NEWS FROM THE UAE
SOURCE : THE NATIONAL/SEVEN DAYS
Outside and online: capital to offer free internet in parks
ABU DHABI - OCT 15:Free wireless internet service is to begin soon in some of the capital’s parks to encourage more people to use public spaces.
The project is being undertaken in collaboration with Etisalat, the telecoms provider, said Abdul Aziz al Juraishi, the Abu Dhabi director of parks and recreation facilities. The service is expected to begin within two months in locations such as Heritage Park and Formal Park along Corniche Road, and in the nearby residential areas.
“We’ve done a study to find out the best place to start this wireless internet, and hopefully it would be on Corniche Road, where there are three open parks,” Mr Juraishi said.
“We will see about extending to all parks if the first phase succeeds.”
It is not known how large an area would be covered at first.
Mr Juraishi said the idea came from an engineer in his department. “We got convinced that this is a good idea,” he said.
“If I’m bored in my apartment and I want to use the internet, it will encourage [me] to use the open areas. Especially in the wintertime, the air is nice and you can sit outside with your children,” Mr Juraishi said.
Hundreds of cities around the world have municipal wireless networks, offering internet service free or for less than service providers charge.
Public parks in cities such as Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Toronto all have free wireless internet access.
The idea is also not new to the Gulf region. Qatar announced its i-Parks initiative two years ago and provided free service in three parks.
Through “mesh” networking – a way to relay data using a series of radio transmitters – a blanket of radio signals is created throughout the city. Signals may travel from one router to another, with the routers mounted on light poles, for example.
People can bring their laptops to spaces within reach of the signal, and once the computer detects the network, they can sign on.
Largest human chain to mark breast cancer awareness drive
DUBAI - OCT 15: Dubai will mark International Breast Cancer Awareness Month by trying to break another world record – assembling 4,000 people to form the largest-ever human version of the movement’s pink ribbon.
The emirate set a record for the largest ribbon shape last year, when organisers gathered 105,000 pink carnations measuring 29 metres.
The record to beat for a human-chain formation is 3,640 people, set in Germany two years ago. More than 2,500 people have already signed up to try and beat that, and earn recognition from Guinness World Records, at the Emirates Golf Club a week on Friday.
The Burj Al Arab and Grand Hyatt Dubai hotels have pledged to illuminate their exteriors in pink to support the campaign.
“The pink ribbon is now something everyone associates with breast cancer awareness,” said Norma Zoghby, who is helping to organise the human chain. “This event in Dubai is another exciting way of fund-raising, in a new way, and spreading the message about regular mammograms and ways to look out for breast cancer.”
The pink ribbon was born in 1992, when Self, a US women’s health and fitness magazine, put out a special issue marking National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Evelyn Lauder, an executive at Estée Lauder, and the founder’s daughter, worked with Self’s editor, Alexandra Penney, on the issue. Independently, a breast cancer survivor in the US came up with the design for the ribbon. The two parties joined forces, the ribbon became a symbol – as did the colour pink – and now each year events are held around the world in October to raise awareness of the disease
Heart disease strikes earlier in Emirates
ABU DHABI - OCT 15: People with acute heart disease are dying five years earlier in the UAE than in other Gulf countries, according to a new study.
The Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events compared mortality rates for patients being treated for the condition in hospitals in Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
It found that, on average, people with acute coronary disease in the UAE died at 52.7 years of age while in the other countries the average was 57.2 years.
Dr Nazar Albustani, director of invasive cardiology at the capital’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, who presented the study at the weekend, blamed a mixture of lifestyle and genes.
“In addition to the increasing prevalence of multiple factors, like diabetes and smoking, I think there is genetics behind this,” he said. “In addition to the factors that we know, there are factors that we don’t know.”
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes are the four main causes of heart disease. Most people in the UAE are affected by at least some of these.
Dr Azan Binbrek, head of cardiology at Dubai’s Rashid Hospital, said: “Diabetes is a big problem here. Cigarettes are cheap so everyone smokes. High blood pressure and cholesterol are as prevalent as in western countries and there is a lack of exercise, which is not good.”
“Things like diabetes and high blood pressure are preventable risk factors. We can do something about it — it’s not like cancer. We can delay or prevent the disease with lifestyle changes.” Heart disease is responsible for 28 per cent of deaths in the UAE, he said.
Dr Eman Alhatou, a cardiologist at Dubai Hospital, suggested stress levels in Dubai were higher than in the rest of the region.
“Our excessively busy lifestyle contributes to cardiovascular disease – we don’t have time to exercise, we have too much stress, we have high blood pressure and we eat badly,” she said.
Many doctors warn that patients are not concerned about the risk of heart disease until it is too late. “People can be at high risk without any symptoms,” said Dr Alhatou. “People can get organ damage from long-standing high blood pressure.”
Heart attacks can occur without warning, and leave lasting damage, as can strokes. “The brain can be affected by these risk factors. There can be no symptoms and then suddenly you can wake up without the ability to move one side of your body.”
Doctors stressed the need for public awareness campaigns. “Advertising the risks is important,” said Dr Alhatou, “We have to focus more on it because this will give people access to free check-ups.”
Children should also be educated about the risks, the doctors said.
“We need to build more areas for children to play safely – where they can do exercise, play football,” said Dr Binbrek. “Too often children are just kept at home, playing on the computer and eating hamburgers. What do we expect? They are going to pay the price later.”
F1 at the starting line
ABU DHABI - OCT 15: Organisers of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix yesterday emphasised its importance by comparing it to hosting the World Cup or the Olympics every year.
They also revealed details of the Yas Marina Circuit, including artists’ impressions showing the racetrack snaking through a hotel and views from the grandstand.
The final design was announced last night by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, before more than 300 dignitaries, officials and media at Emirates Palace hotel.
Khaldoon al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and of Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management (ADMM), which is organising the race, said he was convinced the event would put the capital into the world spotlight.
He said the track had been “conceived, designed and was currently being built according to the particular needs of the city in which it belongs”.
“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this event for this country,” he said.
“This is the epitome of sports and I think that being part of this and launching this next year and having Abu Dhabi out there for the global audience is absolutely tremendous. It’s like having the World Cup or the Olympics every year.
“It is a lot of preparation and a lot of work, but we are going to be ready and we are going to deliver to the world a statement as to how we can organise and put together world-class events.”
With a potential television audience of as many as 55 million people – or more, because the race is next year’s finale and could decide the championship – the feeling is that Abu Dhabi will get more media exposure than ever before.
About 50,000 people are expected to attend the event on Nov 15 2009, a modest number by Formula One standards, but one that could increase during the seven years Abu Dhabi will host races.
For Mr Mubarak, bringing Formula One to Abu Dhabi is a labour of love. Enlisted as the chief negotiator between the Abu Dhabi Government and Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone, it was an opportunity for the passionate fan to get an inside line on his favourite sport.
Mr Mubarak attended the Grand Prix in Montreal this year and regrets the Canadian race will not be on next year’s calendar. And he compared Abu Dhabi to the new upstarts on the starting grid.
“There is a heritage and history there that has to be given respect. I have the highest respect for some of these historic tracks.
“But I am also a pragmatist. Just as you see drivers grow old, even the champions, you know at one point they are no longer competitive.
“If you stick with it, you are hurting the sport ultimately. You need to give a chance to the Hamiltons and the Vettels of this world.“
It does not mean that, when Schumacher retires, that you forget him. But in the best interests of the sport, you need to continue to revitalise it and get the best out of it. And that comes only with opportunity.”
Yas Marina will be the first circuit to have a marina built as part of the track and the first to travel through a hotel, with one of the longest straight stretches and some of the best views of any circuit.
From a driver’s perspective, Philippe Gurdjian, ADMM’s chief executive, said it would be among the most exciting in the calendar, with a mixture of tight turns and scenic stretches.
“As soon as I started working on it, I wanted to make something special, something unique, that you just could not compare with anything in the world. I think we have that.”
The race will also boast a distinctive Arabic flavour in a manner considered missing from the Bahrain race. The main grandstand is designed in the style of an Arab tent, and the colours of the UAE flag will adorn the track and one of the VIP buildings.
Mr Mubarak, who was “sick of hiding” the designs, said: “I am confident it is going to click with everyone.“
There is something different with almost every aspect of this project – something new, something unique and something that will set a new benchmark for motorsport racing.
There is a possibility that Abu Dhabi’s race will be even more distinctive by following the lead of the Singapore Grand Prix by being run at night. The track is being built with the capacity to host night races or other events, though organisers have yet to decide on whether Abu Dhabi will be a floodlit race.
Sources have indicated that it is more likely that next year’s race will be held in daylight.
Mr Mubarak said: “Like everything Abu Dhabi does, we are going to do it right. It is going to be unique, it is going to be setting a standard and it is going to be for the long term.”
Bonuses In Store
DUBAI - OCT 15: Shopkeepers who keep their premises clean will be rewarded by Dubai Municipality as part of the ‘Say Yes to a Clean Naif’ campaign, which was launched last week.
The scheme aims to educate the public on cleanliness and hygiene in Naif, which is considered one of the most important commercial areas in the emirate.
“We are asking people to maintain a clean environment in the store, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in stores, not to leave goods outside and to not drop litter on the pavement,” a Municipality official said.
So far, the campaign has received an overwhelming response, the official added.
The Municipality is also putting on roadshows and street plays to get the message across, which are being wholeheartedly welcomed by Naif residents. The next street play highlighting the scourge of littering will be staged tomorrow in the area.
The Municipality has also said that it will deport anyone found selling betel leaves, which are responsible for leaving red stains in the street. The civic body also announced a reward of dhs5,000 if anyone passes on information about shopkeepers selling betel leaves and its variants.
Filth On The Roads
DUBAI - OCT 15: Tankers that have polluted Dubai’s beaches with raw sewage are now being emptied on roads and in the desert, 7DAYS can reveal.
Truck drivers who are aware that police and the authorities have been patrolling Jumeirah, where the problem first occu-rred, are now carrying out their illegal acts elsewhere.
Desperate not to get caught, the men have been spotted flushing out tanks so that sew-age pours out onto the road. One eyewitness said: “We went to Al Barsha near Emirates Road to walk the dogs.
“It was dark but we noticed the road was wet and there was a intense smell of sewage.
“Then we saw a truck illegally dumping on the road.
“I started taking photos and he immediately sped away - his colleague was still hanging on the back of the truck after turning the dump valve off. “He was obviously petrified but so he should be - it’s disgusting. They have no respect for other people’s health.”
The problem started when truck drivers illegally dumped untreated sewage in Dubai’s inland storm drain network, which is designed to carry only rainwater to the sea.
It resulted in the coastline of Jumeirah becoming infected with E coli and toilet waste.
Dubai Offshore Sailing Club is temporarily closed as its harbour has been poisoned.
Club manager Keith Mutch had further tests carried out yesterday which will determine whether or not the water is clean enough to sail in.
Abdul Majeed Safaee, director of drainage and irrigation for Dubai Municipality, admitted the problem was not just confined to the sea. “They are dumping it everywhere - in the road, in the desert and I’ve even had calls from Dubailand that they are dumping there,” he said.
“In the next few days we will publish new rules and increase the fine. We will also confiscate the tanker for three months, because no-one wants to be out of business for that long.”