News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Two workers die in Jumeirah accident

DUBAI — AUG 21: A fatal accident at a maintenance cradle nine stories above the ground at The Palm Jumeirah yesterday morning saw one man electrocuted and the other allegedly jump to his death, according to the Dubai Civil Defence. However, the DCD report was at odds with a statement issued by Nakheel, developers of The Palm Jumeirah, that said the two labourers had died as the result of a fire within the cradle.

A DCD source said the workers were cleaning glass on an unoccupied 12-storey building when the incident occurred.

The operation room of the DCD received information about the accident at 9.50am and firefighters from Al Quoz rushed to the scene at around 10am, Civil Defence officials said.

DCD said the firefighters found the charred body of the worker who had died as a result of an electric shock. However, the other labourer who was working with the victim, jumped off the cradle when he saw his colleague burn to death, according to the DCD. He died on the spot as a result of the severe injuries he sustained from the fall, they said. 

A Nakheel statement yesterday confirmed the deaths of the two employees working on the maintenance cradle on the trunk of The Palm Jumeirah but attributed the cause of their deaths to a fire.

“At approximately 1015 hours yesterday a fire occurred in a maintenance cradle on the trunk of The Palm Jumeirah,” the Nakheel statement said. “With deep regret we can confirm that two employees working within the maintenance cradle died as a result of the fire.”  According to the statement, The Palm Jumeirah Civil Defence permanent fire tender was called to the scene who arrived within minutes of the incident being reported.  The statement clarified that an investigation was under way and it was not appropriate for the developers to comment further on the specifics of the incident.  “...We can confirm that the communication issued by the Civil Defence is regarding the same incident,” the Nakheel statement said.


Violators face penalty after amnesty ends

ABU DHABI — AUG 21: Just 13 days from today, the amnesty period will end and crackdown will begin on violators. The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Interior have issued informative fliers to tell the workers and company owners about the advantages of the amnesty and the punishment in store in case they miss the chance.

To make it clear to the public, the flier points out that the amnesty would end on September 2, instead of September 3 as had been inadvertently reported by a section of the media.

The fliers carry information and instructions in three languages — Arabic, English and Urdu — because most of the amnesty seekers understand these languages.

The fliers explain the advantages of the amnesty such as waiver of fines for all duly filed applications for cancellation of visa and transfer of sponsorships, cancellation of status without imposition of work ban, in addition to the cancellation of ‘absconding’ reports subject to the consent of the employer.

After the amnesty ends on September 2, the authorities will start imposing penalties as stipulated by the Cabinet decision No 1/33 of the year 2007.

The penalties include a fine of up to Dh100,000 for employing or sheltering a worker who entered the country illegally, a fine of up to Dh50,000 in case of recruiting or sheltering workers whose status is illegal.

Also, the penalties include a fine for employers who do not provide work to a legally registered worker, non-waiver of fines of up to Dh25,000 per labour card that has expired five or more years ago. Moreover, the firms can face discontinuation of work permits to all the firms registered in the name of the owner.

The labourers who stay illegally after the amnesty ends, will face a life ban.

Meanwhile, the MoL has received applications from about 350 amnesty seekers during the last two days for cancellation of their labour cards and regularisation of their status.

Almost 6,000 amnesty seekers have approached the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department (ADNRD) to complete the formalities benefitting from the amnesty.


Dentist blacklisted over fake work certificate

ABU DHABI — AUG 21: A dentist was denied a licence to practise the profession in the country and was blacklisted by health authorities for submitting a fake experience certificate, said a senior health official.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) has decided to blacklist Dr F.A, a dentist, for submitting a forged experience certificate.

His application for  the MoH  licence to take up  the profession in the country was turned down” Dr Ibrahim Al Qadi, Director of the Private Medical Practice Department at the MoH, told Khaleej Times yesterday.

Dr Qadi said the Medical Licensing Committee found the dentist guilty of trying to deceive health authorities by claiming that he practised dentistry at a medical centre in Sharjah. “ The dentist claimed that he worked for a private medical centre in Sharjah for dentistry for a while. However, following a probe into the case, the committee discovered that the dentist had never worked at the mentioned centre,” said Dr Qadi.

He said the committee met with Dr A.B, the director of the centre which issued the experience certificate, and the dentist and following investigations and prolonged discussions it appeared that the dentist has never been to the centre before,” said Dr Qadi. He said  that the committee got suspicious because the dentist had forwarded it to the MoH with other official documents to get a practising licence.

“ We were sceptical how could he practise the profession at a private centre without having the MoH’s approval. This has guided us to further examine whether the certificate was genuine. The man has disgraced himself,” said Dr Qadi.


Search for missing man ends in morgue

DUBAI — AUG 21: An Indian national who went missing on July 7 was finally found, but not alive. By sheer chance, his body was discovered by his relatives yesterday, just a day before police officials were planning to dispose it of as ‘unclaimed’.

After relentless efforts to trace Mohammed Kunju failed, his brother Moideen Kunju, a cafeteria worker, had begun doing the rounds of hospitals and morgues in Dubai and Sharjah. His efforts finally resulted in locating Mohammed’s body in the Sharjah Police morgue.

Officials at the morgue said since no identification document was found in his possession, Mohammed’s body was treated as unclaimed.

Mohammed Kunju had been working in the UAE for the past two years. He hailed from the southern Indian state of Kerala.

According to Moideen Kunju, his brother was working in a company in Sharjah and went missing after he left from his work place on July 7.

“We lodged a ‘missing person’ complaint with Sharjah Police on July 8. But, even after checking at all the police stations and hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah, we got no lead,” Moideen said.

“Finally, we decided to take a chance and began visiting the morgues. When we visited the Sharjah Police morgue yesterday, for the second time, we found his body.

The morgue officials informed us that he had died in a road accident on Al Ittihad Road on the evening of July 7. “A car hit him while he was trying to cross the road. Since then, the body had been lying in the morgue,” Moideen added.

The body, Moideen said, would be repatriated to India soon after the legal proceedings are over.

“Mohammed had borrowed a big amount to obtain the visa. His dream was to earn enough money to see his two daughters married happily,” Moideen lamented.


Private car park operators in Deira have doubled their charges to cash in on the chronic shortage of spaces in the Central Business District. Motorists must now pay Dh10 per hour at most sites in the busy Naif, Frij Murar and Al Ras areas.

Operators say they have pushed up the charge from Dh5 because of the soaring demand for parking.

“We wanted to reduce commotion in the parking area,” said Khamis Ali of Marhaba private parking in Naif. “There were so many vehicles vying for our few spaces.

“Ours was the first company to increase charges in the area and since then other operators have followed suit. But despite the increased charges there is still commotion in the parking area, especially during peak hours.” An employee of Yaqeen private parking in Frij Murar said some drivers insisted on leaving their vehicles there even when all the parking slots were all full.

“Some leave their car keys behind promising to return in five minutes, but end up taking hours, thus causing more disturbance.” Motorists in Al Ras said it sometimes took them two hours to find a place to park.

Businessman Imran Najib said: “I struggle every day to find a spot. Even the private areas that have doubled their charges do not have enough space for all the cars.” The central district is often packed with shoppers and office workers in the evening.

Some motorists said the parking was becoming worse as the number of vehicles increased and roadworks in added to the chaos – and they urged the authorities to take immediate action.

Many said more multistorey car parks should be built. There are already five such buildings in Deira with a total of 3,270 parking spaces.

The Roads and Transport Authority does not have the policies in place to regulate private parking operators, said Hussain Al Banna, Acting Director of the Parking Department.“We are now formulating new parking policies and guidelines which will put a ceiling on private parking charges to avoid the exploitation of motorists.” And he said a new Dh34 million multi-storey being built in Al Sabkha near Al Khaleej Hotel would provide an additional 470 parking spaces.

Deira’s multi-storey car parks are at Riqqat Al Buteen (behind Al Khaleej hotel), Baniyas (near Deira Tower), Baniyas Square (near the Florida hotel), Baniyas Street (near the Dubai Municipality Museum) and Naif Street (opposite the police station).


Mixed reaction over Sanjay’s bail

DUBAI — AUG 21: After weeks of trauma, a silver lining has finally appeared in the dark cloud that had eclipsed actor Sanjay Dutt’s life and career after his sentencing by a special court in the infamous gun possession case under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. He was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court yesterday and is expected to be released from Pune’s Yerwada prison today.

Though some members of the Indian expatriate community do empathise with Sanjay, a few also feel that it won’t be too long before he is bundled into a prison van and carted away to his cell.

Some of the expatriates feel that a lot of unnecessary attention and time had been devoted to the case.

Manjula Ramakrishnan, Editor of Business Quality Review magazine, published from Dubai, opined, “He’s been given bail because he’s entitled to it. However, there has been too much noise and much ado over nothing, with regards to this case. As a fellow human being, I do feel empathy. But legally, I think we should allow the law to take its own course.”

“When the law finally does catch up with offenders, what are we complaining about?” she asked, adding that the celebrity fixation was unnecessary.

Bharat Chachara, manager of India Club in Dubai, observed, “Even if Sanjay Dutt is out on bail, justice would ultimately be served. This would happen regardless of the decisions taken in the lower courts. Besides, it is only an interim bail and could be revoked any time.”

However, the honorary secretary and board member of the Indian Business and Professional Council, Navin Kapoor, said he was glad for Dutt even if it is interim bail. “When he was sentenced, I did feel bad. I guess it will be a breather for him and his family. As an ardent fan of his, I do feel happy and wish him well,” he added.


Man arrested for insurance fraud

ABU DHABI — AUG 21: An employee working with the National Health Insurance Company-Daman has been arrested for selling insurance policies to those who did not fall in the bracket for availing the same.

Daman is the sole insurance company providing health insurance to the government sector in the emirate.

It also provides insurance services for the private sector, along with other insurance companies in the country.

Dr Michael Bitzer, the CEO of Daman, said the fraud came to light during an internal investigation by the company.

The accused, who is in police custody right now, has admitted to selling insurance policies to people not covered by the specific products.

Commenting on the incident, Dr Bitzer said: “This is a sad and regrettable incident. We have over 750 staff in whom we repose trust, and it’s distressing to find out that this trust has been violated.” He added: “We’ll continue to ensure that we have tight controls in place.”


Schools to help in attestation of IGCSE, GCSE documents

DUBAI — AUG 21: In an effort to facilitate the process of certificate authentication, the Dubai School Agency (DSA), part of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), has announced that schools will henceforth help students in the attestation of their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) certificates.

In a press statement, KHDA said previously students had to approach the educational authority directly to get their certificates attested and authenticated. However, the students can now hand over the certificates to their respective schools, which, in turn, will hand it over to KHDA’s Academic Services Unit (ASU). After authentication, students can collect their certificates from their schools.

The ASU has also changed the procedures by authenticating the final board certificates in advance to benefit educational stakeholders.

“There was a procedure to it and it was accompanied by paper work. But with the new system, the ASU has asked a representative from all British and Pakistani curriculum schools to collect the certificates and authenticate them with the Ministry of Education (MoE), before taking them back to school,” said the statement.

The statement quoted Fatma Al Marri, CEO of the School Agency, as saying, “This is the first of a series of new services, wherein we attempt to save time and efforts of the educational stakeholders. I am sure this service will be widely welcomed by the parents and students. This improved service of the School Agency is in line with the decentralisation policy of the MoE, giving schools more autonomy. ASU will continue to focus on the newer services of higher quality.”


A car to teach everyone a lesson

A simulator that lets learner drivers experience what it is like to be in a car that rolls over in a crash has been introduced by a driving school.  Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai has opened a safety hall at its Al Qusais headquarters that has hands-on equipment highlighting the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

A driver is belted up and held in place in a seat in the simulator while the car rolls 360 degrees.

Another machine, called the convincer, allows trainee drivers to feel the real force of a crash at 10kmph with their seatbelts on.

“We have lectures on safe driving from day one of the training for a licence, but people watch the videos and feel that they do not need to wear a seatbelt,” said school spokesman Fatima Raees.  “Some people have been driving for 30 years and have never worn one.

“However, with this experience-based learning they feel the seriousness of the impact at between five and 10kmph and realise the importance of wearing a seatbelt.” Seatbelt laws in the UAE were introduced in January 1999 but driving instructors said they felt people were still ignorant when it came to wearing them.

Muhammad Arif, an advanced driving instructor at the school, said all students would have to take part in a 15-minute demonstration as part of their course of lessons.

“Even at a slow speed you can feel the forceful impact with these machines.  “The simulator demonstrates that even while upsidedown the seatbelt will keep you securely in place and increase your chances of survival by 50 per cent,” Arif said.

Another important part of the demonstration shows the importance of using the headrests on car seats.

A dummy of a human head attached to a spring, representing the flexibility of the neck, is attached to rails.

When it is set loose on a small gradient without a head restraint and hits the end of the track the head sways to and fro.

But with the restraint in place the head does not jerk back and the risk of whiplash and serious neck and back injuries is significantly reduced during an accident.


Onlookers hinder air rescue
A helicopter ambulance was unable to land to pick up a road accident victim yesterday because of the crowds of people who gathered at the scene.

A cyclist from India was hit by a pick-up truck at Al Quoz Industrial Area Three at 5.30pm.  An eyewitness called the police who rushed to the spot.

“An emergency helicopter made two attempts to land, but the crowds of people prevented it from doing so,” said Lieutenant Majid Issa of Dubai Police. “Then an ambulance arrived and took the victim to the nearby Bur Dubai Police Department where the helicopter was waiting to carry him to hospital.” The pick-up was being driven by a 30-year-old Indian salesman who was taken into custody. He will be quizzed by Dubai Public Prosecution.

Issa added: “Al Quoz Industrial Area is one of the worst driving nightmares in Dubai. Installing bumps on the roads would not deter people and would cause much more traffic congestion.

“People who ride their bicycles or walk at the edges of roads should pay attention to the traffic in this area.” Last night, the victim was said to be recovering.


Watchman comes to the rescue in daring daylight cash snatch
A building watchman dashed to the rescue yesterday when he saw a robber snatch cash from a woman in the street.  Mohammed Ishaq chased and grabbed hold of the thief, who had taken Dh18,000 from a hotel cashier on her way to a bank in Dubai Ishaq, 24, was carrying out his daily cleaning chores at the Royal Suites building in Al Riqqa Street in Deira at 8am when the drama began.

“I saw a man approaching a lady from behind and covering her mouth with his hands,” he said. “At first I thought it could be a friend who was trying to play a joke. But then the woman started screaming for help and I realised it was an attempted robbery.

“I saw the man taking to his heels and I knew he had snatched a packet from her. I ran after him immediately.” Ishaq, from Pakistan, tackled the robber to the ground.

“We wrestled for some time before I managed to grab the packet of cash. Unfortunately he slipped out of my hands and escaped – there was nobody around to help as it was quite early.” The cashier, who works at the Dreamland Hotel, said she had been caught off guard when the man – in his early twenties – caught hold of her.

“I go to the bank every day to deposit the previous day’s collection,” added the woman, who did not wish to be named. “I wonder how he knew I was carrying cash as it was in an envelope and I was hiding it in my shawl. I have thanked the watchman profusely”


Dark days of summer

UAE - AUG 21: Winston Churchill had it, Abraham Lincoln developed it, even Aussie beauty Natalie Imbruglia has been known to suffer with it. Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka SAD, is a growing global condition. And it's probably lurking behind several desks in your office right now.

While SAD has for some time been associated with cold seasons, a kind of 'winter blues', in actual fact the condition often manifests during the summer months for those living in hot climates - like here in the sunny UAE. Known as 'Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder', the symptoms of SAD mimic those of clinical depression - with patients not only feeling depressed, but also lacking the energy to perform everyday activities.

Those afflicted during the summer often experience agitation, loss of appetite and insomnia. So, if you're feeling lethargic and low and are driving your loved ones to distraction with your constant state of misery, there's good news - you may not just be a miserable so-and-so, you may have SAD. “I definitely suffer this every day between June and September,” said Indian expat Amanda, 31. “It's around this time I find my mood swings more pronounced and I switch between bored and irritated every few minutes. Sometimes it feels like the stifling feeling never ends.”

These feelings, according to clinical psychologist Maya Sleifel Sidani, of the Human Relations Institute, are common among Dubai residents around this time: “Summer SAD does exist within the emirate at this time of year but it is rarely diagnosed under this name - it's more likely to be diagnosed as clinical depression. It is a legitimate condition and not an illusion.”
Explaining why the condition is so common here in the UAE during the summer months, she said: “Access to sunlight and fresh air is very important for the body and mind to function properly, but during the hot summers here in the UAE we are deprived of the sun for long periods because we are forced to spend our time indoors in the air conditioning.

“As a result, people are not enjoying a natural climate, required for maximum activity.” Something Amal, 27, now experiencing her fourth summer in Dubai, knows only too well. “I've had enough time to figure out everything changes once the weather starts going crazy and I become crazy myself,” she adds.“I become overwhelmingly lethargic, constantly sleepy, and always, always bloated. My rings don't fit my fingers quite like they do in November. And I'm a lot more irritable - everything gets on my nerves! And it doesn't get any easier, no matter how long you're here.”

Unlike previous years, this summer Amal has attempted to face the heat and go for runs outdoors early in the morning or late at night. “It's made me a bit more tolerant of the extreme humidity. And I'd advise everyone to double their water intake - that helps. Otherwise do the obvious - leave town if you can manage it.”

Which is what a number of Dubai residents tend to do during July and August. British accountant Nigel Holmes, 37, said: “Last year I'm sure I suffered with SAD. By mid-September I was potty and so ready to get out of the heat. I went to Vienna in Austria and it saved my sanity. This year, while I'm not as cranky as last, for the past few weeks I have been feeling very lethargic - but that could be down to watching episodes of ‘24’ through to the early hours most nights.
“I'm off to Fujairah next weekend and am already looking forward to it. My advice is to get away from this heat if you want to stay sane.”

A sentiment echoed by Ms Maya: “If you're not going away then try and escape to other locations within the region that enjoy slightly fresher air - like Al Ain or even Oman. “If this isn't possible then try and enhance your mental well-being by making plans for things you would like to do during the next season when the weather cools off again and you can venture out. Some people have light therapy but I would suggest first just trying to get out early in the morning, while it is slightly cooler and there is natural sunlight and treat your body.”


Anti-fake goods drive in offing


SHARJAH - AUG 21: WITH an eye to protect consumer rights, the Sharjah Municipality will soon set a deadline for the traders in the emirate to discard fake products in their shops.

The decision has been taken as part of an anti-fake goods campaign launched by its Consumer Protection Department.

The Director of the Department Fahad Shehail has announced that traders will face penalties if any fake products are found in their shops after the deadline that will be announced soon.

The aim of the campaign is to prevent consumers from being fooled by traders.

The rule is applicable to all kinds of products including food items and clothes.

Shehail, said that a huge amount of fake products with famous trademarks were found in some of trade centres in Sharjah.

"However, when we confiscate these products we receive complaints from the shops owners claiming that they were not aware of the products being faked. On the other hand, some of those traders pretend that they didn't know that it's prohibited to sell such goods, in order to avoid facing legal fines," he said.

According to the trading law number four for the year 1979 of fighting trading fraud, and the federal law number 37 for the year 1992 of the trademarks, he said, the municipality has started a comprehensive campaign to fight trading fraud. The awareness campaign targets all trading centres and shops in Sharjah.

It aims to help traders keep away from dealing with fake trademarks and products.

The purpose is to make traders aware of the need to commit to the laws and to make them understand that they will be responsible for recognising fake products and making sure their products' genuineness and reliability.

A municipality official said that the traders would receive flyers and brochures that educate them about the laws regarding fake trading. "The municipality will announce the deadline of a limited period for discarding the fake goods by next week," she added.



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