News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Hari 'just stood still holding the knife ... with no remorse'

Dubai - Oct. 30: Shocked staff of Triveni Restaurant in Deira said the sight of a bleeding Manohar crying for help will remain in their minds for a long time.

Manohar, a salesman working at a flower shop in Dubai, was stabbed after having a conversation with his brother-in-law Hari, an Umm Al Quwain taxi driver, staff at the restaurant said.

According to the staff, the stabbing took place at lunch time. “People were having their food. The moment the stabbing took place the customers at the adjoining tables ran out,” one of the restaurant workers told Gulf News.

“Ashokan, the restaurant manager, had just come back from vacation in India. Prior to going on vacation he had entrusted Hari, a relative, to supervise the day-to-day affairs of the restaurant. Manohar used to come to the restaurant to have lunch,” said the worker.

The restaurant staff had a tough time trying to keeping curious onlookers away from the restaurant.

“Hari just stood there, still holding the knife in his hand, after stabbing Manohar. He did not utter a single word. Neither did he have any visible expression of remorse on his face,” said another restaurant worker.

Earlier Story

Man stabbed to death in restaurant

Dubai - Oct. 28: An Indian man was stabbed to death in a restaurant in Deira yesterday afternoon, the restaurant manager said. The murder took place at the Triveni Restaurant near the Fish Roundabout at 2.45pm, police said yesterday.

The victim, 36-year-old Manohar, was having lunch and talking to his sister's husband, Hari.

Suddenly the conversation turned into a heated argument, Ashokan, the restaurant manager, told Gulf News.

"Manohar had come to the restaurant to have his lunch. Hari was sitting near the cash counter. They struck up a conversation on family matters, and all of a sudden Hari grabbed a kitchen knife that was on the counter. Manohar was stabbed in the neck and midriff," said Ashokan, who is also related to the two.

The three relatives hail from Varkala town in Thiruvananthapuram district in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Hari, who works as a taxi driver, has been taken into police custody, according to an officer at the Naif Police Station.
Ashokan said he was standing outside when the commotion began.

He rushed into the restaurant but he was too late to save Manohar. "He was lying in a pool of blood near the kitchen. He was pleading for help. It was a horrible sight and I fainted," he said.

Manohar's body was taken to Rashid hospital. "I do not know who called the police. It must be one of the staff," Ashokan said.



Brothers 'molested teenage girls and raped 23-year-old'

Dubai - Oct. 30: Two brothers are being tried for molesting two teenage sisters and raping their friend while threatening them with a knife in a deserted area.

The Jordanian brothers, 24-year-old M.S. and 20-year-old A.S., were charged with molesting the two Moroccan sisters, 14-year-old N.O. and 17-year-old I.O., and raping their 23-year-old friend, identified as H.F, who was visiting them.

The brothers were charged with threatening to kill their victims with a knife before sexually attacking them. Yesterday, the suspects pleaded innocent to the rape charge and told the Dubai Court of First Instance that "it happened with the girl's consent".

A police officer said they arrested the younger brother at a car rental shop after tracking him down from the car licence number. A.S. aided the police in arresting his elder brother. After the alleged assault, the 24-year-old drove the girls to their house in Sharjah after which they informed Dubai police operations room.

Deserted area

In her statement to the police, the 23-year-old said they had gone to exchange a ticket at Dubai International Airport when M.S. pulled up beside them and offered to drive them to their destination. He then drove them to an unknown direction and held a knife to their faces when they asked him to drop them off.

Police heard that at a certain point the 24-year-old suspect forced them to move to another car which he drove towards a deserted area.

"The car windows and doors were locked and we could not run away because we were being threatened with a knife," said H.F.

She said they stopped in a dark place and pulled out the 14-year-old from the car. Police investigations revealed that the two sisters were sexually harassed and molested and the 23-year-old was raped.

In their statements to the public prosecution, the three claimants said the suspects threatened to call 20 men to rape them if they failed to fulfil their desires. The Dubai Court of First Instance will hear more witnesses.


Residents worry natural resources will run out soon

Dubai - Oct. 30: : Residents have said they are worried about depleting global natural resources.

The issue came into focus again last week after a report by international conservationist group WWF said man would need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends.

Gulf News talked to residents about depleting global natural resources, and found while some did their best to be environmentally-friendly some thought it was best to leave such issues of global concern to governments and world leaders.

"I'm aware of it, and am worried that one day everything will be gone, but I don't worry about it. But I try to help the environment by driving my car as little as I can," said Mohammad Fadavi, 32, a businessman from Iran.

"I think about it and am very worried. Back home I try to do my bit by maintaining the garden and recycling paper. I don't think my son will be able to enjoy natural wildlife as I did because of all the construction work around us," said Dhanlaxmi Radhakrishnan, 30, an Indian exhibition curator.


Mohammad Zahid, 25, a financial market consultant, said the matter rarely crossed his mind, but probably would when he got married and had children.

"It is a very big problem, but it should be the responsibility of governments. We are so busy with our lives and daily events that we do not have time for such important matters," said Abdul Hamid, 36, an Egyptian salesman.

"We are digging up minerals and oil every day, and so maybe one day in the future we will wake up and find that everything has disappeared. I try to help by reusing plastic bags in the supermarket. It is important that we all help," said Adonis Galang, 28, a Filipino accountant.

"As laymen we are helpless, and we cannot do anything about the depletion of natural resources. But as a citizen, I help by purchasing environmentally-friendly products, as well as recycling newspapers," said Pubudn Seneviratne, a 40-year-old Sri Lankan quantity surveyor.

"I teach my daughter not to litter the beaches, and the schools are also doing their part in educating students on the importance of recycling," said Seneviratne.

Esmail Abu Baker, 25, an Indian salesman said one day natural resources will run out. "I know this day will come, but it is to be expected since we are entering a new era where machinery is ever-present."

Canadian-Jordanian Osama Al Alami, 55, a maintenance director said: "Man has already invented new ways of inhabiting this place, and we should not ignore the effects of modern technology. I am sure we will learn how to upgrade our resources."


Motorist jailed for hit-and-run accident

Dubai - Oct. 30:  A Canadian motorist was jailed for two months after he was found guilty of killing a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident.

The victim was thrown more than 30 metres due to the impact of the crash, killing him instantly.

The Dubai Traffic Court of First Instance sentenced the 60-year-old Canadian, identified as N.A., to two months in jail and fined him Dh11,000 for mowing down the 21-year-old victim, identified as M.T.

The court also ordered N.A. to pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the victim's family.

The Traffic Public Prosecution charged the accused with reckless driving, accidentally killing the victim and driving off after the accident.

A medical team which arrived at the scene could not save the life of the victim. The victim landed on his head and died of the fatal injuries and internal bleeding.


Traffic police report said the accused was driving his vehicle "recklessly and inattentively" when he ran over the victim.

The victim was crossing the highway from the first lane to the second one when he was hit.

Witnesses said the accused failed to stop at the accident scene.

The policemen who examined the accident site confirmed that the accused was at fault, "because he negligently drove his car and hit the victim".

N.A. confessed to accidentally killing the victim but told the court that he did not intend to kill him "as he was taken by surprise when the man crossed the road in a dangerous manner".

The court revoked the Canadian's driving licence for one year.


Rashid colony residents vow to defy authorities

Dubai- Oct 30: The writing is on the wall: "We won't leave."

This message is sprayed in bold on the boundaries of one of the three blocks at the Rashid colony in Al Quasis. About 500 tenants were served with an eviction notice by the Dubai Development Board on October 10.

According to the notice, the last day for residents to vacate their flats is tomorrow. The flats are scheduled to be demolished in November.

The first eviction notice was served by the Board on May 1 this year. The tenants said they submitted a letter to the board asking for an extension to be granted until the end of this academic year. According to them they are yet to hear from board officials.

Their annual rent ranges from Dh9,000 to Dh15,000. With only a handful of residents planning to move out, the rest are determined not to vacate unless they are forced to do so. Residents who have opted to move are those families in which both the husband and wife are employed.

"For the past couple of months we have been under a lot of stress because of the eviction notice that we received. After a hectic search we came across a single bedroom flat for Dh22,000 on the Sharjah-Ajman border," said one resident.

Another couple said the company which employs them came to their rescue.

"We had been trying to get company accommodation for the past eight months. I took the eviction notice to the company and told them that I was in urgent need of a reasonable place to stay. I am now moving into a single bedroom flat near the Ramada Hotel in Bur Dubai," said a resident who works for an airline.

The eviction notice states tenants should hand over their final electricity and water bill to finalise the financial settlement.

Gulf News tried to contact the board yesterday but no officials were available for comment.

Atif Hamada, an Egyptian, said that if he is forced to vacate he will sleep on the streets with his children.

"I have lived here for the last seven years. I earn Dh4,000 per month. I spend Dh20,000 on my children's education. I live here because it is affordable. Where will I go?

"I will not waste my time searching for a house. I am sure I won't be able to afford the rents. We will sleep outside on the streets - where else?"



Dubai - Oct.30: Dubai’s top traffic cop said road designers share the blame for the deaths of 388 pedestrians in the emirate over the past six years. Brigadier Mohammad Al Zafeen, the head of Dubai traffic police said, “Those officials responsible for building roads also share in the responsibility if they did not provide safe crossings for pedestrians instead of letting them cross in chaotic fashion.”

Al Zafeen said the large number of fatalities among pedestrians was a great worry as he commented on Dubai’s pedestrian deaths between 2000 and 2005.  Another 2,606 people were also injured while crossing roads, with 217 of them severely hurt.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) refused to comment yesterday when asked about the apparent criticism to the authority, which is responsible for designing and building roads. The RTA’s own figures show one pedestrian was killed every four days on Dubai’s roads in 2005 and the number is increasing.

Last month, the RTA announced plans to build 17 pedestrian bridges along with seven new pedestrian crossings over the next eight months to reduce fatalities by 40 per cent.   The RTA would not comment about location of the proposed bridges or the expected dates of completion. The lack of footbridges and crossings on fast roads such as Emirates and Sheikh Zayed Road has long been blamed for the deaths - especially among labourers.

Al Zafeen said drivers and pedestrians share in the blame for the high number of deaths. “It is everyone’s responsibility, especially the motorists. If the victim is a child then it’s the parent’s responsibility because they let them cross from an unsafe area,” he said.

In 2,425 accidents, 36 drivers and 17 passengers were injured when their vehicles hit people crossing the roads.   The year 2005 witnessed 505 accidents which killed 98 people while the year 2000 saw 322 accidents cause the deaths of 45 people.


Expat medical staff unhappy over denial of GAHS benefits

ABU DHABI — Oct. 29:Several expatriate medical staff members in the capital’s public hospitals have alleged that they are being denied benefits by the management.

Expat doctors, nurses and pharmacists who work in hospitals run by the General Authority for Health Services (GAHS) say the management deprives them of benefits offered under GAHS rules. They add that they have been facing “discrimination” ever since the GAHS took over the management of the hospitals a couple of years ago. Providing new recruits with better pay packages also adds to the problem, they feel.

Most of them were recruited by the Ministry of Health (MoH) under federal contracts.

“The GAHS still implements the MoH contract which offers fewer benefits. Its promise of giving us a new contract is yet to be fulfilled. Newcomers enjoy more benefits including higher salaries. Our attempts to convey our problems to higher authorities have been met with stony silence,” says an employee of a public hospital.

A nurse who has been working for the past 15 years with a public hospital says, “When the GAHS took over, we were promised that our contract would be amended in accordance with the GAHS rules. However, we are still paid the same salary. We get a total of Dh 4,000 with all other allowances while if we are shifted to the GAHS system, we will receive about Dh 7,000 in addition to other allowances.”

“What is more frustrating is that new recruits with less experience are offered better contracts by GAHS,” adds the nurse.

A pharmacist says ever since the GAHS took over, no changes have been introduced in employment contracts. “Many pharmacists are employed in positions that don’t tally with their qualifications.”

Official sources at GAHS say the authorities are looking into the problem and a committee has to be formed to follow up on their cases. However, they have no clue as to when and how contracts will be amended.



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