NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Strict action against illegals after amnesty
ABU DHABI — JUL 31: Illegal workers who stay on after the expiry of September 2 amnesty deadline will face prison terms in addition to fines and permanent re-entry ban, according to Brigadier Mohammad Ghurair Al Rumaithi, deputy general-director of the Naturalisation and Residency Departments in the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
After the amnesty ends, a law defining fines and prison terms will be passed and strictly implemented. “The country gave the illegal workers two opportunities in 1996 and 2004. However, many ‘illegals’ did not pay heed to the amnesty facility,” Brig. Al Rumaithi told the media yesterday.
The authorities concerned will launch inspection campaigns across the country and anyone found violating the residency laws will face stern action and penalties.
The Cabinet decision No. 1/33 regarding the amnesty stipulates punishment for employers, sponsors and companies who provide shelter to ‘illegals’ in the UAE.
Currently, the NRDs are issuing outpasses which are valid for a week, but extendable by another week or more until the amnesty-seeker leaves the country.
So far a total of 110,650 illegal workers, mostly maids, drivers and farm workers have approached the Naturalisation and Residency Departments across the UAE to benefit from the three-month amnesty period, Brig. Al Rumaithi said.
While, 49,029 ‘illegals’ were seeking reguralisation of status, 61,621 have been given outpasses. Ninety per cent of amnesty-seekers are Asian males.
Meanwhile, officials have urged amnesty-seekers to contact the nearest NRDs offices to benefit from the amnesty. “We are working 18 hours a day to provide assistance for completion of formalities, be it departure from the country or reguralisation of status,” he added.
Brig Al Rumaithi said sponsors who wish to get a temporary permit for recruiting a worker, maybe a driver, for example, can get a three-month temporary permit. However, these permits are not renewable, he clarified.
In case of a woman who has come to the UAE to work as maid, but has run away from her sponsor to live with her husband, who is also working in the country, and was reported ‘absconding’ by her sponsor, the NRDs will consider the husband as violator of the Cabinet decision.
He would be liable to face the penalty for sheltering an ‘illegal’, which could be one month in prison and fine up to Dh50,000, Brigadier Al Rumaithi explained.
Photo rule for visas from August 20
DUBAI — JUL 31: The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) will implement the new photograph rule for the issuance of visas from August 20.
As per the rule, the DNRD now requires the photograph of the person for whom the visa is to be issued, confirmed DNRD director, Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri.
Al Marri noted: “The decision applies to all categories of visas. The objective is to protect people as it’s a preventive action against any kind of manipulation or tampering of visas.
“The decision is in compliance with the directives of the Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.” As per the new rule, a sponsor has to submit the visa application — of the person he is sponsoring — along with a colour photocopy (instead of a black and white photocopy) of the person’s passport. DNRD will fix the applicant’s photograph on the visa.
Dubai - Parents blamed
Dubai - Jul 31: Police and Public Prosecution officials are blaming parents for a noticeable increase in juvenile crime during the summer months across Dubai. With lots of time on their hands and little to occupy them while schools and colleges are closed for the summer, police claim parents should play a greater role in supervising their children to keep them out of trouble.
The head of Deira Public Prosecution, Yusif Foladh, hit out at the lack of supervision and control by parents yesterday stating: “The parents' absence during the day is a major influence on the disorder carried out by teenagers. Parents become busy with daily life, especially if the father is regularly away from the home.” Foladh said that he had seen a rise in juvenile crime this summer, although did not give figures. He added that television programmes from abroad were changing teenagers' attitudes and way of thinking. “We should educate the youths as to how they can use their spare time to the benefit of society,” he added.
Lieutenant Colonel Jasim Mirza, head of awareness and campaign department at Dubai Police, agreed, telling 7DAYS that police force runs special summer programmes to occupy teenagers and keep them out of trouble. “There is only a small number of youths who attend these programmes and it is the responsibility of parents to encourage their children to make them take part. We have 500 young people in Dubai and Hatta attending summer programmes helping society. Many youths spend their time during the summer outside of the house without supervision from the parents. This is wrong and leads to problems.”
According to statistics released yesterday, robbery cases have made up 40 per cent of all the cases referred to the Juvenile Court in Dubai this summer, with 16 per cent of cases for fighting and assault and 13 per cent for damaging property. Some parents hit back at the criticism yesterday saying supervising their children constantly is unrealistic.
One said: “I cannot supervise my son all the time or choose his friends. What if the friends he chooses to be with want to smoke or cause problems while out on the street? I can only offer my best advice and I cannot be there all the time.” Another parent, Ahmad Jamal, told 7DAYS: “I cannot lock my children in the house the whole holidays. They need to go out and keep themselves occupied. What are we meant to do with them?”
Salik online recharge likely to begin soon
DUBAI — JUL 31: Though a month has passed after the introduction of road toll system in Dubai, the online Salik recharge system has yet to see the light of the day. Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials say the system was expected to begin by the end of this week.
Authorities concerned said they were in the process of reviewing the entire system at the moment. “The officials of the RTA have been closely reviewing the online system. The other aspects of Salik are also been closely monitored and studied. Salik has proved to be of great help. Traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road and the Garhoud Bridge has reduced drastically,” said an RTA representative.
“The online recharge system would be beginning soon. It is expected to start off from next week. The officials are working in this connection,” the representative added.
Motorists using the route everyday also felt that an online recharge system would save them a lot of time. Though a costly affair, Salik has made a difference by easing the traffic situation on the two main roads of the emirate, they felt.
“The RTA officials should start off with the online recharge system as soon as possible. This would be saving a lot of time for us. We don’t have to stop at the petrol stations time and again for recharges. One can sit at home and recharge online. It should have been done the day Salik was launched,” said Akhtar Sami, a commuter who uses Salik frequently.
“One has to agree that Salik has made a difference. It might be a costly affair, but then the traffic along Garhoud and Shaikh Zayed Road has drastically dropped. Now it takes less than 20 minutes to cross the highway. Earlier the same distance used to take over an hour,” he added.
Sharjah - Fines for supporters
Sharjah - Jul 31: Scores of Iraqi football fans who honoured their national team’s famous victory in the Asian Cup on the streets of Sharjah on Sunday night, have been fined by police for their over-zealous and noisy celebrations.
Sharjah Traffic Police said yesterday that many supporters had been fined for a variety of offences following the 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. The majority of fines were issued to drivers who blocked roads in the emirate with their vehicles causing lengthy queues. Others were fined for “annoying” other motorists a police spokesman said.
One Iraqi fan told 7DAYS: “Some officers were confiscating our flags that were hanging out of the car windows while some people were booked for blocking the roads.”
Ministry no to water price hike
ABU DHABI — JUL 31: Here is some good news for those who had felt concerned over the move to hike prices of bottled water. The Ministry of Economy has rejected -for the time being- the latest demand of bottled water companies in this regard.
Earlier this week, several bottled water companies had sought the ministry’s nod to increase the prices of 5-gallon bottled water from Dh7 to Dh9. The companies had reportedly cited the increased cost of production as the reason for their demand.
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of the Ministry’s Consumer Protection Unit, yesterday said the companies had been asked to provide the ministry with the detailed information on the cost of production, wholesale prices and other industry-specific information.
Workers benefit from midday break rule
ABU DHABI — JUL 31: The midday break rule seems to be paying dividends as health authorities confirmed a remarkable decline in number of heat exhaustion cases and strokes among outdoor labourers this summer.
Medical sources confirmed that during the month of July, specially weekends when many construction companies work, the number of heat-related cases reported was insignificant, thanks to the routine labour inspections during holidays.
In 2005, the Ministry of Labour enforced a rule allowing labourers a break from 12.30pm to 3.00pm during the months of July and August.
Before the implementation of this rule, hundreds of heat exhaustion and sunstrokes cases were reported across the country. A few cases of death of labourers were also attributed to direct exposure to sun during hot season.
Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Dr Jihad Awadi, emergency doctor at Mafraq Hospital, stated that heat exhaustion cases received on weekends were very few.
“The number of heat cases admitted this month at the emergency unit are insignificant, specially over the weekends,” said Dr Awadi.
He said as compared to previous years, the situation this year seems to be stable where health of outdoor labourers during summer is concerned.
“Previously, we used to have the hospital’s corridors full of sick labourers. But now the situation is stable and on some days in July, no cases were reported at all,” Dr Awadi added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour Humaid bin Deemas said his ministry intensifies inspections at work sites.
Poster campaign on sunstroke launched
DUBAI — JUL 31: Some 220 companies in the UAE have so far been penalised for flouting the midday break law this year, a top Ministry of Labour (MoL) official said yesterday.
Ahmed Kajoor, assistant under-secretary of MoL, disclosed this while attending a function to release an information poster on sunstroke at the Consulate General of India yesterday.
The official further disclosed that violations of the midday break rule by companies had witnessed a significant decrease this year compared to the past years.
“The MoL has been carrying out regular inspections at the work sites to ensure that the midday break rule is strictly adhered to. Companies are aware that they will face stringent action for flouting the law,” he said.
Kajoor urged more institutions to come forward to take part in the process of creating awareness among the labourers on different issues.
Venu Rajamony, Indian consul general in Dubai said: “This poster campaign will help labourers know more about sunstroke and its effects. The MoL is doing a great job to save the workers from the scorching heat by stipulating and implementing the midday break rule.”
The information posters on sunstroke, prepared in four languages (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and English), were handed over to various company representatives at the function.
Bakery owners want price hike
ABU DHABI — JUL 31: Bakery owners yesterday held a meeting with the Ministry of Economy (MoE) officials to plead their case for a 100 per cent hike in the prices of bread and bread products.
At yesterday’s meeting, bakery manufacturers cited the manifold increase in prices of wheat flour and cooking oil as well as the higher transportation costs, especially in view of the recent hike in diesel prices, as the reason for their demand.
A delegation of 14 bakery owners had also met the MoE officials on Sunday to press for a hike in prices, particularly khuboos prices. They said that the price of a packet of khuboos had stayed unchanged at Dh1 since 1974.
“For the past 30 years, we have not increased the price of any of our products. However, the prices of all raw materials have increased significantly,” said Abdus Salam, branch manager of Kohinoor Bakery in Abu Dhabi.
250KG MOTHER TRAPPED IN BED
SHARJAH - JUL31: A mother who wants to return home to Pakistan under the amnesty programme is unable to reach the airport because she is so overweight she cannot leave her bed. Liqa Khan, 52, weighs more than 250kg and is incapable of moving, even to visit the bathroom. She has been trapped in her bed for 30 months and suffers from a range of medical problems including breathing difficulties and elephantiasis – a disease that causes tissue in the legs to swell.
Her 27-year-old daughter Ruj stays at home to care for her. Both mother and daughter’s visas expired 10 years ago and they are desperate to take advantage of the amnesty, which ends on August 31.
But they cannot afford the medical assistance required to transport Liqa from her home in Sharjah to the airport.
Now they are appealing to the public for help.
“My mother needs to see her homeland before she passes away,” said Ruj.
“She has not been home in 18 years and this is the last chance we will have to leave without penalty.” To take Liqa to the airport, the family will need a large wheelchair, an ambulance and medical assistance plus airline tickets back home.
“My mother will need more than one seat on the plane,” she added.
“We have contacted many airlines but only Emirates will allow her on the plane. It is breaking my heart to see her helpless like this.” A year ago Liqa’s weight hit 350kg and was endangering her life.
Ruj sought advice from Rachel Dacruz, a diet counsellor based in the United Kingdom, who agreed to help.
She put Liqa on a very low calorie diet that enabled her to lose 100kg.
Dacruz said: “She is doing very well and I only wish I had more time to bring her weight down to help her travel back to Pakistan.
“She has many medical problems which we have been able to help reduce, but she is still a sick woman.
“Because of the family’s financial situation and the fact that they don’t have visas, they desperately want to take advantage of the amnesty.” Ruj added: “My mother would never permit me to seek help from the public in this way – but we have no one else to turn to.”
Firefighters save the day as blaze threatens tower
DUBAI - JUL 31: A massive fire broke out on the seventh floor of a residential building in Bur Dubai at around 9pm last night. The Civil Defence team, which rushed to flat number 704 of Blue Glass Building on Rolla Street, told Emirates Today that after the fire had broken out, six ambulances and 11 fire extinguishers were rushed to the spot.
According to eye witnesses and building resident G Nirwan, residents realised there was a fire in the building when they heard a number of Filipino women screaming from inside flat number 704.
“They were screaming ‘Help, help’. The door was closed and we had to break it open.The room was filled with thick smoke. One of the women came out and was vomiting,” said Nirwan, who by then had managed to secure a fire extinguisher.
Within five minutes the building was totally evacuated, except for those still stuck in the flat and two of the adjoining apartments. The police then used a crane to rescue those trapped inside.
Most of the residents of the building, which has a total of 42 flats, were from the Philippines, Russia and India.
“Officers are still at the site. We cannot confirm the number of causalities right now,” said one official.
At the time of going to press, the fire had been extinguished and several people were taken away in ambulances. Unofficial reports said one firefighter and one policeperson suffered injuries.
No more needles for diabetics
DUBAI - JUL 31: A new pharmaceutical company in the UAE is introducing oral and nasal insulin treatments to the Emirates for the first time, bringing relief to thousands of diabetics. Diabetes sufferers in the UAE currently have no choice but to take regular insulin injections to combat the illness.
But a solution is on the horizon, thanks to a joint venture announced yesterday between Indian biotechnology giant Biocon and Abu Dhabi-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Neopharma.
The newly formed company, Neobiocon – to be based at Dubiotech – aims to bring pioneering insulin medication in the form of tablets and nasal inhalers to the Emirates for the first time.
The non-injection treatments are currently being developed by Biocon, and the company intends to introduce them to the UAE market once they have been clinically approved.
Biocon’s Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “We will bring a nasal insulin spray to this market, which will be a huge benefit to insulin patients here in the UAE.
“We are also in the process of developing insulin in tablet form in India, but we will include Dubai as we go forward with this.
“The biggest challenge in the world markets is the affordability of biotherapeutic drugs. We have brought to the Indian market the most affordable insulin, and we intend to do the same in [the UAE] market.” The Neobiocon joint venture marks the first time a company in the Middle East has undertaken the development and marketing of bio pharmaceutical niche products in the fields of diabetes, oncology, cardiology, autoimmune disorders and antiobesity drugs.
The new company will also be rolling out many education initiatives to teach people about the debilitating effects of lifestyle diseases, including diabetes.
Diabetes affects between 20 and 25 per cent of the adult population in the UAE, which makes the disease four times more prevalent than worldwide figures, according to World Health Organisation statistics.
INSULIN DELIVERY SYSTEMS
PRE-FILLED INSULIN PENS A small pen-sized device holds an insulin cartridge (usually containing 300 units) and the amount of insulin to be injected is dialed in by turning the bottom of the pen. A release mechanism allows the needle in the tip of the pen to penetrate just under the skin and deliver the required amount of insulin. The cartridges and needles are disposed of when finished and new ones inserted. INSULIN PUMP A battery-operated pump about the size of a pager, and a computer chip allows the user to control the exact amount of insulin being delivered continuously over a 24-hour period.
The pump is attached to a thin plastic tube (an infusion set) that has a cannula (like a needle but soft) at the end through which insulin passes. This cannula is inserted under the skin, usually on the abdomen. INHALED INSULIN The insulin is packaged in dry blister packs that are inserted into an inhalation device. This device lances the powder packs, allowing the insulin to enter a chamber that has a mouthpiece through which the user can inhale the insulin. OTHER METHODS Intranasal insulin delivery was initially thought to be promising. However, this method was associated with poor absorption and nasal irritation.
Transdermal insulin (skin patch delivery) has also yielded disappointing results to date. Insulin in pill form is also not yet effective since the digestive enzymes in the gut break it down.