Sunday, 31 August 2008

E-bikes arrives in India

E-bikes arrives in India
Mathrubhumi - English Edition

LUDHIANA: To overcome the increase in petrol and diesel prices, travellers in Punjab are taking to bikes powered by electricity, which reduce pollution and also reduce the commutation costs. In Punjab, the low-cost, easy to maintain and 'cool' e-bikes are all set to replace motorcycles and scooters. E-bike manufacturers in Punjab are gearing up to meet the demand for `plug in' and `ply' bikes.

These electric motorized bicycles or E-bikes are safe, convenient as well as economical. And, they are now catching the fancy of the common man in Punjab.E-bikes, meanwhile, have grabbed the attention of two-wheeler manufacturers too. Among the 80 manufacturers of e-bikes in India, 10 to 12 are big players.
The world's largest bicycle-maker Hero, in a joint venture with UK-based Ultra Motors Company, is manufacturing E-bikes branded as `Hero Electric', with the `ultra-powered' technology tag. Gaurav Munjal, Deputy Chief Executive, Hero Cycles Ltd., says: 'I think there is a huge potential for e-bikes because of it is economical. Their running cost is only 10 paise per kilometer while the scooter or motorbike costs around one rupee per kilometer. It is value for money.

Munjal added: 'They are safe. You can travel at 25 km per hour. You do not require license, registration and do not have to pay road tax. But, we recommend a helmet for safety.' Taking China as its role model, the Ludhiana-based e-bike manufacturer is out to tap the unexploited Indian market.

Available in several variants, e-bikes come with a price tag of 400 (rupees 17,520.39) to 700 U.S. dollars (rupees 30,607.05). The annual demand is growing from 500,000 e-bikes at present.

Propelled by a perfect tailwind of technology, high oil prices and the trend for all things green, global sales of bikes driven by battery-powered electric motors have climbed nearly 20 per cent since 2005, a trend projected to accelerate especially in developing countries, where the middle class is rising. Already a hit in China, Japan, Australia and United States, E-bikes are now catching the fancy of the Indians.

End fast 'with healthy food - not fast food'

End fast 'with healthy food - not fast food' By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 30, 2008, 23:47

Dubai: Changing one's diet during Ramadan with a focus on eating more fruit and vegetables and drinking less caffeine, is ideal to remain healthy and energised, a nutritionist has said.

This year's Ramadan, when Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink from sunrise until sundown, is set to be uncomfortable as it falls during September - at the tail-end of the hot and humid summer season.

Kelly Lynch, dietitian at Welcare World's City Hospital, told Gulf News that many tended to consume "incorrect foods" during Ramadan.

"People often complain about symptoms such as constipation, gastric acidity and increased cholesterol during fasting. These symptoms are all due to people eating the incorrect foods," she said. She said this is due to breaking the fast with high-fat foods, especially saturated animal fats, salt and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary foods.

These contribute to high cholesterol levels, while constipation is caused by dehydration and inadequate fibre intake. She advised people to consume one to two pieces of fruit after each meal, in addition to hummus and vegetables, to gain their vitamins, water and fibre.

"Any vegetable-based foods are good for you as long as they are not fried in fats and oils - salads like tabouleh and couscous are all healthy alternatives to fast foods," she said.

Drinking less coffee is also advisable. Coffee, she said, is a diuretic and can further dehydrate a person. Coffee addicts, she suggested, should switch to tea as it contains less caffeine.

Orientation programme in IT

Orientation programme in IT

The Academic Staff College under University of Kerala will be conducting a orientation programme (IT oriented) for college teachers from 11 Oct to 7 Nov. More details including application form can be had from Applications accompanied by the certificate of principal concerned will have to reach the Director, Academic Staff College, Golden Jubilee Building, University of Kerala, Karyavattom, Thiruvananthapuram - 695581 on or before 15 September.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Getting ready for the holy month of Ramadan

Getting ready for the holy month of Ramadan

Special Ramadan tents set for the Iftaar prayers at various places in Abu Dhabi.

Special tents set up by Abu Dhabi co-operative society to distribute food packets to break the fast after the Iftar prayers.

Recognising autism in your child

Recognising autism in your child

Medical researchers are exploring different explanations for the various forms of autism but no single cause has yet been ascertained.

Autism is a neurological disorder defined as a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal, non-verbal communication, and social interaction usually evident by age three that significantly affects a child’s educational performance.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health between 2 and 6 per 1,000 people have some form of autism. It occurs four times more commonly in boys than girls.


* Engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements
* Resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines
* Unusual response to sensory experiences, examples: loud noises, light, certain textures of food or fabric
* Communication problems (using and understanding language)
* Difficulty relating to people, objects, and events
* Unusual play with toys and other objects
* Children with autism vary widely in ability, intelligence, and behaviour
* Nearly 40-50% with autism do not talk
* Others often use a language that include repeated phrases or conversations


Diagnosis should be made by a professional experienced in the evaluation of children with developmental disorders (clinical psychologist, pediatric neurologist etc).

Diagnosis is based on the history of the child’s development provided by those who know the child well, as well as clinical observation of the child No blood tests or brain tests conclusively identify the presence of autism. No definitive diagnosis can be made before age three. Autism is also frequently accompanied by mental retardation
Medical researchers are exploring different explanations for the various forms of autism but no single cause has yet been ascertained.

Current research links autism to biological and neurological differences in the brain, and to the sufferer’s genes. Licensed psychologists can administer tests that are specially designed to look at a child’s problem solving skills without language. Tasks include – matching pictures, sort by category, remember series of pictures, duplicate design with blocks etc.

A certified speech language pathologist (SLP) can evaluate a child’s ability to use these kinds of non – verbal communication like looking, pointing, gesturing, or making sounds.


No medication can cure autism, and no one medication is recommended for individuals with autism
Medicines are helpful only for specific target symptoms associated with autism like aggression towards self and others, seizures etc.

Behaviour modification techniques and functional analysis of the child’s problems are taught to parents through education and discussion by the therapist.

Dr Varsha Dutta
The author is a clinical neuropsychologist, BGS Global Hospitals and can be contacted on 9986113090

Kozhikode becomes first e-literate city in Kerala

Kozhikode becomes first e-literate city in Kerala

Kozhikode, Aug 29: With over 93 per cent of the total households attaining 'cyber fluency', Kozhikode has achieved the distinction of becoming the first city in Kerala to attain cent per cent e-literacy.

An official declaration to this effect was made at a function here today.

The e-literacy scheme, launched in December 2005, worked towards the objective with concerted effort from the City Corporation and state-owned 'Akshaya e-centres.'

In all, 93.5 per cent of the 80,532 households have gained cyber fluency in the city.

In the first phase, the Corporation provided a 15-hour computer classes for one person from each family,supplementing a sum of Rs.64 lakh for various Akshaya projects.

The Akshaya centres are being converted into 'Janasevana Kendras' in the second phase,which will help the public make payments of power, water and BSNL bills at these centres.

`Internet for masses', `learn and speak English' and a special course to learn Arabic typing are also in the offing in the next phase.

Besides, the Corporation is also in the process of introducing e-krishi to provide information about various farm activities. Web portals would also be launched to give education and career details to help the general public.

New courses from IGNOU

New courses from IGNOU

Among the new programmes IGNOU plans to launch next year is one on Intellectual Property Rights

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is exploring the educational avenues opening up in the field of intellectual property rights (IPR) and cyber laws.

The university has come up with a two-year Master’s programme in IPR in collaboration with reputed Indian institutes and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. The objective of the course is to develop awareness, knowledge and practical skills in IPR issues. The programme aims at promoting a new brand of IPR lawyers and supporting professionals in the emerging world order. In addition to legal skills, the acquisition of in-depth knowledge and scholarship are the other features of the course.

The course will provide insights into the national and international scenario in areas of IPR. Various issues related to IPR like laws related to patents, protection of plant varieties, geographical indications, copyright, trademarks and industrial designs, will be part of the course.

The course will commence in January 2009. Students from all over the world are eligible for enrolment. Students who pass the first year of the Master’s programme at IGNOU will be eligible to proceed to QUT to complete the second year of the Master’s programme in IP Law and obtain both IGNOU and QUT degrees.

In cyber laws, the university is offering a Postgraduate Certificate programme based on self-learning instructional material with multimedia and teleconferencing support.

The main objective of the course is to give the learners a critical understanding of cyber laws in the emerging world in the light of social and intellectual property issues. It focusses on how to address the rapid changes in the field of information technology (IT). The course would have immense scope in dealing with consultancy in e-security, digital signatures, cryptography and so on.

The course has been designed keeping in view the fact that cyber crimes are a new class of crimes in India. The programme will have four compulsory courses, which range from cyber technology and social issues, regulation of cyberspace and commerce and cyberspace to privacy and data protection. Graduates in any discipline can enrol for the course.

The medium of instruction will be English. The fee is Rs.5,000. The first batch of this course began in July.


IGNOU is also launching a four-year B.Tech. course in aeronautical engineering. The delivery of the programme will be through face mode coupled with an open distance learning (ODL) component. This programme will commence in July 2009.

The course aims at creating awareness, knowledge and professional skills in the discipline.

Initially four centres will be activated in the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions of the country. Course material will be developed in collaboration with experts in the aviation sector.

The course objectives include development of technical professionals in the area of aeronautical engineering.

IGNOU has entered into a tie-up with the Aeronautical Engineering Research Organisation (AERO), Pune, to form a joint core group to oversee the planning and development of the programme and also to undertake and execute all such activities required for the fulfilment of the objectives described above.

AERO will set up fully-equipped office infrastructure for the project on the IGNOU campus. IGNOU has entered into a collaboration with the Dental Council of India (DCI) to launch two programmes in the open and distance learning mode from July 2008.

The programmes are of one year duration (30 credits each).

However, there is the flexibility to complete the programmes within three years. Both the programmes have been accredited by DCI. Since these programmes are through the open and distance learning education mode, one does not have to leave one’s established practices or work places except for the contact programmes. There is no age bar and fresh graduates can also apply.

A step to curb traffic at KOCHI

A step to curb traffic at KOCHI

ENS 27 Aug 2008 08:22:28 AM IST

KOCHI: How successful is the concept of car-pooling against the backdrop of the police move to collect token fee from single-passenger cars entering the city?

The concept suggests that if a number of people are coming from nearby places they can share a single vehicle. This will help avoiding unnecessary entry of vehicles into the city and fuel consumption.

While some people express their doubts about the feasibility of the concept, some others point out that already there are people going for car-pooling.

The city police have already sent a proposal to the state government seeking permission for collecting token fee from single-passenger cars entering the city. Once the proposal is implemented, people can park their vehicles near the South and North over-bridges and enter the city in public transports.

“People can park their vehicles near the over bridge and opt for circular service of public transports. The concept of car- pooling can be effectively implemented if people are ready for shared travelling. Advocates, who come to the High Court from one place can share a single vehicle. The court staff can also opt for pooling. There are lots of advocates using four-wheelers. Once they opt for car-pooling that itself will considerably reduce the traffic,’’ said City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham.

The concept would be suited for advocates coming from nearby places, said advocate Anchal Vijayan. “ concept is indeed welcoming. I think, it’s already a practise in some of the major cities like New Delhi. I feel that the concept can be used not only by advocates but also by others working in similar offices,’’ he said. What’s more? There are already people opted for car-pooling.

“ four-five people are coming from Kakkanad side. Hence, we decided that we can use a single car. Alternate vehicles will be used each day. Someday there will be four and some days five. Even though we didn’t start the system keeping this concept in mind, we find it very useful,’’ said a woman working with the High Court.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

For a Better Tomorrow - "Oru Nalla Nalekkuvendi"

Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust

cordially invites all dependents of Pravasees and Pravasees on vacation


its 153rd interactive program titled

"Oru Nalla Nalekkuvendi"

at Indian Medical Association Hall (IMA), Nearr. Collector's benglow,

Saturday, the 30th August at 10.30.a.m.

This program will discuss on the present condition of the people who returned from the Gulf without financial planning after decades of service abroad for permanent settlement and present condition of the Pravasees, increasing debt-trap among Pravasees, the roll of dependents to control expenditure, need of saving for the future, saving technique, various investment opportunities, how Micro Saving and Systematic Investment will help the people for the comfortable retired life.

I request all NRIs to pass this message to your friends from Kannur Dist.-- K.V ShamsudheenChairmanPravasi Bandhu Welfare TrustOverseas Contact: Post Box No. 940Sharjah, United Arab Emirates 00919745131310
SAVE PAPER - THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT! This E-mail is confidential. It may also be legally privileged. If you are not the addressee you may not copy, forward, disclose or use any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please delete it and all copies from your system and notify the sender immediately by return E-mail. Internet communications cannot be guaranteed to be timely secure, error or virus-free. The sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions.

Internal elements for personal identity

Internal elements for personal identity

Babita Narayanan for Express Buzz 21 Aug 2008 03:03:00 PM IST

WE have already initiated our process of personal branding with some of the external elements required.

I’m sure some of you who have started making certain changes in your appearance after reading the last column and must be feeling good about yourselves. I am replying to some of the queries I got on email about the internal elements that are necessary for the process of self packaging and creating your brand identity.

Every person is a sum of both internal and external factors which include several significant elements. Depending on the situation and the interaction, some of these combined elements always make an impact. It is difficult to determine which one of these has more significance or relevance.

Today let us journey into our inner selves and find out what internal elements determine a powerful personal identity.

1. SWOC analysis. Make an honest analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and concerns. Put it on paper. Take help from people close to you and let them give you a feedback. This will give you a picture of your present position. Now you know exactly what your opportunities are and what is stopping you.

2. Open Mind. Can you accept the analysis you have made of yourself in totality and the necessity to change them? Do it. Are you open to changes, advice, suggestions? Slowly develop a mind that is open, unbiased and clear to yourself. Establish a firm sense of self- acceptance.

3. Recognizing your true purpose. What really drives you? What is your purpose in life? This can allow you to make dramatic changes in our lives. Determining what your purpose is and pursuing it with passion can lead to a true renaissance in your personal and professional endeavors.

4. Self esteem- Value yourself. What image do you have of yourself ? Are you feeling good about yourself ? List out what is about you that makes you feel good and otherwise. You have to start loving yourself completely without being blind to the aspects that you need to change.

5. Level of confidence- A high level of balanced confidence is what will give anyone an edge. What is the level of confidence do you possess especially when you meet someone with authority or a stranger? Most of the times we find our confidence wavering when we meet people who are different from us or better than us and we feel threatened. Analyze yourself and be completely of your confidence in all situations.

6. The right attitude. The way you think, day in day out, affects all aspects of your life. What is your attitude towards yourself, towards your work, towards others and towards life itself ? Are you perpetually depressed, critical, complaining or nagging? Stop and listen to your “inner voice’. What is it saying? Most of the time, we hear our inner voice all negative and unhappy. Well, its time we know that ‘inner voice’ is completely controlled by us. Start the process.

Start by converting each of the negative thought to a positive one. Start with just one positive thought at a time and start developing a right attitude.

7. Positive Reinforcements- Make this your mantra. Repeat as often as possible n I need to change to achieve my goal and I will start the process today.

* I am unique, one of a kind.

* I will treat others the way I want to be treated.

* I cannot change my family; I can only change myself. I will love them for what they are.

When I smile, I feel better. So I am going to smile all day today.

* I am alive today. Let me be kind and loving to everyone I meet.

So go ahead and live life to the fullest brimming with joy and happiness.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A self-learning programme for students

A self-learning programme for students

Many students don’t understand basic concepts. Most often, a child does not try to clear his misconceptions due to a lack of opportunity or fear of embarrassment. Research through detailed student assessments provides insights on exactly where students are likely to have difficulties, and why.

Mindspark is a computer based adaptive self-learning programme launched under the flagship of Educational Initiatives. It's a learning system that allows the student to construct his own learning – at a pace he is comfortable with. It is an interactive system, where the student is not learning passively by listening to someone, or viewing ready-made solutions, but learning interactively by answering questions of progressively increasing complexity levels.

Students learn best when they control the pace of learning. There have been several successful experiments worldwide on this. Mindspark is a genesis of various such experiments.

A key advantage of Mindspark is the fact that it successfully harnesses the power of new technologies to bolster learning. An intelligent computer system uses a complex adaptive logic to decide what problem to serve up to a student next, based on his response to the current problem and problems answered earlier. The system is also able to identify when a student needs help to understand a concept, and proceeds to give her explanations that will help her move ahead.

The Mindspark programme, is available in 12 Maths modules, which covers most of the Maths content for Classes 3-7. "A special feature of the Mindspark programme is the way in which the questions are graded. The extremely fine gradation of questions allows the system to make sure that a child is truly thorough with a sub concept, before moving on to the next. It helps in pinpointing exactly where the child is having difficulties", said Sridhar Rajagopalan director of Educational Initiatives.

The programme is in line with the NCERT recommendations as well as ICSE, CBSE and various State boards. It focuses on understanding and analytical thinking, not just knowledge of facts, or drill in procedures.

Typically, a student would select a topic, and start with fundamental questions based on the topic. This is to ascertain that the student has a strong grounding in the topic. A student with a deeper understanding of that topic automatically moves ahead quickly to more advanced levels, while those who need to spend more time on the basics will be served up more questions of the basic level.

Whenever a student goes wrong in a particular type of question, a detailed, concept based explanation is provided for it. Often, the explanations are visual or animated rather than just textual, to facilitate quick grasping. This system of providing explanations allows the student to revisit the concept, and quickly figure out how to tackle subsequent problems on the concept.

Every week Mindspark will mail out a detailed report to the parents and teachers. These reports will show how far the child has reached on each topic, the time taken by the child, the success rate and number of logins and so on. In addition, it will provide the teachers with data on rest of the class too.

The programme can be accessed through the internet at all times from the site There is a choice of three packs for customers – of one, six and twelve months respectively - the one year pack costs Rs. 2,499 plus taxes.

Google Suggest finally goes live!

Google Suggest finally goes live!

27 Aug, 2008, 0937 hrs IST,INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Another search feature is set to move out of Google Lab and go mainstream. The feature, called Google Suggest automatically recommends options for the rest of your search term as you type based on the most popular searches, will go live next week.

According to Jennifer Liu, Product Manager with Google, "Over the next week we'll be rolling this out so that more and more of you will start seeing a list of query suggestions when you start typing into the search box."

According to the blog, Google Suggest will help users in the following ways:

Help formulate queries: Instead of just typing [hotels in Washington] -- did you want [hotels in Washington dc] or [hotels in Washington state]? Don't remember that song title or person's name? Let Google help you search (and yes, I ended up choosing "From This Moment" as our wedding song).

Reduce spelling errors: Since suggestions are spell-corrected using the same "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, misspellings and typos can be corrected ahead of time. Instead of wasting your time with a misspelled query like [new yrok times] or [tomorow never dies], search the first time with the correctly-spelled query.

Saves keystrokes: Who wants to spend their time typing [San Francisco chronicle] when you can just type in San F..." and choose the suggestion right away?

Incense sticks linked to cancer

Incense sticks linked to cancer
27 Aug 2008, 0013 hrs IST,REUTERS

NEW YORK: Burning incense may create a sweet scent, but regularly inhaling the smoke could put people at risk of cancers of the respiratory tract, researchers reported.

In a study of more than 61,000 ethnic Chinese living in Singapore who were followed for up to 12 years, the investigators found a link between heavy incense use and various respiratory cancers.

The findings are published in the medical journal Cancer on Monday.

Incense has been used for millennia in many cultures' religious and spiritual ceremonies. In Asia, people commonly burn incense in their homes - a practice that is becoming more popular in western countries as well.

Incense is usually derived from fragrant plant materials, like tree bark, resins, roots, flowers and essential oils. Past research has found that burning these materials can produce potentially cancer-causing substances, including benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.

However, no studies until now had linked the practice of burning incense to an increased cancer risk over time, according to the researchers, led by Jeppe Friborg of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.

For their study, the researchers followed 61,320 Singapore Chinese men and women between the ages of 45 and 74 from the Hokkien or Cantonese dialect group. All of the subjects were cancer-free at the outset.

Participants reported on their typical incense use, including how often they burned it in their homes and for how long - only at night, for instance, or all day and night.

Over the next 12 years, 325 men and women developed cancer of the upper respiratory tract, such as nasal, oral or throat cancer. Another 821 developed lung cancer.

The researchers found that incense use was associated with a statistically significant higher risk of cancers of the upper respiratory tract, with the exception of nasopharyngeal cancer. However, they observed no overall effect on lung cancer risk.

Those who used incense heavily also had higher rates of a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which refers to tumors that arise in the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the body. The risk was seen in smokers and nonsmokers.

Study participants who used incense in their homes all day or throughout the day and night were 80% more likely than non-users to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the entire respiratory tract.

Mathubhumi newspaper online English Edition started

International PG Certificate Course in Photography Design at NID

International PG Certificate Course in Photography Design at NID

New Delhi, August 18 : The innovative twin certificate course provides the student with creative and intellectual environment to enable them to develop their personal aspirations within the community of their peers, and broader network of artists, designers and industry professionals. It is intended for graduates who have appropriate background in photography and who wish to undertake further studies in practice, theory and creative interest of photography.

The course has a focus on research, in areas such as history, critique and theory of photography practice, the course is designed in such a way that to equip the students with the advanced knowledge of debates that have shaped the practice of photography and to place their work
in the context of professional practice which is being necessary connsidered by digital world.

The course runs over two semesters (1 year) full-time and offers the opportunity for students to undertake some part of the semester two of their course at University College of Creative Arts, Farnham, UK. And the award will be a post graduate certificate.


Forms and information can be obtained from Academic Office, NID, Ahmedabad directly by sending Demand Draft at any Scheduled Bank payable at Ahmedabad for Rs. 1500/-. Forms downloaded from NID's website, along with required amount of DD drawn in favor of National Institute of Design, payable at Ahmedabad will also be accepted.

National Institute of Design is internationally acclaimed as one of the finest educational and research institutions of Industrial, communication, Textile and IT integrated design.

The Business Week, USA has listed NID as one of the top 25 European & Asian programmes in the world NID is an autonomous institution under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India and is recognized by Dept. of Scientific and Industrial Research, Govt. of India as a Scientific & Industrial research organisation.The institute offers Graduate Programme in Design (GDPD) in its Heritage Campus, Ahmedabad and Post-Graduate Diploma Programme in Design (PGDPD) in its three campuses.


Students coming from a number of different academic backgrounds, including first degree courses in photography and wide variety of other fields including: (BFA/B.Arch/B.Des/B.Litt/Graduation in Commn.Media, Film and TV, Mass Media/or Equivalent/ or Graduates in any discipline with one year relevant industry experience/ creative pursuits). The screening will be based on the assessment of portfolio consisting of photographs or creative expressions demonstrating their conceptual and technical skills. Once shortlisted the students will be called for personal interview.

Selected candidates are expected to have basic equipments such as digital SLR/Analog SLR, required for their work. Specialist equipment and other facilities will be provided by the institute for the course.

FEE for the non- residential course: Rs. 2.5 lacs Overseas travel/stay is entirely optional and will be extra estimated at Rs.25,000 for to and fro travel (from Ahmedabad to London and back ) For residential facility students can opt for NID's Infocity Hostel for which payment for room and mess will be extra and will be extra estimated at Rs.36,000 per annum


Issuing of forms starts from:
August 18, 2008, Monday

Last date for obtaining forms from BOI and issuing forms
by post from NID and NID website:
September 12, 2008, Friday

Last date for receiving completed forms and portfolio of
works by NID:
September 12, 2008, Friday

Interview of selected candidates:
October 14,Tuesdaay

The course starts in November 2008

Program Co-ordinator, PGC-PD
National Institute of Design
Paldi, Ahmedabad 380 007, India
Phone: +91-79-2662 3692/ 2662 3462
Fax: +91-79-2662 1167

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Artscape Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 28th August 2008

Artscape Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 28th August 2008

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Know Safety No Pain - campaign by Dubai Municipality

Know Safety No Pain - campaign by Dubai Municipality

'Safety at work' is being stressed currently by the Dubai Municipality and its allied departments. A slogan put up at a Dubai Metro construction site on Khalid Ibn Waleed Road highlights the theme of the campaign. - 'Know safety, No Pain and No Safety, Know Pain. - Photo by Mukesh Kamal KHALEEJ TIMES

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Flying Rocketman Steve Hooker soars to gold

Flying Rocketman Steve Hooker soars to gold

A multi exposure image shwoing Australia's Steve Hooker clearing the bar in the men's pole vault final during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Hooker set an Olympic record of 5.96 metres to win the men's pole vault gold medal.

Flying Rocketman Steve Hooker soars to gold

STEVE Hooker, who once feared the pole vault so much that he struggled to get off the ground, soared to an Olympic gold medal in the Bird's Nest Stadium early this morning.

The 26-year-old became the first Australian man to win an Olympic medal in the daredevil event, completing a series of clutch jumps in a nerve-racking duel with Russia's steely competitor Yevgeny Lukyanenko.

``Rocketman'' Hooker, whose mother was an Olympic long jumper and father a Commonwealth Games runner, won Australia's first track and field gold medal since Cathy Freeman in Sydney 2000. At 5.90m, Lukyanenko and Hooker traded misses until the Russian faltered on his third and last try. That left Hooker to clear the height, with a gold medal on the line.

He sped down the runway, pushed hard off the bar and cleared it, his mouth wide with delight as he thumped to the landing bags. His coach, Alex Parnov, jumped the fence and ran into the arms of the lanky Hooker.

STEVE Hooker, who once feared the pole vault so much that he struggled to get off the ground, soared to an Olympic gold medal in the Bird's Nest Stadium early this morning.

The 26-year-old became the first Australian man to win an Olympic medal in the daredevil event, completing a series of clutch jumps in a nerve-racking duel with Russia's steely competitor Yevgeny Lukyanenko.

``Rocketman'' Hooker, whose mother was an Olympic long jumper and father a Commonwealth Games runner, won Australia's first track and field gold medal since Cathy Freeman in Sydney 2000. At 5.90m, Lukyanenko and Hooker traded misses until the Russian faltered on his third and last try. That left Hooker to clear the height, with a gold medal on the line.

He sped down the runway, pushed hard off the bar and cleared it, his mouth wide with delight as he thumped to the landing bags. His coach, Alex Parnov, jumped the fence and ran into the arms of the lanky Hooker.

But the highlight was Hooker's extraordinary performance capped by the emotional celebration with coach Parnov.

After winning the gold, Hooker went on to clear an Olympic record height of 5.96m.

Hooker, who hails from Melbourne but is based in Perth with pole vault guru Parnov - who also coached 2000 silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva - has been one of Australia's strongest performers on the international circuit for three years and was ranked number one in the world in 2006.

He failed to make good on that promise in 2007, bombing out at the world championships.
But he was in the process of changing his technique, with the aim of going higher than ever before. It paid off when he cleared 6m in Perth early this year and then 5.97m in his last competition in Europe before the Games, again in a duel with Lukyanenko.

They went into the Olympic final as the in-form jumpers and they played a cat-and-mouse game with each other over more than two and a half hours last night.

Hooker led early on in the event when he cleared 5.60m on his first attempt, but he dropped back when he missed his first two tries at 5.80m, while Lukyanenko went to first position when he didn't miss.

The competition tightened at 5.90m, as Lukyanenko and Hooker went jump for jump, but it was eventually the Australian who prevailed on a day that will go down as one of the greatest for Australian athletics.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Photo Speaks - Animal Kingdom

Some previously blocked web sites now accessible

Some previously blocked web sites now accessible
By Asma Ali Zain KHALEEJ TIMES 21 August 2008

DUBAI - As the deadline to unblock 1,000 Internet sites in the country nears, some previously blocked medical sites are now accessible.

However, industry sources say that a majority of the popular social networking sites are likely to remain blocked. Earlier this month, the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced that web service providers, Etisalat and du, would be asked to unblock 1,000 sites by August 29 under its new 'Internet Access Management Policy'. The service providers, on the other hand, claimed they had not been officially notified by the TRA in the matter.

A TRA official said the authority was unable to provide the list, but an investigation carried out by Khaleej Times showed that certain networking and medical sites that were previously blocked, were now accessible.

Industry insiders said that, in fact, there was no particular list of the 1,000 web sites to be unblocked, but categories to be opened up include some social networking sites, Internet forums and medical sites.

"Even after the decision is implemented, not much is expected to change because the initial Internet policy is not changing. Web sites that are against the UAE's Internet censorship policy will remain blocked and they may include social networking channels," said the official.

The decision means that 25 per cent of the currently blocked sites would, henceforth, be accessible, the official pointed out. He, however, was unable to clarify how many sites were currently blocked by the TRA.

Networking sites such as Orkut and Flickr are considered 'dating' sites, and therefore, fall under the TRA's Internet censorship policy. Certain sites are blocked because they are against the country's religious, social and moral values. But some medical and religious sites were previously blocked in error by a filtering software triggered due to a series of keywords such as sex, terrorism etc.

The sites currently accessible are: Hi5, StumbleUpon, MySpace. Friendster.

The temporary blockage of FaceBook and YouTube last year had sparked an outrage among the Internet community.

The previously banned medical sites such as and too, are now accessible.

The news that sites such as Orkut will continue to be blocked, has dashed hopes of majority of youngsters for whom socializing through the electronic network is the 'coolest' way.

Small change can make big difference

Mariam Al Roumi, UAE Minister of Social Affairs, and Nasser Al Sha'ali, CEO of the DIFC Authority, during the launch of the "Dirham Wa Bas" campaign.

Small change can make big difference
Staff Report GULF NEWS Published: August 20, 2008, 23:44

Dubai: One dirham only can go a long way towards helping others in a new campaign launched by the Ministry of Social Affairs' Social Responsibility Fund.

The "Dirham Wa Bas" (One dirham only) campaign aims to raise funds for social care and development projects in the UAE. It is being supported by the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Mariam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs, said: "The Dirham Wa Bas campaign aims to support sections of society that need our help, such as people with limited income, disabilities and the elderly. Everyone can contribute to this campaign. All financial contributions, starting from as little as one dirham, are needed and appreciated. The campaign is part of the Social Responsibility Fund's objective of bridging the gap between the public and private sector and uniting them to address and solve social and community issues."

The public will be encouraged to donate as little as one dirham, which can be deposited at donation boxes across the UAE. These locations include Emarat petrol stations, major shopping malls and retail stores.

"The Dirham Wa Bas campaign will tap the power of public participation to contribute towards social causes in the UAE. Small contributions can add up to make a huge difference. We seek the support of all members of the public across the UAE to make the Dirham Wa Bas campaign a success," Al Roumi said.

The DIFC will be supporting the campaign by offering marketing expertise and developing publicity campaigns, which will target the retail industry and the public.

Nasser Al Sha'ali, CEO of the DIFC Authority, said: "The Dirham Wa Bas campaign is a wonderful example of how different sectors of society, including the Government and the private sector, can work together to involve the individual in contributing towards social issues in the UAE. DIFC's support for the campaign is based on our strong belief that corporate organisations have an important role to play in the development and welfare of the community. We are committed to contributing to the well-being of the society we are part of."

The Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Municipality and Telecoms provider Du will also be offering support.

How to participate

* Donation boxes will be placed in shopping malls, Emarat petrol stations and retail stores.
* The public are being invited to donate as little as Dh1.
* The elderly, disabled and those on limited incomes are set to benefit from the donations, via the Social Responsibility Fund.
* The campaign was launched yesterday and will run until December.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

I love to be alone at the top - Yelena Isinbayeva

I love to be alone at the top - Yelena Isinbayeva
What a stellar performance! No words or emotions to describe this achievement. One can imagine the efforts, hardwork, determination involved in display of this outstanding display of excellence in the history of athletics. But, what made me focus this athlete is her post-victory press statement. Simple - I love to be alone at the top - It's so cool.
The reigning double world and triple European champion cleared 5.05 metres, once centimetre higher than her own world record in Pole Vault of 5.04 metres set in Monaco last month.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

If and when it rains at Abu Dhabi

If and when it rains at Abu Dhabi

If and when it rains at Abu Dhabi

Life lessons from Michael Phelps

Life lessons from Michael Phelps
August 18, 2008 , Rediff News

At 23, Michael Fred Phelps has become an international sporting sensation.

The young American swimmer has smashed seven world records and won eight gold medals at the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], the first athlete ever to secure first place so many times at a single Olympics Games.

Given his success, it's easy to slot Phelps into the 'born achievers' category -- at 23, he's established a glorious career doing what he loves best, he's a millionaire, a world record-holder and the pride of his nation.

But hold on a minute -- is Michael Phelps [Images] really a born achiever?

He may beg to differ.

At the age of seven Phelps, the youngest of three children, was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For those not familiar with the condition, ADHD is a childhood condition characterised by constant activity, impulsive behaviour and the inability to focus one's attention on anything for a short span of time.

ADHD is treated with therapy and medication, but is not classified as curable -- as per information on the website, about 60 percent of afflicted kids carry the condition into adulthood.

To help release his pent-up energy and to emulate his older sisters who were also accomplished swimmers, Phelps took up swimming, starting to outshine his peers right from the start.

At the age of nine, Michael's parents divorced. His mother brought up all three children single-handedly, encouraging them to follow their dreams at all costs -- one middle-school teacher even told Michael's mother he would never be a success.

But successful Phelps is, and how.

Yes, there are the occasional set-backs. Like the time back in 2004 when Phelps, then 19, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was under the legal drinking age limit of 21 in any case and to top it he was driving in an inebriated state. A repentant Phelps pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months probation, saying in court, "I recognise the seriousness of this mistake. I've learned from this mistake and will continue learning from this mistake for the rest of my life."

So who is Michael Phelps? He was a regular kid who struggled with an irregular condition and the divorce of his parents. He's young, he excels at what he does and like the rest of us, slips up once in a while.

And what life lessons do his struggles and successes hold for us?

Deal with your own issues effectively -- Michael certainly dealt with ADHD and his parents' divorce that way. His mother helped him cope up with his condition and channeled his energy into what he loved.

Cut out the drama -- Michael's story is inspirational but at the same time, neither the young man nor his family have exploited their experiences to sensationalise his life. They've told it like it is.

Zero in on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses -- He was less than an average student at school, but Michael was a passionate and dedicated student of his sport. The young swimmer is known to have studied tapes of his races over and over, zeroing in on mistakes and working towards bettering himself constantly. Excellent is still not good enough.

Remain focused on your goals -- At the Athens Olympics back in 2004, Phelps was beaten by teammate Ian Crocker beat in the 100m butterfly. He put up a poster of Crocker in his room to motivate him and keeps a list of his career goals beside his bed.

Pursue what you love with passion and put in a genuine effort -- Phelps' dedication to swimming was apparent back when he was nine and began to break national records in his age group. His commitment to what he does has grown with him.

It's not just his career and his unbelievable performance at the Olympics that classify Phelps as a winner -- it's his story of inspiration that makes him a real champion, a youth icon, somebody to look up to.

Water taxis to relieve Dubai jams

Water taxis to relieve Dubai jams
Greg Aris THE NATIONAL Last Updated: August 03. 2008 10:37

A new fleet of water taxis will ferry commuters and tourists around Dubai from the middle of next year – bringing some much-needed relief to motorists stuck in traffic jams across the city.As part of the Roads and Traffic Authority’s plans to break the gridlock on the city’s roads, 20 water taxi stations and 10 new water taxis are scheduled to be up and running by the middle of next year.

Dubai Marina will have four stations with other drop-off points at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort, Habtoor Grand, Royal Meridian and Jumeirah Hilton Hotels. Improvement work to some existing stations, such as Bur Dubai and Old Deira Souk Station, will also be carried out.The modern, air-conditioned boats will be more expensive rivals to the city’s traditional abras.“Twenty locations have been approved for establishing water taxi stations during the initial phase of the project, which will contribute to alleviating traffic congestion in Dubai,” said Khaled Mohammed al Zahed, the acting chief executive of RTA’s marine agency.

“The project will be specifically important following the completion of giant maritime projects such as the Palm Deira, Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and The World.”The taxis, which can be booked only by phone, will carry up to 11 passengers and will be available for hire for tourists trips along the creek, Mr Zahed said.“In the initial stage, 10 boats, costing Dh30 million (US$8.1m), will operate as water taxis,” he said. “The project also covers Al Khor lines, the Coastal Line running along Jumeirah coast to serve tourists in the emirate, and the line linking downtown Dubai with the Palms projects and The World.”

The number of passengers crossing the creek by water has increased by 10 per cent since last year. The RTA’s marine agency is promoting water taxis – along with Dubai Creek’s abras and water buses – as a cheap, efficient mode of transport to cut traffic. Abras carried more than 7.5 million passengers in the first three months of this year, a 10 per cent rise from the corresponding period the year before. The boats, which cost Dh1 per trip, shuttle passengers between Deira Old Souq Station and Bur Dubai Station, and Dubai Old Souk Station and Al Sabkha Station.

Motorists to get meals on road during Ramadan

Motorists to get meals on road during Ramadan
Haneen Last Updated: August 18. 2008 THE NATIONAL

Red Crescent will distribute fast-food meals on roads leading from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, Dubai and Al Sela before sunset during Ramadan.The initiative is part of the charity’s food distribution project Hefth al Neama (saving food). The project manager, Sultan al Shehhi, said about 1,500 meals would be distributed from bases on the side of roads near petrol stations.

“We’ve co-ordinated with a number of foodstuff companies and hotels,” he said. “Mainly the meals will be light, for motorists to break their fast while travelling long distances.”Hefth al Neama has been operating since 2004 under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan, the assistant to the chief of the Women’s Affairs Authority, and aims to limit the amount of food wasted at big celebrations and events.

“There are a lot of weddings in the UAE where food is served in big amounts,” said Mr Shehhi. “Therefore, the food that is left untouched and in good condition is packed and distributed to needy families, orphans and labour camps. We aim to spread awareness among society that food is a blessing and should not be put to waste.”The secretary general of Red Crescent, Dr Saleh al Taei, said 88,870 meals donated by restaurants, hotels and benefactors had been given to the needy in the past year. Beneficiaries included 1,600 labourers and 700 families.

“We also co-ordinate with school catering companies to give away sandwiches that are left over. Sometimes, there are up to 1,500 sandwiches left, so at noon we give them out to workers; each get two sandwiches and juice.”Mr Shehhi said the food was given out on a day-to-day basis before its expiry date.“We are also co-ordinating with Abu Dhabi Inspection Control to inform us about foodstuff left over in food companies two months before its expiry date, so we can distribute it to those in need before the companies destroy it,” he said.”

He added that Red Crescent hoped to extend the project across the UAE.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Taxation courses

Taxation courses
Monday August 18 2008 11:48 IST Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The last date for submitting aplications for the Post- graduate Diploma in Taxation (PGDT) and Diploma in Sales Taxation (DST) courses conducted by the Centre for Taxation Studies under the State Government, has been extended up to September 6.

Prospectus and application form for the PGDT course can be obtained on payment of Rs 60 by cash/DD/MO in favour of the Registrar, Centre for Taxation Studies, Kaimanam, Pappanamcode PO, Thiruvanantghapuram-18 and for the DST course on payment of Rs 50.(Phone no: 2491490/2490883/2491334)

Dubai institute offers new real estate degree programmes

Dubai institute offers new real estate degree programmes
Monday August 18 2008 11:48 IST IANS

DUBAI: Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), the Gulf's first institute to focus solely on real estate education, Saturday announced the launch of its three latest degree programmes.

The latest programmes will encompass three in-built degrees; master of real estate development, graduate diploma in real estate, and certificate in real estate, according to a DREI statement issued here.

"We are committed to introducing the most relevant programmes in real estate education," Salem Al Shafiei, managing director of DREI, said in the statement.

"By introducing this unique programme, DREI supports the development of the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs, and equips them with the ability to deal with dynamic challenges in the local, regional and global real estate industry," he added.

The six Gulf nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are witnessing a huge construction boom.

Projects currently under way in the region are valued at over $1.9 trillion.

DREI plans to enroll 35 executive graduate students for its new postgraduate programme, the deadline for submission of applications of which is Oct 8, 2008. The course starts Oct 28, 2008.

The master of real estate development is a three-semester degree programme, comprising twelve courses with a total of 120 credit hours, allocating 10 credit hours for each course and inclusive of a research project.

"Besides acquiring cutting edge knowledge, the scope covered in the master's programme will include a fair amount of practical learning," Al Shafiei said.

"It will also equip participants with advanced analytical techniques to guarantee professional success and career growth in the real estate sector."

The new degrees are being delivered by DREI in partnership with Australia's Bond University.

Jet Airways starts daily flights to Mumbai and New Delhi from Dubai

Jet Airways starts daily flights to Mumbai and New Delhi from Dubai
By Jose Franco By a staff reporter - KHALEEJ TIMES 18 August 2008

DUBAI - Jet Airways will start daily flights from Dubai to Mumbai and New Delhi on Saturday, as the Indian airline has embarked on a major expansion plan that includes Dh13.59 billion ($3.7 billion) worth of investment in new aircraft.

The company's chairman, Naresh Goyal, on Sunday said Dubai is Jet Airways' second destination in the UAE after Abu Dhabi and the sixth in its Gulf network.

'Dubai is extremely important to us, and we don't want to be left out,' he said in a media briefing.

He added that flights to Saudi Arabia would also begin in October, the same month that his company is to realise a partnership agreement with Emirates Airline to have a bigger market share of the regional market.

Jet Airways has also begun operations on the India-Gulf routes to Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha and Muscat. It also plans to its Brussels hub to connect more cities in India such as Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Chennai and Hyderabad to North America, particularly Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver.

In a statement early this month, Goyal announced the deliveries for the first of the 20-wide body aircraft in July. Valued at Dh7.71 billion ($2.1 billion), the order is composed of 10 Boeing B777-300ER and 10 Airbus A330-200.

Jet Airways also holds options for additional aircraft from both companies, and has recently signed a purchase agreement for 10 Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft with deliveries starting 2011 and valued at Dh5.88 billion ($1.6 billion).

'In all, Jet Airways will invest $3.7 billion in new aircraft pursuing an aggressive growth strategy,' the statement said.

Gaurang Shetty, the company's senior vice-president for alliance and interline distribution, said higher revenues are expected due to massive growth and expansion programme. Last year's turnover reached Dh7.86 billion ($2.14 billion).

He said the airline management has two airways including the budget carrier LetLite, which Jet Airways bought last year, bringing to 109 its current number of aircraft offering 526 flights daily to customers.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE

Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 12, 2008, 11:32

Dubai: The Department of Naturalisation and Residency in Dubai (DNRD) has announced a mechanism to offer mandatory health insurance coverage to visitors, ending speculations among insurance providers, tour operators and residents regarding the new system.

Ministerial decision number 322 for the year 2008 makes health insurance mandatory to obtain any type of visit visa to the UAE. The new rule came into effect from July 29.

Brigadier Obaid Bin Surour, Acting Director of DNRD, announced yesterday that the department has concluded an agreement with two insurance companies; Oman and Aman to issue health insurance policies for visitors to Dubai with a minimum coverage of Dh150,000 per person per visit.

As per the agreement, the two insurance companies will offer three different types of health policies according to the visit periods. Prices start from Dh40 for short-term visas valid for 30 days; Dh90 for visas valid for 90 days; and Dh185 for multiple entry visas valid for 180 days. Bin Surour explained that these policies will cover accidents and emergencies during the visitor's stay in the country.

The agreement implied that the beneficiary will receive treatment in a shared hospital room in case of emergencies. It indicated that the two companies will cover 100 per cent of services to be offered to the patient through a network covered by insurance companies in the country.

The agreement also obligates the insurance company to return the body of the insured person to his country in case of death, paying up to Dh7,000 of the costs incurred.

Bin Surour added that the agreement does not cover medical treatment outside the health services providers' network, except in the case of emergency life threatening cases.

The policy also does not cover chronic illnesses and it will include treatment of serious complications of already existing chronic illnesses in the emergency room only. It also does not cover pregnancy, delivery and ophthalmology or dental treatment.

Health insurance policies for visitors can be obtained from special counters to be set up at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency's headquarters in Bur Dubai, and other branches in Abu Hail, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport, DNATA office on Shaikh Zayed Road, Umm Suqeim, Jebel Ali and Bin Souqat Centre in Rashidiya.

Electronic link

Bin Surour added that the system will be linked electronically with the DNRD main electronic online services soon.

When asked why the two companies were selected by the department, Bin Surour said, "The department received a number of proposals from several companies and appointed the companies that offered the most suitable offers and quality of services in order to streamline the procedures for all visitors and ensure a comfortable stay in the country."

However, he added that health coverage policies issued by other companies will also be accepted provided they meet the same criteria including the minimum limit of Dh150,000 and the types of services offered like emergencies and repatriation of bodies.

Meanwhile, visitors who are already covered under a international insurance policy need not take local coverage. Likewise, companies and tour operators that bring in visitors should arrange for health insurance policies for their guests.

Meanwhile, National Health Insurance Company (Daman) has announced it will offer three schemes valid for 30, 60 and 90 days at premiums of Dh40, Dh70 and Dh90 respectively.

This covers emergency medical treatment at Daman's UAE network, with the upper limit being Dh100,000 per person. The coverage would exclude out-patient consultations and services such as dental care and child delivery.

By Shakir Husain Staff Reporter

Dubai Insurance companies said yesterday they are well-prepared to offer health coverage to foreign visitors but want official guidelines on the subject in order to better design their policies.

They welcomed the introduction of compulsory travel health insurance requirement for people entering the country.

Good system

"We think it is a good system because the country relies a lot on tourism. We have visitors [annually] more than the population of the country, so it is also good for insurance companies," said Saleh Bin Rashid Al Daheri, vice-chairman of Emirates Insurance Association, an industry group representing 50 insurers.

The UAE receives about 10 million tourists a year and their numbers are growing with the rapid expansion in local tourism infrastructure.

He said most insurance companies have the necessary experience in providing medical coverage and would be able to deliver products to visitors as required by the new visit visa regulation.

Al Daheri, who is a board member of Al Dhafra Insurance Company, however regretted that the industry was not consulted before the government introduced the scheme.

This led to some confusion in the market about financial limit of the coverage, premiums and legal requirements.

"We are hoping that the authorities concerned will issue guidelines to all insurance companies in this regard soon," said Mustafa Vazayil, secretary-general of the Insurance Business Group under the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Vazayil, who is also managing director of Gargash Insurance, said the local insurance was already providing medial and travel coverage to outbound travellers.

Rules: Dh1,000 deposit

* Tourist visas can only be applied for by a licensed hotel or a tourism agency.
* Residents can apply for a visa for their spouse or blood relative.
* Expatriates are no longer be allowed to sponsor friends, and all visitors should have a health insurance cover.
* People applying for any visa will have to pay a refundable deposit of Dh1,000.
* Medical treatment visas can only be applied through licensed hospitals and clinics.
* Education visas can only be applied by a licensed educational institution.
* Exhibition and conference visas can only be applied for by the organisers.
* Visitors have to go back to their home country to renew the visit visa.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Executive MBA Entrance

Executive MBA Entrance

The Xavier Institute of Management Education, Electronics City, Bangalore, has announced its one-year Executive Programme in Management, leading to the Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) in 15 months. Applicants must have five years of executive experience. The programme comprises four terms of 12 weeks’ duration and an industrial project of three months. The classes start on September 15.

A boost to hotel management studies

A boost to hotel management studies

A new State Institute of Hospitality Management has started functioning in Kozhikode.

The State Institute of Hospitality Management, Kozhikode, established by the State government with funds from the Centre, began functioning at the Yathri Nivas in Kozhikode on August 4.

The new institute is an addition to the State’s other prestigious institutions in the field of tourism and hotel management such as the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Kovalam, and the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Trave l Studies (KITTS), Thiruvananthapuram.

The Institute is temporarily functioning from Yathri Nivas, run by the Tourism Department, at West Hill, Kozhikode. The government had identified five acres of land, currently with the Kerala Soaps and Oils Limited, for setting up the institute. The institute is expected to be shifted to the new campus within three years.


The institute offers B.Sc. hospitality and hotel administration course. This three-year regular programme is offered jointly by the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) and the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.

NCHMCT, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, conducts a national-level Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admission to hospitality and hotel administration courses and other courses in 21 Central institutes, five State institutes and a few private institutes. The institute at Kozhikode, like the one at Kovalam, bases its admissions on the JEE rank list.

Entrance test

The minimum qualification for appearing for JEE is a pass in Plus Two or equivalent with English as one of the compulsory subjects. Those appearing in the final examination are also eligible to appear in JEE 2008. They will be considered on provisional basis. (For more details, visit

The upper age limit for candidates belonging to the general and differently-abled categories is 22 years. In the case of candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes categories, the upper age limit is 25 years.

The three-hour test will have questions covering numerical ability and scientific aptitude (30 questions), reasoning and logical deduction (30 questions), general knowledge and current affairs (30 questions), English language (80 questions) and aptitude for service sector (30 questions). For each right answer the candidate will get one mark. Wrong answers will invite negative marking, half mark for every wrong answer. There will not be any negative marking for aptitude for service sector section. The test for the academic year 2008-09 was held on May 10, 2008 and admissions are almost over in majority of institutes across the country.

The B.Sc. programme equips students with the skills, knowledge and attitude required to efficiently discharge supervisory responsibilities in the hospitality sector. It provides in-depth laboratory work for students to acquire required knowledge and skill standards in the operational areas of food production, food and beverage service, front office operation and house keeping and provides managerial inputs in hotel accountancy, food safety and quality, human resource management, facility planning, financial management, strategic management, tourism marketing and tourism management.

The institute at Kozhikode has 60 seats for its B.Sc. programme. Already 48 students have joined, only four or five of them are from Kerala. “Good communication skills in English is very important to get an admission and also to excel in the course and afterwards,” says Krishnan Namboothiri, principal of the institute.


According to reports, majority of the students passing out of these institutes under NCHMCT across the country get placement in the hospitality and other service sectors. “Many of the students who have learned this course are working in prominent star hotels run by the Taj and Oberoi groups,” Mr. Namboodiri says.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai pass on Sharjah visa rule

Abu Dhabi and Dubai pass on Sharjah visa rule
By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 11, 2008, 23:23

Dubai: Dubai and Abu Dhabi will not follow suit with Sharjah to make tenancy contracts a pre-requisite to get residency permits for families, officials have confirmed.

Brigadier Obaid Bin Surour, Acting Director of Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department said there is no need to submit tenancy contracts while applying for family visas in Dubai.

"We are getting queries from people. But we are not introducing any changes to the existing rule. There is no need to state where you are staying while applying for a visa," said Bin Surour.

An official at the Ministry of Interior confirmed that Abu Dhabi will not be introducing the regulation either.

Sharjah introduced the new regulation beginning this month according to which applicants of family visa should produce attested copies of tenancy contracts in their own names of in a close relative's name.

The move is to curb the practice of illegal shared accommodation and to ensure that only those who can afford to house their families in decent accommodations are given the residency permits.

Lieutenant Colonel Salim Ali Mazaini, Head of visa section at the Sharjah Naturalisation and Residency Department clarified that those who are residing outside the emirate can provide tenancy contracts from the respective emirate they are staying.

Those living in company accommodations can also submit tenancy contracts in their employer's name.

Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE

Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE
By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 12, 2008, 11:32

Dubai: Oman and Aman insurance companies have been selected by Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department to provide health insurance to visit visa seekers, it was announced at a meeting on Tuesday.

The UAE government revamped visa requirements, which came into effect on July 29, 2008.

Under the new regulations, visitors to the UAE are required to purchase health coverage as a condition of obtaining visit visas.

The department on Tuesday announced three types of health policies: Dh40 for a short-term visa of 30 days, Dh90 for 90 days, and Dh180 for multiple-entry visa valid for 185 days.

Residents of 34 countries, mainly those from Europe and North America, are exempt from this health insurance rule.

Tips to prevent back pain

Tips to prevent back pain
Tuesday August 12 2008 09:57 IST Express Features

WHAT can cause low back injuries?

Many things can cause low back injuries-muscle strain or spasm, sprains of ligaments (which attach bone to bone), joint problems or “slipped disk".

A slipped disk (also called a herniated disk) happens when a disk between the bones of the spine bulges and presses on nerves. This is often caused by twisting while lifting.

What can I do for relief when I’ve hurt my lower back?

The best position for relief when your back hurts is to lie on your back on the floor with pillows under your knees, with your hips and knees bent and your feet on a chair, or just with your hips and knees bent. This takes the pressure and weight off your back. You may need 1 to 2 days of this sort of rest for a hurt back.

What else can I do for relief?

Heating pads can help to relax painful muscle spasms. Ice packs and massages may also give relief. Nonprescription medicines that reduce pain or swelling include aspirin, acetaminophen (brand name : Tylenol), naproxen (brand name : Aleve), ketoprofen (brand name : Orudis), and ibuprofen (brand name : Motrin).

You can talk to us if you have:

Your leg, foot, groin or rectal area feels numb

You have fever, nausea or vomiting, stomachache, weakness or sweating

You lose control over going to the bathroom

Your pain was caused by an injury

Your pain is so instense you can’t move around

Your pain doesn’t seem to be getting better after 2 to 3 weeks

Tips for preventing Back Pain

Don’t lift by bending over. Lift an object by bending your knees and squatting to pick up the object.

If you must sit at your desk or at the wheel of a car or truck for long hours, break up the time with stops to stretch.

Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels (1 inch or lower).

Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower back pain.

The Back and Neck Clinic

No. 1 B Block 2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar East, Chennai - 600102 Phone : 044-26204455.

Photo Speaks - Abu Dhabi - passing shots

Old boats lying for repair at Mina Port Abu Dhabi

Cargo boats unloading vegetables and materials at Mina Port Abu Dhabi

Photos by Ramesh Menon

Monday, 11 August 2008

'enYironmend' tomorrow

'enYironmend' tomorrow
Monday August 11 2008 02:23 IST Express News Service KOCHI

KOCHI: The Young Indians (Yi) Kochi Chapter will launch their 'enYironmend' with a day-long mega event on August 12 at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The programme includes competition for the school students from standard 3 to 9.

There will be four categories of competitions including Poster Making, Public Speaking, Jungle Making, and Innovation. Around 3,000 students from various schools in the Cochin Corporation limits will participate.

The initiative website www.enyironmend. com carries details regarding the competitions and rules and regulation to be followed. There is no registration fee. Interested participants can register online by sending mail to enyironmend or contact Young Indians office at 0484-4012300.

National Anthem competition

National Anthem competition
Monday August 11 2008 02:34 IST Express News Service KOCHI

KOCHI: AS the part of the Independence day celebrations, Chavara Cultural Centre is conducting separate competitions on National Anthem and patriotic songs.

The programme will be held at the Chavara Cultural Centre Hall on August 15, from 10 a.m. The students standard I to XII are eligible to take part in competition and more than one team from a school is allowed. A minimum of seven members in a team is mandatory and musical instruments are not permitted.

Those who wish to participate have to register their names on or before August 14 with the authorised letters from the school, said Chavara Cultural Centre Director Father Roby Kannanchira in a press release. For more details contact: 0484-4070250 or 0484-2377443.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Photo Speaks - Abu Dhabi at Night

Photos by Ramesh Menon

Energy saving tips on tap

Energy saving tips on tap
By Emmanuelle Landais, Staff Reporter GULF NES Published: August 10, 2008, 00:02

Dubai: Using water and electricity too abundantly is not in anyone's best interest in this time of energy conservation so Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has launched a campaign to help residents use less of the UAE's resources.

The campaign, Now That You Know, Don't Let it Go, focuses on the behaviour of consumers when it comes to wasting water and electricity.

For example to meet residents' daily demand of electricity requires 7,000 workers, 1,219 kilometres of overhead lines and 2,129 kilometres of underground cables.

There are 43 desalinating units and 769km of pipeline to get water to your house where it might be wasted and used to wash sand off your driveway or used more carefully with water saving faucets.

The campaign is a sequel to the Your Decision campaign that marked the introduction of a slab-based tariff system.

The new campaign, which will be implemented at government departments, private companies and shopping malls, aims to educate the public on avoiding wasting water and power to help save the environment and natural resources.

Watering your garden before 8am or after 6pm and avoiding doing so on windy days, and in several short sessions rather than one long one, is the best way to keep your lawn healthy.

Dewa also advises people to only water when the lawn needs it.

Overwatering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy. To determine if your lawn needs to be watered, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.

Amal Koshak, manager of investors services at Dewa's Customer Relations Department, said the campaign will contribute in educating consumers on the need for the prudent use of water and electricity through highlighting best practices in the areas of saving natural resources.

The campaign also aims to highlight the huge effort and cost behind delivering water and electricity to consumers, including the maintenance and management of water and electricity lines and networks across the expanding emirate.

For instance, washing machines can use as much as 110 to 130 litres of water per cycle and dishwashers up to 35 litres per cycle. Yet a full dishwasher is more water-efficient than washing the same load by hand.

"This campaign is an integral part of the Your Decision campaign which targets all segments of society, including individuals and organisations.

"The new initiative provides practical yet simple tips to reduce water and electricity consumption and thus preserve the environment and natural resources of the emirate.

"We want to enhance consumer awareness on a very critical environmental issue that requires the involvement of both public and private sectors in Dubai."

Iconic Abu Dhabi landmark gets touch of colour

Iconic Abu Dhabi landmark gets touch of colour
By Marten Youssef, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 10, 2008

Abu Dhabi: For the past decade the iconic painting of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan has been a landmark in Abu Dhabi, located on the corniche at the corner of Emirates Palace.

The painting portrays the side of Shaikh Zayed that earned him respect: humble, traditional, authoritative and loyal. This larger than life 35-metre display towers over the city of Abu Dhabi.

Its painter, Liaqat Ali Khan, was a long-time resident of Abu Dhabi and this was his masterpiece and his personal legacy to a country that has transformed his life.

As Khan turned 60, he bid Abu Dhabi farewell and ventured back to his native Pakistan in April.

Having painted 1,060 portraits of the UAE's prinicipal founder, Khan put his brushes away and said an an emotional goodbye.

But as the sun beat down on the decade-old painting with its fading colours and chipped paint, Abu Dhabi started calling back its artist for a final touch-up of his masterpiece.


Khan could not resist the offer to come back.

"I was so happy when I got a phone call from Abu Dhabi Municipality and immediately said yes. I didn't even think about it."

Since July 29, Khan has been sitting on a plastic chair overlooking the painting directing two men on a crane.

"This is much harder than when I first painted this. In 1997 I painted this in a warehouse and I had 12 workers," he says.

For the past week, Khan has been spending 12 hours a day redoing the painting.

"We took all the paint off and then repainted everything," Khan says, while holding a large poster of the original photograph of Shaikh Zayed that inspired the painting. "This will probably be good for at least five more years and then the paint will be affected by the humidity and heat again, but I would love to come back again in five years," he laughs.

His reputation preceded him to Pakistan and he has become a much celebrated artist in his hometown.

Asked why he loves this picture so much, Khan answers without a pause. "It reflects who Shaikh Zayed was, his smile was from his heart."

Friday, 8 August 2008

Abu Dhabi stresses $20b oil plan

Abu Dhabi stresses $20b oil plan
By Himendra Mohan Kumar, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 07, 2008

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Government has reiterated its plans to invest as much as $20 billion (Dh74 billion) by 2010 to increase its crude output capacity by 30 per cent to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

"Revenues from oil and gas and [oil] products constitute 35 per cent of Abu Dhabi's gross domestic product, 80 per cent of the government's revenues and 90 per cent of the total exports," according to the Abu Dhabi Economic and Social Report 2008.

The emirate's current oil production capacity is 2.7 million bpd, the report said.

Abu Dhabi's production accounts for nearly 94 per cent of the UAE's crude output. The UAE's oil output currently is about 2.66 million bpd.

The country's proven oil reserves of 97.8 billion barrels make up 7.9 per cent of the world's total reserves.

The official selling price (OSP) of Abu Dhabi crude oil grades from January to June this year averaged $108.32 per barrel, a whopping 73.6 per cent rise on the year and in line with soaring global oil prices. The average price of Adnoc's crude grades for January-June 2007 was $62.39.

According to the Abu National Oil Company, the official selling price of its crude grades - Murban, Lower Zakum, Umm Shaif and Upper Zakum - averaged $135.68 for July 2008 on the back of a record performance that peaked on July 11 when prices on the international market touched of $147.27 a barrel.

Since then, prices have fallen sharply to below $120 a barrel, as an economic downturn in the US, the world's biggest oil importer, has slowed consumer demand.

Estimates by McKinsey & Company show that Abu Dhabi is likely to accumulate an investible surplus of $800 billion by 2020 due to massive inflows of oil revenues. They say that of the $2 trillion investible surplus flowing to the six Gulf countries, $800 billion will come to Abu Dhabi. This is based on an estimated average price of $50 per barrel between 2005 and 2020.


Should the price momentum of the first-half of the year sustain in the second half, the UAE's export revenues are poised to race past the $100 billion mark in 2008.

According to the UAE Central Bank, the country's oil exports in 2007 were valued at Dh261.42 billion, up 22.5 per cent on year. The average price of the UAE's crude in 2007 was $71.70 per barrel, 12.9 per cent higher than the 2006 price of $63.53.

The UAE's oil will last 92 years at current production levels, estimates show. Estimates of International Energy Agency show the UAE's sustainable crude production capacity could rise 9.12 per cent to 3.11 million bpd by 2013.

Photo Speaks - Flowers in UAE

Photos by Ramesh Menon

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