News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Indian dies in park dreaming of home

DUBAI — Jan 03: It was his dream to go back home to spend the rest of his life with his family.

But fate had something else in store for Muhammed Kamal, a 70-year-old Indian national, who died on the New Year’s morning, just a day before he was to board a flight to head back home.

Kamal died of cardiac arrest at Satwa Park, where he was living illegally for the past 14 years.

Hailing from Thanjavur, about 350km from Chennai, the capital of south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, he used to work as an illegal labourer in Dubai.

According to the other labourers who live in Satwa Park, Kamal had wanted — rather desperately — to go back to India. “But he did not have any documents to prove his nationality,” said Arumugham, a labourer. Finally, the Indian consulate in Dubai moved in, and issued an out pass for him recently. Kamal had procured some medical documents showing he was sick.

“Kamal was very excited about the fact that he was finally returning home. He had managed to buy some clothes and gifts for his family, thanks to the bits donated by some good Samaritans. However, we found him dead on the bench where he used to sleep,” Arumugham lamented.

Dubai Police have shifted his body to the police morgue. The authorities are still trying to trace the whereabouts of Kamal’s relatives.

Meanwhile, grief has gripped the fellow labourers who live in Satwa Park illegally. “We still cannot believe he is dead. He was always good to others and survived on the alms given by visitors. The cafeteria people used to provide him with tea and bun. After he received the out pass and ticket, he used to talk a lot about his family. But the poor man was unlucky,” said a labourer.


Dubai-bound flight makes emergency landing

RIYADH — Jan 03: A Dubai-bound Saudi Airways flight carrying over 400 pilgrims made an emergency landing at Riyadh airport one hour after taking off from Jeddah at around 4.15pm yesterday.

The plane is said to have developed a technical snag. No injury was reported and all the passengers and crew are safe.

Civil defence teams and ambulances were called in to deal with any emergency situation. The passengers were shifted to another aircraft to resume their flight.

Haj concludes

Saudi Arabia breathed a sigh of relief yesterday that the pilgrimage of some 2.5 million Muslims to the holy city of Makkah has ended without the deadly crowding or other incidents which marred other years. “The security plan was applied precisely, leading to the great success of this Haj,” Interior Minister Prince Nayef said. — Reuters


Dubai-Mother and child free

Dubai - Jan 03:A woman who has been behind bars bringing up her two-year-old daughter has been granted clemency by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the occasion of Eid Al Adha. "God is really good….I would like to thank the Dubai ruler for pardoning me and other inmates," said Deborah Mousa, 31, from Nigeria, when she learnt of the the news that she was to be freed from her sentence on December 28. 

She had earlier appealed for an early release on humanitarian grounds, citing the difficulties of raising her child while being detained at the Dubai Central Jail in Al Aweer. "My daughter is growing up and this is not the place for her. I do not wish to have someone else take care of her," she said. The 31-year-old mother  said that she did not have any access to consular assistance since her country does not have a diplomatic mission here in the UAE.

She said that sometime in December 2003, she was caught carrying heroin at the Dubai airport when she transited into Dubai from Pakistan enroute to Lagos. At the time of her arrest, she was one-month pregnant with her daughter who turned two this year.  On March 9, 2004, Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced her to 15 years in jail followed by deportation for the crime, she added.

I did not have any lawyer to represent me and I did not receive any help,” she said.  A UAE national lawyer helped her with her appeal for clemency she said.


Dubai Muncipality issues Beach Warning

Dubai - Jan 03: Parts of Dubai’s beaches that have become contaminated with oil. Dubai Municipality issued the warning after receiving numerous reports from concerned swimmers and sunbathers who got oil on them as they swam or relaxed at Jumeirah Open Beach.

Municipality officers confirmed they have been facing the problem for the past week and are still investigating where the oil has come from. “The oil has been brought to our notice but we urge the visitors not to panic. We do not think it’s a health hazard now but would like to advise visitors to stay off areas where they see oil spills,” said Redha Salman head of environment protection and safety, Dubai Municipality.

Concerned mother Victoria Ege first noticed oil stains on the feet of her two-year-old son while he was building sand castles on the beach yesterday. “We were shocked when we discovered that it was oil. I come to this beach so often but I have never had such an experience before. I think the authorities should inform people about it or probably close down the beach until it is all clear. It is clearly a health hazard,” said Ege.

“We called Dubai Municipality and informed them about this. We also asked them how to remove these oil stains. We have been scrubbing for hours,” said Ege. Salman said that Dubai Municipality and other government organisations were part of the Oil Spill Task Force Committee that was looking into the issue. “We appeal for the cooperation of the public to inform us whenever they spot such oil spills,” said Salman.

Yesterday although no oil could be spotted in the sea, clumps of oil could be clearly seen across ton the beach. It is suspected that the oil may have originated from an oil slick reported by the local media last week and seen in the sea near Dubai Marina and Jebel Ali beach.


Chill is out of the blue

DUBAI — Jan 03: While UAE experiences an unusual spell of cold and windy weather, Met officials predict the temperature will dip further in the days to come.

While the maximum temperature was recorded at 20.3 degrees Centigrade in Dubai yesterday, the minimum temperature touched 15.5. The temperature forecast for today is 14 minimum and 20 maximum.

Officials at the Met office said the drop in temperature would continue for the next few days as January is the coldest month in Dubai. They said the minimum temperature could touch 13.

While some residents of the emirate are finding this change in weather quite pleasant, others are not too excited. Beachgoers, for one, moan it’s getting increasingly difficult to stroll along the beaches after 4pm. Some have also started complaining about cold-related illness.

Says Manish Sinha, an employee with Mashreqbank: “I never expected this to happen in Dubai. I have been suffering from fever, cold and cough for the past few days.”

Salman Raza, a colleague of Sinha, has a similar tale to tell. “We have become accustomed to the hot climate in Dubai. This sudden drop in temperature is causing problems,” he points out.

For newcomers like Roshan Sethi, who arrived in Dubai just a month back, the chill is really out of the blue.


Road toll system to reduce congestion

DUBAI – Jan 03: The road toll system is expected to reduce congestion by about 25 per cent, senior Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials said yesterday during a meeting with Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in Dubai and President of the Emirates airlines.

Shaikh Ahmed was also briefed, on the progress of the Metro project. 

During a meeting with Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, Shaikh Ahmed was provided with a presentation on the Traffic Tolling Project which will be implemented in July on Al Garhoud Bridge and the Shaikh Zayed Road.

“This will coincide with the completion of alternative roads including the Dubai Bypass Road, which will connect Sharjah with Abu Dhabi, and the Pontoon Bridge project which connects the end of the Al Ittihad Road near the City Centre to the  Al Riyadh Street in Bur Dubai.”

“This is expected to reduce congestion on the Al Maktoum Bridge by  37 per cent,” said Al Tayer.

He said the toll system will reduce congestion in the areas by 25 per cent.

Shaikh Ahmed was also briefed on the Smart Traffic System which aims at reducing the rate of traffic accidents by more than 15 per cent and driving hours in the emirate by 1.5 million hours annually.

Al Tayer added the project includes sophisticated signs with highest attainable specifications and modern techniques and used for the first time in the world.

These will be installed on Shaikh Zayed Road, Shaikh Rashid road, Al Ittihad Road, Al Khaleej Road, Al Mina Road, Airport Road, Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Baniyas Road, Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, Emirates Road, and Shindagah Tunnel.

Al Tayer said the system will give priority to all emergency vehicles including ambulances and rescue and fire trucks on all crowded intersections automatically by detectors and sensors.




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