News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Dh2,000 to be minimum pay for schoolteachers


DUBAI — AUG 23: The Ministry of Education has approved a standard employment contract for the teaching and administrative staff of private schools in the UAE, a senior education official has revealed.

As per the standard contract, the minimum salary for the teaching and administrative staff has been fixed at Dh2,000.

The unified contract guarantees legal rights to both the two contracting parties. The contract, copies of which will be handed over to the schools and education zones soon, also earmarks the working hours for school staff, the official added.

Ibrahim Ali, in-charge of Legal Affairs of Private Education at the Ajman Education Zone, confirmed that any contract with less than Dh2,000 salary for the administrative and teaching staff of schools would not be attested. Also, the contracts, which were not approved by the Private Education Department, would not be accepted, Ali added.

As for the working hours, Ali said no school would be allowed to make teachers work for more than the agreed hours in the contract. “Three months’ salaries will have to be paid by any party flouting the working hours provision,” he added.


Now, a luxury bus with low floor

DUBAI — AUG 23: Imagine a state-of-the-art luxury bus where the passengers do not have to climb the stairs to get in. With the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) introducing new articulated buses for public transport, Solaris Bus and Coach, a popular bus manufacturing company of Poland, will be supplying 225 modern city buses to the authority.

“One of the special features of these buses will be their low floors. The buses will not have any stairs, and will be very helpful for passengers to get in. Another special feature is the ladies and family section, especially enclosed within the interior,” said Wolfgang Presinger, board consultant of Solaris Bus and Coach.

Solaris, which will be having a joint venture with Khalid Al Ghurair Establishment, will start delivery of the buses in January next year and all buses will arrive by June-end. The total contract value is worth Dh500 million. “The buses will have a number of special features to suit the conditions here,” said Presinger. “The area between the front door and the second door is separated from the rest of the vehicle by glass partition. This area is designed for the use of women, children and families only.”

“The bus will also have LCD screens and excellent cooling system. The other innovative features include special engine protection against excessive dust and sand storm effects. There will also special ‘air curtains’ to prevent hot air from entering the vehicle,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, RTA has launched a new bus service shuttling between Dubai International Airport (Terminal 1) and Satwa Bus Station in Bur Dubai.

Mohammed Obaid Al Mulla, CEO of Public Transport Agency stated that the new service was aimed at providing easy transport services for the people. He added that the route of these buses would start from Dubai International Airport (Terminal 1) and will go through Union Square towards Al Musalla Road and Al Khaleej Road, then across the Al Shindagha Tunnel to Khalid bin Al Waleed Road to Al Mankhoul Road and terminate at Satwa.


Height of scam knocked down!

DUBAI — AUG 23: An online scam offering to take clients to the top of Burj Dubai for Dh1,300 per person, has been pulled from a local auction web site.

In a cautionary statement, Emaar has clarified that the tours of Burj Dubai have not been authorised.

“Emaar has not sanctioned any tours and we strongly advise members of the public not to subscribe to such claims,” an Emaar representative said.

A newsletter from the web site said a user had offered tours of the Burj Dubai construction site but the auction had been removed as a gesture towards genuine users.

“In the present case, we need to point out that the disputed site touring was not considered as a violation of any law so far,” the newsletter said. “There has not been any official request from Emaar or any other official side to remove the listing in question.”

The web site said it was the people’s responsibility to act responsibly.

“Naturally all bogus or illegal offers are removed without delay by our administration,” it stated. “Should Emaar decide to grant us with a free tour of the site, we will gladly auction it in their name.”


Airbus passes Dubai compatibility tests

DUBAI — AUG 23: The Airbus A380’s compatibility at Dubai International Airport has been successfully demonstrated as a result of as many as 100 tests spread over seven days.

More than 2,000 people were involved in the procedures.

With an onboard team of almost 80 Airbus personnel that participated in a test programme organised by Emirates Airline, the 21st century flagship aircraft took off from Dubai at 10am yesterday.

During its week-long Dubai visit, the aircraft MSN 007 had been the centrepiece of numerous compatibility tests including taxiway, runway and ground support equipment tests, as well as docking trials at the terminal gate and in the Emirates Engineering Centre.

Seeking to familiarise its staff with the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft, Emirates, jointly with Airbus, conducted four test flights that brought into play all key units of the airline such as Airport Services, Inflight Catering, Cabin Crew, Flight Operations, Cargo, Inflight Systems, Engineering and Maintenance, Group Security, and Dnata Airport Operations.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice-President, Engineering and Operations said, “Our staff from all corners of the world including Australia, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, Korea and Mauritius arrived in Dubai to volunteer as passengers for the test flights, bearing testimony to the campaign’s overwhelming response. It was an extremely gratifying moment when the first flight lifted off the runway amidst a ripple of applause, both from the onboard passengers and from ground staff on the tarmac.”

He added that Emirates has worked closely with Airbus in the design and development of the A380, as the airframe moved from concept to the drawing board and on to the production line. “ We will continue to work together to test the aircraft’s systems between now and August 2008 when Emirates is expected to take delivery of its first A380,” he said.

Emirates has ordered 55 A380s. With forecasts indicating a doubling of air traffic in the next 15 years, and a corresponding increase in flight frequencies not being an option on many routes due to slot constraints, the A380 —  the world’s largest aircraft — is aptly designed for world growth, while at the same time minimising impact on the environment.



Centre leads medical effort
A medical institution is to become the first in the country to make its data available to the public.  Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi will release information on mortality rates, the incidence of infectious diseases such as HIV/Aids and other subjects to increase awareness of health issues.

But the scheme will conform to medical ethics and local cultural values and patient confidentiality will be maintained, said the complex’s new CEO Dr Ken Ovriel.

“It will be an effort for transparency,” he said. “As soon as the first data is available, we will provide it.” But he urged the media not to misuse the information, for instance by comparing SKMC with other medical institutions that were smaller or of a different type in a way that might affect its credibility.

The move is part of a new strategy for the centre announced by Dr Ovriel. Services, infrastructure and manpower are to be evaluated, assessed and restructured to make SKMC one of the prime medical institutions in the world, he said.

Physicians and administrative manpower will be brought in from abroad and a leading surgeon will be recruited to perform liver transplant surgery.

The Central Hospital Pavilion will be demolished and key services – including dialyses machines and the emergency ward – will be moved to an extended Sheikh Khalifa Medical Pavilion.

The emergency depart ment, he said, is to have a parallel clinic for the fast treatment of patients in a less serious condition, so that the main emergency clinic can be used only for critical cases. And all primary health centres are being revamped.

Once the buildings have been restructured, a team of engineers and architects are going to be brought in to study the structures and suggest changes that take into account local weather conditions.

“We will go for the best available staff, whether UAE national or an expatriate,” said Dr Ovriel. “The priority is talent and the commitment to long-term service.” Chief Medical Officer Dr Scott Strong, said studies had revealed a ten-fold increase in the number of tuberculosis cases treated at the complex every year.

“We are increasing the number of rooms for TB patients to provide better treatment ,” he said. “We are also tripling the size of the laboratory to enable us to properly examine TB cases.” Dr Ovriel said the medical testing laboratories were being revamped to bring in the latest technologies so samples would no longer have to be sent abroad for analysis.

“Earlier TB samples were sent to France but now, with the upgrading of the laboratory, no more TB tests need to go abroad.” The new plans come after the Cleveland Clinic in Iowa, US, signed a contract with the Abu Dhabi Government to manage the centre.


More raids to remove fakes
Officials are to carry out extra raids on shops as part of an effort to remove fake cigarettes from the market.  The move by the Ministry of Economy comes after laboratory tests proved that some packs were counterfeit. The percentages of nicotine and tar in the tobacco did not conform to the figures printed on the labels.

Humaid Ali Butti Al Muhairi, assistant undersecretary, said the ministry had held meetings with various sections of the community to prevent fake goods entering local markets.

Officials are to carry out extra raids on shops as part of an effort to remove fake cigarettes from the market. The move by the Ministry of Economy comes after laboratory tests proved that some packs were counterfeit. The percentages of nicotine and tar in the tobacco did not conform to the figures printed on the labels. Humaid Ali Butti Al Muhairi, assistant undersecretary, said the ministry had held meetings with various sections of the community to prevent fake goods entering local markets. 

Waterbus yet to lure abra passengers
DUBAI - AUG 23: Abra operators on Dubai’s Creek say it is business as usual despite the launch of the new waterbus service.  The traditional crafts’ lower price gives them a big advantage and customers are remaining loyal.The waterbus costs Dh4 per trip while the abra fare is just Dh1.

“Most passengers prefer our service because it is the cheapest way to cross the Creek,” said operator Kaushik Tundar. “So it will be difficult for them to change to a service that charges more.” The first waterbus route, between Al Sabkha and Bur Dubai stations, opened last Thursday.

Tundar said he had been worried that his takings would slump when the new service started – but, in fact, he had not noticed any reduction in the number of customers.

Ticket agents at the two stations said there had been a slow response to the waterbus service. The number of passengers on most trips was as low as three, they said – though the number using the service was increasing every day. Each of the vessels can carry 35 passengers.

The waterbus has a maxi mum waiting period of 15 minutes at each station, and after that it has to cross to the other bank even if there are no passengers on board.

Agents are distributing brochures to inform the public about the new service. The waterbus is usually full during peak hours but most of the passengers at that time are tourists, they said.

Khalid Al Zahid, acting director at the Marine Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority, said abras and the waterbus attracted different types of customers.

“The waterbus is for people who wish to cross the Creek faster and more comfortably, and are not bothered by how much it costs.

“It is not aimed at wooing abra users but attracting new people to traverse the Creek by water to reduce traffic congestion on all the crossings.”


Wife seeks help for husband
A young American doctor has given up everything to fly to the UAE to be close to her jailed husband.

MO, who is from New York, has left her parents behind, abandoned her career and turned her back on her comfortable metropolitan lifestyle.

Her husband, a Jordanian, has been in Umm Al Quwain prison for four months because he owes Dh1 million to his former business partner. He ran up the debt when a deal fell through.

“My husband, Jameel, had an import-export business in Canada,” said MO, who wishes to remain anonymous.

“Some time back he prom ised to deliver some goods to his partner in the UAE but was unable to do so.

MO has been told her husband will remain in prison for three years unless he settles the debt. She is trying to raise money to secure his release.

“Lawyers have told me that even if we pay Dh500,000 he could be released.” She said her parents were unaware of her husband’s predicament. “I cannot tell them he is in jail. Every time my mother calls, I tell her he is travelling on business.” MO, who studied medicine in Poland, wants a job but cannot work as doctor because she left New York without finishing her exams.

“I hope that I will be able to build a new life with my husband,” said MO.


Dubai - Meal time tantrum

Dubai - Aug 23: A Bangladeshi passenger, on an Emirates flight to Kolkata from Dubai, was arrested and questioned for a day after attacking cabin crew when they wouldn’t serve him food. The 50-year-old Dubai-based man was detained on his arrival at Kolkata airport on Tuesday and released later that evening after he reportedly tried to hit a crew member refusing to give him his meal.

The man told police he had boarded the direct flight at 2am and had not eaten since leaving home at 9pm the previous evening. Half-an-hour after take-off he asked for his meal to be served but was told that it wasn’t time for the food to be served yet. An airport official said: “The man told the crew since he had paid quite a sum for the ticket, he had the right to be served food on demand.”

The situation is said to have escalated and the man allegedly tried to hit a crew member who asked him to behave himself. Staff  then informed the pilot, who briefed Dubai airport about the problem. “Dubai promptly passed on the message to the air traffic control of Kolkata airport,” said an Emirates official.
As is routine, the Central Industrial Security Force was put on alert and soon after the flight touched down in, security men escorted the passenger off the plane. He was taken straight to the police station, where a crew member lodged a complaint against him.

The police, however, did not press charges against the irate passenger and released him later that evening.  “He created a problem as he was hungry. The charge was not serious,” said an officer. An Emirates spokesperson any incident of this kind is taken very seriously by the airline: “Emirates Airline can confirm one of its passengers onboard flight EK546 misbehaved with its cabin crew, prompting the crew and some co-passengers to request for security.

“On arrival at Netaji Subhash Chandra International Airport, the passenger was escorted off the aircraft by Airport Security and Air India security personnel. For Emirates, the safety of its crew and passengers is of paramount importance,” the spokesperson added.


Dubai - Extra year in jail for mum who dumped baby

Dubai - Aug 23: A Filipina housemaid who dumped her illegitimate baby in a rubbish bin in Dubai has been sentenced by Al Ain Court of First Instance to one year in jail for engaging in illicit relations.

She was ordered to be deported after serving her  sentence. The defendant, 40, had earlier admitted to Dubai Public Prosecution that the father of her baby was a Pakistani taxi driver who lived in Al Ain. She has a husband and two children in the Philippines.

Early this year she was referred to Al Ain Public Prosecution which charged her with illicit relations. On July 8, Dubai Court of Appeal upheld her initial verdict, which was three years in jail to be followed by deportation. The court found her guilty of attempting to murder her newborn whom she wrapped in a plastic bag before dumping in a garbage bin at a driving school in Dubai. “I was told that I have to serve one year in jail after I finish my three-year prison term in Dubai Central Jail,” she told 7DAYS yesterday.
She had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder of her baby girl, and said that she thought her baby was stillborn after delivering her inside a toilet at the driving school in Dubai on January 30 this year.
Her baby, now almost seven months old, is with her at a special baby room inside the Dubai Central Jail.


Goodwill visit: Indian warships to arrive in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI - AUG 23: AS PART of the Indian Navy's overseas deployment to the Gulf, two Indian warships INS Rajput and INS Betwa, will visit Abu Dhabi between August 27-30, as announced by the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

These ships are a part of the Western and Eastern Naval Commands based at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.

The present visit seeks to foster maritime goodwill between India and UAE that share a rich cultural and maritime heritage.

Moreover, the bridges of friendship that the ships of Indian Navy aim to build with this visit would serve to bring the two nations closer, enhance existing bonds between India and UAE and cement ties for greater engagement in the years ahead.

Over the years, Indian warships have regularly paid visits to ports in the Gulf, re-affirming their presence and solidarity for peace with countries in the region.

The commitment of India to honour friendship and promote stability amongst maritime neighbours was tested during the Tsunami disaster that struck Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives apart from the Eastern Indian shores in December 2004, when Indian ships and aircraft were among the first to provide relief and humanitarian aid.

The Indian Navy was also in action during Operation Sukoon in 2006 when citizens of many nations were evacuated from the war- torn zone in Lebanon.

INS Rajput, flying the flag of Rear Admiral Shekhar Sinha, NM and Bar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, is the first Kashin II class Guided missile destroyer.

She is fitted with an array of weapons and sensors and is designed for multi-dimensional combat operations. The capability of the ship has been further enhanced by the fitment and successful firing of indigenous BrahMos surface to- surface missile. The ship is commanded by Captain AK Jain.

While the Guided Missile Frigate, INS Betwacommanded by Captain Sanjay Bhutani, is a modern Indian built and designed warship has enhanced capabilities in conducting maritime operations in all three dimensions. The ship is one of three of its class built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.

And boasts of state-of-the-art radar, missile systems, sonars and electronic warfare suites with twin hangars and operates 'Sea-king' as well as Chetak helicopters.


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