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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Two die as firecrackers in trucks explode in Ajman

AJMAN — APRIL 11: Two workers were killed and two policemen were injured when firecrackers loaded in two Ajman Civil Defence trucks went off in Al Jarf area in Ajman yesterday. The trucks were carrying around 300kg of firecrackers which were kept in over 250 cartons.

The dead included an Indian and an Egyptian. The two injured policemen were rushed to Khalifa Hospital. Colonel Ali Abdullah Alwan, Director General of Ajman Police, told Khaleej Times that the firecrackers had been recently confiscated by Ajman Police from outlets and warehouses in the emirate’s industrial area. They were to be destroyed, as per a court order, but they exploded due to an error, he said.

Colonel Alwan explained that the explosion was caused due to friction of the firecrackers in the moving truck.

The explosion caused a deafening noise which was heard by residents in most parts of the emirate, creating panic among them.

Following the blast, Shaikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Crown Prince of Ajman, personally witnessed the rescue operation. The body of the Indian worker who died in the accident was found immediately and taken to the morgue.

However, the body of the Egyptian worker who perished in the accident was recovered only after a long search by the Civil Defence team. Salih Al Matorushi, Director General of Ajman Civil Defence, said the rescue team had reached the site within 10 minutes of the blast, which was reported at 10.30am. Meanwhile, Dr. Abdul Kareem Hilmi, Head of the Emergency section at Khalifa Hospital, said the two injured policemen had received burn injuries on their faces, hands and legs.

They will be kept in the ICU for two days, Hilmi said, adding that their condition was stable.


Lulu Island becomes big leisure attraction

ABU DHABI — APRIL 11: Lulu Island, a major recreation and leisure landmark off the Abu Dhabi Corniche, is now open for visitors from 8am to 8pm daily, the Abu Dhabi Municipality announced yesterday.

Eng. Mubarak Al Falahi, Director of the Lulu Island Project, told Khaleej Times that the island was spread across an area of 7km, of which 3km was facing the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

The tickets to visit the island are priced at Dh15 for adults. Children under five years will be admitted free of charge. The ticket includes fee for a trip to the island in an air-conditioned vessel with a capacity to ferry 60 passengers, or another 25-seater ferry, which will sail every 30 minutes from a marina near the Heritage Village, Al Falahi said.

“A special marina will be built in the same area to ferry visitors. Only one marina out of five berthing facilities is being used now. The others will be pressed into service depending on the number of visitors,” Al Falahi added.

The island boasts of a 2-km long swimming pool in addition to camel and horse race courses and children’s play zone.

Visitors can tour the island in an open-roof train at a cost of Dh5 per person. Each trip of the 25-seater train takes around 15 minutes to complete.

“The island has nearly 200 shades along its shores as well as 40 other shades scattered across its different parts. The island also has 169 heritage tents which have toilet facilities,” Al Falahi informed.

A number of restaurants and cafes are there to serve the visitors.


Grieving father blames failed fire alarm system for three-yr-old’s death

SHARJAH — APRIL 11: The grieving father of the three-year-old Pakistani boy, who died after his panicked mother dropped him from the 8th floor of her burning apartment on Monday afternoon, has said a failed fire alarm system was one of the causes of his son’s death.

The Pakistani mother, gripped by panic, dropped her two children, Areeb (three) and Harris (four) from the window of her burning apartment in a bid to save their lives. While Areeb died on the spot, Harris is fighting for his life in Al Qasimi Hospital.

“Harris has a fractured skull and a broken leg and he is on artificial ventilation. Doctors say the next 48 hours are critical for him,” said the father, Javed Ifetkhar.

The family had come to Dubai on a visit just a month ago, Ifetkhar said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Ifetkhar, a businessman, said his dead son was a beautiful child who had just learnt how to talk.

Explaining the incident, he said his wife Zebunissa had locked the main door and hid the key from the children.

“Fire spread in the one-bedroom apartment rapidly and it was filled with smoke in no time. My wife panicked after she noticed one of the children had fallen unconscious. In the meanwhile, mattresses that had been placed in the hall, went aflame causing her hair to singe when she tried to get past towards the door,” said Ifetkhar, adding that his wife, who is expecting another child, is in a state of shock.

He said his wife was unable to communicate to people properly who were watching the drama from below.

“She thought they were trying to tell her to drop the kids down and they would catch them. In fact they were telling her not to do so,” said the grieved father.

“After dropping the children, my wife hung on to the window ledge for over 30 minutes before labourers from the neighbouring building saved her. There was no alarm system in the building and a lack of proper ventilation caused the fire to spread rapidly,” he added.

“I have lost my son as well as money in this country,” said Ifetkhar, who has reportedly been conned by a “business partner.”

Until yesterday, the grieved parents were unable to complete the formalities to secure the release of their dead child.

“We will bury him here. Please put our story in print so that more and more people can pray for my other son’s survival,” he added.


‘Lifestyle of UAE youth makes them vulnerable to heart attacks

DUBAI — APRIL 11: More and more young people are having heart attacks in the UAE mainly due to their lifestyle, health experts warned yesterday.

Diabetes is the other major reason for heart failures, the experts pointed out, while addressing a Press conference to announce the upcoming two-day ‘International Conference on Heart Failure’, to be held at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai on April 14 and15.

Dr Quraitulain, Specialist Registrar at the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Centre at Dubai Hospital, said heart attacks among young people in the 30-40 age group were no longer uncommon in the UAE. In fact, labourers comprise over 50 per cent of the young people having suffered heart attacks in the emirates.

“Heart failure often results in decreased ability to return back to normal activity and frequent hospitalisation. It diminishes the quality of life,” she said.

Dr Nooshin Bazargani, Specialist Senior Registrar at the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Centre at Dubai Hospital said: “Heart failure is set to remain the number one cause for hospitalisation.”

The conference on heart failure will be attended by 450 doctors from more than 20 countries and will feature pioneering experts from Europe.


Maintenance work starts at airport tunnel

DUBAI — APRIL 11: The Airport Tunnel in Dubai will be partially closed for maintenance works from today, April 11, till September 30, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

The maintanence work will be carried out between 12.30 am and 5.30 am.

The tunnel will be closed in both directions from Al Rashidiyah to Al Qusais, except on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays.

Eng Maitha Mohammed Bin Adai, Chief Executive Officer of the Roads and Traffic Agency at the RTA said: “The work will be carried out in two stages, as the movement will be closed in one direction and traffic will be routed to other side,” she added.


Foreman and two workers charged with manslaughter

DUBAI — APRIL 11: The Dubai Public Prosecution has referred the case involving two Asian labourers and a foreman of the sub-contracting company, hired to execute air-conditioning work at Fortune Tower on Shaikh Zayed Road, to the Dubai Court of First Instance charging them with manslaughter.

The Public Prosecution said they caused the fire which broke out in mid January in the building under construction.

Two persons were killed and 47 injured in the accident while the Dubai Civil Defence team managed  to rescue 300 workers trapped on the 34th and 35th floors.

The report issued by the General Department of Forensic Laboratory of Dubai Police showed that the two labourers of the sub-contracting company were using a welding flame, instead of a drilling machine, to make a hole in the air-conditioning water pipe. This heated up the duct and led to the fire.

Also, the safety official of the sub-contractor concerned failed to obtain permission from the main contractor before starting the welding work.

The labourers who were questioned  by the police initially denied having carried out welding work.

But they later confessed to using the welding flame after a part of the drilling machine broke down.

The date of the first hearing has not been determined yet.


Dubai taxis to use GIS devices soon 
GIS devices will aid taxis to easily locate passengers’ destinations

DUBAI - APRIL 11: Dubai taxis are to use the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) very soon to ease the transport facility for drivers and passengers, said GIS officials during the Map Middle East 2007 Conference which was organised by Dubai Municipality at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. Mohammed Al Zaffin, Chairman of the Organising Committee of Map Middle East 2007 and Director of Dubai GIS Centre, said that there have been increased innovations and changes in the geospatial domain globally.

“Dubai being at very high rate of development, there is a need to apply these technological geographic information systems to simplify work. We are soon introducing the GIS devices to taxis in Dubai so that they can easily locate their passengers’ destinations,” added Al Zaffin.  “The large scale urban infrastructure developments taking place in this region calls for the increased usage of geospatial technology, in association with the other vertical engineering segments like civil, electrical and regional planning,” said Zaffin, quoting the example of Burj Dubai, which is using GPS network to monitor the building vertical alignment in a classical and novel way setting an example globally.

The function also witnessed Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director General of Dubai Municipality handing over the Geospatial Award constituted by the company during the recent Map World conference held in Hyderabad, India to the Ordinance Survey of Britain, who emerged the winners.  Professor Arup Dasgupta, Advisor, GIS Development said that this award is given to organisations that have excelled in the geospatial activities, providing sophisticated geographical equipments, for example; accurate and modern maps for the different parts of the world. Sanjay Kumar, CEO of GIS Development, stressed the need for more human resource in the geospatial area. He urged the government of Dubai to train its young generation to build a great knowledge and skills that can conform to such unprecedented developments in Dubai.


Cold treatment to woes of labourers 
Workers say some companies do not provide them AC buses, making their journey unbearable

DUBAI - APRIL 11: The onset of summer has only added to the woes of many labourers who spend almost three hours travelling to-and-fro from their labour camp in non-air-conditioned buses. While there are many companies who provide workers with air conditioned buses, workers living in labour camps in Sonapur and Al Quos say that majority of the companies do not provide them with this facility.

Y. Nevkane, 28, a labourer who has been working with a company for the last four years, says, “During the summer months it is very difficult to travel because it takes us about two hours in the evening to travel from our work place in Jebel Ali to our labour camp in Sonapur. The traffic jams only makes it tougher for us and many of us feel claustrophobic as there is no ventilation especially when we are stuck in traffic.” A. Mustaq, 29, a safety engineer who works at a labour site in Deira, says that normally companies only provide their staff with mini AC buses whereas labourers are made to travel in non-AC buses.

He says, “I have been working here for five years and I feel that almost 70 per cent of the companies do not provide the labourers with air conditioned buses. Workers get headaches, nausea and dizziness because of the heat. While it is not advisable for a sudden change in temperature, there is no harm letting the worker’s body temperature come to normal and then switching on the AC. In fact this will be helpful for many of them who feel nauseous without sufficient ventilation.” S. Javed, 41, project engineer at a construction site seconds this opinion.

He says, “A normal temperature of 25 degrees is good for health and it can be maintained by an air conditioner. Companies should provide labourers with AC buses as it will make a big difference to them. The heat is unbearable when they are at work, so at least their journey home should be comfortable.” A. Hakim Albannay, General Manager, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, ETA Ascon, says, “The worker’s demand for AC buses is legitimate because they have to bear the traffic and the heat. We have 45,000 employees and not all our buses have air-condition. We have rental agreements with companies for buses and many are not air-conditioned buses. However, this year we have asked the companies to provide us with AC buses and by this summer we will replace all the non-AC buses.” Another worker says, “The staff of our company has AC buses, but still many of the workers travel without AC. We are hoping that this year we will not have to travel bearing the heat and sweat.”



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