NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Security Alert as Two Indian Passesngers Vanish from Plane
Dubai - Aug 05: Two airline passengers sparked a major security scare at Dubai International Airport yesterday, when they disappeared from a plane – leaving their luggage in the hold.
Mystery continued to surround the men’s movements as no trace of them was found even though they went missing at midnight.
The passengers, both Indians, were on Jazeera Airways Flight J9422 from Kuwait to New Delhi. They vanished during a stopover in Dubai, causing a two-hour delay before the plane was cleared for take-off.
Their luggage was unloaded from the aircraft and passed to security staff for inspection.
The drama prompted a warning from a top immigration official that transit passengers found wandering around the airport without valid documents will be dealt with severely.
A traveller from Dubai, who flew to New Delhi on the aircraft, said: “We were told by the crew two passengers have gone missing – hence the delay.
“We waited for almost two hours before taking off as they could not be found.
“Some of us were worried because the two men had checked in their baggage.” Another passenger from Dubai said: “We felt comfortable only after the cabin crew assured us their baggage had been offloaded.” Jazeera Airways’s station manager in Dubai confirmed the incident had taken place – and said an extensive search failed to locate the missing pair.
“We do not know where they have gone,” he said.
“They were not supposed to get off the plane and should have remained seated during the stopover.
“The flight could not take off until we offloaded their baggage as it concerns the safety and security of other passengers on the plane.” He said the men would not have been able to leave the airport unless they had UAE residence visas or managed to obtain visit visas in the arrivals area of the airport.
If they still wished to travel to Delhi they will have to buy new tickets in line with the airline’s terms and conditions, he said.
Lieutenant Mohammed Saber, Head of Immigration at Dubai International Airport, said: “Passengers disappearing while in transit is a serious issue concerning the security of the airport and all other passengers.
“Transit passengers are to remain in the transit lounge. They can go out of the airport only if they have a transit visa.” He said it was the responsibility of the airlines to ensure transit passengers did not go missing.
He said passengers found roaming without valid papers inside the airport will face tough action.
Living bachelor’s life even after marriage!
ABU DHABI — AUG 05: They live a sort of ‘double life’ because they are married and have a family and yet are compelled by circumstances to lead a bachelor’s life — all for a cause. The cause being various commitments and obligations towards their family and their children.
These are the many suffering married expatriates who reside in the UAE without their families because they had to repatriate them for a multiplicity of reasons.
They, however, continue to strive to secure a better life for their loved ones. But these ‘bachelors’ invariably have to pay a heavy price — the heaviest being deprived of a normal family life.
Most such expats told Khaleej Times the limbo-like situation they face is due to their many commitments and obligations towards their families. The majority agreed that living without their family members exerts a powerful negative influence.
Psychological experts said living separate and far away from one’s family might cause several psychological disorders and both partners and the children might eventually develop some serious depression symptoms.
Mustafa Khalifa, a journalist who is a father of four kids and has been living here alone for the past seven years said: “In general, such a situation in obviously not normal and has several adverse psychological results. There is always a certain heartache one suffers. I meet my family only during my holidays but that is not enough. Also, I think a mother alone should not have to handle such a situation”.
Dr R.P.Gupta, an orthopedic consultant whose family has been away for a while, said he views life without one’s family as absolutely intolerable. “Acute loneliness also affects the quality of life. It’s a continuous distraction and often leads to a lack of concentration. But some people do feel compelled to make such a compromise for the sake of their various obligations towards their families”.
Rafeeq Hassan: “Life has both positive and negative aspects. Married men who live without their family lead a kind of ‘double life’ and do suffer psychologically — especially in their moments of acute loneliness.”
Engineer Abdullah Abdulhafiz Hamad opined: “Everybody loves it and feels secure when one is with his family. But many people are forced to make many sacrifices for the sake of their family and their children.”
Dr Mohammed Hussein Ali, consultant psycho-therapist and psychiatrist: “Family members living separately have to put up with a huge psychological impact. And that on all sides.”
Emirates offers special fares to amnesty-seekers
DUBAI — AUG 05: As a goodwill gesture towards UAE Government’s three-month-long amnesty programme, Dubai-based carrier Emirates has begun to offer special fares to amnesty-seekers who wish to leave the UAE.
A representative from Emirates told Khaleej Times that amnesty-seekers can avail themselves of discounts ranging from 22 to 55 per cent on tickets to certain destinations.
“For expatriates wishing to leave the UAE under the government’s amnesty programme, Emirates is offering special fares to 13 destinations. Depending on the destination, the special fares can be 22 to 55 per cent cheaper than the normal fares,” the representative noted.
It is learnt that the discounts will be available to people going to certain destinations in the subcontinent.
Amnesty-seekers have been asked to get in touch with Emirates or their travel agents to get the details of the special offer.
Besides Emirates, Biman Bangladesh airlines is also offering fare concessio
bound for Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong throughout the amnesty period, which is expected to end in the first week of September.
Meanwhile, Jaishree Ramachandran, Air-India’s Regional Manager-Dubai and Northern Emirates, yesterday stated that Air-India Express has been tapped for additional seat capacity to accommodate Indian amnesty-seekers.
“During the past few days, we have observed a bigger demand for seats to India, particularly to Kerala. This demand has prompted us to tap Air-India Express to offer additional seats so that we could accommodate the rush of passengers, especially those who have availed themselves of the amnesty,” she said.
Air-India is charging Dh690 for a one-way ticket from Dubai to Calicut, Trivandrum, Cochin and Amritsar, while the special fare to Delhi and Mumbai is Dh590. Both fares are inclusive of taxes.
Air-India will operate two additional flights on August 19 and 22 to Hyderabad via Mumbai to meet the demand of amnesty-seekers.
Water Bus to go on stream from Aug 16
DUBAI — AUG 05: It is official, now. The first Water Bus, also termed as the ‘iceberg’ in the Dubai Creek would start operating from August 16. The first route will link Al Sabkha and Bur Dubai stations, according to senior officials of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said, “This route would be operational from August 16. All the other lines would start functioning from September.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had inaugurated the Water Bus service and the Floating Bridge on July 17.
The Water Bus is expected to ferry over 2 million passengers annually.
Meanwhile, Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has issued an order under which the RTA has been given the authority of licensing, registering, operating and planning the routes of the Water Bus service.
The RTA has also been empowered to outsource the operation of Water Buses to any entity or a company in consideration of an amount as detailed in the conditions and standards prescribed in the Implementation Chart of the Order.
The decision has fixed Dh9,000 as Water Bus registration fees and Dh4 per person one-way trip between two stations. The tourists fare has been fixed at Dh25 per passenger for a round trip.
The RTA has also tasked with the responsibility of licensing the commuting lines or routes of the Water Buses as well as their drivers. It has been authorised to specify the routes and work hours of the Water Buses, as well as passenger embarkation and disembarkation terminals.
According to the decision, RTA is entitled to purchase, own, rent and charter Water Buses for passenger transport and to establish, own, equip, hire and lease maintenance workshops of Water Buses.
The RTA will also conduct studies and surveys of the applied practices necessary for designing, operating, maintaining and managing Water Buses in addition to entering into agreements, partnerships and share-holdings with individuals and companies.
The decision stipulates that providing comprehensive insurance against accidents, civil liability and natural disasters is a prerequisite for licensing and operating of Water Buses.
The RTA inspectors have been given the powers to act as judicial control administrators in reporting the actions made in contravention of the order, its Implementation Chart and the decisions passed under its authority.
The decision also included an Implementation Chart detailing fines to be imposed on offenders. Fines would range from Dh 200 to Dh1,000. In some cases, a fine of Dh500 may be imposed coupled with a decision to cease the activity of the Water Bus. This particularly applies in the event of steering or operating an unlicensed or unregistered Water Bus, operating a Water Bus without presenting ownership or licensing documents or operating a Water Bus not fitted with number plates.
A fine of up to Dh1,000 could be imposed in the event of failure to fit a Water Bus with night-vision lights or failure to provide any safety equipment such as lifebuoys, fire extinguishers, first-aid kit, and portable lights (torches).
Lock-in drama at nightclub
DUBAI - AUG 05: Twenty people were allegedly locked in the nightclub where they worked for 14 hours without air-conditioning because of a financial dispute, it was claimed yesterday. The allegation came after a senior police officer warned it was illegal to lock anyone up in a room.
“Anybody who does such a thing will be charged,” said Colonel Khaleel Ibrahim, Deputy Director of Dubai CID. “It is considered depriving people of their freedom.” He was speaking after a nightclub employee died from smoke inhalation during a fire because she was locked in her apartment in Bur Dubai.
The latest alleged lock-in happened at the Chikka Grill Bar and Restaurant at the Marco Polo Hotel in Deira. It followed a dispute between the hotel management and the nightclub operator.
“Twenty employees of Chikka Grill were locked up from 9.30am to 11.30pm,” said Ahmed Taki, legal adviser to nightclub operators May and Grace de Chavez.
“The employees, including the manager, remained inside without air-conditioning. The hotel management changed the lock on the main entrance, leaving the Filipino employees locked up. Four bodyguards were placed outside the nightclub. The management also retained the staff passports.” Taki said his clients were filing a case against the management claiming they took over the bar illegally.
May said: “We were operating the outlet under a fiveyear contract with Marco Polo. They took over the club with all the facilities and our employees were locked up.
“The staff were told to either work for the new management or leave the country.” He said the staff were freed after they called police.
The dispute centres on a rent payment of Dh330,000.
The nightclub operators maintain they paid the money, but hotel bosses say they did not receive it.
Marco Polo Director Renil Krishnan said while the main door was locked the employees were free to leave through another door.
Maid held for stealing cash and jewellery
Alain - Aug 05: Al Ain Police have arrested an Ethiopian maid who stole jewellery and cash with an estimated value of more than Dh250,000 from her employer’s house in the Zakher area. Police found the maid, TTB, had forced open the safe and fled with its contents while the family was away.
The Criminal Investigation Department officials at Zakher Police Station started investigations and were able to find a clue that led them to a relative of the maid.
Putting the relative under surveillance, police managed to find out that TTB was staying in a flat in the Tourist Club area of Abu Dhabi.
In co-ordination with the local authorities concerned, Al Ain police arrested the maid along with a colleague who was harbouring her.
TTB confessed to the crime during interrogation and the stolen goods were recovered in less than 24 hours.
Colonel Hamad Ajlan Al Amimi, Director of Al Ain Police, has advised UAE nationals and expatriates to be extra cautious while hiring maids and to keep their valuables in a safe place.
Dubai - Collision course
Dubai - Aug 05: The driver of a pick up truck was air lifted to hospital and three other people were injured after two trucks smashed into each other on Al Khail Road yesterday. Traffic ground to a virtual standstill when a lorry crashed into a pick up truck and both toppled over, blocking most of the highway.
Traffic Police and rescue teams rushed to rescue the victims and clear the road. The Indian driver of the pick up was immediately air lifted to Rashid Hospital and was fighting for his life. The three other men injured in the accident were also in the hospital but out of danger.
“We heard a loud noise of brakes which was followed by the crash. The truck skidded on the road for a few metres before halting. Fortunately it did not hit other vehicles,” an eyewitness said. A police official said all four were currently receiving treatment. “The driver of the pick up is in a serious condition. However, the three others are safe,” he added.
The crash is the second serious accident in as many days and follows a fatal smash that killed three and injured four others on Sheikh Zayed Road on Friday. The accident occurred when a car slammed into a recovery vehicle that was towing a van that had a break down.
Due to the impact, the vehicles caught fire and at least two people were burned to death, with one dying on his way to the hospital. Police sources said the burnt bodies are yet to be identified.