NEWS FROM THE UAE
Excerpts from UAE Dailies
Visitors found working will face ban for life
ABU DHABI — SEP 13: Expatriates who entered the country on visit visas and are found working in companies will face a life ban, Assistant Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Labour (MoL) Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi stated yesterday.
“The ministry is studying imposing punishments on violators of labour rules and finally decided that visit visa holders, if found working in the country, will face a life ban,” explained Al Zahmi.
The decision was taken after MoL inspectors found that people on visit visas were still working in the country.
During the inspection campaign, which began immediately after the amnesty period ended on September 2, the inspectors found more than 250
companies violating the law by employing visit visa holders.
Al Zahmi pointed out that the companies must abide by the law when they need to import manpower.
“They must apply for the renewable temporary work permit of three-month validity, or get employment visa,” he added. This will protect the labourers’ rights because if they work on a visit visa they cannot demand their dues and rights.
The workers who come on employment visa or temporary work permit can go to the MoL and demanding their rights, including cost of medical treatment in case of an accident.
In another important announcement yesterday, Al Zahmi said the ministry will from January 2008 stop issuing work permits to companies which do not open bank accounts for their employees.
Opening of bank accounts for workers is being made compulsory to ensure protection of workers’ rights, he added.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of Naturalisation and Residency Department in Al Ain, Col. Nasir Al Awady Al Minhaly, said that during Ramadan the department will work in two shifts from 9.00am to 2.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
Dubai - We can still see you
Dubai - Sep. 13: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) warned motorists yesterday that the Salik road tolls are quite capable of recording car number plates at all times of day, and night, after reports that drivers are switching off their headlights in a bid to avoid being charged.
7DAYS spoke to several motorists who claimed that some cars “vanished” under Salik gates at night as they turned off their headlights to pass through, apparently believing that by doing so, they would not be charged or fined. One Dubai resident told 7DAYS that he spotted cars turning off all their lights as they approached the Salik gate near Garhoud Bridge. After they had passed under the gate, they switched their lights back on and continued their journey.
“I noticed some Sharjah cars as they cross from Garhoud Bridge to Bur Dubai. They switch off all their lights for nearly 300 metres before the Salik gate,” said one eyewitness to the bizarre practice. “Some of them later told me that they have discovered that if they switch off all the lights on their car, they are invisible to the cameras,” he added.
“I have noticed more than once that at night drivers turn off their lights and speed under the gates probably hoping to slip through the gates without being noticed,” another motorist confirmed. The RTA however rubbished the toll-dodging technique, telling 7DAYS that the cameras installed at the gates will catch the number plates whether it's day or night.
“We have installed smart systems at the Salik gates that will track the cars anytime of the day,” said a senior RTA official. He added that motorists with Salik tags will be caught by the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in the tag, while cars without tags will be picked up by the cameras, even with their headlights off.
“It is just plain stupid to think they can simply vanish,” he said. Meanwhile, Dubai Traffic Police said that they have not heard of this new Salik-avoidance tactic, but warned of serious fines for drivers travelling without head-lights - for any reason.
“We have not heard of such cases. But it is dangerous to drive without lights and motorists will be fined if caught,” said one officer from Bur Dubai police station.
Dubai - Sister on trial for naked photograph threats
Dubai - Sep. 13: A woman went on trial yesterday for taking photographs of her naked sister in the bath and threatening to put them on the internet. The 27-year-old UAE national appeared at the Court of First Instance in Dubai to deny the charges against her.
It’s alleged that the defendant took the photographs at the family home in 2005 and two years later threatened her sister by claiming she would send the pictures to her brothers, her parents and then put them on the internet for everyone to see. The court was told that the accused allegedly threatened to release the photographs unless her sister began to date men.
Police were called after the sisters’ mother saw one of the photographs of her daughter. When officers attended the house they found a series of the photographs on a laptop computer. They also discovered a threatening text message from the sister written in English warning what she was about to do.
The trial was adjourned until later this month when more witnesses will be called.
Dubai - Hero for the Middle East
Dubai - Sep. 13: He has been described as a combination of Indiana Jones, James Bond and Jason Bourne, for the Middle East. New Arab video game ‘Sharq Warriors’ may not have hit UAE computer monitors yet but already gaming enthusiasts in the region are getting excited about its new Middle Eastern hero ‘Sami’.
‘Sami’, who has been created by UAE-based company Colourblind Entertainment, will use a combination of martial arts and marksmanship to survive against a foreign corrupt paramilitary force in a modern fictional Middle Eastern country.
And one of the driving forces behind the team, former CNN and BBC anchor Riz Khan, believes ‘Sami’ is destined to become an iconic figure in the Arab world. The game will be available in English and Arabic.
Police to crack whip against beggars
Dubai - Sep. 13: WITH the Holy month of Ramadan, Dubai Police are making big efforts and taking all the needed procedures to avoid the spread of beggars and street vendors in Dubai streets and subways during the Holy month.
According to Major general Khamees Matar Al Mazeena, director of the General Department for Criminal Investigation, some people take advantage of the Holy month of Ramadan, when people often increase their works of charity, and pile up huge profits through begging.
"There are numerous charity societies spreading nationwide and any person who is in need of any kind of assistance could follow the legal way and seek the help of those societies.
It is our duty in the police department to put an end to begging on the streets, especially that some people come to the country at this specific time for this reason. Some other jobless people, who stay in the country illegally, with no valid visas, take advantage of the Holy month and beg on the streets," he explained, pointing out that anyone who would be arrested on charges of begging, whatever his nationality is, even the UAE nationals, would be referred directly to Prosecutor.
"Last year, very few UAE nationals were arrested while begging in front of mosques during the Holy month. Charity associations work all year long and provide help for those who are in need of financial aid whatsoever," he said, warning housewives and children never to open their doors for beggars, who might turn out to be thieves and killers.
"A number of burglaries were committed over the past years by beggars who knock at the doors asking for help. Others carry fake health certificates alleging that they suffer serious diseases and have no money to get treated or buy the medications."
The Dubai police have arrested 518 beggars over the past eight months; while in 2006, the number of beggars arrested in Dubai were 1,265. 164 beggars were arrested during the Holy month of Ramadan last year.
Abu Dhabi unveils 2030 growth plan
ABU DHABI — Sep. 13: The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was briefed on the Abu Dhabi development plan until 2030 at his Bateen Palace here yesterday.
General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended the briefing.
Shaikh Khalifa expressed his satisfaction about the development plan of the capital city, Abu Dhabi, and implementation of work projects to develop the country at par with the developed countries of the world. He listened to the detailed briefing about the plans and objectives and how to execute them by Khaldoun Khalifa Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Authority.
The move is in response to the need for a well-studied, accurate planning amid huge development and growing population of the Abu Dhabi emirate.
Mubarak said the “plan is based on sustainable development that reflects economic and environmental situation and preservation of the natural environment of coasts and deserts. It also covers transport and communication networks as per international standards and in line with the values and traditions of the UAE”.
He said that the plan has been set for a city that will be inhabited by three million people by year 2030 and with infrastructre that meets such a growth, adding that the plan includes construction of metro and internal train network.
“The interior part of the city will be expanded through road network paralell to the islands to create a new commercial area on Al Sowah and Al Reem Islands,” Mubarak said.
After the briefing, Khalifa issued instructions on provision of all means of comfort, including more parks, convenient transport, preservation of the UAE environment and making the UAE an attractive cultural, commercial and tourist hub.
Residents told to abide by safety rules for tents
DUBAI — Sep. 13: The Dubai Civil Defence has urged the public to get a licence and abide by safety rules and regulations governing the safety of Ramadan tents in the emirate.
While stating that his department was ready to respond to any emergency, Dubai Civil Defence Director Brigadier Rashid Thani Al Matroushi said Civil Defence officers and civic body officials will monitor the tents to ensure the safety and security of people.
Mahmood Hamad, head of Media and Documentation unit of Dubai Civil Defense said, all the tents should follow the 15 rules stipulated by the department. “We contacted all the parties involved in the implementation of the rules, and the department has allocated two telephone numbers — 04-2073749 and 04-2073749 — for people to seek more information, if required”.
He said the tents should be made of fireproof and wind-resistant material.
Under the rules, interior decoration materials, especially fabrics in the tent should be coated with fire-resistant spray. The height and width of the emergency exit should be in compliance with fire and safety requirements. The distance between the tent and the adjacent buildings should be more than four metres.
The furniture inside the tents should be arranged in a way that occupants could easily exit during emergencies. The emergency exits should have phosphoric signs, both in English and Arabic, to indicate their location in the dark. Sufficient numbers of fire extinguishers of different sizes should be provided, according to the rules.
He added that tent contractors should keep staff familiar with the use of fire extinguishers. The structure of tent should be strong enough to withstand heat and strong wind. No electrical connection should be made without the approval of Civil Defence.
DNRD will work all day during Ramadan
DUBAI — Sep. 13: The working hours of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) during the holy month of Ramadan will be from 9am to 5.30pm while the Follow-up and Investigation Section (FIS) in Jumeirah will receive amnesty seekers from 9am to 2pm and from 9pm to 2am daily. This was announced yesterday by DNRD Director Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri.
“Our new work timings have been fixed to cope up with the potential rush that might come up as a result of the shorter working hours during Ramadan. We also want to make sure that processing the applications of amnesty seekers will continue to be as smooth as possible,” Brig Al Marri said.
“DNRD staff will also be working from 9am to 5.30pm at the external branches, including the passport sections at the Jebel Ali Free Zone and the Naturalization and Residency Sections at Bin Souqat Shopping Centre, Abu Hail and Dnata,” he added.
He also noted that the new timings would be applicable to the customer service departments, including the Entry Permit for work, visit and tourist visas, the Residence Sections, the Naturalization and Passport Section, the Establishments Sections, online services and the e-gate for both individuals and establishments.
Retail outlets witness heavy festival rush
DUBAI/ABU DHABI — Sep 13: Even though the prices of essential commodities went up during the past few days, heavy rush of shoppers was witnessed in retail outlets in the country yesterday as the residents started preparation for the holy month of Ramadan.
As in past years, according to retailers, the trend of increasing the prices of essential commodities during Ramadan continued this year also.
Nanda Kumar, communication manager of Emke group which runs Lulu Supermarket chain, said “ Prices of almost all the essential commodities have gone up. The demand is high and the importers and exporters have increased the prices.”
Serina Mohammed, a shopper, said “The price is very high for essential commodities such as fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. It is difficult to handle the situation because of the increase in the living cost.”
Ibrahim Taha, another shopped shared the same sentiments and called for the intervention of authorities to curb the trend of price increase during Ramadan. “This price hike is an extra burden for all of us,” he said.
The prices of vegetable, fruit and meat have been gone up in the capital but shoppers thronged the market to shop in preparation of the first day of Ramadan. Price increase varies from fruit to fruit and vegetable to vegetable. The prices have gone up just three or four days ago. The prices of vegetables went up by Dh3 whereas the fruits prices are up by Dh5 to Dh10.
“There is an increase on the vegetables and fruits. The increase in the prices of vegetables is up to Dh5 but some fruits jumped up to Dh 15. The mango which, we used to buy at Dh25 for 10kg carton, is now priced at Dh45”, a Jordanian shopper at Madina Zayed Vegetable and Fruit Market, Mohammed Ahmed Abdullah, said.
Sher Ali, a fruit and vegetable seller, said, “It is true that there is some increase on the prices of fruits. But what we can do in it. If the supplier increases the prices we have to increase it to meet al least our return.”
Another fruit seller Abdul Majeed said, “We buy things on higher prices so we sell it accordingly. As the prices of tomato are up by Dh10. A carton of 8kg tomato which was earlier priced at Dh15, is now being sold at Dh25. The prices of every vegetable and fruit increased up to Dh3. On every occasion the prices go up. Potto which was earlier at Dh2.50 is now sold at Dh4 for one kg.” The prices of meat are up in the market by Dh3 and this increase is just before the three days from now, said a butchery shopkeeper at Madina Zayed.
Work-from-home offer for women
Dubai/Sharjah - Sep. 13: As the cost of living in the UAE continues to rise, a company in Sharjah is helping families to supplement their income by providing jobs to housewives.
Women in Dubai and Sharjah, who are unemployed either due to social restrictions or because they cannot find jobs, can now earn from the comfort of their homes.
Around 200 women of various nationalities are working from their homes thanks to the initiative by Emanagement, a Sharjah-based management consultancy group.
Since the company established the service about a year ago, it has received numerous applications from interested housewives. “We receive a big number of applications daily. However, some women get disqualified because they do not meet the requirements,” said Giree Naidu, technical operations manager at the company.
The basic requirements are: the applicant has a computer connected to the internet at home, basic computer knowledge and ability to speak and write English regardless of their academic qualifications.
The applicants should also be able to spare four hours at home on a daily basis. Giree said the work mostly involves back office data processing for firms in the United Kingdom and the United States that have a contract with them.
He said it involves making ebooks, form-filling, making promotional updates and business transcriptions.
The company is approaching local firms, such as banks and insurance companies, to see if they might have work for non-English speaking housewives who have other necessary qualifications.
Housewives are paid according to the amount of work they complete.The minimum pay for each line typed is 20 fils, and each woman decides the number of lines she wishes to type.
Giree said applications for the jobs are free and special training is also provided to those housewives who lack some skills but have the other important qualifications.
After a trial period, those considered good enough for the job sign a contract for a minimum of two years.
Ghada Jabir, a Iraqi housewife in Sharjah, said she joined the programme five months ago. “My household can earn an extra Dh2,500. My religion does not allow me to go out to work, so to me this is something big,” said Jabir.