News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

'Firms must pay for overtime during Ramadan'

ABU DHABI — SEP. 30: The companies will face penalties in case their employees are forced to work for more than six hours without overtime payment irrespective of their religion during the holy month of Ramadan, said a source at the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

The firms must abide by the ministry’s instructions and the labour law regarding the working hours during Ramadan, said Ahmed Al Besher, legal advisor at the MoL Dispute Department office here.

The ministry’s clarification came after workers of an Abu Dhabi-based company complained to Khaleej Times that the managers forced them to work for eight hours without any overtime benefits because they are not Muslims.

When Khaleej Times took their complaint to the MoL, Al Besher said the labour law of this Islamic nation respects human rights and every resident has to abide by the law.

“The working hours during Ramadan are six hours irrespective of the religion of the workers. In case they are made to work for more than six hours, the company must pay him/her for overtime at the rate of 1.5 hours for every one hour worked,” Al Besher said. Forcing the employees to work for more than six hours without paying them for overtime is a violation of the labour law.


Hot news: weather to get cooler

UAE - SEP. 30:
Temperatures may have seemed high in the past week but do not get too hot and bothered – the weathermen say more comfortable times are definitely on the way.

Autumn will officially begin in the UAE by mid-October with thermometer readings dropping steadily in the coming days, they said.

The beginning of next month will see a transition period with temperatures falling day by day.

And the Meteorological Department in Abu Dhabi said residents could expect balmy weather by the second week of October.

Temperatures are expected to vary between a minimum of 22C and a maximum of 38C. Forecasters said temperatures have started to fall and the weather has improved compared with last week.

“Daytime is hot and sunny but there is a dip in the temperature along with the humidity during the evening,” said a weatherman at Dubai airport. “Today and over the next two days there will be a maximum temperature of 39C and a minimum of 26C, whereas in the last two to three days it has varied from 40C down to 28C.” With temperatures beginning to dip, Dubai saw a surge in outdoor activities with more people going to public parks and beaches.

Jumeirah Beach Park sold 5,000 entry tickets on Friday alone. An official said: “There was an unprecedented rush on Thursday and Friday with more families coming in to spend evenings outdoors.

“Until last week we sold only about 3,000 to 3,200 tickets even at weekends.” Other parks in Dubai and Sharjah also saw an increase in the number of visitors.

Shameem Afthab, a Pakistani father of three living in Dubai, said he and his family spent the entire evening outside on Friday.

“The weather has become much cooler over the past two days and it is a great feeling to be outside,” said the sales executive from Dubai.


Six Thais, one Indian killed in accident

DUBAI — SEP. 30: The six Thai nationals who were among the seven killed in a ghastly accident on Emirates Road in the early hours of Friday had arrived in Dubai only hours before the mishap.

The Thai workers brought in by VFR Construction Company, which undertakes Dubai Metro works, and a man from south Indian state of Kerala lost their lives when the minibus they were travelling in overturned following a tyre burst near Awir. They were being transported to their accommodation in Jebel Ali.   The Indian was the cleaner of the minibus.

Two others, including the driver of the minibus, were critically injured and admitted in Rashid Hospital.

The mishap occurred around 3 am when, according to a police source, the vehicle overturned following a tyre burst near the fruit and vegetable market at Awir.

The deceased are Amnuay Phipphomang, 36, Suphap Khomkok, 40, Worawoot Promsuk, 20 , Koson Heepngoen, 29, Konpinkhan, 38, Wilaiunsiri, 42 — all from Thailand — and Rajesh Kumar, 40, from Kerala. The injured are Rangsandonkra Chang from Thailand and Devarajan from India.

Rashid Hospital sources said Devarajan is out of danger but Chang remains critical.

Meanwhile, the company said yesterday that it would give compensation to the families of the deceased.

Jerome Paul Noronha, HR Manager of VFR Contracting Company, said: “At present, we cannot say what would be the exact amount. We have started working out the compensation modalities according to the law,” he said.

The bodies of the victims, he said, would be flown to their home countries after completing the legal procedures. “We are waiting for the police report to find out the exact cause of the accident. We still don’t have any clue as to what happened,” Jerome said.


Tenant must be given grace period to vacate

ABU DHABI — SEP. 30: The landlord is not entitled to ask the tenant to vacate the leased property after three years of signing the contract without giving the tenant a grace period of not less than six months, Sultan Al Hosani, Deputy Chairman of the Rent Disputes Reconciliation Committee in Abu Dhabi told Khaleej Times.

The law is significant as a number of owners have ordered the tenants to leave the property to put the same for rent at a higher price. The law allows the landlord to approach the committee if he/she has strong and sound reason to order the tenant to vacate the place, Al Hosani said.

The committee is the only competent authority to intervene and decide on such disputes but it cannot order the tenant to vacate before he/she has stayed for at least one year in the property , he said.

The committee has dismissed not less than 80 per cent of the suits in which the landlords had pleaded for evicting the tenants.


Capital set to roll out the red carpet for Hollywood
The Kingdom, a new geopolitical thriller that released in the United States over the weekend, is all set to make Abu Dhabi one of the hottest new destinations for filmmakers in Hollywood. Directed by Peter Berg and produced by Michael Mann, this Universal release was partially shot in the capital city last year, with the Emirates Palace Hotel being one of the few familiar landmarks you will see in the film.

The UAE military also played a vital role by providing Apache helicopters and technical expertise for the film’s shoot.

The Kingdom is set to release in the UAE on October 11, and Emirates Today has learned that several other international projects are already in the pipeline that will have some big Hollywood production houses filming in Abu Dhabi over the next few years.

With the Middle East International Film Festival (Meiff) debuting next month in Abu Dhabi (October 1419), and Warner Bros Entertainment announcing a landmark feature film production deal with real estate developer Aldar and the newly established Abu Dhabi Media Company, the UAE will be witnessing the arrival of many big names from Hollywood.

Mona Al Ruwaini, marketing director of Pyramedia, the production and entertainment company that handled the local casting schedules for The Kingdom says: “Today, Abu Dhabi is on the international map thanks to the efforts of the government, which is actively encouraging local and international filmmakers to utilise the many resources the country has to offer.” Based in the UAE, with offices in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and London, Pyramedia has also provided casting for films like Kingdom of Heaven, Syriana and Valley of theWolves.

Along with producing Meiff, Al Ruwaini says that the company is also closely working with the Abu Dhabi Film Commission and the Abu Dhabi Film Fund to actively encourage local filmmakers to utilise the resources that are opening up for them.

“The Film Commission is very keen on taking regional cinema and showcasing it at major international festivals,” she says. “But at the same time, we want people in the West to see the benefits of filming in Abu Dhabi.

“The city is a tax-free haven; we offer a diverse landscape of beaches, mountains, deserts and a modern city infrastructure that makes it ideal for shooting; and the government is trying its best to provide on-the-ground help and facilitate production.This is a combination that no filmmaker will pass upon.” With a recognised name like Warner Bros Entertainment entering the fray, Al Ruwaini says that bigger names are soon to follow. “You will hear some big announcements during Meiff,” she reveals.

While The Kingdom has opened to mixed reviews in the US, criticism about portraying Arabs negatively and hurting Muslim sentiments has already raised some concerns.

Al Ruwaini says: “There are some who will always look for a political angle. And while I have not seen the film, I have read the script and I think it is very well-balanced and nonbiased.

“The main theme of the movie is to jointly fight terrorism, as opposed to one side being the heroes and the other side being painted as ugly villains. It’s time people realise that Arabs are just as affected by terrorism as those in the West. The movie will certainly highlight that on a global platform.”

Valuables worth Dh140,000 stolen from Ajman villa

AJMAN — SEP .30: Ajman police are trying to track down robbers who broke into the villa of a UAE woman in Al Zahra area and escaped with ornaments and valuables worth Dh140,000.

The robbers broke open the windows and doors of the villa of Nadia Mohamed Saeed when she and other members had gone to Dubai to attend a social gathering on Thursday night.

They entered the bedroom and unlocked the safe locker and escaped with items including gold and diamond ornaments, watches, two mobile phones and perfumes.

Nadia Saeed told Khaleej Times that they were shocked to find the house in a mess when they returned at 1.30am. “All my precious belongings had gone,” she said. “I immediately called the police and lodged a complaint in the hope that the cops would be able catch the culprits soon.”

A source in the Ajman police said the police rushed to the house immediately after getting the call. All evidences and fingerprints have been collected. The CID section is making efforts to arrest the criminals, he said.


Diabetics should fast only after doctor’s advice

ABU DHABI — SEP. 30: Diabetes patients have been advised to check with their physicians whether it is safe for them to fast and also if any changes need to be made regarding the timing of taking medication and dosages, said Dr K.V. Thariani, physician at Rahat Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi.

All overweight diabetics, except pregnant or nursing mothers whose diabetes is stable with weight levels 20 per cent above the ideal weight, are encouraged to fast.

“However, diabetes patients who fast should avoid too much intake of oily or greasy food to break the fast. They should break the fast with simple carbohydrates like a couple of dates or 120ml of unsweetened juice, followed by medicines immediately. They should drink or eat low-fat yoghurt products and avoid all sweets and sugary food except dates (only 2 to 4),” Thariani suggested.

At Iftar time, diabetes patients are suggested to take one cup of soup without chicken or meat, two meat or chicken simbusak, one cup of low-fat yogurt and one piece of fresh fruit, he stated.

“At Suhour time, they should take 90 grams of meat, chicken or fish boiled or grilled, two cups of rice, macaroni, gereeshi, thareed, Mofallaq, or Haris cooked without fat or oils, salad without fat, one cup of cooked vegetables without fat, half a cup of low-fat yoghurt and one piece of fresh fruit as well. This diet can vary from person to person,” Thariani added.

There are several categories of diabetic patients. In some cases, they are allowed to fast without any danger and in some case they are cautioned to not take risk as it may be harmful.

“It is important for an individual to follow a balanced diet so that indigestion problem is avoided and metabolic parameters are maintained. Sometimes, the fasting may lead to fatigue tiredness, lethargy and dizziness. So to avoid these symptoms one should stick to a balanced diet. Adequate intake of liquids and sleep is equally important,” the doctor suggested.

However, the doctor does not recommend fasting by those who are suffering from Type 1 (Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) and those who are poorly-controlled Type 1 or Type 2 (non-Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) as it may lead to problems. Pregnant diabetes patients and elderly patients with any degree of alertness problems should avoid fasting.

“If diabetics are fasting, they should be able take pulse temperature, look for skin infection and notice changes in the sensorium (mental alertness). They should be on the alert for any colic pain, signs of renal colic or hyperventilation, and signs of dehydration,” Thariani advised.


Work stress can have adverse effects on family

DUBAI — SEP. 30: Work-related pressure and tension not only negatively impacts the productivity of an employee at the workplace, but also has unsettling consequences for the family of the worker.

This was stated by Khalifa Al Mahrazi, a training and development consultant at Dialogue Studies Centre, while delivering a lecture at a symposium on “work pressure.” The event was organised recently by the Women’s Committee of the the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

In his lecture, Al Mahrazi talked about the pressures resulting from work load and discussed the effective mechanisms to overcome the problem.

Al Mahrazi said work pressures have adverse impact on business and work performance.

Aysha Al Busmait, director of Marketing and Corporate Communications Department and chairperson of RTA Women’s Committee said the setting up this committee underlines the confidence shown by Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and executive director of RTA, in the important role and contribution of women within the RTA.


Dubai - Allegations investigated

Dubai - SEP. 30: Two Filipina waitresses, aged 30 and 18, have filed a case against a Turkish mechanic and a Tunisian waiter, respectively, for two separate alleged rape attacks which took place between July and August this year.

Both cases, which are already with the Dubai Public Prosecution, have not yet been referred to the courts for trial. The foreign affairs department in Manila has already approved the legal assistance funds for the alleged victims, and both will be provided with lawyers here, said Rafael Palencia, a consulate officer in Dubai.

Dubai Public Prosecution records show that a 41-year-old Turkish national allegedly raped a Filipina hotel waitress inside company accommodation in Al Quoz in July this year.   In a separate rape case, an 18-year-old waitress  alleges she was assaulted by her Tunisian colleague on August 13 inside a flat in Dubai.


Court summons maid's employers

DUBAI - SEP. 30: THE Dubai Court of Appeals has granted the request for the appearance of the employers of a Filipina housemaid convicted for killing her 40-day-old baby late last year.

The couple's appearance was one of three motions of defence counsel Nabih Bader when the hearing on the conviction of EL began on Tuesday, four months after the Dubai Court of First Instance ruled for her three-year imprisonment and deportation last May 30, and after it was postponed several times due to the summer break.

"I was informed that the employers have been scheduled for the next hearing," Bader told The Gulf Today on Wednesday as he also expressed hope for the appearance of a medical committee before the chamber, for interrogation as well as for cross examination on the psychiatric and psychological tests he also has requested to be conducted on EL, in the succeeding sessions.

Bader presented his three motions on Tuesday as he contested the findings of a three-man medical committee from the Al Rashid Hospital at the lower courts.

The panel then stated that EL was in stable condition and was psychologically balanced when they checked on her some time last April.

"The medical committee did not do its best. The members should have spent time with my client so that they would really know underlying reasons," argued Bader before Presiding Judge Ahmad Ibrahim on Tuesday.

Bader is insisting that rape victim EL was grossly affected by post-partum depression that led her to commit murder.

The lawyer wants EL's employers to appear before the bench to prove her good character.

Meanwhile in recent judgements issued by DCFI Presiding Judge Abdul Majid Nadamy and Presiding Judge Fahmy Munir, two jobless Emiratis in their 20s were sentenced to jail terms of 10 years each for sodomy while two expatriates were sentenced to four years behind bars for violating drugs laws.

Convicted to 10 year- jail terms were GI and MI, 21 and 28 respectively.

Twenty-year-old Emirati government employee AM was the plaintiff.

Al Rashidiya police arrested both convicts on Jan. 20, 2007.


Markets bustle with activity as Ramadan progresses

SHARJAH - SEP. 30: THERE is a reason for shop proprietors to smile: Ramadan has so far marked improved sales. A cross-section of businessman on Al Wahda Street, once considered as the "Paris of the UAE" because of the presence of large number of fashion outlets, expressed their happiness over the sales.

"The sales are good generally," said a man attending to hanging women tops and trousers. The proceeding shops are lined up with shoes, with prospective buyers bending their backs to the items.

At Nine West in the City Centre, they have decided to keep open all day long, "so as we meet the demands and expectations of our customers," said a salesman, Kevien Bastian.

He said that the last Ramadan was so good, "This one started at a dull note, but it has progressively picked the pace. We hope that by the end of the month, we should have attained last season's mark or more."

Al Wahda Street is bustling with activity as night sets in with a large number of people thronging to the stores to buy a variety of items including clothes, shoes, leather jackets and other fashion accessories.

Added to the festive atmosphere is the pleasant climate which is encouraging a lot of people to venture out of their homes to check the items that is being sold in the markets.

Outside the shops, shoppers are busily seen bargaining for prices as shopkeepers line up a variety of items to catch the attention of people. Family members are seen holding their little ones who point at almost everything a kid can wear.


Some traders have "invested" into promotional offers. "If you buy items totalling to Dhs100, you qualify for a raffle draw," said a man dealing in clothes. His items are in a range of between Dhs10 to 25. "You can buy at ago, or collect receipts at different intervals," he said.

Just opposite this shop is Max shopping centre with banners: Buy Items Worth Dhs150 And Win! Among the prizes at stake include cars.

At Jamal Abdul Nasser Street, one shop attendant said that "I do not move away from here in the evening because many clients pour in after breaking fasting. You know, they become more energetic."

The reading culture seems to have improved during this month if the said improved books sale is an indicator to go by.

"We have witnessed considerable sales of Islamic literature during Ramadan ­both English and Arabic," said a salesman at one of the bookshops in Sharjah.




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