News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Cricket lovers gear up for India-Pakistan final

DUBAI — SEP. 24: As India and Pakistan gear up for today’s grand finale of the Twenty20 World Cup in Johannesburg, the Asian community in Dubai is waiting with bated breath to savour every bit of the game’s ‘Clash of Titans’.

The tension, pressure and  excitement  of  an  India-Pakistan clash  — that too a final — is simply an out-of-the-world experience, cricket pundits agree.

Many Dubai residents have planned to spend the day with friends, remain indoors, and watch what they say, is ‘the mother of all cricket contests.’

Abhiroop Lakhotia, a resident, said: “I shall be sitting with friends to watch the match ball by ball. An India-Pakistan tie cannot be missed under any circumstances! We hope the best team wins. But then we pray that India comes up trumps,” he said enthusiastically.

Khatir Hussain, a Pakistani national, said he was still planning what to do. “Fact is I cannot skip work. But I shall try to return home as early as possible.

“Meanwhile, I shall have the company of my radio to listen to the commentary. But my friends are still scouting for a suitable place to watch the match, which is sure to turn out a cliffhanger.

“We can hardly wait for the ‘battle’ to begin,” he quipped.

However, most of the hotels and restaurants in the emirate have decided to keep the grand finale thing a low key affair because of Ramadan. Although some hotels will show the game live, promotional activities will not be offered.

An official from Crowne Plaza Dubai said that the match would be shown in Harvester’s Pub for their sports buff guests, but no special promotions would be offered in the holy month.

Anis Benfredg, food and beverage manager at Ramee Royal Hotel, said that because of the restrictions on the serving of alcohol during Ramadan, their hotel can only offer to show the match live on TV screens in Time Café.

“Customers will be charged a minimum entrance fee of Dh50, which will cover the cost of food and soft drinks to be served during the breaking of the fast, but no other special promotions have been organised for this event.”

As the match starts at 4pm today, most of the small restaurants and cafes will be closed at the time. Mohammed Hasan Yunus, the owner of Pak Ghazi restaurant said: “Because of  Ramadan, our restaurant will open only after 6pm. But then the match could very well be over by the time we open shop.”

It’ll be no different for Sind Punjab Restaurant. “Our restaurant will open only during Iftaar. We have not made any special arrangements for the match,” said a staff.


Huge haul of weapons in Ajman

AJMAN — SEP. 24: A huge quantity of illicit weapons, including electric sticks, knives and swords, was recovered yesterday by undercover agents attached to Al Nuaimiya Police Station in Ajman.

A police source said possession and sale of such kinds of weapons is illegal as it could lead to increase in crimes and assaults.

A Chinese national, identified as C.H., had imported the weapons with the intent of selling them for prices ranging from Dh30 to Dh80 per piece, the source disclosed.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Saeed Humaid Nasser, Director of Ajman Police Station, said: “Following a tip-off that a Chinese national was selling weapons, a team of officers from Al Nuaimiya Police Station was deputed to trap the suspect.”

The police sent a decoy to the Chinese suspect and when he took out some of the goods from his car, the police arrested him.

During questioning, the suspect confessed that he had imported the weapons from China through a seaport in one of the neighbouring emirates.

“Lack of proper surveillance at some of the ports gives smugglers an opportunity to bring in such kinds of illegal weapons. The customs inspectors should be more strict in curbing the influx of such goods which could contribute to juvenile crimes and assault cases,” said Brig Nasser.

He added that the accused, who entered the country on a valid visit visa, said the quantity that had been seized from him was just a sample of the large quantity that was stored in a warehouse in Al Aweer Area in Dubai.

On getting this information, the Ajman Police, in coordination with Dubai Police, raided the apartment of the accused in the Al Aweer area and seized a cache 542 knives of different types, 40 swords, 60 electric sticks and 38 chargers for the sticks.

According to police records, Brig. Nasser said these types of tools had been used in many rapes and assaults.

Meanwhile, Yahya Al Rayasa, head of the Trade Licence Section in Ajman Municipality, said the municipality is making efforts to crack down on the mobile vendors.

He pointed out that last week the municipality had seized from many Chinese women visitors, watches and gift items which they were selling to people in cafés and restaurants.


Fire in Jumeirah villa renders 50 homeless

DUBAI — SEP. 24:A major fire that broke out yesterday in a 15-room villa in Jumeirah has rendered homeless nearly 50 people belonging to 14 Filipino, Indian and Sri Lankan families. Investigations are on to ascertain the exact cause of fire.

Civil Defence officials, however, told Khaleej Times, “The fire started around 9am in one of the rooms. Since the rooms had wooden partitions, the fire spread to six other rooms. Nobody was injured.”  “We are investigating the cause of the fire,” they added. 

“My neighbour called me at 9am while I was at work and said a fire had broken out in our house,” said Jayasuriya, a Sri Lankan who occupied one of the rooms.

Jayasuriya claimed that everything his family owned had been destroyed in the fire. “We do not have anything left with us now. Our clothes, furniture, my children’s books and even uniforms have all been burnt. We are now moving into one of our relative’s house,” he said dejectedly.

“I got a call from a neighbour, who spotted the fire. I rushed from my workplace only to find firefighters battling the blaze. We have lost all our savings and do not know where to go,” said an Indian couple Praveen and Rose. Some of the occupants of the villa claimed that they had even lost their passports in the fire.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Consul-General Wasantha Senanayake visited the villa after the incident. He told Khaleej Times, “The consulate is prepared to provide temporary accommodation to the affected Sri Lankan families. A total of 36 Lankans were affected by the fire.”


Shoppers advised to check food items’ expiry date

DUBAI — SEP. 24: Shoppers have been advised to check the expiry dates of the food items being sold as part of Ramadan promotions in some of the hypermarkets.

Dr Jamal Al Saeedy, consultant of the UAE Consumer Protection Union (CPU), has said that some of the promotions currently being offered on the food items in hypermarkets, could well be a trap for buyers.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Al Saeedy said the CPU had received a large number complaints from consumers about some hypermarkets and retailers providing attractive discounts on expired items. “Some traders are exploiting this period to make more money by selling expired food items,” he added.

Al Saeedy said that some retailers, hypermarkets and groceries were violating public health regulations by selling expired foods and failing to maintain proper storage and cooling systems.

Al Saeedy mentioned that the CPU had received two complaints from the public that a hypermarket in Ajman was selling some expired food items, including almonds, cashew and pistachio nuts, as part of the promotions. He said the hypermarket was asked to immediately withdraw these items, but they had not responded so far. “We have also received a complaint about a company which changes the labels of the expiry date,” he added.

Al Saeedy said the municipalities should monitor food products and fine those flouting norms. He said that items like chicken, fish, juice and dry food must be checked regularly.

He also urged the public to cooperate and inform the concerned authorities if they find any expired items in the shelves.

Abdullah Al Shiwaikh, spokesman of Sharjah Municipality, said the civic body was keeping tabs on all products offered in promotions.

“In case of sales promotions, companies must seek the municipality’s prior permission to ensure authenticity of discounts offered to consumers,” he noted.


Indian dosa chain to open shop 
DUBAI - SEP. 24:
Dosa Plaza, an Indian cuisine food chain that offers the world’s largest menu of dosa, a staple breakfast of south Indians, will soon be launching its operations in Dubai and Sharjah.

Specialised in dosa-making, the food service retailer boasts of the world’s largest menu of crisp dosas with 104 delightful varieties. These include 27 trademarked dosas such as American Chopsuey Dosa, Schezwan Dosa, American Delight Dosa, Chinese Delight Dosa, Mexican Roast Dosa and Mexiroll Dosa.

Speaking to Emirates Today, Eswaran R, Director, Franchise Development and Projects of the Mumbai-based Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza Private Limited, said talks were on with a few UAE based establishments interested in starting a franchise.

“Outlets in Dubai and Sharjah will open by March next year, while preparations are being made to enter the United States market soon,” said Eswaran.

The other international destinations include Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Australia.

Dosa Plaza has gained immense popularity in the prominent cities of India for its innovative approach and a wide variety of dosas.

The company was started by Prem Ganapathy from Tamil Nadu who in 1990 went to Mumbai to work as a cook in a small restaurant.

In two years, he started an outlet serving the south-Indian specialty alongside a street in Navi Mumbai. The next five years saw his business growing and Ganapathy was joined by his brothers. They used to sell about 15 varieties of dosa.

In 1998, the first Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza, a proper restaurant, opened and today it is one of the most popular destinations for south Indian cuisine. By 2002, Dosa Plaza had 104 varieties of dosa on its menu and by 2006 it had established 23 outlets in nine Indian states.


Medical waste lies dumped on public beach
A plastic bag found by a UAE national on the beach in Fujairah has raised questions about the way the healthcare sector has disposed of medical waste.  Abu Sultan said the bag’s contents were scattered over the sand and included syringes and blood and excrement analysis tubes used in clinics and health centres.

“The bag was thrown on a beach that people visit regularly. That got me into panic, because such behaviour pollutes the sea and threatens public safety,” he said.

Saeed Al Kendi, another UAE national, said he has seen similar bio-hazard bags spread across Fujairah and not only at the beach. He said he sometimes sees cats and dogs licking the blood and remains found in such rubbish. “That makes us afraid for public health, because these animals mix with people and they might transmit the diseases.” Ali Qasim, Head of Environment Protection Section at Fujairah Municipality, said: “The problem is ongoing. But it will end by the middle of next year. Last June, we signed a deal with a specialist company in co-ordination with the Health Ministry.

“The company will gather all medical waste. We informed all 88 private medical establishments that their licences will not be renewed until they supply us with a copy of their contract with the waste company.” Even when medical waste is disposed of and burnt at treatment facilities, some residents still fear for their health.

UAE national Sulaiman Abdullah said: “Residents in areas close to the places where the rubbish is burnt have strange diseases, including unexplainable eye diseases.

“One of my relatives who had an eye disease conducted medical tests in a foreign country. He later discovered that the smoke caused by the burning of the rubbish was the cause of the disease as it contained microbes.” A medical waste disposal specialist, who wished to remain anonymous for professional reasons, said private clinics in a medium-sized city can produce 300kg of potentially hazardous rubbish on a daily basis, or six tonnes a year.

“We cannot underestimate the quantity and its dangers if the disposal was done randomly by throwing the rubbish in the sea or containers at residential areas,” he said.


Hustlers ring in new scams

DUBAI - SEP. 24:
As residents have become aware of more than 400 circulating e-mail scams, hustlers looking to steal money have been turning to new tricks and ringing up potential victims.  Scammers claiming to work for the person’s bank, have been brazenly calling UAE residents directly and asking for their bank account details.

Gamaludin Ibrahim, 47, an electronics dealer in Deira, said he receives four such calls from overseas every week from anonymous sources, most of whom speak good English.

Ibrahim said the first person who called him this month asked him to provide his account number as the caller claimed his bank was going to change its computer programs.

The scammer told Ibrahim that the bank was calling all of its clients to verify their account numbers before installing the new system. However, since Ibrahim has accounts in two foreign banks, he asked the caller which bank he represented and the caller immediately hung up.

“I thought he was calling from one of my foreign banks and I was ready to give him the account number, but when he hung up on me, I became suspicious,” said Ibrahim.

His suspicion that he had been targeted by scammers was confirmed two days later when a woman called him asking for his bank account number but this time provided a different reason.

The woman on the line said that she was a daughter of the late president of the former Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, and wanted to transfer her money to a safe account.

She claimed that someone had referred Ibrahim as a person who might help her.

Ibrahim said he has since received a lot of calls from people asking for his account number with promises of big money in return. The calls have all come from the area code +234, Nigeria, which is notorious for its e-mail scams.

Similar phone calls, seeking to trick residents out of their hard-earned money, are also being placed in Arabic.

Basel Elthalathiny, an engineer from Palestine, said he was drawn into a scam after he received many overseas missed calls in August.

Elthalathiny, who lives in Abu Dhabi, said he decided to ring the number back and reached a man, “who spoke excellent formal Arabic”.

“I asked him how he got my number but the man would not give me a direct answer and said he got my number in a dream when he saw an omen.

“He said I was a good man and that he had been sent to help me.” Elthalathiny said he realised that the caller was trying to lure him and would eventually ask for money or account details. The calls he received were made from Senegal had the area code +221.


Land-bound abras are going places
DUBAI - SEP. 24:
Kiosks shaped like traditional wooden boats and traditional Emirati houses have attracted so much attention that Dubai’s Marine Agency is planning to build more.  The mini-ships – where people can buy newspapers – magazines and abra tickets are placed around seven abra stations along Dubai Creek.

However, after the faux boats proved popular with tourists, authorities decided to expand the fleet.

Eisa Abdul Rahman Al Dosari, CEO of the Roads and Transport Authority’s marine agency, said the traditional kiosks have impressed visitors and attracted huge attention.

“This is attributed to two main reasons: the heritage design simulating the traditional architecture of the emirate, and the services rendered to the public,” said Al Dosari. He added the kiosks’ shape is based on the ancient design of buildings of the emirate in a bid to revive the architectural tradition. The dhowshaped base also reflects a drive to adhere to the historic identity of the emirate, which had been and is still a key trade corridor between the East and the West.

“The kiosks offer services to people around Dubai Creek near BaniYas,Al Sabkha, Deira Old Souk, Al Seef, Dubai Old Souk, Bur Dubai and Heritage Village Stations,” said Al Dosari.

Visitors and residents can take a break at the kiosks, which are outfitted with Arab crafts and artwork, as the boats contain benches that seat up to eight people and their scenic locations offer great views of the Creek.

Al Dosari did not reveal the locations for the new kiosks but said they would be placed in areas frequented by visitors to offer a recognisable landmark as a place for them to purchase necessary items and seek information.

The total cost of the first phase of the project amounted to Dh2.5 million or Dh357 per kiosk.

The stands are mobile and can be wheeled to a different location if required.


Abu Dhabi - ‘Inhumane crime’

Abu Dhabi - Sep. 24: The UAE yesterday pledged its commitment to becoming one of the world’s most active countries in the fight against human trafficking at a meeting in Abu Dhabi.

In its fourth meeting at the Presidential Court, the UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking discussed a series of initiatives aimed at raising public awareness and helping victims of trafficking - including establishing a hotline and email address which the public could use to report cases.

As two men and a woman faced the Dubai Court of First Instance yesterday, charged with trying to sell an Indonesian woman for dhs9,000 and force her into prostitution, the UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs and Chairman of the Committee, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash said: “It is important that people understand the legal implications and serious consequences for anyone who perpetuates or colludes in crimes of this nature.

“We are working together closely to put a comprehensive system in place to fight this inhumane crime.”
He added that official training and public awareness would play a major part in the fight and that the committee would focus on educating the public and the law enforcement officers who work to fight trafficking, outlining a schedule of training workshops for government officials and law enforcement during the next six months, which would include standards for victim treatment.

Discussing the UAE’s increased participation in international forums to fight the global problem, Dr Gargash said: “All the members of the committee share a commitment to promoting the UAE’s status as one of the most active countries in fighting this international and organised crime.”


Dohms issues handbook for antibiotic prescription

DUBAI - SEP. 24: Doctors and pharmacists in the hospitals and clinics under the Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms) in Dubai have been given new directives on prescribing antibiotics for their patients.

The Department of Pharmaceutical Services in Dohms recently issued a handbook of guidelines in this regard. According to Dr. Ali Al Sayed Hussain, the director of the Department of Pharmaceutical Services, the "Antimicrobial Drugs Guidebook will change the prescribing behaviour of doctors."

"This will also improve the quality of our services and will have a cost-effective impact in financial terms," he told The Gulf Today.

Explaining the contents of the guidebook, Hussain said that all antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotic, antifungal and antivirus drugs available in the market, had been listed in the book along with their indications and contraindications.

The guidebook also contains details like the causes for specific medical conditions, how to prescribe the right antimicrobial drug, in which case and what dose. "It tells a doctor about the right usage of antimicrobial drugs. We always recommend the lowest dose for all antibiotics."

Not all antimicrobial drugs, Hussain said, can be prescribed for all patients. "There are certain categories like children, pregnant or lactating women who should not be on certain antibiotics. Kidney patients are not supposed to take high doses of some drugs. All these points are clearly written in the guidebook."

According to Hussain, the guidebook also suggests doctors which drug is safer and cost-effective. "Since the market price is also given, doctors can choose the lowest-priced drug without compromising on quality," he pointed out.

Doctors can easily carry the small handbook for ready reference. The 130-page booklet has already been circulated among around 2000 doctors and pharmacists under Dohms.

"We are thinking of distributing the same guidebook in the private sector also as some [representatives] from private hospitals have already requested for it," Hussain said.

Post card millionaire vows to help orphans

ABU DHABI - SEP. 24: "AN unexpected gift and great blessing from God, I wish to spend part of this money for the welfare of the orphans," asserts Mohammed Al Saudi Saeed Hamrour Al Ameri, the recent winner of Postcard Millionaire weekly draw.

Working as a Police officer in Abu Dhabi for the past 14 years and being a UAE National, 35-year-old Mohammed is financially well off and settled happily.

Without being swayed off by any particular reason, he was attracted by the Postcard Millionaire advertisements. He always used to notice posters and hoardings of Postcard Millionaire campaigns. This is the second time he wanted to try his luck. He bought the ticket from Al-Ain post office one day before Ramadan. It came as a pleasant shock when officials from The Millionaire Co. called to inform him of his win. He took time to believe it. Only when the officials gave him the exact ticket number did he realise that he has won Dhs100,000.

He wants to spend the prize money to help orphan children as a compassionate endeavour during Ramadan.

EMP officials drew Mohammed Al Saudi Saeed Hamrour Al Ameri winning number 8047590819, during the 49th draw of the Postcard Millionaire campaign, which was held at Al Qouz Post Office, Dubai on Sept.13.

Residents from all over the UAE and visitors have a chance to win a total of Dhs30 million during the third edition of the Postcard Millionaire campaign, with the purchase of an Dhs30 Postcard Millionaire pack. Participants are eligible for entry into one weekly draw for Dhs100, 000 and upcoming quarterly draw for Dhs200, 000 on Oct.3.

A phone line 600 566 566 and website ( can be accessed by people interested in finding out more about Postcard Millionaire or the winning numbers.



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