NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Mother throws kids from 8th floor to save them from fire; one dies
SHARJAH — APRIL 10: A three-year-old boy died and his four-year-old brother suffered critical injuries when their mother threw them in the street from the balcony of an eighth-floor apartment in Sharjah yesterday in a desperate attempt to save their lives from fire.
It was a desperate act by the 30-year-old Pakistani mother as her flat had caught fire and she could think of no other way of saving her children’s lives, police said. The woman has herself sustained major burn injuries and is fighting for her life in the Kuwaiti Hospital in Sharjah, where her elder son is also admitted in a critical condition.
The woman’s husband, 40-year-old Faisal Ahmed, is also admitted in the same hospital. He was not there in the flat at the time of the incident but he later collapsed on hearing of the tragedy that had struck his family.
The fire had apparently broken out due to short circuit in the kitchen of the eighth floor apartment in the building located in Al Majarra area in Rolla, Sharjah, at around 4.30pm yesterday. The fire spread very fast in the one-bedroom apartment, forcing the mother and children to rush into the balcony.
Eyewitnesses said the woman was holding her two children tight and screaming for help. People in the vicinity of the building suggested she throw her two children down and they would place some mattresses and blankets on the ground to save the children from injuries. Unfortunately, the children fell on the ground, missing the mattresses. While the younger boy, Iji, died on the spot, the elder one, Iftikhar, suffered severe bleeding and head injuries, and is in a state of coma according to hospital sources.
The condition of the woman is stable, hospital sources added.
Civil Defence officials had to break open the door of the flat, which was locked from inside, to put out the fire.
A neighbour of the Pakistani family said they had been residing in the building for over two years. The two boys were very cheerful and well behaved. The neighbours are shocked by the tragedy.
Soon after the incident, electricity supply to the building was disconnected to avert any untoward incident.
Visa-change trip to Kish turns traumatic for woman
DUBAI — APRIL 10: An overnight stay in a Kish Island hotel apparently became a traumatic experience for a Thai national who recently went to the island for her visa change.
Dubai-based Umaporn Kuasom alleged that apart from receiving poor quality service, she was also harassed by one of the staff members at Espadana Hotel in the Iranian island-resort.
Kuasom left on April 4 for Kish and returned to Dubai the following day on board an Aria Airlines flight. While in Dubai, she said her travel agent assured her of a safe and convenient accommodation that she would share with two other women.
“Upon arriving at Espadana, I learned that I have five, instead of just two, roommates. I was appalled by the condition of the room, which seemed to not have been cleaned at least for a week. The linens were dirty, bed sheets were used as curtains and the windows had no locks except for pieces of wood that were placed diagonally on the window frame,” she said.
The hotel also refused to book her flight back to Dubai even when her UAE visa had been released, she added. She had to book the ticket herself.
On April 4 evening, Kuasom said her roommates went to take a stroll, but she opted to stay behind. “Around 8pm, someone knocked on the door. When I didn’t open it, the person starting pounding the door so hard as if someone was trying to break it. I called the frontdesk personnel, but no one answered my call. The knocking eventually stopped and I couldn’t sleep the whole night,” she said.
The following day, the frontdesk staff refused to give her passport. “I wanted to talk to the manager, but he said there was no manager and that I should just go away. He didn’t give me his name and when I tried to take his picture using my mobile phone, he grabbed my wrist and hit me.
“The security guard didn’t do anything to stop the man,” she said.
Following the commotion, her passport was released and she took her flight back to the Emirates. “I paid Dh 1,700 for the confirmed two-way ticket and hotel accommodation. I believe no paying customer should ever be treated like that. It was a terrifying experience,” she added.
Nasir Butt, Counter Supervisor at Gulf Sun Tourism, the travel agency that arranged Kuasom’s trip said they were also assured by Qeshm Air Travel, which serves as Aria Airlines and Espadana Hotel’s holiday package promoter in Dubai, that her stay in Kish would be well taken care of.
“We have been coordinating with Qeshm Air Travel and its Dubai head office, the Al Jazeera Travel and Tourism, about the incident, but they have not given us any positive response.
“We were not told if the personnel was punished for what he did to Kuasom. And so far, they have not issued any formal apology to her,” he said. Meanwhile, when contacted by Khaleej Times, Faisal Bashima, Operations Manager of Qeshm Air Travel, said “since the incident happened in Iran, we have nothing to do with it”.
He said, however, that the hotel management and the Iranian police are investigating the matter. Kuasom said she and her American fiance, Steven Quigley, will also report the issue to the Royal Thai Consulate General and the US Consulate General in Dubai.
Plaudits for new panel to combat human trafficking
ABU DHABI — APRIL 10: The cabinet’s recent decision to constitute a national committee on curbing the crime of human trafficking was widely appreciated by federal ministries and high ranking officials for being a complementary step for the UAE efforts in devising policies and legislations that guarantee human rights protection for people who live and work in the country.
They said that setting up such a committee would greatly contribute to finding appropriate measures and regulations on protecting individuals as well as labourers from falling victim to the crime of human trading.
The national panel will act as a boost to the federal law on combating trafficking in persons enforced in the country, the officials observed. The cabinet, under the chairmanship of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has recently taken a decision to set up a national anti-human trafficking committee.
The new committee shall be chaired by UAE Federal Minister of State for FNC Affairs. Other official representatives from the federal ministries of interior, foreign affairs, labour, health and social affairs as well as from the State Security Authority and the UAE Red Crescent Society (RCS).
Minister of Justice, Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri, said that the federal cabinet resolution on setting up the committee is yet another boost to the federal law No 51 for 2006 on combating trafficking in persons.
“The committee will have a dual mandate, the first is to coordinate between federal ministries and departments concerned to eliminate crimes related to trafficking in persons on the UAE land whether prostitution, abuse, mistreatment, coercive exploitation and abuse of work force, or illegal organs transplantation, “ he said.
According to him, the second mandate calls for strict enforcement of the law and its provisions in full.
“The UAE has put in place all legislations and measures to make sure the country is free of crimes related to human trafficking and ensure protection of those living on its land,” he stressed. The minister clarified that trafficking in persons includes recruitment, transportation, transfer or harbouring of persons by means of threat or use of force with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position and taking advantage of the vulnerability of the persons. Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Health, viewed the initiative as an indication for the government’s serious role in preserving basic human rights.
“Establishing a national panel to oversee that people in the country enjoy all their human rights, including rights to have access to quality health services, is an indication to the government role to protect rights of individuals in this country,” said Qutami. He added that the committee will help decision-makers to come up with appropriate measures and regulations to protect the human rights of people.
Dr Mohammed Mahmoud Al Kamali, Director-General of the Judicial Institute, said the committee would concentrate its efforts on protection of workers from exploitation. Citing international statistics, Al Kamali said about 12.3 million workers were being subject to various types of abuse and exploitation around the world.
The UAE efforts, he affirmed would prevent human trafficking gangs in achieving their goals in the UAE. “The Committee will chalk out a comprehensive strategy to prevent occurrence of such crimes in the UAE,” he said..
Mohammed Al Za’abi, Director of International Relations Department at the Ministry of Labour (MoL), said: “Forming a national committee on curbing the crime of human trafficking is a positive step that confirms UAE has always been respecting human rights. It furthermore assures that the government seeks to protect everyone that live and work in this country.”
The Experts Committee at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) hailed the UAE efforts in protecting the labourers’ rights and resolving workers’ disputes that are common to erupt between employees and employers, observed Al Za’abi.
“The UAE has undertaken many steps to ensure safety of workers and to preserve their legal rights.
“The new committee indicates the country’s keenness to protect labourers rights,” Al Za’abi added.
Big tumour removed from woman’s face
DUBAI — APRIL 10: A team of doctors at Rashid Hospital has successfully conducted several complicated surgeries to remove a huge malignant tumour from the face of a young Somali woman.
Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Dr Khalid Ghandour, Consultant and Head of Maxillofacial Division, Dental Centre, Rashid Hospital, said the face of the 32-year-old Somali woman, who came to Dubai on a visit visa, was badly disfigured because of her tumour.
“The tumour started spreading rapidly two-and-a-half years ago and almost covered 80 per cent of her mandibles (jaw structure). She was unable to eat solids because she could not swallow,” explained the doctor.
He also said that the tumour appeared on her face when she was a child, but she was unable to get any treatment in Somalia.
“Recently, some of her villagers raised money for her and sent her to Dubai for treatment. Though, legally we could not offer her treatment since she was on a visit visa, on the humanitarian front, we could not say no also.”
“Such tumours are not seen in this part of the world. Because it involved the bone, the tumour was painful and so huge that it could have caused her death,” he said.
Dr Ghandour added that local companies and several people donated funds for her operations. “We carried out five reconstructive surgeries on her. We also had to carry out hip-bone graft on her without disturbing her bone structure,” said the doctor while explaining the procedure.
He also said the woman was also given a new mandible and she will be discharged from the hospital today.
Death of a worker sparks contagious disease fear
AJMAN — APRIL 10: The death of an Indian worker who was running high temperature in a labour camp in Ajman on Sunday has triggered speculation among the authorities over the possibility of a contagious disease causing the death.
The Indian was working with a major roads and contracting company in Ajman. He was declared brought dead at Khalifa Hospital.
The supervisor of the camp where the worker lived, said the other workers were examined and vaccinated by an agency following the worker’s death.
“The agency told us that the workers were vaccinated as they suspected some workers might have contracted meningitis,” the supervisor said.
When contacted, Hamad Tariam, Director of Ajman medical district, and Director of Khalifa Hospital in Ajman, said only the official medical report could establish if a contagious disease had caused the worker’s death.
Tariam informed that two other workers of the camp had been put in quarantine in the hospital but no reports on their health conditions had been issued so far.
The camp reportedly houses more than 3,300 workers from different nationalities, who live in some 407 rooms. Each room houses between four and 10 people.
However, the camp is said to be clean and tidy.
Khalifa Hospital has vaccinated over 3,000 workers against contagious diseases over the last four days, said Tariam.
Multi-million dirham money laundering racket busted
DUBAI — APRIL 10: Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim has said the Dubai Police operation against money laundering racket launched recently has helped the British government to save over Dh54 million lost to this racket annually.
Speaking at the opening of the International Police Executive Symposium on Sunday, he said a multi-million money laundering racket extending across the country and Europe has been busted by the Dubai Police.
The Dubai Police received information that a group headed by three people — a British, Indian and Pakistani nationals — had set up a forex bureau business in Dubai through which they indulged in money laundering targeting European countries like the UK, Germany and Denmark.
The police investigation showed that the group shipped mobile phones to the UK and forged VAT documents and claimed money from the government 52 times using the same fake documents, Lt.-Gen. Dhahi said disclosing the group was receiving Dh4.55 million monthly on fake VAT documents from the UK government.
The UK Ambassador to UAE in his letter to the Director of the General Department of Criminal Investigation, praised the Dubai Police efforts stating that estimated amount lost by the UK government accounted for some £700,000,000 per month.
The five-day symposium under the theme ‘Urbanisation and Security’ yesterday had several police experts from countries around the globe highlighting some of their recent experiments.
Dr Mohammed Abdulla Murad, Director of Decision Centre of the Dubai Police and head of organising committee of International Police Executive Symposium, confirmed that the Dubai Police will benefit from the recommendations issued and the researches and case studies provided by experts will be translated and used as reference and taught in the police academies and police institutes at both the Dubai Level and regional level.
The recommendations outlined at the symposium will be used in designing the security strategy of Dubai Emirate as per the strategic plan announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the year 2015.
Most case studies and papers provided on the symposium would be taken into consideration in all our future work, he added.
System failure at MoL
ABU DHABI — APRIL 10: The computer system at sections A and B of the Work Permit Department at the Ministry of Labour (MoL) broke down yesterday and the work was stopped from the morning until the end of the day.
Assistant Under-Secretary, Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi, advised the applicants to come this morning as the ministry was working to repair the system.
A source at the MoL, who declined to be named, said, “The system failure has become a routine because both the building and the system are really old.” Many PROs and owners of firms urged the officials yesterday to expedite the shifting of the MoL offices to the new building on Al Qurm street.
Manufacturing begins for Dubai Metro trains
DUBAI — APRIL 10: The manufacturing of trains for the Dubai Metro has started, the Rail Agency from the Roads and Transport Authority announced yesterday.
With five cars, three motor cars and two trailer cars, each train will be approximately 85 metres long, 2.78 metres wide and 3.86 metres high.
Adnan Hammadi, Director of Construction, Rail Agency, said: “The first train will be ready by October 2007 after which it will be delivered to Dubai for testing and commissioning scheduled in March 2008. The process of manufacturing one train set takes approximately 12 months and the sub systems fitted into each train are from various international reputed suppliers like Kinki Sharyo, Mitsubishi Electric and Alcatel to name a few.” “Altogether 44 sets will be delivered for the Red Line on time to commence revenue service in September 2009,” he explained.
Hammadi added that the fabrication of the car-body parts and outfitting of equipment would be done in Japan at Kinki Sharyo’s manufacturing facility in Osaka.
The trains have very distinctive colours. The exterior is blue and silver.
He confirmed that the trains to be delivered to Dubai would have five cars that can accommodate 643 passengers. The trains will be assembled with one Gold Car located at the front followed by four Silver Cars. The colour schemes have been developed by an international specialised company in association with Kinky Sharyo industrial designers.
Passengers in the Gold Class Car will experience a luxurious interior with full leather wider seats and a panoramic view through the front window of the train with just 18 seats. One part on the Gold Car on the Dubai Metro is reserved to be used exclusively by women and children. As for the Silver Train, it will be the largest compartment on the trains, comprising four cars. Seating is arranged in a variety of ways giving passengers the choice between admiring views from the windows or discussions with friends. Numerous hand holds provide a secure grip for standing passengers.
Dubai - Scissors stabbing
Dubai - APRIL 10: A Filipino who stabbed a man to death with a pair of scissors has denied he intentionally killed his victim. The defendant, aged 27, says he woke up naked in bed with his victim after spending the night together drinking alcohol. When an argument began between the two, the accused grabbed some scissors and plunged them into the victim’s neck, killing him immediately.
The Court of First Instance heard however, that the man, identified as RL, denies intentionally killing the other Filipino and says he just wanted to steal the man’s mobile phone. He also faces an additional charge of consuming alcohol. The trial continues.
Labour Court orders firm to pay workers’ salaries
The court has given the company time till April 15 to pay the workers’ salaries for two months
Dubai - April 10: The Labour Court has directed a contracting company to pay two-months’ salaries of its workers by April 15. The workers earn a salary of Dh 850 a month. Forty-one Indian workers of the contracting company had approached the labour court this morning, 18 of them had already filed a complaint against their sponsor regarding non-payment of salaries, while 23 others also lodged a complaint this morning.
The workers of Green Tower Contracting, who came to Dubai five months ago, allege that they have not received their salaries for the past four months. A worker, present at the hearing this morning, said, “We are glad we approached the court because now we will finally get our dues. We have taken huge loans to come here and without a salary if is difficult to make ends meet.”
The court has given the company time till April 15 to pay the workers’ salary for two months and has also asked the company to give the workers a No Objection Certificate if they want to change their jobs. The company will be given a date to pay the remaining amount at the next hearing. The remaining 23 workers who filed a complaint this morning have been asked to be present at the court for their first hearing later this week. A representative of the company said, “We will give release letters to the workers and we will pay them as per the order.”
The Labour Court was established in Dubai in November last year to ensure speedy and effective resolution of labour disputes. According to WAM, so far, 87 cases have been heard and the ruling for 47 has been delivered.