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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

First day of Eid Al Fitr tomorrow

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Oct. 22: Monday will be the first day of Eid Al Fitr in the UAE, it was announced yesterday.

Quoting the Moonsighting Committee, WAM reported that today is the last day of Ramadan and tomorrow will be the first day of Shawwal and the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

The committee, chaired by Mohammad Bin Nakhira Al Daheri, Minister of Justice, said in a statement yesterday: "Following legitimate measures which have been used to establish the sighting of the moon as well as contacts with neighbouring countries, Monday, October 23, will be the first day of Eid Al Fitr in the UAE."

Shops and malls were crowded last evening with people making last minute purchases. A festive atmosphere enveloped the country as residents bought sweets, clothes and gifts for family and friends.

Traders did brisk business. Still others hurriedly made plans for the holidays and charted journeys to nearby destinations.

Come tomorrow and the favourite haunts - parks, malls and theatres - will be abuzz with people. The streets will be clogged with vehicles, but residents who moan about the traffic all year long will not mind being caught in one or two snarls. For it is all a part of the festive occasion; they had waited for this all year long.


Finding affordable accommodation 

Abu Dhabi - Oct. 22: Finding affordable accommodation with the shortage of properties and the increasing population has become a gigantic task for Abu Dhabi residents.

The Taxi Transport Regulation Centre is in the process of introducing a new modern taxi service. The existing one will be phased out.

The issue has been raised every now and then, but the problem regarding accommodation continues in the capital thanks to unscrupulous and unprofessional estate agencies, middlemen and some watchmen of buildings.

The most difficult to find are studio flats, single-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The demand for these is high and whatever is available is too expensive.

The rents for these apartments range from Dh20,000 to Dh60,000 a year. Three-bedroom and bigger apartments cost from Dh75,000 to Dh200,000 a year.

Gulf News took to the streets of Abu Dhabi to find out residents' opinions on the issue.

Moidooty V. Mandoth, an Indian radiology technician, has been living in the country since 1987. He lives in a two-bedroom apartment in the Mussafah area. In 1999 when he moved in the rent was Dh15,000. Now it is Dh22,000.

"Though outside the city, it was the cheapest accommodation available those days. Just two years ago the rent was increased to Dh22,000. Rumours are already there the rent will go up by another Dh10,000.

"I have no option but to continue staying in the building as it is very difficult to find an apartment for less than this."

Christopher Tolentino, a Filipino craftsman and his wife share an apartment with other friends. He used to pay Dh900 for a room just two months ago. Now he pays Dh1,200 as the rent for the apartment has gone up.

Tolentino said: "Rents are too high in Abu Dhabi, and it is very hard to afford to live when you have a small salary. It's [rent] killing us because of our low incomes.

"I've been here for two years. During these two years, I've shifted from one apartment to another eight times due to high rents and non-availability of affordable accommodation.

De Bouver, a Belgian engineer, his wife and two children, have just arrived. They have been looking for accommodation but without luck.

"The rents in Abu Dhabi are very expensive. They are three to four times higher than the rents in Brussels."

Mona Adawi, a Lebanese nurse, had to go outside the city to find an affordable place to live. She lives in a two-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of the city.

"There is no equivalence between rents and salaries. If the cost of living, particularly rents, increases, salaries should also increase."

Ranjith Kumar, an Indian bank sales officer, who is a bachelor, shares an apartment with others. He has been hunting for an apartment for the last six months, during which he has shifted from once place to another four times.

He said: "I share a room with two other friends. The rent for the room is Dh1,500 per month. We are still struggling. Another reason for not finding a place is that we are single, and many building managements do not rent out properties to bachelors."


Two-day weekend 'not mandatory'

Dubai: Oct. 22: The new modified labour law will not stipulate a compulsory two-day weekend for the private sector, the Minister of Labour has said.

Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi said the law will have an article saying an additional compulsory day off can be decided on by the Cabinet. Labourers in the construction sector will not get the additional day off even if the Cabinet decides on a two-day weekend, he said.

The minister had earlier said the ministry was studying a proposal to include an article in the law that would give every worker a two-day weekend. "The new law does not even specify Friday as the day off," he said. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Governmental Sector Development, said a plan is being drawn up to regulate holidays.


When the doctor errs ...

Dubai: Oct. 22:Medical complaints have increased, with dozens recorded with UAE health authorities so far this year, but malpractice cases remain far and few in between, according to health officials.

The Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) investigated 58 complaints, of which 31 were against private health facilities in Dubai from January to September this year.

Dohms investigated 59 cases last year. The Health Ministry, which has jurisdiction over the northern emirates, investigated 64 complaints last year. In both cases, malpractice was the exception rather than the norm.

"Doctors don't usually go out to cause harm. About 10 per cent are actual malpractice or negligence [cases]," said Dr Eisa Kazim, assistant director-general of Dohms and head of the central mortality and morbidity committee.

"Negligence is a very serious charge. It means the doctor has neglected his duty of care [to the patient]," he added.

Dr Ali Shakar, undersecretary at the ministry, said malpractice was very rare in the UAE. "Of [the 64 complaints we received], only two cases were malpractice cases," he said.

Both said the disproportionate number of malpractice claims versus malpractice reality stemmed from patients confusing medical malpractice or negligence with adverse patient outcomes.

According to Dohms, malpractice is defined as "a physician's deviation from the applicable standard of care that a similar physician would exercise under the same circumstances."

Negligence, meanwhile, is when a physician or other medical staff member does not treat the patient with the "proper amount of quality of care, resulting in serious injury or death."

An adverse outcome is when the results of a medical procedure were undesirable through no fault of the medical staff.

However, in cases where medical error occurred, Dr Kazim said investigation revealed that it usually resulted from a poor system in the hospital.

"Punishing the doctor will take care only of that particular problem. It doesn't solve the underlying problem in the long term. Otherwise, the next patient who comes in may suffer the same fate."

My story

"I am trying to cope with the loss of my husband," Nahid Assad Basu says tearfully, struggling to talk about the sudden death of Showkat Nazir, a 37-year-old Indian who lapsed into a coma and died three weeks after undergoing routine sinus surgery on September 2.

Dubai police recently reported that Showkat's autopsy showed evidence of medical error. His death sparked renewed concerns over medical care in the UAE.

"My son Salem searches for his father; he can't sleep. He will not stop looking, but now he won't ever know his father or what the word means."

Few incidents

Medical mishaps have included serious cases such as a dentist practising without a licence, a patient dying due to a medical error and a surgeon operating on the wrong side of the patient's body. Not-so-serious cases include fractures that occur during surgery which later heal naturally.

Dr Kazim said there have been a few cases when the blame lay with the doctor. In these cases, penalties include a fine, warning, suspension, or revocation of licence, depending on the severity of the offence.

He added that the medical committee would also notify the police and refer the case to the Public Prosecution if they found a criminal negligence.

Doctors who lose their licences in the UAE will not be allowed to practise in the GCC.

What To Do ?

If you have to undergo a medical procedure that is not an emergency, be smart. Ask questions, such as: What is the procedure called? What does it involve? What is it supposed to do? How long will it take? What are the risks? What are the benefits? How long is the recovery?

Make sure the doctor explains the procedure to you clearly, in everyday terms, not medical jargon. Also do some research or ask your family to do it for you to make sure he has not glossed over any points. Don't be afraid to ask the doctor for his qualifications and his experience.

Where to complain ?

The UAE has three health authorities. Abu Dhabi General Authority for Health Services has purview over Abu Dhabi, the Department of Health and Medical Services has jurisdiction over Dubai, while the Ministry of Health over the northern emirates.

These three entities deal with medical complaints in those areas.

"Dohms is also planning to create a database listing doctors and surgeons' successes and experiences, to help patients make an informed decision when choosing their healthcare provider. This will help patients to make the best decision for their medical care.

There are currently not enough regulations and official complaints are important to improve the weaknesses in private healthcare. Otherwise, how are we going to know? Our main aim is to protect the patient, not the doctors or hospitals.

However, the names of medical personnel and hospitals investigated will not be made public. The hospital might have other departments and specialties that are good and people might avoid the hospital if they knew."

Saudi, most Gulf Arabs start Eid feast on Monday

DUBAI - Oct. 22: Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, and most fellow Gulf Arab states will celebrate the Muslim Eid al-Fitr feast on Monday to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, regional media said on Saturday.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will also start the holiday on Monday, media reports said.

The timing of Eid can vary in different countries depending on the sighting of the new moon, which marks the start of the month in Islam’s lunar calendar.

Regional stock markets are closed during the holiday. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange will reopen on Oct. 28. 


Dug up pavements - We’re still waiting

Dubai - Oct. 22: A group of disgruntled residents claim they have been unable to park at their villas for months because workers who dug up their pavements have left the job unfinished. Pavements on several streets in Mirdif are being dug for drainage work and according to residents, Dubai Municipality (DM) notices in June promised that pavements would be ready for use within four weeks.

But after several months many homes still have large holes outside their entrances while others are left with sand covered pavements.  Residents who pay more than dhs100,000 annual rent told 7DAYS it was appalling they had no access to their garages. Karly, from South Africa, has been living in a villa in Mirdif for almost 18 months.  She said: “We were initially told that the drainage work will not take long to finish. But the work has been going on for months and the living room and the veranda is always full of dust. It’s disgusting to live amidst all this dust and chaos.

“It’s understandable if they are working on a major project like the Jumeirah beautification project. But this is just laying pipes and the work never seems to end,” she added. Another resident, who asked not to be named, added: “It is outrageous that these guys rip away our pavement, take more than three times as long as planned and then leave with nothing rebuilt, just quick-sand in front of our villas.”

Peter, who lives in a villa on street 91C said the work on his pavement started in June and despite promises that it would be complete in four weeks, took four months to complete.  According to a notice issued to Peter by the Department of Drainage and Irrigation of the Dubai Municipality dated May 25, 2006, work on project DS117/2, which involves laying drainage pipes, would be complete within four weeks.

Peter added: “They dig a hole, put something inside, cover it with sand and then disappear. Everything is dirty here. Even the taxi drivers refuse to drop us near our homes. It is ridiculous.”
Another resident said that he had been trying to complain to DM officials unsuccessfully over several weeks.  “Whenever we call them they say it is not our department and then transfer it and this goes on and on. Is it not their responsibility to co-ordinate?”

No officials from Dubai Municipality were available for comment when 7DAYS tried yesterday.



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