NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Man reports his wife absconding
ABU DHABI — JUL 26: The Ministry of Labour (MoL) yesterday rejected the petition of an employer to declare his wife — also an employee at his company — as ‘absconding’, an official at the MoL has said.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Abdul Wahed Al Blouky, a legal adviser at the MoL’s Dispute Department, said the ministry yesterday received this strange application.
The man wanted to file an absconding report against his wife as she had she refused to work at his company for some four months. The employer, an Iraqi, is the owner of a small Abu Dhabi-based company.
“The wife, a Syrian, had threatened her husband (the employer) to go to the court if he did not pay her the delayed financial rights (wage, overtime etc.). The man came to the MoL as he wanted to stop her from going to court,” said Al Blouky.
“According to the labour law, a man cannot file an absconding report against his wife because, according to the law, he must be responsible for his wife and his family as the wife’s residency was on his sponsorship. Hence, the MoL rejected the case,” added Al Blouky.
After investigating the case, the ministry found that the wife had been at home and was not attending office for the last four months.
Meanwhile, the MoL will investigate the case in order to look into the wife’s (employee) claim over her delayed financial dues.
Floating Bridge closure affects Maktoum traffic
DUBAI — JUL 26: The Floating Bridge was temporarily closed to traffic for a few hours yesterday morning resulting in a lot of confusion among the daily users. Though the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had displayed the information on electronic display boards, a large number of motorists were caught unawares.
Senior officials of the RTA confirmed that the bridge was closed for a couple of hours as part of an emergency team plan to conduct some technical experiments during the peak hours.
The bridge opens at 6.00am and closes at 10.00pm.
Engineer Maitha bin Adai, CEO of the Traffic and Roads Agency at the RTA, said the move was to ensure that the emergency team works efficiently by using smart traffic systems.
The Floating Bridge connects Deira and Oud Metha Road. The Dh81.5 million project has reportedly eased the traffic situation on Maktoum Bridge considerably.
The temporary closure, however, resulted in a traffic chaos on Maktoum Bridge. “There was a huge jam and it took more than an hour for us to cross it. Most of the people have started using the Floating Bridge these days. With two bridges running parallel, the traffic has eased at Maktoum. Today, we had to get to Maktoum after we found it closed. The problem would have been less if the authorities had informed about this a day before,” said Nithi Kumar, a daily commuter.
Bin Adai explained that pilot tests of electronic devices of the bridge control system are still being conducted. The bridge system control involves the use of gadgetry that secures many factors, including quality, safety and smooth traffic flow, through the use of best methods used internationally in the designs of floating bridges.
She added that the RTA emergency team, in coordination with the consultant and contractor, had carried out a test closure for the bridge as part of the contingency plan, which is an integral part of the comprehensive strategy to ensure the safety of drivers and the smooth flow of traffic on the bridge using the smart traffic systems.
“During the experiment, some minor issues cropped up, but the RTA tackled them promptly and efficiently,” she added.
Bin Adai reiterated that the RTA is working to provide the best services to the public and motorists using the Floating Bridge and is keen and committed to ensure the safety of everyone.
Typing centres cash in on illegals’ ignorance
DUBAI — JUL 26: Even though the Indian Consulate is providing application forms for outpasses free of charge, several amnesty seekers in Dubai and Sharjah have alleged that typing centres were charging between Dh40 and Dh200 for providing the forms.
According to some UAE-based social workers, the typing centres were capitalising on the ignorance of amnesty seekers by misleading them into getting the applications forms typed at their centres.
“At least 50 amnesty seekers have told me that they had paid between Dh40 and Dh200 for getting their amnesty application forms typed. The forms are available for free at the Indian Consulate centres. These typing centres are cashing in on the ignorance of people,” alleged C.P. Mathew, a volunteer of Valley of Love, a social organisation.
Bobby Joseph, another social worker, alleged: “Most of the amnesty seekers are illiterate and they are not aware of the procedures. So they go to these typing centres and ask for details. Using this as an opportunity, the typing centres mislead them to buy the form from them.”
Balvinder Singh, an amnesty seeker from Punjab, claimed: “I did not know where I could get the amnesty form. I went to a centre in Sharjah and they charged me Dh150 for typing the form. But when I went to the Indian Association in Sharjah, volunteers told me the form was for free.”
Rajayyah, an amnesty seeker in Dubai, had a similar tale to share. “I went to a typing centre in Deira where I live to ask for forms for the outpass. They typed my form and charged me Dh80.”
When contacted, B.S. Mubarak, official spokesperson of the Indian Consulate, conceded having received such complaints. “We had announced earlier that all amnesty seekers should come to the Indian Consulate centres for getting the applications. We have volunteers who know different languages to help them fill the application forms for outpasses,” he stressed.
Mubarak also urged the amnesty seekers to call on the numbers 050-150 5292 or 050- 4293269 to avail themselves of any information on the amnesty process.
Meanwhile, a typing centre employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “When people approach us for typing the forms for outpasses, we do it. We charge money for it as it is our job. I do not see anything wrong in it.”
Sharjah meeting tackles Indian illegals’ problems
SHARJAH — JUL 26: The Consul-General of India in Dubai, Venu Rajamony, yesterday highlighted some of the difficulties faced by Indian amnesty-seekers in Sharjah, among them being overcrowding and delays due to shortage of registration facilities at Samat Al Ain in Sharjah Airport and Al Hamriya port.
Rajamony highlighted the difficulties during a meeting at the Indian School in Sharjah. The meeting was attended by Sharjah Police Deputy Director Brigadier Ali Nasir Al Fardan, Deputy Director of the Naturalisation and Residency Administration Second Lieutenant-Colonel Obaid Al Shamshi and a number of representatives from the Indian community in Sharjah and officials working at the Naturalisation and Residency and Criminal Investigation departments in the emirate.
The meeting discussed the progress in expediting of amnesty procedures for illegals by either allowing them to leave or amending their status.
The consul-general also brought to the notice of Sharjah officials the refusal by sponsors to return passports to their legitimate owners.
Brig. Al Fardan, on his part, declared that more registration facilities were being provided at Samat Al Ain and the Criminal Investigation Administration was willing to accept complaints from people whose sponsors were refusing to return their passports. He assured the meeting that such sponsors would be summoned for discussions on ways to resolve the matter.
Tenancy contracts to be annual
ABU DHABI — JUL 26: The tenancy contracts for residential units in buildings under the Social Services and Commercial Buildings Department will now be valid for one year and rent will be accepted in two instalments, the first one to be paid at the time of signing of the contract.
This decision will be take effect from August, stated Dhahi Al Suweidi, undersecretary in the Social Services and Commercial Buildings Department.
Al Suweidi said the rent will be accepted in two instalments — one at the time of signing of contract and the second five months prior to the expiry of the annual contract.
The decision has been taken to protect the landlords’ rights because landlords have been complaining of rent payment delays and even in some cases non-payment by tenants for long periods, he pointed out. Al Suweidi said the department is dealing with a number of cases that have been filed against tenants who had not paid rents on time.
DM warning against trucks dropping concrete on roads
DUBAI — JUL 26: The Dubai Municipality has urged ready-mix concrete suppliers in the city to abide by civic regulations on general cleanliness following incidents involving their trucks dropping concrete on roads and open places.
In a meeting with representatives of these companies held at the municipality headquarters yesterday, municipal officials have sought cooperation from the companies and underscored the significance of keeping the city clean.
Essa Al Maidour, Assistant Director-General of Dubai Municipality for Planning and Building Affairs, said that the meeting was aimed at bringing to the participants’ notice several incidents in which ready-mix concrete was thrown on to streets and open places offering a sore sight and in some cases, endangering motorists.
“We would like to put an end to this negative practice. Drivers resort to such practices either due to sheer negligence or lack of awareness. Ready-mix companies have to make sure that they have systems in place to prevent this from happening,” said Al Maidour.
Khalid Mohammed Salih, Director of Buildings Department at the municipality, said the problem arises when truck drivers clean or wash their vehicles outside the construction sites or open areas. This will cause concrete remnants to fall on roads and get dried up there offering a sore sight and endangering public. There is another problem of oil leakage from such trucks too.
He said the representatives of companies who attended the meeting have pledged their commitment to abide by the municipal regulations in this regard. These included washing trucks within the construction sites or at the factory premises, prevention of dropping concrete on roads, public places or road corridors, cleaning tyres of trucks before entering roads so as not to tarnish the roads, placing plastic sheets under the trucks while the concrete is being poured on to the construction, placing soil inside the plastic sheet to absorb any oil leakage and securing the open valves of concrete trucks to prevent accidental dropping of concrete.
Aids - Help and support offered
UAE - JUL 26: There are 600 patients currently receiving treatment for HIV in the UAE – and 95 per cent of them are men, a top health official said yesterday. From the beginning of next year, they will be able to seek help at special clinics in primary health care centres, thanks to the new strategy to tackle the disease that Emirates Today discloses today.
A health expert said most of the patients were aged between 20 and 40 – and the majority were unmarried UAE nationals. The reason most were Emiratis was because expatriate HIV patients were deported.
The leading official, who did not wish to be named, said the total represented only those receiving treatment.
“It does not represent the actual number of HIV patients in the country,” he said.
“Nobody in the UAE has the total figure, because large numbers of these patients do not themselves know they have the disease.
“All those using drug needles or who are sexually active should have a check-up for HIV.
“There is no link between the health authority and the police, so people should have no fear of being caught.
“We do not keep these patients isolated. We try to find out from them how they caught the disease. If the patient is married, we bring in the wife and inform her and educate her about her husband’s medical condition. It is up to the wife to decide whether to stay with him or seek a divorce.” The health expert said around 80 per cent of the HIV/Aids patients in the UAE caught the disease through sharing needles to take drugs.
Dr Abdullah Ustadi, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at Rashid Hospital, Dubai, said: “Most of them are young nationals aged between 20 and 40 years and most contracted the virus by using infected drugs needles.” He said the average cost of treatment for each patient was Dh5,000 a month.
Foreigners who were HIVpositive were deported according to the law.
“However if their condition is bad, they are given proper treatment until it improves before they are sent home.” The stigma attached to HIV patients has led to serious social problems including unemployment.
But Dr Ustadi said that as long as HIV patients took their drugs, their performance at work was equal to that of other employees.
“Some know it can be transmitted only through unsafe sex or blood transfusions but they still do not accept working with HIV patients.” He said his centre did not give details of HIV patients’ condition to anyone – even their bosses.
A member of the committee set up by the cabinet to tackle HIV/Aids revealed the body was formed after a report on the disease appeared in Emirates Today.
“The main aim of setting up this committee was to tackle the disease in the right way,” said the member, who asked not to be named.
DUBAI - JUL 26: Fingers around Dubai are firmly crossed today that hugely popular social net-working site Facebook.com will escape closure. The site, which is used by more than 30 million people worldwide, is currently locked in a multi-million dollar lawsuit, which could see it shut down.
And despite being initially relieved that it has so far escaped the same blockage fate as similar site Orkut in the UAE, residents here are now despairing at a potentially Facebook-less future again. Yesterday saw the first hearing of a federal court case filed against owner Mark Zuckerburg in Boston, United States, for allegedly stealing the idea from fellow students at Harvard.
And guilty or not, English expat and Facebook enthusiast Andrew Charles, 27, admitted he'd be annoyed if the site got closed down: “I'm no techno whiz-kid, myspace.com passed me by, but Facebook is easy to use and even my prematurely middle-aged friends, with children, have joined now.
“If they are using it then that really says something about this site's ability to connect people. I'll be devastated if it does get the push.” Consultant Mahtul, 25, from Pakistan, agreed, saying: "I absolutely love Facebook - I'm crazy about it. I'll be devastated if they get rid of it now."
She joked: "I think I'd probably stop using the internet, I'd be suicidal! At least, I'd be very depressed anyway." However, American expat Chad Little, from Texas, was a little less forgiving: “I joined the site just two days ago - I have a church group who use it and it's handy to get in touch with people. But if this guy is stealing technology then it should be closed down.”
Lawyers for Facebook were expected to argue for the dismissal of the lawsuit - launched by struggling web site ConnectU. ConnectU claims Zuckerburg was hired, in 2003, to write a computer program but never delivered the work. Instead, it claims, he launched Facebook as a networking site for university students, just one month after he was due to deliver the program to ConnectU. It wants the federal court to close Facebook, strip its assets and make it pay substantial damages.
Dubai - Murder suspects
Dubai - Jul 26: Police have arrested two men following the discovery of a decomposing body in the desert in Al Ain. The two Asian men have admitted stabbing their work colleague to death and then dumping his body last month, according to police.
They have both been referred to the Public Prosecution department and are awaiting a court appearance. The victim was murdered following a dispute over money, according to police.
One of the men currently under arrest is believed to have fled the country following the murder, but then returned.
Dubai - Pair on trial for depraved workmate murder
Dubai - Jul 26: Two drunken men brutally murdered their workmate after he refused to have sex with them, the Dubai Court of First Instance heard yesterday. The trio were all drinking together, when an argument flared up after the victim angrily declared he would not allow his friends to have sex with him.
According to the prosecution, this made the defendants furious and they are alleged to have then beaten him up before sexually molesting him. It is believed that they then repeatedly hit him with a wooden plank before strangling him to death.
His body was found, with no identification on it, in the Jebel Ali area and after police made enquiries they found the victim’s place of work. The defendants were the last people seen with him and under questioning one of the men confessed to the crime.
In court yesterday both denied the charges. The hearing has now been adjourned until later this month.