Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Where's the justice in that?

So, we now know that doing idiotic driving stunts on a main highway in Dubai is apparently no big deal as a AED1,000 fine (a bit more than $300) without loss of points to the drivers was considered a fair punishment.  However, we should all be aware that the heinous crime of driving the wrong way down an aisle of a Dubai hotel carpark is so, so much worse.  In fact its 4 times worse. A colleague was given an on-the-spot fine by the police in a Jumeirah hotel car park yesterday for 'driving the wrong way' and has this morning received an SMS telling him that he's also lost 4 points on top of the instant AED400 fine.  4 points deducted for a car park infringement!  Somehow this punishment seems a little out of proportion to the crime.  When he gets his licence back (it was confiscated and will not be returned for 3 days) he may head out to Al Khail Road to do handbrake slides and burnouts in rush hour traffic as he can't afford to lose any more points tootling round in carparks at 10kph.

Dubai rejects all-seeing airport scanners

Source: 'The National'
Full-body security scanners will not be used in Dubai airports, it was announced yesterday.
The decision was made because the devices do not correspond with national customs and ethics, said Brig Ahmed bin Thani, the Dubai Police’s director of airport security.
“I do not feel that it is necessary for us to implement such a technology while we are operating different methods and have different avenues that have worked so far,” he said.
“The use of such a device violates personal privacy and it raises a very sensitive issue for passengers, in addition to the fact that it does not complement our national ethics.”
The devices, also known as millimetre wave scanners, or backscatter X-rays depending on which technology they use, have raised privacy concerns because they allow authorities to see underneath clothing to the surface of the skin, although special software normally masks some parts of the body.
The scanners could also affect human DNA by interfering with processes such as DNA replication, a study for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US has shown.
The rejection by Dubai is at odds with an announcement by federal authorities at a regional aviation security conference last month that they intended to introduce body-imaging machines at airports.
Federal officials are reviewing the technology because of the radiation concerns, said Saif al Suwaidi, the director general of the General Civil Aviation Authority.
“We don’t have full information on the side effects of using this kind of equipment on frequent flyers,” he said.
The screening devices have already been deployed in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Italy, among other countries. Around 1,000 full-body scanners are due to be operational in US airports by the end of next year.
Some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK, are attempting to further address privacy concerns by digitally blurring the images of passengers’ faces.
Other countries store passengers’ images for only 24 hours before deleting them.
Brig bin Thani said security measures in place in Dubai were sufficient to keep millions of travellers safe. He noted the scanning technology is not required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“The acquisition of such devices is based on the decision of every member state of the ICAO and is not a mandatory measure instructed by them,” he said.
“The majority of crimes that we deal with involve forged passports originating from East Asian countries.”
Some 3,700 people have been trained to deal with security threats and public order at the Dubai airports, Brig bin Thani said.
Dubai International Airport is also looking into the possibility of introducing face-recognition technology to enhance safety, said Brig Omar al Amri, the deputy director of airport security. The system has been tested but has yet to be fully implemented. “For the technology to be introduced only a software upgrade is required,” said Brig bin Thani. “We are currently testing it and reviewing its potential uses.”
The airport has more than 3,200 operational security cameras in its three terminals.
Dubai’s airports are expected to process 46 million passengers this year, compared with 40 million last year, after the opening of Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali last month. Security personnel have been kept busy, dealing with 732 criminal cases thus far this year, compared to 1,382 in all of last year.
Officials have developed a new initiative to deal with the 15 to 20 illegals apprehended trying to enter the Emirates through Dubai airports each day.

Tiger, tiger

Following on from the article in '7 Days' about the two tigers in the Dubailand office, here are photos of these magnificent animals taken in December 2007.  They are in a glass fronted enclosure inside the, now defunct, Dubailand sales office near Arabian Ranches.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The brain dead receive their "punishment"

Do you remember the Sheikh Zayed Road antics of a couple of brain dead drivers?

What was their punishment?  Hold onto your hats!  They've been fined the grand total of 1,000 dirhams each by the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours. That's $321 Aussie dollars! No black points.  And while they get off with nothing more than a slap on the hand with limp celery, stories are coming to light of motorists who have received fines and/or lost black point for incidents that have not taken place.  For example, a man fined for speeding at 3am in Sharjah when he was asleep in Dubai, another story of a friend who has received a fine for speeding on Beach Road.  At the time of the 'offence' she was at work and her car was in a secure parking area all day.  The RTA have told her to pay up.