while driving.

However, he said that Dubai Police has submitted a proposal with the Ministry of Interior, which is currently in the process of amending the traffic law.

Brig Obaid said that while it is not safe to use mobiles at all while driving, professionals such as doctors can use hands-free kits. He was addressing an audience of journalists at a press conference to launch a new campaign aimed at discouraging motorists from talking on their mobile phones while driving.

“Whoever thinks that they can drive and talk on the phone is making a big mistake,” said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the 14-time Middle East Rally Champion and the campaign’s brand ambassador.

Despite efforts to improve the driving habits of the city’s motorists, the number of people losing their lives in car crashes in the city continues to rise, reveal statistics by the General Department of Traffic.

On average, 26 people died each month in traffic accidents in the first four months of the year. This compares to a monthly average of 20, registered last year, and 17 recorded in 2004.

There is anecdotal evidence which suggests that mobile phone use is causing many accidents in Dubai, said Dr Prabhakar Rao, the Chief Operating Officer of the International Association of Human Values, which has launched the campaign in conjunction with Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Municipality and Nokia.

And while officials were advocating the use of hands-free devices, Khalfan Al Barwani, the traffic safety manager at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, warned that the act of talking itself could be distracting and should be kept at a minimum when behind the wheel.

“Some people get carried away in discussion and they forget about the road,” he said.

The campaign will also feature volunteers visiting shopping malls and petrol stations to educate the public about the issue.


Man stabbed to death as gang rivalry turns ugly

Dubai - 06 June: Police have arrested members of two rival gangs involved in a bloody knife fight which left one dead and others in hospital.

The two Sri Lankan groups have been involved in a longrunning dispute which was going to be settled with a “straightener” on a patch of wasteland in Jumeirah. The brawl quickly turned more violent and one of the men was stabbed and eventually died from his injuries.

Others gang members are in hospital and Dubai Police CID said they have arrested a total of seven men wanted in connection with the clash.The case has been passed to the Public Prosecution.

Brigadier Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, the Director of CID, said: “We have arrested all those involved and did it quickly.

“They were in dispute and wanted to settle it. We arrested them and now the case is with the Dubai Public Prosecution.

“It is not correct that the dispute was about them selling things illegally. It was a personal argument between them.

“It happened in the last week.” Mohammed Nabav I Junaid, the Sri Lankan Ambassador in the UAE, told Emirates Today: “Most of the Sri Lankan expatriates in the UAE are leading a peaceful life. I have instructed the Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai to gather more information on this incident.

“We will have to inform the relatives of the deceased.

“I have always urged the Sri Lankan community to abide by the rule of the law and if a few of them are involved in any such crimes, they will have to face the consequences.” The Sri Lankan Consulate office in Dubai did not divulge details about the group fight.

Members of the Sri Lankan community in Dubai, who are aware of what happened, said they wished to remain anonymous, but believed the death was the culmination of a bitter rivalry between two gangs.

One said: “We are all worried about this and hope it is over.” Rumours have been circulating in the community that the gangs had been illegally selling alcohol and the dispute broke out over who was going to sell in particular parts of the city .

Dubai CID said this is not the case, although they added that they could not reveal exact details of what led to the killing.


Labourers refuse to work citing 'heat'

Sharjah: 06 June:
More than 50 labourers yesterday refused to work because of unbearable heat at their accommodation.

The labourers from a light manufacturing company in Sharjah's Industrial Area 2 refused to work because the power supply to their accommodation was cut. The workers said they were shifted to temporary accommodation last week and were told to remain there until their new accommodation was ready. The temporary site allegedly held 50 people in one room.

"We could not live in these conditions, so we went back to our old place for a few days," said a worker, requesting anonymity. The old accommodation had its electricity cut off on Saturday, shutting down the air-conditioning.

After negotiations with managers, the workers were guaranteed that air-conditioning facilities would be replaced, and that they would be moved to their new residence by next week. When contacted, managers of the company said they had no idea that labourers had refused to work. They said it was common for workers not to show up because of the heat.

"We have around 400 employees, and so it is normal for 20 to take a few days off because they are not used to the heat," said one.



Fans gear up for World Cup kick-off

Dubai: 06 June: With only three days to go before the beginning of the most popular worldwide sporting event - the FIFA World Cup - old rivalries and passions are rising in the UAE.

With football excitement reaching fever pitch and after waiting four years, football fans in the UAE are eagerly anticipating the first kick-off of the 2006 FIFA World Cup on Friday at 8pm UAE time, with Germany taking on Costa Rica.

With large expatriate communities such as Iran and England represented in this year's competition, those who did not manage to secure tickets to the games in Germany will be watching from afar.

Constituting one of the largest populations here in the UAE are the football-mad English. Despite having some of the highest profile players in the world, England has not tasted World Cup success since 1966. So, what are their chances in 2006?

Proud England supporter Jordan Dawson thinks the star-studded England team may go as far as the semi-finals.

"I think they have a pretty good chance, especially if [Wayne] Rooney is fit to play," he said. "I think Brazil will probably win in the final, playing against either Italy or France. They just have too many good players like Ronaldinho."

Australians around the UAE are particularly excited about supporting their team for the first time in 32 years. The Socceroos, as they are known, have not reached the World Cup finals since they were knocked out in the first round in Germany in 1974.

"Even though we haven't taken part in over three decades, the World Cup really is the biggest stage of them all," said Stuart Mansbridge, a Dubai-based manager. "We are very happy to have come this far, and it'll be very exciting to see them out there."

Serbian supporter Igor Djordjevic says his team is in a particularly difficult predicament, considering who they are up against in the group phase. Like many, Djordjevic's final predication is a win for perpetual favourites Brazil.

Saudi Arabia is one of only two Arab countries in this year's competition, so are sure to garner a great deal of support from this part of the world.

"As a Saudi I am of course going to be supporting my country, and I am hoping to go to Germany for some of the games," said Sohaib Al Sohaibi from Jeddah. "I think we will manage to reach the second round, as we have a great deal of strength especially from the defence."

With approximately 700,000 Iranians in the UAE, there is sure to be great interest in their national team, which has bounced back after failing to qualify in 2002.

"We believe that Iran could really win," said the Cultural and Social Affairs Manager of the Iranian Club, Hossain Zadeh. "Our team is playing very well and everyone is so excited about the competition, inside Iran and overseas as well."

And then there is Brazil.

Like many, Abu Dhabi based football coach, Helvecio Pessoa from Rio de Janeiro, is quietly confident of another victory.

"As a Brazilian and a football coach, I incredibly interested in the World Cup," he said. "I think we really do have a big chance of winning as we have such a great team. But it's not going to be all easy,

"As we say here, inshallah."

Catch it on the big screen

FIFA World Cup Fan Park, Dubai International Convention Centre, Shaikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
Sure to be one of the most popular venues to watch the games. With a 3000 capacity grandstand and huge screen, football fans will be as close to being in Germany as possible.

1st and 2nd rounds - Dh10
Quarter and semi finals - Dh 30
Final - Dh50
Coverage: All games
For info: 800 4669
Food: Stadium style food and beverages
Parking: 6-storey car park at the Convention Centre, as well as all other Trade Centre parking facilities
Tickets available: At Virgin Megastore,, Time Out tickets hotline 800 4669 or, adidas outlets, at the door

Dubai Media City

Located next to the lake at DMC, organisers are erecting a huge air-conditioned tent, filled with beanbags on the lake, for up to 1000 football enthusiasts from June 9.
Cost: Dh50 vouchers are the only provision of entry, but are redeemable   inside the tent on food, beverages or shisha.
Coverage: All games
For info: 050 2739883

The Irish Village, Garhoud

Irish village is also setting up a large tent, with 8 large screens showing all of the matches.

Cost: Dh50 worth of redeemable coupons
Coverage: All games
For info: 04 282 4122



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