Talent Share – A talent or knowledge within you is to be shared – 1st Birthday

Posted on Updated on

My Dear readers,

Tomorrow 6th October 2009, – a simple initiative started to promote creative activities of children and adults will celebrate it’s 1st birthday.

As silent or as aloud, through Team 1 blogs, various initiatives were made all the year along and I am proud to say that till this date, we have witnessed consistent contribution from 57 talented artists of different age. It is also a very happy moment to inform you that 18 schools from various parts of the world including UAE and reaching as far as Doha, Kuwait, and various parts of India participated with interest in showcasing their creativity through

Periodically, all the participating children were complemented with gifts and certificates. I would like to say a special word of thanks to Ms. Seema Shetty of NMC group for gifts offered and Charu and team of 89.1 Radio 4 FM for their support of free publicity during the first online competition ever held during last year. It was sheer guts by them to support a totally unknown concept by an unknown personality venturing with the motto “A talent or knowledge within you is to be shared”.

Yes, I believe in what I say, and is an example of it. What is the benefit of a knowledge or a talent if it remains within us. Imagine how it spread from one person to another to many, if it is shared. The beauty, the enjoyment and the thrill of sharing, it has to be enjoyed. Like a child who keeps the chocolate in his pocket without sharing it with his friends on a hot sunny day, your knowledge or talent, hidden and kept aside for your own enjoyment will melt down finally without benefiting you even.

This is a serious and sincere effort and so far being undertaken solely and I take this opportunity to invite more participation from arts and crafts teachers and those who are interested to volunteer in sharing their valuable talent to come forward and be a part of Talent Share activities. All those who are interested to promote creative talent of children to the forefront through Talent Share blog and its activities to undertake the following responsible roles are welcome to contact me:

– to promote its activities

– encourage the participants

– give guidance and communicate with the participants

– participate in admin roles.

God bless all those creative talents who contributed silently and please pray for their continued interest in participating and promoting creativity which has no special forms in this world of excellence.

Sincere regards,

Ramesh Menon


Phone: +97150 4438306

Achievement – Towards more responsible days

Posted on Updated on

Dear Friends,

Towards more responsible days…..

Sharing with you an achievement that happened today.

Please do visit

Please pray for more creative thoughts and willingness to work with social consciousness without inhibition.


Ramesh Menon

Towards more responsible days…..

Posted on

Dear Friends,

Towards more responsible days…..

Sharing with you an achievement that happened today.

Please do visit

Please pray for more creative thoughts and willingness to work with social consciousness without inhibition.


Ramesh Menon

NRI fights for voting rights

Posted on Updated on

NRI fights for voting rights

By BEGENA P PRADEEP, Posted on » Sunday, May 31, 2009

BAHRAIN resident Sihas Babu is hoping to rewrite Indian law by winning the right for millions of people to vote.

The 35-year-old has already filed a landmark case in India against an act in the Indian Constitution, which does not allow Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to take part in national or state elections.

Although he is effectively waging a one-man campaign, any victory would be celebrated by Indian expatriates around the globe.

He filed a case in the Kerala High Court against India’s Election Comm-ission, the Kerala State Government and Indian Central Government last Monday.

The Indian public can only vote in an election if they live in a constituency in India, while government employees posted abroad are the only expats who can vote.

Mr Babu, a manager at a building materials company, told the GDN he decided to file the case after flying home to vote in recent parliamentary elections, only to find his name had been taken off the electoral roll.

“The clauses in Section 19 and 20 of the Indian Constitution’s R P (Representation of the People) Act, 1950, does not allow us NRIs any voting rights if we have been away from India for more than six months,” he said.

“I went to Kerala on April 9 to take part in the parliamentary elections but was told that my name had been removed from the list of voters.

“The Election Commission’s presiding officer will check with all constituencies if the person is a resident of that particular constituency – this is how my name was removed.

“However, I know of many NRIs whose names are still on the list just because they have the influence with different political parties.

“NRIs play such an important role in developing India and there is so much money coming into the country from Indians working abroad.

“But when it comes to choosing leaders and a government who will be responsible for making decisions affecting NRIs as well, we are nowhere in the picture.

“This is not at all acceptable and it’s about time things changed.

“We should also have the right to choose our leaders.

“The government may argue that NRIs are not being allowed to vote to avoid malpractices of voting with a fake identity and double voting.

“But technology is so advanced these days that such practices can be caught or avoided.”

Mr Babu claims to be the first person to file a case against the Indian government with a view to overhauling its domestic law.

The court has now given the state and central governments, as well as the Election Commission, a month to respond to the case.

“This law was drafted in 1950 and with changing times, necessary amendments should be made,” said Mr Babu.

“I contacted leading Kerala High Court lawyer Kaleeswaran Raj and filed a case on May 25.

“If the concerned parties reject the petition, it is up to the court to pass the verdict of whether to change the clause or not.

“However, if the court rules against me, I will take the case to the Supreme Court of India.”

Mr Babu has lived in Bahrain for around 15 years and is now hoping to drum up support for his case among Indian associations and clubs here.

More links to this news:

If you feel NRIs should have voting rights and support his move, please generate necessary momentum to this move. Mark your opinion (vote Yes/No) in the poll at the left side of this page.

Lifts to carry pedestrians to safety

Posted on Updated on

Lifts to carry pedestrians to safety
May 14. 2009 THE NATIONAL

Traffic passing the mall is heavy because lorries and cars have been diverted to the road by construction on Salam Street. Sammy Dallal / The National
ABU DHABI // Lifts will be installed on the footbridge in front of Abu Dhabi Mall, and the traffic signal removed, in an attempt to stop pedestrians making dangerous crossings at the spot, a city official said yesterday.

Khaled al Junaibi, project manager for the Salam Street underpass project, said the lifts had been ordered and should be installed by the end of the summer at the bridge on the street that runs in front of the mall.

Pedestrians going to or from the mall often walk and run across five lanes of one-way traffic at a signal crossing designated for “handicapped only” rather than use the footbridge just steps away. Many of them cross the street against the light during breaks in traffic rather than wait for a “walk” signal.

Mr al Junaibi said city planners did not want people to cross at street level in front of the mall.

“When they cross the road we are forced to give less time for the traffic. If we give less time for this traffic, it will be backed up.”

The one-way traffic has been divided by bollards, leaving three lanes for vehicles going towards Al Meena Road and the Corniche and two lanes for local traffic, going to sites such as the mall or the Beach Rotana hotel.

Traffic passing the mall is particularly heavy at present because lorries and cars have been diverted on to the road by construction on Salam Street.

Some pedestrians make it only as far as the bollards and then wait as vehicles drive by within touching distance on either side of the pedestrians.

“We know about this issue,” Mr al Junaibi said. “We have ordered some elevators, and by the end of the summer they are supposed to be fixed.”

The crossing and signal were meant to be used by the disabled and the elderly who could not use the bridge, Mr al Junaibi said.

At about 5pm on one recent weekday, large groups of pedestrians crossed at street level with just a few opting to climb the flights of stairs to the bridge.

The traffic showed red against traffic for about 50 seconds to allow pedestrians to cross. Some impatient people crossed illegally, and many were forced to run. Motorists could be seen slowing down. The driver of a silver taxi slammed on his brakes and screeched to a halt to avoid hitting a young boy.

Kailash Tiwari, a road safety specialist with 30 years of experience as a traffic engineer, said the municipality was right to encourage people to use the footbridges. But he said a pedestrian-controlled signal should be installed at the crossing to give priority to the disabled and elderly who need to use it.

Mr al Junaibi said planners try to have pedestrian crossings at street level where possible. “It’s an equation we have to manage between the traffic and the pedestrian. It is OK for them to cross at certain locations, but we don’t want them to affect the quality of the traffic.”

He said staff at the traffic centre at Abu Dhabi Municipality were able to monitor the timing of the signal and adjust it if necessary. He added that lifts might be installed at other temporary footbridges.

Last month Col Gaith al Zaabi, the director of the Ministry of Interior’s traffic department, called on municipalities to install lifts at footbridges. He also said municipalities should add control systems for pedestrians in front of crossings with traffic lights and do more to deter jaywalkers, such as ensuring broken construction barriers are fixed promptly.

Twenty-six people were killed crossing roads in Abu Dhabi in the first 71 days of this year.

With few mid-block crossings in the capital, pedestrians have a choice of walking sometimes a kilometre between traffic signals or dashing across the road during breaks in traffic. Motorists rarely slow down for them.

Several pedestrians yesterday said they chose to cross at street level near the mall because it was easier than climbing the footbridge.

Hamed Ali Ahmed, 22, who works at the mall, said he sometimes used the bridge, but that when he was in a hurry to get to work he would cross at street level.

Leigh Bracken, 36, from Australia, who works for Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, said he found it quicker to cross on the street but he would do so only if he felt there was enough time to get across all the lanes. He worried that someone would be struck while waiting to cross in the middle of the road.
Report by Matthew Chung, Photo by Sammy Dalal THE NATIONAL

I sincerely thank THE NATIONAL for listening and highlighting the safety issue and following it up with the concerned authorities. Look forward with excitement to the new state-of-the-art facility to carry pedestrian across the road in the city centre. At the same time, I keep my fingers crossed that no untoward incidents happen and no life is lost till the time this is implemented.

Dubai taxis hail plan to limit speed

Posted on

Dubai taxis hail plan to limit speed
Eugene Harnan for THE NATIONAL

Last Updated: May 15. 2009 2:56PM UAE / May 15. 2009 10:56AM GMT DUBAI // Taxis roaring along the city’s roads at high speeds may soon be a thing of the past as devices that prevent them from going faster than 100kph have been installed in 200 of the vehicles.

By the beginning of next month, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will assess the results and consider placing the speed limiters in every taxi in Dubai.

The move follows a similar initiative in Abu Dhabi, where devices limit the capital’s silver taxis to 120kph.

“We need drivers to change their attitude to speed and reduce it,” said Ahmed Mohammed al Hammadi, director of resources and support at the RTA’s Dubai Taxi Corporation.

The initiative is expected to cut emissions and fuel consumption as well as speed.

“We need to save our environment and this machine can measure the carbon dioxide emissions output of the engine,” Mr al Hammadi said.

The Dubai Taxi Corporation has 3,500 cars in its fleet and if the trial goes well, they will all get the speed limiters.

Taxis belonging to other franchises will also be fitted with the new device, bringing the number of vehicles with it to more than 6,000.

Currently, there is a system that notifies head office if a driver is speeding and a penalty is automatically issued. But under the new system, they will be restricted to speeds below the national limit. Some parts of Dubai have speed limits of 120kph, but the engines will be fixed not to break the 100kph barrier, irrespective of the restrictions on the road.

“We have done the studies on where our fleet is going and at what time of the day, either at peak or off-peak times and found we don’t need to open the limit more than 100kph,” said Mr al Hammadi.

Only cars that leave the emirate regularly, for example airport taxis that travel to Al Ain or Abu Dhabi, will be permitted to go at a higher speed.

Taxi drivers backed the limiters yesterday. “It’s a good idea. There are no more worries for speed cameras if I am tempted to break the speed limit,” said Yaal Shah, from Pakistan.

“The only problem is when I drive a customer to Jebel Ali or the airport along Sheikh Zayed Road and they are late, they ask why I am only doing 100kph,” he added.

Mr Yaal said he had been given only two speeding fines in his 12 years as a taxi driver in Dubai.

“It’s not a problem in the city as you don’t go any faster than that, but when I’m out on Emirates Road, I can see it as a nuisance.” Govendam Sanana from India said he very rarely broke the limit so the new move did not affect him.

“When I am on my own in the car, it is OK to go a bit faster but if I have a family with children or even tourists, I do not want to frighten them,” he said. “There are enough crazy drivers on the road and I try to keep them calm when I drive by going at a safe speed. A normal speed is better for everybody’s health, but there are a lot of crazy drivers out there.”

Adil Sadak, from India, said the power of his car, a Toyota Camry 2L, was sometimes too tempting.

“I know when I am on my own on a big, open, empty road I would like to get to the other end of it quicker. We have a problem with speed cameras so if we do not know the road, we will not do it,” he said.

In Abu Dhabi, all seven firms operating the newer silver taxis have had to fit their cars with speed limiters that restrict cars from exceeding 120kph. Gold and white taxis, which are being slowly phased out, are exempt.

The limiter is a small device attached to the engine and controlled through a monitor inside the car. It works by limiting the flow of fuel to the engine when 116kph is reached, causing the car to level out at 120kph.

Drivers can override the system for 10 seconds by pressing a button near the car radio controls or on the gear shift, allowing them to accelerate when they need to.

Drivers could in theory hit the button continuously, but the companies can track the number of times it is pressed and could reprimand those who overuse it.

I sincerely thank the DUBAI RTA authorities for listening to this quality suggestion of mine to introduce speed limiters on vehicles. They were willing to listen and also kind enough to call and inform back about the test phase which is on currently. I hope this will be a success and will gradually implemented on to medium vehicles, mini vans, heavy vehicles, espcially buses carrying school children and workers and even government public transport buses.

Malayala Manorama Jeevajalam photo competition – winners list

Posted on Updated on

Dear Friends,

Sincere thanks to all those who voted for the photo taken by me.

Please visit and see the list of winners.


Ramesh Menon

When prison is not the right penalty

Posted on Updated on

When prison is not the right penalty
Mahmoud Habboush, THE NATIONAL, 22 APRIL 2009

Last Updated: April 21. 2009 / A minister yesterday said that two types of common offences – traffic violations and antisocial behaviour – could soon be punishable by community service.

A draft law was recently approved by the Cabinet that would give courts the power to order people convicted of minor crimes to work in the community instead of serving jail time.

Speaking to members of the Federal National Council yesterday, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of Interior, for the first time specified the category of offences and types of community service that could be included.

It remained unclear, however, exactly what crimes would be covered.

Referring first to antisocial behaviour, he said community service could help address the fact that the federal Government had no plans to follow some emirates in introducing a code of conduct.

He was responding to a question by an FNC member from Abu Dhabi, Ahmad al Dhahiri, who complained about the lack of a federal code of behaviour.

Dubai, for instance, has introduced such a code. Among other things, it says that people can be warned or fined for public displays of affection.

In severe cases, they can face jail terms and deportation.

The emirate’s code also calls for people to respect the local culture and religion, and urges visitors to avoid wearing clothing that “exposes parts of the body”.

“The ministry has taken an important step which is the alternative penalty law that will be brought before your council … soon,” Sheikh Saif said.

“Community service was suggested for simple crimes committed by individuals instead of sending them to prison.

“People who face penalties are members of the society, and sometimes prison doesn’t achieve the punishment that the Government is seeking, and therefore community service is suggested.”

Responding to a suggestion by Mr al Dhahir that the Interior Ministry distribute a booklet explaining to foreigners how they should behave in the UAE, Sheikh Saif said: “I can’t make people read the criminal law.”

Instead, he said, a new department at the ministry, expected to start operating in the second quarter, would be responsible for promoting respect for the law.

He suggested it would take some time to educate visitors: “We can’t educate people in one or two years.”

Turning to community service for traffic offences, Sheikh Saif said: “They would be sent to schools to talk to pupils about their mistakes or would be told to spend time in the emergency rooms at hospitals to see for themselves the danger of their actions.” In the US and the UK, among other countries, community service is imposed for a range of offences.

Service can involve working in teams with other offenders, tidying up scenic spots, removing graffiti or carrying out anti-crime measures, such as installing gates and security locks. Others could be ordered to work in charity shops, for instance.

Also during yesterday’s session, the Minister of Health, Humaid Mohammed Obaid al Qattami, promised that more jobs would be created in the coming year for doctors and nurses in hospitals and clinics across the country.

Mr al Qattami was answering a question by Salem al Naqbi, a member of the Federal National Council from Sharjah, who said that Emirati doctors were doing jobs that were below their qualifications. The member also said hospitals and clinics were understaffed.

The minister said measures were being taken to “improve the conditions” of ministry staff. He said the ministry had more 1,766 job openings in 2008, most of which have been already filled.

“Hopefully, in co-operation with the Ministry of Finance in the coming weeks the conditions of more than 700 employees will be improved,” Mr Qattami said.

The FNC members also passed a draft amendment of some articles of a 2006 law on the banning of production, storage and use of chemical weapons. It calls for the creation of a national committee to monitor and regulate the use of dangerous chemical substances and chemical weapons. The committee would be also responsible for enforcing the law.

Photo Speaks – Following the small steps

Posted on Updated on

Photo Speaks – Following the small steps

Shaping the future of news – GULF NEWS initiative

Posted on Updated on

In the recent times, GULF NEWS has been coming out with a renewed vigor, innovation and initiatives each day. As I mentioned here earlier, Your Turn page and the Community reporter column is getting popular amongst it’s readers. It is an opportunity I marked to express my comments to any particular activitiy, which normally may go un-reported. It was also an opportunity I saw to evaluate my writing and photography skills. Each time, I send in an item of news or photo, I was sure, I am competing with numerous others within and outside the country and it gave me pleasure to see it in print, if ever it gets published and also consider more competitive approach for the next time, and look for minor errors which could have avoided an elimination.
I am sure that this opportunity will be happily grabbed with both the hands by many new readers in the coming days. I take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of February 2009:
1st – Mr. Saleh Yahya Farah
2nd – Mr. Vadasseril P. Abraham
3rd – Mr. Loic T
and all the other contributors for giving readers a chance to read the newspaper in their own language.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate the news editor Anupa Kurian and Deputy Editor Sanya Nayeem and an excellent team of members for bringing out beautiful prints each day with wonderful prominence for the news and presenters.
God Bless, and continue to sustain this good momentum all throughout.
Ramesh Menon