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Thursday, November 29, 2007

64 Interview Answers You Need to Know

64 Interview Answers You Need to Know

Thanks Anton for sharing the website

Q1 Tell me about yourself.

Q2 What are your greatest strengths?

Q3 What are your greatest weaknesses?

Q4 Tell me about something you did – or failed to do – that you now feel a little ashamed of.

Q5 Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?

Q6 The “Silent Treatment”

Q7 Why should I hire you?

Q8 Aren’t you overqualified for this position?

Q9 Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Q10 Describe your ideal company, location and job.

Q11 Why do you want to work at our company?

Q12 What are your career options right now?

Q13 Why have you been out of work so long?

Q14 Tell me honestly about the strong points and weak points of your boss (company, management team, etc.)

Q15 What good books have you read lately?

Q16 Tell me about a situation when your work was criticized.

Q17 What are your outside interest?

Q18 The “Fatal Flaw” question

Q19 How do you feel about reporting to a younger person (minority, woman, etc)?

Q20 On confidential matters

Q21 Would you lie for the company?

Q22 Looking back, what would you do differently in your life?

Q23 Could you have done better in your last job?

Q24 Can you work under pressure?

Q25 What makes you angry?

Q26 Why aren’t you earning more money at this stage of your career?

Q27 Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Q28 What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?

Q29 Tell me about the most boring job you’ve ever had.

Q30 Have you been absent from work more than a few days in any previous position?

Q31 What changes would you make if you came on board?

Q32 I’m concerned that you don’t have as much experience as we’d like in

Q33 How do you feel about working nights and weekends?

Q34 Are you willing to relocate or travel?

Q35 Do you have the stomach to fire people? Have you had experience firing many people?

Q36 Why have you had so many jobs?

Q37 What do you see as the proper role/mission of… …a good (job title you’re seeking); …a good manager; …an executive in serving the community; …a leading company in our industry; etc.

Q38 What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think it stinks?

Q39 How could you have improved your career progress?

Q40 What would you do if a fellow executive on your own corporate level wasn’t pulling his/her weight…and this was hurting your department?

Q41 You’ve been with your firm a long time. Won’t it be hard switching to a new company?

Q42 May I contact your present employer for a reference?

Q43 Give me an example of your creativity (analytical skill…managing ability, etc.)

Q44 Where could you use some improvement?

Q45 What do you worry about?

Q46 How many hours a week do you normally work?

Q47 What’s the most difficult part of being a (job title)?

Q48 The “Hypothetical Problem”

Q49 What was the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced?

Q50 Have you consider starting your own business?

Q51 What are your goals?

Q52 What do you for when you hire people?

Q53 Sell me this stapler…(this pencil…this clock…or some other object on interviewer’s desk).

Q54 “The Salary Question” – How much money do you want?

Q55 The Illegal Question

Q56 The “Secret” Illegal Question

Q57 What was the toughest part of your last job?

Q58 How do you define success…and how do you measure up to your own definition?.

Q59 “The Opinion Question” – What do you think about …Abortion…The President…The Death Penalty…(or any other controversial subject)?

Q60 If you won $10 million lottery, would you still work?

Q61 Looking back on your last position, have you done your best work?

Q62 Why should I hire you from the outside when I could promote someone from within?

Q63 Tell me something negative you’ve heard about our company

Q64 On a scale of one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.


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Monday, November 26, 2007

NOC not needed for changing sponsor if contract completed

NOC not needed for changing sponsor if contract completed
By Ahmed Abdul Aziz (Our staff reporter)
Posted in Khaleej Times Online 27 November 2007

ABU DHABI — Workers who have completed their contracts with their current employers need not furnish NOCs (No Objection Certificates) for change of sponsorship, a senior official has said.

Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi, assistant under-secretary of the Ministry of Labour (MoL), said that a worker who had signed a limited contract (of three years for example), and completed the same, can get the sponsorship transferred without needing to furnish an NOC from the current employer.

Talking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Al Zahmi said many workers, including professionals, had complained that their sponsors were not ready to give them NOCs despite they having completed their contracts.

Al Zahmi said, "The employer has no right to complain and should not look to get a six-month or one–year ban imposed on the workers if they want to work for a different sponsor in the country after having completed their present contracts."

The official noted that in case of unlimited contracts, a worker could get the sponsorship transferred before completing one year. "However, if it (sponsorship transfer) causes loss to the employer/sponsor, they have the right to demand a six-month work ban on the workers," he added.

As per the labour law, workers have to provide NOCs of their current sponsors if they want to change sponsorship before completing their limited contracts.

Al Zahmi also said that employers/sponsors had no right to demand six-month ban on their workers without valid reasons.

Al Zahmi said any worker can come to the MoL on the 'Open Day' on Mondays to submit their queries if they had any problems. He said the workers could also call the ministry on the toll free number 800665. ShareThis Read more...

The Bayanihan Dance Group visits Dubai

Dear Friends,

The Bayanihan - the Philippine national dance group -
has been invited to perform as part of the UAE
National Day Celebrations on the 3rd December 2007 -
Monday, at the Dubai Creek Park Amphitheater - for

They are one of only 4 national dance groups that have
been requested to perform for this celebration.

Please pass this information to friends, family,
colleagues - sa buong barangay - let us support and
watch their perfromance. It will definitely be another
breath taking performance so let us all be part of it.

I will advise you of the exact time of the show as soon as I have it - it will be in the evening. (from Lucille Ong) ShareThis Read more...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shopping made Easy

Do you want to experience online shopping as I do? Why not visit According to their website, Tobi is an Internet fashion company that creates the next generation Internet shopping experience. It is more personal, more convenient and more fun that what is currently available. It combines the expertise in fashion, marketing, e-commerce, operations and customer care. The Tobi team is committed to making every customer a client for life as they say.
I have browsed their website and I was really impressed of how they present each product in their website. What amazed me most is their nudie type of Jeans by Nudie Jeans Co. If you are wondering why they were called nudie jeans, well, we have the same question in mind but for Tobi, they have an answer:
"Nudie believes jeans have a soul—an authenticity that comes from time and experience—that can’t be replicated by a factory process. This soul is the sum of all the endearing qualities of your favorite jeans, the comfort and details that weren’t there until you put them there with wear over time."

What a great fashion, right?

This website is really cool. They have a variety of brands to offer like seven for all mankind, a clothing brand for women.

So what are you waiting for? Visit and experience an online shopping at its best.

Happy Holidays and Happy shopping as well.
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Travelling in buses to become hassle-free

Travelling in buses to become hassle-free
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 26, 2007, 00:33

Dubai: Travelling in public buses will be hassle-free in the near future as a new computerised passenger information system and journey planner will be launched, which will help in planning a trip.

Khalid Hashim, Director of Planning and Business Development at the Public Transport Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said that the new computerised information system would provide real time information to passengers about bus timings at bus stops and inside buses.

Journey planner

It will cover arrival and departure times, incidents, congestion, news and advertisement on electronic screens at bus stops and inside buses. "We are also working on launching a journey planner, which will enable commuters to plan their journey from home or office," said Hashim.

Journey planner will tell commuters about the time at which a bus will arrive at a particular bus stop and what connections are available to complete the trip from home to office or anywhere else.

Complete solution

Access to journey planner information for commuters will be available via a phone call to an automated speech dialogue system and also through a call centre, via internet and fax.

"The new system will provide a complete solution to plan a journey in Dubai by using public transport," he added.

Commuters will also be able to buy smart cards from vending machines which will be installed at airconditioned bus stops.

Challenges the RTA faces in developing public transport

Discouraging the use of cars, which is a status symbol

Encouraging the public to use public transport system

Providing special needs passengers access to transport

Changing travelling habits and making people accept mass transit system

Providing safe, reliable and affordable public transport

Raising public awareness of alternatives to car use

Enacting legislation and regulations to reduce congestion and traffic pollution and
Improve environment schedule

Electronic screens

Commuters will be able to plan a trip by using the Real Time Information System for public transport buses.

It will provide information about the arrival and departure times of buses on electronic screens installed at bus stops and inside buses.

It will also tell about the bus stops and route of the buses.

In addition, passengers will be updated about latest news, traffic congestion and any delays.

The Journey Planner system is also being introduced for the bus users. It will help plan journey from or to any place of interest by taking information via phone, fax and internet ShareThis Read more...

Engagement Rings

My friend is getting engaged next month and he seeks help from me on where he can buy an elegant engagement ring. I have searched the web and have came across with an amazing website offering a variety of engagement rings ( The site is fantastic, it offers rings and other jewelries made up from gold, pearls, and diamonds. Just recently, my friend bought the engagement ring from them. So folks, would really recommend if you are looking for engagement rings, wedding rings, or any kind of ring you want to give to your loved ones.
Find stunning and affordable women and men’s jewelry, engagement rings and wedding rings at MyJewelryBox. ShareThis Read more...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Work ban for leaving job 'is unfair'

Work ban for leaving job 'is unfair'
By Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 25, 2007, 00:26

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Human Rights Organisation has urged the Labour Ministry to scrap the six-month work ban on employees who quit jobs after fulfilling their labour contracts, calling the practice 'unfair'.

The Ministry of Labour imposes a six-month work ban automatically along with the cancellation of the labour card, regardless of the number of years a person serves in a company.

"The six month ban is not a fair practice. If a worker completes his contract period then why should there be a ban on him? Should he not be allowed to look for better prospects? The current system allows employers to abuse the workers," said Farooq Mohammad, Chairman of the Labour and Naturalisation and Residency Committee of the Emirates Human Rights Association (EHRA).

Removal of the ban requires a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the employer until the employee completes three years with the employer. Once three years are completed employees can pay a fee to remove the work ban.

"Employers warn employees to forget about their legal dues if they need an NoC from them. They use [it] as a way to threaten their employees," he said.

The ministry should be the deciding authority on the ban and it should not be up to the employers, Mohammad said. ShareThis Read more...

Labour cap will be applied separately to each country

Labour cap will be applied separately to each country
By Rayeesa Absal, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 25, 2007, 00:26

Abu Dhabi: A senior labour ministry official said most GCC nations are in favour of the proposed 3+3 law to limit the stay of unskilled workers in the region.

"The 3+3 law was discussed at the ministerial meeting in Riyadh and most countries were in favour of the law," said Yousuf Jaffar, Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Labour (MoL), following the GCC labour ministers meeting in Saudi Arabia last week.

Hinting that the 3+3 law is likely to get the nod at the GCC summit in Doha next month, Jaffar, who was part of the UAE delegation, said plans were drawn up to address the growing number of foreign workers in the region.

The 3+3 law proposes a residency cap of six years for unskilled labourers. If the law is passed, then unskilled workers will come to work in a GCC country with a three-year labour contract which can only be renewed once.

However the law would only be applied separately to each country, which means that a labourer could continue to work in the GCC after completing six years but not in the same country.


An 11 point plan was discussed and approved by the ministers to limit the number of foreign workers in the GCC.

The growing number of expatriates in the region has become a matter of grave concern to local governments as unemployment levels have also risen proportionately.

Jaffar also said any new regulations would be implemented in coordination with countries sending manpower.

"We have signed agreements with eight Asian countries and the 'Columbo Process' meeting in January, to be held in the capital, would act as a platform where the sending and receiving countries would discuss common issues. Following this meeting, the Abu Dhabi Decree would be declared."

Columbo Process is the name for the annual meeting of labour exporting countries and the major importing countries. It is the first time that this initiative, which started three years ago, is being hosted in Abu Dhabi.

The decree will deal with two main points. Firstly, it will define the term "temporary contractual workers" and put this term to use in the labour laws.

Secondly, the focus would be on equipping the labourers with knowledge and increasing their awareness in order to avoid being exploited. ShareThis Read more...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pick-of-the-Week: Wild Wadi

Wild Wadi

Wild Wadi Waterpark is a water theme park located in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) that covers an area of 12 acres and comprises of 24 adrenaline-pumping state-of-the-art rides and slides. Wild Wadi is located on located in the rural area of Dubai, known as Jumairah, along the Jumeirah Beach Road. It is situated next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Burj Al Arab hotel, approximately a 20 minutes drive from the center of city.

This water park was designed like an Arabian wadi (oasis) with characteristics from Arabian folklore and has rides and attractions, many of which interconnect. Once you enter the Wild Wadi water theme park, you will be given access to all the water rides, as well as the use of rubber rings, lifejackets and body boards. The water park has 90 lifeguards on duty, keeping you safe while you are having fun. Wild Wadi's variety of rides suit kids of all ages, make it a favourite water sports area in Dubai. ShareThis Read more...

Private sector workers want salary increases that counter inflation

Private sector workers want salary increases that counter inflation
By Binsal Abdul Al Kader, Wafa Issa and Dina Al Shamma, Staff Reporters
Published in Gulfnews: November 22, 2007, 00:11

Abu Dhabi/Dubai: Private sector employees say a salary increase is the need of the hour in light of the current inflation.

Haris Mohammad, an Indian salesman, said there must be a mechanism to ensure that the salaries of private sector employees are increased in accordance with living costs, which are deteriorating due to a spiralling price increase.

"It is not only about the material quality of life but more importantly it is a matter of dignity ... a regulated mechanism in the private sector is the need of the hour," he said.

Marwan Sayed, 45, a Lebanese Manager, said that private sector salaries must also increase.

"Increasing living costs affect both government and private sector employees alike, therefore a reasonable increment for private sector employees is a must under today's conditions," he said.

Hothaifa Al Khayat, an assistant engineer, who has received an increment of Dh1,500 six months ago, said the rocketing prices have made the recent salary increase seem irrelevant.

"I have been struggling to make ends meet especially after I got my first child eleven months back, but I feel that with the recent increase in the public sector life will get more expensive and low income families will suffer," he said.


Qamar Al Khalifa, an Emirati VIP Clinic Supervisor said that the increase in the private sector was important but after the recent increment in the public sector, the raise is now essential.

"Private companies should review their salary structure and give us a higher increment as we have reached a point were we are totally demoralised and we do not earn what we deserve," she said.

Benny Varghese, an Indian employee relations manager, said getting a higher salary is pleasant news for anyone, especially at the time of high inflation and low money value.

"However, I am worried that the recent increase will result in a further financial imbalance in society which may affect common people. Living conditions of low income groups may become worse." ShareThis Read more...

Pick of the Week:Chilis Restaurant

Chilis Tel: 04 282 8484,04 352 2900,04 295 9559,04 344 1300,04 341 3355Address: Chilis,Garhoud,Near Compume,Just Over Garhoud Bridge; Burjuman Centre,Deira City Centre,Jumeirah ,Mall of the Emirates(Timings: 11am-12 Midnight sat-Thu,1.30 pm-12 Midnight Fri)Cuisine: North American
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New airline to take off from Fujairah

New airline to take off from Fujairah

by staff writer on Monday, 06 August 2007

Fujairah's first budget airline will take to the skies on October 1.

Kang Pacific Airlines (KPA) will initially shuttle passengers between Fujairah and three key countries; the UK, India, and the Philippines, primarily providing affordable travel for VFR traffic, but also with the intention of bringing in UK holidaymakers to stay at Fujairah's growing number of resorts.

The inaugural flight will from Fujairah to Manila, via the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Other routes to follow will include East Midlands Airport (the UK) via Fujairah to Amritsar in India Punjab.

"We have identified gaps in the market for these routes," said KPA's chairman and CEO, Paul Kang. "The East Midlands sector targets the huge Punjabi immigrant community in Birmingham in the West Midlands; Derby, Leicester and Nottingham in the East Midlands; and Manchester in the North West region, that traditionally travel to India for regular holidays, family visits, marriages and festivals."

KPA will fly a wet-leased wide-body Boeing DC-10 aircraft (380-passenger capacity) on the Fujairah-Dhaka-Manila sector three times weekly. The aircraft will make the return flight the next day via Kochi in South India and Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Kang is currently negotiating the lease of either a wide-body Boeing 747 (548 seats) or an Airbus A310 (212 seats) to serve the East Midlands route. By the end of 2007, KPA will expand to cover destinations in the Middle East, starting with Bahrain and Kuwait and eventually including Doha, Muscat, Damascus and Cairo.

Kang intends to purchase a 122-seater Boeing 737 to serve regional destinations. He has also deployed four coaches to take passenger free-of-charge to Sharjah, Ajman, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain.

Kang said KPA's holiday company, Paul Kang & Son, currently operated "a wide range of businesses" in the UK, but had spent US $10 million relocating to Fujairah where he has already established a duty free operation out of Fujairah Port and Fujairah Free Zone.

It is estimated that 60% of KPA's air tickets will be sold online, particularly as UK residents are accustomed to booking flights this way.

The remaining 60% will be sold through GSAs and wholesalers that will be linked to Kang's custom-made reservation system. ShareThis Read more...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Camels in Montreal Gardens

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Maid says she 'stole' her salary

Maid says she 'stole' her salary
By Bassam Za'za', Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 21, 2007, 00:22

Dubai: A housemaid has denied robbing her employer before a court on Tuesday although she told her interrogators earlier that she took the money because of her employer's 'violent treatment'.

The Public Prosecution charged the 38-year-old Filipina housemaid, Z.N., with stealing Dh14,300 from her Emirati female employer, H.S.

The Filipina pleaded innocent before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday yet she told the judge that she wanted back her Dh4,000 which were taken from her purse. "That's my six month unpaid salary," she claimed.

A 46-year-old Sudanese sergeant at Dubai police who questioned the suspect quoted her saying "I took the money because my employer was treating me violently."

The employer testified: "I discovered that Dh11,000 were missing from my purse which I had left on my bed. I suspected the housemaid and asked my son to report the incident to police. A few days later my second housemaid found Dh14,300 wrapped in a piece of cloth which was left above the freezer. When the police confronted the suspect with the money, she claimed that she stole it because her family was in a destitute situation."

Records said the defendant stole the money from the bedroom of her employer who was sleeping. ShareThis Read more...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pick-pockets 'on the rise' aboard crowded public transport buses

Pick-pockets 'on the rise' aboard crowded public transport buses
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews Online: November 18, 2007, 22:40

Dubai: With the increase in the number of passengers using public buses, incidents of pick-pocketing in buses are also on the rise in Dubai.

A number of passengers complained of losing their wallets and mobile phones while using the crowded public transport buses. They also said some bus drivers are rude to passengers, including women.

"I found my wallet missing after I got off the bus on Khalid Bin Waleed Road in Dubai. I went to the nearest police station to complain and I was told that it was quite common in buses these days," said K.S., a Filipino.

He said that he regularly uses public buses because they are cheaper and affordable but the pick-pocketing incident was a big blow "as I lost my work permit, credit cards and more than Dh1,500 in cash".

A Gulf News reader who takes a bus from Karama to reach office, said that bus stops are crowded, especially during the morning rush hours as dozens of people wait for buses at each bus stop.

"Most people do not stand in queue and push each other to get into the bus. Whenever I see a crowd like this, I avoid riding a bus. My friend and I both lost our wallets in such a crowd," he said.

He suspected there is a kind of 'gang' of some people, who gather at the bus stops during rush hour and push passengers trying to board the bus to pick their wallets.

A Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) official said they often receive such complaints but cannot help because the driver cannot watch every passenger. "We are planning to install cameras on buses as part of enhanced security and safety for passengers," he added.


Diana, another passenger, said she was scared to ride public buses after a scary incident in the bus.

"I took the RTA bus from Sharjah to Dubai. When the bus was almost empty, the bus driver started talking to me and asked fo4r my name and mobile phone number.

"His insistence was scary and I asked him to open the door so I could leave. He initially refused but later opened the door only when I threatened to call the police," she added.

Rachael (not her real name), a Filipina, said that the bus drivers often refuse to let her and other female passenger board the buses when there are no seats.

"I often see men standing or sitting in the seats for women leaving no space for female passengers," she said.

Revamp: Additions to fleet

According to the Public Transport Agency's statistics, the number of passengers using public transport buses has already increased to 68 million during the first three quarters of this year in addition to nine million passengers using buses on inter-city routes.

Keeping in view the increasing number of passengers, RTA will include 170 double-decker buses, 300 articulated buses and 150 traditional ones by the end of 2008, bringing the total number of buses to around 1,200 from the existing approximately 500 buses.


An RTA official said passengers should contact RTA's call centre at 800 9090 to lodge any complaint. ShareThis Read more...

Forbes urges Gulf to re-evaluate peg

Forbes urges Gulf to re-evaluate peg
Posted in 7days online

Calls for Gulf countries to revalue their currencies gained momentum yesterday as American entrepreneur Steve Forbes recommended a one-time adjustment. Speaking at the Leaders in Dubai Business Forum, the editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine advised continuing the peg to the dollar, but to re-evaluate rather than devalue currencies.

“The thing that should not be done now is to allow your currency to float,” he said. “Eventually, and rather than going for a basket of currencies, Gulf countries should do a one-time revaluation and keep it fixed, whether it is 8 per cent, 10 per cent or 12 per cent and then re-peg to the dollar.” Forbes hit out at the US Federal Reserve for inviting the ongoing credit crisis, and called upon Gulf states to act now to correct the Fed’s mistakes and protect themselves from any further depreciation of the dollar.
“Currencies should be stable in value – that’s the first rule. Look at what the Federal Reserve has done in the US. By printing too many dollars and allowing the property sector to build four years worth of houses in two years, it has created a credit crisis.

“Even though the pound, yen and euro have appreciated, they all have inflation. They have all sinned, but the Federal Reserve is the biggest sinner of all,” he said. By re-evaluating, Forbes claimed, Gulf governments would buy themselves time to make a decision over going for a basket of currencies in future.
He also criticised the International Monetary Fund for wrongly encouraging countries to keep their currency values low. ShareThis Read more...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dangerous weight-loss drugs sold over the counter

Dangerous weight-loss drugs sold over the counter
By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 18, 2007, 00:19

Dubai: Weight-loss products, which have been found to be minimally effective in helping people lose weight and could instead cause harm, are sold illegally in the UAE as over-the-counter medicines.

Orlistat (Xenical), sibutramine (Reductil) and rimonabant (Accomplia), found to help users shed 5kg to 9kg in long-term studies, are available in the UAE as prescription medicines. All three have side effects with Accomplia reporting the most serious effects by increasing the risk of psychiatric problems like depression and anxiety among people with a history of psychiatric problems.

Despite the risks, pharmacists regularly sell these medicines over the counter.
'Big sellers'

A pharmacist on Shaikh Zayed Road told Gulf News he sells all the drugs over the counter although they are prescription items.

"I sell them over the counter. I sell from 15 to 20 boxes of Accomplia a month. Xenical used to be popular. I sell three to four boxes now. Reductil is more popular now. I sell about 12 boxes a month," he said.

Another pharmacist in Bur Dubai told Gulf News Xenical, which causes digestive and intestinal side effects, and Reductil, which affects blood pressure and pulse rate, were "big sellers" and were available without a prescription.

Dr Azzan Binbrek, head of cardiology at Rashid Hospital, was especially concerned about Accomplia being sold over the counter. The drug is not approved for sale in the United States because of the psychiatric side effects.

Dalia Aziz, head of communications Sanofi-Aventis (Gulf), which makes Accomplia, warned people against buying the drug over the counter or using their product to lose weight. "It is not an anti-obesity drug. ... [The drug is meant to] address a whole cluster of cardio-metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and high cholesterol," she said.

Officials from the Ministry of Health have told Gulf News they inspect pharmacies periodically, but suffer from a shortage of inspectors. ShareThis Read more...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dollar peg at the crossroads

Dollar peg at the crossroads
By Babu Das AugustineBanking Editor
Published in Gulfnews: November 14, 2007, 00:18

Dubai: The UAE Central Bank Governor yesterday hinted at a potential change in the UAE's exchange rate policy currently anchored on fixed peg against the US dollar.
"The dirham's peg to the US dollar has served the economy of the UAE very well in the past. However, we have reached the crossroads now with a further deterioration in the US dollar and expected further weakening of the US economy," Reuters quoted Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi as saying in Tokyo yesterday.

Analysts saw the statement as a clear shift in central bank's stand on the peg.
"The increasing frustration with the decline of dollar and domestic inflation could lead to a more flexible exchange rate policy including a move to a currency basket," Monica Malek, an economist with EFG Hermes, told Gulf News.

The sharp decline in the exchange rate of dirham against most leading international currencies have resulted dirham losing its value in the range of 16 per cent and 20 per cent against currencies such as sterling, rupee and euro during the past two years.

While the decline in exchange rates and domestic inflation above 9 per cent is wiping out a significant share of expatriates' earnings, the reduced purchasing power of dirham has also fuelled higher inflation through rising import costs.
Despite this, the UAE was forced to cut interest rates by 0.6 per cent this year following the US interest rate cuts of 0.75 per cent, fuelling further inflation.
"We continue to hold a long dirham and Kuwaiti dinar versus short dollar in our discretionary portfolio," said Emma Lawson, a currency strategist with Merrill Lynch.
Simon Williams, an economist with HSBC, told Gulf News that although the governor's statement is a bold one, a unilateral decision by the UAE is unlikely.

The GCC heads of state are set to meet next month where a collective decision is expected. EFG's Malek said the UAE is clearly the next in line for currency reforms and sees a probability of more than 40 per cent in the second half of 2008. ShareThis Read more...

Robbing Hoods and the Milking Cows

From my Yahoo Group
Robbing Hoods and the Milking Cows

Mariano Roque, Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), stirred a hornet's nest when he refused to provide assistance to repatriate the remains of a murdered caregiver, Jocelyn Dulnuan, in Canada last October 2007. The reason he gave was that Dulnuan was not a "member" of OWWA at the time of her death because she did not pay her US$25 membership fee. That was brutally cold and insensitive.

OWWA records showed that Dulnuan's membership was processed in July 2005 when she left for Hong Kong to work as a domestic worker. She moved to Canada in November 2006 with legitimate working papers. However, she failed to register her new employment with OWWA when she moved to Canada .

Rashid Fabricante, Action Officer of the Volunteers in Service to Filipinos in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia , in an email to me said, "the legal assistance and repatriation fund as provided for by our Magna Carta should have covered Jocelyn's repatriation but I wonder what OWWA in Ontario have done with her case." He added that "OWWA should come into the picture to take care of our welfare to include repatriation procedures and/or hospitalization bills."

A more stinging rebuke was expressed by Flora Belinan, the Chairperson of Migrante-Metro Baguio. She was quoted by the Northern Philippine Times as saying: "The problem is the OWWA omnibus policies and not whether or not Jocelyn paid the membership fees. The OWWA, as the main agency for the supposed provision of services to OFWs in distress should provide this assistance to all OFWs. The membership fee should be charged to the employers and not the OFWs."

The OWWA controversy on Dulnuan's case has once again brought to the front burner issues that have been flickering in the back burner for the past several years: Is OWWA serving the best interests of the OFWs? And of equal -- if not more -- importance how is the OWWA trust fund managed?

In a news release by the Migrante International (MI) on March 6, 2004, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was accused of "robbing OFW funds for her election campaign." It said that "P520 million from the OWWA Medicare was transferred to PhilHealth while P100 million was diverted into Malacanang's National Livelihood Support Fund." MI Secretary General Maita Santiago said: "As part of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration' s effort to channel more funds into President Gloria's campaign, they implemented the recent OWWA Omnibus Policies and blatantly transferred millions of pesos to Malacanang." Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., the Senate minority leader at that time said that the transfer was illegal because the OWWA fund was a trust fund for the exclusive use for the needs and welfare of the OFWs.

The controversial OWWA Omnibus Policies deny services to OFWs without current "employment contracts." For example: if an OFW's contract expired or terminated, he or she ceases to qualify for OWWA benefits. In addition, the medical reimbursement program and repatriation for distressed OFWs were scrapped. In other words, OFWs were left to fend for themselves.

There was the case of the "phantom" evacuation operations in the Middle East . In April 2003, US$293,500 was released to Ambassador Roy Cimatu to be used in evacuating OFWs during the US-Iraq war. But when MI Chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado asked former OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo to confirm the evacuation operations, the latter said that no evacuation took place. The question is: what happened to the US$293,500 (15 million pesos) released to Cimatu? Your guess is as good as mine.

But it was a different situation in July 2006 when 34,000 OFWs were caught in the crossfire when Israel forces struck Hezbollah camps inside Lebanon . When Ambassador to Lebanon Al Francis Bichara asked the Philippine government to send funds for the immediate evacuation of the stranded OFWs, his request fell on deaf ears. When Senator Pimentel inquired about the OWWA funds, he couldn't get a straight answer. He asked the Senate -- which was controlled by Arroyo's party at that time -- to investigate the disbursement of the OWWA fund. However, certain people tried to dissuade him from proceeding with investigation saying that "the probe will not in anyway hamper the evacuation and repatriation of the OFWs." Nonetheless, Senate investigators proceeded with the probe and learned that there were P11 billion OWWA funds deposited in several banks. The question is: Was the money in the bank vaults? If there was indeed money in the banks, why did the government ask Congress for supplemental budget to fund the evacuation? Is it plausible then that the fund existed only on paper or made to exist on paper?

At about the same time, several advocacy groups demanded that the Commission on Audit (COA) conduct an audit on the OWWA fund amidst claims by OWWA officials that the fund was still "intact." However, no one in OWWA could produce any financial report that showed the status of the fund. The last known figure was given by Roque. He said that as of the end of 2004 the fund stood at P8.1 billion. Since one million OFWs leave for overseas placement every year and each paying US$25 to the OWWA fund upon departure, the OWWA fund should be at least P11 billion today. That's a lot of moolah for the "robbing hoods" to plunder. As Bragas-Regalado said, the OFWs are the "milking cows" of the government.

The other day, I received an email from Ding Bagasao, Chairman of the Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (ERCOF), informing me of the work of two Filipino-American fellows, Dovelyn Ranveig Agunias of the Migration Policy Institute and Neil Ruiz of the Brookings Institution, both of whom are based in Washington, DC. According to Bagasao, their paper, "Protecting Overseas Workers: Lessons and Cautions from the Philippines," will be the subject of a public forum in Manila, Philippines on the occasion of International Migrants Day on December 18, 2007. ERCOF will be a co-convenor of the forum. This would be a grand opportunity for the OFWs to air their grievances against government policies that denied them their rights.

The OWWA fund is the world's largest migrant welfare fund. However, as indicated by the COA audit for the 2005 year-end, there were allegations of juggling of OWWA funds. It's high time that reforms should -- nay, must -- be instituted in OWWA. It is ironic, however, that the government which benefits from the OFWs' remittances -- $15 billion this year -- has callously neglected them and turned a blind eye and deaf ears to their plight.

( PerryDiaz@gmail. com) ShareThis

Dubai's Own Little Manila

Dubai's Own Little Manila
By Jay B. Hilotin, Chief Reporter

A strip in Satwa from the Iranian Hospital to Al Maya Lal’s Supermarket is becoming a replica of Manila’s old downtown.

Satwa’s Al Hudaiba Street is often referred to by Filipinos as Dubai’s “Little Quiapo” after Manila’s busiest commercial district. Satwa offers a slice of home for thousands of Filipinos in Dubai where they socialise with their kababayans (compatriots) in restaurants offering Filipino food or while killing time on the steps of Al Maya Lal’s.

A Filipino-style ukay-ukay (secondhand) shop sits next to a row of Filipino restaurants. where bargain-hunters rummage for pasalubong (homecoming gifts) like shirts, electronics, toys and perfume to fill up their balikbayan (returner’s) boxes.

“Almost 90 per cent of our customers are kababayans,” said Al Maya Lal’s Supermarket cashier Ellen J., 32, who hails from Cavite, a coastal province in south Manila.

Filipino delicacies and foodstuff – from balut (boiled fertilised duck egg), daing na bangus (dried milk fish) chicharon (chicken skin or cracklings) and longanisa (Philippine-style sausage that evolved from the Spanish chorizo) – are in steady supply at Al Maya Lal’s as well as a number of supermarkets and grocers in Satwa.

Also competing for Filipinos’ attention are the DeBelchior Supermarket (opposite Al Maya Lal’s) and Philippine Supermarket which is strategically located near the junction of Al Wasl Road and Al Hudaiba Street.

Satwa’s downtown area is dotted with Filipino restaurants such as Chowking, Salt ’N’ Pepper, Big John and DeliBite.

Newly-arrived Filipinos are immediately baffled by the fine dining ambience at Jollibee on Al Diyafah Road which contrasts with the self-service style in the Philippines’ most popular fastfood chain.

Raju Gidwani, import and distribution manager of Dubai-based Shankar Trading Co, said the Filipino food market in the UAE has “doubled” in 2006 to about 600 container vans from 2000.
“Filipinos look for their own taste,” said Gidwani, whose company looks at an annual growth of up to 25 per cent for Manila’s Mama Sita, Jack n Jill, Lucky Me and Universal Robina food products.

Satwa is quite unlike the Filipinotowns in New York’s First Avenue or San Francisco’s Stockton or Batha in Riyadh.

Dubai’s “Little Manila” lies in the shadows of skyscrapers on Shaikh Zayed Road, near Burj Dubai, slated to be the world’s tallest man-made structure.

“Satwa is like a bedroom for Filipinos working in Al Quoz industrial area or Jebel Ali or one of Dubai’s many free zones,” said Merle Alba, a Filipino teacher working in the UAE for over 20 years and a Satwa resident.

Filipinos, like many Indians and Pakistanis here, live mostly in shared accommodation in flats or old villas whose owners have moved to the more posh districts.

Divine T., who lives in Al Jaffliya and who works for a cargo forwarding company, said: “Filipinos who came here for cheap accommodation have, in a way, enriched the character of Satwa.”
For an idea of how much Pinoys have integrated with Satwa’s daily life, check out Al Maya Lal’s message board, which is awash with ads for bunk bed or shared room accommodation “for Filipinos”.

A 10-minute head count on a lazy weekend afternoon on Al Hudaiba Street reveals that six of 10 people passing by are Filipinos.

A Philippine Consulate official estimates that up to 250,000 Filipinos have made the UAE their second home following the economic boom across the Emirates.

June B., one of the Filipino engineers helping build Dubai’s Metro rail system, said he feels at home walking around Satwa. “The skyscrapers and the occasional conversations in Hindi, Urdu or Arabic, however, are reminders I’m still in Dubai,” he said.

Proud Pinoy

Pinoy is a term used by Filipinos in referring to their compatriots in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world.

Pinoy is a term of endearment and is rarely used in formal settings. The term is akin to that of a nickname which is used by close family members and friends so that one who uses it has somehow already developed some close ties with Filipinos. It is sometimes used to display Filipino pride. ShareThis Read more...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maid says she stole passport to return home

Maid says she stole passport to return home
By Bassam Za'za', Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 06, 2007, 23:13

Dubai A housemaid has admitted that she stole her passport "only because she wanted to return to her country", a court heard yesterday.

"Yes I did steal my passport from my sponsor's cupboard only because I want to fly back home," the 24-year-old housemaid from Eritrea admitted before the Dubai Court of First Instance.

Confronted by the presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm, the suspect, V.J., denied that she stole gold jewellery and cash from her UAE national female sponsor, A.K, 31.

The Public Prosecution charged her with stealing her own passport and gold jewellery and about Dh10,000 in cash.

The victim said in her statement: "The defendant used to work at my house in Jumeirah. On the day of the incident, I realised that she absconded. When I checked our belongings, I discovered that she stole the set of gold and between Dh3,000 and Dh5,000 cash which she picked from my cupboard. She also stole her passport and labour card.

"Later, I also discovered that she stole some Dh5,000 from my father's bedroom," A.K. said in her statement.

Police arrested the defendant. The housemaid's own passport was found in her possession besides the other items which were reported stolen.

During her court appearance yesterday, the suspect defended herself and emphasised in a distressed voice that she didn't steal but only took her own passport "to return home".

A verdict will be issued in the case soon.

Theft: Female servant denies locking up employer

A housemaid has denied robbing her female sponsor and said she locked her up with her two children "to prevent anyone from entering the flat", heard a court yesterday.

The 25-year-old Filipina housemaid claimed that she kept her 40-year-old Egyptian female sponsor and her children, aged 5 and 7, behind locked doors to prevent anyone from going in.

"Yes. I did that to avoid anyone from entering," the suspect, identified as D.J., said before the Dubai Court of First Instance.

The Public Prosecution charged her with stealing gold jewellery worth Dh2,500 and illegally locking up the woman who was sleeping at the time and her children in the flat. She denied the theft as well.

The woman's husband testified: "My wife phoned and informed me that the housemaid was missing ... and they were locked in the house. Our neighbour ... freed my family."

A ruling will be issued soon. ShareThis

Sunday, November 4, 2007

OFW remittances seen doubling in three years

OFW remittances seen doubling in three years
Agence France Presse
Posted in

Money sent home to the Philippines by millions of Filipinos working abroad, already 10 percent of GDP, is expected to almost double to 21.4 billion dollars a year by 2010, officials forecast.

Alex Aguilar spokesman for the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said 2006 cash transfers rose to a record 12.8 billion dollars, as the government forecast an annual increase of about 10 percent.

However, officials say this figure could go much higher and Aguilar expects the rate of overseas remittances to increase by 15 to 20 percent annually to about 21.4 billion dollars by 2010 from 10.7 billion dollars in 2005.

He said the composition of workers leaving for overseas is shifting to professionals and other skilled higher-paid sectors, compared to maids and construction workers who dominated workers abroad 20 or 30 years ago.

Worker deployment actually dropped by 3.7 percent in the eight months to August, but the tilt to highly skilled workers allowed remittances to rise 15.3 percent to 9.3 billion dollars, he told reporters Sunday.

"Those who are saying the Philippines should stop relying on remittances are being ridiculous. The growth of remittances is definitely sustainable over the next several years," he added. ShareThis Read more...

Visa violators to pay hefty new penalties

Visa violators to pay hefty new penalties
By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 03, 2007, 23:29

Dubai: With the amnesty period ending yesterday, violators of the UAE residency law will now face strict action and penalties, Gulf News has learnt.

Sources told Gulf News that illegals will pay hefty fines and will also face deportation. They said as per new rules to be introduced soon, violators will not only face fines for each day of overstay but also administration fees from Dh2,000 to Dh10,000 depending on the period they overstay.

The rule will be applicable to those who overstay after the expiry of their residence, visit, tourist, transit, visit and mission visas.

Earlier, violators of residence permits had to pay Dh100 per day for overstaying in the country. But they could pay less fines in case they were unable to pay the full amount. But with the imposition of the new rule, they will have to pay the original fine and also face deportation. ShareThis Read more...

Court sentences duo in absentia for illicit affair

Court sentences duo in absentia for illicit affair
By Nasouh Nazzal, Staff Reporter
Published in Gulfnews: November 03, 2007, 23:29

Ras Al Khaimah: The Criminal Court here sentenced a Pakistani and a Filipina to three years imprisonment each in absentia for having an illicit affair.

A senior court official said the Emirati sponsor of the Filipina maid identified as A.D lodged a complaint with the police against his maid accusing her of committing adultery.

The Emirati sponsor found out about the maid's illegal relationship with a man at the Preventive Medicine department while processing her health card application. When the results of the medical fitness test came out, the physicians informed the Emirati that his maid was two months pregnant.

Earlier, the case was referred to the Public Prosecution which released M.M.H and bailed out A.D. The two suspects fled the UAE and returned to their homelands.

The case was then referred to the Criminal Court which sentenced them in absentia. ShareThis Read more...

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