A web site on traffic safety

BY THIS time tomorrow, about 30 people will have been injured in traffic accidents on the UAE's roads and by this time next week, two people will be dead. Since 1997, road fatalities in the UAE have grown by more than 50 per cent.

By —compiled By Patrick Michael, Asma Ali Zain And Meeraj Rizvi

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Published: Fri 17 Sep 2004, 11:09 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:46 PM

These are some of the grim statistics behind a new website — www.drivesafelyarabia.org — sponsored by BP Middle East to help educate the public on traffic safety.

The site points out that the region has the worst per capita ratio of road deaths record in the world. Oman leads with an average of 23 fatalities per 100,000 population every year, closely followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with 21 and 20 respectively.

By stark comparison, this contrasts to less than three deaths per 100,000 across most of Europe, two in the USA and 1.5 in Japan.

"Traffic accidents in the Gulf could and should be reduced," said Jeremy Bowen, chief representative of BP Middle East. He points out that in Queensland, Australia, a concerted six-year campaign involving both the public and private sectors helped reduce road deaths by 52 per cent, serious injuries by 36 per cent and crashes by 22 per cent.

The falcon has landed

IT’S not often that a majestic bird like the falcon will call on you. But one falcon did just that when out of the hazy, dust-laden sky it breezed into the Khaleej Times office, settled down in a corner and held court with a curious bunch of journos, many of whom had not seen a wild one before.

A look at its talons put the fear of God in some while others scampered to get water presuming that the bird had come to escape the scorching sun and perhaps needed to quench its thirst. No such luck. The photographer waited for the falcon to dip its hooked beak into the plastic cup... and waited...and waited. The fearsome looking bird had its fill of inquisitive humans, spread its wings and vanished into the blue yonder and we had our encounter with the wild.

Glitter and glamour

A GLITTERING personality is hitting town come September 22 and she’s none other than Nadja Swarovski — a name familiar to most. A woman in her own right, the gorgeous German born, Austrian raised lady is the daughter of Helmut Swarovski, president and chairwoman of the firm’s board of directors and is the fifth generation of the Swarovskis to work in the 109-year old family business that is today valued at a Euro1.6billion! So why Dubai? She’s will be here to promote the Crystal Palace display at the Bubble Lounge at the DWTC which is a collection of catwalk displays — some outlandish but nevertheless stunning in terms of sheer creativity. Those curious can even send an SMS to a chandelier hanging down on them! Talk about working out of the box!

Maharajah is coming to town

INDIA may have abolished the privy purse, but the maharajas are still there and one of them, the Maharajah of Jodhpur, will be attending an exclusive event to celebrate the premiere of a film on the Marwar dynasty.

The Eton and Oxford educated Maharaja Gaj Singh II of India who was officially crowned as King of the House of Marwar, Jodhpur, when he was four years old, will be the focus of the event scheduled to be held in Dubai next week.

The film The Legacy Lives On, directed by the award winning Anu Malhotra, and produced by Iqbal Chand Malhotra, will be premiered in the Maharajah’s presence.

Encompass and Insignia, organisers of the exclusive event in Dubai, announced that the occasion would prove to be a unique treat for residents.

"We believe that Indians and other nationals alike will have an unforgettable occasion to see, meet and understand this living legend, right here in Dubai," says Sukrit Singh, CEO of Encompass.

"His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II of the House of Marwar, Jodhpur, represents the voice of the Indian royal community that had to accept and adopt a dramatically changed environment in the wake of India's independence. The screening of this film in Dubai is undoubtedly an exclusive event for our times. His personal story is an ongoing saga that has spanned several decades since his coronation at the age of four, and this film is a moving tribute to his notable and continuing achievements," he says.

History is in the making

THE blueprints by seven groups of contractors for the construction of city’s world tallest building was taken off the drawing boards and presented to Emaar Properties last month. By next week, who among the seven will win the prestigious $850 million contract to build the Burj Dubai will be known. Fingers are crossed and the guessing game is on. The 705-metre skyscraper, when finished, will house offices, apartments and a hotel and will be the cynosure of all eyes.

Dubaiites cannot wait to see a dream come true.

Give them what you’ve got

THIS city of endless contrasts with a creek that neatly divides the city into two may be small. Geographically speaking, it a mere 3,885sqkm, but it has a large heart that embraces many nationalities and many a great cause. One more such noble cause is round the corner with four top Australian chefs coming down to tug at your heart and loosen your purse strings.

The chefs will be cooking up a storm on September 21 in aid of the Rashid Centre for Paediatric Therapy. These Aussie chefs are coming together for a once-off public cook-up at the Burj Al Arab to raise money for the special needs children of Dubai. This will be a chance for all Dubai residents to not only come together to sample some of the finest Australian fresh produce and fine food but also help raise money for one of Dubai's worthy charities.

A ‘Charity Auction’ will also take place including luxury items such as holidays to the Hayman Island Resort in the Whitsundays, a stay at Le Meriden Hotel in the heart of Melbourne to experience the glamour at the Spring Racing Carnival to one of the rarest and finest cultured pearls in the world — the Australian South Sea Pearl, amongst others.

Tickets for the 'Naturally Australian' Charity Auction are on sale for Dh400 per person including the six-course 'naturally Australian' menu.

Reservations can be made through Kim Riggans at the National Food Industry Strategy of Australia (kim.riggans@nfis.com.au) or to the Rashid Paediatric Centre.

Lessons to learn

DESPITE the ban imposed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research few years ago on several institutions in the UAE offering higher education programmes of non-accredited and approved institutions in the UK, US, Australia, India, Pakistan and other countries, admission queues outside these institutions seems never ending.

Parents and students alike, knowing very well that the career of their wards will be in a limbo since the Ministry will not attest their degrees, say they have no option, but, enrol their children in such institutions for the economics of the undergraduate and graduate programmes.

“Besides, our children will continue to stay with us in the United Arab Emirates while pursuing their higher education.”

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