News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Daillies

Ghastly end to petty brawl 

Al Ain - APRL 22: In a savage crime at an Al Ain farm, a Pakistani worker battered and hacked his Indian colleague to death and even ate part of his heart because the victim verbally abused him. Arabic daily Al Bayan reported that the 35-year-old accused confessed to murdering his 32-year-old colleaguebecause he insulted him using obscene language. He said he committed the gruesome crime in a fit of rage.

In a statement, the accused said, “After my dawn prayers, I headed to the farm where I saw the victim standing near the well. As he was supposed to have finished his duty by that time, I asked him the reason for his presence at the place. He answered me rudely and we began fighting during which he insulted me and called me names.”

The enraged accused picked up a stone and battered the victim on the head. As the injured man ran for his life, the accused chased him down with an axe and attacked him in the chest and abdomen. He said he went into a hysteria and ate a part of the victim’s heart. Colleagues said the accused was a religious man. They added that the accused and the victim maintained a good relationship.


Jewellery store robbed in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — APRIL 22: Robbers apparently broke in and stole valuables worth Dh1 million from a jewellery shop in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

According to Brigadier Mattar Hamad Al Mohiri, Director General of Security Affairs and Exit Check Points of Abu Dhabi Police, the Operations Room was informed at 8am that Al Insaf Jewellery Shop, located near Madinat Zayed,  had been robbed. The shop owner’s son called up the police to inform them about the break-in. He said valuables worth Dh1 million had been stolen. The police have launched a manhunt.


Abu Dhabi pay raise stokes fear of foodstuff price surge

ABU DHABI — APRIL 22:Citizens and expatriates have hailed the decision of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, amending the grades and salary structure in government departments in the Abu Dhabi emirate, in line with the directives of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Most of them said the decision has fulfilled their hopes and it would bring the emirate government’s performance on par with international standards.

However, Engineer Farey Hassan Al Mazroui, director of the Parks Department in Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the increase in prices of foodstuffs is the issue at the moment.

He said the increase in salary is like a grant from the leaders of the state and it should not be exploited by unscrupulous elements.

He stated that whenever the government has sought to raise the standard of living of citizens and expatriates, some greedy traders or agents have tried to take advantage, particularly by increasing the prices of essential commodities.

High prices

While pointing out that controlling prices was also the responsibility of the individual in the first place he urged people to refrain from buying things that are unjustifiably priced. He added that the regulatory bodies in both the Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Ministry of Economy are working with earnestness to control the market and prices.

Ahmed Rashid Al Amary, chairman of the Division of Public Services at Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the decision to amend salaries and grades would lead to an increased desire by the private sector to compete with the better performance of the government departments.

He added that competition between private and public sectors will improve efficiency and increase productivity, which is consistent with the planning of the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

He urged the traders not to exploit the increase in salaries and see it in an economic perspective, because higher prices will lead to the reluctance of consumers from purchasing.

He demanded strict government control on markets and prices so that the traders do not get a chance to raise prices and tax the consumers.

He noted that the decision will also benefit the expatriates and help improve their standard of living.

Rashid Al Hajiri, from Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Care, said the recent increase in salaries no doubt represented a leap in the income of the nationals and the expatriates.

He asked the traders not to raise prices indiscriminately on the basis of the increase in the salaries of labourers in some sectors of the state.

Abdel Rahman Abdullah Bakharmah, from the banking sector, hoped the increase in salaries would not lead to a spurt in house rents and prices of fuel and foodstuffs. He, too, called for strict price controls as past experiences have showed that increase in salaries has resulted in price rise as well.

He added that the decision of General Shaikh Mohammed to increase salaries will, no doubt, have an impact on the labour market in the private and public sectors, which will have to raise salaries to attract skilled manpower.

D. Ahmad Redha, economic expert on consumer protection issues at the Ministry of Economy, confirmed that the fresh increase in the salaries of local government departments in the emirate of Abu Dhabi would not be offset by high prices, because the recently-enforced Consumer Protection Act prohibits random price hikes.

He added that the Rent Act stipulates that the maximum increase in rents should not exceed 7 per cent per year, which

means that rents will not witness great leaps. Hence, the argument by some traders that high rents were behind the rise in prices is not acceptable.


DM to turn heat on errant landlords too

DUBAI — APRIL 22: With the Dubai Municipality firm on getting tough with bachelors and labourers staying in residential areas, landlords, too, are likely to face action.

During the last week, the municipality disconnected water supply and power connections to 66 houses located in different parts of the emirate. It also initiated heavy fines against landlords who had rented homes to bachelors. The total fine collected by the officials amounted to Dh4 million approximately. In addition to this, the transactions of 16 trade licences were also cancelled.

The ongoing drive is being conducted in association with the Labour Department, Economic Department and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

Marwan Abdullah Al Mohammad, head of Buildings Inspection Department at the municipality, said all these departments were helping the municipality against violators.

“The bachelors are supposed to get out of residential areas and those landlords who give houses to them would also be penalised,” he said.  

He explained that the municipality had inspected areas of Al Rashidiya in the first phase last week. In the second and the third phases areas like Al Qusais, Al Twar and Muhisna will be targeted.

Abdullah said 42 letters were issued in the first week for disconnection of electricity and water services to houses in Al Rashidiya area. These letters are sent by Dewa after the municipality forwards it to them. He added that Dewa had disconnected the water and power services in 31 cases, in addition to halting transactions of seven trade licences for the landlords.

Some 53 similar letters had been sent to people in Al Qusais area as well. Fifteen letters have been sent by Dewa to landlords in Al Twar area.


Abu Dhabi Blood Bank will open from 7am to 9pm on week days

ABU DHABI — APRIL 22: The Abu Dhabi Blood Bank (ADBB) has extended its working hours and it will be open from 7am till 9pm from Sunday through Thursday and from 8am till 1pm on Saturdays to provide donors with more convenient timings for blood donation.

“It is our responsibility to meet the needs of our patients and to provide our donors the most convenient timings, services and care to them,” said Dr Naima Oumeziane, Acting Clinical Director of the ADBB.

She said that during 2006, ADBB collected 17,000 units of blood and 500 units of Apheresis Platelets and another 5,000 units of blood, adding that 186 units of Apheresis Platelets were donated in the first quarter of year 2007.

Elaborating on the ADBB functions, Dr Oumeziane said the bank  caters to the blood supply need of the governmental and private hospitals in Abu Dhabi apart from extending support to other emirates.

“ADBB volunteers provide nearly all the blood supply for transfusion. If all eligible donors give blood twice per year, it would greatly help in maintaining an adequate blood supply for the UAE. Eligible blood donors can donate blood 3-4 times per year safely,” she stated.

The blood donation process is very safe; the health care team at the ADBB will assess donors to ensure their safety. It is not possible to acquire any disease through donating blood because only new, disposable, sterilised equipment is used for each donor, she said.


Homing in on tired motorists

DUBAI — APRIL 22: The Safer Driver Company, which provides drivers to motorists who may not feel like driving, is planning to expand its services.

Set up last year, the company provides its services to motorists who may be ill or tired, or planning to hire a driver for a long-distance journey.

The company’s drivers can reach a client anywhere in Dubai within an hour, sometimes within 15 minutes, depending on the location, and take them to any destination in the UAE.

Usually, people headed to longer destinations prefer to use the services of these drivers, instead of driving on their own.

It works like this: following a call, two drivers from the company arrive on a bike. While one drives the client in their car, the other follows on the bike. Once they reach the destination specified by the motorist, the two drivers get back on their bike to head office.

With increased number of road accidents as well as traffic snarls on Dubai streets, the company is convinced it’s providing a much-needed relief to the motorists.

Says Ahmed Lazem, the company’s CEO: “We would like to believe that we are contributing, in a small way though, in reducing the traffic problem. Currently, we are providing our “drive-home service” to 10-15 people every day, which comes to over 400 people every month. However, by July or August this year, we aim to provide our services to 40-50 customers per day.”

He adds: “Currently, we operate between 9pm and 3am. But we aim to have our drivers available 24 hours a day.”

But how safe are these drivers? Quips the CEO: “Our drivers need to have enough experience at the wheel and sufficient knowledge of Dubai’s streets. We only hire those drivers who have 5-10 years’ experience on the road. They also have to undergo a test before they can be offered the job, and our tests are not easy.”

Lazem also discloses that it took almost a year for the company to receive a No Objection Certificate from the Roads and Transport Authority to begin the operations, which suggests a lot of thought and preparation has gone into the venture.

George, general manager for a retail company, uses the Safer Driver Company service regularly. “It’s a valuable service. It’s pretty useful when one has to go to a remote area, like The Ranches. It’s also useful to hire these drivers late in the evening,” he notes.

The fee for using a Safer driver ranges between Dh80 and Dh120. Is it on the higher side? Replies George: “It depends on one’s income.”


Labour Ministry gears up to implement federal strategic plan 

The ministry will revise the strategy that was introduced last year wherein nationals were primarily employed in secretarial and human resource posts.

DUBAI - APRIL 22: In two weeks, the Ministry of Labour will announce a three-year comprehensive plan in line with the UAE Government Strategy unveiled by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Tuesday.
Speaking to the Evening Post Dr. Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi said, “We will reveal the plan in two weeks time. We will focus on the issue of employment of illegals in the country that upsets the labour market. There will be a law that imprisons employers who hire illegals.” The stringent law will impose a lifetime ban on illegals. He added that the ministry is working on increasing the strength of its inspectors to ensure that they can tackle the issue of illegals as well as ensure that companies follow all the health and safety standards.

On the issue of the emiratisation, Dr. Al Ka’abi said that the ministry will revise the strategy that was introduced last year wherein nationals were primarily employed in secretarial and human resource posts. The strategy focuses on enhancing emiratisation levels and stresses the importance of hiring skilled expatriate labourers who will help build the nation’s knowledge economy.

Sheikh Mohammed affirmed that emiratisation is a priority in the UAE Government Strategy. He expressed optimism that one day he would find UAE nationals in all top positions acting as key drivers of economic development. But “dreams”, he said, “cannot be realised if they are not based on reality. Otherwise, they would be no more than a mirage.” He added, “Our youth should have the qualifications and expertise to compete in both government and private sectors. We will be able to accomplish this objective once we develop a comprehensive strategy that determines priorities, and combines federal and local efforts.”

On minimum wage issue, Dr. Al Ka’abi said the ministry was currently studying the issue. The UAE strategy includes developing mechanisms to address the issue of the imbalance in the UAE’s population structure and to decrease illegal and marginal labourers.



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