News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Housemaids criticise about-turn on wage move 
Dubai - Sep. 19:
Indian housemaids in Dubai have criticised the decision to put on hold plans to increase their salaries.  The Indian Government wanted to set a minimum monthly wage of Dh1,469 for maids and other domestic workers in 18 countries, including the UAE.

The measure was due to come into effect this month – but last week ministers decided it would not go ahead.   Several Indian embassies and consulates in the Gulf, including those in the UAE, had voiced reservations about the minimum wage plan.

Housemaids’ salaries range from Dh500 to Dh1,400, and the minimum wage would also have applied to butlers, cooks and drivers.

Shakeela Hussain, 43, from Kerala, was disappointed by the about-turn. “No one is concerned about our welfare,” she said. She said she had listened to a number of radio discussions on the issue during which residents said about the high cost of living. Some said the higher wages would be a further burden.

“If they cannot manage to live here with salaries of Dh6,000 to Dh10,000, how can we survive with such low wages?” she added.

Radhika P, 24, from Tamil Nadu, said: “The decision to set the minimum wages was a very good move. It is sad it is not going ahead.” Latha Thangachhi, 39, from Kerala, said: “I am paid Dh900 and save Dh600 every month. If the salary was fixed at Dh1,400 I could at least have thought about returning to India after working here for three to four years.” A senior Indian official in Dubai said the missions had expressed reservations because of the impracticability of the proposed wages.

“This could have been used by recruitment agents to extract more money from job applicants,” said the official. “And when other workers earn much less how can maids alone be paid so much more?”


After amnesty, cafes struggle for survival

SHARJAH — SEP. 19: While the amnesty offer of the UAE government came as a boon for many illegals longing to get back home, it seems to have proved a bane for many cafeterias and restaurants in Sharjah.

Khaleej Times came across a number of eating joints which were forced to close down as their employees, largely illegal residents, had left work and returned home, courtesy amnesty.

When contacted, Sharjah Municipality officials said they were not aware of restaurants or cafeterias facing a hard time after amnesty. “We don’t have a clue about this. But then the businessmen should know that hiring illegal immigrants is an offence. If they want to run a business they should be hiring legal workers who have the visas, passports and other necessary documents,” said a source from the Sharjah Municipality.

The owners of small food outlets, on the other hand, say hiring fresh workers is too cumbersome an affair for them. As Moidin Hazi, the owner of Taufeeq Restaurant at Rolla in Sharjah said: “We run a chain of four restaurants in Sharjah, of which we have already closed down one. Most of our employees, who were illegals, have gone back home to their countries taking advantage of amnesty. We don’t have enough people left to serve our customers and for our delivery service. This has caused a drop in customers. In such a situation, it’s impossible to run a business.”

On why he had employed illegal workers, Hazi said: “They wanted work and we provided it to them. Moreover, they were ready to work for low wages.

About the future prospects, he said: “We could be closing down our entire chain soon. The situation of the other restaurants here is almost the same.”

The owner of Abababel cafeteria in the emirate had something similar to say. “We had five employees in all. After the amnesty, only two are left. We are just dragging along and would be closing the cafe it if the situation does not change. Getting people on fresh visas requires funds which we don’t have,” he said.

S. Raju, owner of  Al Mawada cafeteria in Rolla, which is also facing staff problems, said: “Seven out of our 10 employees have already left, availing themselves of the amnesty. We have no other option but to close down our cafe under these circumstances.”


Man fleeing with Dh500,000 stolen from car caught

AJMAN — SEP. 19: Ajman police arrested a 44-year-old African man for stealing Dh500,000 from a car in Al Zahara area of Ajman on Monday. The theft took place around 1pm near an automobile workshop, said Captain Rayed Al Zaabi, Deputy Head of the CID Section of Ajman Police.

The victim, an Egyptian identified as Mohammed, withdrew the cash from the Dubai Islamic Bank branch in the area. The thief, identified as O.M., was in the bank at the time and was watching Mohammed. O.M. got out and punctured the tyres of the car before Mohammed came out of the bank.

The victim was shocked to find the flattened tyres while trying to drive off. He pushed the car to a nearby automobile workshop. When he was busy checking the tyres, O.M. opened the car’s door, snatched the cash and ran away. Mohammed chased him on foot and caught hold of him. A police patrol team that was making rounds in the area saw them grappling with each other and detained both.

During interrogation, O.M. confessed to the crime and the cash was restored to Mohammed. The thief had a valid visit visa, the police said.

Captain Al Zaabi said police patrolling had been intensified in areas near banks as thefts targeting bank customers had increased.

The police attributed the latest incident to the negligence of the victim who, they said, should not have left such a big amount in the car. Captain Al Zaabi urged the public to be careful while carrying big amounts or precious items like gold.


Employer’s letter must for flat draw system

ABU DHABI — SEP. 19: Any person applying for the flat draw system or planning to sign a new tenancy contract must produce a letter from his employer stating his salary and that he had not been granted housing before, according to a new administrative resolution issued by Assistant Under Secretary of Commercial Buildings for Finance and Administration Dhahi Al Suweidi.

Juma Al Mansouri, Director of Rents Section at the department, explained that the new mandatory provision had been introduced after it discovered that many of those getting new tenancy contracts were granted housing by their employers.

“Those who could not get accommodation due to the shortage of residential units are the ones who merit these flats,” he said. “The resolution will pave the way for accommodation to the families that really need housing.” He added that more flats would be available if such cases of misuse were detected.


PROs told to apply by mail or online for work permits

ABU DHABI — SEP. 19: Company owners and public relations officers (PROs) can now apply for work permits from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) by mail or the minsitry’s web site, said a senior official at the MoL.

Khaleel Khoury, Director of the Work Permit Department, said, “We receive about 1,300 applications daily and each request includes an average of three work permits.”

The ministry will send the approval letter in two or three days informing the PROs to complete the formalities.

Many of the applicants have been complaining about delays in processing of applications.

Abdullah Ahmed, a PRO, said, “This is the fourth day that I have come to the ministry just to follow up whether the ministry has approved my application. Until now there is no result.”

Ministry officials have told PROs to approach the ministry only in case of a problem or submitting important documents such as salary statements.


Indian mission to conclude exit pass distribution this weekend

ABU DHABI — SEP. 19: The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi will conclude distributing exit passes to amnesty seekers by this weekend as it is expected to collect the remaining over 200 exit passes from the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department (ADNRD).

The embassy officials are distributing exit passes to those who applied for it before September 2 at Kerala Social Centre (KSC).

The mission has, so far, returned 4,500 passports to amnesty seekers which were collected from the ADNRD. It also issued 2,200 emergency certificates to amnesty seekers, a mission official added.

The mission helped amnesty seekers earlier at the Shahama immigration centre where their fingerprints were taken.

“Following the closure of Al Shahama immigration offices by the ADNRD authorities, the mission requested KSC, to allow embassy officials to distribute the exit passes to amnesty seekers. So, we gave them space and volunteered with them, too,” KSC Honorary President KB Murali said.


No Escape for Motorists from Other Gulf Countries
UAE - SEP. 19:
Motorists who commit traffic offences while visiting another Gulf country will no longer be able to escape punishment. For police in the UAE and their counterparts in the other GCC states have started sharing details of traffic offences and other information about drivers.

Forces here and in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman are linking up their traffic and licensing computer networks to create a comprehensive database.

Traffic police in any of these countries will be able to check the records of drivers from anywhere in the GCC and track down offenders. And the system will enable them to detect cars that have been stolen in one country and sold in another.

Under an existing agreement, a motorist from one GCC state who commits an offence in another can be fined when he or she returns home. However, sharing of information between forces in different states will help the police to enforce the law.

The computer link-up was revealed by a senior official from Abu Dhabi Police’s Information Technology and Traffic Department at the Gitex exhibition in Dubai. Some of the force’s high-tech systems were also showcased.

“The Abu Dhabi Police Federal Traffic and Licensing Department has recently enhanced its IT infrastructure to share vital information about traffic violators and traffic fine payments with other emirates and the GCC countries,” said Al Khalid Alyamahi.

The GCC-wide database contains information from immigration authorities, municipalities, banks, driving schools, transport authorities and companies, petrol stations, postal authorities and electronic payment agencies. Customs authorities have provided details of imported vehicles.

Data held includes information on driving and vehicle licences, driving tests, violations, confiscated vehicles and cars wanted in connection with crimes and accidents. There are also records of fatal and hit-and-run accidents.

The introduction of the cross-border databank follows improvements to the UAE’s system.

“The united traffic and licensing network is already approved by six emirates and the federal authority is awaiting approval from Dubai,” said Alyamahi. “We are in consultation with the Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Police. The system will get into full swing after we get approval from the authorities.

“A vehicle owner in Ajman or Sharjah can now pay his traffic fines or renew his vehicle licence in Abu Dhabi or Fujairah. Earlier, if a vehicle was registered in Sharjah, the motorist had to pay the fine to Sharjah Police.

“With the new system there will not be any duplication – once the penalty is paid the fine information will be removed from the computer system of each emirate.

“If the system goes well there could be a unified number plate system and a centralised driving licence issuing mechanism.”


Website offering open internet access blocked on TRA advice

UAE - SEP. 19:
A website that offered internet users a way to view unauthorised pages has been blocked on the recommendation of regulators.  Websites deemed offensive or unsuitable are blocked by a computer system known as a proxy server operated by telecom firms etisalat and du.

Emirates Today yesterday reported that Saudi Arabiabased Proxy1Arabia gave subscribers unrestricted access to the internet.  The company in Saudi Arabia runs its own proxies that enable subscribers to view any site they wish.

Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has denied it issued a threat to prosecute anyone bypassing the official internet filters. “As per our responsibility we recommended the link to the two internet providers and they added it to the blocked list,” said a TRA spokesman.   “TRA is not a policing authority. It is just a regulatory authority. We have no right to prosecute anyone,” he said.

A TRA official had earlier said anyone using illegal software to bypass the official restrictions violated UAE law.

“It is illegal to bypass the national proxy and those subscribing to this service are going against the country’s laws,” the official said.

Proxy1Arabia said its service was legal and offered to provide each customer with a unique proxy that enabled him or her to avoid the official one and visit any site.

The UAE filter blocks all material deemed offensive or unsuitable to cultural and religious morals, shutting out adult content and sites that promote vices and ills such as drugs and alcohol use, violence, terrorism and racism.


Children’s card game confiscated 
Boxes of a popular children’s card game have been confiscated in Sharjah for offending Islam, authorities said.  Consumer protection authorities said they confiscated 450 boxes of Yogi playing cards in recent sweeps after they were found to contain pictures and phrases inconsistent with the country’s religious customs.

Tariq Al Hamadi, head of the Market Control Section at Sharjah Municipality, said: “The regular and unannounced inspection campaigns on stores and groceries in residential areas showed there are a large number of playing cards for sale that insult God and contradict Islamic values and traditions. A total of 450 boxes of different sizes of Yogi cards were confiscated from a number of groceries and stores.” While the municipality had not received any complaints from consumers about the playing cards, the Secretariat General of Municipalities ordered authorities in every emirate to inspect stores and confiscate Yogi brand cards.

Consumers are encouraged to contact the municipality about any goods offered for sale that they find offensive or they believe contradict the teachings of Islam. Authorities have set up a countrywide hotline for consumers to register their concerns on 993.

Previously, our sister publication Al Emarat AlYoum published an article about the spread of theYogi game among children and teenagers. Some parents had expressed concern the imagery and language used on the cards was offensive and not appropriate for children, the article said.

The playing cards show pictures of imaginary personalities and strange creatures, and the game’s critics say the characters have bad habits and use aggressive behaviour and repulsive phrases.

The game revolves around fighting beasts, using magic, violence and killing, and players can use different weapons, such as fire, wind, hurricanes and swords, to gain control of their opponent.

Concerned parents are right to keep watch over the games their children play, an expert said. Dr Ali Al Harjan, a psychiatrist, said: “Games have a big influence, whether in a positive or negative manner, in shaping the thoughts and personality of children.

“The game is the world in which the child lives. Children think about the games they play all day. The games should be chosen carefully, because it is important that games suit a child’s age, environment and culture.” Sharjah authorities said they would follow up on all complaints received over the hotline. Inspectors will visit stores suspected of selling inappropriate goods, and violators, depending on the offence, will receive punishments ranging from fines to closing down of the store.


Dubai - Police warning to fasting motorists

Dubai - Sep. 19: A senior police officer has warned motorists heading home for iftar during Ramadan to slow down or risk being prosecuted. Brigadier Mohammed Al-Zafeen, head of Dubai Traffic Police, said extra patrols are being put on the roads to catch speeding drivers intent on reaching their houses in the quickest time possible.

He warned: “Some motorists drive recklessly in this period which causes many traffic accidents whether through speeding, jumping red lights or not leaving enough space in between cars while on the road. These offences are causing serious injury accidents and fatalities.” According to police statistics, 58 people were injured last year in Dubai in accidents during Ramadan between 5-6pm. Al-Zafeen said more patrols were now on the roads looking for offenders.


Camel milk gains popularity

UAE - SEP. 19: A LARGE number of people have started opting for camel milk for breaking their fast during the month of Ramadan.

Senior spokesperson of a camel milk company said that majority of his customers are locals but he hopes that the product would soon transgress the boundaries of "assured market."

Refusing to divulge the sale figures, the spokesperson remarked, "We hope to do very well during this Ramadan."

Camel milk has long been a part of the Middle Eastern diet and is also known for its health benefits, he added.

Meanwhile, with the competition growing in the retail sector, a host of leading groups have offered the customers a line of attractive sales promotion during Ramadan.

Though not a new phenomenon, the retail groups are sparing no effort to woo customers through their innovative and ingenious programmes.

With majority of the retail groups providing service of free home delivery, one of the leading supermarket is providing gift coupons for every Dhs.50 purchase and on the stake are cars, shopping vouchers and gold.

While cautioning that purchase limit might be applied, the group has also promised to give "Iftar Kit" for its first 1,000 customers.

Another major group is providing gift vouchers in the denominations of Dhs.50 and Dhs100.

Similarly, a lot of prizes are also available under Sharjah Ramadan Festival as draws worth Dhs.65,000 are at stake daily while weekly draws could fetch visitors, expensive cars, jewelleries and also air tickets to attractive destinations.

Various activities, competitions and exhibitions are underway at Sharjah Expo Centre, Qanat Al Qasba, main shopping centres, general parks and east coast of Sharjah. Retail market sources said that dates imported from the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah are also on sale at different shopping malls in the country.

The sales at supermarkets have gone significantly and it would only pick up as the time progresses during the month of Ramadan, remarked the manager of a Sharjah based supermarket.

Since the food products are sold more during the month of Ramadan, food manufactures try to earn good profits during the month of Ramadan.

Food manufacturers, in particular, benefit from a jump in demand and energy-rich items including seeds, dates, prunes and nuts are much in demand during the month of Ramadan, sources informed.

A lot of offerings are also being made during the month of Ramadan and hence heavy purchasing is done for this purpose also, sources added.

Shopping during the month of Ramadan is surely a wise decision but I always check my temptations not to purchase in abundance as sometimes it would be difficult to consume entire food before the expiry date, reasoned a Sharjah based housewife.


GMC iftar party

AJMAN - SEP. 19: THE Thumbay Group hosted a grand iftar party for all its group companies making it a memorable occasion to help make both the fasting and feasting meaningful and enjoyable. The iftar was attended by over 600 people. The group has over a decade of presence in the region with diversified business activates. The group owns and manages the Gulf Medical College and GMC Hospital Ajman. The group also owns and runs two international brands body and soul health club and blends and brews coffee respectively which are the new additions to the group companies.



Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: News headlines

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.