News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

20-year-old tumour removed from man’s leg in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — April 23: Surgeons at the Abu Dhabi New Medical Centre Hospital (NMC) have successfully operated on a patient to remove a 20-year-old tumour from his leg, according to officials in the hospital.

“A 7kg tumour was removed from the leg of a 57-year-old expatriate after a successful surgery conducted by Dr KA Pathak, Consultant Surgical Oncologist and his medical team,” said Dr CR Shetty, Medical Director of the hospital.

The man had the tumour for 20 years and it rapidly increased in size over the past two years, according to Dr Shetty.

“Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) scanning revealed that the swelling was due to a large predominantly fatty tumour that was measuring approximately 37cm x 22cm x 21cm. The swelling was occupying the entire anterior compartment of the man’s left thigh.”

Dr Shetty said surgeons decided that the tumour must be removed as the man was not being able to move. “Now the man is able to walk unaided after getting rid of the burden he has been carrying for the past 20 years. The smile is now back on his face.”


Ship Wreck - Dramatic rescue

Dubai - April 23: A fisherman managed to save the lives of his shipwrecked colleagues as the group floundered in the sea off the coast of Dubai by calling the emergency services from his mobile phone. The men were forced to leap overboard from their fishing vessel after it began to sink at night 30km from the coast.

As their boat sank after taking in water in the engine room, one of the men – all on a deep sea fishing pleasure trip – contacted police to alert them to their position. The friends were then forced to jump into the sea wearing life jackets as their boat sank beneath the waves. Captain Yehia Hussain, head of the Sea Rescue Department at Dubai police, said members of the police’s Difficult Missions Squad along with members of the coast guard raced to the scene to save the men stranded in the Arabian Gulf.

“As we approached the rough area we had been alerted to in our boats we were in contact with one man who had kept his mobile phone on while he was in the sea directing us to where they all were.  “He kept the phone out of the sea and allowed us to find them after around 45 minutes from the first emergency call,” Captain Hussain said. “We found six of them huddled in a circle together keeping each other safe. One had unfortunately drifted off from the others, but we managed to locate him a kilometre away from his friends and rescue him.” The men, all UAE nationals, were taken back to Dubai and given medical treatment. Captain Hussain urged everyone taking to the sea to be properly prepared, have the correct safety equipment  and to keep a close eye on the weather systems to avoid situations which can result in serious injury or death.


Food outlets warned against packing hot food in plastic bags

ABU DHABI — April 23: Some of the food outlets and restaurants in the emirate are still packing hot meals in plastic bags and packets, especially cooked rice, in violation of the circular issued by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA).

Mohammed Jalal Al Raiyaiseh, Director of the Department of Communication and Information at the ADFCA said the violations came to light during the routine inspections by the inspectors of the body.

The ADFCA had issued a circular in July 2006, preventing the use of plastic cups made of solid polystyrene material for serving hot meals or drinks. Al Raiyaiseh said the packing of hot meals in plastic bags or packets results in chemical reactions that make the food harmful for human health.

The official stressed that the violators would be referred to the municipal court so that legal action could be taken against them. Al Raiyaiseh said the ADFCA had provided an alternative arrangement by allowing the food outlets and restaurants to use foam manufactured from polystyrene material, which is glutinous and not solid, or any other material that can withstand the temperature of 100 degrees Celsius or higher.


Jewellers call for more security after robbery

ABU DHABI — April 23: Jewellery shop owners have called for beefing up security at the Madinat Zayed, the biggest gold bazaar in the capital.

Robbers broke in and stole jewellery worth Dh1 million from Al Insaf Jewellery Shop at Madinat Zayed on Saturday. 

Kamil Al Shaar, owner and manager of Samir Gold and Jewellery Shop in the Souq, said installation of camera controlled systems should be made compulsory in Abu Dhabi, he said, adding that some shops only use alarm systems.

Besides, stores should also have advanced alarm systems and automatic doors, he said.

Vatche Bakkalian of Damas said personnel of private security firms do not receive high quality training.

He added that some stores are now using sophisticated remote-controlled alarm system as well as mini cameras, which are not noticed by visitors.

Mohammed bin Al Tayyib, owner of Konooz Al Ardh, said two alarm systems are installed in his store and they are linked directly to the police Operations Room.

But he agreed that stricter measures should be taken to prevent robberies in jewellery shops.


Beggars choose ‘loaded’ people at ATMs 

After the police crackdown on beggars, they have found an innovative style of soliciting customers by targetting those who have just withdrawn money at ATMs

DUBAI - April 23: Beggars on the streets of Deira and other areas seem to have devised a new style to con people. They now wait, loaded with tales of woes, for potential victims at ATMs. Unsuspecting people are often tricked into believing their boo hoo stories and parting with their money.
Since the police has taken a tough stand on cracking down beggars from their various known localities, it has now become very difficult for beggars to operate, forcing them to focus on ‘loaded’ persons who have just withdrawn cash from the ATM.

Dubai police has shown its commitment to cleanse the country of beggars and street vendors. In March 2006 alone, a total of 552 beggars and street vendors were arrested. The new environment became extremely fickle for beggars to operate in any emirate until they came up with a new trick that catches people off guard.

Mogesh Ashraf, an Ethiopian national is one such person who had fallen victim to this new method of tricking people. And that too on two occasions.  Recollecting the encounter, Ashraf says it happened on an evening when he had finished withdrawing money from an ATM at ADCB Naif Road. A woman neatly dressed in a Hijab (Women’s Islamic wear), confronted him immediately as he was trying to leave the machine.

“At first I thought she wanted some information from me as she was a stranger and I had already seen her waiting from a side. I could never have expected her to be a beggar. To my surprise, she began narrating to me a story of her late husband and that she needed money to look after her children since she had no job,” he says. He adds, “It is difficult to let such a person go away without your assistance after having heard the sad story. Sometimes it becomes unfortunate because she has already seen you withdrawing money and out of generosity you just flash it out to her.”

Kakooza Twaha, a Ugandan Businessman living in Dubai, had a different story to tell. He narrated how an old man conned him into believing that he had a chronic disease and was in dire need of money to buy some medicines. This incident also happened when Twaha was coming out of the ATM booth at Baniyas Road in Deira after withdrawing money.  “The man attacked me when I was still counting the money I had withdrawn. I was shocked to see him in front of me because I was not expecting anyone at that time. I had not realised that he was standing by my side close to the machine when I entered the booth,” says Twaha.

Twaha says he gave him some money out of fear because he was caught off guard and feared the consequences as he had not even pocketed his money. When he told about the experience to his friends, Twaha found out that Jackson Wefafa, a Kenyan national, had also faced a similar situation.
“Some of these ATMs don’t have security guards and if such incidents continue at places like this, it raises security concerns,” says Twaha.

However, the Dubai Police say they have not come across any such people since it is a new trick for beggars. However officials from Dubai Police Investigation Department, promised to make a thorough investigation into this and found a solution to the problem in the nearest time possible.


Three Indians get three-year jail terms for robbing a colleague  
Dubai - April 23: The Dubai Criminal Court has sentenced three Indians to three years each for robbing their victims after spraying pepper on them. They will be deported after serving their jail terms.
A fourth man was jailed for three months for buying a stolen mobile phone despite knowledge of its illegal source. The victim, a clerk at the company where the three accused – two masons and an electrician – were working, said the robbery took place at the end of February when he was driving to the company’s accommodation complex at Al Barsha. He was carrying a briefcase containing Dh 52,000 of the company’s funds, a mobile phone and his passport.

In his statement, the victim said, “As I was going home, four masked men surrounded me as soon as I alighted from the car. One of them brandished a knife at my face, but I hit him with my briefcase, dropping the knife from his hand. In the ensuing scuffle, another man sprayed pepper in my face while a second one beat me until I fell down. Then, they fled with the briefcase.”

Motorist ordered to pay Dh 200,000 for causing passenger’s death

The Dubai Traffic Court ordered an Asian motorist to pay Dh 200,000 in blood money for accidentally killing a passenger, who was travelling with him in his car. The Indian man was also handed a jail term of two months and slapped with a fine of Dh 5,000. According to court records, the motorist was driving his car recklessly under the influence of alcohol in March last year. He jumped a red signal at the intersection at Dubai Airport Duty-Free to crash into another car and a traffic signboard. The motorist sustained moderate injuries, but his passenger suffered serious injuries leading to his death. The two vehicles were badly damaged in the accident.

Philanthropist buys freedom of three prisoners

A philanthropist has helped three prisoners walk free by settling their financial dues estimated at Dh 54,600, Dh 20,000 and Dh 15,000. Jasim Mohammed Al Mazki, Chairman of Family Counselling at Ras Al Khaimah Courts Department, said the three prisoners were serving jail terms in cases related to settlement of financial dues arising out of divorce.


‘Don’t force labourers to work in harsh weather’

ABU DHABI — April 23: Companies forcing their workers to work in harsh weather conditions such as in dust storms or under the hot sun, will face penalties, a Ministry of Labour (MoL) official has warned.

The penalties could include suspension of the violating firm’s code for six months.

Jousef Jaafar, Legal Counsellor at the MoL, told Khaleej Times that the ministry would inspect the work sites to ensure that the firms abide by the labour law and the MoL’s instructions regarding occupational health and safety of workers.

“If the ministry finds any such violation, the firm will first be warned. If the firm still continues to violate the law, the ministry has the right to suspend its dealings with it,” Jaafar said.


Traffic Sham  
So frustrated are some of Dubai’s motorists by the traffic situation that they resort to calling in radio stations with wrong information, in a desperate, but fiendish attempt, to push the rush on to another route. Meet the real traffic jammers

DUBAI - April 23: Cars going bumper-to-bumper, raging motorists, honking four wheels, vehicles cutting in, frustrated drivers … just a few of the characteristics that make up for a typical Dubai traffic jam scene.  If the roads of UAE could talk, they would have the very symptoms to define their dilemma and preferably have the cars off their back. Owing to this very problem, four motorists reveal how they were forced to let go their ‘clean chit’ image in light of a more ‘jamming’ issue. With traffic becoming a pressing issue with each passing second, these commuters travelling to and fro, in and out of Dubai, decided to take matters in their own hands. This, by way of giving unrealistic and false traffic jam updates to radio stations catering to the public by way of on air announcements.

What might seem innocent at first, paves way to larger issues as it brings to fore just how ‘fed-up’ a UAE motorist is fast becoming. “I’ve been travelling from Dubai to Jebel Ali for the past five and half years now. Unfortunately, I have no choice but to take the most jam-packed route everyday. I got fed up. I had tried different alternatives like leaving half an hour early from both home and work, even taking a bus ride, etc. Nothing helps. It was this very traffic that got me brainstorming one day. I messaged a radio station from three different mobile numbers reporting a jam that never existed. Soon they were announcing it on air.

My messaging spree did not completely make the jam disappear, but it did reduce it to a comfortable effect as commuters were then taking an alternate route. I don’t regret it a bit,” says Britisher James Robinson (name changed on request), an engineer working in Jebel Ali.

While Robinson had more frustrating issues to address, for Rosa Ann Puena, a Filipino, it was a case of “just enjoying a light moment”. Working as a secretary in a very reputed company on Sheikh Zayed Road was an opportunity that Puena just could not let pass, even if it meant travelling four hours from Ajman every single day.

“I am an ardent radio listener and a very dedicated participant to most competitions. I have a habit of informing jockeys of any traffic stoppages that I might come across or encounter. Once, I decided to go the flip side and reported an accident that wasn’t as big as I made it sound. It sounded funny at first, but when I got a call back from the station I panicked and switched off my phone. I never did it ever again,” says Puena.

As amusing as it might be to the pranksters, but one group that clearly dismisses this as being even remotely funny are the RJ’s. “I am shocked to hear of this scam, but at the same time I don’t think this is a very big problem. It can be tackled with the support of the listeners. If ever they hear an update which they know is not true, they should immediately call or message to help us redirect the traffic. A few notorious people cannot take all of us for a ride,” says Gaurav Tandon, senior presenter, City 101.6.

Dealing with hoax calls

So how do RJ’s deal with hoax calls? Gaurav Tandon says he calls his listeners back or waits for the news to be proved wrong. “Sometimes, there are people who message after they have heard the update and say that they are on the same road and there is no traffic. In such a case, we go ahead and announce that as well.”

However, unlike Tandon, not all RJ’s follow the same procedure. Some just choose to ignore. Ask Danny C of Radio 1. “I only call back if there’s news of an accident. Traffic jam, I ignore as there are so many of them. In case I do need to confirm the authenticity of the report, I would ask a friend from another station if he has got the same update as well. If he hasn’t, we dump it as hoax. I do believe we have a dedicated group of listeners who wouldn’t do something like this. Right?”

Wrong. Dhananjay Kumar, a Sri Lankan accountant is a die-hard radio fan, but that did not stop him from falling prey to incorrect text messaging tactics. “I’m not trying to take the law in my hands. As a commuter I was left with no options and had to go the wrong way to do the right thing. I would constantly reach home late and end up in a fight with my family on account of the very less time that I would give them. This is the simplest form of reaction to the frustration that motorists like me feel every day,” says Kumar.

Fadi Mansour, senior presenter, Radio 2, is unfamiliar with such ‘procedures’. “We have regular and dedicated callers who report jams in repetitive hot spots and usual areas. We have a system that allows us to retrieve every single number that has either called in or messaged us. So, that helps. We just rely on the goodwill of the people. There is no fool proof mechanism to spot a wrong update,” concludes Mansour.



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