Saturday, July 31, 2010

New law on transportation of livestock in UAE

The Gulf Today, 31 July 2010

A legislation governing the safe transportation of livestock in the UAE will be issued soon by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW).
Aimed at further enforcing the existing laws and bylaws in regard to animal welfare in the country, the new regulation will specify implementation of separate methods of transportation for different types of animals, revealed the ministry sources.
The MoEW has urged various animal breeders and establishments in to the animal trade to strictly comply with the animal welfare regulations and implement additional measures to care the health of livestock.
As the temperatures continue at its peak levels, the ministry has intensified monitoring the establishments like animal farms, reproduction centres, and shops that sell domestic animals and pet fish and birds across the country to ensure their adherence to the laws.
According to a senior MoEW official, the veterinary clinics and hospitals, animal research institutes and zoos also should orientate their operations in line with the conditions for the animal protection and public health safety.
Mohammad Hassan Shamsi, Director of Livestock Development Department at the MoEW, said, “The legislation in the pipeline will strictly control livestock transportation means, with stringent punitive actions against offenders.”
“The regulation will outline the measures for their non-exposure to the soaring temperatures, and reducing chances of injuries or physical damages to the animals while transporting or loading or unloading them,” he added.
“The law also will require reduced speed of the transporting vehicles and as well as providing ample space considering the age, type, sex and behaviour of the animal,” said Shamsi.
He pointed out, “The federal of law No.16/2007 and the ministerial decree No. 384/2008 require the animal owners or breeders to provide the livestock with adequate quantities of safe food and drinking water, especially during the summer to prevent them from dehydration problems.”
According to him, the animal stables should be thoroughly clean and rid of harmful substances. Built with sufficient space, the stables also should give protection to the animals against erratic weather conditions.
“Perpetuating cruelty against animals, including unauthorised public exhibitions or competitions for commercial purposes like advertising and decoration, are also banned. Use of animals for scientific purposes without written permission from the environment ministry will also not be allowed,” Shamsi elaborated.
He also warned against trading or trafficking of sick, injured and unhealthy animals for human consumption, and mix of different types of meat.
“Illegal surgical and therapeutic interventions on the animals at veterinary health centres will also invite legal actions,” he added.
Shamsi asked the residents to buy animals only from markets authorised by the environment ministry, and not to opt for animals illegally traded by traffickers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

UAE ranks 11th on world medical tourism map

The Gulf Today, 30 July 2010

The UAE appears at the eleventh position among the countries identified with medical tourism, reveals a survey.
Meanwhile, about 94 per cent of medical tourism specialists in the country believe that they have yet to reach its full potential, said the survey carried out by a healthcare travel consultant in Dubai.
Architect of the survey and Chief of ExHealth Dr Prem Jagyasi said, "India has been ranked as the number one popular destination, as of the 35 countries identified in the survey as being significant healthcare tourism providers."
"Thailand and Singapore have been respectively positioned at second and third places, while the US had a surprise ranking at number four and the UAE came in at number 11," he pointed out.
According to him, the report shows that confusion, lack of information and fear about complications following surgery are the main reasons for patient reluctance to cross international borders for health services.
"Education is a vital component to facilitate medical tourism to reach its potential. People's fears on foreign treatments should be allayed, and potential health tourists should be guided with information and advice on visa and travel issues," elaborated Dr Jagyasi.
According to the survey, the Asian and Far Eastern countries are well-established medical tourism destinations, so the top three placings were expected.
"The US came in at number four, which wasn't anticipated. It could mean that there are as yet untapped opportunities for facilitators looking to incorporate this potentially lucrative market in their service provision," it detailed.
"The purpose of the health tourism survey was to gain valuable insights into aspects of medical tourism from professionals involved in the sector," noted Dr Jagyasi.
"About 95 per cent of the respondents to the survey identified themselves as being either directly or indirectly involved with healthcare travel in the scope of their work," he added.
According to him, the information gathered from them revealed facts concerning terms, trends, status, opportunities and challenges.
Dr Jagyasi said that the knowledge gleaned from the survey will be used to promote the healthcare sector and provide significant content for a soon-to-be published guidebook for consumers who are considering undertaking treatment abroad.
"When asked about the reluctance of patients to participate in healthcare tourism, the respondents expressed concerns about complications and confusion over available services," he explained.

(Images used for illustrative purpose)

Fujairah quarries produce 168 m tonnes stones annually

The Gulf Today, 30 July 2010

The quarries in the emirate of Fujairah produce 168 million tonnes of rock piles per year, according to a survey conducted by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW).
"Out of the total 103 stone quarries operational across the UAE, 68 crusher units are located in Fujairah, while the emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman are having 30 and five such establishments respectively," revealed the ministry.
The statistics have been provided after the federal authorities carried out surprise inspection visits to a number of stone crusher units in Fujairah.
"At least 14 such facilities have been checked by the MoEW inspectors during night time and punitive actions have been imposed on violators of environmental and public health safety regulations," said the MoEW sources.
"Some violating crusher units were found to be emitting excessive dust into the atmosphere, in the absence of an effective dust pollution control mechanism," it added.
"If the offenders fail to fix the violation or repeat it, the ministry will shut down the establishments."
The inspections have been conducted as part of the ministry's strategies to ensure that such industrial establishments are complying with environmental and public health safety regulations, said a spokesperson of the MoEW.
"The ministry recently intensified its procedures monitoring pollutions from the stone quarries aimed at preserving the natural resources and reducing environmental contaminants that cause negative impact on public health," he added.
According to him, Cabinet decision No.20/2008 specifies the regulations on facilities operating in the quarries and stone-crushing industry.
"A ministerial decision issued in 2010 defines the conditions on the functioning of stone quarries in the country," he added.
Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, had said, "The decree focused on the guidelines for planning, operation and implementation of such industrial units."
"The regulations were also applicable to cement plants and factories, tiles and ceramics factories and marble industry units," he added.
The ministry had also classified quarries into three categories - green, yellow and red - in accordance with their adherence with safety and preventive systems aimed at reducing dust pollution.
"The red category quarries do not have dust control systems to reduce dust pollution. The ministry will take stringent actions against such operators who do not abide by the rules," said the minister.
"The stone mining and crushing units were regularly monitored by the environment ministry to ensure maximum adherence of the sites to the regulations on environmental protection health and safety measures," said Bin Fahad.
The ministry has been taking punitive measures against many quarries upon negligence of public health safety conditions. Many of them had no equipments to limit dust emissions.
(Images, upplied by MOEW)

Man with high-risk cardiac disorder gets new lease of life

The Gulf Today, 29 July 2010

A SYRIAN man got a new lease of life after treatment from a rare high-risk cardiac disorder that throws most patients to the clutches of death.
On July 15, Adnan Bahaa El Din was speaking to his wife over the phone in Syria while he was alone at home in Sharjah. In a couple of minutes he felt something unusual in his chest.
When it worsened suddenly, El Din was hurriedly taken to Al Qassimi hospital, and was admitted to the emergency ward. His condition turned out to be highly serious and doctors decided to perform a surgical procedure on him.
El Din went into coma and the doctors detected that he suffered from a severe ravishment of the aorta artery inner wall.
Cardiac specialists at the hospital said that El Din suffered from a sudden and unusual high blood pressure leading to the severe cardiac disorder coupled with a heart stroke and partial paralysis caused by thrombosis.
"The case was one of the high risk and critical conditions, where about 20 per cent of the patients die immediately," remarked Dr Santosh Mathew, consultant and head of cardiology surgery, at Al Qassimi Hospital.
"El Din [underwent] an open heart surgery that lasted for more than six hours, as his disorders were diagnosed by ultrasound and CT scan," he added.
"A team consisting of seven doctors, a heart device technician and two specialist cardiac nurses performed the surgical procedures on the patient, who had blood clots on the heart with increased blood flow," noted Dr Mathew.
El Din has been working in the UAE as a teacher, after living long years in the USA.
According to Dr Mohamed Abdul Aziz, consultant cardiologist at Al Qassimi Hospital, "high blood pressure, smoking habit and obesity are the main reasons for the higher prevalence of cardiac diseases in the UAE."

Bird's eye view of the UAE to mark 1st year of DubaiSat-1 launch

The Gulf Today, 29 July 2010

The brains behind the development of DubaiSat-1, the masterpiece techno advancement of the UAE, are celebrating today the first anniversary of the satellite’s successful launch.
The UAE’s first earth observation satellite blasted off into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome space centre in Kazakhstan at 4.30 pm local time on July 29 last year.
Developed by the scientists at the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), the DubaiSat1 has facilitated the UAE in planning and executing a wide variety of programmes with potential impacts.
According to the scientists, the moon landing was a huge leap for humanity, while DubaiSat-1 was a huge leap for the UAE's science and technology initiatives, and the nation's aspirations.
“It was the first chapter of a big successful story. It was the result of months of challenges, planning and dedication right up until the day of implementation, which was a wondrous success,” they remarked.
An official at the EIAST said that the satellite was the country’s own steps towards implementing solutions for environment-related issues such as detecting oil spills, monitoring land contamination, and meteorological applications like observation of fog, sand and dust storms.
In celebration of the first anniversary of the country’s first remote sensing satellite, the (EIAST) has released on Wednesday a mosaic image of the UAE.
Ahmed Al Mansoori, Director General of the EIAST, said that the image is a collection of over 40 scenes taken by DubaiSat-1 throughout the year.
“All the images have been amalgamated together to create a spectacular mosaic of the UAE as observed from space with the support of advanced image processing and fusion techniques,” he added.
“The mosaic shows over 150 kilometres of the country’s coastal area spanning from Umm Al Quwain up to Abu Dhabi and 70 kilometres of the inland areas such as Al Madam and Al Lisali,” elaborated Al Mansoori.
According to him, the images reflect the UAE’s progress in infrastructure development and advancement of the scientific and technological skills.
Ahmed Al Mansoori recollected that the Dubai Sat-1’s launch was very complicated, especially in light of the possibility of not succeeding because these types of projects need full readiness of equipment associated with the launch pad.
"Delays in satellite launches are frequent and linked to the final results of the tests carried out by a team of scientists and experts,” he added.
At the time of the launch, Al Mansoori said, “we were looking forward to a seamless implementation and hence the nominal delay in the launch of the satellite. Finally, the launch process of DubaiSat-1 was completed successfully.”
“The achievements by EIAST highlights the UAE’s success in leveraging the advanced technology sector, and underscores the capabilities of young Emiratis to actively participate in new and advanced realms of technology,” he remarked.
The EIAST chief noted that the success of DubaiSat-1 during the first operational year is testament to the science and technology centres’ capability to translate the strategic direction and overall development plans to drive the knowledge-based economy.
“Efforts are being continued to develop the EIAST as a global recognised institution and a national icon in science and innovation,” he added.
Adnan Mohammed Al Rais, Associate Research Engineer of DubaiSat1, said that the research projects of the satellite included infrastructure development for urban and rural planning, civil development and construction.
“The DubaiSat1 helped us observe water quality, especially the water surrounding desalination plants, as well as monitoring water resources, land cover or land change detection for vegetation, landscaping and desertification,” he added.
According to him, applications for land development and engineering, and survey (GIS) projects were part of the DubaiSat-1, which also facilitated management of disasters such as floods and droughts, earthquakes and accidental pollution.
Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, EIAST Board Chairman, said the launch of DubaiSat-1 consisted of two segments, including space and ground. The space segment comprised the development, design and manufacture of satellite equipment and components of the measurement and imaging.
"Meanwhile, the ground segment included the mission control station, image receiving and processing station, antenna and RF sub-system. Images from the satellite can be used for a variety of applications from urban development, scientific research, telecommunications and transportation to civil engineering, constructions, mapping and GIS," he explained.
Al Mansoori said that the EIAST is mandated with promoting the development of a knowledge-based economy, and drive sustainable development and economic growth in the Emirates and beyond.
“The agency also champions the effective use of highly sophisticated technologies and accurate spatial information for a variety of applications.”
“The EIAST’s four-fold agenda included promoting the culture of advanced scientific research and technology innovation in Dubai and the UAE, and creating an internationally competitive base for human skills development,” added the agency’s director general.
“It also aimed at positioning Dubai and the UAE as a science and technology development hub among advanced nations and establishing global collaborative links and joint projects with industry and research organisations,” he explained.
Al Mansoori said, “The EIAST has already begun work on the specifications for DubaiSat-3, while the work on DubaiSat-2 continues at full pace for its potential launch by end of 2012.”
Established by a Dubai Government decree in 2006, the EIAST focused on four main scientific programmes including space, astronomy, energy and environment and water research.
(Image Credit: EISAT) 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flashing the ‘Hollywood smile’

The Gulf Today, 27 July 2010

MANY are envious of charming smiles that blossom on the movie and TV screens or on the cover of a glossy magazine.
People wonder how is it that Hollywood stars and models possess the perfect smile that a regular person may lack.
According to a dentistry expert, all the amazing smiles that steal your heart may not be gifted by birth. Talented cosmetic dentists design the stunning smiles just for the Hollywood stars.
The treatment for the celebrity smile has now reached Ajman, as the UAE’s first private teaching hospital, the Gulf Medical College (GMC) Hospital and Research Centre, has unveiled a super specialty dental centre at its premises on Sunday.
“Apart from the beauty elevation, the treatment is meant for a fully functional and comfortable set of teeth adorned in your mouth,” said Dr Sameer Kumar, associate director of GMC Super Specialty Dental Centre.
Smile for all
“Anybody can enjoy a dazzling Hollywood smile with the help of cosmetic dentists and porcelain veneers. It’s simply the perfect union of the teeth’s form, position, proportion, alignment and colour,” he added.
“‘Hollywood smiles’ are achieved by using a combination of all or some of the following: Tooth whitening, crowns, veneers, and orthodontics. To create a Hollywood smile, we apply a combination of dental treatments such as tooth whitening, crowns, veneers, and orthodontics,” elaborated Dr Sameer.
“The beautiful smiles are within the reach of modern dentistry,” remarked B Ahmed Hajee Mohiudeen, chairman of BA Group in India and patron of the GMC healthcare facilities.
While inaugurating the modern dental care facility, he added, “We introduce the advanced medical treatment to create beautiful smiles on the face of the residents in the Northern Emirates of the UAE.”
Sydney B Chikoti, CEO of Medical Aid Society of Malawi in Africa, was the chief guest at the centre’s inaugural ceremony.
Dental specialties
Thumbay Moideen, president of Thumbay Group and the GMC Hospital Group, said, “The state-of-the-art dental facility will provide all dental modalities as well as diverse dental specialities under one roof.”
“With the addition of this new dental centre, the GMC Hospital hopes that the patients will have even greater access to first-grade health care and dentistry right next door,” he added.
Akbar Moideen Thumbay, director of the GMC Hospital, said that the super speciality dental centre is supported by the College of Dentistry of Gulf Medical College University.
“Apart from the Hollywood smile treatment, other services focused at the centre include child dentistry, cosmetic facial surgery, Periodontal splint, Orthodontic Braces, oral surgery and general dental treatment and therapies,” he explained.
“The centre will focus on dental tourism, especially for patients from Africa, East Europe, the UK and the US,” said Akbar.
(Image used for illustrative purpose) 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Turtle migration path in the Gulf seas revealed

The Gulf Today, 26 July 2010

NEW evidence of turtle migration patterns in the Middle Eastern seas have been revealed through the movements of a pack of turtles that were tagged and released to the sea recently by a UAE-based environmental group.
Findings of the group’s marine environment project have highlighted the significance of the Gulf as a Hawksbill feeding habitat. The tagged turtles disproved scientific theories that have existed for years, say scientists.
The preliminary results of marine turtle tagging project, initiated by the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWF-WWF) and the Marine Research Foundation (MRF) based in Malaysia, showed that Qatar is an important conservation area for the endangered marine species.
According to the environment group, the project seeks to track the migration patterns of 75 Hawksbill turtles over the course of three years through satellite mapping software.
Dr Nicolas J Pilcher, founder of the MRF and research advisor of the EWF-WWF for the project, said that the movements of 20 turtles tagged in Iran, Oman, the UAE and Qatar have already been recorded and initial findings have uncovered interesting results.
“The southern shores off Iran boast some of the most abundant soft corals and reef formations attracting Hawksbill turtles, but currently the turtles have swum away towards other countries,” she added.
“The five turtles in Iran were tagged in April and data shows that all of them have moved west and southwest towards Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Two have currently inhabited islands to the north of Abu Dhabi,” pointed out Dr Pilcher.
“Another two turtles in the group have swam towards the northern tip of Qatar, with one of those taking up residence in feeding grounds about 50 kilometres off Doha and the other settling off Qatar’s north coast by Ras Riken. The fifth Iran-tagged turtle swam past Qatar and Bahrain and now appears to have settled off the shores of the KSA,” elaborated the marine biologist.
“Meanwhile,” Dr Pilcher said, “the turtles nesting in Oman seas spent less time as residents and more time traveling - many of them as much as 1500 kilometres. Three of them headed south towards Masirah Island.”
“The turtle with the No.53003 seems to be a little more curious than the others and is the first Hawksbill Turtle recorded to swim up into the Gulf from Oman,” she added.
Lisa Perry, programme director of the EWS-WWF, said, “It has been believed by many scientists that the smaller size of the Gulf turtles compared to the larger Omani turtles and genetic isolation meant that there was no movement between populations.”
The first turtle tagged in the UAE, ‘Ms. EMEG,’ was released off the mainland shore of Jebel Ali just a couple of kilometers from Palm Jebel Ali.
“We were concerned the female turtle would get caught in offshore construction but when we tracked her movements, she headed deeper into the Gulf and missed both the Palm and World developments and headed straight up to Sharjah and Ajman,” she added.
“In Qatar, the turtle ‘Q’ made a purposeful migration south and has made the corner between the KSA, Qatar and the UAE its home. The other four turtles have taken up residence off the coast off Qatar, close to Bahrain and KSA,” said Dr Pilcher.
“But, none of the turtles took up residence on the east side of the Gulf, instead all of them went west or south,” added the marine turtle specialist.
“As the project develops, we will be able to delineate the important areas that turtles frequent and work towards the further conservation of these habitats,” said Dr Pilcher.

19,329 kg of rotten food confiscated in Dubai

TheGulf Today, 25 July 2010

A total of 19,329 kilogrammes of contaminated fresh food items including fish, meat and fruit items were confiscated by the civic body from the Dubai market during the past 3 months, revealed a Dubai Municipality (DM) official.
Sultan Ali Tahir, head of products monitoring section at DM, said 544,947 fines and warnings have been issued to the violating fresh food establishments, as the DM conducted 2,619 inspection visits during the period.
“The massive amount of rotten fish, meat and vegetables were offered for sale at the stalls at Deira, Al Shindagha and Karama fish markets, retail and wholesale shops at the Al Aweer central vegetables and fruits market, and other storage facilities and food manufacturing units,” he elaborated.
“All the food items found unsafe for human consumption were immediately destroyed by the civic body’s food control department after receiving necessary regulatory measures on the violators,” he added.
Tahir said that the civic body also issued health certificates to about 1,338 fish vendors during the past three months, as the workers’ health cards were a significant part of the civic inspection drive.
According to him, hefty fines were issued on those who were displaying the rotten fish and meat, and spoilt vegetables and fruits for sale.
“The municipal food officers are carrying out a series of inspection visits at various food stores, supermarkets, meat and fish shops to ensure adherence to the civic requirements on food safety and hygienic practices at such outlets,” he noted.
Tahir said the inspection campaign has been intensified since the beginning of the summer in order to get rid of rotten foodstuff, due to the soaring temperatures which may contaminate fresh items if not stored with precautionary measures.
“During the period, the DM has followed up at least 120 complaints from the public on damaged or rotten foods that may harm the consumers’ health. Meanwhile, the number of complaints in the same period last year was 142,” he added.
“Proper maintenance of the food shops, like replacement of old equipment, shelves and platforms were also focused on during the campaign. Cleanliness of dried fish stalls and packaging processes were also monitored to prevent access and the proliferation of insects,” he elaborated.

Pest traps set to eliminate red palm weevils from date farms

The Gulf Today, 25 July 2010

Implementing further steps to eradicate the damaging red palm weevils that hit date farms, the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) has installed several pest traps across such farms in Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain emirates.
A senior MOEW official said that at least 1916 such traps have been set up at the farms as part of the ministry’s strategic objectives towards raising the level of bio-security and food security in the country.
Ismail Hussein Mohammed, Director of the MEOW’s Central Region Office, said that the traps have been implemented by a team of experts at about 4325 farms located in Maliha and Dhaid, Falaj Maala and Kadra and Masfout areas.
“The date farms in these areas accommodate a total of 967,135 palm trees,” he added.
According to him, the methods to eliminate the red palm weevils are part of a national campaign launched by the environment ministry last year and will continue until the end of 2011.
“At least 863,135 trees date palm trees were affected by the weevils,” disclosed Mohammed.
He urged cooperation of farmers and the private sector to implement the mechanism to get rid of the weevils from the plantations.
An MOEW statement said that it is studying the availability of water sources in the farm areas as well as the level of salinity in the water at the farms located in rugged areas.
“The ministry has adopted a number of packages for integrated and effective pest management for the farms, as well as rationalising the use of chemical pesticides in order to protect the palm trees and preserve the environment,” it elaborated.
“The mechanism to control the farm pests has been developed in accordance with measure to effectively maintain the ecological balance between the harmful pests and other useful pests,” pointed out Mohammed.
“The Ministry also has taken remedial actions and preventive measures to treat infested trees before the pest eradication procedures through the use of natural sources of resistance to pests,” he added.
“The resistance method will avoid the negative effects of using chemical pesticides that pose dangers to the public health and the environment. The mechanism also will reduce the insects’ genetic development of resistance as a result of excessive use of chemicals,” elaborated Mohammed.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flushing out villa violators

The Gulf Today, 23 July 2010 

Punitive actions have been imposed against as many as 4,387 incidents of breaching residential rules in Dubai in the first half of the year.
The Emirate has recorded numerous violations of building and construction regulations during the past six months in various parts of the city, revealed Dubai Municipality (DM).
A senior civic official of the Municipality said that utility services have been cut off to 1,654 residential premises, illegally occupied by multi-families. The disconnection of power and water supplies to the overcrowded villas has forced hundreds of residents to vacate their premises.
The civic body says that it has no option other than forcing the residents to vacate multi-occupied villas by disconnecting their electricity supply, as they continue to live in high-risk conditions posing safety threats.
Omar AbdulRahman, Head of Building Inspection Section at the DM said that about 40,707 villas have been inspected in the civic body's "One Villa One Family" drive.
"During the campaign to ensure compliance with the civic laws and legislation, the inspectors made surprise visits to the villas and various ranges of fines have been imposed on the offenders of the residential regulations," he added.
"The violations included accommodation of bachelors in areas designated for families, and single houses occupied by more than one family by illegally partitioning such premises," pointed out AbdulRahman.
According to him, other violations ranged from additions to the buildings without the Municipality permits, and the exploitation of houses for purposes other than those allocated to them.
"Some people created multiple partitions within rooms to house more occupants. In some premises, 10 to 15 single men were accommodated in small partitioned rooms. Some even lived on rooftops or under staircases. Some families were found sharing with single men," he elaborated.
"The municipal services were cut off for the breaching houses, after issuance of many warnings to correct their violations," he pointed out.
"Repetition of the violations and non-compliance even after the warnings prompted the DM to disconnect power and water connections to such houses with the support of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa)," elaborated AbdulRahman.
Since the beginning of this month, the civic inspectors have been focusing Al Jafiliya area and have severed the utility supplies to several overcrowded villas.
Khalid Salem Selaiteen, Head of the Environmental Emergency Office at the DM, had earlier said that many people moved out after their power supply was detached, while several others in the area vacated fearing the disconnection of electricity in the scorching summer.
He added that cranes were used to remove the huge generators being used in some villa compounds, while police escorted municipal workers in the raids to villas housing a high number of tenants.
The Municipality also focused eviction of overcrowded villas in Rashidiya and Mankhool areas, after issuance of several notices to the residents.

Iran quakes: No impact on Dubai

By PMA Rasheed
The Gulf Today, 22 July 2010

The recent Iran earthquakes that occurred about 220 kilometres away, north-west of Dubai, had no significant impacts on the Emirate, says the civic body.
A report by Dubai Municipality’s (DM) local earthquake monitoring network has confirmed that the seismic activity of the set of tremors didn’t affect the Emirate’s geographical condition due to the distance of Dubai from southern Iran, where the earthquakes were witnessed.
Mohammed Mashroom, director of survey department in the DM, said that the municipality recorded the main tremor of 5.7 on the Richter scale at 11.38pm on July20, which had caused no casualties.
“But, many residents living in high-rise towers across the emirate felt a slight tremor of short duration,” he added.
“Some small tremors before the main quake near the same area were also detected and some of the aftershocks of this earthquake were also monitored,” pointed out Mashroom.
According to him, the activity was located on the seismic belt areas stretching north-west parallel to the Zagros mountain range, as a result of the collision of the Arabian plate with the Eurasian plate.
“The areas are within the seismic belts, but the earthquake did not affect the facilities in Dubai, as its designs are in accordance with the code of earthquakes,” he said.
“The first system to monitor the movements of the earth’s crust in the UAE was launched by Dubai Municipality. The monitoring has been varied supporting latest seismology technologies installed at four field stations that always had a wide range,” noted Mashroom.
He added that each seismology station of the municipality contains a device to record the seismic activity and another device for recording acceleration of the earth, as these stations are distributed in different parts of the emirate.
“It also supports different bodies with these data, including the National Centre for Seismology in Abu Dhabi, Dubai Police, Civil Defence and other bodies. The regional seismological activities are studied and followed up in real time,” he added.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

600-sheep shipment turned back

The Gulf Today, 21 July 2010

A shipment of about 600 sheep has been rejected by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) due to the lack of a health certificate and documents specifying the exporting country.
With further steps being taken to enforce the federal regulatory procedure of medical tests on imported livestock and other animals, the MOEW has tightened control over the trading or import of such animals to the country, according to a senior ministry official.
Dr Mariam Hassan Al Shinasi, acting director general of the MOEW, said that more than 200 communicable diseases have been found to have transferred through animals which are not medically tested. 70 per cent of them may spread to human beings, she added.
“The diseases can spread from live animals, consumption of their meat products and animals waste. The ministry’s strategy is to ensure higher rates of bio-security in the country as well as strengthening food security to the residents,” she explained.
“The veterinary inspection procedures at various ports of the country closely monitor the imports to see whether they are free from infectious diseases and to strengthen the protection of existing livestock or domestic animals,” noted Al Shinasi. She pointed out that the ministry will continue its efforts to achieve optimum food security in the country by introducing more local livestock production houses in the country.
“About 2,490,147 sheep and goats have arrived at various ports of the UAE in 2009 for the purpose of slaughtering or meat production. The MOEW rejected entry to about 9,898 animals of different species, and culled the infected livestock. About 2,032 animals were confiscated and 11,105 were sent back due to irregularities in import during the past year,” she elaborated.
“The MOEW regulations prevent trafficking of live animals and their products, by implementing international conditions in this regard specified by bodies such as OIE, FAO and WHO,” added Al Shinasi.
According to her, the animals have to be examined for various infectious diseases such as foot and mouth ailments, lung infections, blood poisoning, intestinal diseases and other contagious infections with purulent skin eruptions.
“Tuberculosis, brucellosis and zoonosis are the major diseases transmitted to human beings from infected animals. The fatal diseases enter into the human body by ingestion of meat and non-sterilised milk of the infected animals or by close contact with secretions of the animals,” said the MOEW in an earlier statement.
Al Shinasi said that the importer will have to bear costs of returning the consignment, if they have not complied with the federal veterinary quarantine law.
“The ministry also urged all importers of animals to strictly abide by the law or face stringent penal actions. The importers should also produce veterinary health certificates to ensure they are free from communicable diseases. Documents as per the international regulations on transporting of the animals are also must,” she added.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Euthanasia for 200 infected sheep

The Gulf Today, 20 July 2010

About 200 sheep imported to the UAE and found infected with contagious diseases will be euthanised by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW).
Medical examination conducted on a consignment of sheep that arrived in a UAE port for meat production purposes has proved that the livestock was infected with serious diseases that might spread to the existing animals of the country, according to sources at the MOEW.
A ministry spokesperson said that the animals were confiscated by the inspectors after receiving necessary quarantine clearance. Punitive measures have been taking against the dealer for violating the regulations that specify conditions to import livestock animals to the country.
“The violations come under the ministerial resolution No. 548/2008 and the Federal Law No.6/1979 on the procedures of veterinary quarantine, as well as the law No.16/ 2007 on animal welfare that specifies the condition for transfer of animals,” he ded.
For the past couple of months, the environment ministry has been confiscating thousands of infected animals and birds imported through different ports of the UAE seriously violating conditions pertaining to public health safety and import of cattle.
The MOEW had rejected last month import of about 540 infected livestock and birds through major ports of the country.
As many as 810 imported sheep were culled last week, for having contagious diseases like plague of small ruminants, dengue fever, foot-and-mouth disease and Brucella.
Abdulla Salem Janan, Director of Veterinary Quarantine Department at the MOEW, said the sheep shipment with the infectious bacterial disease was inspected by veterinary specialists at the ministry. The operation was aimed at preventing spread of the disease among the country's existing livestock.
"All necessary steps had been taken by the MOEW, in coordination with other authorities concerned, to destroy the shipment of infected animals which violated quarantine procedures and other regulations related to animal welfare and transportation,” he added.
The ministry has urged all importers of animals to strictly abide by the law or face stringent penal actions. The importers should also produce veterinary health certificates to ensure they are free from communicable diseases. Documents as per the international regulations on transporting of the animals are also must.
Janan pointed out that the MOEW wanted to ensure highest safety for the health of human and domestic animals of the country, with protection from abortion-causing bacteria, which often transmits to human beings by contact with infected animals or infected meat or milk products.
“The strategic objective of the MOEW is to strengthen the country's food safety with highest global standards by increasing levels of bio-security measures like preventing transmission of epidemic diseases through implementation of tighter control over imported animals and birds,” he elaborated.
The ministry also issued an animal protection welfare guide to protect animals and birds from developing ailments and diseases, which would help protect the quality of our food.
The guide aims at boosting levels of biological safety, focusing on highest care for the animals in the country.

Monday, July 19, 2010

810 infected sheep to be culled

The Gulf Today, 13 July 2010

The Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) will cull as many as 810 imported sheep that were found to be infected with contagious diseases.
The animals, imported through the ports of the country for meat production purpose, were seized for serious violations of the regulations pertaining to public health safety and import of cattle, according to a senior MOEW official.
Abdulla Salem Janan, Director of Veterinary Quarantine Department at the MOEW, said that laboratory tests conducted on the animals by the ministry have proved that they were infected with plague of small ruminants, dengue fever, foot-and-mouth disease and Brucella.
"The sheep shipment with the infectious bacterial disease was inspected by veterinary specialists at the ministry. The operation was aimed at preventing spread of the disease among the country's existing livestock,” he added.
"All necessary steps have been taken by the MOEW, in coordination with other authorities concerned, to destroy the shipment of infected animals which violates quarantine procedures and other regulations related to animal welfare and transportation,” pointed out Janan.
“The violations come under the ministerial resolution No. 548/2008 and the Federal Law No.6/1979 on the procedures of veterinary quarantine, as well as the law No.16/ 2007 on animal welfare that specifies the condition for transfer of animals,” he said.
“The MOEW wanted to ensure highest safety for the health of human and domestic animals of the country, with protection from abortion-causing bacteria, which often transmits to human beings by contact with infected animals or infected meat or milk products,” he elaborated.
According to Janan, the ministry's strategic objective is to strengthen the country's food safety with highest global standards by increasing levels of bio-security measures like preventing transmission of epidemic diseases through implementation of tighter control over imported animals and birds.
He noted, “The ministry wanted to raise vital safety measures for preventing the community from various biological risks and epidemic diseases. The MOEW usually updates with the global veterinary and health organisations like the World Organisation for Animal Health about the current pandemic situation of the world and adopt necessary measures to prevent outbreak of such diseases.”
The environment ministry also has urged all the traders in the field of cattle business to visit the MOEW office to gain better knowledge on the conditions required for importing livestock and regulations for transporting them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

PETA protest at Dubai Zoo ends with whimper

The Gulf Today, 16 July 2010 

In what they claimed was a message against cruelty to animals, a small group of activists staged a brief demonstration in front of Dubai Zoo on Thursday under a merciless sun at 1pm.
Clad in the suits of prison inmates and wearing chimpanzee masks, Jason Baker and Ashley Fruno silently marched to the front gate taking a round of the zoo’s wall. The placards they held read, “Zoos: cruel animal prisons,” in both Arabic and English.
The activists of PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia Pacific — flew into Dubai to spread the message on the anguish of animals inhabited in zoos by showcasing a demonstration at the entrance of the Dubai Zoo.
Police officials swiftly stopped the demonstration as the activists and their two local supporters, Sangeetha and Sandhya, congregated “without permission from the police or the civic body.” The activists were asked to move away immediately from the vicinity of the zoo.
American Baker and Canadian Fruno landed in Dubai from Hong Kong on Wednesday with the mission of conducting the protest for animal rights, and will leave the city on Friday.
Col. Abdulla Ali Abdulla Al Ghithi, Deputy Director of Protective Department and Security of Dubai Police, said, “The programme has been organised illegally. These kinds of private congregations in the name of activism for animal rights are not allowed against a government run-organisation, according to the country’s laws and rules pertaining to public security.”
“No resident or visitor to the country is allowed to create hindrances to the public and their safe movements and activities in a public place,” he pointed out.
“The Dubai Zoo is a destination for the residents for entertainment and recreation. It’s operated by Dubai Municipality (DM), which ensures environmental and health safety of global standards to the animals kept in the premise,” added Al Ghithi.
Meanwhile, Fruno told The Gulf Today that the Peta wanted to conduct a peaceful demonstration aimed at raising awareness on animal rights and cruelty against them at zoos, but permission was not granted when we approached the authorities concerned.
“We staged a small demonstration in front of the zoo, even though the Peta has a total of 3,000 supporters across the UAE,” she claimed.
According to her, they wore the monkey mask to highlight the plight of Jojo, the lonely chimpanzee at Dubai Zoo, which has frequently come under fire for housing animals in decrepit and barren enclosures. The Peta philosophy is that animals in zoos are subjected to lifetimes of boredom, misery and loneliness.
“Confined or isolated from others of their own kind, the animals often exhibit signs of psychological distress like rocking, swaying or pacing in circles,” remarked Peta Director Jason Baker.
According to him, zoo visitors learn nothing about wildlife from the bored and unhappy animals that exhibit stereotype behaviour.
“Some animals roam many kilometres a day — activity that is essential to their wellbeing — but the entire Dubai Zoo measures only 0.02 square kilometres,” he said.
“The best way to support the conservation of wild animals is to protest their native habitats, not put them behind bars. Being trapped in a cage or other barren enclosure tantamounts to a life sentence for animals — with no chance for parole,” noted Baker.
The Dubai Municipality (DM) officials were unavailable for comment on the Peta protest on Thursday.
(Image Credit: Nisham A. Manaf)

Dubai doctor sacked for causing child's death

The Gulf Today, 16 July 2010 

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has removed a female Arab doctor working at the government-run Al Wasl hospital.
The action was taken against the doctor known as SSM, after she had been proved to responsible for causing the death of an 11-year-old UAE national girl MAA.
Qadi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the DHA, said that the deceased girl was admitted to Al Wasl hospital in last August, as she was suffering from vomiting and fever. The girl was already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
“The doctors at the accidents section testified that it was an emergency case, yet she had not been provided with the necessary medical care. As a result the patient’s condition began to deteriorate and she finally died one day after being admitted to the hospital,” he added.
Al Murooshid pointed out that the DHA started investigating the case immediately on receiving a complaint from the deceased’s family.
“This decision does not forfeit the right of the family members of the deceased child from filing a separate case in the court and demanding for compensation,” he said.
“The DHA has a transparent policy to deal with all complaints related to medical negligence or malpractice,” added Al Murooshid.
According to him, the decision to remove the Arab female doctor was taken after a through investigation by two committees, one of which was formed by the DHA. The medical file of the victim was reviewed and the committees also noted down testimonials of the medical treating staff.
“Accordingly, they concluded that the death resulted from negligence of SSM. Upon the findings of the investigations, the DHA withdrew the medical licence of SSM and reported her to be enrolled on the list of doctors banned to practice medicine in the UAE. The authority terminated her contract as well,” he elaborated.
Sources at the DHA revealed that a total of 51 complaints and cases of medical negligence were registered at the health regulation department in 2009 against health service providers in the private sector in Dubai.
“Out of these 51 cases, eight are still under investigation, while eight cases have been closed for reasons such as request of the complainant. The DHA has investigated 35 cases, out of which 14 were found to be incidents of medical negligence, one case was medical malpractice, seven were cases of negligence and malpractice, and 13 were found to be neither negligence, nor malpractice,” disclosed the source.
It added, “The DHA received 18 complaints against public hospitals in 2009, of which one case is still under investigation, three complaints were closed as the complainant did not appear before the committee.”
“Of the remaining 14 cases investigated by the DHA, it was found that there was no negligence or malpractice in six cases, one case was found to be a malpractice case and negligence and malpractice in three cases and the remaining four cases were found to be negligence cases,” elaborated the DHA official.
The health authority has urged the public to contact the Clinical Governance Office of the DHA or alternatively lodge a complaint on toll-free 800 342 or log on to the website

Errant vet clinics face ministry’s heat

The Gulf Today, 14 July 2010 

The Federal Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) has imposed punitive actions against several veterinary clinics in different parts of the country for violating regulations on public health and technical standards.
The MoEW inspectors have conducted several periodic and surprise visits to a number of veterinary facilities operating in the emirates of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
The large quantities of expired drugs stored for sale at some veterinary warehouses have also been seized and confiscated by the inspectors, revealed the environment ministry sources.
“The ministry has issued necessary penal actions against the offenders. Some of them faced temporary closure of the facilities and others faced permanent closure of their service,” said the ministry.
“The penalties for violations included a warning, suspension from practice for a period not exceeding one year, and withdrawal of the licence and removal of the violators’ names from the list of registered veterinarians and technical experts and vet facilities,” read a statement issued by the MoEW.
“Some law-breakers were warned and some facilities faced closure of the veterinary facility for two months. If they repeat the violation, their licence will be shut down and licences will be withdrawn. Serious irregularities will invite actions including hefty fines or imprisonment,” it added.
According to the statement, the offending clinics were providing services contrary to the clauses specified in their licences. Many of them were found breaching the federal requirements on safeguarding public health measures, it added.
“Some vet facilities and clinics lacked professional conduct as they employed unlicensed veterinarians and non-specialists to work in their laboratories,” it pointed out.
According to an official at the environment ministry, those who practice veterinary medicine in clinics, pharmacies and laboratories, and warehouses must obtain a licence from the MoEW. The Ministerial Decrees 618 and 616 for the year 2009 have specified the country’s veterinary laws, regulations and conditions for establishing such facilities as well as practicing the service.
“The ministry will spare no effort in implementing the legislation to effectively safeguard the development and sustainability of livestock in the country,” he said.
The ministry has also called upon the veterinarians and technical employees of vet facilities to ensure their commitment to Law No.10/2002 and the law No.16/ 2007 on private vet medicine practice.
“The number of veterinary clinics registered with the environment ministry from across the country has been estimated at 92 facilities that carry out therapeutic and diagnostic services to animals,” said the MoEW statement.
“Hundreds of veterinary pharmacies, drug warehouses and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies also have registered with the MoEW,” it added.