NEWS FROM THE UAE
RTA plan to ease traffic
DUBAI — March 30: Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has said that the average number of trips (public and private vehicles) per day in Dubai is five million and is expected to rise to 20 million trips by 2020.
Delivering a key speech at the inauguration of the 'Metro Rail 2007 Conference' in Rome yesterday, he said that the number could increase by 1.5 million trips during morning hours alone which are an additional challenge to the RTA.
He said, "We have to address the growing demands of individual trips in the absence of efficient transport alternatives. Various international studies point out that 61 per cent of traffic jams can be attributed to inefficient transportation while 16 per cent are due to road accidents."
Al Tayer admitted that the huge growth of the vehicular population in Dubai has caused traffic congestions. The RTA, he said, has effectively countered some of these problems. But with Dubai's populace now expected to rise to five million people by 2020, there will be a greater demand for more effective public transportation alternatives.
The RTA, he emphasised, has a comprehensive strategic plan to deal with such challenges: The plan includes modernisation of the collective transport in terms of adding metro and tram lines, better marine transport facilities and many new buses. The Dubai Metro alone, with a track network of 318 km by 2020 would carry 200,000 commuters per hour, while the trams will carry one million commuters everyday. The total cost of these various public transportation networks is estimated to be Dh30 billion.
Metro and rail systems specialists representing different government sectors, manufacturing and operation companies, as well as contractors and consultants, also addressed the conference.
Dietary supplements withdrawn in capital
ABU DHABI — March 30: Health authorities have withdrawn a number of herbal products used as dietary supplements from the market for containing a harmful substance.
Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Dr Mohammed Abu El Khair, Head of Drug Department at the General Health Authority, said seven herbal products were confiscated from a nutritional shop selling herbal and natural products.
"These products contain Yohimbi or Yohimbine substance that pose serious health risks for people with underlying risk factors such as hypertension, heart or kidney disorders," said Dr Abu El Khair. He said that the items were taken off the shelves on February 4 following an inspection raid carried out by pharmacy inspectors from the Authority.
The official said the recalled products include 78 bottles of seven different items, namely Yohimbi 451 (16 bottles, batch no. 2651 FE2402 and 1257 CCE2402, Yohimbi Standardised (six bottles, batch no. 2590FE4461), Horny Goat Weed (11 bottles, batch no.22012201), Maca Man Dietary supplement (six bottles batch no. 2262EF2360), V male With Herbs, (five bottles, batch no.65165-01C, Altraman ( 24 bottles, batch no.11563801) and Cobra tablets (10 bottles, batch no.082308).
He advised consumers who have health or medical concerns to contact their physician or the Poison and Drug Information Centre in the capital on 800242 for details about herbal medicine and dietary supplements they intend to use.
Light rain in all emirates
DUBAI/ABU DHABI — March 30: Light and moderate rain showers in all the emirates resulted in a sudden drop in temperature.
Some parts of Jebel Ali received rainfall accompanied by hail, the Meteorological Office at the Dubai International Airport said, adding that the hazy conditions would remain until this evening.
The Met office in the emirate also warned those involved in marine activities against going to the sea as high tide conditions are expected because of a possible Shamal.
The maximum temperature recorded in Dubai was 30 degree Celsius while the minimum temperature hovered around 27 degree Celsius. The temperature, said the Met office, will further drop today to 22 degree Celsius. Light rain during the day and thunderstorms at night are also predicted for Dubai.
However, officials said, the conditions are likely to improve by tomorrow morning. In Abu Dhabi, the Meteorological Authority affiliated to the National Authority of Communication also issued a warning to sea-goers. The temperature in the emirate, officials said, dropped by 8 to 10 degree Celsius yesterday with north-westerly wind blowing at more than 30 knots. A weather forecaster said, “Light showers are likely in the emirate during the day with temperature dropping to 16 degree Celsius at night.” Meteorological offices in the UAE predict breezy weather conditions for the next three days with a possibility of thunderstorms.
Sponsor ordered to pay damages
ABU DHABI — March 30: Upholding the verdicts of the lower courts, the Federal Supreme Court has ordered a sponsor to pay Dh500,000 to a foreign investor as compensation for the losses the latter had incurred as a result of shutting down his project without a valid reason.
The court ruled that the sponsor is not entitled to close any project without the consent of the investor.
The investor, in turn, filed a counter lawsuit, demanding that the sponsor pay him Dh1.6 million as compensation. The Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance directed the sponsor to pay the investor Dh500,000 as compensation.
Dubai - Drug mum gets life
Dubai - March 30: A man and his female co-defendant were each sentenced to life in prison for possession, use and peddling of the highly addictive drug crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as shabu. The Dubai Court of First Instance yesterday also ordered the pair to be deported after serving their sentence.
The 33-year-old Filipino, identified as RG, had earlier admitted to the court in September last year that he was using shabu and possessed a little over one gramme of it for his personal use in the UAE. He, however, denied selling the drug.
Last year, Dubai Public Prosecution charged him with possession, use and being in the business of selling the drug in Dubai.
His co-defendant MP, 25, denied peddling the drug and claimed that she was unaware that she was carrying the banned substance inside a piece of bread which she had been asked to deliver to RG by a friend.
The Filipina mother of four children has been detained in the Dubai Central Jail in Al Aweer since here arrest towards the end of last year. Two of her children, a boy aged 20 months and a five-month old baby girl are being kept with her inside a special baby room inside the jail. She told 7DAYS that the verdict came as a huge shock and she does not have any immediate plans to send her two children to the Philippines while she serves out her sentence. Her defence lawyer said that her legal team will appeal against the verdict within 15 days.
“We have yet to receive a copy of the judgment to further comment on the verdict that was handed by the court today,” he said.
The advocate had vehemently denied that his client was guilty of possessing and peddling the banned substance. In his defence, he argued that allegations against her were untrue and that she did not know that the drug had been concealed in the bread.
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant with a high potential for misuse and dependence.
The synthetic drug is closely related chemically to amphetamine but produces greater effects on the central nervous system.
The drug is prevalent in the United States, Australia and South East Asia.