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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Standard employment contract unveiled

DUBAI — AUG 24: The Legal Affairs Department of the Ministry of Education (MoE) has announced the details of the Standard Employment Contract for the teaching and administrative staff of private schools in the UAE. The details will be circulated to all private schools and institutions.

The new contract comes into effect from this academic year. As per the new system, the duration of a contract cannot be for a period less than one year, after which it can be renewed.

These details were mentioned in a memo sent by the Ministry’s legal affairs director, Ahmed Al Hamili, to Mohammed bin Hindi, acting under-secretary of the MoE.

Commenting on the new standard contract, Al Hamili said: “The school has no right to terminate any contract without obtaining a prior consent from the concerned education zone. The measure aims at safeguarding the rights of the two contracting parties.

“Contracts that do not stipulate the validity period will not be attested,” Al Hamili noted.

“If the employee (second party) quits his job willingly without a valid reason before the expiry of the specific period mentioned in the contract, he would not be entitled to after-service benefits unless he has been in continuous service for more than five years. The person will not be able to join any other educational institution/school in the UAE within a year after prematurely cancelling the contract,” he added.

Under the new contract, the first party (holder of the licence) will be bound to compensate the second party with the due salary for three months or the remaining period or the shortest period thereof, if they cancel the contract for reasons not stated in the provisions of the labour law and without securing a prior approval from the concerned  education zone, the official said.

The second party (the employee) will have to compensate their employer by paying half the salary for three months or the remaining period of the contract or the shortest period if they cancel the contract before its date of expiry for reasons not stated by the labour law.

The contract will become effective, automatically, for the agreed period, after a probation of one month unless one of the parties notifies the other of revising the contract at the end of the probation.


Dubai Police face huge amnesty rush

DUBAI — AUG 24: Dubai Police have received nearly 92,000 amnesty seekers at their general headquarters by the end of this week, Col. Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, acting director of Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID ) told Khaleej Times yesterday.

Al Mansouri said the amnesty seekers reported to the Dubai Police for routine security procedures, including taking fingerprints and pictures to check if any of them was wanted in a criminal case here, in his country, or by Interpol.

The official added that the electronic fingerprinting device was used to speed up the process.

He said that nearly 5 per cent of these amnesty seekers were found to have been involved in minor crimes such as theft and physical assault.


Nearly 1,000 ‘illegals’ approach AADNR daily

AL AIN — AUG 24: The Deputy Director of Al Ain Department of Naturalisation and Residency (AADNR), Major Matar Al Shamsy, has announced that about 1,000 illegal workers approach the department everyday to complete their regularisation or repatriation procedures under the amnesty programme.

Major Al Shamsy said a team of 60 officers has been assigned to handle the rush of illegals. He praised the staff who put in 16 hours of hard work everyday from 8am until midnight.

“Almost 90 per cent of illegals in Al Ain are Bangladeshis and a large number of illegals have departed from Al Ain city during the amnesty period,” he said.

He pointed out that most of the illegals in Al Ain have already departed from the country after completion of the requisite procedures which include eye-scanning and finger-printing. However, a small number of illegals is still in the process of gaining from amnesty

He thanked the embassies and consulates of some of the countries for rendering cooperation in order to help their respective nationals to benefit from the amnesty programme.

“We commend the efforts of Al Ain Preventive Medicine that offered vaccinations to the AADNR employees that were in direct contact with the illegals, the Al Ain Red Crescent Society that supplied the workers with free meals and Al Ain Mineral Water Company which distributed water bottles free of charge,” he added.


Dubai Metro gets on the rails for a testing debut

The Dubai Metro will undergo extensive checks on a test track to ensure the project runs smoothly.

The 10km-track will run between the Ibn Battuta station of the Dubai Metro and the Jebel Ali Auxiliary Depot.

And according to Rail Agency officials, the practice runs – due to start in August 2008 – are vital to ensure delivery of the railway meets its performance targets.

Abdulmajid Al Khaja, Chief Executive Officer of the Rail Agency, revealed that the trials will be managed by a temporary Operations Control Centre that will be established at the Jebel Ali Auxiliary Depot.

“The delivery of the test track is the most vital component of the entire Dubai Metro Project,” Al Khaja said.

“This will allow us to receive trains, test them and release them for service once the entire line is completed.

“The test track will also enable us to detect problems early and enable us to rectify anomalies before we go into full service.” Factory testing of the rolling stock will be undertaken at the Mihara Test Site in Japan prior to shipment to Dubai.

New trains will start to arrive in Dubai from February 2008 and each vehicle will be subjected to various safety and functional tests.

As more stations and track areas are completed, checks will also be undertaken on the remaining 40km of the Red Line. Testing is currently scheduled to commence in August 2008.

Following the testing period, trial runs will be carried out for a number of weeks to ensure smooth running of the rail system prior to its launch in September 2009.

Adnan Al Hammadi, Construction Director, said: “Currently we are trying to bring testing of the section between Dubal and Jebel Ali Industrial stations forward to April 2008 to take advantage of early availability of power supplies.” Testing and commissioning of the system will take around 10 months followed by two months of trial operations.


Colourful events to be held to celebrate Onam

ABU DHABI — AUG 24: Kerala Social Centre (KSC) and Malayalee Samajam will organise several colourful programmes in the capital to mark Onam celebrations.

Onam is the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala and falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (August-September).

Kabeer Bappu, acting president of KSC said: “KSC will organise numerous dance and song programmes on its premises. The centre will host a lunch on August 31. The cultural programmes will be held on September 7.”

Meanwhile, in his message on the occasion of Onam festival, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad said: “In the UAE, Indians celebrate all festivals with a special enthusiasm. Onam is celebrated by the largest Indian community in the UAE.”

The Indian Social Centre is not hosting any programme as its new building here is under construction. However, the Centre will celebrate Onam festival with other Indian associations.


Grocery owners indulge in new business in RAK

RAS AL KHAIMAH - AUG 24: ASIAN grocery owners in Ras Al Khaimah have invented a new business, whereby they exploit the new service launched by Etisalat through transfer of credit by cell phone against charging half a dirham per transfer.

Beneficiaries of this service said some small shop and grocery owners charge their cell phone with credit worth Dhs100 daily, indicating that they transfer the credit to a customer as per a request against half a dirham each transfer.

They added that this phenomenon has been spreading amid profit margin amounting to 10 per cent, indicating that this service frequently thrives at the third part of each month, where low income workers are unable to buy phone cards.


Relishing summer time in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI — AUG 24: More and more Abu Dhabi residents now prefer to spend the summer months in the emirate, giving a go-by to globetrotting during the vacations.

The reasons for this trend are primarily twofold: they either have to carry on with the work in these months, or simply cannot afford a holiday abroad.

But for those who do stay back, whatever the reason, Abu Dhabi has a lot to offer.

“This is my first summer in Abu Dhabi,” admits Helen Russel, an expatriate, while cooling off in the swimming pool of one of the hotels here. She recently quit her job as a public relations manager in Dubai to join a similar position in Abu Dhabi, which implies she is not entitled to her annual leave until next year. “I never thought I’ll say this, but I’m starting to miss the cool, grey and rainy Manchester, my hometown,” she quips.

But for many like Russel, there is lot to look forward to here in the capital – the malls, the hotel resorts, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the Emirates Heritage Club or the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, that offer a wide range of entertainment.

“I am fairly new to Abu Dhabi and I do not know the city that well, so I normally just go to the beach in the weekends, usually to Hiltonia or the Intercontinental,” says Russel. She has also tried out the newly-opened Lulu Island. “The island is very beautiful and peaceful and it’ll become even better when fully completed. The problem is you have to rely on buses for transportation, which are not very regular, so you can’t explore the island easily,” explains Russel.

The three-minute journey to Lulu Island starts from the Emirates Heritage Club, on the breakwater. The boat trips are free, but entrance to the island costs Dh15 per person and another Dh5 for bus rides or train tours. There is a forest of palm trees, two artificial lakes, horse and camel rides, and a cafe (several more cafes are planned).

In fact, island hopping is one of the favourite activities among residents here. According to ADTA officials, there are more then 200 islands along the coast off the emirate, although only a few are opened for visitors. Those wishing to visit these islands or to stop over for a day or even overnight, can either arrange a sea trip through one of the major hotel-resorts here or simply rent a boat from an independent company. Most of these companies also offer diving and fishing trips.

Grazyna Rygiel is lucky enough to have her own boat. She is a real estate investor who has been living in Abu Dhabi for a few years. Almost every Friday she takes Al Minzah, her boat, and a few friends for a picnic in the sea. “We usually go to the Al Bahraini Island. I have two umbrellas and a small plastic table that we fix on the edge of the sea coast and we sit in the water all day, eating, chatting and swimming. Some people say it’s too hot to spend a whole day outdoors, but the water keeps us cool,” says Grazyna.

Al Bahraini is, in fact, one of the most popular islands near Abu Dhabi. Every Friday, after the prayers, locals and expatriates alike come here to enjoy an afternoon out. They put up tents, make barbecues and some bring their own water jets. “It’s a lot of fun just to watch them enjoying themselves,” points out Grazyna. When she doesn’t spend the day on the beach, she joins her friends sailing, fishing or even in diving trips.

Mohammed Al Abbas likes his feet firm on the ground. “I grew up in the desert, so I’m not much of a sea person, although I like to sit by the sea,” explains Mohammed, who works for a travel agency. Whenever he gets the chance, Mohammed likes to go camping in the desert, although his family prefers to stay in the city.

“Last Friday I took my wife and my children to the Heritage Village. The kids simply love it there, although not much is going on in the Village during the summer months. The festivals, with the local music and dancing, will not start until after Ramadan, but they keep open some shops, where they make and sell traditional items like daggers, carpets, ceramics and perfumes,” says Mohammed.

When the weather is not too hot and humid, he likes to sit with his family or friends at one of the cafes along the seaside on the breakwater, enjoying a shisha, a Turkish coffee and the corniche view on the other side of the water.

Malls, though, are the most popular day out destinations, not just for Abu Dhabi residents, but also for the tourists. Marina and Abu Dhabi malls are the most preferred ones, not only because they have a large variety of shops and cafes, but also because of their cinema theatres.

“Every Thursday we have a women-only outing and we go either to Marina Mall or Abu Dhabi Mall to watch a movie,” says Embalm, who last Friday went to see the latest Harry Potter movie with her friends. “Before the movie, we indulge in window-shopping for a while. Afterwards, we have some food in one of the cafes,” reveals Ekbal.

Like most mall addicts, she loves the combined experience of shopping, dining and entertainment.




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