NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Traffic law proposes strict penalties, fines
ABU DHABI - March 19: The government is mulling a new federal traffic law, whereby more stringent penalties and fines will be imposed for traffic offences, Khaleej Times has learnt.
The proposed legislation aims at reducing the number of traffic accidents, which are the second major cause of mortalities in the country.
The Ministerial Legislation Committee headed by Justice Minister Mohammed bin Nakhira Al Dhaheri has forwarded the draft bill to the Cabinet for its approval.
The proposed law moots categorising 150 types of traffic violations, with the addition of 47 new types of violations.
The draft bill proposes a sharp increase in fines for traffic violations, which now range between Dh50 and Dh500.
The draft bill also moots a ‘Black Points System’, under which the driver’s licence will be cancelled in case his black points reach 24. The new traffic regulations also include permanent withdrawal of the licence in some cases.
THREE SERIOUS OFFENCES
Driving a vehicle dangerously such as speeding on the road, driving a vehicle on the main road without the number plate, and exceeding the speed limit by over 60km per hour, are the three serious offences stipulated by the draft law. A Dh2,000 fine is proposed for these violations.
A motorist caught jumping the red traffic signal will be slapped with a Dh2,000 fine and will earn 12 black points. In case a driver causes an accident wherein the car flipped over, he will be levied a fine of Dh1,000, besides incurring six black points.
FINES SPECIFIED BY COURT
The proposed law stipulates granting courts the right to specify reasonable fines for motorists who cause casualties by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The draft bill also proposes that the court has the right to specify fines for accidents that result in injuries.
Violations under this category include exceeding the permissible window tint percentage, driving light vehicles that do not comply with safety conditions, loading light vehicles in a way that causes danger to others, and parking taxis in non-designated areas.
THREE POINTS VIOLATIONS
The proposed law stipulates a fine of Dh1,000, in addition to three black points, on 21 types of violations, which include, among others, entering a banned place, not fastening the seat belt, blocking the traffic movement, and parking vehicle in the middle of the road.
Two black points
The draft bill stipulates a fine of Dh1,000 and two black points on 48 types of violations, such as, among others, driving a car without a licence, carrying passengers in the vehicle assigned for driving lessons, teaching driving lessons without permit, parking car in banned areas, and not wearing helmet while driving motorcycles.
One black point
It proposes a Dh1,000 fine, plus one black point, for 24 types of traffic violations, including abusing parking lots, placing number plates with unclear numbers, parking cars over sidewalks, failing to show vehicle’s registration book and driving licence when required, not writing the load capacity of trucks, leaving vehicles engine turned on at public places, using horns in banned areas, and neglecting hygienic standards set for cabs and buses.
60 nurses found working without licence in schools
ABU DHABI — March 19: Over 60 female and male nurses, some even without academic certificates, were found working at private schools in the capital without a licence, said a senior health official.
“Over 60 nurses were found providing nursing services for schoolchildren in the private sector without having a UAE nursing licence. Some of the detected cadres were without academic qualifications,” said Zaid Seksik, Director of Health Organisation Sector at the General Authority for Health Services for the emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS).
Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Seksik said rather than firing them, the authority has designed a long training programme for the staff who have certificates, prior to preparing them for professional licensing examination to ensure their efficacy.
“We thought that instead of firing all of them and leaving students without nursing services, we could train the certified nurses on required scientific and technical skills to prepare them for professional licensing exams,” he said.
The official disclosed that the Authority has launched a 25-week training programme for some of the nurses.
“Around 45 nurses from various private schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are being enrolled in this course. Their qualification and experience have been assessed and their files were presented to the Licensing Department at the Authority for processing to take up the profession at private schools,” said Seksik.
He said nurses who failed to present academic certificates were dismissed.
“This training course has been tailored as part of GAHS’s strategy to provide the best healthcare services for residents of the capital. It includes workshops and lectures that will be held during weekends so as not to clash with the nurses’ responsibilities during official working hours,” he said.
About the adopted mechanism to ensure efficiency of nursing cadres, Seksik said the Authority will seek cooperation of the medical zones as well as the educational zones, in inspecting and supervising the competency level of nurses at private schools.
Diet Pepsi lot withdrawn from Abu Dhabi markets
ABU DHABI — March 19: Certain quantities of Pepsi Cola Diet have been withdrawn from Abu Dhabi markets upon discovering manufacturing faults, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority announced yesterday.
The carbonated soft drink recall has been ordered following lab tests which revealed that scales on the inside surface of the tins mixed with the liquid contents, Director of Communications and Information at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority stated.
“As a precautionary measure, our food inspectors quarantined all quantities of Pepsi Cola Diet tins that are bottled on January 22, 2007, (lot No. 7022 ) at the company’s factory as well as in all Abu Dhabi retail outlets,” Abdullah stressed.
“Lab tests on random samples revealed that the only faulty Pepsi Cola product is Pepsi Cola Diet,” he added.
Officials from Pepsi Cola company and the manufacturer of tins said that the problem surfaced due to a power cut at the kiln where tins are dried.
Prices of juices and dairy products to go up
ABU DHABI — March 19: Prices of canned or fresh juices, milk, yogurt and other dairy products will be hiked by up to 28 per cent this summer.
The new prices will come into effect on April 17.
A number of dairy companies have started informing supermarkets and groceries about their decision.
The price of a three-litre pack of full cream milk will be increased to Dh15 from Dh13.50. A one-kg pack of natural yogurt, a popular dairy product in summer, will be costlier by a dirham, with the new price being Dh 6. However, the price of sweetened yogurt in 100-gram packs will remain unchanged.
The new price of a two-litre Laban pack will be raised to Dh10.50 from Dh9.
The prices of dairy products manufactured from camel milk, however, will remain unaffected, according to the decision taken by one of the leading dairy producers.
Orange juice will be the worst hit. A three-litre bottle of orange will cost Dh13.50, instead of Dh10.50, this summer.
“The cost of production as well as distribution has been rising steadily over the past few years and we tried our best to curb it as much as we could,” said a trader dealing in dairy products, justifying the move. He added that since dairy producers’ objective is to provide high quality products to their customers, they have no option but to increase the prices.
One killed, several hurt in accidents on rainy day
ABU DHABI — March 19: A 37-year-old Pakistani man died after being hit by a car in Al Khaledeya area here as a number of road accidents were reported in the emirate on Saturday, the day rain lashed the Western Region.
Several people were injured in the accidents, Major Yaslam Al Tamimi, head of the Investigations and Accidents Section at the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrols Department said.
One man was injured when 10 cars rammed into each other at around 12.30pm near the Al Jawazat Bridge.
Similarly, five vehicles hit each other on the Eastern Al Qurm-Corniche Road.
Another accident was reported on the Airport Road as four vehicles hit each other. An accident involving five other vehicles was reported in the same area.
Four accidents were reported on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi Road, which resulted in minor injuries to some motorists.
Eight vehicles rammed into each other in Al Khaledeya area. However, none was injured.
In another accident, a young Russian woman suffered head and leg injuries when she was hit by a car near Dana Hotel. She was taken to the Khalifa Hospital for treatment.
Man jailed for six months or sexual harassment
DUBAI — March 19: The Dubai Criminal Court has sentenced a an Asian expatriate, identified as KM, to six months in jail on a charge of sexual harassment. He was also awarded a month’s imprisonment for assault followed by deportation. In addition to these, he would have to pay a fine of Dh1,000 for illegally entering and staying in the country. According to court records, the victim, identified as MA, was standing near a car at a parking lot in Satwa when the man came to her and started groping her. She screamed for help, but he pinned her down on the road and hit her with an object he was carrying.
Man fined for posing as woman
Dubai - March 19: The Dubai Court of Misdemeanor has slapped a fine of Dh2,000 on an Asian expatriate, identified as A.S., for posing as a woman to enter a hotel, with the intention of robbing rich guests. As per court records, A.S. moved into the hotel, where he was previously working, wearing a veil along with the long dress worn by women. However, he was apprehended when one of the security guards, who had become suspicious on noticing him, stopped him and removed the veil.
A.S. later confessed during the investigation that he wanted to rob one of the rich guests as he wanted to tide over the financial crisis he was going through.
FNC seeks strict rules for tourist, businessmen visa
DUBAI — March 19:The Federal National Council’s (FNC) Committee for Defence and Interior yesterday demanded that strict regulations be laid down to govern issuance of visas for tourists and businessmen.
During a meeting yesterday, the committee discussed the issues regarding the entry of foreigners into the country in response to questions raised by some members.
Ali Majed Al Matroushi, chairman of the committee, said they had put forth a series of recommendations, including providing a mandatory health insurance for visitors.
Holidaymakers visiting the UAE should carry with them health fitness certificates and enough money to cover their expenses during their stay in the country, he said.
Al Matroushi noted that regulations regarding the entry of visitors on tourism visas exempt some categories of visitors like experts and doctors as well as participants in exhibitions, directors or owners of major companies and official delegations to the state.
He said one of the recommendations called for fixing the age of workers arriving in the country at not less than 25 years to make sure that they are mature enough to deal with the country’s regulations.
The recommendations will be submitted to the Federal National Council for discussion and approval by it.
Al Matroushi added that the committee had also requested the FNC’s Secretariat General to ask the Ministry of Interior to send its representatives to next week’s meeting which will be discussing the federal traffic law.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by Ahmed bin Shabib Al Dhahiri, First Deputy Speaker of the House, and FNC members Khalifa bin Huwiden, Misa Rashid Gadeer, Abdullah Ahmed Al Shihi and Salim Al Naqabi, among others.
Dubai - Man in abaya pays the price
Dubai - March 19: A cross-dressing Indian man who clothed himself like an Arabic woman and used the female bathrooms in a hotel has been fined dhs2,000 and ordered to be deported. A court in Dubai heard that the expat dressed in an abaya and tried to ensnare a rich businessman to rob in the hotel to help him out of his debt problems.
After lurking in the female only bathroom for several minutes, the man pretended to be a guest in the hotel in the hope of snaring his victim. However security at the hotel spotted the man and had him arrested. He told the court that he hoped to find a rich man to help rid him of his terrible financial plight. He will be deported after paying his fine.
End your worries with Dubai Police
Four years after it was launched, Dubai Police's Al Ameen helpline wins the trust of both nationals and residents
DUBAI - March 19: Al Ameen service introduced by Dubai Police to provide safe and confidential communication channels to people in need of help is increasingly becoming popular with more than eight thousand calls made and messages sent to the service last year.
Most of the contacts made to Al Ameen service came from UAE nationals seeking help on a number of issues ranging from reporting crime, traffic offences, security, social services and others.
A senior security official at Al Ameen service told Evening Post that the number of callers has drastically increased since the service was started four years ago. “With all the awareness campaigns we are making and the effective assistance we are giving to all people, the number of people in need of our services has taken a sharp increase,” said the official.
Last year, Al Ameen service received 8,083 hotline calls and messages, a 42.3 per cent increase compared to the 3,854 calls made in 2005. The number of calls received in 2004 was much lesser at 1,602.
Out of all the calls made to Al Ameen service last year, UAE nationals made 3,478 calls, the highest number going by nationality. They were followed by Arab expatriates who made 1,589 calls while the rest of the residents and visitors made a total of 2,857.
5,405 calls and messages sent to Al Ameen were to report criminals or criminal related activities in Dubai. 860 were traffic related, 201 were of a social nature, 128 were related to safety and 1489 were categorized as others by Al Ameen service.
SMS FOR HELP
The officer at Al Ameen attributed the sharp increase in numbers of people contacting the service to the SMS tollfree service that was introduced last year. Early last year, Al Ameen service introduced a new electronic service enabling people to register complaints or ask for help by sending messages from their mobile phones to Al Ameen’s SMS toll free number 4444.
“Many people are now using SMS to contact us because it is more convenient and our staff is always on duty to get back immediately,” said the Al Ameen official. He said that a number of calls have also been made from outside UAE with people asking for help or providing information that is useful for the safety of Dubai residents. Some of the calls or messages have been sent simply to thank Al Ameen for the help it has rendered to people.
In an attempt to reach out to more people and make them aware of its free services, Al Ameen has been carrying out awareness campaigns on radio stations in different languages and also issuing promotional material to the general public about its services. Awareness campaigns are also being conducted in schools at different levels to give children safety tips on a number of issues and also teaching them the various ways through which to contact Al Ameen in case of a problem.
Al Ameen has also succeeded in reaching out to most visitors to Dubai who are sometimes caught up in trouble but don’t know where to turn to for help. Al Ameen service is planning to upgrade its website this year to make it interactive in a bid to draw more members of the public to its services. “We want to do our best to make Dubai a safe place for all people and to make everyone feel comfortable,” said the Al Ameen official.
He added that usually there is an average of 20-30 calls made to Al Ameen daily, but the number shoots up during a massive awareness campaign season. He however warned those who make hoax calls to desist from the act but added that this problem is not yet widespread.