NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Man’s search for father ends in Dubai morgue
DUBAI — March 28: He had been looking for his father for the last 10 years. And he found him just a day before his father was to be buried.
Saeed Ibrahim’s desperate search ended up in Dubai Police morgue yesterday, where he identified the mortal remains of his father, a day before police officials were to bury it. The body of 53-year-old Muhammed Zachariah had been lying in Dubai police morgue for the past six months, unclaimed. He had breathed his last in Rashid Hospital.
Earlier, the police officials had found Zachariah in a critical condition at Dubai Creek. However, they had not been able to trace his family.
According to Saeed, who has been working in Dubai for the last one year, his friends had informed him about an appeal made by the Valley of Love, a social organisation, asking help to identify an unclaimed body.
“We had lost contact with him 10 years ago. We had been searching for his whereabouts since then,” he said.
He added: “I contacted the social organisation yesterday and went with them to the morgue. I was distraught to see my father’s body lying in the morgue.” He has already informed about the tragedy to his family in India.
C.P. Mathew, a volunteer of Valley of Love said, “when the police found him on Dubai creek he was not carrying any documents. We managed to locate his identity with the help of Emigration officials but could not trace his family.”
“The police informed us that they had finally decided to bury the body on March 1. It was then that we decided to give it a last try, by appealing through a radio station,” Mathew pointed out.
The man’s body will be buried in Sonapoor graveyard today.
Worker’s gathering disrupts traffic
DUBAI — March 01: Nearly 300 Asian workers of a Dubai-based contracting company gathered on Shaikh Zayed Road yesterday morning, demanding an increase in their salaries.
This triggered a major traffic snarl on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Road opposite Dubai Marina.
The agitated workers walked to the Shaikh Zayed Road from their nearby workplace at around 8.30am.
However, the intervention of members of Permanent Committee for Labourers Affairs (PCLA), Dubai Police and inspectors from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) helped clear the traffic chaos.
The workers were taken to their labour camps in Jebel Ali by 10am.
The workers claimed they were drawing a salary of Dh500 per month which was not enough to meet their expenses. They said even this salary was often delayed. They also alleged that the labour camp they were living in was cramped.
“We cannot survive with this paltry salary. We decided to protest as we were left with no other option,” said a worker.
Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, the Head of PCLA, said, “We sent our team to asses the problem as soon as we received information about the strike. The team met the manager of the company and he assured that all the dues of the labourers were paid and their rights were being well protected, including accommodation, salary and working shifts.”
Brig. Al Marri added: “Whoever has a claim of whatever kind should present it in due course through the legal channels. We, at the PCLA, have our own inspection teams to keep close tabs on such matters in order to prevent any violation, whether by employers or workers.”
Abdullah bin Suloom, Head of the Inspection Department at the MoL, said the company was paying the labourers’ salaries on time and was respecting their rights and entitlements as per the contract.
“Most of the labourers have been working for the company for only a few months and yet, they are asking for salary raise. They don’t have any reason to strike and disrupt the work of the company in an unjustifiable way.”
Meanwhile, officials of the Indian Consulate in Dubai said they had noted the incident and had contacted the authorities concerned to sort out the matter. A team from the Consulate visited the labourers.
English version of labour law draft posted online
DUBAI — March 01: The English version of the proposed labour law has been finally posted online. This comes a few weeks after the Arabic version was posted online on February 6.
The site — www.uaelabourlaw.net — will give people a clear idea about the articles of the law, plus an opportunity to post their suggestions and a chance to contact the Ministry of Labour.
The articles cover everything pertaining to labour conditions from employment of workers, children and women, employment contracts, wages, working hours and leaves, worker’s safety, protection and health, compensation for occupational injuries, labour inspection to disputes and penalties.
The English and Arabic versions are identical and they feature a foreward by Minister of Labour Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Kaabi.
The UAE labour law, which was last amended in 1980, is being modified again after a period of 27 years. It is set to be finalised by this December.
The web site will be active till April 6, following which the ministry will analyse the feedback and review the law on the basis of public opinion.
The interactive portal has been developed by the new telecommunications operator in the UAE, du, in partnership with the MoL.
Drivers under medication more prone to mishaps, say experts
ABU DHABI — March 01:Drivers who are under medication are more prone to road casualties, a drug expert has warned.
Dr Mohammed Abu Elkhair, Head of Drug and Medical Product Department at the General Authority for Health Services for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS), has said that drivers under medication should first assess their ability to drive properly. “The effect of medicines varies from person to person. Any changes in a person’s ability to perform routine daily tasks is considered impairment and should be tackled seriously,” he said.
Dr Elkhair said symptoms like drowsiness or slowed reaction indicate impairment of persons under medication. It may be difficult to recognise these symptoms, he added. “Drivers under medication should always consult the pharmacist, and read all directions and warning labels on the medicines carefully,” he advised.
He said motorists should take medicines that do not impair their ability to drive. They should also avoid taking more than one medicine at one time, he said. Dr Elkhair further advised: “Drivers should never take more than the recommended dose of medication. They should also avoid mixing alcohol with the medicines. More importantly, they should always be alert about the symptoms of drug impairment before taking to the wheels.”
As for the common medicines that cause impairment, the expert informed that ‘hypnotics’ and ‘anxiolytics’ cause sedation and affect coordination of movement of the drivers.
Traffic diversion on Shaikh Zayed Road
DUBAI — March 01: The Roads and Transport Authority has set up a new traffic diversion and alternative road at Shaikh Zayed Road as improvement works will start at intersection No 1 (Al Difa’a) within a month and will last for 14 months.
Engineer Maitha Mohammed Bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency, said new alternative roads and U-turns will be made during the project.
Nabil Mohammed Saleh, Director of Roads Department, said that the new U-bypass at the first intersection on Shaikh Zayed Road has been built to ease traffic movement. “Other changes include increasing the number of traffic signals and reduction of waiting by half at each signal,” he added. The U-turn bypass has been divided into three stages.
DUBAI — March 01: Following the successful promotion of Marhaba Services in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Dnata’s innovative airport passenger services unit at the Dubai International Airport is gearing up to boost its presence in the Indian sub-continent with plans to market all Marhaba services in India.
Dnata has teamed up with Kuoni Travel Group, India, one of the leading travel conglomerates in India, to sell Marhaba’s wide range of passenger-assistance services in the country.
The agreemen paves the way for travellers from India to book Marhaba services.
Schoolboy stabbed in classroom
DUBAI — March 01: A 12-year-old schoolboy was allegedly stabbed on his hand by his classmate, causing him minor injuries.
The injured boy, S.H., is a student of grade VI in a government school in Dubai. He received first-aid in the school.
According to the school sources, an Arabic subject instructor found the boy bleeding in his classroom. When asked, the victim told the teacher that he was assaulted with a knife by the accused, H.A.A. However, the accused denied having committed the crime. He even accused the school workers of keeping the knife in the classroom to frame him.
Earlier, the Arabic teacher had noticed the two students quarrelling in a previous class. The teacher had to intervene to prevent the fight. The accused schoolboy has been suspended till the school sends a detailed report on the incident to the Dubai Education Zone (DEZ).
Commenting on the incident, Khalaf Al Kaiytob, Deputy Director of the Department of Social and Psychological Welfare Programmes with the Ministry of Education, said that aside from the school, it was the responsibility of the parents to keep tabs on their wards so that they do not make mistakes.
Dubai Roads Jam-Packed
DUBAI - March 01: Dubai has seen a staggering increase in the number of vehicles on its roads with a 30 per cent hike in just a year. A total of 212,867 cars, buses, trucks and heavy mechanical vehicles were newly registered in 2006 to swell the traffic on the city’s already heavily congested roads. The figures, released by the Statistics Centre of Dubai, were described as “unfortunate and worrying” by Dubai traffic officials.
A senior official at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) told 7DAYS: “This large increase is worrying for the future.” When asked if there are plans to restrict the massive rise in vehicle registrations, the official said: “A cap on buying cars would be dictatorial and not favourable to us. The RTA is inclined to keep improving public transport so that people reduce car usage and travel more freely.”
He added that Dubai plans to emulate other developed cities around the world where people have the freedom to buy a car but reduce their time using it and travel on public transport instead. Dubai Traffic Police said they notice the growth in traffic more than anyone and hope things change.
“These high registration figures means putting more cars on the same roads which are already full,” a senior police official said. “I hope the RTA takes this increase into account when they continue their road expansion plans. Extra cars mean extra effort from us, but we will keep doing our job to the best of our abilities,” he added.
The total number of public transport buses operating in Dubai as of December 31 last year was 419, and they carried 87.8 million passengers over the year - an increase of four per cent on 2005. The Dubai Metro is currently under construction and due to be operational by 2009.
Indian in the dock for hawking pirated and pornographic CDs
Dubai - March 01: A 28-year-old Indian man was found guilty by the Dubai Court of First Instance for selling pirated CDs, including those with pornographic content. The accused, however, admitted to only selling pirated CDs. The Dubai Police had arrested him with15 pornographic CDs besides the pirated ones.
According to the Pubic Prosecution, the man has been residing in Dubai illegally as his visa has expired. The judge asked the the accused if he wished to request clemeny. The accused replied that he had no money to hire a lawyer and wanted the judgment delivered at the earliest. Adjourning the final ruling for the first week of March, the judge ordered the Dubai Police to confirm the charges against the accused.
Indians on trial on charges of forcing girl into prostitution
Four Indians have been remanded to judicial custody by the Public Prosecution on charges of taking an Indian girl captive and forcing her into the flesh trade. The 22-year-old victim was present in court. The Public Prosecution has sought more time from the court to complete its investigation. The victim refused to speak in court although she was provided with a translator. The four accused, however, told the court that the girl understood only Bengali. The judge adjourned the case till a Bengali translator could be arranged for.
Four get prison term for forgery and illegally entering the UAE
Four men were found guilty by the Dubai Appeal Court for forgery and entering the country illegally from Oman last month. The Cassation Court judge sentenced them to two months in prison followed by deportation. Two of the accused are Afghans, one is a Pakistani while one is a Yemeni. They were arrested by the Dubai police. Investigations revealed that the accused had been deported from the UAE in the past for forging documents and working in the country illegally.