NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Indian’s aircraft stranded
SHARJAH — JUL 25:The runway at Sharjah International Airport was briefly closed on Monday night after an Indian airline aircraft coming from Mumbai was stranded on the runway due to leakage of hydraulic oil, a source at the airport said.
The 20-minute closure, however, did not affect the inbound and outbound flights.
The incident, according to sources, occurred at around 10.15pm when the pilot of the IC-595 flight was forced to stop the aircraft on the runway soon after it landed. “The flight was towed to the bay and the passengers were offloaded,” the source added.
Meanwhile, Indian officials said that technical snag had caused the delay in the operation of Sharjah-Mumbai flight which was scheduled to leave Sharjah Airport at 12.20am yesterday morning (Tuesday), but finally could leave only in the evening at 7pm.
“A technical snag was detected in the aircraft soon after it landed at the Sharjah airport on Monday. Technicians and materials were brought in from India and the snag was rectified by yesterday evening,” Abhay Pathak, Indian’s regional manager for Gulf told Khaleej Times.
All 140 passengers, Pathak said, were shifted to hotels and provided with all facilities, he added.
When contacted, a duty manager at the Sharjah International Airport refused to comment on the incident. Officials of the Sharjah Civil Aviation Authority were not available for comment.
UAE leaders greet India’s new President
ABU DHABI — JUL 25: The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has sent a congratulatory cable to Pratibha Patil for being elected as India’s new President.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also congratulated President Patil.
Both leaders also sent cables of greetings to President Alan Garcia of Peru and President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of Maldives on their respective countries’ Independence Day.
Move to curb human trafficking effectively
ABU DHABI — JUL 25: The UAE National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking will act as the official authority handling international requests, inquiries and delegations related to trafficking of persons, according to Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs.
Presiding over the third meeting of the committee at the Presidential Court in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Dr Gargash said this was decided by the cabinet in its recent resolution.
He said that the committee was authorised to act as the official authority handling international requests, inquiries and delegations related to trafficking of persons.
The committee will now formulate a joint mechanism to connect the local and federal authorities concerned and receive and process each international request.
“Every effort is being undertaken on a federal level to fight human trafficking, and through this body we aim to organise these efforts under one umbrella and develop an integrated approach,” Dr Gargash said.
The committee discussed ways to put into action the country’s commitment to combat the crime in all its forms. Its discussion focused on a review of new regulatory and coordination procedures, improvement of data availability, pending cases and prevention measures.
The committee, which is headed by Dr Gargash, also focused on communication mechanism between local and federal government authorities to monitor and track incidents of human rights abuse.
During the meeting, members of the committee praised the recent decision by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish a foundation for the protection of women and children in Dubai in his capacity as ruler of the emirate.
The Dubai Women’s and Children’s Foundation will provide a safe environment, assistance and rehabilitation for women and children who have been at the receiving end of physical and psychological abuse, including human rights abuses such as trafficking.
Salik doesn’t cause cancer
DUBAI - JUL 25: Claims that driving through the Salik tollgates in Dubai could cause cancer were yesterday dismissed as wild stories. Passing the pay points is entirely safe, said top officials at the Roads and Transport Authority.
They were responding to fears caused by a scare-mongering e-mail that has been circulating this week.
The message says the Salik gates at Al Barsha and Al Garhoud Bridge and the electronic systems used can lead to cancer and other diseases. It claims a scanner is aimed at vehicles as they pass through, and advises motorists to reduce the number of occasions they pass the gates to the minimum, while urg ing them to pass the e-mail on to friends.
But Engineer Maitha bint Udai, CEO of RTA, said the system was 100 per cent safe.
“The toll system is not a new thing,” she said. “It is a system that has been in place for more than 10 years in many developed countries. It is a well-studied system that guarantees no harm is caused to motorists travelling under the gates. The Salik system is similar to other toll systems in the world and it is safe to pass under it.” A toll system was implemented in Norway more than 60 years ago, she said. There are similar systems in the UK, Switzerland, Australia and the US. “Before implementing Salik, we sent a delegation to the US to study the system and the cards. We met the manufacturer of these cards and studied how they worked. The Salik tag is one of the safest in the world as it does not contain batteries.
“The tags work only when motorists pass the gates and it turns off automatically. There are other tags used in developed countries that contain batteries and are active all the time,” she said.
The Salik tag was certified by the American authorities, who are strict about things that may affect public health, she said, and added the gates did not contain scanners.
“Salik gates have video cameras and these do not pose any risk to motorists.”
Credit card users fall prey to criminals prowling net
DUBAI - JUL 25: Cases related to credit cards make up 10 per cent of the total cyber crime cases heard by Dubai Courts, revealed a top official of Dubai Police’s cyber crime unit.
Captain Rashid Ahmed Lootah, head of the Electronic Forensics of the Criminal Evidence Department, said: “Most thefts were committed through systems in commercial centres or shops where some workers had another system to copy credit card data.
“And data is sometimes sold to people who exploit them for criminal purposes.” On measures taken by banks to combat credit card crimes, Capt Lootah said: “The UAE banks have started to pay attention to the problem by monitoring withdrawal operations through cards done from outside the country. Banks contact their customers to make sure they are abroad. This has restricted the phenomenon that flourishes during certain seasons, mainly the summer holidays.” The official also said credit card data can be easily copied using certain systems, but cards bearing a special magnetised part make this difficult to do. Several banks have started issuing such cards to protect their customers.
Capt Lootah said Dubai Police received several complaints so far this year about card and data thefts and unauthorised withdrawals from bank accounts. It became clear later that the withdrawals were done through the internet where money was transferred to different bank accounts held under the names of various people.
“We found that the transactions were done through an internet café. We also discovered that a man had published an advertisement in a newspaper announcing a vacancy for two drivers at a monthly salary of Dh3,000.
He opened fictitious bank accounts for them in some banks and was able to get access to the accounts through hacking. He embezzled some Dh350,000.” Capt Lootah said the man was arrested within two weeks and sent to the Public Prosecution. He was tried and sentenced for five years for this and other cases. The official also revealed the cars used in the Wafi City robbery had been stolen through an electronic operation.
Dubai - Labourer’s family win
Dubai - JUL 25: The family of an Indian labourer who died when scaffolding he was working on collapsed were yesterday awarded dhs282,544 by the Dubai Court of Cassation.
It marks the end of a five-year battle by the family of Sheshayya Franklin for compensation. The Court of First Instance had originally ruled against Franklin.
"The court ruled against Franklin citing that the accident occurred due to the negligence of the worker. The family was in distress," said Hashik of Al Garib Associates, the family’s lawyer. The family then went to the Court of Cassation, which ordered a team from the Ministry of Labour to investigate the matter, who found the company was at fault for the accident. Franklin’s family live in Kerala, south India.
ON THE MOVE
DUBAI - JUL 25: The IMF monument on the World Trade Centre roundabout is being moved to a new location, quashing all rumours that it would be demolished to make way for Dubai’s Metro.
Speculation that the 100tonne structure with a blue rotating globe would be scrapped had swept through the city.
But instead the muchloved landmark is to be moved to another site 35 metres away – enabling the Metro line to pass through the existing location.
It will remain in full view of passing commuters, said Mukesh Tyagi, Site Engineer of Jasaf Building Technology Company, which is handling the project. “A 200-tonne crane will lift the structure and place it on its new foundations,” he said.
“There are nine pillars on the foundations and the 25m monument will be lifted from its old spot and placed intact on the new pillars.” It was originally raised to mark the annual meeting of the World Bank and IMF held in Dubai in September 2003. It was the first time the meeting was held in an Arab city It bears the names and images of the flags of all 184 countries that took part.
The globe that tops the monument has the seas and oceans marked with blue glass and stainless steel cutouts representing each con tinent. The UAE’s position is marked by a cut-out decorated in the colours of the country’s flag.
The globe is fitted with two motors and rotates clockwise for four hours and then anti-clockwise for the next four.
The monument was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, to welcome the participating nations.
The stainless steel tower has a glass crest and its base measures 10.5m by 10.5m by 3.25m.The structure has eight faces built in six vertical levels with a total of 48 glass panels. Each is lit from within and bears the names of participating nations and their flags.
Fake currency dealers’ gang busted
DUBAI — JUL 25: With the arrest of seven people, including a woman, Dubai Police General Criminal Investigation Department’s economic offences wing has busted an international forged currency racket. One of the arrested persons is a European and the rest Africans.
Acting on a tip-off early this month about the presence of a gang in the Hemdan area which was allegedly in possession of a huge quantity of fake euros and US dollars, detectives of the economic offences wing mounted a vigil and began an undercover operation to nab the suspects. The gang was also suspected of possessing equipment that was used to produce counterfeit currency.
After an initial success by the detectives in getting hold of samples of fake currency notes, a CID task force was assigned the job of arresting the gang members.
The police kept a close watch on the house from which the gang was operating. At an appropriate time, the task force officers swooped on the den and arrested the gang members. The officers also confiscated two colour scanners, 223,100 euros and $6,000 and Dh3,000 in the backyard of the house.
A thorough search of the house revealed a wooden trunk stuffed with faked euros and dollars. Some bottles containing an unknown liquid were also found.
After sustained questioning, the arrested people admitted counterfeiting bank notes and selling circulating them among people of various nationalities.
ADNRD flyers to aid ‘illegals’
ABU DHABI — JUL 25: The Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residency Department (ADNRD) yesterday issued flyers for amnesty-seekers aimed at informing them about the procedures, such as cancellation of visas, and information about the offices and the right people to approach completing the formalities.
The flyers include a map to guide amnesty-seekers wanting to go to the new office in Al Wathba. The flyers are in four languages, Arabic, English, Urdu and Pashto.
‘Suspect’ chili sauces not in Abu Dhabi markets
ABU DHABI — JUL 25: After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning regarding three brands of hot dog chili sauces, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) carried out inspections throughout Abu Dhabi and confirmed that the product is not available in the capital’s markets. Hence, there is nothing to panic, said a food control official yesterday.
The FDA had cautioned the public against consuming the contents of 10 ounce cans of Castleberry’s, Kroger and Austex’s hot dog chili sauce as they could cause food poisoning.
According to Mohammed Jalal Al Reyaysa, manager of ADFCA’s communication and information department, “Our inspectors checked the supermarkets and shops in the capital but did not find any such product.”
Al Reyaysa said, “We have also alerted our people at the border checkposts to not allow the import of any such products in the country. I also appeal to the people to check the brand name of the sauces before purchasing them from the markets and if they find any of these product, report it to this toll-free number 800-6565.”
Khaleej Times had earlier checked with Emirates Market, Al Istiqlaal, Spinney’s, and Abu Dhabi Cooperative supermarkets in the capital, and had found that the products were not available with them.
The manager of Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society, B. Joy, told Khaleej Times, “None of these three sauces are available in society’s markets in the capital.”
Dubai - All access denied
Dubai - Jul 25: An employee with Dubai Police went on trial yesterday for accessing the police computer database and collecting the numbers of women to pass on to friends. The friends then used the numbers to contact the women in the hope of beginning relationships with them.
The 25-year-old UAE national, who worked as an operator for the police in their control room, has gone on trial along with his friend, also a UAE national, who is a staff sergeant with the police force.
Officers attached to the Criminal Investigations Department received a tip-off that the operator was collecting identities and phone numbers of women through their car registrations and then passing the personal information on to his friends and colleagues. The staff sergeant requested the personal details from the operator after spotting women he was attracted to driving in Dubai and recording their vehicle registration details.
A major in the CID investigating the case told the Court of First Instance that the men had been involved in collecting numbers and then contacting women for at least two years. “It happened many times for his benefit and for other of his friends,” the major told the court yesterday.
The major said it is illegal for the information to be taken off the police traffic system computer and share it with other people for personal benefit. The operator has been charged with passing on inside information while the police officer has been charged with criminal assistance.
Both men deny the charges against them and the trial has been adjourned until a later date when witnesses will be heard.
Lost Ship Mystery
Dubai - Jul 25: A cargo ship with 21 UAE-based sailors on board has been missing for more than three weeks leading to fears for the crew's safety. Worried relatives of the men on board the MV Infinity Marine 1 are now bombarding the boat's owners in a desperate quest for information fearing the boat has sunk or been hijacked by pirates.
“The ship set sail on June 26, but it was diverted due to Cyclone Gonu that came through the Arabian Gulf,” Captain Khaldoon Kalla, of KK Marine Consultants, and the technical manager of the ship, told 7DAYS. “It safely sailed out of UAE waters, but there has been no news of it since it entered Somalian waters some time ago,” he added.
Despite intensive searches by the US and French navies there have been no sightings of the boat or its crew - made up of 15 Indians, five Pakistanis and one Iraqi. The pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast have seen numerous boats and sailors taken hostage in the past few months.
“The ship may have found a shelter in Somalia but the waters there are controlled by pirates and so a hijack cannot be ruled out,” Kalla said. However, the fact that no ransom has yet been demanded for the boat or its crew means that nothing has yet been ruled out, he added.
Andrew Mwangura, from the Seafarers' Assistance Programme, said the ship disappeared some 37 nautical miles off the northeastern village of Ras Hafun in Somalia, adding that some debris had been found in the area where the cargo ship was last located.
“It is, however, far too early to say if the ship has been sunk,” he said. KK Marine Consultants, however, denies any debris has been found, maintaining there has been no trace whatsoever of the ship since it left the UAE’s waters.
“The parents are obviously very emotional. There has been no news about the crew for weeks now. We are just asking them to hold on,” said a recruitment agent yesterday, who had helped hire the crew for their journey.
Showcasing cultures of India and Greece
DUBAI — Jul 25: The Bin Sougat Centre is currently hosting the fifth week of Global Surprises, showcasing the culture and traditions of two ancient civilisations — India and Greece.
Amjad Hussain is one exhibitor who has come from Mysore, a city in South India famed for its art and crafts. A specialist in an art form simply called ‘hand-cutting’, Amjad’s works reflect years of experience and expert craftsmanship.
“Hand-cutting is one among the main art forms in Mysore so my work is influenced by South Indian culture. The handicrafts put to display are entirely made of wood, “ he says.
Another highlight is the rosewood inlay work. The first step is to design and draw the images and patterns on the rosewood and give it a proper shape. The motifs that have to be inlaid are carefully shaped and fixed onto the rosewood. The wood is then smoothened using sandpaper and polished to give a bright look.
Today is the last day of the Global Surprises workshops at Bin Sougat Centre. Additionally, Century Mall will host traditional Indian and Greek folk dance and music shows from 4:30 to 10pm.
Short-term lets to be stopped
Dubai - Jul 25: Residents of homes built by Emaar Properties have been warned they are not allowed to let their properties while on short lease. The developer has sent out a circular setting out restrictions and asking householders to look out for illegal activities. The letter, sent to people living in communities such as the Greens and the Springs, says the apartments and villas may not be let for short periods or used as bachelor accommodation.
It asks residents to inform them of anyone breaking the rules or employing housemaids working without a sponsor.
But while many residents back the neighbourhood watch-style appeals, they do not support the ban on them letting their homes while on vacation. “I agree that the circular is creating a togetherness in the community and I am happy about the neighbourhood watch that is in place,” said Sarah Thomas, 27, a designer from the UK living in Springs I.
“But when I go away for three months I want to be able to rent my property out as I would anywhere else.” The Emaar circular says the rules are in the interests of the safety, security and wellbeing of all homeowners and residents.
It adds: “Please note that short-term lets [holiday lets] are not allowed as per the terms of the sales agreement signed between the purchaser and the developer.” However, in spite of the rules, short-term accommodation on Emaar projects is frequently advertised in newspapers and on websites.
When Emirates Today called a number on one website advertising short-let villas on a number of Emaar estates, it received a less stringent response.
We asked whether we could rent a two-bedroom villa advertised in the Springs for two months from October.
The salesman said: “Absolutely – we can help you with that. We can definitely do it. Rates will change because we are in the low sea son. It’s fine if you want it for yourself or with a friend.” The firm offered villas on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Walter Hart, an independent property consultant, said the reason was because there was no federal law on the subject.
“A law concerning how communities are managed has not yet been finalised,” he added. “This means that all master developers make up their own rules as to how their communities are managed.” An Emaar spokesman was not available to comment.