News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Now, SMS will alert you about traffic violations

DUBAI — Feb. 22: So far, it was the flash of the camera. The instant way to guess you may have erred on the road. Now, you’ll also be alerted by SMS or email of your traffic fines. So you’ll learn of your violation in no time, and for sure.

Brigadier Issa Aman, Deputy Director of the General Department of Traffic at Dubai Police, announced at a Press conference yesterday that Dubai Police had launched a traffic e-system, wherein, the traffic police would record traffic violations on their mobile phone cameras and notify the motorists instantly. The new system will co-exist with the earlier system, where traffic inspectors issue tickets to violators in the presence or absence of the motorist.

After registering the violations, the traffic police will send the information to the General Department of Traffic, which in turn, will inform the motorist by SMS or e-mail, or by sending video images of the violation.

“The system will provide offenders with details of their violations, like the time, date, place, car plate number, the type of violation, and the penalty amount,” Brigadier Aman said.


Colonel Ahmed bin Dalmouk, Director of the General Department of Electronic Services, who was also present at the Press conference, said the General Department of Traffic would first be alerted by the traffic inspector about the violation. It will then verify the information and pass on the information to the erring motorist.

On whether the new system could result in a possible duplication of fines for the same violation by motorists,  Colonel Dalmouk said they were mulling how to eliminate this problem.


Employee missing with Dh250,000

DUBAI — Feb. 22: A 36-year-old Indian, Yousuf Kunju Navas, working with the Emke Group of companies that runs the Lulu Supermarket chain in the UAE, has been reported missing since February 19.  Company officials said he was carrying with him Dh250,000.

According to them, Yousuf, who worked as a driver in a Dubai Lulu outlet, was sent to the Rolla branch of United Bank Limited in Sharjah in a Toyota car to deposit the money around 10am on February 19. He then went missing and the money was also not deposited in the bank as per bank records, they said.

Officials added that when they tried to contact him on his mobile phone, they found that it was switched off. The car he was driving, Toyota Echo AD 54024, could not be traced either, they said.

A source from the Dubai Police said an investigation has been launched.


Dh26m to keep schools clean

DUBAI — Feb. 22: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has earmarked over Dh26 million for cleanliness activities in 744 schools across the emirates for the second semester of the current academic year.

Each school will get Dh6,000 per month during the semester for carrying out cleanliness works. The second semester of the current term began on January 1 this year.

Muhammad Jumaa bin Hendi, Assistant Under-Secretary of the MoE for Management and Financial Affairs and also the Acting Under-Secretary of the MoE, said the cheques would be handed over to the education zones on Wednesday morning so that they can disburse the same to the schools


Road traffic safety drive from Sunday

ABU DHABI — Feb. 22: A national campaign to create traffic safety awareness will be launched on Sunday at 10am with a huge rally.

The rally will start from Hilton Hotel at the Corniche and will terminate at the Marina Mall where the opening ceremony of the campaign and exhibition will be held at 10.30am. The theme of the campaign is ‘Our safety is our responsibility’.

The nationwide campaign,  which will continue until March 3, is being held under the patronage of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the Woman’s Union,  is organised by the Ministry of Interior and Emirates Traffic Safety Society with participation from the government and private organisations.

The details of the campaign  were announced at a Press conference at the Woman’s Union auditorium yesterday by Brigadier Hassan Al Housani, Director of Public Relations and Mass Media Administration at the General Headquarters of Abu Dhabi Police and Secretary General of ETSS, along with the representatives from the Woman’s Union, Abu Dhabi Islamic bank and UPP establishment who are the two main sponsors of the event.

Exhibitions, symposiums, lectures, distribution of safety literatures, and traffic safety classes will be conducted during the campaign.


Dubai - Warning to cyclists

Dubai - Feb. 22: Dubai cyclists face having their bicycles impounded if caught on main roads in Dubai, police have warned. While a growing number of residents are opting to get to work on two wheels rather than four in a bid to dodge the long traffic queues during rush hour and grab a bit of exercise, they could be breaking the law. One European expat, who has been in Dubai for more than seven years, said he was pulled over by police while cycling on Al Wasl Road and told what he was doing was illegal.

The resident, who does not wish to be named, said: “I have cycled between Al Safa and Sheikh Zayed Road, from house to office, for almost two years.

“It’s the only exercise I ever get in a deskbound job, I get that small feeling that I’m doing my bit for the planet and Dubai roads can definitely do with one less car travelling every day.

“I was amazed when police pulled me over. He let me off with a warning but warned that in future my bicycle could be impounded and a fine levied on me. “He also pointed out cycling is illegal on Jumeirah Beach Road and Sheikh Zayed Road.” An official for the RTA confirmed to 7DAYS that riding a bike on the emirate’s main roads is against the law.
Al Moatasem Belah, traffic awareness manager of the RTA’s traffic department, said: “The police can confiscate the bicycle and warn the user. It is very dangerous for the bicycle rider to use the roads. “The main roads are only for vehicles and a cyclist is classed as a pedestrian. It is in the traffic laws.” Another cyclist said there was some confusion as to what constituted a main road in Dubai and it needed to be made clearer.


Into the Abyss

Dubai - Feb. 22: World BASE jumping champion Felix Baumgartner has leapt from the Christo Redentor in Brazil, jumped from the highest bridge in the world and set more records than most of us have had hot dinners, but there’s one feat he’s yet to achieve – leaping from the Burj Al Arab hotel right here in Dubai.

The 38-year-old Austrian multi-record holder, who was in the emirate for the fifth time yesterday to promote his latest jump - Oman’s ‘Seating of the Spirits’ cave, the second largest cave in the world - admitted he’s had the world-famous hotel in his sights for around three years. 
And yesterday, the professional stunt co-ordinator, who started sky-diving at the age of 16, said: “It’s something I would like to do. I got my helicopter licence last year and to fly from the airport directly to the top, and then BASE jump off it, would be incredible.” Unfortunately a spokesperson for the hotel told 7DAYS this would never be allowed by the hotel, due to the safety risk involved.

But never one to lose focus, adrenaline junkie Felix – who has set numerous BASE jump records – had already found another record to break here in the Middle East. Last month he became the first person to ever BASE jump the Oman cave ‘Majis Al Jinn’, a jump of 158m, on the top of Selma Plateau, around 400km from Muscat.

“I get a lot of people telling me I should jump from this building or that, and somewhere along the way one friend mentioned there was this cave in Oman that was worth checking out,” he said. “At the time I was too busy so I just made a note of it to look through when I had more time later.”

And in May 2006 Felix brought a small team of camera and mountaineering experts to Oman’s rugged landscape to investigate the cave, which is believed by many to be filled with haunted spirits.

“It’s important to do something no-one has done before but we have to make sure there is a safe position for the camera guys to stand - it’s not worth doing if you can’t film it – and also that it is possible for me to do.” After deciding the cave was a realistic challenge, Felix and his team of 25 technicians, logistics experts, photographers and a doctor, returned last month to complete the challenge.

Describing the dangers of the jump, he said: “If I step off a bridge the parachute spins around but if something goes wrong then the worst that could happen is that I go beneath the bridge – there’s no wall I could hit. If I jump from a building I could collide with the wall. “But in this cave I was surrounded by rocks in every direction, there were no reference points because it was so dark, and the jump was so low your eyes don’t have time to adjust.

“The lower the fall, the more dangerous because the less time you have to pull the parachute ripcord or correct a mistake. And it was a very unique location because it was very exposed.” The jump was scheduled to take place at 9am on January 28 but a long wait for sunlight meant Felix stood at the cave’s edge for almost two hours before he finally leapt at 10.55am. And during that time he admits dark thoughts did enter his head.

“Sometimes the jumps are fast and you don’t have much time to think - you just leap. But this time I had a lot of time to think. “I thought about people we have lost to the sport. We lost 12 BASE jumpers last year. A friend of mine killed himself in December jumping from a cliff. That doesn’t stop me wanting to do it, no. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. A lot of people die doing their jobs. This is my life. I’ve turned my hobby into my passion,” he said.
And Felix said that his parents have now accepted his need for adrenaline. “In every one of my childhood photographs I’m climbing a tree, a small house or a little building somewhere,” he laughed. “I always wanted to be looking down on people and things. I was never scared to walk to the edge. We have always been taught don’t fall off, come away from the edge, and now I do it on purpose!”

At 38, the adrenaline junkie has no intention of slowing down but is beginning to pursue his second dream - to become a professional helicopter pilot.

“I never had the money before but I got my licence in October in the States. I have 108 hours of flying under my belt and need 1,500 to get a job as a professional pilot. I’ve bought a helicopter so I’m hoping I’ll have done it in the next three years.”


WHO calls for national plan to combat diabetes

DUBAI —Feb. 22: The World Health Organisation has called upon Middle Eastern countries to form a national strategy to fight diabetes.

Addressing the first Middle East Diabetes media seminar at Hyatt Regency here yesterday, Dr M Khatib, Regional Adviser for Non-Communicable Diseases WHO-Eastern Mediterranean Region, Egypt, said that the ministries of health in the  region were  spending 78.5 per cent of their health budget on tertiary care of diabetic patients.

Dr Khatib presented the problem during the session titled ‘Epidemiology and Economic Burden of diabetes: situation in the Middle East.’

“There is a need to adopt preventive methods before the cases are sent to the primary healthcare ending up in hospitals,” he explained. He also said that prevalence of diabetes was among the highest in the world, standing at 9.4 per cent in 2007.

“Over the past three decades, major social and economic changes have occurred in the majority of these nations. These include progressive urbanisation, decreasing infant mortality and increasing life expectancy,” he added.

“Rapid economic development, especially among the more wealthy oil-producing countries, has been associated with tremendous changes in lifestyle towards westernised pattern reflected by changes in nutrition, less physical activity, tendency to increased obesity and more smoking,” he says.

According to WHO, six of the countries in the region, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Oman, have had studies performed showing their current diabetes prevalence to be among the world’s 10 highest. As with many other countries with high diabetes prevalence, type 2 diabetes tends to occur at a relatively young age.

According to IDF (International Diabetes Federation), the number of people aged 20-79 years with diabetes in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East region will increase from 24.5 millions in 2007 to 44.5 million in 2025.


Renew abra permits in 30 minutes

DUBAI — Feb. 22: The Roads and Transport Authority has approved adoption of a new facility through which now abra permit renewals will take a maximum of 30 minutes.

Engineer Essa Al Dosari, CEO of Marine Agency said, “The Operations and Performance Department within the agency is permitted to carry out renewals according to the recommended procedures.”

“The objective of introducing this facility is to speed up procedures and control renewal processes in line with the technical specifications.”

This new facility will also provide quality services and save time and efforts of abra owners who are UAE nationals mainly from low income groups.


Abu Dhabi cracks down on signboard violations

ABU DHABI — Feb. 22: The Abu Dhabi Municipality has launched an inspection campaign against shops and stores violating the rules governing the installation of signboards outside their premises, according to Omar Al Hashimi, Director of the City Landscaping Department.

Under the rules set by the department, signboards should be fixed at the space available outside its premises. The name of the store or the establishment should be written in Arabic and English, he said.

The drive would soon be extended to  Bani Yas, Al Shihama and Al Mussafah in the second phase, he observed.

The department was receiving three to four applications daily from owners of shops and new outlets to rectify the irregularities, he said.

In order to obtain a permit or licence for fixing signboards the applicant should submit a colour sample of the design needed to be installed on the front part of the building, he explained.

Most applications for procuring the permit were submitted by small groceries, laundries, bakeries and butcheries, he added.


No law on use of cell phones while driving 

Dubai - Feb. 22: Dubai Police keen on federal ban on use of mobiles by motorists

DUBAI The 2006 draft of the new traffic laws does not include any proposal to regulate the use of mobile phones while driving, a senior police official has revealed.

While studies have indicated that using a mobile phone while driving greatly increases the risk of having an accident, there are no statistics in Dubai that show the number of accidents resulting from the use of mobile phones.

Lt. Juma Bilal Al Suwaidi, Chief of the Traffic Awareness Department at Dubai Police, said that unless there is concrete evidence linking accidents to the use of mobile phones, it would be difficult to push for the legislation.

“No study has been conducted to establish the number of accidents resulting from the use of mobile phones while driving. While such legislation would be important, we can not push for it without strong statistical back-up,” said Al Suwaidi.

He admitted that unlike other causes of accidents such as over-speeding, it is not easy to link an accident to the use of mobile phones, but noted that a study would eventually have to be carried out.

Al Suwaidi said that Dubai Police was interested in seeing a Federal Law introduced banning the use of mobile phones while driving in all the emirates.

He said that Dubai Police in conjunction with the Roads and Transport Authority has, in the meantime, embarked on an awareness campaign to educate motorists about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving.

Al Suwaidi made the remarks yesterday while announcing the findings of ‘MotoSafe’, a study commissioned by the UAE chapter of UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) at the premises of Emirates Driving Institute in Al Qusais.

The study reveals that drivers who are under stress are more likely to have an accident and that stress levels increase during phone conversations.

Clinical and Forensic Psychologist Dr Raymond H Hamden of the Human Relations Institute at Dubai’s Knowledge Village, said, “Previous researches in other countries have shown that driving while talking on a mobile phone, even while using a handsfree, is at least as dangerous as driving while you are over the legal alcohol limit. Drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in accidents.”

Other RoSPA studies have revealed that the majority of calls taken by drivers on a mobile are “intense, complex, business-related and distracting”.

Experts also called on authorities to deal with Radio Station shows that tempt drivers to make calls or send text messages while driving.

RoSPA UAE Representative Andrea Akehurst said that drivers tend to overload their memory with a lot of activities while driving and that this places them at greater risks of accidents.

“Imagine you are listening to the radio, talking on the mobile phone, following your satellite navigation, you have children at the back, you are driving between a van and bus, there is a tourist on your right, how do you expect your memory to handle all that?” she wondered.

She urged drivers in UAE to take greater care when driving and to concentrate on just one task, to drive to the best of their ability and avoid talking on the phone.

Rally Champion Muhammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automonile and Touring Club for the UAE, said that driving in the UAE is dangerous enough due to the high speed roads and that talking on phone in such circumstances can be fatal.

He said that the rapid growth of traffic volume on Dubai roads in the past eight years has further made driving a dangerous venture.


Bluetooth and caricatures to curb errant student behaviour 

Fujairah - Feb. 22: The school management says students have not only reacted positively, but have even began to alert social workers to wrongoings in the school.

Fujairah A preparatory school for girls in Fujairah is using modern technology and creative methods to correct misbehaviour and malpractices of students, after traditional advices and lectures drew blanks, reported Arabic daily Al Bayan.

The initiative termed ‘The Educational Monitor’ has talented artists from among the students drawing caricatures of negative behaviour among their peers and posting them on classroom doors and corridors, without naming the wrongdoers.

The school management is using bluetooth technology to send messages to students about unacceptable behaviour like wearing accessories and make-up, writing on walls, cheating, violence and truancy at school.

Sheikha Al Sharif, Under Secretary of the school, says the initiative is producing good results. ‘’We have managed to get rid of 90 per cent of the bad behaviour in just four months. We have tapped the creativity and talents of our students to control the behaviour of unruly students without using punishments or rebukes.

“Caricatures drawn by the students themselves shed light on malpractices and promote positive behaviour,” she says.

Around 50 students are involved in drawing caricatures. The school management says students have not only reacted positively, but have even began to alert social workers to wrongoings in the school.



Top Stories

Leave a Comment

Title: News headlines

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.