Day: July 9, 2008

Medical degrees from Russian universities

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Medical degrees from Russian universities
T. SARAVANAN for THE HINDU

Studying medicine and engineering in Russia is relatively cheaper, but would necessarily require learning Russian.

The Russian Centre for Science and Culture, the cultural department of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Chennai, organised a campaign in Madurai recently to create an awareness of education opportunities available in engineering and medical universities in Russia.

The centre helps students get admission in these universities recognised by the Association of Indian Universities in the case of engineering institutions and Medical Council of India in the case of medical universities.

Recognised universities

The medical universities recognised by the council are: Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow; People’s Friendship University, Moscow; I.P. Pavlov State Medical Academy, St. Petersburg; Volgograd State Medical University, Volgograd; Stavropol State Medical Academy, Stavropol; Tver State Medical Academy, Tver; Rostov State Medical University and Kuban State Medical Academy, Krasnadar.

The point to note is that only undergraduate medicine courses are recognised and not postgraduate courses.

C. Suresh Babu, director, Study Abroad Educational Consultants, an accredited official representative of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in India, said that there are more than 200 – 300 universities recognised by the Association of Indian Universities offering engineering courses.

“Pursuing engineering education in these universities will be a rewarding experience for students as they are much in demand once they finish their courses,” he said.

Employment opportunities are plenty for the students as Russian companies work on numerous projects all over the world.

Single specialisation

There are universities exclusively for single specialisation such as aviation, aerospace, architecture and nuclear power engineering.

“Students successfully completing nuclear power engineering courses in Russia stand a chance to get jobs in the Koodankulam nuclear power project in India,” he said.

Medium of instruction

The English medium of instruction is available only for chemical, mechanical and computer science courses. “All other courses such as power engineering, oil mining, geology, aerospace and avionics are available only in Russian as they are self-developed and books might not be available in English,” he said.

In medicine courses, English medium is available only up to third year after which students have to undergo their education in Russian.

“Clinical study starts from the fourth year. Hence, the students will be attached to a hospital where they may have to interact with the local people and Russian surgeons. Therefore, students have no other go but to study Russian language to successfully complete their education,” said Mr. Suresh.

Scholarship is also available based on marks and other social activities.

“Students with valid sports certificates and interest in public service will get additional leverage to get these scholarships,” he said.

Cost of living

The cost of living compared to Western countries is much less for students pursuing education in Russia.

They require around Rs. 40,000 – 50,000 per year for accommodation and food.

In all, a student would have to spend around Rs.10 lakh to 12 lakh for the six-year medical course while it would be around Rs.8 lakh to 12 lakh to obtain an engineering degree.

Academic year

Generally, colleges in Russia reopen on September 1. But first-year students are given one month’s time to join.

“For Indian students there will be a one-month pre-departure orientation programme, where fresh students will be briefed about Russian language, weather and etiquette, said Mr. Suresh.

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Dolphin Energy to fence Al Ain–Fujairah pipeline

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Dolphin Energy to fence Al Ain–Fujairah pipeline
KHALEEJ TIMES 9 July 2008

ABU DHABI – Dolphin Energy said that work is about to begin to fence key sections of its Al Ain to Fujairah Gas Pipeline (AFP).

The contract for $19.1 million has been awarded to Al Husam General Contracting Establishment of Abu Dhabi, who will erect fencing along more than 100 kilometres of the 184 kilometre pipeline. This programme has been designed to improve security and to ensure public safety.

Some 40 kilometres of guard-rail will be installed as a security barrier at the Fujairah end of the pipeline. The work will be completed by year end.

Simultaneously, 70 kilometres of the southern section of the line, directly north of Al Ain, will be fenced with welded mesh fencing. Pedestrian and vehicle access crossings will also be provided along the fence, for public use. Completion of this element of the contract is scheduled for September 2009.

Dubai residents could soon cancel labour cards at residency department

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Dubai residents could soon cancel labour cards at residency department
Dubai: Labour Card cancellation could soon be done at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) and at its offices in Dubai.

Those who need to cancel their labour cards can complete the procedure of cancellation at the DNRD without the need to visit the Ministry of Labour.

A team from DNRD and the Labour Ministry is studying the possibilities of implementing the new service.

Humaid Bin Deemas, assistant undersecretary at the ministry, said the new service will benefit a large number of expatriates.

Major Khalifa Mattar Balkoba’a, head of external centre sector at DNRD, said the department is looking forward to provide the best service.

He said it is a one-stop-visit option to assess the needs and administrative requirements.

Police call for compulsory fog lights

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Police call for compulsory fog lights
Matt Kwong for THE NATIONAL

ABU DHABI // Fog lights capable of penetrating dense early-morning haze should be mandatory for all vehicles to reduce the high accident rate, a new police report suggests.

“All cars in the UAE must have fog lights because we have this exceptional weather here,” said Yousif al Katheeri, a warrant officer who drafted the report. “Front fog lights should be in all cars, even Japanese ones. It doesn’t take much to install them and it could save so many lives and reduce so many accidents.”
A 200-car pileup on the motorway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai on March 11 claimed four lives and left dozens of others injured.

Mr Katheeri said the scale of that accident – blamed on reckless driving and early-morning fog – convinced him that better headlights on cars could have saved lives that day.

“European cars are all already using fog lights,” he said. “Making them compulsory in the UAE could be very useful, so I’m ready to submit it [the report] to the traffic unit.”

Regular headlights dazzle other motorists in foggy conditions, but fog lights, which are mounted lower, increase visibility by projecting concentrated beams of light closer to the ground. Fog usually hovers between 30 and 45 centimetres above the surface.

Rear fog lights also increase the visibility of cars to traffic approaching from behind, and are considered to be better than four-way hazard lights.

Currently, all cars in the GCC are required to have a warning buzzer that sounds when the driver exceeds 120km/h, said Alan D’Souza, a business development manager for the Hertz rental car company in Dubai.

“But there is no mention of fog lights in the GCC specs – nothing at all yet,” said Mr D’Souza. “They might save lives when they’re used at the right time and at a safe distance. Still, there are a lot of factors to consider.”

Newer European cars all have the safety feature, he said, and both front and rear fog lights are mandatory in many parts of the continent.

“But it is a cost element for Japanese carmakers,” he added.

Drivers also have to know when to use the special headlights, he said. “Some people have fog lights but don’t even know where the switch is, or some don’t even know they have them.”

One motorist, Clive Mantell, from London, said putting fog lights on cars already in the UAE would be a “pain in the neck”, but also a welcome move.

“I think it’s to be applauded,” he said.

“It’s a bit surprising it’s taken this long [for a report] because the weather isn’t a new thing. I hope drivers get assistance from the manufacturers because this is an excellent idea.”

He added: “I used to live in Germany during the 1970s, when we had to have fog lights. You just weren’t licensed to drive unless you had those lights, so we just installed them.”

He called the thick fog “one of the most extraordinary aspects” of his experiences living in the UAE. “I’ve seen more foggy days than in my last four years living in London and The Hague, [which are] reputedly foggy cities.”

However, the main cause of most accidents seems to be reckless driving, Mr Mantell said. “Let’s be clear. The rear fog light isn’t going to stop all accidents. When the fog comes down, a good proportion of people just put on their four-way lights, continue speeding along and keep their fingers crossed. That needs to change first.”

mkwong@thenational.ae

Breast cancer in the UAE strikes girls as young as 17

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Breast cancer in the UAE strikes girls as young as 17
Alison McMeans and Mitya Underwood for THE NATIONAL
ABU DHABI // Women are being diagnosed with breast cancer in their teens and 20s, in one case as young as 17, highlighting a need for greater awareness of the disease at an early age, say health professionals.

A leading expert has revealed that there are more cases of breast cancer among younger women in the UAE than in other parts of the world. Along with the 17-year-old, a woman of 19 was diagnosed with a disease more commonly associated with women in their 50s.

Late diagnosis often leaves women with little chance of a cure and doctors are calling for campaigns to alert schoolgirls and young women to the danger.

Women, afraid of the stigma still attached to breast cancer in Gulf states, often ignore warning signs and are reluctant to examine themselves. Younger women remain largely ignorant of the need to be aware of the disease from an early age. Dr Rawda al Mutawa, who was involved in the recent Break The Silence campaign, part of the Global Initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness, said: “Throughout the campaign and during the checks we performed on the younger women, many younger people were diagnosed with cancer who had no idea at all, including a 17-year-old.”

Dr Mutawa, the president of the Emirate’s Business Women Council and chief executive of the council’s Abu Dhabi branch, said lack of information was a problem.

“The problem with young people is that they consider this to be an illness that afflicts older women only,” she said, “so they do not heed the advice and warnings.

“During the campaign, we went to secondary schools. Each day, we had 10 or 15 girls going to the hospitals to get mammograms, so they learnt about the importance of these self-examinations.”

Between 2003 and 2006, almost as many women were diagnosed with breast cancer as with all the other types of cancer combined, according to the National Cancer Registry. The disease accounts for 22.8 per cent of the total number of diagnosed cases of cancer in the UAE, making it the country’s most common cancer.

The young age at which women are developing breast cancer is of increasing concern to doctors.

“The breast cancer in the UAE is very special,” said one expert, who has been involved in screening women for more than 10 years. “We have a lot of younger cases and most of them are caught only at a late stage.”

The average age at which breast cancer was diagnosed among Emiratis was between 40 and 45, she said, which was 10 years younger than in Europe. “Of course we get even younger cases, in their 20s and 30s, and we have had patients as young as 17 and 19.”

The national screening centre for women and children was officially opened in the capital a week ago. Its major tasks include educating people about the importance of self-examination at an early age, and overcoming taboos.

Encouraging women to self-examine, especially younger women, was not an easy task, said Dr Mutawa, but it was a vital one: “In the campaign, we focused specifically on girls who had a family history of breast cancer.

“Many people do not realise the hereditary element of the illness and we needed to make them realise the situation.”

It is estimated that only 30 per cent of women with breast cancer in the country are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, when the chances of a cure are higher.

Dr Miriam al Otaiba, a senior doctor at the Makkah Specialised Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, said the subject of breast cancer and self-examination was not always raised by doctors, as patients did not always welcome advice on the disease.

“Traditionally speaking, it would be odd for me to just ask the patient to examine her breasts without any complaint or request,” she said. “The patient would not think it was normal.

“However, we do advise and strongly encourage all patients to take certain precautions.”

munderwood@thenational.ae amcmeans@thenational.ae With additional reporting by Hessa al Romaithi and Fatima al Shamsi

Conoco, ADNOC sign long-awaited Abu Dhabi gas deal

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Conoco, ADNOC sign long-awaited Abu Dhabi gas deal
(Reuters)8 July 2008

DUBAI – ConocoPhillips and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) signed a long-expected deal on Tuesday to develop sour gas reserves in the United Arab Emirates for a cost that could exceed $10 billion.

The partners did not release the expected project cost after signing the deal, saying only they would ‘jointly share’ any investments in developing sour gas reservoirs within the onshore Shah field.

An ADNOC spokesman declined to comment on the investment costs related to the project.

Costs of the project have escalated, as they have worldwide in the energy sector as producers strain to bring new capacity online to meet rising demand.

‘Completion of final joint venture agreements … is expected by year-end,’ ADNOC and Conoco said in a statement.

The sour gas deal is one of the largest upstream projects in the past year open to international companies competing for limited access to the Middle East’s oil and gas fields.

Saudi Arabia, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, keeps its oilfields closed to international firms.

ConocoPhillips beat competitors — including Exxon Mobile, Occidental Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell — for the project to process 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day at Shah and produce 570 million cubic feet of network gas.

Developing sour gas at the Shah field would cost at least $10 billion, an industry source told Reuters in February.

Conoco and ADNOC would set up a joint venture firm to manage and operate the Shah project, with Abu Dhabi owning 60 percent and Conoco 40 percent, they said on Tuesday.

Record oil revenues from a sevenfold rise in oil prices since 2002 have fuelled economic expansion and rapidly rising demand for gas from both the power sector and the Gulf Arab state’s growing heavy industry.

The UAE holds the world’s fifth-largest gas reserves at nearly 214 trillion cubic feet, much of it sour.

The gas has a content of around 30 percent of potentially deadly hydrogen sulphide, making it tougher and more expensive to produce than conventional gas reserves.

ADNOC unit Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd said in May it would invest about $25 billion in gas-processing plants and pipelines as it develops more fields to meet surging demand.

Adnoc and ConocoPhillips to develop Shah gas field

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Adnoc and ConocoPhillips to develop Shah gas field
(By a staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 9 July 2008

ABU DHABI – In a major development, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and leading US oil exploration company ConocoPhillips have signed an Interim Agreement to developing on-shore Shah gas field in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Both companies also agreed to setup a company, to manage and operate the oil fields, upon completion of the project.

Adnoc will have majority 60 per cent interest in the company, while rest of 40 per cent will be held by ConocoPhillips.

According to the details, Adnoc and ConocoPhillips will jointly share the cost of the Shah gas field development project.

It is expected that final joint venture agreements will be completed between the two parties by year-end.

This large-scale project involves the development of sour gas reservoirs within the Shah field, located on-shore approximately 180 km south-west of the city of Abu Dhabi.

Industry analysts put the value of the project at $10 billion, which will pump gas at a time when fast expanding economy needs the most.

The project will involve several gas gathering systems, construction of processing trains to process one billion cubic feet per day gas at Shah to produce 570 million cubic feet per day of network gas, in addition to new gas and liquid pipelines and the construction of sulfur exporting facilities at Ruwais in the emirate.

Great attention was given during the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) stages to select state of the art HSE systems as a result of extensive risk assessment and recovery studies.

ConocoPhillips is an integrated energy company with interests around the world.

Labour card cancellation at DNRD branches soon

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Labour card cancellation at DNRD branches soon
By a staff reporter KHALEEJ TIMES 9 July 2008

DUBAI— The external branches of the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) may soon be providing the services for labour card cancellation. If the service starts, individuals will be able to complete the procedure of cancellation of labour cards at any of DNRD branch without having to go to the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

DNRD and MoL are currently discussing the feasibility of providing Labour Card cancellation service at all DNRD’s external branches across the emirate.

A team from DNRD and the Ministry of Labour was formed to study the feasibility of the process and identify the requirements as well as prepare a time frame for the gradual execution of the project across the 12 offices of DNRD in Dubai.

The cooperation details were discussed during a meeting between Humaid bin Dimas, Acting Under-Secretary Ministry of Labour, and Major Khalifa Matar Balkobaa’, Head of External Centre Sector at DNRD, along with a number of employees from both sides.

Bin Dimas, expressing satisfaction over the ongoing strategic partnership between MoL and DNRD, said that the cooperation will benefit a large number of expatriates and help in reducing the commuting time by using the facilities of the nearby branches of DNRD.