News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Red means GO home

Dubai - Nov. 7:Police have deported five truck drivers in one week for jumping red lights and warned motorists they face the same fate if they cause a serious accident. In the wake of an order by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, to improve road safety in the emirate, police have launched a major crackdown on reckless driving. Head of Dubai traffic police Brigadier Mohammad Al-Zafeen told 7DAYS truck drivers caused many serious road accidents - and this would no longer be tolerated.

He said even minor violations would be acted upon by the police, who have increased their patrols throughout Dubai. “We will be hard with the serious violators and we have already deported five truck drivers who committed serious violations by crossing a red signal” said Al-Zafeen. "We have also confiscated the licences of some drivers who committed less dangerous violations like failing to drive in the correct lane.” He added: “I am warning drivers that they will face hard penalties. If any motorist jumps a red light and causes serious damage then they will be deported also.”

According to police statistics, 20 per cent of traffic accidents are caused by heavy vehicles. Calling for more lorry parks to allow drivers to rest, Al-Zafeen said: “We are not taking a negative view of heavy vehicles, but we want to avoid the damage caused when these trucks are driven badly or illegally. These parks will give drivers a chance to rest because they cause danger to other motorists if they are exhausted.” Police have already issued 6,996 traffic fines this month for offences including speeding (4,059 offences), jumping red signals (352), driving on the hard shoulder (225) and reckless driving (206).


Roadstar campaign hits the road once more

Dubai - Nov. 7: Safe drivers yesterday walked away with numerous rewards for observing road regulations as part of the Caltex Roadstar campaign.

The five-day Caltex RoadStar campaign, the second this year, organised by the Emirates Motor Sports Federation (EMSF) in association with Dubai Police, hit the roads yesterday, as Major Hamad Al Alili from the traffic department rewarded safe drivers.

"Winning money is not as important as protecting lives. I follow traffic rules so I can protect myself from accidents that might get me killed, especially if I was not abiding by the traffic rules," said Balvinder Singh from India, who works as a driver for a company.

He said he would send his prize money to his family back home.

Sakhi Gul from Afghanistan has been driving a pickup truck in Dubai for the last 28 years, but was still surprised to win a prize.

A 19-year-old girl was also spotted by the roadstar team.

"I did not have any idea about the campaign and was surprised. For a while, I thought I had done something wrong," said Yara Sweiss from Jordan.

Another bus driver got so scared that he immediately called his company when he was asked to pull over by the police.

"I was scared and did not know about the campaign, but I am happy to be a safe driver," said Mohanan Gopalan from India.

Mohammad Amir Ali from India, who has been driving in Dubai for the last 10 years, said he was afraid that he had committed a traffic offence, but was glad to get a pleasant surprise.

"I will give my wife a pleasant surprise by buying her a gift with the money I won," he said.

Another roadstar winner, Roy Manchib from Australia, suggested having road signs in Arabic, English and Hindi.

The campaign aims at educating and encouraging drivers to abide by traffic rules and drive safely. To date 2,000 plus safe drivers have received on-the-spot cash rewards of Dh750 each in addition to other prizes. Winners also receive a certificate endorsed by Dubai Police.


Gang attacks boys

Dubai - Nov. 7:A group of teenagers were subjected to a vicious beating by a gang of youths as they celebrated Halloween at a private club in Dubai. The four 17-year-olds were attacked with broken bottles and punched repeatedly by around 15 to 20 youths at The Lakes development last week. Jebel Ali police are now investigating the incident at the members-only Lakes Club after the boys were left bleeding and battered.

The incident kicked off when the gang, aged between 15 and 25 and from outside the area, began pelting eggs at the youngsters as they made their way to the club. The gang allegedly became violent, pushing and punching the terrified group, before they were interrupted by a concerned passerby, who shouted to them to stop from her car. But the gang followed the boys to the Lakes Club, where they had been sheltering and are said to have run towards one of them with a glass bottle - to the horror of restaurant and bar-goers.

One of the boys, who asked not to be identified, said: “All four guys were hit with a bottle and one of us was bleeding from the back of the head, while one was beaten all over, with bruising from his face to his knees.” The fighting was broken up by security at the club and two of the victims had to be treated by a first aid team there - one received three stitches and treatment for a broken nose. One concerned Lakes resident added: “Something must be done about this situation. What has happened is appalling. I have been here at The Lakes for three years and have never seen anything like this before.” An official at Jebel Ali police station confirmed they were investigating the incident.


Toddler's death 'due to adverse drug reaction'

Dubai: Nov. 7: An adverse drug reaction is suspected to have caused the death of a two-year-old boy in Sharjah instead of a "mystery illness", said the Health Ministry official in charge of investigating the case.

The toddler, a Syrian, died two days after he was admitted to Al Qasimi Hospital on October 29 with high fever and bleeding from the nose. His father and 8-year old sister, who have been discharged, were also admitted to the hospital with high fever.

Dr Abdul Gaffar Al Hawi, who is in charge of investigating the case, told Gulf News that pathologists and experts from the ministry and Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) were "98 per cent" sure that the boy's death was due to an adverse drug reaction.

"We believe, 98 per cent, that his death was due to drug sensitivity" based on tests done on the baby's liver biopsy, he said.

"There is some necrosis and fatty tissue in the liver, which usually indicate drug interaction. The child [probably] died from the adverse drug event, not from the illness," he said, adding that the adverse drug reaction would account for the bleeding.

He said the baby's mother, who is an X-ray specialist at the hospital, most likely gave him medicine when he first took ill. When the child started bleeding, she took him to the hospital.

Doctors are warning the public on the dangers of self-medication, following the death of the boy.

Dr Mohammad Abu Al Khair, drug consultant with Abu Dhabi General Authority for Health Services, told Gulf News that people should always seek advice from doctors, who need to run tests before prescribing any medication to anybody, especially children.

"They should avoid acting like a doctor and making decisions on behalf of kids and sharing medicine between one child and another as infants' organs may not be developed enough to metabolise the medicine," he said.

"We had a 5-year-old boy today who took 19 tablets of asthma medication. He had to be admitted to hospital and is under observation."

Dr Al Hawi, who is also assistant undersecretary for curative medicine, told Gulf News that doctors have not determined which drug was responsible. The mother is too distraught to answer questions, he said. He said they still did not know what the viral infection was, which sickened the Syrian family, as results of the blood samples sent to German laboratories were delayed.

Nurses' fever may be due to worries

Dubai - Nov. 7: Two nurses who were taken ill while caring for the sick toddler and admitted for observation at Al Qasimi Hospital have been discharged, and their illness ruled "unrelated".

A 2-year-old boy, was hospitalised for high fever and bleeding from his nose last Sunday. He died on Tuesday of a suspected adverse drug reaction.

Dr Abdul Gaffar Al Hawi, assistant undersecretary of curative medicine at the Ministry of Health, told Gulf News that the two nurses developed low-grade fevers while taking care of the toddler and were admitted to the hospital, where they remained until Friday, as a precautionary measure.

He said the doctors later ruled the nurses' fever as unrelated to the Syrian family's illness.

Dr Juma Bilal Fairuz, federal director of preventive medicine, told Gulf News that the nurses' fever was most likely a "psychosomatic response" to the intense scrutiny surrounding the family and their "mystery illness".

"They heard all the fuss about the illness, got so worried that they started showing symptoms and thought they had it too," he said.




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