Sunday, March 30, 2008
The Dubai Municipality number to report cases is 800-900. Their website is http://www.dm.gov.ae/ but they encourage the public to meet them at the Food Safety Unit and talk in person and be more informed. And according to Bobby, learn more at http://www.fightback.org/
Rough statistics show that Dubai has around 12,000 active food establishments; 480 are hotels and about 2,800 are restaurants/cafeterias. There are around 130 food inspectors who have a constant eye on food places. They receive around 5 complains everyday that are handled promptly.
Should we name and shame them? Is it our right as a consumer to know what cafeterias/hotels have sold infected foods?
Dubai Municipality is also launching their food safety campaign in a few weeks. Lookout for leaflets and flyers in your local supermarket and public places to learn more about food safety and hygiene.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Some questions that were raised: How did the banned activity take place? Why are schools, residential apartments and labour accommodation built so close to factories and warehouses? Should we be concerned by potential health risks?
Dr. Parviz Rashvand of Synergy Integrated Center asked the people affected to visit a medical professional if you have acquired a cough or breathing difficulties. If you've had any ashes or debris fall on you, have a shower with LOTS of water!
First, the Ghantoot crash and now, this explosion. Too many shockers packed in one month. Will we still learn our lesson or do we wait for such catastrophes to remind us of basic security measures?
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The Dubai World Cup is approaching. Get your hats ready!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Jeff Price and Masarat Daud talk about the fast-paced developments in UAE. Are we losing our identity? So many 'iconic' buildings are being knocked down--Hard Rock Cafe, Safa Park (rumours!). It got slightly nostalgic with the callers having his/her own memories to hold onto.
We were also joined by Mishal Kanoo, Deputy Chairman of the Kanoo Group and Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner of Motivate Publishing, to give us their view on the changes taking place.
It seemed that many had come to terms with the changes and now have a positive outlook for the future.
While James is riding a wave in Bali, Jeff Price has taken over his seat!
Myself (Masarat) and Xan joined him to speak about the drivers' attitudes and behaviour on the roads of UAE. Do we disrespect the rules? Do we drive better in our home countries? Do we need more awareness or maybe we need more police presence to 'scare' people? And hey...what are fog lights? There are many who still don't know about it! As told by our Car Expert, Adam, there is not much awareness towards fog lights in this part of the world. So go to your nearest garage or your dealer and make sure that you have fog lights. And make sure that you know how to use it!
We were also joined by Abdulla Al Kazim, a doctor at Mafraq Hospital in AD who was on the other side of the road on the fateful March 11. He assisted the Police and Paramedics in dealing with the injured. A first-hand perspective!
Call 800-4353 to report dangerous drivers.
Many interesting view points! Does the black points system work? It remains to be seen. But what we agreed upon was that the AD Police handled the situation very efficiently.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Under great duress, they smuggled the Noor Stones out of Baghdad, taking them to Andalusia, where they were used as the centerpiece for a great, hidden, Fortress of Knowledge.The Fortress was lost to a consuming fire when one of its caretakers, Rughal, tried to absorb all the information contained in the Noor Stones into himself. Rughal apparently died in the resulting explosion. The gemstones were removed from the destroyed fortress, scattered to the four corners of the world and subsequently lost to time and tide. Rumors of their existence persisted, and today… they have been found…
Who is responsible for what our children eat anyway?
Ban junk food advertising on internet, say campaigners
- Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent
- The Guardian,
- Saturday March 15 2008
- Article history
Food and drink companies should be banned from marketing unhealthy snacks and drinks to young children via new media such as social networking sites and text messaging, a coalition of international consumer groups and health bodies recommends today.
The group is urging governments to adopt a code that they say would curb the rising obesity rates among children. The code would restrict junk food marketing, including outlawing the use of cartoon characters, celebrity tie-ins, free gifts and competitions aimed at younger audiences.
The federation of consumer organisations - including the UK group Which? - wants its code to be adopted by governments as part of the World Health Organisation's broader strategy to tackle obesity and diet-related disease.
There are 177 million children worldwide threatened by obesity-related diseases. The code, which will be recommended to the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly in May, tackles the failures of the food industry to regulate itself.
Leading food, soft drink and confectionery companies spent $13bn (about £6.4bn) on advertising in 2006, the coalition says. But that excludes undisclosed sums spent on things as online games, cartoon characters and celebrity tie-ins.
Some of the world's leading food manufacturers market to children on social networking websites and internet chat programmes.
In the UK, popular brands such as McDonald's, Starburst, Haribo and Skittles have switched to the internet to target children since new rules from the media regulator Ofcom have made it difficult to advertise during children's television.
The proposed code specifically targets the marketing of foods that are poor in nutrients and high in fat, sugar and salt.
It also demands a ban on radio or TV adverts promoting unhealthy food between 6am and 9pm, any promotion of unhealthy food in schools, and the inclusion of free gifts, toys or collectable items which appeal to children to promote unhealthy foods.
Sue Davies, chief policy officer of Which? UK, said: "With rising rates of obesity and diet-related disease escalating globally, food companies need to take a more responsible approach to the way they market their foods to children, whichever part of the world they are trading in. This new code sets out the approach that we hope the WHO, national governments and the companies themselves will adopt to curb unhealthy food promotions and instead help to promote healthier messages."
The code is being launched worldwide today to mark World Consumer Rights Day. Over 50 national consumer groups will be undertaking campaign activities to highlight the damage done by junk food marketing and to urge government ministers to support the code ahead of the World Health Assembly.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The fuel for the conversation is the amount of research done for longevity but not quality.
Cancer vs Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder named for German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Scientists have learned a great deal about Alzheimer’s disease in the century since Dr. Alzheimer first drew attention to it. Today we know that Alzheimer’s:
- Is a progressive and fatal brain disease. More than 5 million Americans now have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. For more information, see Symptoms or Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour
- Is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Vascular dementia, another common type of dementia, is caused by reduced blood flow to parts of the brain. In mixed dementia, Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia occur together. For more information about other causes of dementia, please see Related Dementias.
- Has no current cure. But treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s. We’ve learned most of what we know about Alzheimer’s in the last 15 years. There is an accelerating worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, or prevent it from developing. Learn more about recent progress in Alzheimer science and research funded by the Alzheimer’s Association in the Research section.
Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains change as we age. Most of us notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work are not a normal part of aging. They may be a sign that brain cells are failing.
The brain has 100 billion nerve cells (neurons). Each nerve cell communicates with many others to form networks.
Nerve cell networks have special jobs. Some are involved in thinking, learning and remembering. Others help us see, hear and smell. Still others tell our muscles when to move.
To do their work, brain cells operate like tiny factories. They take in supplies, generate energy, construct equipment and get rid of waste. Cells also process and store information. Keeping everything running requires coordination as well as large amounts of fuel and oxygen.
In Alzheimer’s disease, parts of the cell’s factory stop running well. Scientists are not sure exactly where the trouble starts. But just like a real factory, backups and breakdowns in one system cause problems in other areas. As damage spreads, cells lose their ability to do their jobs well. Eventually, they die.
Learn more about Alzheimer's: Take the Brain Tour
Sunday, March 16, 2008
$200,000 US and the dream is yours!
Sharon Garrett the Head of Space Marketing and PR gave us the story... cool but I am not sure it is my cup of tea.
|HOW IS THIS SAFE|
Due to the unique technology, developed by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and now exclusively licensed to Virgin, the spacecraft design overcomes many of the safety and cost issues that had previously made space travel the preserve of the privileged few.
Safety is at the heart of the design and will be at the core of the Virgin Galactic operation. Agreed designs for SpaceShipTwo have multiple levels of redundancy on all key systems in order to achieve an extremely robust system in every phase of flight. Commercial operations will only start once a full testing programme has been completed.
Virgin's experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting edge design will be vital in contributing to the design of the spaceship, the smooth operation of the spaceline and to creating the experience of a lifetime.
Work on the SpaceShipTwo design and construction is well advanced and SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo will be unveiled in 2008, with 12-18 months of test flights before we commence our commercial flights.
|WHAT IS VIRGIN GALACTIC?|
Virgin Galactic is a company owned and established by Richard Branson's Virgin Group to undertake the challenge of making private space travel available to everyone and by creating the world's first commercial spaceline.
Virgin will own and operate privately built spaceships, based on the history making SpaceShipOne . These spaceships, which are currently under construction, will allow affordable private sub-orbital space travel for the first time in history and give you the opportunity of being amongst the very first private astronauts.
|WHAT TRAINING IS INVOLVED?|
Virgin Galactic's goal is to end the exclusivity attached to manned space travel which means designing a vehicle which can fly almost anyone to space safely without the need for special expertise or exhaustive, time consuming training.
There will be 3 days of pre-flight preparation, bonding and training onsite at the spaceport .
Our goal is to provide you with the most incredible experience of your life. The trip will be intense, approaching sensory overload and the more that can be simulated beforehand, the better the real thing will be!
Learning how to make the most of your time in zero gravity and tips on how to be most comfortable in macro gravity will form an integral part of your preparation. We expect to use the WhiteKnight carrier aircraft which will feature a duplicate SpaceShipTwo cabin, as an integral part of the preparation experience.
We will ensure that all our passengers can fly safely. This will involve some pre-flight medical checks. Early indicators show that the required medical assessment will be simple and unrestrictive and that the vast majority of people who want to fly, will not be prevented from doing so by health or fitness considerations.
|WHAT WILL THE EXPERIENCE BE LIKE?|
The journey starts from the moment you make a firm reservation and book your place amongst the first to go.
In the lead up to the start of Virgin Galactic commercial operations and to your flight itself, we will keep you fully involved and informed. There will be opportunities to contribute ideas and participate in pre flight events.
Astronauts tell us that nothing can really prepare you for your first experience of space, but we will ensure that you are fully equipped to savour every second of an experience which will be intense, wonderful and truly unforgettable. And, as you would expect from a Virgin company, your comfort and enjoyment will be our primary aim right up until you leave the spaceport, complete with a fully documented record of the whole experience and of course, with your astronaut wings!
Are You Ready?
Your journey to space will be one of incredible contrast and sensory overload.
From the spaceport to 50,000ft, you will be in the spacecraft attached to the mother ship, a specially designed jet carrier aircraft. It will be a time of anticipation and perhaps contemplation of what's ahead. You will know the rest of your crew and enjoy the confidence that has come from preparing with them and the highly trained pilots for the trip you are about to take together.
Then the countdown to release, a brief moment of quiet before a wave of unimaginable but controlled power, surges through the craft. You are instantly pinned back into your seat, overwhelmed but enthralled by the howl of the rocket motor and the eye- watering acceleration which, as you watch the read-out, has you travelling in a matter of seconds, at almost 2500mph, over 3 times the speed of sound.
As you hurtle through the edges of the atmosphere, the large windows show the cobalt blue sky turning to mauve and indigo and finally to black. You're on a high, this is really happening, you're loving it and coping well. You start to relax; but in an instant your senses are back on full alert, the world contained in your spaceship has completely transformed.
The rocket motor has been switched off and it is quiet. But it's not just quiet, it's QUIET. The silence of space is as awe inspiring as was the noise of the rocket just moments earlier. What's really getting your senses screaming now though, is that the gravity which has dominated every movement you've made since the day you were born is not there any more. There is no up and no down and you're out of your seat experiencing the freedom that even your dreams underestimated. After a graceful mid-space summersault you find yourself at a large window and what you see would make your hair stand on end if the zero gravity hadn't already achieved that effect. Below you (or is it above you?) is a view that you've seen in countless images but the reality is so much more beautiful, so much more vivid and produces emotions that are strong but hard to define. The blue map, curving into the black distance is familiar but has none of the usual marked boundaries. The incredibly narrow ribbon of atmosphere looks worryingly fragile. What you are looking at is the source of everything it means to be human, and it is home. You see that your fellow astronauts are equally spellbound, all lost in their own thoughts and storing away the memories.
Then the pilots are asking you to return to your now reclined seats. Gravity is starting to return as you knew it had to. The deceleration produces strong g forces, but you're lying down and deal with them just as you've been taught. You can hear and feel the feathered wings of the spacecraft producing a powerful drag as the thickness of the atmosphere increases, although out of the windows it still looks like space. The g forces quickly ease off and you hear the pilot announce that she is about to re-feather the craft for the graceful glide home.
Later that evening, after the celebrations and wings ceremony, you are finally alone and know that life will never quite be the same again. You also know you need to sleep, although maybe just time to read about Virgin Galactic's plans to fly through the Aurora Borealis - now that would be something.
|WHEN CAN I GO?|
Virgin Galactic expects to be the first company to provide sub-orbital flights to the general public (and certainly the best!) but does not regard itself as being in a race . We have no absolute or forced deadlines for launch, made possible by the fact that we are fully and independently funded by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group. We will launch as soon as possible, but only when we are happy with the results of the exhaustive WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo test flight programme. That test flight programme is scheduled to begin following the unveil of the prototypes and all being well commercial operations should start little over a year later.
|WHERE WILL I FLY FROM?|
Virgin Galactic's space flights will initially operate from the Mojave Spaceport, a stunning location in the Californian desert which will afford spectacular views of the Pacific Coast. It is also the home of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, the birth place of SpaceShipOne and where SpaceShipTwo is now being built. It will provide a fitting launch site for this amazing venture.
Virgin Galactic will then establish its headquarters and operate its space flights from the world's first purpose built commercial spaceport, 'Spaceport America' in New Mexico. Funded by the New Mexico state government and now in course of design and construction, it will provide cutting edge facilities and a wonderful location for fledgling astronauts to realise their dreams. Virgin Galactic is also already looking seriously at other potential spaceport locations around the world, with a view to expanding the enterprise and making the wonder of space travel as accessible to as many people as possible.
|WHO IS INVOLVED?|
Born in 1950, Richard Branson showed promising entrepreneurial skills from an early age. Virgin was founded from a small mail order record company which quickly flourished into Virgin Records. In 1992 the equity of the Virgin Music Group was sold to THORN EMI in a US$1 billion deal.
Virgin, as an aviation industry was born in 1984, when Richard Branson got a phone call out of the blue, suggesting a jumbo jet passenger service between London and New York. Virgin Atlantic Airways began operating 3 months later and has since become the second largest long haul international airline operating services out of Gatwick and Heathrow. 1999 saw Virgin form a unique global partnership when Richard sold a 49% stake of Virgin Atlantic to Singapore airlines.
In 1997 Virgin took over two of Britain's most run-down rail franchises, creating Virgin Trains and over the past two decades the Virgin netowrk has extended throughout the entertainment industry and further beyond profit making business activities. Richard Branson is the trustee of several charities, including the Virgin Healthcare Foundation and is putting significant focus into Virgin Unite which focuses on entrepreneurial approaches to social and environmental issues.
In September 2006, Richard declared that all future proceeds from the Virgin Group's transportation companies will be invested into renewable energy initiatives. He further announced a $25 million prize to encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases.
In July 2007, on his and Nelson Mandela's birthday, Richard joined Nelson Mandela, Grace Machel, and Desmond Tutu to help announce the formation of the Elders, a group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world's toughest problems.
Aside from work , Richard Branson keeps andrenaline levels high, setting himself various personal and world breaking challenges and continues to break records crossing both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in epic hot air balloon missions and has been involved in round-the-world-attempts.
Sir Richard Branson was knighted in the Queen's Millenium New Year's Honour's list for "services to entrepreneurship".
Burt has been described as a visionary and as the single most influential designer of aircraft and airframes in the last half of the twentieth century. He is the genius behind SpaceShipOne and now SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic's passenger carrying spacecraft, currently under construction at Scaled Composites in Mojave.
Burt was born near Portland, Oregon but grew up in Dinuba, California. He showed a passionate interest in aviation from an early age, designing and building his own models. He majored in aeronautical engineering from California Polytechnic University, graduating third in his class in 1965. He worked as an engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California for seven years before moving on to Newton, Kansas where he was director of Bede's Test Center.
In 1974 Burt returned to California where he formed the Rutan Aircraft Factory (RAF), for the next 10 years he shaped the landscape of the homebuilt aircraft with VariViggin, VariEze, Quickie, Defiant, Long-EZ, Grizzly, Solitaire and Catbird. The crowning achievement of RAF was the 1986 Voyager around-the-world flight piloted by Burt's brother Dick.
In 1982, Burt founded Scaled Composites to develop research aircraft. Since then it has been the world's most productive aerospace prototype development company and has been the birthplace of many of the most exciting aircraft of recent decades, including Global Flyer and of course SpaceShipOne.
Global Flyer, an aircraft similar to the Voyager, completed the first solo non-stop non-refuelled flight around the world on March 2, 2005, piloted by Steve Fossett. Fossett set a further record for the longest flight in history, 26,389.3 miles, between February 7, 2006 - February 11, 2006.
The remarkable and history-making SpaceShipOne and its mothership, WhiteKnight are now the prototypes for SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo which are curently under production at Scaled. Once the craft are complete, there will be 12-18 months of test flights and Virgin Galactic wil start to fly passsengers shortly afterwards.
|WHY VIRGIN? WHY SPACE?|
Even with Burt Rutan's ground breaking technology, to which Virgin Galactic has the excusive rights, getting thousands of people to space and back safely is a significant challenge. Virgin brings essential operational experience to its new venture which comes from years of safe airline and rail operations; it has also committed the resources required to ensure proper funding.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Turn off the phone and the internet for a day, if you can!
March 15-17th is the period the challenge runs for, pick 24 hours.
On the 18th you can meet fellow detoxers at the Jumeirah Beach park.
Facebook group 24 hour e-detox challenge
The UAE cabinet is looking at the idea of putting a subsidy in place to help ease the pain of inflation for nationals! Thoughts?
Cabinet studies basic subsidieshttp://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/08/03/12/10196728.html
Dubai: The UAE is considering a plan to give Emiratis discounts on 14 food items, gasoline and cooking fuel to help offset inflation, the head of a consumer protection body said on Tuesday.
The cabinet is studying the plan, which will allow UAE nationals to buy rice, bread, tea, sugar, milk, butter and other basic food items at cost price, said Jamal Al Saeedi, executive manager of the Emirates Society for Consumer Protection.
"There is too much inflation and it is hitting households," Al Saeedi said. "People cannot live without these items so we are looking for a way to reduce the costs."
Inflation in the second-largest Arab economy hit a 19-year peak of 9.3 per cent in 2006 and probably accelerated to 10.9 per cent last year, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi said last month. The UAE's economy grew 7.6 per cent last year.
Food prices in the UAE, which pegs its dirham currency to the weak US dollar, will probably jump 40 per cent this year after surging 30 per cent in 2007, Al Saeedi said last week.
Under the proposal, the Ministry of Social Affairs will provide nationals with cards they can use at 16 cooperative supermarkets to be eligible for the discounts, Al Saeedi said.
Co-operative supermarkets are owned by UAE nationals and generally provide lower prices on some goods, Al Saeedi said. For the 14 food items, the supermarkets would not be allowed to take profits on sales to cardholders, he said.
The proposal, drafted by the consumer protection body and Ministry of Economy, also calls for a discount on petrol and tanks of domestic cooking fuel for nationals, Al Saeedi said.
Arab oil producers are trying to offset inflation by introducing price controls on rents, subsidising food and raising wages. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Economy set a ceiling on the maximum price retailers are allowed to charge for some basic food items to help stabilise prices.
In November last year, the Ministry of Economy warned suppliers against raising prices of goods and services in an 'unjustified' manner. Food price inflation is partly driven by the dirham's link to the dollar, which hit record lows against the euro and a basket of major currencies this month, Al Saeedi said.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
What is it all about?
Give Jack a listen.
February 13, 2008 -- Three Marietta College students have been chosen to present at the highly prestigious Woman as Global Leaders conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 10-12. Also selected to present are two Marietta professors.
The students—Laura Aldrich '09 of Plymouth, N.H.; Anastasia Ault '11 of Midland, Mich.; and Amelia Bean-DeFlumer '11 of Oak Ridge, Tenn.—will be part of the panel topic "Approaches to Undergraduate Global Leadership Education."
The panel will compare two undergraduate leadership programs—Marietta's McDonough Leadership Program and Ohio University's Global Leadership Center—that have a focus on global leadership development. Students from both schools will make presentations.
"This panel will give us a chance to compare how global leadership development takes place at a small liberal arts college such as Marietta and at a large state institution such as OU. The students will present their perspectives and reflections," said Dr. Gama Perruci, dean of McDonough. "At the same time, this panel will also highlight some of the best practices in global leadership development. We were thrilled to be included in the program and to have this opportunity to share the McDonough model with other institutions from all over the world."
The professors are Dr. Jack Hillwig, chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department and Dr. Liane Gray-Starner, an associate professor in Communication and Media Studies. They will conduct a workshop titled, Leadership: Knowing Oneself and Knowing Others.
This workshop focuses on the four facets of leaderships articulated author and leadership expert Warren Bennis. First participants will learn about themselves as leaders. They will learn about their own interpersonal needs and learn to recognize the needs of others. Second, participants will learn that it is not enough to have a vision, but that a vision that is not shared effectively is a vision that cannot be effectively achieved. Third, participants will learn about the nature of high performance teams. They will learn how teams develop, the leadership behaviors necessary to build trust, and how to value and reward high performance teams. Finally, participants will engage in a process of self-reflection that is necessary for all leaders.
The conference website states that the Women as Global Leaders conference focuses on women's emergent and current leadership roles across the globe as well as the practice of educating students for and about leadership. Sessions and workshops provide insight into women's leadership and leadership education, offering opportunities for learning new ideas and developing concrete skills.
Some of the conference keynote speakers include: Helen Thomas, journalist and author; Jane Fonda, award-winning actress and humanitarian; Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, CEO, advocate, philanthropist and author; Carol Bellamy, former head of UNICEF, CEO of World Learning, and President of the School for International Training; Anousheh Ansari, first female private space explorer, chairman and co-founder, Prodea Systems, Inc.
The conference is organized by Zayed University, one of the premier institutions in the Middle East dedicated to the leadership development of women in the region.
"I think our leadership students will do an excellent job presenting their thoughts on international leadership development," Perruci said. "While the conference in itself will be a great learning experience with fascinating keynote speakers, the students also will have the opportunity to experience Dubai—a thriving, cosmopolitan city—which is emerging as a key economic player in the Middle East."
For more information about the conference click here.
In 1986, through a generous $5.5 million gift from McDonough’s wife, Alma McDonough, and the McDonough Foundation, Marietta College established the Bernard P. McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. The Center offered one of the first comprehensive undergraduate leadership programs in the United States.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Again and again and again I am stood up by government and quasi government officials.
What a shame.
Here is a taste of what we might have spoken about.
UAE consumer rights body calls for subsidiesby Daliah Merzaban on Wednesday, 05 March 2008
A UAE consumer protection body said on Wednesday it had urged the government to subsidise basic food items as part of measures to curb food price rises, which it expects to reach 40% this year.
The Emirates Society for Consumer Protection is asking the government of the second-largest Arab economy to raise subsidies on rice, sugar, bread, milk and other basic foods, its executive manager Jamal Al-Saeedi said.
Food prices in the UAE, which pegs its dirham currency to the weak US dollar, rose about 30% in 2007, according to a survey conducted by the body, Al-Saeedi said
"The government needs to intervene. We made proposals two weeks ago and we are still waiting for a response."
Inflation in the UAE hit a 19-year high of 9.3% in 2006, and probably accelerated to 10.9% last year on surging rents, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) said last week.
Food price inflation is partly driven by the dirham's peg to the dollar, which hit record lows against the euro and a basket of major currencies this week, Al-Saeedi said.
Rising costs for labour, rents and government fees have also forced retailers to pass through price rises to consumers, he said.
"The dirham has fallen against the US dollar and 85% of the food... is imported," Al-Saeedi said.
The proposals - which also include a call for tighter controls on rent increases - were submitted to the Higher Committee for Consumer Protection, which will consider them at its next meeting, Al-Saeedi said.
While UAE emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi have put ceilings of 5% per year on how much landlords can raise rents, many landlords are "cheating", Al-Saeedi said.
Rents jumped about 18-19% and food prices about 8% last year, NBAD said in its note.
Like most countries in the world's top oil-exporting region, the UAE is constrained in its fight against inflation by the dollar peg that forces it to track US monetary policy when the Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates to ward of recession.
By contrast, Gulf economies are surging on a five-fold jump in oil prices since 2002.
Businesses in the UAE have been complaining about rising costs and migrant construction workers rioted in Dubai in November to demand pay rises to compensate for savings lost due to the dollar's slide.
The Ministry of Economy warned suppliers in November against raising prices of good sand services in an "unjustified" manner to take advantage of a 70% increase in federal government wages this year. (Reuters)
UAE food prices head skywards
Basic food prices jump 36% with exporter demands to push rice up by more than 70%, newspaper says.
UAE inflation in danger of hitting 12% this year
Gulf states' peg to US dollar likely to drive inflation up in 2008, Merrill Lynch warns.
We had a great talk with two young and rising UAE stars in the cultural industries of film and theatre!
What People said about the film contest Moath was in.
By Shireena Al Nowais, Staff Reporter
At the closing ceremony of the Emirates Film Festival, at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage on Tuesday, jury members finally spoke up by saying that most of the films did not deserve a prize and were not up to standard.
Jury members were infuriated by the quality of films that were submitted and many categories were simply omitted because the submissions were plainly below par.
These comments were made immediately after an almost two-hour Oscar-nominated documentary by Charles Ferguson on the chaos in Iraq. No End in Sight looks at the role of the Bush Administration in the destruction of Iraq. According to Ferguson's documentary, ill-advised decisions led to the deaths of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
As if the movie wasn't depressing enough, it was followed by comments from jury member Nujoom Al Ghanem that many prizes would not be given out because the quality of films were below standard.
Speaking to tabloid!, Abdulla Al Bastaki, Director of Emirates Film Competition, spoke of his disappointment at the quality of submissions.
"In 10 years we have not had a single movie that reached international festivals,” he said.
He said for years jury members have reluctantly given away prizes to boost the morale of filmmakers. But this year's jury, made up of professional experienced filmmakers, would hear nothing of it.
"It's all a media and festival frenzy. The media sees the films and pump so much into these amateur filmmakers, making them believe that they are the greatest, when they are not,” he added.
The problem with the films of most UAE and Gulf film makers, he said, was that they were too much like television.
While some might find the comments made during the closing ceremony harsh, Al Bastaki says this is exactly what filmmakers need to improve and upgrade themselves.
"These are honest opinions for the people by the people,” he said.
This lack of appreciation of UAE and Gulf films was evident in the low turn out of people during the competition. Jury member Nujoom said that educational institutions should find programmes, curriculums and trainers to enhance the artistic capabilities of their students. She also asked that all educational institutions support the cinematic industry
More than Dh1 million in cash prizes were due to be given out to the winners of the Emirates Film Competition. But because of poor submissions, only Dh265,000 worth of cash prizes were awarded. Also, 10 out of 24 prize categories were removed despite a rise in the number of entrants. Another new category or award that the organisers had been enthusiastic about were the Grant Awards of Dh250,000, Dh150,000 and Dh100,000 for best film idea, completed screenplay or project currently in pre-production for a feature length film. This was also removed due to the lack of any original ideas.
Awards went to:
Best Gulf Poster Design (student): Mohammad Al Shaibani
Emirati theatre 'must depict modern lives'
posted on 02/09/2007
About 50 years have passed since the first play was staged in the UAE. A researcher in the history of Emirati theatre, Abdul Elah Abdul Qader, puts 1958 as the actual start of formal theatre acts. Two plays were staged that year by youths at Al Shaab Club in Sharjah and the other one in Dubai. But it was hard times for the theatre movement till 1963, the year Watheq Al Samaraei, an Iraqi artist, came to the UAE to supervise some plays and hold workshops.
A federation for theatre was finally established in 1971 and the first play showed the way to several productions that were staged in clubs and schools.
Some plays were improvised and some had actors who played women's roles as it was socially unacceptable for women to appear in public. Between 1972 and 1977, many theatrical troupes were formed. The Minister of Culture and Information invited Zaki Tolimat and Sa'ad Ardash, both Egyptian artists, to the UAE to supervise Emirati artists passionate with theatre.
In 1980, the ministry started offering scholarships for further studies in theatre in Kuwait, Egypt, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Emirati troupes also took part in Arab theatre festivals held in Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad and Carthage.
Some artists also bagged awards in the festivals.
Since the first play, three generations have been raised on the lines of the traditional Emirati theatrical productions, but what is the situation like now?
Dr Habib Gulam, actor, director and the first Emirati with a PhD in theatre, said: "I think we are stagnating for a long time." The Emirati theatre has witnessed experimental phases in search of different forms, and heritage and local issues were always the main subjects. "[We] are not creating new forms, ideas and techniques," Gulam said.
Most of the plays refer to folklores and lives and practices of the past especially the life of pearl divers and traders. As such, he said, new social issues are often overlooked.
He said: "Youths have to produce what they [are] living and experiencing in their lives [and] not their grandfathers' lives which they did not live. Youths are copying from the older generations who are captured by the past." Audiences, too, would like to see and experience artistic translations of vignettes from their day-to-day lives.
Gulam said: "I'm not producing new plays or acting on stage because I don't have [anything] new to give. I'm respecting my experience and I want to respect what I have been doing." He, however, is busy shooting for TV. "I [have] always warned actors not to get captivated by TV ... they can attract their audience to their plays. They just have to keep appearing on stage." The censorship on theatre is not very strict, said Gulam.
He called on thespians to read and research more to develop the form of their plays, especially since the Minister of Culture is interested in strengthening the theatre scene in the UAE. (Gulf News)
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
An article by Chinta Puxley
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario could become the latest province to ban people from smoking in cars carrying kids after Premier Dalton McGuinty vowed yesterday to take a "second look" at adopting legislation he once called a slippery slope.
McGuinty said he's being lobbied heavily by his minister of health promotion and a Liberal backbencher who introduced a private member's bill last year that would ban the practice.
"I've committed to them to take a second look at it," McGuinty said yesterday before attending the weekly Liberal caucus.
McGuinty once said such a ban would infringe too much on people's rights, but he appears to have changed his mind to such a degree that he's willing to consider passing Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti's bill when the Legislature resumes sitting in a couple of weeks.
Asked what factors he would weigh, McGuinty quoted a villain from the play Othello. "As Shakespeare said, `'Tis here but yet confused,' so I'm pondering."
Opposition critics say it's high time Ontario joined the ranks of other provinces by protecting children from second-hand smoke.
Nova Scotia recently banned smoking in cars carrying children. British Columbia's government promised a ban in its recent throne speech. New Brunswick and Manitoba are looking at similar bans.
Anti-smoking advocates say it's hard for Ontario to ignore the momentum building across Canada.
George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association, said the ban has been fast-tracked in other provinces because politicians recognize the need to protect young children.
"It's what Ontarians want," Habib said. "Our kids don't have a vote. ... Given the overwhelming evidence of the negative impact on children, this just makes a lot of sense."
Dr. Janice Willett, head of the Ontario Medical Association, said children are exposed to up to 23 times the toxins in an enclosed space like a car than in more open spaces. Opening a car window just blows the second-hand smoke into the back seat, she added.
A ban would reduce the number of kids suffering asthma, ear infections and breathing difficulties, and eventually lead to a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer, she contends.
"I'm elated that the premier is looking at doing this in the spring session," she said.
"The sooner ... the better for these children."
Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener-Waterloo) said it's time for Liberals to stop dithering on the issue, with children's health at stake.
New Democrat MPP Peter Kormos (Welland), a former smoker, said, "Little kids' lungs are only so big. We should be doing everything we can to protect children ... from exposure to second-hand smoke."
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
As soon as we brought up the idea of a living will the phone lines were silent!
Living wills: FAQs
CBC News Online | March 22, 2005
What is a "living will"?
A "living will" contains your written instructions about what level of medical treatment you want in the event that you are unable to express your wishes verbally. For instance, you may want all possible measures taken to keep you alive – or you could instruct that nothing be done to keep you alive.
You could also be very specific about what treatments you want, depending on the condition you are in. A living will would also specify whether you wanted to donate your organs when you die.
Living wills enable people to make their own decisions, and ensure that others are aware of these decisions.
The phrase "living will" is not a legal term in Canada.
Actually, the phrase "living will" is not a legal term in Canada. But it is used to describe the legal directives each province sanctions that deal with your medical care wishes should you be unable to communicate them.
Do I need a living will if I have a last will and testament?
Yes, your last will and testament deals with matters of property. Your living will deals with your health and personal care. Your last will and testament only kicks in after you die. Living wills are used during life and may be modified by the declarant whenever circumstances change.
How does a living will work?
Through a properly drafted legal document, you name someone to carry out your wishes for your medical care in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself. Again, you can be very specific as to what treatments you would agree to and which ones you don't want.
Having your wishes on paper can take the pressure off family members to make difficult decisions regarding your care.
The document can be drafted by a lawyer – or you could do it yourself, as long as you follow all the steps that make such documents legal in your province or territory of residence.
It's also a good idea to review your living will with your doctor. The doctor can ensure that you have understood the choices in the living will and that the instruction directive is suitable for your own health situation.
Like a regular will, it's a good idea to update a living will from time to time. Advances in medical science could make today's heroic measures tomorrow's routine procedures.
A living will sounds like a power of attorney. Is it the same thing?
It is a type of power of attorney. Powers of attorney vary from province to province. For example, in Ontario there are three kinds:
- Continuing power of attorney for property: covers your financial affairs and allows you to name a person to act for you – especially if you become mentally incapable.
- Non-continuing power of attorney for property: covers your financial affairs but can't be used if you become mentally incapable. You might need this if you want someone to look after your financial affairs if you're away from home for an extended period – or if you own a property with someone and want that person to handle the sale, especially if you're going to be away.
- Power of attorney for personal care: allows you to appoint someone else to make your personal decisions – such as housing and health care – if you can't communicate. It's also called a health-care proxy and a durable power of attorney for health care.
How are living wills handled across the country?
In British Columbia, the Representation Agreement Act came into effect in 2000. It allows you to appoint someone to make financial, legal, health and personal care decisions for you if you can't. The Representation Agreement addresses all powers of attorney – health care, financial and property – in one document.
A representation agreement has no effect unless it is registered by the registrar in accordance with the regulations in the act. However, a proxy may exercise the authority in the agreement even before it is registered if it is necessary to protect the patient's interests.
It's your choice: guide to making a Representation Agreement [pdf format]
The Personal Directive Act has been in effect since 1997. A personal directive may be made by anyone who is at least 18 years of age and who is presumed to understand the nature and effect of the personal directive.
The personal directive must be in writing, dated and signed by a witness. There are restrictions on who can be a witness.
The Personal Directive Act
Guidelines for writing personal directives
A directive may be made by any person of 16 years of age or older who has the capacity to make a health-care decision, which is defined as the ability to understand relevant information about a proposed treatment, to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of making or not making a health-care decision, and to communicate a health-care decision on a proposed treatment.
A directive is not valid unless it is in writing, dated and signed by the person making the directive.
Health Care Directive and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act [pdf format]
Health Care Directives - FAQs
Living wills are called health care directives. A person is deemed to have the capacity to make a health care directive if he or she is able to understand the information that is relevant to making a decision and is able to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision, or of lack of decision.
People who are 16 years of age or older are presumed to have the capacity to make a health care directive, unless they are proven not to have capacity. But you have to be at least 18 years old to be appointed a proxy – the person making the health-care decisions for another.
The Health Care Directives Act
Health Care Directives - FAQs
In Ontario, a living will is called a power of attorney for personal care. You can appoint someone to act on your behalf, as long as you understand that person has genuine concern for your welfare and may have to make decisions on your behalf.
The person making the power of attorney for personal care and the person appointed to be the proxy, must both be at least 16 years old. But you can't appoint someone to make your decisions if they're paid to provide health care, residential or social services to you.
Powers of attorney and living wills - FAQs [pdf format]
The term here is mandate in anticipation of incapacity. The person giving the mandate (the mandator) may name another person (the mandatary) to make decisions on his or her behalf, including health and personal care decisions, in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. It's assumed the mandatary will act in the mandator's best interests and will take into account the person's expressed wishes.
The mandate, given by an adult at least 18 years of age, can be drafted by a notary or be drawn up in the presence of two disinterested witnesses who attest to the fact that the person is capable of entering into the agreement.
Similar to Ontario: a living will is called a power of attorney for personal care.
Infirm Persons Act
In Nova Scotia, under the Medical Consent Act, you can authorize any person at least 18 years of age to act on your behalf regarding medical treatment – as long as that authorization is in writing, signed by you and witnessed by someone who is not the person you're appointing, or that person's spouse.
The act does not authorize the proxy to make personal care decisions, and it does not allow you to appoint more than one proxy.
Medical Consent Act
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island's Consent to Treatment Act allows you to appoint someone 16 years or older to act on your behalf. A living will here is called a directive. A directive may stipulate treatment, procedure or medication and/or circumstances in which the patient shall be permitted to die a natural death.
Consent to Treatment and Health Care Directives Act [pdf format]
Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labrador, living wills are called advance health care directives, and the proxy is called a substitute decision maker. You have to be at least 16 to be considered competent to draw one up. The person you appoint to make decisions for you must be at least 19.
The Advance Health Care Directives Act only allows the proxy to make decisions about health care. Personal care decisions are not covered by an advance health care directive.
The Advance Health Care Directives Act
In the Yukon, a living will is called an enduring power of attorney. The patient must be an adult when the paperwork is drawn up, and must be mentally capable of understanding the nature and effect of the document, which must be in writing, dated, and signed by the patient.
If the patient is physically incapable of signing the enduring power of attorney, another person may sign on the patient's behalf in the presence of the patient and a lawyer, and under the direction of the patient.
But you can't sign for the patient if you're the proxy or the spouse of the proxy or the lawyer who is supposed to be present at the signature – or the lawyer's spouse.
There's no getting around it in the Yukon – a lawyer must be involved in the process.
Enduring Power of Attorney Act [pdf format]
An enduring power of attorney forms a living will in the Northwest Territories.
Powers of Attorney Act [pdf format]
How will medical staff know I have a living will if I'm brought into a hospital after an accident?
If you opt for a living will, it's not a bad idea to carry around a card that you can tuck into your purse or wallet. It would be an abbreviated version of your living will. If you're unconscious or unable to speak for yourself, anyone examining your wallet or purse would find the card indicating you have appointed someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
You should also distribute copies of your living will to key people like family members, your doctor and lawyer, and especially the person you want to act on your behalf.
Monday, March 03, 2008
And we managed a talk with Clutter Rescue in Canada.
The road to clutter is paved with good intentions. Every clutterer intends to get organized. BUT...there is never enough time, is there?
This is where I come in. I’ll come to your home or home office and together we’ll plan the rescue mission.
What you can expect
You’ll feel some anxiety about exposing your clutter and unearthing the dust that surrounds it. I understand! I understand your clutter and how it got there – and the impact it has on your life.
After we declutter, what you’ll be left with are the items you truly want, items you enjoy and use regularly. Imagine no longer searching for what you are looking for; imagine no longer losing energy because of cluttered areas that cause you stress.
I am a powerful decluttering coach. I can help you notice your behaviour around your clutter. When you become aware of your connection to your clutter, you may be cured so that clutter becomes a thing of the past. Learning is implicit in the process.
You will experience something new: a feeling of lightness when the clutter is gone and what you have left is organized. Then you will have the choice of living in your space in a new way.
About Chrissie Godin and Clutter Rescue
I have been decluttering people’s homes and home offices since 1999. Clutter Rescue allows me to work fulltime at my passion, providing an easygoing and calm approach to decluttering. My experience as a psychotherapist enables me to be sensitive to the circumstances or conditions under which people feel the need to accumulate.
I am easygoing, calm and patient. I am aware that each person has his/her own sensitivities. Here’s what one client with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder said: “I was comfortable being open and honest about my OCD anxieties. I didn’t feel embarrassed about having OCD phobias. I think it was Chrissie’s manner and what she said that made me feel that way.”
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Well, on the whole people seemed to feel it had a use, listen to the podcast for a taste.
Historian Stephanie Coontz tackles the modern concept of marriage
By Nadee Gunasena
Jan. 23, 2006 -- Family historian Stephanie Coontz will debunk popular myths about marriage and the family in her Assembly Series/School of Law lecture, "Courting Disaster? The World Historical Transformation of Marriage." The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m.Wednesday, February 1 in Graham Chapel.
From her research, Coontz finds that the current pop culture frenzy about the "marriage crisis" is unfounded. Instead, she argues that the institution of marriage has always been dynamic, shifting to fulfill economic needs in societies or kin groups. She traces the evolution of marriage through the ages in her recent book, Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage. Using exhaustive research that traverses centuries and cultures, Coontz illustrates that the traditional breadwinner/homemaker model is neither traditional nor ideal. The book was selected as one of the best of 2005 by the Washington Post.
Nationally recognized as an expert on the history of the American family, Coontz continues to deconstruct widespread myths about the disintegration of the social unit. She has written five books on the subject, including The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, and The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families. Using historical examples, she shows that society has always blamed the instability of the family in times of economic upheaval.
"There is no one family form that has ever protected people from poverty or social disruption," she writes, "and no traditional arrangement that provides a workable model for how we might organize family relations in the modern world."
Coontz is a professor in history and family studies at Evergreen State College. She has taught at universities around the world, including Kobe University in Japan and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. She has received numerous awards for her work in the field of family values, including the "Visionary Leadership" Award from the Council on Contemporary Families in 2004, and the Dale Richmond Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1995.
In addition, she has been featured in numerous national publications and a range of media, including the Oprah Winfrey Show and Crossfire television programs, and on National Public Radio.
Coontz received a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a masters in European history at the University of Washington.
Graham Chapel is located north of Mallinckrodt Center on the Washington University Hilltop campus.
For more information, call (314) 935-4620 or visit the Assembly Series Web page (http://assemblyseries.wustl.edu).