Month: June 2012

Indians in UAE can’t fly home

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Indians in UAE can’t fly home

Travel to India this summer is simply not affordable for ordinary salaried Indians in the UAE. The low-salaried shouldn’t even think about it. (Air India remains in holding pattern, June 22).

Almost no seats are available this weekend from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to anywhere in India, and the seats on offer seem to be priced starting at Dh3,200, or Dh2,500 one way.

With Air India’s labour unrest and other problems, travel back home has become a nightmare, especially for emergencies.

Helpless as ever, we non-resident Indians can only convey our wishes to India’s civil aviation authorities.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit The National online

Sadhya – Traditional Kerala type Sadhya – animated GIF

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Sadhya – animated gif file. The only one of its kind in the web. You can use it in your email, greetings, or powerpoint files. Feel free to share it with your friends. Presentation Courtesy – Kunduvara Balagopal Menon & family.

Egg Rice

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Egg rice is a very easy preparation, that can be made quick and easy, with fresh rice or even left over rice. Served hot, it will be relished by children and adults alike. So, why not we try it out today.
Items required:
Biriyani rice – 1 cup
Egg – 2
Turmeric powder – quarter teaspoon
Black pepper powder – quarter teaspoon
Corriander powder – half teaspoon
Salt – add to taste
Fresh Green (or red) chillie – cut into small pieces – 4 or 5
Onion (Sabola) – cut into fine pieces – one or two
Cooking oil / coconut oil – 2 teaspoon
Ghee – 1 or two teaspoon
The following ingredients are not mandatory – but can include to add taste and flavor:   
Curry leaves – few
Corriander leaves – cut into fine pieces – 2 teaspoon
          Switch on the stove and keep moderate flame.
          Pour one or two teaspoon of ghee to the pressure cooker and then add the biriyani rice to it.
          Mix it well for approximately 5 minutes till the rice and ghee blend with each other.
          Add 2 cups of water and then boil this mix.
          In a small bowl, mix the egg, turmeric powder, black pepper powder, salt and coriander powder well.
          Take a fry pan and pour the cooking or coconut oil to it and then fry the fine cut onion, fresh green chillie and fry it till it becomes almost red and well.
          Now add, the egg/turmeric powder/black powder/coriander powder blended mix to this.
          Stir well for about 1-2 minutes.
          Add the rice mix to this.
          Mix well, boil for a few more minutes.
A very tasty Egg Rice is ready for your children to relish.
Wait. Now is the fun. You can make this more tasty with the addition of the following items each time you give them:
          Garnish the preparation with curry leaves and coriander leaves, either together or individually.
          Or, add cashew nuts, ginger, cardamom, finely sliced tomato or garlic or even any other spices, to the onion mix, either individually or together and then give this rice a fresh taste and novelty each time you serve to yourself or your family and children.
I am sure, this is one item, you can make in several different ways, but very easy and one which help you to never depend on restaurants.
Presentation and Photography by:  Ramesh Menon. 

Prepare it, Taste it and revert to us with your comments.
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Vice-President urges public to take part in UAE National Logo selection

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Vice-President urges public to take part in UAE National Logo selection

Residents asked to vote for one logo from five finalists

By Derek Baldwin, Chief Reporter GULF NEWS Published: June 24, 2012
Dubai: In a country now home to some of the most famous brand placements in the world, the UAE has launched plans to come up with its very own brand logo to promote itself locally and abroad.

Two months after the UAE was named the second preferred international market by the world’s top 326 retail brands, the UAE is asking the public’s help to select its new future logo.

Five logo finalists have already been chosen and their work has been posted on, the website of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Ruler has also posted the logo launch on Twitter, where he said the brand logo will be used locally and abroad in all national promotional campaigns, projecting a unified UAE identity and highlight the uniqueness of the UAE.
The voting process begins on Sunday and ends on July 18, 2012.

Members of the public will be able to vote for one of the five logos uploaded on the Prime Minister’s website. The chosen logo will have variations that can be used in both Arabic and English.

Shaikh Mohammad said that the usage of the logo will be a part of a strategic plan that is based on coordination between governmental and non-governmental bodies to use major events held both locally and abroad to spread and narrate the nation’s message and story to the world.

Visitors to the website are being given the opportunity to select their favourite brand logo that best represents the country.

“The nation brand logo that you are going to choose is a promotional logo for the UAE. It shall be used locally and internationally to promote a unified identity for the UAE and express its unique aspects setting it apart from other nations around the world,” the website stated.

“The UAE nation brand is to be used as a visual identity for the nation, to communicate to the world its vision and tell its story. The nation brand must reflect the UAE’s global economic and political status and its diverse and attractive cultural and business environment, which make it a leading destination for tourism, economic, and cultural activities.”

The push to brand itself is a wise move in a world with a growing roster of big brand logos and recognisable names, said a Dubai-based branding expert on Sunday.

Haroon Popal, creative manager at Creative Studio, is a specialist in branding, design and logos and said that the branding move “means the UAE wants to position itself in the world to be recognised. Brand awareness is very necessary.”

Branding, he said, is more than just picking a graphic and a fancy font.

“When you brand something, it adds value, whether it’s a company or a country. It becomes valuable,” Popal said.
Constantly exposing a brand to the public also helps create a sense of awareness and identity that people begin to recognise automatically,“When you see something again and again, you start building trust. It will create recognition, build trust. It also helps one to identify itself a certain style,” Popal said.
Whenever an entity chooses to rebrand, it means they are seeking increased awareness about who they are, what they offer and the values for which they stand, he said.

Voting for the new logo semi-finalists began on Sunday and will remain open until July 18 – visitors to the website can only vote for one design.

With input from WAM / Source, credits and thanks to : GULF NEWS

Warning to users of smartphones

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DUBAI // Smartphone users have been warned not to meet strangers who advertise jobs or ask for donations via BlackBerry Messenger.

Dubai State Security also warned against sending money or private information in response to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) pings from unknown sources.

The same advice applies to instant messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, that work on other smartphones.

“Bogus job advertisements for government and private companies have been circulated as well as humanitarian relief calls, without stating any official source or entity,” State Security said.

Several complaints have been received on the crime hotline, Al Ameen, that BBM technology was being misused by criminals to lure victims.

“We have found that these delinquents present their personal email addresses on the messages to get to know women and exploit their need for work or humanitarian help,” State Security said.

Users collect CVs and private details of individuals mainly to harass and sexually assault women. Khalid Al Ali received messages on BBM related to blood donations for accident victims.

“With such things I usually try to verify the information and call the sender. At other times you see messages and know they are baseless.”

Mr Al Ali said messages campaigning against products and items were often based on unverified information, such as an incident last year when a BBM message that did the rounds said Mars bars contained pork fat. 

“There was a BBC report that claimed Mars bars had animal fats, which was later recanted, and I started receiving BlackBerry broadcasts about these things months later from people.

Nobody verified this information and people tend to believe such things,” he said. Sham messages have been increasing over the years, according to Dushi Mahesh, from Sri Lanka. “I have been a BlackBerry user for almost four years now and have seen the number of bogus broadcasts increasing,” he said. “I think the people sending these messages are gullible and do not know that they are potentially endangering their security and that of others.”

The Al Ameen hotline was launched in September 2003 to provide a platform for communication between community members and the state security administration within Dubai Police. The public is urged to report any unsolicited messages received via BBM (or through other instant messaging platforms) that ask for personal details or donations. Such incidents can be reported anonymously to Al Ameen on 800 4888 or by SMS to 4444.

Source/credits and thanks to : THE NATIONAL/Awad Mustafa

Important – Safety requirements while drilling borewells at your home

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For readers from India:

Taking serious cognizance of past accidents of children falling into borewells, Government has issued guidelines for its construction.

 “The guidelines are issued after the Supreme Court’s directives in the backdrop of number of cases in which children had been trapped and fallen into borewells, tubewells and abandoned wells,” an official from Water Supply Department said.

As per the guidelines, it would be mandatory that a person must inform in writing at least 15 days in advance to the authorities concerned in the area about construction of the borewell.

The drilling agency should be registered and a sign board to be put up near construction of the well displaying address of drilling agency and owner of the well, it said.

During the construction, the well should be surrounded by barriers or fencing, it added.

The tube should be covered and abandoned wells should be filled up with clay, boulders and pebbles.

You may please share this with your friends as a reminder, in case such an activity is planned at their premises.

Uncomfortable seating causes public bus users discomfort

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Uncomfortable seating causes public bus users discomfort 
No air conditioning a turn-off for bus users during cross-emirate trips

By Ramesh Menon, Gulf News reader, Published: June 24, 2012

Image Credit: Ramesh Menon/Gulf News Reader
While traveling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, Ramesh Menon found his journey enjoyable as the newer bus was comfortable and offered a smooth ride.
In order to go to Dubai from Abu Dhabi one Friday morning, I decided to use the bus instead of driving, as I thought – why drive unnecessarily when there is an efficient bus system in place?
I went to the main bus station and was told by the security personnel to go inside the station to collect a ticket.
Inside, I approached a staff member to purchase a ticket and handed him a Dh100 note. He told me he had no change, but after waiting there for a few minutes and after a few other passengers had purchased tickets, I was able to get mine.
I walked back to the bus, which was one of the latest models and was ready and waiting. After a 10-minute wait, the journey started.
The bus was comfortable, the air-conditioner worked properly and the journey was smooth. I dozed off automatically, as I relaxed.
For the price of Dh15, I had the safest and most comfortable journey I could ever take to reach Dubai from Abu Dhabi.

>Image Credit: Gulf News archive
Menon’s trip back to Abu Dhabi was a lot less comfortable as the older bus’ air conditioning and seating were not up to par.

However, on my return trip, upon reaching the Bur Dubai bus station, I found the queue for the bus comparatively large. I found the ticket station and collected my ticket, but realised it was neither the same type of bus nor the same ticket price.

The bus was older and the charge from Dubai to Abu Dhabi was Dh25.
It was relatively noisy all the way to Abu Dhabi and the air conditioner was not at all proper. Rather, it was not there at all.
Added to all that, the seats were not at all comfortable and the two-hour journey back was really cumbersome.
By the time I reached Abu Dhabi, I was really tired, sweaty and exhausted.
While I commend this service provided to the general public and praise its efficiency, I humbly request the authorities check that the air conditioning system in each bus is in good condition.
Also, all buses should be fitted with comfortable seats, especially those taking passengers on a two-hour journey or longer. They could also set one price of Dh15 for the trip from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and back.
I am sure if these changes are implemented, more of the general public will show interest in using the bus services to travel between the emirates.

The reader is a technical officer based in Abu Dhabi.

Be a community reporter. Tell us what is happening in your community. Send us your videos and pictures at

To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online.

An eye for you

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“An eye for you”
A new attempt – Painting in the Water.

Midday break rule needs bolstering

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Midday break rule needs bolstering
Talking to a group of labourers working outside one recent afternoon, I learnt that there are some side effects of the strict implementation of the midday break (Building sites stick to midday break rule, June 16). These side effects may even spoil the positive effects of the midday work stoppage.
For example, some workers are transported back to their individual labour camps, where they are forced to relax without air-condition or water facilities, as they are either switched off or cut to avoid usage during noon hours.
There are companies that take care of their workers, but not all of them do. And as I learnt, midday break rule violations are just the tip of the iceberg.
Take health care. If a worker from an irresponsible company becomes sick, he has to continue going to work or risks cuts to his salary. Medical assistance is also not always available in case of injury.
Authorities should put parallel survey and compliance procedures in place at labour camps during noontime breaks, to monitor how breaks are being given and to ensure workers are afforded comfortable rest, with air conditioning and water.
Checks should also be made with increasing frequency within the city to make sure workers are not toiling in the sun during noon hours.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online

A rain special – feature video – at Mathrubhumi online

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Summer is getting into it’s extreme here and several times I wish, if it rains here at least once in a month. How nice it would have been?! Hmm, no luck.. Then I change my wish and think, how lucky we all would be, if it rains, at least once in three months… Hmm.. no way… nothing doing…It remains a wish like that. But, few years ago, it rained for two days continuously in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. As usual, I didn’t miss that golden opportunity to click some photos and videos of the rain in UAE. 

With the habit of sharing things, I blogged the video that time. Last year when Mathrubhumi online started the Yuvog – their video only site, friends from that team asked me to start posting in it, and see how it is. I started enjoying the free uploads option there and then continued posting whenever there is an important event or activity to video share. 

It’s monsoon season in Kerala and today, Mathrubhumi online have come out with a special feature on rain – Peyyattangane Peyyatte.. (let it continue to rain..).. and in it they have specially featured this video.

Thank you Team Yuvog and Mathrubhumi. Those who wish to read it there may click on “Peyyattangane Peyyatte

I have also included another video of a rain opportunity I captured while at a short visit to Bengaluru.

Enjoy both videos.

Rain at Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Rain at Bengaluru

If you are currently on holidays in Kerala or from anywhere, you can upload your rain photos at:

Peyyattangane Peyyatte