News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Towels with Indian flags pulled off shelves

DUBAI — March 08: Unilever Arabia has pulled off the shelves free bath towels with the Indian national flag on them following an objection raised by the Indian Consulate here.

The towels were being distributed free with the World Cricket Cup promotional packages by the company.

As part of its ‘Towelzat’ free offer, the company was giving away towels with national flags of seven cricketing countries — England, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

A Press statement issued by the Indian Consulate said that as soon as the matter was brought to their notice, they contacted the company to withdraw the product from the market.

The Indian Consulate contended that the Indian Constitution does not allow use of the National Flag for commercial purposes.

Meanwhile, the company clarified in a statement: “Although Unilever Arabia  had received permission to run this type of promotion locally, we have decided to respond to the Indian Consulate’s concerns by immediately removing from stores all promotional items carrying the image of the Indian flag.”

The company further said: “The promotion was designed to raise excitement around the upcoming Cricket World Cup. If we have inadvertently offended any persons, we apologise.”

As for the towels with the flags of the other six countries, an official of the company disclosed they would  continue to be given away with the promotional pack. “Only the Indian mission had raised concern,” the official pointed out.

When contacted, officials of the Pakistan consulate in Dubai said they had no information of their National Flag’s design being used on bath towels.

The Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE, Nabavi Junaid, said the diplomatic mission had not received any complaints in this regard so far. However, he said, the country had its reservations on using the design of its National Flag on such commodities. “We will discuss the matter with the authorities in Colombo,” he disclosed.

Meanwhile, towels with national flags of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the other cricketing nations, aside from India, have also disappeared from the market, it was reliably learnt.


Degree verification aims at transparency: minister

DUBAI —March 08: The Minister of Labour, Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Kaabi, has stressed that the new verification system for educational degrees aims at preventing those with fraudulent documents from getting jobs, and ensuring transparency in the expanding labour market in the country.

Jobseekers who arrive in the UAE with academic degrees attested from the authorities concerned in their home countries and the UAE Ministry for Foreign Affairs, are now also required to get their documents verified through a service provided by Emirates Post in order to process their employment visas.

The degrees must be verified through a screening system provided by IntegraScreen through Emirates Post for a fee of Dh500.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Al Kaabi stressed that this verification mechanism was essential for the authentication of any educational or professional document.

“The increasing number of fake documents and degrees provided by job applicants coming to the UAE has made it imperative to adopt such a verification system,” he noted.

Dr Al Kaabi cited the example of some doctors who had been banned from working in their own countries but came to the UAE with appropriate documents.

“However, through the verification services offered by IntegraScreen, their original academic records were finally traced,” he said, adding: “Dozens of forged Ph.D degrees have been unearthed through this screening system.

“ The UAE has been lauded for being the first country in the region to seek the assistance of IntegraScreen, one of the world’s leading providers of immigration screening and document verification services through its network of offices worldwide, Dr Al Kaabi said.

Any applicant found having submitted fake degrees is denied visa. Along with IntegraScreen, the Ministry of Labour (MoL) has enlisted the assistance of Emirates Post in a campaign aimed at checking immigration fraud. The results of the verification process are sent to Emirates Post and the MoL electronically.


Man asked to pay Dh400,000 blood money in accident case

DUBAI — March 08: The Dubai Traffic Court, presided over by Chief Justice Jasim Muhammad Ibrahim, yesterday sentenced a UAE national, identified as K. B., to two years in jail for reckless driving which caused the death of four members of a family and asked him to pay Dh400,000 as blood money (Diya) to the heirs of the deceased.

The man was also asked to pay a fine of Dh 500 for driving with an invalid licence.

Court records showed the man was driving on Eid Al Adha along the Al Kawaneej Road towards Al Rashidya at a speed of 130km per hour exceeding the 100km per hour limit. He hit a vehicle which was taking a U-turn, killing on the spot all the four members of the family in the car.


MoE outlines new rules for principal’s post

DUBAI — March 08: For appointment as a school Principal or Assistant Principal, a person must have TOEFL or IELTS certificates for English language, and the ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence) certificate for computer skills.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) has directed all Educational Zones not to accept any nomination papers for these posts unless the individuals have these qualifications.

The MoE has also set out conditions for those who meet these requirements. Their job nomination will be valid for one academic year, during which they will evaluated


Free medical advise on Kidney Day

DUBAI — March 08: On the occasion of the World Kidney Day today, free consultation will be offered to the public in hospitals, shopping centres, clinics and other places in the UAE.

Organised in collaboration with the Emirates Medical Association, the Nephrology Society in the UAE, the Department of Health and Medical Services Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and the Ministry of Health, other activities throughout the day will include seminars and Press conferences.


Indo-Pak celebrity cricket series to spread diabetes awareness

DUBAI — March 08: While the excitement for the upcoming ICC World Cup in West Indies reaches its fever pitch, a friendly cricket tournament will see former cricketers and celebrities of India and Pakistan taking the field for a cause next month.

The five-match series, organised by the Diabetes Education and Awareness (DEA), will be held in the UAE, India, Pakistan and the UK.

According to organisers, the DEA Cup aims to spread awareness of diabetes. One of the matches will be held in Abu Dhabi.

Team India will comprise Kapil Dev, Sunil Shetty, Sohail Khan, Arbaz Khan, Govinda, Dino Morea, Aftab Shivdasani, Ashmit Patel, Ashish Choudhery, Sajid Khan and several other actors. Team Pakistan will be represented by Wasim Akram, Sajjad Hasan, Humayun Saeed, Shan, Shahzad Roy, Ali Azmat, Atif Aslam, Gia Ali, Salman Ahmad, to name a few.

Mansoor Ashraf, Head of Diabetes Care, a unit of the Roche Pakistan Limited, said the event will raise funds to fight the disease. “This series will also help in bridging the gap between the two countries. We are all looking forward to it.”

Bollywood star Sunil Shetty said, “I am an ardent fan of Wasim Akram and would like to play with him. This is for a noble cause and we are always ready to support it in whatever way possible. People should know about diabetes.”

Gia Ali, a popular face in the Pakistan film industry, said, “I have seen my mother die of diabetes. So I am ready to support the cause anytime, anywhere. It is going to be a great show.”


MoU signed to promote traffic safety

DUBAI — March 08: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Alyaza Group in the field of traffic safety.

The agreement allows Alyaza Group to offer its scientific, technical and educational capabilities to RTA to promote the message of traffic awareness in Dubai. The three-year renewable agreement was signed by Eng. Maitha Mohammad Bin Adai CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency on behalf of the RTA, and Dr Zeyd Akel Chairman of Alyaza Group.

According to the MoU, RTA will distribute scientific articles brochures, while Alyaza Group will conduct training workshops and lectures on  traffic safety in cooperation with the RTA.


Private schools told to recruit sociologists

ABU DHABI — March 08: Private schools in the country cannot renew their licences unless they recruit sociologists, Nadya Maddi, Deputy Director of Private Education at the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone (ADEZ) has said. The private schools have to recruit only those teachers who have cleared the Ministry of Education (MoE) exams, Maddi added.

“For the private schools, it’s of utmost importance now to recruit sociologists for the renewal of their licences or the issuance of new permits for new private schools or institutes,” noted Maddi.

She said the teachers should also have passed the exams of Toefl and ICDL. “The MoE is studying new terms and conditions for issuing permits for new private schools,” she said.


Maintenance vital, not age of aircraft

DUBAI — March 08: Amidst a growing global concern over the safety of aging airplanes, an official from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) clarified on Tuesday that the airworthiness of an aircraft depends more on how well it has been maintained than on its actual age.

Speaking from the ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, Denis Chagnon of the External Relations and Public Information Office, told Khaleej Times that aging aircraft can be considered fit to fly when subjected to the proper maintenance and inspection programme.

“Technically, the age of an aircraft is not determined by the number of years since it was manufactured but by the number of cycles (that is, the takes off and landings) that it has made. There are planes that are already more than 30 years old like the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 but are still considered airworthy. The most important point that should be highlighted is how aircraft have been maintained,” he explained.

Chagnon said that if an airplane is well-maintained, it can last for even 60 years depending on its model. “Obviously, it is easier to maintain a new aircraft compared with an old one, which would require more work and expense. Aircraft manufacturers develop a maintenance programme for each aircraft type. That programme is certified by the country that orders the aircraft,” he added.

PIA fleet

Commenting on recent reports which noted the European Union (EU) countries’ move to ban most of Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) fleet into their airspace, Chagnon explained that as per the charter established during the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention) in 1944, every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory.

“Each country can have their own policies although most of them do base their standards on ICAO’s. They have the right to accept or reject any aircraft from flying into their airspace,” he explained.

The ICAO representative also mentioned that the challenge facing older aircraft would be the fact that it is not equipped with modern technologies such as the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) that alerts pilots if their aircraft is in immediate danger of flying into the ground, or the Performance-based Navigation/Required Navigation Performance (PBN-RNP) that is used in implementing routes and flight paths.

The organisation has required all aircraft (new and old) to be installed with a technology called Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) that helps pilot detect the presence of other aircraft within the same air zone.

“New technologies like the ACAS system can be retrofitted into older aircraft to enhance safety features,” Chagnon added.

Sami Lahoud, Boeing’s Corporate Communications Director, Middle East and Africa, said their company actively participates in the industry aging airplane programme that ensures continued airworthiness of older planes.

Lahoud emphasised that “Boeing airplanes can be flown past their initial design service objectives if they are properly inspected, maintained and modified per Boeing specific instructions in accordance with the industry’s Aging Aircraft Programme.”

Unlike its counterpart, Airbus does not get directly involved with Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) service for old aircraft, according to an official from Airbus Middle East.

“However, we do have a network of 15 MRO providers across the world that are accredited to work on Airbus aircrafts. In the UAE, Airbus’ has accredited the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO),” the official said.



Dubai - March 08: A Dubai-based Indian businessman embroiled in allegations of corruption in cricket has insisted he is innocent. Police in India and the International Cricket Council have launched investigations into Mukesh Kochar following alleged telephone conversations with West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels before a recent one day international.

With the World Cup due to start in the Caribbean in less than a week, Kochar yesterday refuted any wrongdoing. Speaking exclusively to 7DAYS he said: “I will take the first flight to India to cooperate with the police if that is what is needed. So far I have not been contacted by the Indian Police or the International Cricket Council. I have never been involved in any match fixing or betting on cricket.”

The businessman, who has been based in Dubai with his family for the last 25 years, added: “I have nothing to hide.” Kochar, who is well known as a bookmaker in India, was allegedly recorded by a Indian police surveillance team discussing bowling orders and team selection with Samuels prior to the match in Nagpur, which was won by India.

“Samuels spoke to the bookmaker on a number of occasions and he parted with team and other sensitive information,” said SPS Yadav, chief of police in Nagpur. “This is against ICC regulations and as such we have informed the relevant authorities.” Indian police have stopped short of describing the cricketer’s alleged conduct as “match-fixing” since they have no evidence of a financial transaction between the pair or money changing hands.

Kochar said yesterday that phone calls to Samuels were harmless and he was just calling a family member.  “I have know Samuels since I met him in Sharjah during a tournament six years ago. He is like my son and I was only advising him to be serious about his position in the team,” he said.  “All I asked him was which position he was going to bowl. This was just a general query,” said Kochar.

Sharjah has hosted more one-day internationals than any other ground in the world, but after cricket’s match-fixing scandal exploded in 2001, the Indian Board prevented the team from playing in the UAE for five years. A spokesperson for the Dubai-based ICC told 7DAYS that investigations by the anti-corruption unit will continue and it “would take as long as it takes” to reach a decision on the matter.

Dubai police said they were unaware of any current investigation into Kochar.


Dubai - Blood tests needed

Dubai - March 08: Health authorities said yesterday that passengers suspected of carrying the bird flu virus would have to undergo blood tests on attempting to enter the country. Speaking to 7DAYS, officials from the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) said that suspected passengers will be taken to the airport clinic where they will undergo tests that would take a minimum of 20 minutes to perform.

The tests are part of Dubai’s efforts to prepare for any possibility of bird flu reaching the Emirates, officials said. DOHMS is seeking permission for installation of thermo scanners at Dubai Airport for checking body temperatures. If a passenger registers more than one degree above the normal 37 degrees Celsius (98.6F), they face being pulled aside to undergo tests that will determine why their temperature is higher than normal.

“We will examine the patient first and if required blood tests would be conducted. The tests would be sent to the hospital and results will take around 20 minutes to half-an-hour using computerised systems,” said Ibtesam Bastaki, head of the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS). She added that people who are unwell will usually avoid travelling and hence she does not expect a lot of people to be pulled out of the queues.

“The system will be simple without any delays,” she added. All 80,000 thousand people arriving daily at the airport will have to walk through scanners testing their body temperature.  DOHMS claim they already have the equipment but are waiting for a go ahead from higher authorities.


Health psychology can lead to quick recovery’ 

Health psychology deals with how people stay healthy, how they get ill and how they respond to treatment. says expert

DUBAI - March 08: Health psychology can actually greatly contribute to the speedy recovery of patients suffering from chronic ailments says the UAE’s only professional health psychologist. The Evening Post spoke to Dr. Melanie Schlatter who is a registered health psychologist working with the Human Relations Institute in Knowledge Village on the sidelines of the Annual General Psychology Conference organised by Middlesex University Dubai.

“Health psychology deals with how people stay healthy, how they get ill and how they respond to treatment. Most of the time, patients who’ve just been through an operation or learnt that they’ve contracted a disease like cancer or diabetes just need someone to talk to. However, health psychologists do far more than just a social worker could. We’re well trained in detecting anxiety, depression and other basic pathological conditions,” said Slater.

Eventually, she’d like to see health psychology become an indispensable part of rehabilitation units in trauma centres though she says that this would take time. “There are only around twenty of us in New Zealand and I’m the only one here. People need to understand that health psychology can really help to improve the patient’s quality of life.”

Health psychologists are not authorised to prescribe medication and sessions with them can last from anything from two to ten sessions depending on the individual’s nature.


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