News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Capital schools to go for one hour without power

ABU DHABI — APRIL 24: After the experimental one-hour power shut off to save energy, schools in Abu Dhabi have been inspired to try this on a regular basis.

On the occasion of Earth Day, about 20 government and private schools decided to shut off their power.

Now schools like Abu Dhabi Indian School, Our Own English High School and Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Arab Pakistan School have taken their cue from the innovative idea and have decided to practise this on a regular basis.

A faculty from the Abu Dhabi Indian School’s Nature Club, Prakriti, said, “We want to do this on a regular basis and are talking to students about it. The most appropriate time would be in the morning as it will not be that hot. We want to do it at least three to four times a week, beginning April.”

Similarly a teacher from the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Arab Pakistan School also plans to follow suit and is in discussion on how to go about it.

Interestingly, it was an article on the Sydney shutdown recently that inspired schools and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) to try out this novel idea. Much of Australia’s biggest city blacked out on March 31 to express its solidarity on global warming.

An official from EAD said, “We tried to do something different this year instead of just talking to children and have received tremendous support in our endeavour.”

Schools have decided to tell their teachers to do without light when possible. Though switching off air-conditioners may not be a feasible option, schools are keen on reducing carbon monoxide emissions. “It is one way of shaking adults and youngsters up. If we make children conscious about it, they would go home and do the same,” said another teacher from the Abu Dhabi Indian School.

The school plans to shut its power supply for a minimum of 45 minutes in its classrooms, galleries, staff rooms, corridors and labs.


Save water through short showers, students urged

DUBAI — APRIL 24: Former Costa Rican president and head of the World Economic Forum Jose Maria Figueres yesterday urged students from Dubai American Academy to protect the environment and reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

Speaking on the occasion of Earth Day, the former President showed Grade IV and V students the harmful effect of carbon emissions on Planet Earth and how global warming is damaging the environment.

Known for his pioneering strategies synergising sustainable development and technology, the former president enthralled his young audience with humorous anecdotes and examples from his life.

On a lighter note, he asked them to have shorter showers, switch off the electricity when not in use and use recycled paper.


Dubai - Victim remains mystery

Dubai - APRIL 24: An Indian who had part of his heart eaten after allegedly being hacked to death by a work colleague has yet to be identified, police sources said yesterday. 7DAYS has learned that no one has come forward to identify the victim and no one has been reported as missing.

The incident occurred last week when a Pakistani, 40, is said to have murdered his colleague after the pair had argued. It is believed the victim verbally abused his attacker as they rowed and the Pakistani then smashed him over the head with a rock. He is then alleged to have hacked the body into pieces with an axe before eating part of his heart.
Al Ain Police remained tight-lipped last night about the exact circumstances surrounding the men’s argument, but did reveal that the Pakistani has not yet been identified either.
He remains in custody.


Online work visa in a day

ABU DHABI — April 24: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) will soon begin issuing work visa online, according to an informed source at the ministry.

Khalil Khoury, Director of Work Permits Department at the MoL, told Khaleej Times, yesterday, “All the companies can apply to get the work visa online through the ministry’s web site The decision is in line with the directives of Minister Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi to save time, ease the work process and to reduce the number of applicants at the counters.”



Dubai to build world’s first “green” skyscraper

DUBAI - APRIL 24: Dubai is planning to build the world’s first “green” skyscraper that will produce more electricity than it actually uses as part of the emirate’s efforts to remain an international trendsetter in building technology.

The 312-metre high skyscraper will feature revolving floors with the entire building equipped with wind turbines and solar energy panels that will make it independent of outside energy sources, according to the Italian architect David Fisher.

Environmental protection is one of the emirate’s main objectives in a recently presented master plan that includes protection ecologically important sites, water conservation, energy and resources management, the Dubai Department of Tourism said in a statement.

Dubai has in recent years diversified its economy from oil export to service and tourism, reflected by huge building projects that includes the Jumeirah Palm, the world’s largest man-made island and super skyscrapers like the Emirates Towers.


All malls to have armed patrol

DUBAI — APRIL 24: All shopping malls and commercial centres in the city will have armed police patrol in civilian clothes.

Dubai Police Chief, Lieutenant-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, announced this at a Press conference here yesterday. Around 60 police officials have already been deployed at various malls in Dubai, and more will be deployed by the year-end, Lt-Gen. Dhahi said. The move comes following the recent jewellery heist in Wafi City Mall.

As for the investigations in the heist case, Lt-Gen. Dhahi said that by next Sunday the police would have more information to share with the public. “We are moving in the right direction and we’ll bust the gang soon,” he asserted.

“The security of shopping malls is a matter of state responsibility. The police will ensure safety and security of the mall visitors and tenants,” Lt-Gen. Dhahi assured. “We will soon meet the shopping mall owners to explain to them the shortcomings of relying on private security staff,” said the police chief.

He denied that the police had reached the site late after the Wafi City heist.

“The crime had been planned over several months, after calculating the minimum time the police would take to reach the site after being alerted,” he pointed out.


Uniforms in most Abu Dhabi schools are unhealthy

ABU DHABI —APRIL 24: School uniforms being worn by students in most of the educational institutions in Abu Dhabi are unhealthy, a visiting expert has disclosed.

Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Milaigi, professor of clothes and textiles at the University of Tanta in Egypt, has called for use of ‘environment quality card’ in the UAE.

This card, which is being used in many countries, confirms that the clothes are free of any harmful materials to human health.

Addressing a workshop on ‘School Uniform Carries Health Risks’ on Sunday, Dr Milaigi  said certain types of school uniforms could cause students to contract skin diseases. The students could also become lazy due to the uniforms, he added.

The workshop was organised by Halima Al Saddiyya School at New Al Shihama in the emirate.

Dr Milagi also called for the setting up a joint committee of the ministries of Health and Education to inspect the school present uniforms being used in educational institutions.

Dr Milagi pinpointed the synthetic materials and the harmful artificial fabrics, of which the uniforms are made of, as causing sluggishness and allergy among students.

“I had sent a school uniform sample to the National Research Centre in Egypt, where laboratory tests showed it was unhealthy for children. It was made of synthetic fibres, which adversely impact children’s health,” Dr Milagi said.

Many of the coloured school uniforms, Dr Milagi pointed out, contain toxic materials, the most perilous of which are the cadmium and lead. While cadmium can cause kidney diseases, high blood pressure and anaemia, lead can affect the brain, he said. Acrylic is one of the most important substances used in the synthetic fibres used in weaving children’s clothes. This substance and its derivatives can cause inflammation of skin, and is particularly harmful for children with allergies, he said.

Most of the artificial fibres used in textiles are known to carry bacteria, which become a vehicle for infectious diseases among children, Dr Milagi pointed out.

The synthetic fibres also generate static electrical shocks that affect the brain and nerves, which may cause neurological disorders, he added.

School uniforms made of synthetic fibres, in any case, impede sucking and absorbing of humidity, thereby increasing sweating.

More sweating causes one to catch cold.

To add to it, such kinds of clothes are flammable, thus posing threat to life.


Mouse in school canteen causes concern

DUBAI — APRIL 24: A mouse was spotted in a reputed international school’s canteen yesterday while symposium to mark Earth Day was underway. The authorities of the school, situated in Al Barsha, said they had known about it for long and conceded that it was not the first time. The minor, though disturbing incident, throws up questions on the hygiene standards in schools, despite Dubai Municipality’s stringent rules governing school canteens.

Officials from the Public Health Department of Dubai Municipality emphasised that rodents moving around in a school canteen was a serious issue. “The school needs to inform us immediately about the matter. And our inspectors would visit and look into the reasons and a solution. There are some basic standards and a hygiene course, which they must follow,” said the officials. The same standards apply to the cafeterias and restaurants as well.

“Our inspectors visit the school once every month. And if we find that the schools are not following the norms, they could be fined heavily.’’


Pope Shenouda III in UAE to inaugurate church premises

ABU DHABI — APRIL 24: Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, arrived yesterday in Abu Dhabi starting a visit during which he will inaugurate the new premises of the St. Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church and Library in UAE capital city.

Pope Shenouda was received by President of Islamic Affairs and Auqaf Authority (endowment) Dr Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouei, Director of Islamic Affairs and Auqaf Authority Dr Hilal Matar Al Ka’abi, other officials and Egyptian Ambassador to the UAE Mohammed Saad Obaid.

Pope Shenouda praised the status the UAE achieved under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the country’s role in boosting dialogue among civilisations and cultures and rapprochement among faiths of the world.

Pope Shenouda will inaugurate the new Coptic Church in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. Archbishop of the Coptic Church in occupied Jerusalem, Gulf and Near East Bishop Doctor Abraham invited senior UAE officials, Christian and Muslim religious scholars, members of the Egyptian diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi.


Three-yr-old alerts mom of fire in flat

ABU DHABI — APRIL 24: An alert three-and-a-half-year-old Indian boy saved his mother and elder brother from death when a fire broke out in their residence in Madinat Zayed Souq neighbourhood in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

At the time of the incident, the boy’s mother was in the toilet. On noticing the fire, Arslan began to scream which caught his mother’s attention, the boy’s father Siddiqui Ghulam and his wife told this reporter.

Ghulam, who hails from the Indian city of Hyderabad and works with a cooking gas supplying company said, “When I was on duty, my wife phoned me at about 12.30pm telling me that a fire had broken out in their apartment (No 102 located in the building No 143 and owned by Mohammed Ali Humaid).

“I immediately rushed to my flat located in Electra Street neighbourhood. On reaching there at 1.15pm I found that the fire had destroyed most of contents in the apartment, including the two ACs in the two bedrooms. The three (his wife and two sons) managed to escape the scene, and were safe,” Ghulam said. “My eldest daughter was in school.”

“The fire started in the bedroom where my two sons were, and their mother was in the toilet,” Ghulam said adding  “my youngest son started to scream when he saw the fire raging in the bedroom. The mother, who was not identified, said, “I came out from the toilet and saw the fire had gutted most of the contents of the apartment.

“The first thing I did was that I began to search for Adnan, who was outside the gutted bedroom,” she said, adding “I was very much worried because I did not see him due to the thick smoke that blanketed the place. I kept calling out to him till I found him, and immediately took him and his brother away from the flames after immediately closing the main switch of power supply and removing the gas cylinder from the flat.”

Meanwhile, the occupants of the multi-storey building and other good samaritans managed to put out the flames before the police and the fire-fighters arrived. “We had packed our things and were prepared to vacate the flat in two days,” Ghulam said. “I had packed all our belongings in six cartons as we had to shift to another flat on Tuesday.”

Police sealed the flat and barred entry to it until the arrival of the forensic laboratory personnel to collect samples of the burnt material and items for testing to detect the cause of the blaze.


Dubai - Keep kids healthy

Dubai - April 24: Parents are risking the long-term health and well-being of their children because they don’t want to spend money on important dental check-ups, according to dentists. Dr Oula Kowatli, dental practitioner at Emirates Hospital, said despite being happy to spend thousands of dirhams on expensive clothes and handbags, some begrudge paying out money for six-monthly check-ups for their children’s baby teeth - which they will lose in a couple of years anyway. The end result, she says, is often severe tooth decay, abscesses and sometimes even the need for root canal surgery. Speaking at her clinic yesterday, Dr Kowatli told 7DAYS: “Here in Dubai we are so into the aesthetic but there isn’t enough awareness of the importance of preventative dental health care.”

Dr Kowatli said while 80 per cent of her patients come for pain relief, only 20 per cent have regular six-month, or even yearly, check-ups. So when parents eventually bring their often in pain children for treatment, they end up needing extensive and sometimes costly treatment, which an earlier check-up could have prevented.
Frustrated, she added: “These are educated people who don’t think twice about paying out for clothes but question why they should pay for their child’s first teeth when they will lose them in a few years anyway. Often they think I’m trying to get extra money from them unnecessarily.”

Dr Kowatli’s experience was echoed by several dentists including practitioners at Dubai Sky Clinic, who said “baby bottle decay” was the most serious and damaging of conditions they treated. “Baby bottle decay” is a  condition which involves the rapid decay of many or all the baby teeth of an infant or child, caused by frequent exposure of the teeth for long periods to liquid containing sugars.

Dr Rabih Abi Nader, oral surgeon and implantologist, said parents needed to understand the importance of brushing their child’s teeth for them: “If a nanny does this for them then they should attend a check-up so we can show them how to brush properly.” Dr Kowatli added: “I can’t imagine people could be happy with rotten teeth. Every parent surely wants their child to have a beautiful, healthy smile.”



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