News headlines

Excerpts from UAE Dailies

Low salaries discourage teaching job applicants

SHARJAH — SEP. 05: Expatriates who applied online for teaching jobs in government schools are now declining to appear for interviews.

After the announcement of vacancies, the Sharjah Education Zone had received 164 applications and the Ajman Education Zone 178 applications.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced  interview dates for the applicants, but both the Ajman and Sharjah education zones reported 60-70 per cent ‘no-shows’.

The MoE had even relaxed the requisite experience from three years to two years, but to no avail.

Mohammed Al Mulla, head of HR Department in the Sharjah Education Zone, said, “This is the first time that we have witnessed such a trend.

Most of them apologised because of the low salaries which are not enough to meet the rising cost of living, especially accommodation rents, they said.”

He said, “This is an indicator of the danger that will negatively affect the education field, as we will be faced with enormous number of resignations and retirements by the end of the academic year.”

According to official sources from both the Sharjah and Ajman education zones, the increase in government school fees for expatriates from Dh3,000 to Dh6,000 has forced parents to send their kids to private schools, and some even preferred to send their families back home.


UAE keen to protect human rights, says Gargash

TEHERAN — SEP. 05: Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for the Federal National Council Affairs, has reiterated the UAE’s keenness to protect human rights in accordance with ithe country’s cultural heritage and religious values.

Delivering a speech at the Human Rights and Cultural Diversity Conference organised by Non-alignment Movement countries in Teheran, he said, “We are aware in the UAE about the significance of the human rights issues and their connection with community. These values have become international prerequisites for progress of the communities.”

Gargash conveyed the greetings of the UAE government and people to the conference and Islamic Republic of Iran.

He also thanked Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian Foreign Minister and Philip Perez, Cuban Foreign Minister, on holding of the conference.

Gargashsaid, “Our role lies in streamlining our laws and practices in line with our cultural heritage and religious values, which enshrine justice, equality and tolerance. Modern countries require such values in their endeavour to implement the human rights values’.


Dubai - We’re watching you

Dubai - Sep. 05: Dubai Police has issued a stark ultimatum to drivers who persist in drink driving - if we catch you, you're going straight to jail.  The warning follows a dramatic increase in the number of offenders caught on Dubai's roads this year.

Already 771 people have been arrested for drink driving in the first eight months of the year compared to 937 for the entire 12 months of 2006. Brigadier Issa Aman, deputy head of Dubai Traffic Police, told 7DAYS: “Since the start of the year we have warned how dangerous drink driving can be. The statistics are increasing with the numbers of people being caught going up and up. But our eyes are on these people. If we catch anyone drink driving they will go to jail.”

Police revealed that 85 drivers have appeared before the courts this year charged with causing the death of other motorists or pedestrians while drink driving. Brigadier Aman warned that his officers are cracking down on the offenders who get in their cars under the influence, in a bid to make Dubai's roads safer.

He said: “We are putting more patrols out at night to catch drink drivers especially near hotels and bars and places that offer alcohol. If we suspect someone of drinking and then driving they will be arrested and made to undergo a blood test. They will then be referred for prosecution and if convicted they will be jailed.”  He added: “Drinking under the influence of alcohol is an international offence. Everybody should know that our police patrols are constantly around Dubai. They are everywhere and anyone guilty of committing this crime can, and will, be arrested in seconds.”
The maximum sentence for anyone convicted of drink driving is currently two years in jail. If they cause injury or death, the sentence can extend up to life in prison.

Police also revealed yesterday that, worryingly, they had recorded 240 hit-and-run incidents in Dubai so far this year.


Silent epidemic stalks the UAE
Abu Dhabi - Sep 05:
Metabolic syndrome – a dangerous condition which can lead to diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart stroke – is affecting an increasing number of people in the country, a senior health official has warned.   If this health challenge is not addressed, doctors may soon routinely start seeing patients suffering from heart attacks as early as their thirties and forties, said Dr Oliver Harrison, Head of Public Health at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi.

The World Health Organisation identifies metabolic syndrome as a cluster of risk factors such as obesity, especially abdominal obesity, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure and diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.

Dr Harrison said at present there is no definitive data on the syndrome’s prevalence among people in Abu Dhabi. However, an estimate can be obtained from a recent UAE University study, carried out among nearly 2,500 UAE nationals, which estimates that of those aged 30 to 64, 29 per cent had diabetes. An additional 24 per cent were found to be at imminent risk of developing the disease.   Another estimate can be obtained when considering the average life expectancy at birth in the country, which was just over 75 years in 2006. This figure does not correspond to the high levels of obesity and diabetes now registered.

This, said Dr Harrison, suggests that young people today are likely to be less healthy than the older generation when they were young, and therefore metabolic syndrome appears to be on the rise.

“All the evidence suggests metabolic syndrome is an increasing problem,” said Dr Harrison, adding that the Health Authority Abu Dhabi is responding by rolling out a series of measures designed to fight what he called “a silent epidemic”.

Before the end of this year, the authority aims to relaunch a campaign to encour age school children to adopt healthy diet and exercise habits. The programme plans to have over 200 school nurses monitoring premises’ can teens and vending machines as well as examining students’ lunchboxes to ensure youngsters eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.


Drama and chivalry spice up Labour Ministry Open Day
Abu Dhabi - Sep. 05:
The weekly Open Day at the Ministry of Labour in Abu Dhabi usually has its fair share of crowd and chaos.   This Monday, though, there was drama and heartbreak added to it.

For two-and-a half-hours in the morning, a line of more than 100 applicants – their numbers swelled by illegal residents trying to legalise their status – sought to present their cases to Saleh Al Jabri, head of the companies department at the ministry.   This was the largest rush of applicants ever to attend an Open Day since the scheme was introduced about 14 months ago.

The concept of the Open Day was introduced in July last year by Dr Ali Abdullah Al Ka’abi, Minister of Labour, to help speed up ministry transactions.

It is attended by under-secretaries and the heads of various departments and sections, and often by the minister himself. Apart from individuals, even companies and their representatives present their disputes for resolution at the Open Day.

This week the atmosphere on the first floor hall of the ministry building on the Eastern Ring Road was highly charged.

Though everyone had to wait for their ticket numbers to come up for presenting their cases, many people tried to barge their way through the crowd to be at the front.

The two security men posted at the desk had their hands full trying to maintain discipline with a constant stream of people pushing, shoving and sneaking their way towards the front desk.

“There is no point in coming close to the desk because you have to wait for your ticket number. Please go back,” said a security man.

About half a dozen women applicants stood in the crowd, waiting for their turn.

All seats were occupied and there did not seem to be a gentleman who would give up his place for them.

At last, a young man was heard shouting to Al Jabri above the din to listen to the women first: “Women should be served first. I have no problem.” Al Jabri sought the approval of the crowd for this, which in a single voice said: “We have no problem.” However, as the official attended to the female applicants, more women pushed forward from the back of the queue to take advantage of the situation.

This Monday, the biggest turnout was of illegal immigrants seeking to amend their status and, according to Al Jabri, they were denied because they failed to apply for amnesty.

“The extension until November 4 is only for those who have obtained clearance to leave the country.We attend to cases for the amendment only with the immigration clearance obtained by the deadline,” he said and added that those who waited for the last day and had no clearance from immigration authorities would have to go back home.

When an illegal immigrant, who had a job offer but had not applied for amnesty, approached Al Jabri to amend his status, he was advised to leave the country.

“You kept your documents in the drawer until the end of amnesty.You are too late, you cannot change your status because you failed to get the clearance,” he told him.

The man had run foul of the law and could not be helped. He ultimately left with a crestfallen look on his face.

Al Jabri said he had heard various cases relating to different departments and sections in the ministry.

“I approve or reject cases that come under my jurisdiction. The cases I am not authorised to deal with, I refer them to the right section or department with my signature,” he said.

The case of the day on Monday was a joint complaint filed by the drivers of Al Ghazal Transport, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi National Hotels Company.

Hundreds of drivers of Al Ghazal’s limousine, express and bus services had com plained that although their company was a government entity, the management treated them as employees of a private company.

They were represented by one of their colleagues, who asked that his name be withheld. Presenting the collective case to Al Jabri, he said all the drivers are forced to work 12 hours a day without overtime benefits.

“We want to be treated like government employees with all the eligible benefits provided,” he said.

Ghulam Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, acting general manager of Al Ghazal, told Emirates Today he will a have meeting with the drivers today to discuss their problems and find a solution.

At the Open Day, Al Jabri, referred the case to the Labour Dispute Section at the ministry to see what could be done about it.

He also advised the workers to either go to the immigration department or the courts as their company was neither registered with the ministry nor came under its jurisdiction.

By 11.40am, more than one hundred cases had been heard. The crowd started thinning and finally Al Jabri declared the open house closed.


Dubai - Young sisters attacked

Dubai - Sep 05: An Afghani man has been sentenced to three years in prison and deportation for sexually molesting two sisters aged four and six.

Judges at Dubai Court of First Instance heard the pervert showed the kids pornographic pictures and perverse films stored on his mobile phone.

The 38-year-old was also charged with indecent exposure and illegally staying in the country.  The man was passing near a building in the Muraqabat area of Dubai in March when he saw two little sisters playing, the court heard.  He sexually molested the pair and showed them porn before fleeing the scene. Police found 41 pornographic images and films on his mobile following his arrest.


11 perish on capital roads in a week

Abu Dhabi - Sep. 05: IN a week, 11 people died and 66 were injured in 44 traffic accidents in the Abu Dhabi emirate.

Accidents involving small truck numbered 40, while three accidents were caused by heavy trucks, in addition to an another accident involving a minibus. Statistics showed that Abu Dhabi city was on the top of the list with 34 accidents.

Five died in these accidents and 38 sustained injuries.   There were four traffic accidents in Al Ain, causing one death and leaving another deeply wounded, while four got away with minor injuries.

In the western area, five people died, eight sustained major injuries and three sustained minor injuries in six accidents.   From Aug.25 to Sept.1, there were 13,107 violations in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the western area.


E-mail panic over trashed baby

Dubai - Sep., 05: AN e-mail has been in circulation about an abandoned baby boy being found in a trash in front of Lulu Hypermarket in Al Qusais even as Sharjah Police began investigations into a four-six month old foetus which was found floating in Khalid Lagoon in Buhairah Corniche on Sunday evening.

A source in Sharjah Police told The Gulf Today the case is likely to be handled by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). "Usually such cases are handled by the CID. These incidents are mostly to do with house-maids who simply abandon their unborn babies in front of mosques and parks and vanish. We have come across many such cases in the past," said a police source.

The foetus was fished out by Sharjah Police around 6 pm on Sunday evening after being informed by some people visiting the lagoon. The foetus was slightly decomposed when it was retrieved from the waters.

Meanwhile, an e-mail has been circulating on the net about an abandoned baby boy being found in a trash in front of Lulu Hypermarket in Al Qusais. The picture shows an infant lying on a piece of plastic cover placed over a cloth. The identity of the infant could not be established.

Police however didn't confirm the incident, while the officials at Lulu Hypermarket, near which the infant was found, said that they have not heard of any such incident and they have nothing to do with it.

People have expressed shock over the incident. "It's scary. I have never seen such a thing in my life. I can't imagine that someone can abandon their babies," said Ramila Raj, an Indian.

"Babies are God's gift. They should never be abandoned. There is a need to sensitise people on this issue," she added.

Recently, a Filipina maid who dumped her baby in a garbage bin inside a toilet cubicle within minutes of giving birth was sentenced by the Dubai Court of First Instance to three years in jail followed by deportation. The maid who is 40-years old admitted that she had met a Pakistani driver twice before falling pregnant.


Shopping malls set up special smoking zones

DUBAI — Sep. 05: Shopping malls in Dubai are gearing up for the regulation on smoking ban which comes into effect on September 15.

Senior officials of the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) told Khaleej Times that they were holding meetings with the Dubai Municipality about the new regulation.

Eisa Adam Ibrahim, the Chairman of the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG), said that the malls were ready and were cooperating to implement the regulation.

“We have had lots of meetings and discussions with the Dubai Municipality in this connection. From September 15, people will not be able to smoke at any place except the ones designated for smoking inside the shopping malls. The municipality would be announcing this decision shortly. The different shopping malls have also discussed the details among themselves,” he said.

A senior municipality official also stated that the regulation would be strictly implemented. Zuhoor Al Sabbagh, the Head of Clinics and Medical Services Section at the Public Health Department of the Dubai Municipality, said that they would be having another meeting with the DSMG this week in order to finalise the details.

“With just 10 days left now, we are discussing the details with the authorities concerned. Next week, we would be meeting the Dubai Police in the same connection. We are serious and the regulations would be in place from the due date. However, the smoking areas and the Sheesha places would be exempted from the regulation. The fines would be introduced in a later phase starting next year,” she said.

The officials of the shopping malls sounded confused over the developments. As Anthony Milionis, the Retail Manager of the Ibn Battuta Mall said, “The information we have at the moment is a bit blurry. We have heard about two to three big meetings but haven’t got anything in concrete. We would, however, go ahead with the ban on smoking in the mall from the due date.”

“We are at present setting up air purification units in a designated smoking area. The room has been constructed in a partitioned area of the food court. We would also put in big stickers at all the entrances which would inform the people about the new regulation. Ashtrays would be removed from the mall. We are thinking of putting flowers or coloured pebbles in them which would add to the beauty of the mall. We are fast making our preparations. Moreover, the security guards would be given the responsibility to inform people about the regulation,” he said.

Earlier, the Dubai Municipality and the DSMG had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which provided for designated special smoking zones or areas inside the shopping malls that meet the necessary technical guidelines and health and hygiene rules.

Municipal officials have said that through there will be no fines for now, anyone smoking in an undesignated place inside the shopping mall will be immediately asked to leave the place. The security guards posted at the different malls will be authorised to ask a person to leave. Officials said that a fine of Dh500 would be imposed on a shopkeeper if he sells cigarettes to people below the age of 20. Also, a fine of Dh500 would be imposed if a person is found smoking in public. These fines will, however, be imposed from 2009.

“The shopping malls have been asked to set up smoking rooms. There could be one smoking room at each level for the big malls,” added Ibrahim.


Book on rent laws in UAE published

SHARJAH — Sep. 05: The Jurists Association has published a book that carries all laws pertaining to renting property across the UAE.

The publication, now available at the association’s head office in Sharjah and various UAE bookshops, also contains a section on the rights of the consumer.

The Jurists Association said that the book was published in view of the boom in the UAE property market and to point out the legal perimetres in which owners, tenants and other concerned parties can function.




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