News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Flights to New Delhi hit by foggy weather

DUBAI — Jan. 04:Confusion seemed to prevail among passengers of New Delhi-bound flights from Dubai as airline services continued to be disrupted by the foggy weather conditions in the Indian capital since last week.

Despite efforts being taken by airline operators, flights were delayed and re-routed to Mumbai, said officials of various airlines.

An official of the Indian Airlines said, “Our aircraft are normally on schedule. However, some flights were delayed since last week. One of our aircraft was re-routed to Mumbai. If we have prior information that a flight would be delayed, we always inform passengers in advance.”

“I booked my ticket to New Delhi from Dubai. The flight was scheduled to leave at 5 pm yesterday. I had seen reports on television in the morning that flight operations had been disrupted in New Delhi. When I called the airline office, they told me that they could not tell us anything about whether there was any  delay as it depends on the weather conditions,” said Meena Agarwal, an Indian national, who will be attending her sister’s wedding in New Delhi.

An official from Air India said, “The airline has made all possible arrangements to help passengers. Most of our services went on schedule. But some of the aircraft were delayed due the adverse weather condition. The New Delhi-bound aircraft scheduled to leave Dubai yesterday was delayed indefinitely.”


Dubai residents hail building inspections

DUBAI — Jan 04:Though the new rent cap of 7 per cent provided the much-needed relief to tenants, some still nurtured a feeling of insecurity.

But with the Rent Committee talking of the cap getting even lower, based on the condition of the buildings, Dubai residents are breathing easy.

There is a feeling that the move would tighten the noose around those landlords who tend to exploit tenants at every possible chance.

Says Mohammad Ghalib, a business development executive at ABN AMRO Bank: “The move to inspect buildings is fantastic.”.

Agrees Aman Kumar, a colleague of Ghalib. “We have seen landlords threatening and evicting tenants. They come with the alibi of some sudden renovation, asking the tenants to vacate. Or else they claim their families are moving in. The problem is, most people have very little knowledge about how the Rent Committee functions. So they hesitate to lodge a complaint. It’s time they took up the gauntlet against this exploitation. The Committee is always there to help,” Kumar points out.

Kumar Avinash, a Mashreqbank employee, sees the inspection of buildings as a boon for tenants. “There are buildings that are very old but the landlords still ask for very high rents. The inspections will put paid to all this,” he asserts.

Shweta Manjeraker, who works at Deira City Centre, revealed how her landlord had been troubling her for six months. “He wanted us to vacate flat. He lied he was going to shift his family to the flat. I did not approach the Committee then as I didn’t know how it worked. But this inspection part is simply stupendous,” she adds.

Landlords, on the other hand, prefer to maintain stoic silence on the issue. Fadiq Mohammad, who has rented many flats in Deira and Bur Dubai says it’s not right to blame only the landlords. “If there are bad landlords, there are bad tenants too. We respect the decision and we’ll abide by it. We cannot go against the Committee. But then they should also understand that tenants too are at fault many a time,” he adds.


Dubai rent ceiling likely to be ‘lower than 7 per cent’

DUBAI — Jan. 04:The Rent Committee of the Dubai Municipal Council has clarified that the new rent cap of seven per cent may actually be even lower, “depending on the condition of the building.”

Saeed Mohammed Al Ghuindi, the Rent Committee Chairman, told Khaleej Times yesterday that they would soon start the inspection of buildings in Dubai, their physical condition and maintenance status, in a bid to assess the permissible rent increase.

Ghuindi added, “Landlords who try and act smart would be taken to task.” He also urged tenants to approach the Committee and file a formal complain in case they face any arbitrary harassment by their landlords.

However, he agreed, “We cannot check on the (permissible) rent cap unless we check the market. What we are saying is that the rent increase cannot go beyond the seven per cent cap. Of course, it can always be lower. In fact, it may even be one per cent or zero per cent in some cases. The Committee is going to check the condition of buildings in Dubai in this connection.

According to sources, the new or unoccupied buildings will soon prove to be a boon for landlords under such a scenario. It is expected, they added, the landlords are likely to jack up their rents. And especially, if a building is located in a prime area, the rents might soar.

Ghuindi also cautioned landlords who may try to evic their tenants on various flimsy grounds. For instance, he said: “If a landlord comes to us seeking an eviction, we would like to know the precise reason. If the landlord says he merely wants a new tenant, his plea would be immediately rejected. But if the landlord claims he requires the building or the premises for his own personal use and occupancy, we would insist he provides proof.

The official added, “if a tenant finds that the landlord has evicted him on the ground that he himself wants to reside in the given premises and then later brings in a new tenant, he should report the matter to the rent committee. We will take stringent action against landlords in such cases.”

Asked about the nature of “stringent action”, he said, “The landlord may be asked to take back the earlier tenant in residence, or else told to pay adequate compensation. There are several other similar penal measures.”

“However, if the landlord’s claim of requiring the premises for personal use is genuine, sufficient time would be given to the tenant to evacuate. In some cases, we might grant a tenant a full year to look for an alternative accomodation,” he added.

Meanwhile, real estate agents in Dubai have, so far, chosen to keep mum on the rent cap issue. “We have nothing much to say. The new cap on rent hikes is in place and we will abide by the new regulations,” said Faraz Husssain, a real estate agent.

5-10pc rent hike

DUBAI — There has been a noticeable increase of at least a five to 10 per cent hike in rents from year to year. The rent of a one bedroom flat went up by Dh60,000 to Dh65,000 last year. The comparative figure for 2005 varied between Dh50,000 and Dh55,000. Similarly, the cost of two bedroom flat also went up in the same proportion. The same degree of rent hikes were witnessed in cases of villas. And prime locations, especially in Deira and Bur Dubai saw a much sharper increase in rents.


MoH okays insulin inhaler for diabetics

ABU DHABI — Jan 04: Diabetes patients in the UAE can soon look forward to inhaling insulin, instead of taking injections.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has approved the registration of an insulin inhalation dry powder, widely seen as a revolution in diabetes medication.

“Exubera, the first inhaled form of insulin, has won the approval of the Higher Drugs Registration Committee at MoH,” disclosed Dr Issa bin Jakka Al Mansouri, Director of the Drug Control Department at MoH.

The initiative is being considered a major step as 19.5 per cent of the UAE’s population in the 20-70 age group is diabetic. This prevalence rate, according to recent reports, is expected to shoot up to around 22 per cent by 2025.

According to Dr Mansouri, the inhaler was likely to hit the local market in six months. “Marketing and promotion of the product is the company’s responsibility,” he pointed out.

“However, the ministry’s approval to register the medicine is conditional because the company manufacturing it is yet to provide further documentations to us,” Dr Mansouri noted.

Manufactured by Pfizer, the inhalation powder has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among adults.

Patients should not take Exubera if they smoke or have stopped smoking less than six months prior to starting Exubera treatment.

If a patient starts smoking or resumes smoking, he or she must stop using Exubera and see a doctor. Exubera may affect the lung function, so patients need to have their lungs tested before starting Exubera, and periodically thereafter, as directed by the doctor.

Exubera is not recommended for people who have chronic lung disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema. Also, Exubera should not be used at all by people with unstable or poorly controlled lung disease.

Side effects
As with all forms of insulin, a possible side effect of Exubera is low blood sugar levels.

Some patients have reported a mild cough while taking Exubera. Coughing occurred less frequently as patients continued to use Exubera.


Abu Dhabi - complaint against Airline staff's Behaviour

Abu Dhabi - Jan 04: Residents living next to an apartment block occupied by Etihad Airways are said to be “appalled” at the behaviour of some of the airline’s staff. The Abu Dhabi-based tenants say they’re unhappy with some of the Etihad air hostesses, living in the adjacent block, who they claim walk around in “half-dressed attire” at all hours.

One resident said: “I don’t really care about their social life, when we see them getting picked up by flashy cars, but when these cars cause inconvenience to the residents… it is of significant concern.” They added: “I have no issues with Etihad Airlines but if they could teach their staff how to behave when they are not flying it would be greatly appreciated.” Etihad refused to comment.



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