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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Landlords offer cheap rooms in return for favours

Dubai - Oct. 26: Landlords are offering cheap rooms in return for sexual favours.

Popular expatriate websites carrying adverts for flat shares - including several for one bedroom and studio apartments - are attempting to lure young, single European women with the promise of discount rents in exchange for sex.

One advert, on a well-known Dubai website, says: "If you are looking to have a room at an affordable budget then I have an offer for you: Male expat, 36 years old, nice looking with good manners, is willing to rent a room against casual acquaintance and intimacy. We shall discuss further details if you agree on the main idea."

Another advert reads: "First of all I would want you to know that it's sharing a one bedroom apartment with me. If the answer is yeah then you are welcome." A 27-year-old British woman currently looking for a room in Dubai, who does not want to be identified, told Gulf News: "I was shocked to see so many adverts, some blatantly, some more suggestively, offering cheap rooms for sex.

"My only fear is that with rental costs in Dubai being so high, some impressionable, or desperate young girl may fall victim to one of these men."

Gulf News found several other adverts on the same website, which has previously been blocked by the authorities. Offers are only open to single, 'broad-minded' Western women.

Sim Whately, from expatriate website, where the adverts did not appear, said: "We monitor our website very closely, all pictures have to be approved and we delete any adverts which we think are inappropriate."

Expatriate websites can be a lifeline for the thousands of new arrivals to Dubai looking for somewhere to live every year.

Many house-hunters prefer to deal directly with the person who owns or is subletting the property in an attempt to avoid real estate firms altogether. Agents often demand commission fees as high as eight per cent on a year's rent - piling thousands of dirhams on to the total cost. And, dealing with an agent can sometimes overcomplicate the already stressful - and costly - process of renting.

According to Dubai-based property services company Asteco, the cost of renting a two-bedroom property in Jumeirah leaped from Dh84,000 to Dh125,000 between June last year and June this year.

And in August, Gulf News reported the number of disputes between landlords and tenants had ballooned, nearly reaching last year's total caseload.

Approximately 80 per cent of cases were related to new tenants being charged way over market prices and rental renewals going over the maximum legal limit of 15 per cent.


Dubai man's murder probe grinds to a halt

Dubai - Oct. 26: The policeman hunting the killers of a Dubai resident murdered in South Africa has admitted his investigations have ground to a halt.

Inspector Leon Pretorius said none of the leads that could have helped him discover who shot Mohammad Mazhar Khan, a 25-year-old Indian, have yielded any useful information.

He said his only hope left is the forensic analysis of a laptop computer owned by Khan's cousin Rizwan Thathiya, 34, who Khan was visiting and who was murdered with him.

Reward offered

As reported in Gulf News, the bodies of the two men were discovered in the boot of a car parked near Heidelberg, a town between Johannesburg and Durban, in August.

After the killings, Pretorius offered a 50,000 rand (Dh23,800) reward for information that led to the murderers. One informant suggested police should look into Thathiya's businesses in Cape Town in case they were linked to the double-killing.

However, Pretorius told Gulf News by telephone that when he explored this lead it proved not to be useful in the hunt.

"I couldn't get any new information. It was all a dead end. It came to nothing," he said, adding that the companies that Thathiya, a South African citizen, had in Cape Town had ceased trading before the murders.

"One man said I had to speak to a man who might know something. I tried to contact him but he's left the country. I don't know if he knew something or why he doesn't want to speak to me," Pretorius added.

He added that the longer it is after the murders, the harder it will be to investigate the case.

"I am still working on it and I am not going to just leave it. If anything comes up I will jump on it," he said.

Pretorius said a backlog of work in the forensic department has delayed analysis of Thathiya's laptop computer.

He hopes this computer could give useful information about people who the pair were meeting in South Africa.

"This is my biggest hope and I am just waiting for it now," he said.


Man slashes motorist for honking at him while changing lanes

Dubai - Oct.26: A man who honked at a motorist for changing lanes at the last moment without indicating has said he was slashed by one of the three men in the offending car.

Ali Mohammad Ali, a 24-year-old UAE national, is recuperating at Rashid hospital with stitches across his left cheek and his left hand is bandaged. The incident took place at 9pm near the Hor Al Anz Park in Deira.

Speaking to Gulf News from his hospital bed yesterday Ali said that he was beaten up by three young men for honking at them. The three men were driving ahead of his car.

He said: "I am a resident of that area. I was not far from my house. I was on a T-junction road. There was another car ahead of me. The road had a left and right turn to it. I had to take the right turn while the car ahead of me signalled to turn left."

Ali said that he had to brake suddenly when the car ahead of him, which had signalled to turn left suddenly decided to turn right.

"I honked. That was it. The car ahead of me came to a halt.

"Three young men got out of the car and made their way towards me. I had not seen them before. By this time I also got out of my car. Before I could say anything they started shouting at me asking why I had sounded my horn. When I told them why, all three came down on me. I was trying to defend myself. I saw one of them running back to their car and taking out a sword," said Ali.

He was struck across his left cheek and left hand.

"I was bleeding profusely and was in extreme pain. I saw flesh from my left arm being sliced. The three then got into their car and drove off. In their hurry to leave the scene one of them dropped his mobile phone. I picked it up and later handed it over to police," said Ali wincing in pain.

Ahmad Ali, his younger brother who was the first to reach the spot where his brother lay in a pool of blood, said: "Some people came running, telling me what had happened to Mohammad. His face had a deep cut and so had his left hand. I dialled the emergency number 999 and took him to the Kuwaiti hospital and from there took him to the Rashid hospital."

Ali's mother who is shaken by the incident said that she would like to see the culprits arrested soon.

She said: "The area where we live used to be very peaceful and safe. This is the first time that something like this has happened to us. There have been other incidents in the neighbourhood."

Police officials were unavailable for comment yesterday.


Stranded in the middle of the desert for 4 hours…

Dubai - Oct.26:A family were left stranded for more than four hours after no-one came to their aid when their car broke down in the middle of the desert. Hamid Kutty and his family were travelling between Abu Dhabi and Dubai when their vehicle stopped in the middle of nowhere.

But after realising his mobile phone had no reception, Kutty, his wife and two young children were forced to spend hours trying to flag down passing motorists for help. Meanwhile, his relatives in Dubai had become frantic with worry and called the police thinking they had been involved in an accident. Eventually, Kutty, a mechanic, managed to repair the vehicle and they reached their destination in Bur Dubai more than six hours later.

Speaking to 7DAYS, Kutty, 38, said he was horrified at the attitude of other motorists who just drove past despite his pleas for help. He said: “It was one of the most disappointing days of my life. Vehicles just zoomed past us at 100kph to 140kph and there I was with my hands stretched out desperately hoping that one of them would stop and help us out.

“At first I wanted to abandon the vehicle there and get to Dubai. I tried to call for help but my sim card got jammed and there I was with my wife and children totally abandoned from the rest of the world.” Kutty, who lives near Abu Dhabi, had been missing for so long, his brother had to check the mortuary at Rashid Hospital, fearing the worst.

The family had been travelling to Dubai to meet his brother to celebrate Eid together.  “I had promised to meet him by 7.30pm. I was so desperate I even asked my wife to get out of the car and try and ask for help,” he added. Kutty’s brother Mammi Kutty said: “I had heard on the radio about four different accidents on that day and called all hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

“It was the most torturous wait I had ever had. The road journey being so dangerous these days and with so many traffic accidents, I was really worried about their safety.”


Genie conmen jailed

Dubai - Oct. 26: Two men have been jailed for conning a policeman out of dhs8,200 in exchange for the ability to control a magical genie. Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced them to one month in prison each and fined one of them dhs5,000 for selling Viagra.

Dubai public prosecution charged a 55-year-old Sudanese man with taking money from the policeman last December, and a 60-year-old Iranian man for assisting him. The latter is also accused of illegally operating as a pharmacist in the Naif area. The police heard about the con scheme and sent an undercover policeman posing as a customer to trap them. The two denied the charges with the Iranian saying the pills were for personal use.


'Sometimes I do feel guilty about what I eat'
Dubai - Oct.26:
There are few things more enjoyable than a good meal, ideally with friends in a favourite restaurant.

But although eating can be fun, the prospect of tucking into a big plate of food can cause us as much guilt as pleasure.

Many eat more than they should, and it is not hard to find people who spend their lives moving from one diet to the next trying in vain to keep a lid on their over-developed eating habits.

One recent study, reported in Gulf News, gave an indication of why some of us enjoy our food so much.

In tests on rats, US researchers found that the appetite hormone ghrelin acts on pleasure receptors in the brain, triggering the same nerve cells as sexual experience and many recreational drugs.

A Gulf News online poll found that 46 per cent of people eat because of the love of food, while 44 per cent tuck in simply because of hunger. Seven per cent admitted to comfort eating, while two per cent said greed was to blame. Only one per cent ate as part of their social life.

Junk food

We took to the streets to find out more about the UAE's eating habits.

Alvin Sekoh, 28, a flight attendant from Kenya, said his main problem was not eating too much, but eating unhealthily.

"There is a lot of junk food around and if I go to a restaurant it's quite rare to find food that is low in calories, unless you are talking about salads."

Belgian real estate agent Samantha Boundi, 26, made a similar point, saying that in Dubai foods tended to be oily and unhealthy.

As a result, even people like her who stuck to three meals a day and avoided snacking between meals, sometimes still found it hard to eat well.

"I try to buy fresh fruit and for lunch I take a sandwich to work to make sure it is not bad for me," she said.

Eating too much is a major problem across the Middle East, according to 30-year-old ophthalmologist Ahmad Hosny.

"I come from Egypt and I have lived in the UAE for 25 years and the eating habits are similar in both countries, although maybe it's worse in Egypt.

"It's because there is a culture of generosity - if you come to my house, I will present to you enough food not just for you, but for your whole family.

"Our religion tells us we should only eat the smallest amount that we need to, but our habits are different," he said.

Going out for meals with friends can be a problem, according to Armin Esmail, 34, an American of Pakistani descent.

He said that when people are eating with others, meals tended to last longer and more food would be consumed. Buffets in particular were dangerous, he said.

"At buffets, you fill up your plate and take more than you would at home," he said.

Over-eating is not a problem for Abdul Hafeez, 34, a British marketing manager, who said he was careful not to over-indulge.


"I eat when I'm hungry, it's as simple as that, and I tend to stay away from fast food. I tend to cook rather than buy packed foods. You know junk food will fill a hole, but it won't do you any good," he said.

But not everyone finds it easy to be disciplined when it comes to food. Lebanese housewife May Mansour, 48, said "craving" drove her to eat too much at times - with chocolate a particular problem.

"I try to eat healthily as much as I can but sometimes I do feel guilty about what I eat. Chocolate is my favourite. After 8pm, when the day is over, I feel that I should just have a camomile tea but I crave chocolate," she said.


People without papers to 'become a thing of the past'

Abu Dhabi - Oct.26: The dossier of people without papers to prove their identity will soon become a thing of the past, Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Interior Minister, said yesterday.

"President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan's directives focused on finding a final resolution to the problem of these people, which will close this dossier once and for all," Shaikh Saif said in a statement.

Shaikh Saif's remarks followed the President's orders to bring about a swift resolution to the problem. The move was also approved by the Supreme Council.

Shaikh Saif said a committee headed by Brigadier Abdul Aziz Maktoum Al Sharifi, director of the Preventive Security Department at the Interior Ministry, was about to complete a list of the first batch of these people, settled in the country well before the UAE Federation was declared in 1971.

Brigadier Al Sharifi said the committee updated lists of these people who are eligible for citizenship by registering members of their families.

"The committee, which started working on the problem since April, handles it accurately and objectively with a view to bringing about a final and permanent resolution," he said.

On the criteria for granting citizenship, he said those eligible must have been settled in the UAE continuously ever since the founding of the UAE Federation on December 2, 1971.

"They must not conceal any information or documents which may indicate their previous citizenship and they must hold clean records," he said.

Brigadier Al Sharifi said any person who does not meet these conditions will not be regarded as belonging to the category of people without papers and will be treated as a violator of the Residency Law.




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