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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Car resident found dead

SHARJAH — Feb. 23: He lived in his car. He died in his car.

Bassam Shariff, a 58-year-old Palestinian man, was found dead yesterday morning in his car parked on Al Wahda Street, opposite the Pierre Cardin outlet in Sharjah.

A police source quoted people in the neighbourhood as saying that Shariff had been living in his car for the last three years as he was unable to afford high rents. The broken-down car had been stationed in the parking area outside Pierre Cardin shop for over two years.

The body of the deceased was taken to Kuwaiti Hospital mortuary, a police official told Khaleej Times.

The police said they received a call at around 9am yesterday, informing about a man lying motionless in his car. The police had to cut open the front door of the car to take his body out.

According to sources at the Kuwaiti Hospital, Shariff's body arrived at the hospital at 11am. Medical investigations found it to be a case of natural death. However, a doctor said Shariff had died some hours before his body was taken out of the car. A watchman of a building in the neighbourhood, who claimed to know Shariff, said the Palestinian man had been living in the UAE for over 20 years. He had been without a job for some years.

S.M., a woman who stays in the same neighbourhood, said Shariff was a resident of her building block for five years, but had to vacate the apartment two years ago, as he could not afford the rents.   She added: “His car was everything for him. It was his bread earner as well as his home. Ever since the car became dysfunctional two years ago, he had started washing shop windows to sustain himself.”

Speaking about the man, the watchman said though he was living in penury, and had not been keeping well for some time, he would never accept alms from people.

The watchman revealed that Shariff often used to tell him about his sister who lives in the US, and a brother, who works as a doctor in Palestine. They had been requesting him to return home, but he did not pay heed.


Net services on the blink

DUBAI — Feb. 23: Commercial establishments, offices, and Internet cafes in some buildings on Al Riqqa Road were left in the lurch yesterday as their Etisalat landline and Internet services were disrupted following damage to the cable supply system.

The damage was reported to be caused by the Metro construction work in the area.

While a couple of Internet cafes in the area wore a deserted look for most part of the day, the commercial establishments claimed they suffered big losses because of the snag.

Confirming the interruption, an Etisalat official said a technical team had been rushed to the spot and they had started repairing the damage. However, the official declined to spell out a definite time frame for the repair. Till late last evening, the damage had not been fixed.

Meanwhile, a Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official also confirmed that the connections had got severed due to the ongoing Metro work on Al Riqqa Road. "There are several Etisalat connections on Al Riqqa Road. Some of them got damaged. We are working in cooperation with Etisalat to restore the connections," the RTA official said.

Naresh Kothari, Managing Director of Inter Tech Systems, a commercial outlet located in Al Dana building in the area, said the interruption caused major loss to his company. "All my staff were sitting idle as our customers across the world were struggling to contact us,” he pointed out.

Muhammed Yemeni, an employee at Travel Zone travel agency in the area said, "we could not issue any tickets yesterday as we could not establish contact with the airline companies."

Yemeni expressed hope that the RTA would exert more caution while carrying out the Metro construction work in future. "We hope Etisalat repairs the damage soon. Otherwise, we stand to lose more business," he apprehended.


Hospital denies allegations of medical negligence causing death of national

SHARJAH — Feb. 23:Officials in Al Qasimi Hospital have denied allegations that the hospital is guilty of medical negligence that could have caused the death of an 11-year-old UAE national boy, Majid Abdul Rahman Al Atham, who was severely injured in a car accident on Al Dhaid-Sharjah Road on January 28.

The boy's family said they are not planning to file any case or lodge a complaint with the authorities against the hospital for the time being.

Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Jassim Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Qasimi Hospital, said the boy and his mother were brought to the hospital in critical conditions.

The medical team worked hard to save the boy's life, he added. "Fluid accumulated in his lungs and there was internal bleeding. The emergency staff managed to suck the fluid out from his lungs and then performed a surgery to stop the internal bleeding, but the boy passed away. The hospital did all it could have done to save the child," said Al Mahmoud.

He also said the hospital had a permanent committee that carried out investigations into all death cases and suspected medical errors in the hospital. "It also prepares an internal report for the Ministry of Health," he explained, adding that the reports will be given to the Minister of Health tomorrow.

Majid's brother Humaid Al Atham said the hospital did a CT scan three hours after he was admitted to the hospital. He also said his mother was not in a coma, she suffered a fractured shoulder. She might require medical treatment abroad, he added.

"We will inform her about Majid's death when she recovers," said Humaid.

The Minister of Health, Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, said the case was being investigated. "We can give an exact account next week, but any medical error or negligence will not be tolerated."


School bus conductor is held for 'molesting' child

SHARJAH - Feb. 23: A bus conductor of a Sharjah-based private school has been arrested for allegedly molesting a primary school girl student.

The accused, who has been working with Our Own English High School (OOEHS), Sharjah, for over two years, said to a Pakistani national, is currently under police custody, a Sharjah police source confirmed yesterday.

The source said the case was under investigation and would  be referred to the Public Prosecution soon.

However, both the school authorities and the police refrained from disclosing the identity of the accused.

A parent whose children study in the school told Khaleej Times that the victim girl is student of either KG 1 or Grade 1 at OOEHS and lives in Abu Shagara area. The parent also disclosed they had learnt of the incident from other parents, who were informed about the incident by the victim's parent themselves.

“The school authorities initially refused to entertain any complaint against the bus conductor made by the victim's parent. But no sooner that the news spread among students and parents, OOEHS officials decided to launch a full-scale inquiry into the incident,” the parent said.

The school offers the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum and is run by the GEMS Group.

In an official statement issued to Khaleej Times on behalf of the school, Monica Harter, Director, Corporate Communications, GEMS Group said, “We have met with the family concerned and have offered to extend all cooperation to the authorities in this matter. We have assured the parents of our utmost care and concern for all students. A letter was sent to parents of children who may have become aware of this allegation. The letter announced that we have launched an immediate inquiry and expressed our concern. Any matter that involves the health and safety of our students is of utmost importance to us and we take it very seriously.”

Harter, however, refused to comment on the action to be taken by the school against the accused, if found guilty. She said, “as this matter is currently under investigation, we are unable to comment any further.”

On the other hand, a number of parents whose children study in the primary classes at the school have denied  receiving any such letter. A number of parents, who refused to be named, also alleged a high-handed attitude by the school's transport in-charge, both towards students and their parents.

Whenever they have complained against any of the bus staff for their rude and inappropriate behaviour, the transport in-charge has been rude to the children and very protective towards his staff, parents said.



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