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AKCAF to hold business seminar tomorrow

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AKCAF to hold business seminar tomorrow
By a staff reporter KHALEEJ TIMES 10 April 2008

DUBAI — All Kerala College Alumni Forum (AKCAF) will hold “AKCAF Business Meet 2008”at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai tomorrow from 4:30 p.m.

The event, to be inaugurated by Mons Joseph, Kerala Minister of Public Works, will be presided over by Mahmood B. A., president of AKCAF.

“The objective of the summit is to bring the Indian business community and members of AKCAF onto one platform to facilitate the interaction and discussion of various aspects related to the current business and investment opportunities in the UAE and Kerala,” said Mahmood.

The event, comprising four sessions, will commence with the inaugural session at 5.00 p.m. Atiq Juma Faraj Naseeb, Director of Commercial Services, Dubai Chamber, will speak on business opportunities in Dubai, followed by felicitation by Raju Menon, Managing Partner, Morison Menon, the presenter of the event. After an overview of the event by Sudhir Kumar of Morison Menon, session two will focus on the Trends and Opportunities in UAE. Captain Saleem Alavi, Director of Business Development, Dubai Maritime City, will give an overview on Maritime Investments, followed by a speech by Jade El Khalil, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Dubai Properties, on opportunities in the Dubai properties market.

In Session 3, panel discussions initiated by Issac John Deputy, Business Editor, Khaleej Times, as moderator, will throw light on various investment perspectives of successful NRI’s, such as Joy Alukkas, Chairman of Alukkas group, Sudhir Gopi, Chairman and MD of Sudhir Gopi Holding, K. V. Shamsudheen, Director of Barjeel Geojit Securities. Some of these elite achievers will narrate their challenges and success stories.

In the closing session, Abbas Ali Mirza, President of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai, will deliver a speech on India vision 2020. K. Kumar, Convener of Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC), will be felicitated for winning the Bharathiya Pravasi Award.

Rajesh Pillai, AKCAF General Secretary, will deliver the welcome speech and Juby Kuruvila, AKCAF Treasurer, will give the vote of thanks. AKCAF Business Meet Conveners, Sasi Kumar Nair and Paul T. Joseph, will chair the technical sessions 2 and 3.

Dh10 million plant will recycle edible oil waste

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Dh10 million plant will recycle edible oil waste
By a staff reporter KHALEEJ TIMES 10 April 2008

DUBAI — The Dubai Municipality and Al Serkal Group have announced the launch of a Dh10-million waste treatment facility in Al Aweer, dedicated to recycling edible oil waste from hotels, restaurants and food processing factories. The plant will start functioning early next month.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director-General of Dubai Municipality, said the new plant has been constructed in accordance with the highest international standards. It is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery to handle separation of oils and grease accumulated in grease traps and lift stations, and at food processing companies, restaurants, hotels, hospital kitchens and other food-related industries.

These wastes will be collected and transported by trucks to the waste treatment plant, where it will be classified either as hazardous material and sludge, or as recyclable material (re-usable water or oil and dry solids) that will be further treated for future use.

“This is the first treatment plant for edible oil wastes in the entire region. At Dubai Municipality, it’s our policy to join hands with the private sector to set up such ventures,” Lootah said.

The municipality has urged these establishments to abide by the rules and regulations laid down by the civic body. The municipality has asked them to allow only certified companies to collect and transport waste edible oils from the grease trap of food industries to deliver to the new plant.

The treatment plant has been built and managed by Al Serkal Group, on a 15-year build, operate and transfer (BOP) agreement with the municipality.

The new plant will alleviate pressure on the existing station in Al Aweer, and also, will create several job opportunities for those qualified in the field. The plant now has an optimum capacity to treat and process 50 cubic metres of grease and other wastes. In its second phase, capacity will be enhanced to handle 100 cubic metres of wastes.

A circular, issued by the municipality, makes it mandatory for food preparing establishments to instal grease traps and interceptors in their drainage system to separate the fats, oils and grease and maintain them by cleaning regularly.

The circular also stipulates that cleaning, maintenance and transporting of wastes from the grease traps and interceptors need to be carried out by the companies approved and authorised by the municipality and they must deliver these wastes to the Waste Edible Oil Treatment Plant in Al Aweer.

The food establishments are also required to maintain a register in which all data related to the process of getting rid of fats, oils and grease is to be recorded, especially showing the date of their collection and their quantity as well as the name of the company which cleaned and collected the waste oil.

While Al Serkal Group will build and operate the facility, the Dubai Municipality, acting through its Sewage and Environmental divisions, will implement the rules and regulations, supervise all operations and play an active role in implementing and adhering to safety policies.

Burj Dubai is world’s tallest man-made structure

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Burj Dubai is world’s tallest man-made structure
Agencies Published: April 07, 2008, 15:57

Dubai: Burj Dubai has surpassed the United States’ KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota to become the world’s tallest man-made structure.

Burj Dubai is now 629 metres high while KVLY-TV, which held the record for the world’s tallest supported structure since 1963, has a height of 628.8 metres.

Burj Dubai is already the world’s tallest building, and at 160 storeys, is taller than Taipei 101 (508 metres) in Taiwan and CN Tower (553.33 metres) in Canada.

Burj Dubai is billed to meet all four criteria listed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), which classifies the world’s tallest structures.

CTBUH measures the height of buildings to the structural top, the highest occupied floor, the top of the roof and the tip of the spire, pinnacle, antenna, mast or flagpole.

The KVLY-TV mast in Blanchard, North Dakota, is a television transmitting mast, which was completed in 1963.

Road accidents claim 21 lives in 72 hours

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Road accidents claim 21 lives in 72 hours
By Alia Al Theeb, Mariam Al Serkal and Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporters GULF NEWS
Published: April 07, 2008, 00:35

Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi: A driver was killed in a horrific accident near National Paints bridge in Sharjah on Sunday, taking the death toll in road accidents nationwide to at least 21 in just 72 hours.

In Sunday’s accident the driver rammed into a cement mixer, police said.

The weekend also saw a spate of accidents. A young Emirati was killed in Al Ain on Saturday when he was driving without a licence. An Asian woman died on Saturday when she was run over by a car while crossing the road on Shaikh Zayed Road.

A father and his two-year-old daughter were killed early Saturday when their car plunged into a pedestrian underpass in Abu Dhabi.

Three people were killed in a gruesome accident on Friday on Dubai’s Al Khail Road when a sewage tanker first hit a minibus, which was then hit by a bus. A six-year-old Emirati boy died on Friday in Ras Al Khaimah when a heavy vehicle rammed into the car his father was driving.

But the worst accident occurred on Al Wagan Road in Al Ain on Thursday night in which 12 people were killed.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

An official from the Dubai Police Traffic Department said speeding, failure to maintain proper distance between vehicles, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and lack of consideration for other drivers are the main reasons behind most road accidents.

Some 1,056 people were killed in traffic accidents in the UAE in 2007. According to Yahoo, more than 1 million people are killed worldwide, and more than 50 million are injured in traffic accidents each year.

Statistics: Too many offences

According to statistics, Dubai police’s traffic department reported 33,886 traffic offences in Bur Dubai in March. The traffic control teams also confiscated 232 vehicles for violating traffic rules.

Major Ahmad Bin Delan, Director of Bur Dubai Traffic Department, said blocking traffic topped the list of offences with 8,033. He said this offence adds to traffic congestions.

Other traffic offences included lane line violation by light vehicles, reckless driving, parking on pavements, driving on the hard shoulder and jumping red signals.

Statistics from Abu Dhabi revealed 1,312 offences were committed from March 1 to 15.

These offences included speeding, jumping a red signal, reckless driving and entering a road dangerously.

Adnoc to sell cooking gas at reduced prices

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Adnoc to sell cooking gas at reduced prices
By Sebugawaawo Ismail (Our staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 7 April 2008

RAS AL KHAIMAH — Residents of Ras Al Khaimah will soon get a chance to buying cooking gas at reduced prices as Adnoc will soon start selling LPG at its fuel stations in the emirate.

Senior officials from Adnoc have confirmed that the company has made the necessary arrangements and have got approvals from the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development (DED) to open up cooking gas outlets at seven Adnoc stations in Ras Al Khaimah.

The official said that the move comes following several requests from officials of the DED and RAK residents to start selling cooking gas in the emirate as the existing cooking gas companies and distributors in the emirate were arbitrarily increasing the prices on the pretext of having paid more for procuring gas from their suppliers.

Hassan Hamad Al Shamsi, Deputy Director-General, Department of Economic Development, said that after several complaints from the residents about the arbitrary price hikes by gas suppliers, they had decided to hold monthly meeting with them and set the prices to protect the consumers.

He stressed that in their last meeting, which was held in March, the price of a standard 22kg cylinder was fixed at Dh86, the 11kg cylinder at Dh43 and 44kg cylinder at Dh172.

“We have been trying to fix these prices fairly to see that no party is cheated but still the prices of cooking gas in Ras Al Khaimah are very high compared to other emirates,” said Al Shamsi.

He noted that Adnoc will soon start selling cooking gas in the emirate and the gas prices are expected to come down as this was agreed upon by both the Ministry of Economy, DED and Adnoc officials in the emirate, to fix prices according to the company policies.

He explained that Adnoc price in Abu Dhabi is Dh35 for a standard cooking gas cylinder and Dh22 for the smaller one, which is far lower than the current rates charged by gas companies and distributors in Ras Al Khaimah.

Dubai’s landmark goes up in smoke

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Dubai’s landmark goes up in smoke
By Amira Agarib and Riyasbabu (Our staff reporters)KHALEEJ TIMES 3 April 2008

DUBAI — More than 180 shops in the three-decade-old Naif Souq in Deira, popularly known as ‘cabin market’, were reduced to ashes, following a massive blaze in the early hours of yesterday. No casualty or injury was reported, officials said.

The fire gutted 184 shops of the 190 shops in the souq, Salim Zayed, Head of Market Control Section of Dubai Municipality, said.

The losses, according to market sources, are expected to run into millions of dirhams.

Fire experts are investigating the cause of the fire. Naif Souq, a popular shopping centre for traditional goods, mainly clothes, readymade garments, toys, bags and fashion accessories, went up in flames around 1.50am.

The police and Civil Defence officials reached the site immediately and struggled for hours to contain the fire. They managed to do so before it could spread to shops and the buildings in the densely populated area.

A large number of shop owners watched helplessly as the fire raged on.

Anwar, 35-year-old Afghan owner of shop No. 334 in the souq, collapsed at the site of the blaze. He is said to have lost goods worth Dh100,000.

Firefighters from Al Ras Civil Defence reached the scene at 1.58am. Firefighters from other civil defence stations, including Al Hamriya, Karama, Ghusais and Jebel Ali joined them later.

The blaze caused panic in the densely populated Naif area as thick smoke billowed as flames spread.

Eyewitnesses said hundreds of shops, mainly housed in wooden portakabins stocked with garments, toys and perfumes, went up in flames in a matter of minutes.

A Civil Defence officer said the fire might have started due to a short circuit in the electricity control panel located near gate No. 5 of the souq.

Major-General Khamis Mattar Al Mazina, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police who was present at the site, said the forensic experts are investigating.

Officers of Naif police station are in talks with shop owners to assess the material losses. The police have ordered the owners of unaffected shops in the souq to remain closed till the investigations are completed.

A Dubai Municipality market inspector revealed the market was in good condition and that the municipality carried out periodical inspections and routine checks on the safety measures.

He said they carried out maintenance works regularly at the cabin market building. “The only problem faced by the souq building was its narrow passages and lack of air-conditioning system.’

He said the municipality had insured the building and it might build a modern market soon.

Major Khalid Obaid Kanoon, Director of Firefighting and Rescue Operations of Diera district, and Major Juma Salem, Director of Firefighting and Rescue Operations of Bur Dubai, and a number of officers from various stations joined the firefighting operation.

The entire operation which lasted till morning was supervised by Colonel Ahmed Obaid Al Sayegh, Acting Director of the Dubai Civil Defence.

We will have to change eating habits, say residents

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We will have to change eating habits, say residents
By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: April 03, 2008, 00:05

Abu Dhabi: Residents are annoyed by the expected rise in prices of rice and pulses due to an export ban by India and Pakistan.

South Indians are especially unhappy as they cannot do without their staple food, non-basmati rice. “Although I am a diabetic, I cannot avoid eating a small amount of rice, even if it is against my doctor’s advice, said Ansar Chirayinkizh, an Abu Dhabi resident from Kerala.

“I think most South Indians are in the same position. A price rise will affect their monthly budget badly,” he said

Lakshmi Ashok, a Keralite housewife who has been living in Sharjah for the past 12 years, said her family will miss their favourite “Palakkdan Matta”, a non-basmati rice from Kerala. “We may try alternatives like Thai rice or switch to other dishes using wheat flour, but that too will get more expensive,” said Ashok.

Dr Shemeema Abdul Nazer, a Dubai resident from India, said eating rice may become less frequent among her compatriots due to the price rise. “Bachelors are already changing their food habits.”

Some Indians have also begun to avoid rice for medical reasons such as diabetes, as rice contains a high amount of carbohydrates, said the doctor.

A Sri Lankan family in Dubai said they might also try alternatives to non-basmati rice.

“Nowadays we have rice for both lunch and dinner, but we might be compelled to switch to other alternatives,” said Nishantha Perera, a human resources manager in Dubai.

Abdul Rahman Fatahulla Al Marzouqi, an Emirati in Abu Dhabi, said he could not do away with rice, even if the price goes up.

Sabahath, a Pakistani teacher in Abu Dhabi, said she reduced the frequency of eating rice to once a week due to the price rise. “Now people like me might further reduce it to twice in a month,” she said.

New roadworks to start at Al Diyafah intersection

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New roadworks to start at Al Diyafah intersection
Staff Report GULF NEWS Published: April 02, 2008, 15:18

Dubai: A new diversion on the Al Diyafah Road intersection with Al Wasl and Al Mina Roads will start on Friday as part of the Jumeira Roads Improvement Project, said a senior official.

Motorists driving from Al Wasl Road, Jumeira Road and Al Mina Road towards Al Diyafah Road will face diversions which will be in place at least until the end of May.

“Motorists will not face a delay because we have kept the same number of lanes on the diverted roads,” said Nabeel Mohammad Saleh, Director of Roads Department at the Traffic and Roads Agency at the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

He said the traffic diversions were necessary to improve the intersection for smooth and safe traffic flow and to improve facilities for pedestrians.

Traffic signals and temporary directional signs have already been installed to streamline the traffic flow.

Saleh called on motorists using the diverted routes to abide by the prescribed speed limits, follow the directional signs on site and use alternative roads so as to ease traffic congestion during the period of construction.

“The RTA is keen to maintain smooth and safe traffic flow and provide temporary alternatives during the project implementation phase so as to ease congestion.”

He said the RTA is carrying out road improvement projects all over the city as part of its plan to widen and improve roads in view of the expanding city and subsequent increasing traffic.

Rice traders warn of empty shelves

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Rice traders warn of empty shelves
By Saifur Rahman, Business Editor GULF NEWS Published: April 03, 2008, 00:05

Dubai: Rice shelves in the UAE’s supermarkets might become empty within six weeks, if the government fails to intervene soon, traders said on Wednesday.

“The market price of the top quality super cornell rice is Dh200-210, however, the government has fixed it at Dh140, which makes it uneconomic for us to import,” said a member of Foodstuff Trading Group which represents the trade, requesting anonymity.

“We want the UAE government to match the market price or subsidise. Otherwise, importers will stop buying it. As it is, the flow of import has reduced significantly and the current stock could last six weeks at best.”

Food price inflation has already replaced the list of other public worries, including house rents and traffic earlier this year. Traders warned, if the current situation is bad, then the worst is yet to come.

Pakistan has already stopped exporting basmati rice to the UAE due to the price control. Indian government is planning to top up the ban on non-basmati rice with cheaper version of the staple food, which will adversely impact the Gulf consumers, most of whom depend on these varieties of rice.

RTA announces Dubai Metro’s Naming rights project for stations and lines as world first

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RTA announces Dubai Metro’s Naming rights project for stations and lines as world first

posted on 01/04/2008

Dubai’s place in marketing history looks set to be further enhanced with an innovative new project for its Metro, to be launched to business leaders soon. The Dubai Metro naming rights project gives companies and institutions the opportunity to put their name to 23 stations and two lines on the Metro, the first of which is set to open in September 2009 and the second in March 2010.

The Dubai Metro’s naming rights project is a world-first revenue model for public transport infrastructure and the first programme of its kind to help improve transport services with partnership funding raised through a naming rights initiative.

Managed by the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), naming rights will be offered to local and international companies wanting to anchor their association with Dubai. Each of the 23 stations available will have a unique value, calculated according to its location, anticipated passenger numbers and other variable factors.
Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Chairman of the Board and Executive Director said at the press launch of the project: “The ability to secure a station name from the outset is unique – no other Government in the world has planned naming rights as part of its transport infrastructure at conception stage. We expect this innovation to make its mark world-wide, and kick start a new marketing concept that sees governments raising funds to improve services, whilst giving companies a totally new platform for marketing, sampling and customer interaction.” Corporate partners will be able to leverage their naming rights with integrated marketing opportunities at the stations; a combination unseen to-date anywhere in the world.

Al Tayer also revealed that in addition to the 23 stations whose names will be available for sale, a further eight will be named after RTA partners which have co-funded the construction of the stations.

The naming rights sales effort will be undertaken by global sponsorship and event marketing specialists IMG, who had previously undertaken market research for the RTA to determine how the naming rights program could most effectively be structured. – Emirates News Agency, WAM