Friday, June 22, 2007

Plenty of good news...

...well, sort-of good news, it depends how you look at it. And, as ever, whether what's promised will be carried out.

The stories are all in Gulf News today.

First, the labourers labouring in 50 degree heat and high humidity.

Although not officially announced yet, a ministerial decision is apparently scheduled for next week, it seems that last year's 12.30 to 3pm break will be repeated this year. Minister of Labour Dr Ali Bin Abdullah Al Ka'abi is reported as saying that no major changes are likely and that the inspectors will be out in force to ensure companies obey the rule.

The fines, Dh10,000 for a first offence, are not too daunting, but company transactions will be suspended for between three months for a first offence and one year for a third offence. That's the part that may force them to rethink their practices.

Last year nearly 25% of the 3,000 companies inspected broke the rule.

You can read the story here.

Second story is from Abu Dhabi and is on animal welfare.

The Federal National Council apparently agreed to the Animal Welfare draft law in its session on Tuesday and the 17-article law will be referred to Cabinet.

The law calls for violators to be fined between Dh5,000 and Dh20,000 with the possibility of jail for not less than one month. It says animal owners must take care of their pets and not cause them any harm...I'd like to see the stupid bimbo who walks her dog around Dubai Marina on the scorching footpath late-mornings made to walk barefoot on it herself!

The law also talks about the nutrition of animals and their transport, not crowding animals of different species together, sale of sick or injured animals postponed until they have fully recovered, written permission required for exhibitions of animals for sale and so on.

I wonder whether it will apply to Dubai Zoo...

As Mahatma Gandhi said, you can judge a society by the way it treats its animals.

The story is here.

Next we have what seems to be a reasonably successful blitz by Dubai police to stop improper behaviour on the beaches.

In May & June 1,461 people, we can assume that means men, were caught for improper behaviour on the beaches. That ranges from swimming in unsuitable clothes, which I assume means underwear which becomes almost transparent after a dip in the sea, to taking photographs of women or otherwise harassing other beachgoers.

For a minor offence they have to sign an undertaking not to do it again, for a serious offence they are prosecuted.

It's another welcome move towards a more civilised society.

You can read the story here.

Finally, reckless pedestrians are being held accountable for their own stupidity.

Crossing roads at undesignated areas is illegal, irresponsible road crossing causing an accident will be punished by a fine of Dh500 or jail time. Unless they're killed, presumably, which happens to far too many of them. We're told that up to 40% of our horrendous road fatalities are pedestrians. So now the police say they will get tough on 'reckless pedestrians'.

Throwing drivers in jail because an idiot ran across Sheikh Zayed Road in front of six lanes of 120kph traffic is obviously not the right thing to do. So this is a good move, a necessary one, but it's only part of the job to be done.

Let's be fair to pedestrians, we need crossings, particularly bridges or underpasses on major multi-lane highways. And we need to educate drivers to stop at the road-level pedestrian crossings when people want to cross. As it is now, if you stop to let pedestrians walk on a designated crossing you're more than likely to be shunted in the rear by another driver, who simply doesn't expect the driver in front to stop. Or he blasts the horn and swerves round you at speed, just as the pedestrian is moving across.

The story is here.

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