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Excerpts UAE Dailies

No fines on expired labour cards of jailed workers

Dubai: Dec. 13: Companies have been exempt from paying fines on expired labour cards of their imprisoned workers, according to a decision issued on Monday.

The decision issued by Labour Minister Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi stipulates that companies with workers whose labour cards have expired while in prison do not need to adjust their legal status before their release.

The companies will be given a grace period of three months from the release date to issue, renew or cancel the labour card. Failing to do so within the grace period will result in fines.

According to another ministerial decision, the labour ministry made it compulsory to have the electronic signature of the sponsor to open a new company record.

The decision, to be effective from January 7, stipulates that all new registered establishments must register their sponsors' signatures electronically. Electronic signature service is available for a fee of Dh200.


50-hour yearly study a must for doctors

DUBAI – Dec. 13: All medical practitioners will have to acquire a minimum of 50 hours of Continuous Medical Education (CME) each year to have their medical licences renewed.

Representatives from the Emirates Medical Association (EMA), the General Authority for Health Services for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS) and the UAE Ministry of Health yesterday announced the new rule, which will come into effect from January 1, while revising an existing one.

Dr Abdul Ghaffar Abdul Ghafoor, Assistant Under-secretary for Curative Medicine at the Ministry of Health, said, “The continuing education of healthcare practitioners ensures that doctors are up-to-date with advances in treatment methods and this benefit is ultimately translated into better standards of medical care.” “We are also considering to implement a unified standard of acquiring CME hours which will be implemented through the EMA within two years,” added Dr Ghafoor.

The required hours will be divided into 20 hours for specialists and 30 hours for general practitioners.

“To help medical practitioners carry on with the education, we give them 15 days off with paid leave yearly, air tickets in case they have to travel abroad as well as a daily allowance,” he said.

“As in most of the countries across the world, the renewal of physicians, nurses and technicians’ medical licences in the UAE will now be dependant on the completion of a minimum number of CME hours. We are confident that this initiative will be of benefit to the medical community and the public,” added Dr Ghafoor.

Dr Abdulrazak Abyad, CME Team Leader, Health and Policy Regulation, General Authority for Health Services for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, said, “Since 2004, the GAHS has required physicians and dentists to participate in continuing education programmes and from next year, it will be directly linked to the renewal of medical licences.”

He said practitioners will be given an extra month if they haven’t completed the hours needed for renewal.   “Nurses and pharmacists need 20 hours in a year,” he added.

Dr Abyad also said  medical practitioners could avail of double credit hours as well if they fulfil  certain criteria.

“We have divided the credit hours into 25 hours each. These are two categories; one is structured learning and the second is the American system which stresses on self-learning, if the doctors fulfil these criteria, they can acquire 25 hours in one category,” he explained.

New rules for renewing labour housing permits

DUBAI — Dec. 13: Permits for temporary labour accommodation in Dubai would not be renewed unless health and environmental regulations are strictly complied with by contracting companies, Dubai Municipality announced yesterday.

Eng. Salem bin Mesmar, Director Public Health Department of the municipality who heads the newly-formed committee to oversee health and environment affairs of labourers in Dubai, said, the decision was made after recent surprise visits by members of the committee to a number of temporary labour accommodations in the city.

Permits for temporary labour accommodation at worksites are issued by the municipality to facilitate completion of projects in time. The permits are issued for six months and are renewable for another six months.

“During recent visits, we realised that some temporary labour accommodations do not meet the set standards, therefore, it has been decided to freeze all permits till the time these companies improve health and environmental conditions there,” added Bin Mesmar.

He said the municipality grants licences for temporary housing at construction sites with strict requirements of sleeping quarters, dining facilities, drinking water, toilet, waste removal, pest control and first aid.

“The committee will undertake future surprise visits to assess the situation of different labour accommodations within the Emirate,”  he added.


Vehicles to switch to CNG from 2009

ABU DHABI — Dec. 13: Use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as vehicle fuel will start in the country from 2009, an Interior Ministry source has revealed.

“Around 25 per cent of vehicles, mostly owned by the government, and taxis will be converted from petrol to CNG on trial basis before making use of CNG mandatory. There is also a technical possibility to introduce gas-fired vehicles with both petrol and solar power,” the source said. The government, he said, would start setting up workshops which would undertake the conversion process and establish 30 CNG stations in Abu Dhabi in the first phase.


Heavy rains lash UAE, disrupt life

DUBAI — Dec. 13: Heavy rains threw life out of gear across the UAE yesterday as weatherman recorded the highest rainfall in a decade.

Most parts of Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain were flooded leading to major traffic disruptions.  According to the meteorological office, Dubai received 54.6mm of rainfall, Sharjah 105.4mm and Ras Al Khaimah 78mm until yesterday night. Dubai Meteorological Office Manager Dave Thomas said that this is the heaviest rainfall in a decade.  “In 1995, Dubai saw 18 rain days in December. This year, we certainly expect some more showers,” he said.

More than 53 people, including three UAE nationals, were stranded in the mountains in Ras Al Khaimah, the worst-affected region. RAK Police helicopters were pressed into service to rescue the men from the mountainous area of Wadi Al Beer. The men, who went to the mountains for a camping expedition, were later admitted to Al Saqr Hospital.

In RAK city, life came to a standstill as the roads remained water-logged inconveniencing commuters immensely. Taxis and buses remained off the roads, forcing residents to stay indoors for most part of the day.

The situation was no better in Al Ain, Dubai and the northern emirates with the country experiencing a steady drizzle followed by intermittent heavy showers throughout the day. More showers, though not heavy, are expected in the next couple of days. While Dubai can expect a somewhat sunny weather tomorrow, other places could expect moderate showers, the met office said.

The temperature in Dubai dropped to 16 degree Celsius, the met office said, adding that winds blew at 13 km/h from the west while the maximum humidity was 94 per cent.

Motorists had a tough time, thanks to the poor visibility in the morning in Dubai and Sharjah. “The traffic moved really slowly,” said Rehan Siddiq who takes the Al Ittihad Road daily to reach his office in Bur Dubai.

Commuters waiting for public transport were stranded for hours. “My bus did not stop because it was already full,” said Saji who waited in Deira for over an hour for a bus. “Taxis also refused to stop,” said another commuter who was late for her meeting in Jumeirah.

The Operation Room of the Dubai Police reported 678 traffic accidents from Monday afternoon until yesterday morning caused primarily by the poor visibility. Five people were hurt in separate accidents. No deaths were reported.

The Sharjah Police reported no major accidents.

Flights remained unaffected at both Dubai and Sharjah airports, airport officials said. Sources at the two airports confirmed that all outgoing and incoming flights operated on time yesterday.



Driver loses control and kills horse

Ras Al Khaimah: Dec. 13: The Traffic Court yesterday ordered a UAE national woman to pay a fine of Dh400 for killing a horse and causing damage at a petrol station.

A senior court official said the court gave the Emirati owner of the horse and the management of the petrol station the right to file civil cases against the woman to claim compensation.

The official said the 23-year-old woman A.H. lost control of her vehicle on Al Kharran Street, crossed the median, hit the horse and crashed into the petrol station. She has been accused of speeding and reckless driving.

The court official said the fine has been imposed so that the horse's owner and the petrol station's management can submit their claim to the civil court to claim compensation.

He said the price of the horse is claimed to be more than Dh70,000 and damage to the petrol station will be added to the sum of the compensation.



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