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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

MoL inspections discover illegal doctors, nurses

ABU DHABI – March 20: The Inspection Department of the Ministry of Labour (MoL) has found some doctors and nurses working with medical centres and clinics in the capital without the approval of either the General Authority for Health Services for the emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS), or the Ministry of Health (MoH).

This was stated by Qaseem Jameel, Head of the Inspection Department at the MoL, at a Press conference at the ministry’s office here yesterday.

Jameel said this was found during inspection visits of the MoL officials last week. Some 45 medical centres and clinics were inspected, he added.

The official added: “We’ll coordinate with the GAHS to keep tabs on the medical centres. We have launched a campaign to check the documents and certificates of the doctors and nurses working at the clinics and medical centres in the capital. The objective is to ensure that their certificates were attested by the concerned authorities.”

Jameel noted that some of these doctors and nurses had no accreditation, labour cards or attested contracts.

“Some of the violating doctors and nurses are either working on the sponsorships of their relatives, or are on visit visas. Moreover, we discovered that some of these centres had got labour cards issued for nurses in the name of administrative jobs. They did so to avoid the approval by the GAHS and MoH,” disclosed the official.

The MoL will suspend the codes of such violating medical centres for six months, besides imposing a Dh10,000 fine for each illegal worker they are employing, he added.


Now, taxi drivers won’t say no to you

DUBAI — March 20: Six taxi drivers were fired from jobs last week for refusing to carry passengers, a top Dubai Taxi official has revealed.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ammar bin Tamim, Director of Dubai Taxi, said, “you should expect a change in the behaviour of drivers now. They will avoid saying ‘no’ to passengers. They will now be afraid of losing their jobs.”

The most common complaint lodged against the taxi drivers at the hotline 8009090 is their refusal to stop for passengers, Tamim disclosed.

“We have also learnt that some of the drivers ask for destinations, and if the passenger wants to travel to crowded areas they refuse to carry them,” he said.

Tamim said the six drivers, who were sacked, were thrice issued warnings in the past. Explaining the process further, he said: “We first warn the drivers verbally. If they repeat the offence, they are fined Dh500. Upon the third and final warning, they are given training and lessons on the labour law. If they still repeat the offence, their services are terminated.”

This system is not new but Dubai Taxi has decided to implement it more strictly now following the growing number of complaints from taxi users. 

Meanwhile, passengers have welcomed the move of the taxi management. “The attitude of drivers often puts me off,” said Norma C, a Filipina who works in Al Quoz and stays in Deira.

“On a number of occasions, I have waited endlessly for a taxi after a long day’s work. They either ignore me or simply refuse to carry me when I tell them I shall be going to Deira,” she added.

Said Maleeha K, a resident of Dubai: “I signalled a taxi to stop near my office yesterday. I had to go to Bur Dubai. But as soon as I told the driver of the destination, he sped away without giving any explanation. I felt humiliated because I had been standing in the sun for almost an hour.”

Taxi drivers, on the other hand, say they are forced to avoid passengers travelling to crowded areas because traffic jams take up a lot of their time. “If we have to earn a commission on our monthly earnings, then we have to make more trips. If we get stuck up in traffic jams, we do not save anything,” said a driver.


Strong winds batter coastal areas

DUBAI — March 20: Panic gripped thousands of residents along coastal areas in Dubai and the Northern Emirates yesterday, as strong winds battered the coastline resulting in rough high-tide conditions.

The Meteorological Office at Dubai International Airport, issued a warning notice on Sunday night to residents of coastal areas and all those involved in any maritime activity, to stay away from the sea. The met office recorded strong westerly winds of 25 to 30 knots off shore and 25 to 28 knots on-shore. These weather conditions are likely to prevail till late this evening, met sources added.

The Dubai and Sharjah international airports have also been alerted and asked to remain extra vigilant, in view of the large volume of inbound and outbound air traffic.

However, the strong westerly wind cooled Dubai and the Northern Emirates yesterday, as temperature fell to a maximum of 23 degree Celsius while the minimum  dropped to 18 degree Celsius, the Met official added.

The skies, yesterday morning, were blotted out by thick dust and grey leaden clouds. But conditions improved later during the afternoon.

“The temperature levels are expected to remain unchanged over the next two days,” the Met office forecaster said added.


Court rejects man’s plea against wife’s job

ABU DHABI — March 20: The Federal Supreme Court has rejected a petition filed by a man demanding that his wife resign from her job to stay at home and take care of their five children.

According to court records, the husband filed a lawsuit at the Abu Dhabi Sharia Court of First Instance, requesting the court to force his wife to leave her job to look after their children.

The wife filed a counter lawsuit demanding divorce, custody of the children and alimony.

The court granted her a divorce and fixed Dh9,000 as the monthly alimony and child support allowance.

The husband contested the verdict and moved the Court of Appeal. The latter quashed the lower court’s verdict and ruled that the wife should look after her home.

But it upheld her right to continue with her job.

Both parties moved the Federal Supreme Court, which observed the husband had no right to demand that his wife should resign her job.


Student’s body flown home

DUBAI — March 20: The body of Aditya Subramaniam, a student who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Dubai on Saturday, was flown to India yesterday, family sources said.

The 21-year-old third year Mechanical student of BITS- Pilani was killed after a white four- wheeler that appeared to be speeding, hit him when he was crossing the zebra line near Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai on early Saturday morning. He was on his way to a nearby eatery along with friends.

|The body flown to Chennai and the cremation will be held today. The parents are accompanying the body,” said the source.

Sources at Dubai Police said the investigation is still underway to trace the four-wheeler that hit the victim.


18 more flights between Abu Dhabi and Kerala planned

DUBAI — March 20: The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation have agreed to expand the air connectivity between their countries by allowing 18 additional flights between Abu Dhabi and Kerala.

The agreement, which was signed on March 15 in New Delhi by Mohammad Ganem Al Gaith, Director-General of the GCAA, and RK Singh, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India, noted that Cochin and Trivandrum in Kerala will be added as additional points of call for designated airlines of UAE. Both parties have agreed to add 11 flights per week on the Abu Dhabi-India-Abu Dhabi route with immediate effect, as well as an additional seven flights per week from the winter of 2007-2008 to Cochin and Trivandrum.

Likewise under the agreement, designated airlines of both countries will be permitted to operate any number of all-cargo services between any point in India and the UAE using any type of aircraft, with full third, fourth and fifth freedom traffic rights to any intermediate points or beyond.

While the latest development has not yet been officially communicated by their head office in India, Pankaj Srivasta, Regional Manager for the Gulf of Indian Airlines, commented that the new agreement will definitely provide enough capacity in the market to allow an increase in flights, thus, increasing air connectivity between the two countries.


Free abra trip to visit govt offices

DUBAI — March 20: Dubai Municipality has urged people frequenting government offices along the Baniyas Street to use the free abra service from Bur Dubai to Deira in order to reduce traffic congestion in the area and overcome an acute shortage of parking during morning peak hours.

Alya Abdul Rahim Abdulla, head of the Coastal Management Section at the municipality, said that though the service had been introduced a year ago, only a few people were using it.

“We would like to remind our customers of the existence of this service which many people are still not aware of. We are, in fact distributing brochures and leaflets to let the people know about it,” she said.

The municipality had launched the service for its customers who face parking problems near the civic body’s headquarters. It enables customers coming from Bur Dubai to park their vehicles in Al Seef Street, near the British Embassy and take an Abra to commute towards the Baniyas Station, which is very close to the Municipal headquarters, and back.

“This free service reflects on our keenness in strengthening the bonds with our customers. It will help them save a lot of time in travelling to the other side of Dubai and searching for a parking space during the peak office hours,” said Alya.

Several government departments and semi-government establishments are located along the Baniyas Street of Deira including the Dubai Economic Development Department, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dubai Lands Department, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing Dept., National Bank of Dubai and Etisalat. 

The area witnesses huge traffic and severe shortage of parking space during the morning office hours.

She noted that there are enough parking spaces near Al Seef Abra Station and travelling from there to Baniyas Station will take a maximum three minutes.


Snowhite and the 11 tickets  
Menswear chain to now give 11 tickets to Indian prisoners for every match that India plays

Dubai - March 20: An Indian menswear chain that promised to pay 11 airline tickets for freed Indian prisoners every time their brand ambassador, Indian pace bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, takes a wicket, have had to change their promotional strategy after Sreesanth was not selected for the first match against Bangladesh.

The bowler-cum-break dancer will only be able to perform his moves if he is selected in the other matches, and so far his fate remains unknown. However, to ensure that the fate of many prisoners who have completed their sentence, does not hang on this pace bowler’s selection, Snowhite has decide to change the rules of the promotion.  Hiroo D. Vassanani, Managing Director, Snowhite, says, “We were unaware that our brand ambassador will not be selected for the match. Therefore, we have decided that we will give 11 tickets for every match that India plays. We undertook this promotion with the larger idea of charity in mind and we will not deviate from that.”  The company has already handed over 11 tickets to the Indian Community Welfare Committee after India lost the first match against Bangla-desh.
However, the question is how long the Indian cricket team that is currently hanging by a lose thread is able to play for the World Cup.

Vassanani says, “If India is out of the World Cup, we will continue supporting the prisoners by giving them five tickets on a monthly basis. However, I do hope India wins the World Cup. In any case, the idea behind the World Cup promotion was to make it a wake up call for us and for other corporates to help for such causes.”



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