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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All you wanted to know about Philhealth

From my inbox

Dear All,

Atty. Valentin Guanio, Senior Vice-President of Philhealth, is on a tour of various countries and will be in Dubai on Monday the 19th of November. He will be meeting up with all Filipino expats who wish to know what Philhealth is all about.

The meeting will be held at POLO-OWWA Office, Villa no. 2, Community 132, No. 3 Street, Al Wuheida, Deira, Dubai. It will start at 7 pm.

Get first-hand information from the authorized source! ShareThis

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Residents in favour of single Gulf currency

Residents in favour of single Gulf currency
By Mariam M. Al Serkal and Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporters
Published in Gulfnews online: October 30, 2007, 23:03

Dubai/ Abu Dhabi: The majority of residents said they would welcome the implementation of a single Gulf currency because it would make the Gulf economies free from the influence of the US dollar.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said it was uncertain it could meet the 2010 deadline for a monetary union.

During a two-day meeting in Jeddah held earlier this week, the six states were divided over how to respond if the US interest rates continue to fall, in addition to the effects on the currency pegs to the falling dollar rate.

Analysts in Dubai said the Gulf countries had no reasons to change their exchange rate policies away from their peg to the dollar, as the peg has helped attract foreign investments.

Residents expressed mixed opinions on the proposed unification of the currency. Most said it would make matters "easier."

"I would want the Gulf States to adopt a single currency, but whether it would have a positive effect depends on the inflation rate in all the countries," said Bashar Mezher, 30, a Lebanese customer account manager.

Junaid Ansari, 40, an Indian engineer, said a common Gulf currency should have been implemented a long time ago.

"A common currency can withstand the rising inflation in the region. Gulf nations must follow the steps taken by European Union in this regard," he said, adding a common currency must be a tool to make the Gulf economies free from the influence of the US dollar.

Mohammad Sultan, 25, an Emirati engineer foresees more trade and professional opportunities with a unified economy of GCC nations.

However, Hayden Jeffs, 35, a financial consultant from the UK, said: "It wouldn't make a positive difference to the UAE, and I think that if we had a monetary union, the results would be a lot like the euro."

With respect to the UAE, he explained the value of the single currency would be lost through the translation of money.

Amjad Ali, 27, a business lecturer, thought a GCC currency would combat the problem of the dirham losing its monetary value as a result of the devaluation of the dollar.

Sumaruu Ito, 29 from Indonesia, an operator at a petroleum company, said he favours a common currency as it will be beneficial for both GCC nationals and expatriates.

Setback: Disagreement about 2010 target date

The six Gulf States have been planning to unify their economies and introduce a single currency by 2010. However, during the past few months there have been doubts about the feasibility of achieving this goal due to the difference of opinion among the member states on the target date.

Cracks in the GCC monetary union plan began to appear from the beginning of this year. The Central Bank of Oman had publicly admitted the country was not ready for a single currency.

The Gulf central bank governors who met in Saudi Arabia in early September had announced that the 2010 target was not realistic, however they said they would work towards an early deadline.

The central bank chiefs who met on Saturday said the decision on the new deadline has been left to the GCC rulers who will meet in December.

By Babu Das Augustine, Banking Editor ShareThis

Monday, October 29, 2007

Airport waiter charged over missing liquor bottles

Airport waiter charged over missing liquor bottles3
By Bassam Za'za', Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews Online: October 28, 2007, 23:02

Dubai: A waiter has pleaded guilty against misappropriating three bottles of alcohol from Dubai airport's business and first class lounge, heard a court yesterday.

The Public Prosecution charged the 26-year-old Filipino suspect, A.S., with misappropriating the three bottles of whisky which he sold to his relative.

The defendant confessed to the charges before Dubai Court of First Instance and told Presiding Judge Fahmi Mounir that he paid for the bottles which he misappropriated. He is seeking leniency.

His Filipina boss, in charge of the lounge, said in her statement the defendant "does not have the right to sell, give away or possess the food and beverages that are catered at the lounge". "He did something wrong when ... his duty was to serve the passengers," she testified.

The suspect confessed that he saw his relative in the business lounge and offered to sell him liquor "cheaper than those of the Duty Free". He said he sold two bottles of alcohol for $40 (Dh145) and gave away one extra bottle as a gift to his relative. The bottles were found hidden inside a Duty Free bag in the relative's possession.

A verdict will be heard next month and the defendant is out on bail. ShareThis Read more...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Expatriate faces jail for lewd car sticker

Expatriate faces jail for lewd car sticker
By Bassam Za'za', Staff Reporter
Published in Gulf News Online: October 28, 2007, 23:02

Dubai: Motorists who paste a 'kiss my ...' sticker on their car windshield might be jailed and deported if they are taken to court.

This is the current status of a 30-year-old Filipino computer programmer who is waiting for Dubai Court of Appeal to decide his fate.

The Public Prosecution charged the Filipino, J.J., with breaching public decency when he posted a 'kiss my ...' sticker on his vehicle windshield.


He was also charged with possessing and promoting material in public that describes lewd acts. The Appeals Court is expected to pass a ruling soon.

His lawyer Dr Riyadh Al Kabban of Al Kabban Advocates and Legal Consultants, recently convinced the Court of Cassation that his client "posted the sticker as a joke, not knowing that what it means is perceived as a breach of public decency in the UAE".

The Court of Appeal earlier sentenced the suspect to one month in jail followed by deportation after the Court of First Instance acquitted him of the first charge and fined him Dh2,000 for the second.

The suspect hired Dr Al Kabban who told the Cassation Court: "The Appeals Court considered that '...' meant 'posterior' and tried our client as if he committed a lewd act in public without supplying any translation. Meanwhile, the word ... has different meanings, according to English dictionaries, such as donkey, dumb, stubborn or to ridicule someone.

"Al Mawrid English-Arabic Dictionary lists the same definitions. The Appeals Court also failed to ask the suspect whether he understood the sticker's meaning."

Records said an Arab witness, S.S., saw the sticker on the suspect's windshield in a gas station.

The defendant refused to remove the sticker. S.S. reported the incident to the police who referred J.J. to court.

The Cassation Court overturned the lower court's verdict and ordered the Appeals Court to hold a fresh trial with a new panel of judges. A verdict will be issued soon. ShareThis Read more...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

UP to honor grad chosen by Harvard as scientist of the year

Posted in Inquirer
Last updated 03:03am (Mla time) 10/28/2007

MANILA, Philippines—The man whose research led to a groundbreaking medical discovery—a drug a thousand times more potent than morphine but without its drawbacks—will be conferred an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the University of the Philippines.

Dr. Baldomero M. Olivera, who has been named 2007 Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation at Harvard University, will receive the degree of doctor of science honoris causa on Jan. 16 at the UP Film Center, where he will also deliver a lecture as part of the UP Centennial celebrations.

Olivera and his research team, which includes National Scientist Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz of the UP Marine Science Institute, studied toxins in poisonous cone snails collected in the Philippines and discovered biomolecules called conotoxins.

Prialt, a chronic pain-relief drug, is the result of this study. It is a synthetic compound derived from conotoxins and is widely prescribed to cancer patients.


The significance of this discovery is that while conotoxins are more powerful than morphine, they do not induce tolerance. (Cancer patients who take morphine for chronic pain develop tolerance for the drug, so in the long run, increased amounts of morphine are prescribed to treat the same amount of pain.)

Because of his contributions to biochemistry, particularly his breakthrough research in conotoxins, Olivera is acknowledged and recognized by the international scientific community.

This year alone, apart from being named Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation, he was also elected to the American Philosophical Society and became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

‘He never really left’

Olivera has “never really left UP,” according to UP President Emerlinda R. Roman.

Since he obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry summa cum laude in 1960, and despite having lived in the United States for many years as a sought-after professor and researcher, he has continued to maintain his relationship with his alma mater.

He still comes to UP twice a year to deliver lectures and conduct training seminars for students and faculty.

And as a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah, he makes his laboratory available to UP’s budding scientists.

Olivera recently accepted from UP the position of adjunct professor. This will enable him to continue doing research with the university’s students and faculty.

Olivera obtained his doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1966 and did postdoctoral work at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo, Contributor ShareThis Read more...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Singapore's first A380 flies to its new home

Singapore's first A380 flies to its new home
17 October 2007
Posted in

Singapore Airlines' first A380, which was formally delivered to them on 15 October, left Toulouse at 10:30 p.m. local time on 16 October for the 12 hour and 24 minute flight to the airline's home base at Singapore Changi International Airport. The aircraft is set to make its first commercial passenger flight from Singapore to Sydney on 25 October.

Ahead of its departure, Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng told the media during a question and answer session in Toulouse that the airline's attention and efforts would now be focused on making sure that its first aircraft is successfully launched.

"We are glad that Airbus took the time to make sure the aircraft is fully tested and developed before it enters commercial service," he said. "In fact the extra time taken has allowed them to deliver to us what we consider to be a quite mature aircraft. This aircraft has done more test flights and more trials at airports than other aircraft that I have experienced in the last 30 years."

The A380's design, Mr Chew said, embodies all the latest technological and aerodynamic advances of the last 30 years making it an aircraft for today and tomorrow. And Airbus president and chief executive officer Thomas Enders echoed these sentiments, stating that he was convinced that the A380 would now be the dominating aircraft in the large aircraft market.

Singapore Airlines is due to receive six more A380s next year. Its second and third A380s, due in early 2008, will be used to fly between London and Singapore. It then plans to operate the next three aircraft on routes to Tokyo, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Speaking alongside Mr Chew, Thomas Enders reiterated that Airbus is throwing its full support behind the A380 programme as it prepares to ramp-up production and deliver a total of 13 aircraft in 2008. "This programme has the utmost priority in terms of resources at Airbus," he said, adding that as the processes and resources are all in place, "We have every confidence that we can deliver."

Airbus books record sales for its family of corporate, executive and VIP jetliners
25 September 2007

Record sales have positioned Airbus as a leading worldwide supplier of corporate and executive jetliners, with bookings that cover its full product line - from the A318 to the A380. So far in 2007, more than 30 new orders have been logged for the Airbus Corporate Jetliner Family, setting a new record for the company.
From Singapore to Dubai: the latest A380 test campaign is completed
23 August 2007

The A380's longest single test campaign so far provided Singapore and Emirates airlines with a detailed operational look at the 21st century flagship jetliner. Singapore Airlines will be the first carrier to put the A380 into service, while Emirates is the largest A380 customer.
A400M production advances
22 August 2007

The fuselage and outer wing sections for the first Airbus A400M military transport aircraft to fly have been delivered by the programme?s industrial team. In addition, a full-scale vertical tail plane was sent for ground testing.
Final preparations underway for the delivery of Singapore Airlines' first A380
20 July 2007

The first A380 to enter commercial airline service is being readied for its October delivery to Singapore Airlines. This aircraft is back in Toulouse, France after having its cabin interior installed at Airbus? Hamburg, Germany facility.
A350 XWB receives strong endorsement from customers worldwide
6 July 2007

Airbus' newest jetliner - the A350 XWB - has received 154 firm orders and 100 commitments to date as the customer base for this twin-engine aircraft expands worldwide. Bookings for the A350 XWB have come from Africa, Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, Russia and the United States.
A harvest of orders for Airbus
20 June 2007

At the end of the first three days of the Paris Airshow, Airbus had issued more than 20 announcements bringing the grand total of orders for the first part of the week to 548 orders and commitments representing a global value of 75.7 billion US dollars at catalogue prices.
Airbus set to break 2005 record number of announcements
19 June 2007

The air show in Paris opened with an extraordinary series of announcements by Airbus. As one press conference followed another throughout the day, the total number of aircraft orders and commitments continued to climb. By the end of afternoon, John Leahy, Airbus COO ? Customers announced a total of 339 orders for Airbus aircraft, representing a global value of 45.7 billion dollars US at catalogue prices.
The A380 heads to Asia/Pacific destinations on its latest World Tour 2007 segment
8 June 2007

The A380 returned to the Asia/Pacific region for its latest segment in the 2007 World Tour. After departing Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on June 3, the 21st century flagship made repeat visits to Japan and Australia, along with its first appearance in Taiwan.
Major A318 Elite order reinforces the Airbus Corporate Jetliner's international sales success
21 May 2007

A new order for five A318 Elites from U.S.-based Petters Group Worldwide has boosted the sales for this newest and smallest member of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner Family to 22 firm orders, plus 11 options. The A318 Elite is in Geneva this week for the EBACE business aviation show, having returned to Europe after its first non-stop transatlantic flight to the United States.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pinay stewardess in Dubai dies

Pinay stewardess in Dubai dies
Posted in

A Pinay stewardess with Emirates Airlines fell off her 6th floor balcony in an apparent accident in Dubai early Saturday morning, ABS-CBN Middle East Bureau reported.

Bureau Chief Dindo Amparo said Maria Joyda Aguinaldo, who is based in Dubai, died at about 2 am Saturday after a drinking spree in her 6th floor apartment at the Al Fattam Accommodation in Dubai.

She had just had a visit from two of her fellow flight attendants with whom she had a few drinks.

"Nag inuman sila ng mga kaibigan niya tatlo sila sa flat. Yung isa natulog na, tapos yung dalawa nag inuman sa balcony, tapos yun na dun na nangyari yung aksidente (Together with her two friends, they were drinking. Then one of her friends went to sleep and she and another friend continued drinking in her flat’s balcony where the accident occurred)," witnesses said.

But there were also speculations that it was a suicide because the Aguinaldo had been having problems with a boyfriend.

Her drinking companion said, however, that in the middle of their drinking session, Aguinaldo went to the balcony for some air and lost her balance while outside. She also said that this often happened to Aguinaldo when she was drinking.

After she fell off the balcony, she did not immediately die although she never reached Rashid Hospital where she was rushed. Aguinaldo was declared dead on arrival at the hospital, though.

The Dubai police are still investigating the death to make sure there was no foul play involved.

The 24 year old Aguinaldo graduated with a commerce degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 2004. She first worked as a flight stewardess for Philippine Airlines before moving to Emirates Airlines two years ago.

Meanwhile, Aguinaldo’s family in the Philippines refused to believe that suicide was the cause of her death in Dubai.

Her mother, Aida, and her sister, Ma. Jurish, both refused to believe the suicide angle because Joyda had had no problems with her boyfriend.

They want to immediately know the findings of the Dubai police’ investigation if the incident was a result of foul play or an accident.

They would rather believe the foul play angle.

They asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to help in the investigation and for the immediate repatriation of Joyda’s remains to the Philippines.

With reports from Ron Gagalac and from Dindo amparo, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau ShareThis Read more...

Unskilled workers likely to face residency cap

Unskilled workers likely to face residency cap
By Wafa Issa, Staff Reporter
Published in October 24, 2007, 23:44

Dubai: A minister hinted yesterday that the UAE would go ahead with the six-year residency cap for unskilled expatriate workers, even if a GCC-wide consensus is not reached in Doha in December.

Early this month, Bahrain proposed a six-year residency cap on foreign workers in the Gulf. Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Minister of Labour, told Gulf News that the UAE will support the proposal during the next GCC-summit in Doha.

Dr Al Ka'abi said the country will go ahead with the six-year residency cap regardless of a pan-GCC consensus on the issue, if the newly-formed panel set up to look into the issue of demographic imbalance find it to be in the interest of the country. "Our main priority is the interests of this country. If the committee finds the residency cap to be in accordance with our interest we will go ahead without a GCC-wide consensus," Al Ka'abi said.

The committee, including members from several governmental bodies and experts, is expected to submit recommendation to the Ministry of Labour by November end.

The proposed residency cap of three years, renewable for another three years, will be applicable for unskilled labourers working in the GCC countries.

However, the cap would be applied in each country separately. The proposal under study in the UAE might allow workers to return after a year, said Al Ka'abi. ShareThis Read more...


Let me take u there..on the 134th floor of Burj Dubai.
(from my Inbox)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

UAE labour offices to open in Delhi, Manila

UAE labour offices to open in Delhi, Manila
By Adel Arafa
Published by Khaleej Times Online on 23 October 2007

ABU DHABI — The UAE will open labour offices in India and the Philippines to recruit workers, ending the role of recruitment agencies.

These offices will also educate the workers about the labour laws and customs of the UAE before they embark on the journey.

This was announced by Minister of Labour Dr Ali bin Abdullah Al Ka’abi after meeting Indian Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi and Philippine Secretary for Labour and Employment Arturo D. Brion separately to discuss implementation of the memoranda of understanding signed with these countries on labour issues.

Both Indian and Philippine ministers welcomed the decision to open labour offices in their countries.

Dr Al Ka’abi said he discussed a host of important issues including labour contracts and labour strikes for salary increase with the visiting ministers. He also apprised them of the administrative measures taken by the ministry to deport those who provoked the strikes.

Workers have no right to stage strikes for salary increase once they have signed the labour contracts, he said. The definite term contract and the possibility of transfer of sponsorship after the expiry of the contract and demand for salary increment also figured at the discussions.

The minister apprised the Indian minister about the proposed ceiling on the stay of unskilled labours in the country at six years (under the 3+3 formula) which will be considered by the GCC labour ministers in Riyadh next month.

He praised India for the steps taken against unscrupulous recruitment agencies. He said these would contribute to the protection of workers’s rights.

On his part, Vayalar Ravi said the three-month amnesty period granted by the UAE government had helped a large number of illegal workers to regularise their status.

He said around 50,000 Indian workers used the time to legalise their stay, noting that India had attuned the migration laws of the country to the requirements of the grace period.

Stringent penalties including fines and ban have been announced to rein in unscrupulous recruitment agencies, he said.

Owners of such firms will be banned from opening any business in the country.

The Indian minister said he understood the recent stand of the UAE Labour Ministry on labour strikes, especially the definite term contract. He urged the UAE to brief India on measures it intends to take to protect the workforce.

He said the Indian workers in the UAE are “good” and “law-abiding”.

The UAE and India have agreed to get rid of recruitment agencies by opening labour offices in India, he said. He called on the UAE to extend the labour laws on the domestic helpers also.

Meanwhile, Dr Al Ka’abi and Philippine Secretary of Labour and Employment Brion reviewed the MoU signed by the two sides and observations made on it by the Asian country’s technical labour committee.

Brion commended efforts by the UAE Labour Ministry to improve the conditions of workers. He also welcomed the UAE’s idea to open labour offices in the Philippines. He urged the UAE to extend the labour laws to domestic helpers too.

Obeid Rashid Al Zahmi, Assistant Under Secretary at the Labour Ministry, said detailed talks would be held with the two countries later. ShareThis Read more...

Driver jailed after being caught on camera

Driver jailed after being caught on camera
By Bassam Za'za', Staff Reporter
Published in Gulf News: October 22, 2007, 22:51

Dubai: A supervisor has been banned from driving for a year after a camera caught him jumping a red light and causing a major accident.

The Dubai Traffic Court of First Instance sentenced the 29-year-old Filipino, F.L., to a month in jail and fined him Dh1,000. His licence has been revoked for a year.

The Traffic Public Prosecution charged F.L. with reckless driving, jumping a red signal, injuring two victims and causing damage.

F.L. admitted injuring the victims but denied jumping the red signal, despite the evidence against him.

Head of the Traffic Public Prosecution department Salah Bu Farousha earlier said they would start using camera footage to identify reckless drivers who had caused major accidents.

On displaying the footage before the court, Bu Farousha said: "Two women were injured in the accident. The motorist denied responsibility but the footage proved otherwise."

Accident footage will be brought as evidence against irresponsible drivers who will face the toughest punishment possible during court proceedings, said Bu Farousha. ShareThis Read more...

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