Part 2 of the 14-part series explains how your need for speed can prove fatal.
Last week, a group of young men was speeding along the Emirates Road from Dubai, heading towards Ajman. Their car swerved and smashed into a concrete barrier on the side of the road before flipping over several times and bursting into flames.One of them died and four others were seriously injured. The police had to call the Ministry of Interior’s Air Wing division to bring them to the hospital.
Every time Khaleej Times reports an accident, it seems like there is a template: Speeding driver loses control, car veers off the road and overturns several times.Last month, two Emirati sisters – aged nine and six years – were killed after the car they were travelling in veered off the road and crashed into another vehicle in Oman.
Their father and another sister were critically injured in the accident.
But the people inside the car are not the only ones in peril. Just two days after we welcomed 2019, a horrific accident took place in Sharjah, where a 34-year-old Emirati national was immediately killed after he lost control of the wheel and rammed his car into a Federal Electricity and Water Authority truck parked on the side of the Mleiha road. The car hit a 28-year-old Indian worker who had been fixing an electric pole. The expat worker suffered critical injuries.
Also last month, on Christmas Eve, a 35-year-old Pakistani cyclist – Mohammad Irfan – died after he was run over by a speeding car in Ras Al Khaimah, and a couple of weeks before this incident, a 57-year-old Asian expat succumbed to fatal injuries he received after he was run over by a car driven by a 26-year-old man in RAK.
There was one main culprit in the death of these people: Speeding. And it is horrifying to note, based on statistics, that at least one person dies every two days or four persons (statistically, 4.42) die every week or at least 18 persons (17.68) every month.
Should fines on speeding be increased in the UAE? #KTForGood
– Khaleej Times (@khaleejtimes) January 15, 2019
In 2017 alone, 230 people died due to speeding (almost half of the total 525 people who died in different types of road accidents).
In the same year, speeding resulted in 1,535 accidents. That’s a disturbing figure that translates to 4.2 accidents every day.
The crashes actually went down from 1,787 accidents and 312 fatalities in 2016, but the numbers are still high.
Early last year, authorities launched a unified traffic campaign dubbed ‘Don’t let speeding turn you into a killer’.
Major-General Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen, chairman of the Federal Traffic Council and Dubai Police assistant commander-in-chief for operations, said: “Police authorities are making all efforts to achieve the goal of making the UAE one of the safest countries in the world.”
He noted that Dubai has an active campaign to reduce to zero the number of fatalities per 100,000 residents in the city by 2020, while the federal target is to reduce the deaths to just three per 100,000 residents by 2021 in the entire country.
Al Zafeen also underlined that improving the behaviour of motorists by spreading the culture of road safety is the key to significantly reduce the staggering 7.727 million speed violations across the country in 2017, which is actually down from the 8.61 million speed violations recorded in 2016.
Official figures are yet to be available for 2018.
How to do it right
> Adhere to the speed limits at all times
> Adjust your speed in ‘tricky’ situations, such as in curves, on parking lots or when pedestrians are on the street
> Adjust your speed in bad weather conditions with limited visibility like fog, rain and sandstorms
> Make sure that you can stop your vehicle within the distance of visibility
> Plan your trip well to be on time without speeding
Know the law
As per Ministerial Resolution No. 178 of 2017:
Reckless driving will incur a fine of Dh2,000, 23 black points and vehicle impounding for a period of 60 days.
The same punishment and fine will apply to drivers who endanger the lives of others.
Those exceeding the speed limit by 80kmph will be fined Dh3,000, slapped with 23 black points and have their car impounded for 60 days.
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Saudi Arabia issues calming statement as Lebanese tensions rise over port explosion case
BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari told Lebanese religious figures on Tuesday that the Kingdom “cares for Lebanon’s security, stability, institutions and co-existence between Christians and Muslims.” The Saudi embassy’s media office said: “There is no legitimacy for the discourse of strife, nor for one that goes against Lebanon’s Arab identity.” This was…
BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed Bukhari told Lebanese religious figures on Tuesday that the Kingdom “cares for Lebanon’s security, stability, institutions and co-existence between Christians and Muslims.”
The Saudi embassy’s media office said: “There is no legitimacy for the discourse of strife, nor for one that goes against Lebanon’s Arab identity.”
This was the first Saudi statement since the bloody clashes in Tayouneh on Oct. 14.
At least seven people were killed in the violence in Beirut amid a protest organized by Hezbollah and its allies against the lead judge probing last year’s blast at the city’s port.
The protestors, gathered by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, demanded the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar from the investigation.
According to the embassy’s statement, Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian “expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for never abandoning Lebanon and its people, despite the unfair stances against the Kingdom by some Lebanese parties that only represent themselves.”
Sheikh Derian added that “the Saudi-Lebanese relations have always been and will remain solid regardless of any offensive speeches because our relations are above these speeches and Saudi Arabia will always see Lebanon as an Arab brotherly country.”
The statement comes after the Intelligence Directorate summoned the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, to the Defense Ministry on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the bloodshed in Tayouneh.
The summoning was the motivation for Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi’s spontaneous visits on Tuesday to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun.
Al-Rahi denounced “the summoning of Geagea only by the Intelligence Directorate to testify.”
Charles Jabbour from the Lebanese Forces party told Arab News that “Geagea will not appear at the Defense Ministry on Wednesday.
“They should start with summoning Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah. All parties should give testimonies, beginning with the party that called for the demonstration. Only when a judge dares to summon Nasrallah, will we be able to talk about a state and a judiciary in Lebanon.”
The move to summon Geagea was condemned by several political figures.
Former Premier Saad Hariri refused “to engage in an absurd conflict and the frontlines of a civil war and sectarian divisions.”
He added: “Announcing that Dr. Geagea was informed to appear before the Intelligence Directorate via a plastered notification is absurd and leads the country into further division along with using state machinery for revenge politics.”
Former Premier Fouad Siniora also denounced “the bias of the judicial authorities in the military court over the deplorable Tayouneh events and the continuing violations of the constitutions by those who were entrusted with the task of preserving and protecting it.”
Siniora rejected “the practices seeking to use the judiciary for reprisals against political opponents, and not for its main mission: To seek the truth and achieve justice.”
Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat criticized the “selectivity instead of a transparent and just investigation for a comprehensive justice.”
He said: “All those who fired shots in the Tayouneh events should be arrested, without discrimination, and this destructive and futile political dispute must be ended.”
Samy Gemayel, head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, announced his rejection to “all the means Hezbollah and the Amal Movement have resorted to in hampering the investigation into the Beirut port blast.”
Hezbollah accused Geagea of firing the first shot on Oct. 14 at the demonstrators who penetrated the anti-Hezbollah and Christian-majority Ain Remaneh area.
Former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who is also a defendant in the Beirut port explosion investigation, visited Sheikh Derian on Tuesday, reiterating his demand “to either lift immunity from everyone without exception, or adopt the legal and constitutional mechanisms in force in the Supreme Council for the Trial of Presidents and Ministers.”
So far, all the politicians who have been accused of being involved in the Beirut port blast have declined to appear before Judge Bitar.
Amal Movement and Hezbollah ministers have refused to attend Cabinet sessions unless Judge Bitar is removed and the investigations into Tayouneh are halted, causing a governmental paralysis at a time when Lebanon is in desperate need of reforms to unblock the international aid that would lessen its dire economic situation.
Prime Minister Mikati hoped on Tuesday that “Cabinet meetings will resume as soon as possible to make the decisions required to activate the work of commissions and committees and do what is needed from the government.”
Mikati added that he hoped his government would supervise “the parliamentary elections with full integrity, to enable these elections to renew the political life in Lebanon.”
The joint parliamentary committees held a session on Tuesday and voted to keep the electoral law as it was, thus rejecting Aoun’s proposal to make amendments.
Aoun had objected to holding the elections on March 27 and to the proposals to change the expatriate voting formula by canceling the six seats allocated for Lebanese voters who live abroad.
Damascus bookshops disappear as crisis hits culture
LONDON: A former Iranian air force pilot exiled in Turkey has said he still feels unsafe after a failed kidnapping attempt last month. Mehrdad Abdarbashi, a former helicopter pilot who defected from the military when he was ordered to fight in Syria, had previously tried to resign from the armed forces, but Tehran rejected his…
LONDON: A former Iranian air force pilot exiled in Turkey has said he still feels unsafe after a failed kidnapping attempt last month.
Mehrdad Abdarbashi, a former helicopter pilot who defected from the military when he was ordered to fight in Syria, had previously tried to resign from the armed forces, but Tehran rejected his resignation and seized his passport.
In 2018, he said he received orders to be deployed to Syria on behalf of the Assad regime and decided it was time to flee Iran.
“It was the first time I was being deployed there, and I refused because I did not want to be involved in a proxy war going on there,” he told Al Jazeera.
He is now in hiding in eastern Turkey, and was recently targeted by two Iranian agents who tried to drug and kidnap him.
Turkish intelligence, which had been in contact with Abdarbashi, foiled the plot. The Iranian agents were charged with espionage and conspiracy to commit a crime in a Turkish court earlier this month.
But Abdarbashi said he still fears the Iranian regime will reach him despite Ankara’s protection.
“I don’t think I am safe in any city in Turkey right now. I think Iranian intelligence will come after me, and this time they won’t try to kidnap me, this time they will just kill me,” he said.
“Of course, Turkish police and intelligence are still looking after me. But I still think Iranian agents will somehow reach me.”
Iranian exiles in Turkey are often targeted by Tehran’s agents, who try to kidnap them to bring them back to the Islamic Republic.
In June 2020, Eisa Bazyar, a writer critical of the Iranian regime, was forced into a car in western Turkey and held for two days before he managed to escape.
The following November, Habib Chaab, an Iranian dissident with Swedish citizenship, was seized as he transited through an Istanbul airport.
For a period of time, it appeared that Ankara was complying with and even directly cooperating with Tehran’s attempts to kidnap foreign dissidents and bring them back to Iran.
In two cases, Ankara assisted with the capture and deportation of men sentenced to death for their role in anti-regime protests.
But last year’s war between Azerbaijan — perhaps the nation with the closest ties to Ankara — and Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh appears to have prompted a cooling in relations between Turkey and Iran. Their opposing sides in the Syrian conflict has also proved a more subtle bone of contention.
As relations between the two large Middle Eastern states — which share a long border and have a centuries-old history of Persian-Turkic competition — have declined, Ankara’s cooperation with Iranian intelligence operations on Turkish soil appears to have ceased.
In February this year, Turkish police arrested an Iranian diplomat at the Istanbul consulate in connection with the assassination of spy-turned-dissident Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in November 2019.
Kuwait Times Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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