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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Dubai - Housemaid loses car raffle case

Dubai - April 05: An Indian couple accused by their housemaid of cheating her out of a car they won in a raffle have won the case against her. The couple were charged with breach of trust for taking a Lexus car, which was worth dhs397,000, after a raffle ticket with their Indian housemaid’s name came out the winner in a draw during the 2004 Dubai Shopping Festival.

The 58-year-old investor, identified as JS, and his wife said they had previously had terrible luck so they decided to buy a dhs200 ticket and put their housemaid’s name on it. The couple gave her dhs81,000 from the money as her share of the prize and she left the country. However, the maid returned to Dubai last year and complained she had been cheated out of her prize, but the court ruled against her.


New rules for private hospitals in Dubai

DUBAI — April 05: Private hospitals in Dubai cannot operate from commercial buildings as per the new rules laid down by the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms), a top official has said.

Announcing the new rules for private hospitals and clinics in Dubai, Dohm’s Licensure Surveyor Dr Osama Kayali yesterday said out of 18 private hospitals in Dubai, six are still based in commercial buildings.

He added that a five-year deadline had been given to these hospitals to build their own premises.

“The new rules set by the Dohms will come into effect on April 8,” he said.

“We had informed all private hospitals about the new rules which they should follow.”

Since 1996, a federal law, he said, had been restricting expatriates to own or to be a partner in a private hospital. However, when the new rules come into effect, expatriates can be partners in private hospital ownership.

According to the new rules, he said, all private hospitals in the city should obtain accreditation from international bodies.

“This is an effort from our part to ensure international standards in health care. All the hospitals have been informed about it,” he said.

“Our aim is to set a unified procedure system for all private hospitals in order to enhance the quality of medical care. Even though Dohms has certain procedures which all private hospitals should follow, they were not enforced in a unified shape,” he added.


Chicken may be as pricey as mutton

DUBAI/FUJAIRAH — April 05: The price of chicken could soon be on par with that of mutton, sources said.

With the UAE government banning the live poultry shops across the country, the representatives of different supermarkets expect over 50 per cent hike in chicken price. The price of other poultry products such as eggs will also see a rise.

Currently, the price of one kg chicken is anything between Dh11.50 to Dh13 and the price of a tray of eggs rests betwen Dh12.95 to Dh15 depending on the size. 

But due to the recent ban on live poultry shops in the country and import of live poultry from several countries around the globe, price of chicken is expected to touch Dh18 to Dh20 per kg.

“The ban on all live poultry shops in the country will force retailers to bring in poultry products from neighbouring countries. Besides, the supply of poultry products may also see a drop due to the bird flu outbreak in several countries including the neighbouring Gulf countries,”  said an official of Choithram, a popular chain of supermarkets in Dubai.

Another retail outlet offical  in Dubai, who also foresees a hike in price by almost Dh6 to Dh8 per kg, said this would make the price of chicken equal to that of mutton which currently stands at Dh21 per kg for Indian variety.

Meanwhile, the Arab Poultry Breeding and Production Company, Farooj Al Wadi has announced its intent to hike prices by 10 to 15 per cent as a result of rise in costs of fodder and medicines.

Dr Shebl Al Nadi, company official, said the company maintained steady price since 1997 to protect consumers.

Corn prices increased by 75 per cent in 2007, in addition to rise in soybean  price which increased by 45 per cent, and so are the other materials, he added.

He also said: “I am not speaking only for my company. I am speaking on behalf of poultry producers around the country as we produce 40,000 tons of meat and 470,000,000 fresh eggs a year.”

The Ministry of Environment and Water has recently ordered the closure of all live poultry shops across the country as a precautionary measure against the Avian Influenza that has already hit Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The ministry has issued a circular in this connection to all the Municipalities. The inspectors have been asked to keep a strict vigil so that no birds or poultry enter the UAE. 


Garbage is piling up at Rashid Colony buildings

DUBAI — April 05: Residents of Shaikh Rashid Colony in Ghusais have a new complaint — garbage is piling up in the three buildings’ corridors.

Several residents, who were promised alternative accommodation following an evacuation threat, are now complaining about lack of cleaning services by Dubai Municipality.

Cleaning and maintenance works of the three buildings came to a halt since January.

The committee, consisting of the members of Dubai Municipality, Rent Committee, Municipal Council and Development Board, had agreed to start the maintenance work without any delay.

But the residents said that no one from the municipality or the Dubai Development Board (DDB) has turned up till now.

The residents, at present, have hired some private agencies to clean their flats and corridors of the buildings. Each of the family is paying Dh15 for the services.

The controversy surrounding the Shaikh Rashid Colony had come to an end only recently when they were promised new homes near the Lulu Village in three phases.

“We were told that the cleaning and the maintenance work would be starting from March 21. But no official from the DDB or the Dubai Municipality has come to late. As a result the whole place remains dirty for most of the time. We have been forced to hire some private agencies and every flat is paying Dh15 to them. Each of the three buildings have got some 150 flats,” said S. Rajesh, a resident in building no.2.

The conditions were bad a couple of days back with the rain and strong winds messing up the corridors.

“We have called up the authorities many times. But no one listens to us. Water for cleaning work is provided by each flat,” said Mohammed Hussain, another resident.

The officials of the Dubai Development Board stated that they had received complaints from the residents.

“Yes, it is true that we have received many complaints from the residents. There has been a little delay. But we assure the residents that the maintenance work would begin from Sunday. The residents should not be worried,” said an official.


e-ticketing from next month

DUBAI — April 05: Bus passengers will no longer have to fiddle for coins to buy a bus ticket as the Roads and Transport Authority’s Public Transport Agency plans to introduce the e-ticketing system by next month.

At a Press conference held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel yesterday, the RTA also announced the purchase of 620 modern buses from pioneering manufacturers, raising the number of the public buses to 1,200. It also said that the new buses will be in place from November 2007 until January 2009.

Explaining the e-ticketing system which will be used in all modes of transport soon, Engineer Mahdi Ali, Director of Public Bus Department at the Public Transport Agency said that two proximity (swipe) cards — Ultra Light (short term use) and My Fare (long term use) — will be introduced to the public in May.

“The fare for each destination will be announced in another two months after the Bus Master Plan for buses will be completed,” he said adding that the fare will be charged according to the destination travelled.

“The implementation of the whole e-ticketing system will continue until the year 2008,” said Eng Ali.

“Coins are no longer preferred because we have noticed that drivers spend more time collecting money than concentrating on driving. Passengers using the bus for a short distance can, however, use coins to buy tickets at bus stations and other convenient locations,” he added.

Eng Ali also explained that the CICO system (check-in-check-out) will be installed near the bus entrances.

“Passengers will be required to swipe their cards while boarding and alighting. The validity of the cards and presence of sufficient credit will be checked by inspectors periodically,” he said.

Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla, CEO of Public Transport Agency said: “The value of the contract signed with manufacturing companies United Motors and Heavy Equipment (MAN) and Solaris Bus and Coach S.A reached over Dh1.4 billion, while the maintenance contract values over Dh558 million for five years.

“The total deal for the buses is Dh1.9 billion,” he said adding that the contract also covered transfer of technical know-how and training. The deal includes 170 double-decker buses, 300 articulated and 150 standard buses.

“Out of these, 550 buses will be used as within the city while 70 double deckers will be used to connect Sharjah and Abu Dhabi,” he added. Each standard bus can seat 70 people, articulate and double decker buses have a capacity for 120 passengers.

The current number of the public buses is 504 buses operating on 69 routes.

“In 2006, around 88 million commuters were transported in over approximately two million trips,” said Al Mulla. He also said that currently only 6-7 per cent of people were using public transport.

“We aim to increase  the usage to 30 per cent by implementing 13 recommendations in the master plan,” he said, adding that the transport system would cover 95 per cent of urban areas in Dubai within three years.


Landlord can approve sub-leasing

ABU DHABI — April 05: A tenant can sub-lease part of the rented flat or property if the landlord approves it, Ibrahim Frehat, Secretary General of the Rent Disputes Settlement Committee, told Khaleej Times yesterday.

The committee will have no objection if terms and conditions of sub-tenancy contracts are different from those in original tenancy contracts, he said.

The committee cancelled 50 tenancy contracts as tenants had sub-leased the rented properties without seeking their landlords’ consent.


Sharjah - Safari nightmare

Sharjah - April 05: Five tourists were injured and an Indian driver died when their vehicle overturned following a desert safari trip. The European tourists were returning in their Land Cruiser from the desert safari experience, when the vehicle lost control and turned over on Dhaid Road in Sharjah. The operators, Alpha Tours, told 7DAYS that their driver Mustafa Mohammed died at the scene and the five European tourists needed hospital treatment.


Crack team to combat cyber crime in the UAE 
UAE’s Telecom Regulatory Authority has established the United Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) and a cyber security coordination centre to detect, prevent and respond to cyber crime in the country. The team will begin operations by the end of the year.

Dubai - April 05: Beware cyber fraudsters, the Telecom Regulatory Authority will be watching very closely from now on. This was the import of the message delivered by Mohammed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of the TRA, who officially opened the first Deep Knowledge Security Conference today.
Ghanim announced a new initiative by the TRA in the UAE to establish the United Arab Emirates Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) and a cyber security coordination centre in the country. The new establishment will help detection, prevention and response to the increasing number of cyber surety incidents on the internet.

“This year, the UAE counteracted many attacks, mainly website defacement, phishing attacks and many others. These attacks caused immense damage to the businesses,” said Ghanim. He however added that last month, an internet fraud ring was crushed, where the fraudsters had set up fictitious and non-existent websites claiming to offer financial services to customers. Such incidents had been the core reason behind the establishment of the aeCERT team.

“The team will begin operation by the fourth quarter of this year. It will be comprehensive and help prevent much internet crime,” said Fatma Bazarghan, who is heading the aeCERT team. A national centre to disseminate information about threats, vulnerabilities and cyber security incidents will also be set up by the team.

These announcements were made at the conference where several international and local experts provided a detailed view on the gravity of cyber crime in and around the region. Keynote speaker Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer for F-Secure Corporation delivered a particularly sobering address on the increasing frequency of crime on the internet.

“We were earlier fighting virus created for fun and the people who made these did so because they thought that the viruses were interesting. Now however we see a big shift from fighting hobbyists to targeted attacks. We tended not to worry about criminals who were not close to us. No one is going to fly down to Dubai from New Zealand to steal your car. The cyber thief however is as close to you as he is to anyone else in the world,”  said Hyponnen.  The conference is set to address such issues today and tomorrow.


Jet or Dh 5 million? That’s the question 

Briton, who won an Eclipse 500 jet in a DAMAC raffle draw, is training to be a pilot

DUBAI - April 05: Imagine being all of 21 years old and finding out that a raffle ticket you filled up, has given you wings to fly a whopping Dh 5.5 million jet. Now, imagine that you’re in the midst of getting a pilot licence when this raffle win comes along, so you have two options – keep the jet and fulfil your dream or take the money and fill your pockets. Life can be tough when it comes to making such decisions!

Well, that is exactly the catch-22 situation Ahmed Farsiar, an Iranian-born British national, is facing after he won the DAMAC Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) promotion on Monday night. Speaking to the Evening Post over phone from London, an ecstatic Farsiar says, “Life sure looks good now. I still don’t believe that I won a jet. I am in the process of getting a pilot’s licence so I can either keep the jet or take the money. It might be more realistic to take the money but I am in two minds at the moment.”
Farsiar, who he has put in 80 hours of flying and is halfway through to getting his licence says, “I am learning to fly something similar to the jet I won, so it will only take me an additional 16 hours to get a licence to fly my very own Eclipse 500.”

But should Farsiar decide to opt for the money, the business management graduate says that he has already set his eyes on investing in more property in Dubai. He says, “First I will pay off my mother’s mortgage and then I will invest in more properties in Dubai. I love the place and I might even move there in the future. Actually that’s the reason I bought a property in Jumeirah in the first place.”
An owner of an event management company in London, Farsiar says that one of the reasons he invested in the DAMAC property was the a raffle ticket and a chance to win a Jaguar that came along with the house.

He says, “I had heard a lot about DSF but this was something else altogether. Of course, the promotional offer was one of the deciding factors in buying a property in Dubai. I did not win the Jaguar and once I went back home, I forgot all about the main raffle.” He is certainly not going to forget about the raffle now; this stroke of luck is something Farsiar says he will remember for a long time to come.




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