News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Watchmen make a killing out of bachelor tenants

SHARJAH — MAY 06: Building watchmen are apparently taking advantage of the Sharjah Municipality's decision to evict bachelors from the emirate's residential areas.

Watchmen of several residential complexes in the emirate are demanding bribes from bachelors who have stayed on in the buildings despite the ban in return for not reporting the matter to the civic body. 

“We fear of being asked to vacate the apartments by the landlord. If we don't pay the building watchmen, they threaten us,” said N. Srinivasan, a bachelor living in Sharjah's Rolla Square area.

“We know that the civic body has earmarked industrial areas for bachelors, but it's difficult to find accommodation. So I am forced to continue living in a residential building where families stay.  I am being protected by the building watchman who often threatens to report the matter to the municipality if I do not pay him the money whenever he demands it,” said MA who stays in the Al Zahra area.

Watchmen demand anything between Dh100 and Dh200, he added.

Commenting on the issue, a Sharjah Municipality official said only landlords, not watchmen, are held responsible for any kind of violation of the civic body's regulations. “Municipality inspectors are working hard to evict all  bachelors from residential areas and have launched hotlines to receive complaints in this regard.”

A watchman, who spoke on condition of anonymity,  said most of the bachelors rent flats saying that they will be staying with their families. He admits to taking Dh100 from each bachelor in his building. "We all need money since the cost of living has gone up drastically in Sharjah and our salary is simply not enough to survive."


Bid to limit visit visa holders from UAE entry'

DUBAIMAY 06: The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) has clarified an earlier report on entry limit for visit visa holders, a top official of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG), told Khaleej Times.

The issue that visit visa holders are supposedly limited to only three consecutive visit visa entries to the UAE has become a concern for the Philippine community, particularly since a substantial number of Filipinos enter the country frequently on visit visa.

Philippine Consul-General Antonio S. Curameng said he spoke with Brigadier Mohammad Ahmad Al Marri, DNRD Director, to clarify the matter after four Filipinos were held and questioned at the Terminal 2 of the Dubai International Airport (DIA) last month while returning for a visa change trip to Kish Island.

“Brigadier Al Marri has personally informed me that there is no such policy limiting visit visa holders from entering the country. As long as a tourist is 18-years-old and above, and has a valid UAE visit visa, he or she can enter the country any time,” said Curameng.

He also echoed the DNRD official’s comments that the report published in the local Press about the alleged immigration limitation was wrong. “That (report) has actually caused further confusion not just within the Filipino community, but perhaps in other expatriate communities here as well,' the consul-general added.

Last month, the PCG intervened in a case involving four Filipinos who have renewed their visit visas several times, one of whom has been frequently changing her visa for the past two years. The Filipinos were eventually allowed to pass through the immigration procedures.

Curameng then sent an official communication to DNRD to clarify the issue. “I am glad that Brigadier Al Marri has responded to our request and straightened the facts,” he said.


Oil slick pollutes Jumeirah coast; clean-up under way

DUBAI — MAY 06: An oil slick was spotted off the Jumeirah coast-line yesterday, causing some hotels in the area to keep their private beaches closed.

The Dubai Municipality launched a clean-up campaign immediately after the slick was spotted, a top official said. The origin or cause of the slick is yet to be established.

“The oil slick was reported about 2pm and our team rushed to the spot to clean up the affected areas”, Dubai Municipality's Head of Environment Protection and Safety Redha Hassan Salman told Khaleej Times. He, however, added that the open beach area remained open to the public.

“Many beach-goers were already there when the slick was spotted.

Hotels close beaches 

“Some hotels in the area did close their private beaches,” he said.

The clean-up efforts continued till late last evening, said Salman, adding that the civic body officials would monitor the situation today. "If required, we will continue the cleaning process," he said.

The slick tar was found mainly in the Jumeirah beach area and beaches in the eastern area of marina were not affected.

A spokesperson of Jumeirah, the company which runs luxury hotels along the coastal stretch, said the oil slick was not a major concern.

"A few of our guests complained about the tar and our team took care of their complaints," the spokesperson added.


Ads grow on trees in Al Ain

AL AIN — MAY 06: Following a crackdown by Al Ain Municipality's Department of Public Health on unauthorised advertisements stuck on lamp posts and building walls, some unscrupulous elements have now begun to target trees for displaying advertisements, using long iron toggles.

This method adopted by rental companies and brokers is harmful to trees because the long screws can damage the trees' tissues.

It has been observed that without any respect for law or ethics, brokers and rent agents stick their unauthorised advertisements even on telephone cabins, light posts, soft drink dispensers and coffee machines.

While expressing the need for strict laws to curb such methods of advertising that harm the environment, a municipal source demanded strong penalties against violators.

A presentation of 130 photographs based on a visual survey, conducted recently, highlighted the need for the authorities to create an effective control mechanism in order to preserve the beauty of Al Ain, in general, and its buildings, in particular.

The survey was conducted by Khalid Mohiuddun, draughtsman, Department of Architectural Engineering, UAE University, to assess the municipal growth in various cities of the UAE and the impact of billboards and posters on the environment.

Explaining his reasons for concentrating on buildings in Al Ain and Dubai, Mohiuddun said he chose these two cities for their contrasting characteristics in structure and development. Al Ain is famous for its low buildings while Dubai has skyscrapers and highrises.


'Video games may cause diabetes'

ABU DHABI — MAY 06: Children’s obsession with computer and video games could be harmful for them as they could develop II diabetes, warned a medical expert.

"The very popular video and computer games could  be associated with more kids now getting diabetes type II due to long hours they stay glued to the screen," cautioned Dr Roberts Zimmerman, Interim Chairman of Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Cleveland Clinic.

In an interview with Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an international conference on Diabetes, Dr Zimmerman advised that parents must impose a time limit on the number of hours for children to play video games.

The one-day conference was held yesterday in the capital with the aim of raising public awareness about the risks associated with the epidemic and means and ways of prevention. "Children need to exercise to become more active. Type II diabetes is preventable and one of the recommended step towards cure is to exercise," he said.

Type II diabetes, is a type of diabetes mellitus in which although the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, they are not immediately life-threatening, he explained.

"It usually strikes people who are older than 40 years old. In many cases the adults' body tissues become insensitive to insulin. This type of diabetes is also known as 'adult onset diabetes' or 'non-insulin-dependent diabetes'," clarified the expert.

He underlined that type I diabetes, which is insulin dependent has no definite causes yet and is not associated with lack of exercise among children and adolescent, noting that only a few kids get this type of diabetes.

"Generally, early detection for the disease could avert serious acute and chronic complications of diabetes, including strokes, heart attacks, kidney diseases, retinopathy (which can cause blindness) and nerve diseases," said Dr Zimmerman.

Regular exercise,  proper dietary system and decreasing body weight, are of crucial importance to prevent the disease, he advised.


Ties with Indian cities reviewed

DUBAI — MAY 06: Hussain Nasser Lootah, acting director-general of the Dubai Municipality, received Venu Rajamoni, Consul-General of India, at the municipality headquarters on Thursday.

During the meeting, they reviewed areas of cooperation and ways of strengthening the friendly ties between Dubai and various Indian cities.

Lootah welcomed Rajamoni and discussed with the diplomat the existing relations and cooperation between the Dubai Municipality and the Indian consulate.

He expressed his willingness to cooperate with the consulate on issues of mutual concern.


Bachelors can live in Hor Al Anz, Satwa: DM official

DUBAI — MAY 06: In an attempt to clear the confusion prevailing over the bachelor accommodation issue, the Dubai Municipality has stated that bachelors can reside in specially-designated areas in Deira and Bur Dubai provided they took care of hygiene and cleanliness.

Earlier, the municipality had said that all bachelors would have to shift out of the city, sooner or later.

Senior municipality officials, however, stated that strict action would be initiated against those found living in unhygienic conditions. Random checks would be intensified in this regard.

Speaking to a section of the media, Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said, "We are not saying that the bachelors have to shift to places like Al Quoz and Jebel Ali. Those places are for labourers. We are  keeping a strict vigil on those places to ensure strict hygiene standards. The municipality keeps a close eye and inspects these places on a regular basis."

"As far as the white-collared bachelors are concerned," he said, "we have designated places like Hor Al Anz in the Deira area and Satwa in the Bur Dubai area. There are many houses where they can very well live in. But again, they will have to ensure hygiene and cleanliness. The municipality officials would be checking these places time and again and strict action, even possible eviction, can be taken if they remain untidy."

"The bachelors, however, have to vacate other areas and flats where the families are living," he pointed out.

Municipality sources added that the bachelors could stay in Jebel Ali and Al Quoz, if desired.

Lootah added that municipality officials were well aware of the difference between a white-collared and a blue-collared bachelor. "Yes, we understand that the bachelors working in banks and other offices would be having difficulty in staying with the labourers. We are concerned about them too. But they cannot be allowed to stay in family accommodations," he said.

On the other hand, several bachelors opined that the decision to evict them from the prime areas of Dubai had hit them hard. "It has increased our problems to a great deal. If the authorities are asking us to leave, they should do something to provide us with proper accommodations too. Hor Al Anz is far away from the main city. I have my office in the Bank Street in Bur Dubai and commuting is going to be a big problem. The authorities should listen to us too," said Imran Shaikh (name changed), who works in a bank.

"As it is there are so many people living in these two places. And most of the houses are full. Moreover these places are not very much developed. It is going to be a difficult deal for us," said another bank employee.


Bhangra for fun, exercise

DUBAI — MAY 06: Move over aerobics! Vibrant 'bhangra' is here to 'balley balley' those who wish to shake a leg either for fun or to shed that extra flab.

All you need to do is head for 'Power Bhangra' where an energetic blend of Punjabi music and conventional exercises could set your feet tapping and draw you into a rejuvenating sweat-it-out session.

That is exactly what women from different nationalities do when they meet twice a week at either Mall of the Emirates or Movenpick Hotel or at Hayya at the Meadows.

An enthusiastic Pooja Jaisingh says that the innovative dance routine has boosted her energy and confidence levels. "We get personalised attention here and it's like a dancercise, where dance and exercise are combined," she says.

Besides lifting the spirits, the women also view the routine as a good workout. One of the students said, "I joined this class just to do something different. The music is fun and the instructor is also lively." 

Ahlam Ali, the brain behind the concept, is a dance, fitness and music enthusiast. It was in London that she learned to dance and wanted to simulate the experience in Dubai.

"I wanted to be fit and also realised that there was nothing like this in Dubai. I decided it would be great if I could bring together music, aerobics and dance on the same platform," she says, adding "because of the gap in the market, the concept caught on like wildfire."

Commenting on the name Power Bhangra, she said it was to emphasise the fitness component in it.

Though some students feel that the eight-week course requires a little bit more professionalism and proper structuring, besides being more focused, Ali defends her concept by saying, "It is supposed to be informal and personalised. Also it is a fun thing which cannot be monotonous." 

There are several programmes across Dubai that offer purely dance routines and dance exercises. But Ali also has Power Eating programmes for the weight-conscious participants.


Dubai - Hey good looking

Dubai - MAY 06: A Dubai-based construction company has handed out  glasses to 69 workers after they were found to be struggling with poor eyesight. The initiative started by an American expatriate was supported by a construction company and a regional optical chain.

The idea started when Jamie Phares, a marketing manager at Johnson & Johnson Medical - Middle East noticed that none of the workers ever wore glasses. “I was looking at the workers and saw no one ever wearing glasses. I felt that was unusual and thought it would be great to help them,” said Jamie. She took forward the idea and started her pilot programme to conduct eye tests for workers.

Jamie approached Al Jaber Optical, who volunteered to provide eye exams for free and a pair of glasses for each worker who needed them. She then communicated with Al Shirawi Group which has more than  2,000 construction workers in various projects across Dubai. Eye tests were conducted and those who needed them were recently handed their new glasses. “The workers were thrilled to receive their new glasses,” said Jamie. Workers told 7DAYS that they feel great and also look good. “We never bought any glasses as we could not afford them. These are great,” said one. People who wish to join the initiative can contact Al Jaber Optical on 04 2667700.




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