NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts UAE Dailies
Countrywide campaigns to crack down on begging
DUBAI - SEP 01: Beggars caught trying to cash in during Ramadan will not be tolerated, authorities across the UAE have stated. Officials revealed plans to Emirates Today to intensify their campaign to crack down on the illegal practice during the month.
“Our previous inspection campaigns registered some level of success; we intend to intensify inspections this coming Ramadan to put an end to this practice,” said a Dubai Municipality official, who said its inspectors will work hand in hand with Dubai Police.
The official said those caught begging will be arrested and face penalties ranging from imprisonment to deportation. Residents have also been asked to report anyone who begs on their doorstep.
The Assistant Under secretary for Social Care, Hussain Saeed Al Shaikh, warned against donating to people claiming to be representatives of charity organisations.
“We have a list of licensed charity organisations and they have an approved method of raising funds that does not include moving door to door in residential buildings,” said Al Shaikh.
Begging is banned in the UAE. Despite this, hundreds of people stream into the country every year on short begging trips during Ramadan and Eid celebrations.
They do this on the premise that during the period of prayer, fasting and charity, Muslims are more willing to give generously because the rewards for this are greater.
In Sharjah, police have formed a special committee to beef up the crackdown on beggars during Ramadan.
The panel is set up on directives from Brigadier Saleh Ali Al Mutawa, Director-General of Sharjah Police.
Officers will watch out for beggars who go to mosques, shopping malls and parks, and who sometimes harass people on the streets or knock on home doors.
Inspections will also be intensified especially during the evening time when beggars become most active.
In Abu Dhabi, a similar campaign will be in operation with plain-clothes officers patrolling the streets.
According to Dubai residents, the Ramadan scroungers are often rude when no response is given to their demands.
Some also claim they are representatives of charity organisations back in their countries and carry deceptive brochures about their humanitarian projects.
Others claim to be running Islamic schools in some poor countries in Asia and Africa.
Most of the beggars come from South Asia, Iran and poorer Arab states.They enter on visit visas and spend the month targeting visitors to mosques, public parks, pedestrian underpasses, as well as moving door to door in residential areas.
Obeid Salem Al Shamsi, assistant director-general of Dubai Municipality, recently revealed to Emirates Today that beggars can make up to Dh1,000 a day. The freeloaders earn more than many employees in the UAE.
Al Shamsi said: “I ask people why are they willing to give away part of the money they earned in one month to someone who will make as much in seven days.”
UAE bans import of all live birds from Bayern
DUBAI — SEP 01 :The UAE has enforced a temporary ban on imports of all kinds of live birds from the German state of Bayern (Bavaria) after bird flu cases were detected there.
A resolution issued by Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, the Minister of Health and Acting Minister of Environment and Water, said the ban covers “all domestic and wild birds, including ornamental birds, and their products and derivatives.”
The resolution instructed the ministry’s Animals Wealth Department to coordinate with other relevant authorities to put the resolution in place.
Neglect of AC system may trigger allergic reactions
DUBAI — SEP 01:If you have cold or cough that invades every now and then despite the cleanliness and hygiene in of your apartment, check out whether the centralised air-conditioning in your building has been maintained lately.
Central cooling systems in buildings that are not cleaned regularly could be the cause of respiratory problems like flu, allergies and bouts of running nose and teary eyes, say some residents. The build-up of dust, bacteria and other impurities in the ducts has been blamed for the spread of such health concerns.
Laila Yousif, a Palestinian mother of five living in Sharjah, said she once had to go to the hospital and was put on oxygen after developing respiratory problem. “I suddenly experienced breathing problems and had to go to the hospital for a week to receive oxygen. I also suffered from running nose. I think these problems are linked to the air-conditioning in the building. Since the time I moved here three years ago, it has not been maintained,” she commented.
However, Yousif was quick to point out that the building authorities had contacted her more than once to arrange for the cooling unit in her flat to be cleaned, but due to her busy schedule she could not find time for the ducts in the system to be cleaned.
Another resident, Laila, remarked that doctors could not pinpoint the reason when on several occasions her eyes turned red and she sneezed a lot. She, however, believes it was related to the cooling systems. “I use a medical spray to alleviate the problem, but when they increase I have to take a pill. These difficulties can happen when I move from cold to hot places and vice versa, and they can be sparked off by some perfumes. These reactions also occur whenever I am in a room or office whose air-conditioning system has not been cleaned for a long time.”
An Egyptian specialist in lung and respiratory ailments, Dr Amr Elekiaby of Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah, stressed that cooling units in buildings need to be maintained on a regular basis to avoid the build-up and concentration of unwanted agents.
“Continuous maintenance is required to remove growths of fungus and bacteria which increase when there are things like water leakages. The more the filters in the cooling units that are distributed across the building are checked the less likely it is for these diseases to spread,” the pulmonologist pointed out. Dubai Municipality officials stated that it is responsibility of the building’s management to keep the cooling units clean.
“It is not just about the air-conditioning, cleanliness of the entire building is the domain of the management. They should ensure that air-conditioners are cleaned properly every month. We cannot do much on this,” stated an official of the municipality’s Buildings Inspection Department.
Caretakers of some buildings, however, asserted that they followed the regulations pertaining to the maintenance of buildings.
“Yes, the air-conditioning is cleaned every month. Staff from an air-conditioning company come every month and have a thorough check. Air-conditioners are on throughout the year in this part of the world and we have to clean them properly every time, though sometimes there might be a delay,” disclosed Sameer, the caretaker of a building in Bur Dubai.
Misuse of trolleys create hindrance in malls
UAE -SEP 01: Cutting across all sections of the society, people have expressed their concern over the rising cases of traffic offences at the shopping mall parking areas.
A member of the senior management of the Emke group said that his group will introduce a comprehensive strategy to check the traffic offences at the shopping mall parking areas.
He said that the group is also contemplating to install "control check points", with an objective to prevent shoppers from moving trolleys beyond a certain point.
He said that lack of concern on the part of shoppers, has made the situation worse.
"Customers leave the trolleys at the locations of their will, least caring for the drivers who have parked their cars," he said.
The officer said that some customers even go to their home with trolleys and his group has deputed specific staffs for collecting these trolleys from the neighbourhood.
He said that unattended trolleys are also a big traffic hazard as sometimes many are found protruding from the road side.
"Cases of missing shopping trolleys are also being regularly reported," the officer added.
"Our group has also to grapple with difficult situations, characterised by trolleys coming out of circulation," he remarked.
He said that sometimes these trolleys even reach at the hands of the children who roll them for fun, thus exposing themselves to serious accidents.
Another international retail market leader has launched the trolley lock system in the UAE nearly two months back.
After successful experiment at Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, the group has introduced the system in Sharjah on Monday.
A host of shoppers are not only satisfied with the new system but are also quite happy as traffic offence at the shopping mall parking spaces are a matter of serious concern for all and sundry.
Recollecting an incident when an unattended trolley suddenly hit their car when his husband was negotiating a curve, a housewife, Mary said that it is really a very welcome decision.
"It will help reduce in number of traffic offences at the shopping mall parking areas," she said.
"I have been finding problems on several occasions to wriggle out my car from the shopping mall parking areas as trolleys are left behind by shoppers least caring for others," complained a Dubai based commercial manager, Richard D` Silva.
He said that all retail majors in UAE should initiate effective steps to help create a more "user friendly" environment inside the shopping mall parking areas.