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Sharjah Police Arrest International Gang of 5 Criminals for Phishing Dh3 Million Electronically

A gang of five scammers has been apprehended by the Sharjah Police, the authorities announced on Thursday.

The criminal network operated from outside the country and specialised in cyber fraud through a process known as "173". In connection with the scam, over Dh3 million has been seized from accounts linked to 11 anonymous reports registered with the police in the country, the authorities further stated.

The suspects were found to have phished Dh3,011,854 from accounts linked to 11 anonymous reports received by police departments across the UAE, according to Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police.

Brigadier Omar Ahmed Abu Al Zoud, Director of the Sharjah CID, revealed that a report was received from an Arab working for a company within the country. He stated that he had received an email from a supposed supplier requesting an update of the bank data.

After updating the details and transferring Dh85,713,052 to the bank account number provided by the fraudulent company, he discovered that the email was fake.

Abu Al Zoud noted that a team of cybercrime experts was formed to verify the fraud operation and arrest the perpetrators. The technical investigation revealed that the email was fake, and further technical follow-up showed that the money transfer had been made from outside the country.

An African individual who withdrew Dh20,000 from the amount was also identified and arrested in a sting operation at his residence, along with others who lived with him and were proven to be involved in crimes related to cyber fraud.

The police found 173 bank cards and 132 chequebooks belonging to victims whose bank details were used to commit fraud, in the possession of the suspects. Additionally, 21 smartphones, 18 Emirates ID cards belonging to victims who had left the country, six stamps of fake companies and Dh95,320 obtained from withdrawals made through electronic fraud were also discovered.

Abu Al Zoud explained that the perpetrators had premeditatedly purchased 173 accounts from their original owners who had left the country.

They then controlled the accounts and bank cards, transferring money from one account to another to mislead the police.
Lieutenant Ahmed Al Bahai and Lieutenant Nouf Abdul Rahim Al Harmoudi reported that four types of cybercrimes have been frequently reported recently -- "Fake job advertisements", "Fake websites", "Electronic impersonation of persons and institutions", and "Electronic hacks".

They also warned against dealing with websites or information circulated via social media platforms

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Culpable Homicide: Kuwait Public Prosecution Detains Citizen, Expatriate in Al-Mangaf Fire Case

The Public Prosecution ordered on Thursday the detention of a national and a resident of the country on charges of 'culpable homicide' in connection with the fire that engulfed an apartment building and claimed 49 lives, according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

The Kuwaiti and the expatriate will be held in custody on multiple charges, including 'causing death and injury by negligence in observing security and safety measures against fires,' stated the country's Public Prosecution on its X account.

Investigations are ongoing, affirmed the prosecution. Furthermore, in its statement, the prosecution disclosed that it had formed a special team to conduct a detailed investigation into the incident.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior announced that the death toll from the building fire in Al-Mangaf area had reached 49, emphasising its intention to enforce stringent measures against property owners who violated the law.

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Dubai Eases Travel Ban Rules for Divorced Parents, Removing Restrictions

 

Dubai has relaxed regulations for divorced parents travelling abroad with their children. According to Dubai Courts, the new procedure permanently lifts the travel ban once the sponsor's approval is obtained. This change simplifies the process for parents and their children to enter and exit the UAE.

“This process … accelerates the procedures of cancelling the travel ban in the system immediately after it is signed by the judge,” the authority said on Thursday.

Salem Mohammed Al Misfri, head of the Personal Status Execution Department at the Dubai Courts, said the procedure previously involved several time-consuming steps. First, a judge had to issue a decision after the sponsor’s approval, after which a letter was sent to the Criminal Investigation Department to temporarily cancel the travel ban.

As stated on the official UAE government portal website, custody in divorce cases is typically awarded to mothers, while fathers act as 'guardians' responsible for the child's financial support.

Previously, leaving the country with a child without the other parent's consent could be considered 'child abduction,' leading to severe legal repercussions for the parent involved. If there are concerns, either parent can secure a travel ban to prevent the child from leaving the airport.

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Elon Musk Pursued Women Working At SpaceX For Sex: Wall Street Journal Report

Fired SpaceX engineers have filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk for sexual harassment and retaliation in California state court, escalating their multi-front legal battle with the billionaire chief executive and his aerospace company.

"Musk knowingly and purposefully created an unwelcome hostile work environment based upon his conduct of interjecting into the workplace vile sexual photographs, memes and commentary that demeaned women and/or the LGBTQ+ community," the eight former employees, who have also been pursuing a US labour board case against the company, said in their Wednesday filing.

The plaintiffs are alleging that some of them then experienced harassing comments from other coworkers that "mimicked Musk's posts" from Twitter and "created a wildly uncomfortable hostile work environment."

After Musk publicly mocked misconduct allegations against him, the workers collaborated on an open letter in 2022 raising concerns about his behaviour and the company's culture, and allege they were fired in retaliation. Their filing says they have reason to believe Musk personally made the decision to terminate them in retaliation for that activism. When a human resources official suggested conducting an investigation first, Musk replied "I don't care - fire them," the complaint alleges.

SpaceX and Elon Musk did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit. SpaceX has previously denied wrongdoing and said that the fired employees violated policies. It also said Musk was not involved in their terminations.

The suit against Musk follows earlier complaints from the same employees to the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) that said SpaceX illegally retaliated against them. NLRB prosecutors agreed, but SpaceX sued in January claiming the agency's structure was unconstitutional. An appeals court injunction has put the labor board case on hold.

Separately, on Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported allegations that Musk made sexual advances to women at SpaceX, including a former intern he had sex with. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was quoted in the story accusing the Journal of presenting "untruths, mischaracterisations, and revisionist history," and saying "Elon is one of the best humans I know."

The NLRB lacks authority to hold individual people liable, but the new state court lawsuit names Musk personally as a defendant, citing what it calls his "maniacal control over personnel decisions at his businesses" and his public comments, such as joking on Twitter, regarding a misconduct allegation, "if you touch my wiener, you can have a horse." Musk has denied wrongdoing.

The lawsuit also alleges that SpaceX executives including Musk and Shotwell participated in a video "that mocks and makes light of sexual misconduct and banter," including a scene in which an employee demonstrated the "correct" way to spank a coworker.

The fired employees previously brought some of their claims to California's Civil Rights Department, Bloomberg News reported in February. That agency this week issued them "right to sue" letters clearing the way for them to bring their lawsuit, according to the complaint.

"We need to pursue whatever avenues we can to continue advancing our claims," plaintiff Tom Moline, who worked on SpaceX's Dragon programme, said in an interview. "Even Elon, with all his wealth and power, is not above being held accountable, right?"

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Missouri Executes David Hosier Convicted of Killing Former Lover and Her Husband

A man convicted of killing his former lover and her husband in what prosecutors described as a fit of rage was executed Tuesday evening in Missouri.

David Hosier, 69, was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m. following a single-dose injection of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Bonne Terre. Hosier was convicted of the 2009 killings of Angela and Rodney Gilpin in the state capital of Jefferson City.

Hosier turned his head a couple of times and breathed hard twice as the drug was administered. All movement stopped within seconds, even as his spiritual adviser seated next to him, the Rev. Jeff Hood, continued to pray.

Investigators said Hosier had a romantic relationship with Angela Gilpin and was angry with her for breaking it off and reconciling with her husband. Hosier maintained until the end that he was innocent and shouldn’t have been convicted on circumstantial evidence.

The way was cleared Monday when Gov. Mike Parson declined to grant clemency, citing Hosier’s “lack of remorse.” Parson, a Republican and former county sheriff, has overseen 10 executions since taking office in 2018. Hosier’s lawyers said no court appeals were pending in the hours before the scheduled execution.

“I leave you all with love,” Hosier had said as part of a final statement released before the execution. “Now I get to go to Heaven. Don’t cry for me. Just join me when your time comes.”

Hosier was the son of an Indiana State Police sergeant killed in the line of duty. Glen Hosier went into a home searching for a murder suspect in 1971 when he was shot to death.

Other officers returned fire and killed the suspect. David Hosier, then 16, was soon sent to military school and enlisted in the Navy after graduating. He served four years of active duty and later moved to Jefferson City, Missouri, where he worked for many years as a firefighter and EMT.

In previous interviews with The Associated Press, Hosier acknowledged having an affair with Angela Gilpin that she ended before getting back with her husband. In September 2009, the two were fatally shot near the doorway to their apartment.

Detective Jason Miles told AP that Hosier made numerous comments to other people threatening to harm Angela Gilpin in the days before the killings. After the shootings, police found an application for a protective order in Angela Gilpin’s purse, and another document in which she expressed fear that Hosier might shoot her and her husband.

Hosier was an immediate suspect, but police couldn’t find him. They used cellphone data to track him to Oklahoma. A chase ensued when an Oklahoma officer tried to stop Hosier’s car. When he got out, he told the officers, “Shoot me, and get it over with,” court records show.

Officers found 15 guns, a bulletproof vest, 400 rounds of ammunition and other weapons in Hosier’s car, the court documents state. The weapons included a submachine gun made from a kit that investigators maintain was used in the killings, though tests on it were inconclusive.

A note was found in the front seat of Hosier’s vehicle. “If you are going with someone do not lie to them,” it read in part. “Be honest with them if there is something wrong. If you do not this could happen to YOU!!”

Hosier said he wasn’t fleeing to Oklahoma, but was simply on a long drive to clear his mind. He had the guns because he likes to hunt, he said. He didn’t recall a note in the car.

The Missouri Supreme Court upheld Hosier’s conviction in 2019. Hosier was the seventh person executed in the U.S. this year and the second in Missouri. Brian Dorsey was executed in April for killing his cousin and her husband in 2006.
Missouri is scheduled to execute another man, Marcellus Williams, on September 24, even though Williams is still awaiting a hearing on his claim of innocence in the 1998 stabbing death of Lisha Gayle.

In January, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell requested a court hearing after DNA technology unavailable at the time of the crime showed that someone else’s DNA -- but not Williams’ -- was found on the knife used in the stabbing.

Williams was hours away from execution in 2017 when then-Gov. Eric Greitens granted a reprieve and appointed a board of inquiry to examine his innocence claim. The board never reached a conclusion and Parson dissolved it last year.

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UAE's Stringent Cold Call Regulations: Balancing Consumer Privacy with Business Compliance

 

The UAE government has recently implemented stringent regulations on telemarketing via phone calls, enforcing hefty fines of up to Dh150,000 for violators.

These rules, set to take effect in mid-August 2024, are aimed at controlling the rampant issue of cold calls, which are unsolicited calls made to potential customers. This regulatory change marks a significant shift in the telemarketing landscape in the UAE, designed to protect consumer privacy and reduce unwanted disruptions.

What Are Cold Calls?

Cold calls are unsolicited phone calls made by companies or telemarketers to promote products or services to potential customers without prior consent. These calls are often intrusive and can be seen as a nuisance by recipients.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Prior Approval: Companies must obtain approval from a competent authority before making marketing calls.
  • Licensed Firms: Only licensed telemarketing firms can conduct these calls using registered phone numbers.
  • Calling Hours: Marketing calls are restricted to between 9 am and 6 pm.
  • Do Not Call Registry (DNCR): Companies are prohibited from calling numbers listed on the DNCR.
  • Follow-Up Calls: Banned if the consumer declines the service on the first call.
  • Call Frequency: Only one call per day is allowed if the consumer does not answer or ends the call.

Penalties

  • Warnings and Fines: Violations can result in warnings and fines up to Dh150,000.
  • Severe Violations: These may lead to suspension of telemarketing activities, licence cancellation, and removal from the commercial registry.

Specific Fines

  • Dh75,000 for not obtaining prior approval.
  • Up to Dh150,000 for marketing to DNCR-listed consumers.
  • Fines for using unregistered phone numbers for marketing calls.

Consumer Protection

The new regulations prioritise consumer rights by ensuring transparency and preventing deceptive or aggressive marketing tactics. Consumers can lodge complaints about violations and companies are required to maintain detailed records of all marketing calls. This framework aims to create a more respectful and consent-based telemarketing environment.

Challenges for Telemarketers

  • Compliance Costs: Telemarketing companies will need to invest in compliance mechanisms, increasing operational costs.
  • Operational Changes: Stricter controls may lead to reduced call volumes, affecting telemarketing jobs.

Opportunities

Quality Over Quantity: Emphasis on approved and ethical marketing practices could result in better-targeted marketing efforts and potentially higher conversion rates.

Analytical Perspective

The UAE's new regulations reflect a global trend towards increased scrutiny and regulation of telemarketing practices. By enforcing these rules, the UAE aims to strike a balance between protecting consumer privacy and enabling businesses to operate within a structured, ethical framework.

This shift is expected to lead to more responsible telemarketing practices, enhancing the overall consumer experience while potentially creating a more sustainable business environment for telemarketers who adhere to the new standards.

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Saudi Arabia to Allow Non-Saudis to Set Up Law Firms in Bid to Enhance Foreign Investment

Saudi Arabia is considering allowing foreign law firms, licensed to practise the legal profession in the Kingdom, to establish companies wholly owned by non-Saudis to enhance foreign investment, according to the National Competitiveness Centre (NCC).

In a post on its X platform, the NCC sought public opinion regarding a proposal by the Ministry of Justice to amend the first paragraph of Article 50 of the Kingdom’s Code of Law Practice.

The amendment aims to allow foreign law firms, licensed to practise in the Kingdom, to establish professional companies wholly owned by non-Saudis, to provide legal advice on Saudi regulations and to plead before the courts in accordance with the controls specified by the regulations, through a Saudi lawyer registered in the practising lawyers’ register.

According to information posted on the Istitlaa platform, the project aims to develop the legal profession, raise the quality and efficiency of its practice and localise global expertise. This is in addition to enhancing the Kingdom’s competitiveness, improving its business environment and raising the efficiency of the justice system by increasing the level of professionalism in the legal profession.

The project will also contribute to achieving Saudi Arabia’s goals in stimulating foreign investment, moving the regional headquarters of international companies to Saudi Arabia, and creating more qualitative job opportunities for citizens, both directly and indirectly.

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Cancelling Your Credit Card to Visa: Essential Things to Take Care of Before Leaving the UAE

 

Dubai is a city of dreams and has changed the lives of many who came here with the hope of creating a better future for themselves and their families. When it's time to go back home after fulfilling your dreams, or relocate to another city for work or retirement, it's important to complete a few essential tasks without fail.

Here's a checklist of things you need to do before leaving the emirate for good:

Cancel your Credit Card and Close your Bank Account

Initiate the process of closing bank accounts well in advance, as it can take several weeks and often requires in-person visits. Follow the bank's specific procedures, including withdrawing funds, returning related documents and obtaining clearance certificates. It's important to cancel your credit cards to avoid annual charges and other hidden fees.

Terminate Tenancy

If you're leaving the country permanently, it's imperative to give notice to your landlord as soon as possible. Understanding the notice period required for terminating your tenancy is crucial. In Dubai, individuals facing hardships due to COVID-19 may be eligible for a force majeure exemption regarding notice periods.

Contact the Rental Disputes Centre at the Dubai Land Department for further guidance. Upon concluding the notice period, obtain Ejari clearance and clearance certificates from utility companies to cancel your tenancy contract.

Mobile Number Transfer

Timing is key when cancelling your UAE mobile number. Consider transferring to Etisalat's Homebound pack, which allows you to keep your UAE number active for 30 or 60 days, facilitating communication with shipping companies, buyers, and potential employers.

Handling Belongings

Assess and categorise your belongings into items for shipment, sale, donation, or disposal. Engaging a relocation company or managing the process yourself depends on your preferences and timeline. Explore various options for selling items and consider donating quality goods to registered charities. Arrange for bulk waste collection services for items not suitable for donation.

 Vehicle Sale

Whether selling your car independently or through a dealer, ensure it undergoes necessary servicing and detailing for an optimal sale. Utilise online platforms and social networks to maximise visibility.

Obtaining School Leaving Certificate

Obtain a school leaving certificate for your child, ensuring all outstanding fees are settled. Schools can provide these certificates, which may require verification by relevant authorities such as the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Clearing Utility Bills

Ensure utility bills are settled in full and services are disconnected before terminating residential tenancy agreements. Many utility companies offer online processes for bill clearance, with varying processing times.

Cancelling Residence Visa

If your visa is sponsored by an employer or family member, ensure it is cancelled before departure. Employers should proceed through the Ministry of Human Resources, while family-sponsored visas require processing through the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).

By following this checklist meticulously, individuals departing the UAE can streamline their exit process and minimize potential legal complications.

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Maximising Eid Al Adha Holidays: Exploring 'Sandwich Leave' Strategies Amid Extended Break

As the auspicious occasion of Eid Al Adha approaches, both public and private sector employees in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are gearing up to enjoy a well-deserved break.

This year, the Eid Al Adha holidays will span over four days, allowing individuals across the country ample time to observe the religious festivities and spend quality moments with family and loved ones.

The UAE government has officially announced that the Eid Al Adha holidays for both public and private sectors will commence from 9 to 12 Dhu al Hijjah 1445 AH. According to the Gregorian calendar, it is from June 15 to 18, 2024.

This extended break not only honours the significance of Eid Al Adha but also provides an opportunity for individuals to rejuvenate and recharge amidst their busy schedules.
In light of the extended holidays, individuals in the UAE are exploring ways to maximise their time off and make the most of this festive period. One strategy gaining traction among employees is the utilisation of "sandwich leave" to extend their Eid Al Adha break.

"Sandwich leave" refers to the practice of strategically taking additional days off before or after a public holiday to create an extended period of leisure. By strategically planning their leave, individuals can enjoy an extended vacation without consuming excessive annual leave days.

However, it's essential for employees to adhere to their respective organisation's policies and obtain prior approval from their employers before availing sandwich leave. Clear communication and planning ensure smooth workflow continuity and minimise any disruption to business operations during the holiday period.

Eid Al Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, holds profound cultural and religious significance for Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God's command. The holiday is marked by special prayers, feasts, charitable acts and the ritual sacrifice of animals, symbolising Prophet Ibrahim's devotion and trust in the Almighty.

During the Eid Al Adha holidays, Muslims in the UAE traditionally gather with family and friends to perform prayers at mosques, share festive meals, exchange gifts and partake in various community events. Additionally, many families embark on travel expeditions to explore the country's diverse landscapes or visit their hometowns to celebrate the occasion with relatives.

As preparations for Eid Al Adha festivities ensue, the UAE remains committed to fostering a spirit of unity, compassion and generosity among its diverse population.

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YouTuber Held for Helicopter-Lamborghini Fireworks Stunt, Could Face 10-Year Jail Term

 

YouTuber Alex Choi was arrested for a stunt video showing people shooting fireworks at a Lamborghini from a helicopter. He was reportedly taken into custody on a federal criminal complaint, alleging that he directed the entire stunt.

According to a statement by the US attorney's office for the Central District of California, Choi directed the video in which two women are seen shooting fireworks at a Lamborghini. The department added that the affidavit stated the aircraft was also seen flying near the ground without filming permits.

Choi posted the video "Destroying a Lamborghini with Fireworks" July 4, 2023 on YouTube. The video has now been deleted from all of his social media platforms.
The Daily Mail shared a part of the video on Instagram with a caption describing the incident.

"YouTuber Alex Choi was arrested over a stunt which saw him filming an arsenal of fireworks being shot at a $300,000 Lamborghini from a helicopter. Now the 24-year-old, who is known for his car-related stunts, has been charged with 'causing the placement of an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft,' and is facing 10 years in prison," the outlet wrote.

The statement added that law enforcement believes that Choi "did not have a permit to film a shoot using fireworks on a helicopter, and that he purchased the fireworks in Nevada because they were illegal in California." If convicted, he stands to face "a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison."

Since being shared some seven hours ago, the video has accumulated nearly 240,000 views. The share has further collected more than 7,000 likes. People posted varied comments while reacting to the share.

"He won’t get convicted because his intent was not malice. He will get a large fine and that’s about it," wrote an Instagram user. "This is going to bring him some likes," joked another.

"Is it illegal to have fun in a controlled environment?" questioned a third. "Anything for clout," posted a fourth.

The video shared by Choi appeared to be a "live-action version of a fictionalised video game scene," cited the statement by the US attorney's office for the Central District of California.

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Manchester City Initiates Legal Action Against Premier League's Financial Regulations

Manchester City has initiated legal proceedings against the Premier League regarding recent regulations concerning "associated party transactions" (APTs), which were first introduced in December 2021 and later revised in January 2024. The dispute will be heard by an arbitration tribunal on June 10, with a decision expected within two weeks thereafter.

As per reports from The Times, Manchester City, owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, has submitted a 165-page document outlining its argument against the regulations. The club asserts that these rules infringe upon competition laws in the United Kingdom. Additionally, they are seeking compensation, claiming that they have been compelled to adhere to these regulations for an extended period.

This move could potentially disrupt the established structure of European football, as many clubs operate as nonprofit member associations or are controlled by investors who expect returns on their investments. By removing cost controls, it could make the business less appealing to investors, especially when there is a trend towards implementing regulations to promote financial sustainability across leagues and organisations like UEFA.

Furthermore, if these regulations are overturned, it could weaken the Premier League's case against Manchester City regarding alleged breaches of financial rules, particularly those concerning sponsorships. This legal challenge from the league's most successful member would undoubtedly be a significant development within the sports industry, given its unprecedented nature.

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Supreme Committee Reviews Steps to Bolster Consumer Protection, Legislative Framework

 

The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, chaired by Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, convened to evaluate its significant accomplishments and endeavours in 2023. The Committee’s pivotal role in enhancing the UAE’s consumer protection system and establishing a robust legislative infrastructure aligned with international best practices was highlighted.

Additionally, the Committee addressed the recent updates concerning Cabinet Resolution No. 120 of 2022, which focuses on regulating the prices of essential consumer goods within the UAE.

The minister affirmed the UAE’s commitment to refining economic policies and legislation aimed at strengthening consumer protection and safeguarding consumer rights. Under the guidance of its wise leadership, the UAE is dedicated to creating a secure and stable consumer environment, fostering vibrant markets, and adhering to global best practices. These focused efforts are designed to improve the quality of life for both citizens and residents, while simultaneously enhancing the growth and competitiveness of the national economy on regional and global scales, in alignment with the vision of ‘We the UAE 2031’.

“The Committee plays a crucial role in advancing the UAE’s national objectives and strategies for consumer rights protection. Through proactive measures, the Committee develops projects and initiatives that promote the adoption of best business practices in the marketplace. It also establishes mechanisms to regulate prices of goods and products, thus ensuring adherence to legislation governing consumer rights protection. These efforts aim to provide consumers with an exceptional purchasing experience and guarantee the availability of sufficient quantities of goods and products to meet their needs,” the minister noted.

The Committee reviewed its notable achievements in 2023, including significant contributions to establishing an integrated consumer protection framework within the UAE. This was achieved through their contribution to the development and revision of a series of relevant legislation and policies, such as Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023 amending Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection, and its executive regulation issued by Cabinet Decision No. 66 of 2023.

The Committee effectively implemented pricing policies for essential consumer goods based on Cabinet Decision No. 120 of 2022. Additionally, the Committee issued ten recommendations pertaining to this framework, all of which were successfully executed through collaboration with relevant government bodies and authorities.

MoE’s Endeavours to Regulate Prices

In the same context, the Committee reviewed the efforts made by the Ministry of Economy to enhance market monitoring and prevent price manipulation over the past year. The Ministry’s teams conducted over 96,200 inspection visits across all seven emirates, resulting in the identification of 6,645 violations.

Additionally, during the first quarter of 2024, the Ministry carried out 34,067 inspection visits, leading to 1,896 inspections. Throughout 2023, the Ministry received close to 3,000 complaints and over 133,000 recall requests.

The recall service allows for the tracking and withdrawal of defective or hazardous goods from suppliers, concerned parties, or relevant authorities in the country of origin or any other country. The ministry diligently executed measures within the country to safeguard consumer health, safety, and rights, protect the interests of retailers and manufacturers, and ensure market stability within the country.

New Decisions and Policies

The Committee conducted an in-depth discussion on various decisions and policies for the next phase. These discussions emphasised the necessity for effective regulation and organisation to monitor retail traders, goods suppliers and sales outlets for compliance with UAE pricing regulations on consumer goods.

Furthermore, the Committee focused on creating mechanisms and controls for the unit pricing of specific consumer goods and introducing a code of conduct for the consumer goods industry. This code aims to enhance the contractual relationship between sales outlets and suppliers in the country's markets.

Digital Project

The Committee discussed the possibility of launching a new digital project focused on analysing market data to improve control over product and commodity prices. This initiative will involve developing a smart market analysis system and remote monitoring for consumer goods.

These measures will contribute to market surveillance efforts, enable prompt action in response to any identified violations, and facilitate a more streamlined and user-friendly complaint process. By leveraging cutting-edge technological solutions and advanced technologies, this endeavour ensures the protection of consumer rights and enhances the country's market control system.

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Dubai Int’I Airport Apprehends Over 350 Passengers with Fake Passports This Year

 

Between January and March of this year, more than 350 incoming passengers at Dubai International Airport (DXB) were apprehended with fake passports, according to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. Specifically, 366 individuals were caught using forged passports during this period, up slightly from 355 during the same timeframe last year.

In 2023, the GDRFA examined 16,127 documents, identifying 1,232 as forgeries. Additionally, 443 cases were referred to public prosecution for further investigation and action based on the specifics of each case.

At a press briefing at Dubai Airport’s Terminal 1, a consultant at the Document Examination Centre, highlighted the effectiveness of GDRFA’s systems in identifying fraudulent passports. He pointed out that every counter at Dubai Airports Passport Control is equipped with an advanced machine called Retro Check, which scrutinises suspected fake passports. These machines act as an effective firewall, enabling immigration officers to detect fake passports.

Once a dubious passport is flagged by a control officer, it is sent to the Document Examination Centre for verification. The verification process takes only five minutes, after which a report is sent to the public prosecution.

The consultant emphasised that the GDRFA is “one of the few entities globally with a specialised and accredited centre for document examination.” Unlike many immigration departments worldwide that rely on criminal laboratories, where inspections can take days or weeks, Dubai Airports can verify passports in a remarkably short time.

The GDRFA employs 1,500 passport control officers who handle entry and exit processes, referred to as the first line of defense in document verification. Additionally, there are 30 document examiners, known as the second line of defense, who conduct detailed audits. All staff members are Emiratis.

Legal Consequences

Individuals found with forged or counterfeit travel documents face legal consequences. Those caught departing with such documents are referred to UAE judicial authorities, regardless of whether they were knowingly involved or unwittingly deceived.

Arriving passengers with forged documents are denied entry and promptly returned to their country of origin or handed over to relevant authorities.
The GDRFA also implements special procedures that consider humanitarian factors, recognising that some individuals may have been unknowingly victimised by criminal schemes.

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Embark on a Road Trip from UAE to Oman: All You Need to Know About Routes, Documents

Whether it's a weekend escape from the urban bustle or a brief trip for visa renewal, Oman has emerged as a favoured destination for many UAE residents. Its proximity, hassle-free visa procedures, and stunning landscapes make it an appealing choice for those opting to travel by car.

Over time, there have been alterations in routes and entry requirements. From the latest road updates to essential documentation, here's your comprehensive handbook for a car journey from the UAE to Oman.

Route Choices

Hatta, Al Wajajah Border: For travellers originating from Dubai, the Hatta, Al Wajajah border crossing stands out as the preferred route. It's a direct and secure path, typically covering the distance within 1.5-2 hours, subject to traffic conditions.

Situated approximately 140km from Dubai, motorists navigate via the E102 route. This route is equally convenient for residents from Sharjah, Dubai (particularly areas closer to Sharjah), and other northern emirates, accessible through Mleiha Road. From Mleiha Road, drivers encounter two route options:

  •  The first option is the E84 exit, leading towards Hatta, Fujairah, and Khorfakkan, providing a swift alternative.
  •  The second option involves the Wadi Al Helo, Kalba road, offering a scenic journey through mountains and wadis for those with a leisurely pace in mind.

Meyzad, Hafeet Border:

Abu Dhabi residents may favour the Meyzad, Hafeet border, positioned 180km away from the capital city, while for Dubai residents, the border post is approximately 160km away. Close to Al Ain, this route is ideal for travellers heading towards the southern regions of Oman.

Dibba Border:

If Musandam's vibrant corals and crystalline waters are on your itinerary, the Dibba border route is your best bet. For Dubai residents, the journey spans nearly two hours, covering 146km from the city. This route allows entry to expats without an Oman visa, as well as visit visa holders, with access limited to the Dibba Musandam area.

For those eyeing Musandam's Khasab town, UAE residents can opt for the Al Darrah border crossing from Ras Al Khaimah, with the mountainous emirate lying a mere 35km away. However, an Oman visa is mandatory for entry via this border post.

Required Documentation

Residents embarking on the journey from the UAE must carry the following documents:

  •  Original passport
  •  Original visa or a copy for e-visa holders
  •  Emirates ID
  •  Car registration card (mulkiya)
  •  Orange card, serving as proof of valid car insurance in Oman.

Checkpoint Procedures

En route to Hatta from Dubai, approximately 500 metres before the Omani border, a 'Leaving Hatta' sign marks the proximity of the first checkpoint. This is a UAE checkpoint, where security personnel typically request the car's registration card and passports of all occupants. Here, residents are required to pay the exit fee of Dh35 as they depart the Emirates.

Subsequently, travellers reach the Oman border, undergoing passport control and possibly disembarking from their vehicles to enter the building. Officials stamp passports with entry stamps, usually verifying travellers' Emirates IDs. Exiting this post, some residents may undergo vehicle inspections at the final checkpoint in Oman.

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Motorists Warned: Dh400 Fine, 4 Black Points for Violating Road Rules in Abu Dhabi

 

To enhance road safety in the emirate, Abu Dhabi Police have employed 3D CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) technology to educate and remind drivers of essential safety practices when entering roads.

By leveraging this technology, the authorities aim to reduce accidents and ensure smoother traffic flow. The Abu Dhabi Police have highlighted five critical rules that drivers should follow to ensure a safe entry onto the roads:

Slow Down When Approaching Road Entrances: Reduce your speed as you near a road entrance. This allows extra time to assess the situation and respond to any unforeseen events.
Use Side Warning Signals: Properly using turn signals is crucial for communicating your intentions to other road users. This practice helps prevent misunderstandings and potential collisions.
Be Cautious of Parked Vehicles: If there is a vehicle ahead of you or parked near the road entrance, slow down. Parked vehicles can obstruct your view, making it harder to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
Give Priority to Vehicles on the Main Road: Always yield to vehicles on the main road. These vehicles have the right of way, and failing to give them priority can lead to dangerous situations.
Ensure the Road is Clear: Before entering a road, double-check to make sure it is free of approaching vehicles. This final check is crucial in preventing accidents.

Penalties

Adhering to these safety guidelines can significantly reduce accidents and enhance overall road safety. However, drivers who fail to follow traffic rules will be penalised according to UAE laws.

  •  Entering a road without ensuring it is clear: Dh400 fine and 4 black points.
  •  Entering a road dangerously: Dh600 fine and 6 black points.

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Madras High Court Grants Wife Guardianship Over Comatose Husband, Permits Property Sale

The Madras High Court has permitted the wife of a person in a comatose condition to sell/mortgage his immovable property worth over ₹1 crore and utilise the proceeds for taking care of his medical expenses as well as the maintenance of the family, consisting of a son and a daughter.

The petitioner stated that her husband was admitted to a private hospital from February 13 to April 4, during which she spent a substantial amount of money on his treatment. Her husband is currently being cared for by paramedics at home. She requested the court to permit the sale of the property to cover medical expenses and support the family.

In an intra-Court appeal filed under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent against an earlier order, the Court had initially directed the petitioner to approach the jurisdictional Civil Court instead of granting her guardianship in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

However, the Division Bench of G.R. Swaminathan and P.B. Balaji JJ set aside this order and issued the following directions:

  • The appellant was appointed as the guardian for her husband's person and properties.
  • The appellant was permitted to manage and dispose of the property on her husband's behalf. She was also directed to ensure that a sum of Rs50 lakhs is deposited in a nationalised bank in her husband's name. The interest accrued from this deposit can be withdrawn by the appellant every three months. This fixed deposit is to remain until the husband's lifetime, after which it will be divided into three equal shares among his legal heirs.
  • The appellant was directed to file an affidavit before the Registry of the Court indicating compliance with the direction to create a fixed deposit of Rs50 lakhs in her husband's name.

After interacting with the petitioner’s children, the court was satisfied that the family had no source of income. Without permission to manage the mentioned property, they would face significant hardship. The court acknowledged that caring for a person in a comatose state is challenging and requires monetary support, including hiring paramedical staff.

The Court noted that the property belongs to the husband and should be used for his benefit. Since the petitioner’s husband cannot care for himself, the appellant is bearing the entire burden. Thus, the Court found it improper to direct the appellant to move to the civil court.

It emphasised that when relief can be granted based on admitted and proven facts, there is no reason to deny the appellant on technical grounds of writ petition maintainability. The court also pointed out that similar writ petitions had been entertained and reliefs granted, making the single judge's decision to dismiss the writ petition incorrect.

The court reiterated that after the petitioner's husband's demise, the fixed deposit would be divided into three equal shares for his legal heirs: his wife, daughter and son.

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Wearing Black Coats Unsafe for Lawyers: SC Petition Seeks Dress Code Relaxation

Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi has lodged a writ petition with the Supreme Court, urging amendments to the regulations and the Advocates Act of 1961. The petition seeks to exempt legal practitioners from the customary requirement of wearing black coats and gowns, particularly during the intense heat of summer.

Tripathi contends that enforcing the wearing of black attire in hot weather poses significant safety risks to lawyers. The petitioner, represented by a consortium of legal experts, argues that the obligatory attire of black coats exacerbates the discomfort experienced by legal professionals, potentially jeopardising their health and well-being.

As temperatures escalate, the attire, symbolic of the legal profession's decorum, transforms from a symbol of dignity to a potential hazard, exposing lawyers to the perils of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

The petition seeks a directive to the State Bar Councils to determine the 'months of prevailing summer' for each state to exempt the wearing of the black coat and gown during those months.

The petitioner also seeks the establishment of a committee of medical experts to study how wearing warm clothes in summer affects the health and quality of work for advocates and to suggest recommendations accordingly.

The petitioner emphasised that the dress code of black coats and gowns originated from British tradition, but the Advocates Act of 1961 has failed to consider India's climatic conditions.
Furthermore, the plea proposes alternative measures to ensure the preservation of professional decorum while mitigating the risks associated with oppressive heat waves. Suggestions include allowing advocates to opt for lighter, breathable fabrics or providing exemptions from the mandatory wearing of black coats during periods of extreme heat.

Indian capital New Delhi recently hit a record-breaking 52.3 degrees Celsius. With the rising temperatures in the country, wearing a gown and coat may lead to excess absorption of heat and pose serious health risks. This not only makes work conditions unsafe and uncomfortable but also violates the right to a safe workplace.

The plea serves as a poignant reminder of the judiciary's duty to safeguard the interests of its officers of the court, whose invaluable contributions underpin the administration of justice. It underscores the need for a nuanced and empathetic approach towards dress regulations, one that strikes a delicate balance between tradition and practicality.

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Third-Party Funding in Arbitration: Benefits, Drawbacks and Regional Perspectives

Arbitration has witnessed significant growth globally, with third-party funding (TPF) emerging as a notable aspect in recent years.  TPF involves an entity unrelated to the dispute providing financial assistance to one party in exchange for a share of the proceeds if the case is successful.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, countries like the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey and Qatar have shown increasing interest in TPF, reflecting its evolving legal landscape and commercial dynamics.

Third-party funding in arbitration is a practice where an external entity finances some or all of the costs associated with a party's pursuit or defense of a claim in exchange for a portion of the proceeds recovered from the successful resolution of the dispute. This funding model is particularly prevalent in complex commercial disputes where the cost of arbitration proceedings can be substantial.

What are the Advantages of Third-Party Funding

  •  Access to Justice: Enables parties with limited financial resources to pursue meritorious claims.
  •  Risk Mitigation: Funders conduct due diligence, increasing the likelihood of success and mitigating risk.
  •  Cost Management: Transfers financial risk to the funder, allowing efficient allocation of resources.
  •  Levelling the Playing Field: Helps rebalance power dynamics in financially unequal disputes.

Disadvantages and Risks

  •  Loss of Control: Funded parties may cede control over proceedings to the funder.
  •  Conflicts of Interest: Funders may have conflicting interests with stakeholders.
  •  Cost of Capital: Financing comes at a cost, diminishing the value of the award.
  •  Enforcement Risks: Enforcement of funding agreements may pose challenges in some jurisdictions.
  •  No Win No Fee: In the "No Win No Fee" model, if the funded party does not succeed, the funder absorbs the entire cost of the proceedings.

The Funder's Involvement and Compensation

Funders play an active role in the arbitration process, collaborating with legal teams. If the claimant prevails, the funder receives a predetermined share of the damages awarded.

TPF offers opportunities for increased access to justice and risk mitigation but presents challenges related to control, conflicts of interest and cost implications. Regulatory frameworks and ethical standards will shape its future trajectory.

(Seyaad Arif is a barrister practicing via SOA LAW, a regulated Bar Standards Board Entity in England & Wales, specialising in Adjudication, Construction Law, Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration and Litigation. He also assists clients in Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates)

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UAE Federal Tax Authority Issues Corporate Tax Guide for Free Zone Persons

 

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA)  has taken a significant step towards clarifying the application of Corporate Tax within Free Zones by issuing a comprehensive guide.

The guide aims to streamline the understanding and implementation of Corporate Tax regulations for Free Zone Persons, particularly in light of the Free Zone Corporate Tax regime.

Under this regime, Qualifying Free Zone Persons benefit from a favourable 0% Corporate Tax rate on their Qualifying Income. The guide serves as a roadmap for businesses operating within Free Zones, offering detailed insights into the conditions for eligibility as a Qualifying Free Zone Person and the types of activities that qualify for this advantageous tax treatment.

By providing illustrative examples, the guide assists businesses in navigating the complexities of Corporate Tax Law as it pertains to Free Zone operations. It elucidates key concepts such as the calculation of Corporate Tax, the determination of Qualifying Income and the treatment of income derived from various sources, including immovable property and Qualifying Intellectual Property.

Furthermore, the guide addresses the importance of maintaining a substantial presence for Qualifying Free Zone Persons and outlines criteria for identifying Permanent Establishments both within and outside the Free Zones.

It underscores the FTA's commitment to ensuring compliance with tax regulations while facilitating the growth of businesses operating within Free Zones.

Recognizing the vital role played by Free Zones in bolstering the UAE economy, the FTA emphasises the manifold benefits offered by these economic hubs. These include relaxed foreign ownership restrictions, streamlined administrative procedures and state-of-the-art infrastructure, all of which contribute to fostering a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

The FTA urges all Free Zone Persons to thoroughly review the guide to gain a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory framework governing Corporate Tax within Free Zones.

The guide, along with other relevant implementing decisions, is readily accessible on the FTA's official website, reaffirming the authority's commitment to transparency and accessibility in tax administration.

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Dubai Link? UK Woman Jailed for Laundering Bitcoin Tied to $5.6B China Fraud

A woman was sentenced to six years and eight months in jail for laundering massive amounts of bitcoin linked to an alleged US$5.6 billion investment fraud in China.

Jian Wen, a former fast food worker who transformed her life with a luxurious lifestyle, was found guilty of one count of money laundering relating to about 150 bitcoin for a Chinese woman between 2017 and 2022. In the wider operation, the police seized over 61,000 bitcoin, now worth over $4 billion.

“This was an offence which was sophisticated and involved significant planning,” Judge Sally-Ann Hales said Friday, as she handed down the sentence. “I am in no doubt that you knew what you were dealing with.”

Wen, who holds British and Chinese citizenship, consistently denied all allegations against her and is appealing against her conviction. She said she was a victim and only followed instructions from a woman described as the “mastermind” by her lawyers.

Wen did not know the money was obtained in a fraud, her lawyer said. She was not accused of any role in the underlying fraud in China. Instead she was “duped and used” and she “bitterly regrets her involvement” with the alleged mastermind, her lawyer Mark Harries said during the Friday hearing.

The prosecution insisted that Wen was driven by greed and financial gains and was the decision maker for the cryptocurrency wallet in her control.

In March, the jury found Wen guilty of one count of money laundering after the prosecution showed thousands of pieces of evidence including WhatsApp messages between Wen and the alleged mastermind in a nearly two-month long trial.

The trial also highlighted the role of a series of intermediaries and professionals in London and Dubai who helped the two women launder bitcoin and buy assets in the UK, Europe and Dubai.

Wen, 42, went from living in the basement of an East London Chinese takeaway where she was employed, to a six-bedroom mansion in a leafy suburb, spending thousands on luxury shopping sprees at Harrods after she started working for the now-arrested woman fugitive.

Separately, the woman’s lawyer said in a statement that she denies the allegations of fraud against her. He said that she acquired substantial holdings of bitcoin through lawful means.

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Who Will Face the Music? Ilaiyaraaja’s Legal Notice to ‘Manjummel Boys’ Producers

Veteran Indian music composer Ilaiyarajaa has issued a legal notice to the creators of the Malayalam blockbuster film 'Manjummel Boys' for using the song ‘Kanmani Anbodu’ from the 1991 Tamil movie ‘Gunaa’ without his consent.

Chidambaram, the director of the film, posted a segment of the news on Instagram alongside another Tamil song, "Malarnthum Malaratha," composed by TM Soundararajan for the Tamil film ‘Pasamalar’.

Ilaiyarajaa contends that he is the original composer of the song 'Kanmani Anbodu' and asserts that mere acknowledgment in the title cards does not suffice as permission or licensing for its usage. He accuses the producers of exploiting his work commercially and attracting viewership and publicity through unauthorised means.

Furthermore, Ilaiyarajaa emphasises his absolute rights, including moral rights, over all his original musical compositions. His legal representative demands that the film producers either obtain the composer’s permission, remove the song from the movie, or provide compensation within 15 days, threatening legal action against Soubin Shahir, Babu Shahir, and Shawn Antony if they fail to comply with these options.

In a legal battle dating back to 2015, the Madras High Court had restrained four music labels from monetiSing Ilaiyarajaa’s musical works. In 2019, the court recognized the composer’s special moral rights over 4,500 songs composed for over 1,000 movies between the 1970s and 1990s.

However, in a recent hearing in 2024, a bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and Mohammed Shaffiq asserted that Ilaiyarajaa cannot be considered above the law, despite his stature.

Moreover, in 2020, the Indian Record Manufacturing Company Ltd (INRECO) claimed complete copyright ownership of Ilaiyarajaa’s musical works and sound recordings in approximately 30 films, citing written agreements with the respective film producers.

However, Ilaiyarajaa argued that digital rights emerged after 1996, and the music company should not have authority over his work, contending that the film’s owner cannot supersede his copyright.

Regarding 'Manjummel Boys,' which achieved significant success at the Kerala and Tamil Nadu box offices, becoming the first Malayalam film to gross over Rs200 crore within 26 days of its release, the movie centres around the camaraderie among a group of young men from a lower-middle-class background embarking on a trip to Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.

Notably, Kamal Haasan, who starred in Gunaa, congratulated the entire cast and crew of 'Manjummel Boys' post-release, underscoring its success.

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Drunk Minor Crashes Porsche, Killing Two IT Engineers in Pune: Should Parents Be Punished?

The Pune police detained the father of a minor involved in the Pune Porsche crash case under Sections 75 and 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act for allowing his son to consume alcohol and drive the Porsche while intoxicated.

The court has sent the minor’s father to police remand. The incident occurred on May 19 in Pune, India, around 2:30 am. CCTV footage revealed that the intoxicated minor was driving the car at an estimated speed of 160 km/h when it crashed into the victims' motorcycle.

This was confirmed after a police investigation. Immediately after the accident, the minor was arrested and taken to the police station for further investigation. It was discovered that he was a minor and intoxicated with alcohol.

He was immediately sent for a medical examination and a blood test. The police booked him under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code: 304, 304A, 337, 338, 427, and 279, as well as MVA sections 184 and 119/177.

What Led to the Massive Media Outrage?

On May 19, the Juvenile Justice Board of Pune granted bail to the minor under the following conditions: Write a 300-word essay on road accidents and their solutions; and assist traffic officers and study traffic rules for 15 days.

These conditions led to a massive outrage on social media. The public questioned why a minor who committed such a negligent act received only a 300-word essay and 15 days of work with the traffic officers as punishment.

After the bail conditions went viral, people criticised the police and the Indian judiciary system. This soon became a pan-Indian breaking news story and gained attention nationwide.

The police then invoked Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) section 185 in the case and filed a review application against the bail granted to the minor boy.

The police commissioner stated that generally, IPC section 304A (causing death by negligence) is invoked in accident cases. “But considering the heinous nature of the incident, we have invoked IPC section 304, which deals with culpable homicide and provides punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment,” he said.

Now the matter is in the Pune District Court. The police arrested the boy’s father, a real estate developer in Pune, for allegedly giving him a car without number plates and money despite knowing that he drinks and is a minor without a driving licence.

The police have also arrested the owners and managers of two Pune restaurants, where liquor was allegedly served to the minor boy before the accident.

A separate FIR was lodged against the father and the owners and managers of the two restaurants under sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and the MVA. The court has remanded them in police custody till May 24.

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Luxury Watch Theft Case: Defendant Receives Jail Sentence, Ordered to Pay Compensation

In a major legal triumph, the legal team representing the complainant, spearheaded by NYK Law Firm, achieved a significant victory by securing a conviction in a theft case.

This case, adjudicated in the Criminal Court of Dubai, centered on the theft of a high-value luxury watch. The defendant was guilty of exploiting the absence of the property owner to steal the watch during an evening gathering.

Throughout the trial, the complainant's legal team demonstrated exceptional skill and knowledge, meticulously presenting evidence and expert testimonies that convincingly established the defendant's guilt.

NYK Law Firm’s lawyers argued persuasively, underlining the premeditated nature of the theft and the defendant's possession of the stolen item. Their ability to dissect and counter the defendant's arguments was pivotal.

The defense suggested that someone else might have placed the watch in the defendant's bag, but this claim was effectively dismantled by the complainant's legal representatives through strategic questioning and presentation of irrefutable forensic evidence.

The Judgment reflected the rigorous effort and deep legal understanding of the complainant's team, underscoring their role not only in securing justice for their client but also in demonstrating the strength of the legal system.

The defendant was sentenced to imprisonment, deportation and has also reserved the right of the complainant to claim compensation.

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Abu Dhabi Global Market Regulator Slaps Sarwa Investment Platform with $122,500 Fine

Abu Dhabi Global Market’s financial regulator has imposed a $122,500 fine on the investment platform Sarwa Digital Wealth (Capital) for violating rules related to offering securities.

The penalty was issued after Sarwa was found to have offered securities in ADGM without an approved prospectus during April and May of the previous year, breaching Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) regulations, the financial centre announced.

A prospectus must be approved by the FSRA and should contain all necessary information for an investor to make an informed decision regarding the investment, according to ADGM. Without this prospectus, potential investors did not receive sufficient information to make an informed decision, it stated.

In total, 144 investors subscribed to the offer, committing approximately $2.1 million, ADGM data revealed.

However, Sarwa promptly reversed all committed subscriptions after being notified by the FSRA about the concerns, ADGM noted.
Sarwa also qualified for a fine reduction by agreeing to settle early, with an additional reduction for recognizing the regulatory action taken by the DFSA.

Since its opening in 2015, ADGM has been home to international banks, insurance companies, global asset managers, as well as financial technology and cryptocurrency exchanges, maintaining strict oversight of companies operating within its jurisdiction.

In February, ADGM fined Baker Tilly and its audit principal $62,500 for auditing failures and six financial institutions over $46,000 for reporting violations.

In October of the previous year, it also levied a $486,000 penalty on FinTech company Pyppl for breaking anti-money laundering regulations. In August, it fined KPMG Lower Gulf $30,000 for breaches of audit rules.

The FSRA’s investigation was coordinated with the Dubai International Financial Centre, whose Dubai Financial Services Authority conducted a parallel investigation into a company linked to Sarwa within its jurisdiction.

Sarwa, which has over 150,000 registered users, utilises artificial intelligence to assess an investor’s risk tolerance and assigns them a portfolio of exchange-traded funds, charging lower advisory fees than traditional financial advisers and wealth managers.

In August 2021, Sarwa raised $15 million in a funding round led by Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company. This Series B round brought the trading platform’s total funding from regional and international investors to about $25 million since its inception, the company reported at the time.

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OpenAI Pulls ChatGPT AI Voice Over its Resemblance to Scarlett Johansson in Movie ‘Her’

OpenAI announced it would pull one of the ChatGPT voices named ‘Sky’ after it created controversy for its resemblance to the voice of actress Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’, a movie about artificial intelligence.

“We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky,” the Microsoft-backed company posted on X. “We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.”

The 2013 sci-fi film ‘Her’ is about a man who falls in love with an artificial intelligence system named Samantha, voiced by Johansson.

The news comes one week after OpenAI debuted a range of audio voices for ChatGPT, its viral chatbot, a new AI model called GPT-4o, and a desktop version of ChatGPT.

Users watching the live demonstration of ChatGPT’s audio capabilities immediately began to post on social media that the ‘Sky’ voice sounded like Johansson in the movie. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seemingly referenced the film in a post on X, simply writing “her.”

In a Sunday blog post, OpenAI wrote that the chatbot’s five voices -- Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky -- were selected through a casting and recording process that spanned five months. Casting professionals received about 400 submissions from voice and screen actors and whittled that number down to 14, according to the company. Then an internal team selected the final five.

“Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” the company wrote. “To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

OpenAI plans to test Voice Mode in the coming weeks, with early access for paid subscribers to ChatGPT Plus, according to recent blog posts, and it also plans to add new voices.

OpenAI also said the new model can respond to users’ audio prompts “in as little as 232 milliseconds, with an average of 320 milliseconds, which is similar to human response time in a conversation.”

The company, founded in 2015, has been valued at more than $80 billion by investors. It’s under pressure to lead the generative AI market while finding ways to make money as it spends massive sums on processors and infrastructure to build and train its models.

OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are at the helm of a generative AI gold rush as companies in seemingly every industry race to add AI-powered chatbots and agents to avoid being left behind by competitors.

Earlier this month, OpenAI rival Anthropic announced its first enterprise offering and a free iPhone app.

A record $29.1 billion was invested across nearly 700 generative AI deals in 2023, an increase of more than 260 per cent from the prior year, according to PitchBook. The market is predicted to top $1 trillion in revenue within a decade.

In last week’s live presentation, OpenAI team members demonstrated ChatGPT’s audio capabilities. For example, the chatbot was asked to help calm someone before a public speech.

OpenAI researcher Mark Chen demonstrated the model’s ability to tell a bedtime story and asked it to change the tone of its voice to be more dramatic or robotic.

He even asked it to sing the story. The team also asked it to analyse a user’s facial expression to comment on the emotions the person may be experiencing.

“Hey there, what’s up? How can I brighten your day today?” ChatGPT’s audio mode said when a user greeted it.

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How to Cancel UAE Entry Permit Through Immigration Authority:  Steps You Need to Follow

Have you applied for an entry permit for an overseas employee or a family member you wish to sponsor? If your plans have changed, it is essential to cancel their entry permit through the immigration authority where you initially applied.

On May 16, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) shared the necessary steps to complete this process via their social media channels.

How to Cancel an Entry Permit

According to the ICP, here are the steps to cancel an entry permit:

  • Visit the ICP website at icp.gov.ae or use the ‘UAEICP’ smartphone application available for Apple and Android devices.
  • Log into your account, or use the UAE Pass for login.
  • Submit a request to cancel the entry permit and attach the required documents.
  • Pay any applicable fees and financial guarantees, then submit the application.
  • The ICP will review your request, and once approved, the entry permit will be cancelled.

Two Scenarios For Entry Permit Cancellation

  • For employment, where a company has applied for a worker's entry permit.
  • For residents sponsoring their family members.

It’s crucial to note that an entry permit can only be cancelled if it has not been used. If the individual has already entered the UAE with the permit, a different application is required.

What is the process’s utility for companies and residents? If you are sponsoring your spouse or other family members, you will get them the ‘family residency entry permit’ for their entry into the UAE.

Following that, you have two months to apply for their medical fitness test, Emirates ID and visa. However, if plans change before this, you can cancel their entry permit through this process.

Applications can be made directly through the ICP for Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain, or through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA-D) if the permit was issued in Dubai. To find registered typing centres with the ICP, visit the webpage.

You can visit an ICP-registered typing centre or an Amer centre in Dubai to apply for the cancellation. For ICP, present the sponsor’s Emirates ID. For Amer centres, the sponsor must visit the centre with their Emirates ID.

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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Granted Permission to Appeal Against US Extradition

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange's battle to avoid extradition to the United States received a huge boost on May 20 when London's High Court ruled that US assurances over his case were unsatisfactory and he would get a full appeal hearing.

In March, the High Court provisionally gave Assange, 52, permission to appeal on three grounds. But it gave the US the opportunity to provide satisfactory assurances that it would not seek the death penalty and would allow him to seek to rely on a First Amendment right to free speech in a trial.

In a short ruling, two senior judges said the US submissions were not sufficient and said they would allow the appeal to go ahead.
Assange has been indicted on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of a trove of classified US documents almost 15 years ago.

At a hearing on Monday, the two judges granted permission to appeal. This means Assange will now be able to bring an appeal at the High Court in London.

Assange has been engaged in a 12-year legal battle to avoid extradition from the UK. A large crowd gathered outside the High Court ahead of the decision.

He was not in court for the hearing but his wife Stella, with whom he has two children aged five and seven, was present to hear the decision.
The WikiLeaks founder fled to the Ecuador embassy in London in 2012 while he was facing extradition to Sweden, where he was being investigated after a rape allegation was made against him two years earlier.

He has been battling extradition to the US since 2019 and is currently being held in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison in London.
Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said judges should not accept the assurance given by US prosecutors that he could seek to rely upon the rights and protections given under the First Amendment, as a US court would not be bound by this.

"We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance," he told the court. Fitzgerald accepted a separate assurance that Assange would not face the death penalty, saying the US had provided an "unambiguous promise not to charge any capital offence".

The US government says Assange’s actions went way beyond those of a journalist gathering information, amounting to an attempt to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish classified government documents.

James Lewis, representing the US authorities, said Assange’s conduct was “simply unprotected” by the First Amendment.

“No one, neither US citizens nor foreign citizens, are entitled to rely on the First Amendment in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defence information giving the names of innocent sources, to their grave and imminent risk of harm,” he told the court.

US prosecutors allege that Assange encouraged and helped US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published.

Assange's lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, though US authorities have said any sentence would likely be much shorter. 

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Media Outlets Must Adhere to Strict Data Protection Rules, Obtain Info Handling Consent

In a significant move aimed at regulating digital media and enhancing transparency in the UAE's media landscape, the Federal Decree-Law No. 55 of 2023 has been enacted.

This comprehensive legislation marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of media governance, setting clear guidelines for digital media activities and outlining the responsibilities of media practitioners and platforms.

The proliferation of digital media platforms and the widespread dissemination of information online have led to the need for robust regulation to safeguard public interest, uphold journalistic standards and combat misinformation.

Recognising this imperative, the UAE government embarked on drafting legislation to address the unique challenges posed by the digital media landscape.

Key Provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 55/2023

Registration Requirement for Digital Media Outlets: One of the cornerstone provisions of the decree-law is the requirement for digital media outlets to register with the relevant authorities. This registration process aims to ensure accountability and transparency in the digital media sector, enabling authorities to monitor the activities of media entities operating within the UAE.

Editorial Responsibility and Professional Standards: The decree-law underscores the importance of upholding editorial responsibility and adherence to professional standards in digital media content production. Media practitioners are required to adhere to principles of accuracy, fairness and objectivity, thereby safeguarding the credibility of digital media platforms.

Combating Misinformation and Fake News: In line with global efforts to combat misinformation and fake news, the decree-law contains provisions aimed at curbing the dissemination of false or misleading information. Media outlets are obligated to verify the accuracy of information before publishing or sharing it, thereby promoting responsible journalism and safeguarding public trust.

Protection of Privacy and Personal Data: RecogniSing the importance of privacy rights in the digital age, the decree-law includes provisions to protect the privacy and personal data of individuals. Media outlets are required to adhere to strict data protection regulations and obtain consent before collecting, processing or disclosing personal information.

Enforcement Mechanisms and Penalties: To ensure compliance with the provisions of the decree-law, robust enforcement mechanisms have been established, empowering regulatory authorities to take appropriate action against violations. Penalties for non-compliance may include fines, suspension of operations, or revocation of licenses, depending on the severity of the offense.

Impact and Implications: The enactment of Federal Decree-Law No. 55 of 2023 represents a significant milestone in the regulation of digital media in the UAE. By establishing clear guidelines and accountability mechanisms, the decree-law aims to promote responsible journalism, protect public interest and foster a vibrant and trustworthy media ecosystem.

As the digital media landscape continues to evolve, regulatory frameworks must adapt to address emerging challenges and safeguard the integrity of the media environment.

Federal Decree-Law No. 55/2023 reflects the UAE government's commitment to promoting transparency, accountability and professionalism in the digital media sector, ensuring that media practitioners and platforms operate in accordance with the highest standards of ethics and integrity.

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Be Cautious: Abu Dhabi Police Warn of Fake Bank Receipts from Fraudulent Buyers

 

If you're selling items online, be cautious of fraudsters who send fake bank receipts, the police have warned.
On Friday, the Abu Dhabi Police issued an alert about a scam targeting online sellers.

These fraudulent buyers typically send 'receipts' claiming they have transferred the money, but no payment is actually made.

Col. Muslim Muhammad Al Amari, director of the Criminal Security Sector, explained that the scam begins when a fraudster identifies an unsuspecting seller who has listed an item for sale online, often on social media platforms.

"After negotiating the terms of the transaction, the 'buyer' sends fake bank receipts, stating that the transfer process will take several days. Using this supposed 'proof' of payment, the scammer then asks to receive the items," said Col. Al Amari.

Victims of this scam end up handing over their items to the fraudulent buyer, only to discover later that the receipt was fake and no money was transferred.

Col. Al Amari urged sellers to withhold items until they have confirmed the payment has been credited to their account. "Do not take any action until the payment has been received," he advised.

Those who encounter such scams should report them immediately to the police. In Abu Dhabi, residents can contact the police via the toll-free hotline 8002626 (AMAN2626), send an SMS to 2828, or email aman@adpolice.gov.ae. Complaints can also be filed through the police's official app. 

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Phased Rollout: UAE Banks Set to Launch Jaywan Debit Cards: UBF Chief

 

 All UAE banks will gradually replace over 10 million existing debit cards with Jaywan debit cards over the next two and a half years.

Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF), confirmed that the rollout will be completed in stages to ensure a smooth transition.

"Replacing these cards will take time, but banks have committed to launching Jaywan cards and will stop issuing other branded cards, focusing on Jaywan locally," said Al Ghurair during a media briefing.

Andrew McCormack, chief operating officer at Al Etihad Payments (AEP), stated: "We have an aggressive growth plan for Jaywan, to start issuing debit cards in Q2 2024. The Central Bank of the UAE will mandate all banks to issue Jaywan debit cards to their customers."

Jaywan cards will be co-badged with Mastercard or Visa, enabling extensive global use.

"The Jaywan card will have two badges to accommodate the large segment of UAE residents who travel extensively, extending its reach beyond the UAE, GCC, and India with the help of co-badge partners Mastercard and Visa," McCormack explained.

In the future, Jaywan is expected to be accepted at the GCC level and through country-to-country agreements with nations like China and India.

The card was created by Al Etihad Payments (AEP), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of the UAE, to enhance the country's financial market infrastructure.

In October 2023, AEP partnered with NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL) of India to develop the UAE’s first national Domestic Card Scheme (DCS).

Jaywan, announced during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE, uses licensed technology from India's payment operator NPCI.

The card will be issued to UAE residents with bank accounts or those banking with exchange houses and will be usable in India once electronic linkages are established.

According to Global Data, the UAE’s cards and payment market was estimated to be nearly $120 billion (Dh440.4 billion) by the end of 2022, with expectations of high single-digit growth in the coming years.

Jaywan's relationship extends into India and GCC countries, enhancing its domestic and international utility without solely relying on Mastercard or Visa systems.

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Maternity Leave Guaranteed Under the UAE Labour Code Irrespective of Contract Terms

Maternity leave is a critical component of employment, essential for ensuring the well-being of female workers during and after pregnancy.

The UAE Labour Law prioritises workers' rights, particularly focusing on the welfare of female employees during maternity.

Does the UAE Labour Law Guarantee Maternity Leave?

Yes, the UAE labour law guarantees maternity leave for female employees https://thelawreporters.com/the-legality-of-maternity-laws-in-uae/  even if it is not explicitly included in their employment contracts.

Articles 30 and 65 of Federal Decree-Law No. 33/2021 clearly define the entitlements for female workers.

This legal framework transcends contractual agreements, creating a protective and supportive environment for female workers in the UAE.

Article 30 – Maternity Leave

Female workers are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave, with the first 45 days at full pay and the next 15 days at half pay.

After using maternity leave, a female worker can take up to 45 additional days without pay due to pregnancy or childbirth-related illness, provided she has a medical certificate.

Maternity leave is applicable if childbirth occurs after six months of pregnancy, regardless of the fetus's condition.

If a female worker gives birth to a sick or disabled child, she is entitled to an additional 30 days of leave with full pay and may extend this for another 30 days without pay.

A female worker can request maternity leave at any time from the last day of the month preceding the expected month of delivery, supported by a medical certificate.

The law prohibits termination or warning of termination due to pregnancy, maternity leave, or absence from work as stipulated in Article 30.

Upon returning from maternity leave, a female worker is entitled to one or two daily rest periods for breastfeeding, each not exceeding one hour, for up to six months from the date of delivery.

Article 65 – Nullification of Contrary Conditions

Article 65(3) emphasises the nullification of any conditions that contradict the Decree Law, deeming them null and void unless they are more beneficial to the worker.

Waivers or reconciliations that violate the Decree-Law are also considered null and void.

Article 65 safeguards workers' rights, ensuring that the Decree-Law does not override any additional rights granted under other legislations, agreements, approvals, systems, or employment contracts.

This ensures that workers benefit from more advantageous conditions than the minimum standards set by the Decree Law, promoting fairness and well-being.

Maternity Leave in the Federal Government

As per Article 19 of Federal Decree-Law No. 49 of 2022 on Human Resources Law in the Federal Government, female employees in permanent positions are entitled to three months of maternity leave with full salary.

After returning to work, for six months, female employees are entitled to two hours of reduced working hours daily, either at the beginning or end of the workday, to nurse their child. These breaks are fully paid.

Article 20 also grants female employees five working days of fully paid parental leave, which can be taken continuously or intermittently within six months of the child's birth.

Male employees are also entitled to this leave. Maternity leave cannot be combined with leave without pay.

Maternity Leave in Abu Dhabi

Female employees are entitled to three months of fully paid maternity leave. Upon returning, they are entitled to two hours of daily leave for the first year after delivery to nurse their child. Male employees receive three days of paternity leave.

Maternity Leave in Dubai Government

Decree No. 14 of 2017 regulates maternity, miscarriage, stillbirth and childcare leave for female employees in the Dubai Government.

Female employees receive 90 days of maternity leave from the delivery date and can apply for maternity leave up to 30 days before the expected delivery date.

Annual leave and unpaid leave can be added to maternity leave, totalling up to 120 days.

For one year after the baby’s birth, mothers are entitled to two hours of reduced working hours daily for nursing, either at the beginning or end of the workday. There is no nursing break during Ramadan.

If a female employee gives birth to a child with special needs, she is granted childcare leave until the child turns one-year-old.

According to Dubai Government Human Resources Management Law No. 8 of 2018, male employees are entitled to three days of fully paid paternity leave, taken within one month of the child's birth.

Dubai Government Human Resources Department issued maternity guidelines for Dubai Government employees, which include medical tips for pregnant employees and information on their rights and duties as provided by Decree No. 14 of 2017.

Maternity Leave in Sharjah Government

Since a local decree in 2016, female employees in the Sharjah Government are entitled to 120 days of maternity leave, including 90 days of paid leave and 30 days of unpaid leave.

The decree allows adding annual leave to maternity leave and grants new mothers two hours for nursing their child for six months.

Maternity Leave in Ras Al Khaimah Government

In November 2016, the Ras Al Khaimah Government extended maternity leave to 90 days of paid leave. Previously, in 2015, the nursing period was extended to one year from the baby's birth.

Female employees in the UAE are guaranteed maternity leave under the Labour Code https://thelawreporters.com/uae-maternity-and-paternity-leave-all-you-need-to-know/ , regardless of whether it is explicitly stated in their employment contracts.

This legal protection ensures that female employees can take necessary time off during pregnancy and childbirth without fear of contractual limitations.

Employers must comply with these regulations to foster a workplace that respects and upholds the rights of all employees.

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Unlocking Dubai: Your Guide to Extending Tourist Visa, Fees, Process & Essential Info

Whether you're looking to prolong your holiday or explore potential employment opportunities, Dubai offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. If you find yourself wanting to extend your time in this vibrant city, here's a comprehensive guide to help you through the process.

If you're currently on a 30 or 60-day tourist visa, you can extend your stay by another 30 days within the country. To renew your tourist visa, you can choose from the following channels:

GDRFA Website

*Register on the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) website using your email address.
*Log in with your username and click on "New Application."
*Select "For Myself" and fill in the required application data.
*Attach a copy of your passport.
*Pay the service fee of Dh600, plus a five percent value-added tax.

GDRFA App

*Sign up or log in to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA) app.
*Navigate to the dashboard and access the dependent visa details.
*Tap the 'Renew Residence' icon and fill in the necessary details.
*Choose your preferred delivery method.
*Attach a copy of your passport and submit the fee.
*Await confirmation via SMS/email.

ICP Website

*Register on the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICP) website using your email address.
*Log in with your username and access "Public Visa Services."
*Click on 'Extension of Current Visa' and fill in the application details.
*Attach a copy of your passport and proceed to pay the fee.
*Await confirmation via SMS/email.

Amer Service Centre

*Visit the nearest Customer Happiness Centre and obtain an automated turn ticket.
*Submit your application along with all required documents.
*Pay the service fee to the customer service representative.

Amer Website

*
Visit
amer247.com and click on "UAE Tourist Visa" in the top-right corner.
*
Choose the relevant visa type and click "Apply Now."
*
Complete the payment process.
While the standard visa extension fee is Dh600, plus five per cent tax, the total amount may vary based on individual circumstances. Once you've completed the application process, you can expect to receive a response within 48 hours or less.
With a straightforward process outlined through various channels, obtaining a visa extension is convenient and efficient. So now, you don't need to worry about the extended stay; just relax and enjoy all that Dubai has to offer.

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UAE Golden Residency Visa Holders are Authorised to Take Up Employment Activities

In the UAE, individuals holding a golden residency visa are authorised to participate in employment activities, as per Article 7 of the Employment Law and Article 6(1)(j) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.

The resolution specifies that the work permit issued to golden visa holders is exclusively for individuals employed by establishments registered with the ministry seeking to hire employees with golden residency visas.

Prior to obtaining a golden residency visa, employees are required to inform their employer of the change in their UAE residency status. Subsequently, the employer must proceed to cancel the existing work permit and UAE residency visa of the employee.

Article 7(3) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 outlines the procedures for canceling work permits, including:

*Submission of an application for cancelling the work permit through the specified channels by the Ministry.
*Completion of the required data and attachment of documents.
*Settlement of any fines for delays in issuing the work permit or for failure to renew it, if applicable.
*Confirmation by the establishment that the worker has received all entitled benefits.
*Adherence to any additional conditions determined by resolution of the Minister or their delegate.

Once the work permit of a prospective UAE golden residency visa holder employee is cancelled, they are eligible to sign a new employment contract with either their existing employer or a prospective one, under Administrative Resolution No. 38 of 2022.

The requirements for obtaining a work permit through the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation

(MoHRE) for a UAE golden residency visa holder, as per Administrative Resolution No. 38 of 2022, include:
*Clear-coloured photo with a white background.
*Copy of a valid passport, with a minimum validity of six months, along with a copy of a valid residency (golden) visa.
*Approved employment contract issued by the ministry, signed by both the employer and the employee.

Academic Certificates
*For Skill levels (1 & 2): Bachelor's Degree or higher, attested by competent authorities.
*For Skill levels (3 & 4): Diploma graduate or higher, attested by competent authorities.
*For Skill level (5): High school certificate, attested by competent authorities. State-issued certificates are excluded.
*A professional license issued by the competent authority, for example, doctor, nurse, etc.
Upon acquiring a golden visa residency, individuals have the option to request their employer to initiate the process for a new work permit.

Transitioning to a golden visa in Dubai enables individuals to engage in employment activities, supported by UAE regulations. For additional assistance, you can contact the MoHRE. 

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UAE Employers Must Settle Financial Obligations Within 14 Days of Contract Expiration

 

Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 concerning the Regulation of Employment Relations, Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 implementing Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on Employment Relations Regulation, and Federal Decree-Law No. 29 of 2021 concerning Entry and Residence of Aliens come into play when employees plan to resign in the UAE.

According to Article 53 of the Employment Law, employers must settle all financial obligations owed to employees within 14 days from the contract's expiration, including salaries and other compensations as per the contract terms or relevant resolutions.

Article 7 of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 outlines procedures for issuing, renewing and cancelling work permits. Employers must initiate the cancellation process of an employee's work permit with the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE) as per Article 7(3).

Cancellation procedures include submitting an application through specified channels, providing necessary data and documents, paying fines for delays, acknowledging worker entitlements and adhering to additional conditions per resolution.

Additionally, Article 19 of Federal Law No. 6 of 1973 states that individuals must leave the country upon residency revocation.

Article 11 of Federal Decree-Law No. 29 of 2021 outlines fines for individuals residing unlawfully after visa or residence permit cancellation or expiration. Despite visa cancellation, individuals can stay in the UAE until the specified period mentioned in their visa cancellation document issued by relevant authorities.

Resigning employees are entitled to receive salary and end-of-service benefits within 14 days from the date of work permit cancellation, as mandated by law.

Failure of the employer to fulfill financial obligations allows the employee to file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE).

Compliance with UAE employment laws is essential during the resignation process, so it becomes important to understand obligations and timelines to ensure a smooth transition for both employers and employees.

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Global Legal Collaboration: A Comprehensive Analysis of UAE Extradition Framework

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), as a signatory of the Riyadh Arab Convention on Judicial Cooperation, extends its legal cooperation to Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco.

Additionally, the UAE has established bilateral treaties for judicial collaboration with various countries, including the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Iran, Australia, China and Egypt.

UAE' s Legal Framework on Judicial Cooperation

The UAE has enacted Federal Law No. 39 of 2006, focusing on mutual judicial cooperation in criminal matters, which incorporates the country's extradition law. In 2012, the UAE ratified an extradition treaty aimed at streamlining prisoner transfers between Gulf states and India.

In the realm of legal practice, discussions often centre around extradition procedures in the UAE. Unlike many jurisdictions, the UAE treats extradition not as a public action but as a judicial order, subject to review by superior courts.

The Extradition Process

The following is the process for extradition:

Receipt of Warrant: The requesting state issues a warrant for arrest as per the terms of the extradition treaty.
Endorsement of Warrant: The central government endorses the warrant, enabling the arrest of the fugitive.
Presentation before Magistrate Court: The arrested fugitive is presented before the magistrate court, which confirms the arrest and notifies the central government.
Transfer of Custody: Upon confirmation, the central government arranges for the transfer of the fugitive to the requesting state's authorities.

Key Considerations in Extradition Requests

Several factors influence extradition requests and procedures:

Territorial Jurisdiction: Extradition may be pursued for crimes committed outside the territory, subject to the discretion of the requested country.
Political Crimes: The requested country may refuse extradition for political crimes.
Priority of Extradition Requests: Priority is given to the country most affected by the crime or where it was committed.
Exceptions to Extradition: Both India and the UAE exempt their nationals from extradition requests.

Key Legal Provisions Governing Extradition in the UAE

Key legal provisions governing extradition in the UAE include:

Constitutional Prohibition: Article 38 of the UAE Constitution explicitly prohibits the extradition of citizens and political refugees.
Penal Code: Articles 121 and 132(1) of the UAE Penal Code, Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, outline provisions related to extradition.
Criminal Procedures Code: Article 304(1) of the Criminal Procedures Code, Federal Law No. 35, addresses extradition procedures.
Residency Law: Articles 23 to 29 of the Residency Law, Federal Law No. 17 of 1972, along with Articles 79 to 92 of its Executive Regulations, further delineate aspects of extradition law.

The Process of Extradition Through Diplomatic Channels

Extradition proceedings in the UAE are conducted through diplomatic channels:

Initiation: The requesting party, typically the Attorney General, submits a formal request to the Ministry of Justice in the requesting country.
Transmission: The Ministry of Justice forwards the extradition request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which then communicates it to the embassy of the requesting country in the UAE's capital.
Receipt by Requested Party: The embassy transmits the request to the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which subsequently transfers it to the Ministry of Justice.

Enforcement of Extradition Request

The execution of an extradition request involves several steps:

Arrest: Interpol may issue a Red Notice alert to prevent the fugitive from travelling. The prosecutor may then interview the wanted individual.
Deportation or Incarceration: Depending on the nature of the offense, the individual may be immediately deported or detained pending further proceedings.
Examination of Case: In some cases, such as in the UK, the prosecutor reviews the case file received from the requesting jurisdiction and initiates extradition proceedings before a specialised court.

Available Defenses

Various defenses may be invoked during extradition proceedings:

Dual Criminality: Extradition is permissible only if the individual's actions constitute an offense in both the requesting and requested states.
Political Crimes: Opposition to a political regime may serve as a defense under international law.
Human Rights Concerns: Extradition may be refused if there are concerns about human rights violations or unusual punishment in the requesting jurisdiction.
Conflicts of Jurisdiction: Extradition cannot occur if there is a dispute over which jurisdiction has authority.
Diplomatic Protection: Individuals may seek diplomatic protection, but effective nationality and a genuine bond with the protecting state are essential.
Extradition is a complex legal process shaped by international agreements and domestic laws. While treaties facilitate extradition, resolving jurisdictional conflicts and ensuring compliance with human rights standards remain ongoing challenges. The UAE's engagement in extradition treaties reflects the evolving nature of legal cooperation amid globalisation's complexities.

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Abu Dhabi Court Verdict on 84 Accused of Running Terror Outfit Scheduled for July 10

The Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal's State Security Chamber has set a hearing date of July 10 to deliver the verdict in the Case No. 87 of 2023- State Security Offenses, involving the terrorist 'Justice and Dignity Committee' Organisation. This follows a 10-day window granted to defence lawyers to submit their closing arguments.

Eighty-four defendants stand accused in this case of establishing and managing a clandestine terrorist organisation in the UAE known as the 'Justice and Dignity Committee'. The charges against them include planning terrorist acts, fundraising for the Organisation and concealing the source and destination of those funds.

In Thursday's session, attended by the defendants' families and media representatives, the court heard defence lawyers' pleas and their response to the public prosecution. The defence lawyers presented supplementary memos in response to the prosecution's arguments regarding the defendants' pleas.

The public prosecution reaffirmed their position as articulated in the opening statement. The prosecution representative contended that the current charges are materially distinct from those in the prior case number 79 of 2012, as they involve demonstrably criminal actions.

These constitute a separate offence under the principle of material plurality. Notably, the financing of a terrorist organisation was not encompassed in the previous trial. The court also listened -- during the 3-hour session -- to the defendants' own pleadings in the presence of their lawyers.

In their pleadings, the defendants argued that the charges against them were invalid and that the case could not be considered because it had been previously adjudicated in a ruling in the aforementioned case as a primary plea in the case.

They also questioned the evidence presented by the public prosecution, including investigations, technical, financial and media reports. The court then decided to set a hearing date of July 10th to deliver the verdict in the case.

 

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Abu Dhabi Big Ticket Raffle Set to Resume Operations; Next Live Draw on June 3

 

Abu Dhabi's Big Ticket has announced the resumption of its operations starting May 9, with the next live draw set for June 3. Last month, the raffle operator temporarily halted its activities.

During May, anyone purchasing tickets for the upcoming draw will stand a chance to win Dh10 million, with the added perk that customers buying two tickets will receive one for free.

The decision to pause operations in April allowed the company to evaluate its readiness to comply with the evolving regulatory framework established by the GCGRA for a safe and regulated commercial gaming environment.

Having operated in the UAE for 32 years, Big Ticket clarified its decision to suspend operations in alignment with the new directives from the Gaming Regulatory Authority, effective April 1, 2024.

In an FAQ on its website, Big Ticket noted the temporary closure of both Zayed International Airport and Al Ain Airport stores, with kiosks being temporarily disabled during this period.

Expressing gratitude for ongoing support, Big Ticket reassured customers of its commitment to upholding the highest standards of transparency, responsibility, and integrity in all prize operations. All previously won prizes are securely protected and guaranteed. 

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Spain Prosecutors Seek To Close Shakira Tax Fraud Case Citing Insufficient Evidence

Spanish prosecutors moved to dismiss a tax fraud case against Shakira just months after opening proceedings against the "Hips Don't Lie" singer over unpaid taxes worth $7 million.

"The Barcelona provincial prosecutor's office for financial crimes has requested that the proceedings against Shakira be closed ... for the 2018 tax year," the prosecutors office said in a statement, pointing to "insufficient evidence".

Prosecutors opened the case in July, accusing the Columbian superstar of using a network of companies, some of them based in tax havens, to cheat the tax office out of 6.6 million euros ($7.09 million) in 2018, including interest and adjustments.

A month later, the so-called Queen of Latin Pop paid 6.6 million euros to settle the debt, her agent told AFP. On November 20, Shakira reached a last-minute settlement with prosecutors on the opening day of her trial over an earlier tax fraud case involving income she earned between 2012 and 2014.

Prosecutors had sought a jail sentence of over eight years for the singer whom they accused of defrauding the tax authorities of 14.5 million euros in a case that centred on how much time she was living in Spain.

Shakira denied the charges, saying she only moved to Spain full time in 2015. By the time the case came to trial, she had already paid 17.45 million euros to settle her outstanding tax debt, prosecutors said at the time.

On the day it opened, the trial -- which had been due to run for three weeks and hear from some 120 witnesses -- was quickly concluded after she agreed to pay a fine of nearly 7.8 million euros to settle the case.

At the time she explained she had settled "with the best interest of my kids at heart" because she needed "to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years" and focus on her career.

Now 47, Shakira lives in Miami with her two sons after splitting from Barcelona star defender Gerard Pique. He was himself convicted of tax fraud in 2016 and ordered to pay 2.1 million euros in fines and arrears. Spain's Supreme Court in 2021 annulled his conviction.

Last year, Shakira's superstar Argentine producer Bizarrap won the Latin Grammy for song of the year with a track taking a swipe at Pique -- who has since retired from football -- in which she accuses him of leaving her with a "debt to the tax office".

"People on my team tried to convince me to change the lyrics, but I'm not a UN diplomat. I am an artist and, above all, a woman," Shakira told Spanish celebrity magazine ¡Hola!

Spain has in recent years cracked down on celebrities, including football stars such as Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, for unpaid taxes.
Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.

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Unlicensed Driver Leaves 7-Year-Old Dead in Sharjah Car, Sparks Legal Concerns

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, a tragic incident unfolded in Sharjah, where a seven-year-old Bangladeshi boy lost his life after being left unattended inside a locked vehicle for several hours.

This devastating occurrence not only underscores the dangers of extreme heat, especially within confined spaces, but also raises significant legal concerns surrounding the responsibilities and liabilities of those entrusted with the care of children.

The child, a student of Ibn Sina School, was under the supervision of a female driver hired by his parents for transportation to and from school.

On that fateful Monday morning, , the driver, who lacked the necessary licence for transporting schoolchildren, picked up the students from their homes and parked the car near the school.

Tragically, failing to notice the boy remaining inside, she departed with her husband in another vehicle. It was only upon her return several hours later to pick the students up that the devastating discovery was made – the young boy was lifeless inside the vehicle.

The incident has ignited discussions not only about the immediate safety measures but also about the legal ramifications, including issues of negligence, criminal liability, civil accountability and regulatory compliance.

The shock and grief surrounding the incident have reverberated through the community, with those who know the driver attesting to her state of shock.

The circumstances surrounding the boy's death highlight the dangers of extreme heat, particularly within locked vehicles. With temperatures soaring to nearly 44°C that day, the risk of leaving a child unattended in such conditions is amplified, with experts warning of the potential for fatal consequences.

Despite the heart-breaking tragedy, the boy's parents have reportedly decided to extend forgiveness to the female driver. Yet, uncertainty lingers over whether authorities will initiate legal action without a formal complaint.

If pursued, any legal proceedings would likely centre on issues of negligence, criminal liability, civil liability and regulatory compliance.

Negligence: The driver's failure to ensure the child's safety by leaving him unattended in a locked vehicle may constitute negligence. Negligence involves breaching a duty of care owed to others, resulting in foreseeable harm. In this case, the driver's actions could be deemed negligent, leading to potential criminal charges and civil liability.

Criminal Liability: The driver may face criminal charges for negligent conduct leading to the child's death. Prosecutors could pursue charges such as involuntary manslaughter or endangerment, depending on the circumstances and applicable laws. The severity of the charges would depend on factors such as the degree of negligence and the consequences of the driver's actions.

Civil Liability: The boy's family could pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver for wrongful death and negligence. Civil liability arises from breaching a duty of care owed to others, resulting in harm or loss.

The family may seek compensation for various damages, including emotional distress, medical expenses and funeral costs.

The driver's lack of license and failure to adhere to safety standards could strengthen the family's case for compensation.

Regulatory Compliance: The incident raises concerns about regulatory compliance regarding transportation standards and safety measures. The driver's lack of licence to transport schoolchildren indicates potential violations of transportation regulations.

Authorities may investigate the incident to determine if the driver and any involved parties complied with relevant laws and regulations governing transportation services. Non-compliance could result in legal consequences, including fines or penalties.

Tragically, this is not the first time such an incident has occurred, serving as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences that can result from negligence in child transportation.

This incident has also drawn attention to the prevalence of illegal car lift services, often chosen by parents due to the cost implications of authorized school buses.

Despite the allure of cheaper alternatives, authorities have issued stern warnings against their use, emphasising the comprehensive security measures and oversight provided by licensed school buses.

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Porn Star Stormy Daniels Testifies She Had Sex with Trump, Defense Attacks Her Credibility

Porn star Stormy Daniels described her 2006 encounter with Donald Trump in unflattering terms at his criminal trial on Tuesday, testifying she tried not to think about the sex while it took place and feared it would become public.

For several hours Daniels, 45, offered riveting details on the witness stand about her encounter with Trump, 77, and the hush money deal she reached to stay quiet about it ahead of the 2016 election when he won the White House.

She told jurors that her life descended into "chaos" after the arrangement was made public in 2018, saying she was ostracised and harassed at her home.

"Who do you understand Mr Trump to be referring to as horseface and sleazebag in this post?" prosecutor Susan Hoffinger asked her as she displayed a social media post by Trump. "Me," Daniels replied.

Daniels' testimony provided fodder for Trump's lawyers to seek a mistrial, arguing that details, such as her statement that Trump did not wear a condom, served no purpose other than to inflame the jury. Justice Juan Merchan denied that request but agreed that some of her testimony ran too far afield.

Trump's lawyers attacked her credibility and grilled her about inconsistent statements she has made over the years about her time with Trump.

Daniels also conceded that she "hates" Trump and wanted to make money off her story. Her explanation for why she went public after seven years of silence and denials also was unclear.

Trump, the Republican candidate for president again this year, did not react as he watched from the defense table. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels and denies having sex with Daniels.

His legal team has suggested that Daniels was angling for a spot on "The Apprentice," a popular reality TV show then hosted by Trump, a New York real estate mogul.

Daniels confirmed that she hoped he would cast her on the show following their encounter. "This was a very big day, a very revealing day. As you see their case is totally falling apart," Trump told reporters outside the courtroom at the end of the day. The trial resumes on Thursday when Daniels will again take the stand.

Trump Made Sexual Advances

Daniels said Trump made sexual advances after inviting her to his hotel suite at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Daniels testified she grew up as the daughter of a low-income single mother.

She said Trump told her: "This is the only way you're getting out of the trailer park." Daniels said she "blacked out" despite consuming no drugs or alcohol after Trump prevented her from leaving the room by blocking the door. She said she woke up on the bed with her clothes off.

"I was trying to think about anything other than what was happening there," Daniels testified. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she did not tell Trump to stop. "I didn't say anything at all," she said. She said she left the hotel room quickly afterward.

The Republican politician, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, says the trial is an attempt to hobble his attempt to win back the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden in a Nov. 5 election.

Wearing a black outfit and black glasses, Daniels testified that she worked in strip clubs and pornography after a childhood in which her mother was often gone for days at a time.

Satin Pajamas and a Spanking

She said Trump greeted her at his hotel suite wearing satin pajamas. She said she grew annoyed by Trump's frequent interruptions and asked him: "Are you always this arrogant and pompous?"

Trump then dared Daniels to spank him with a magazine and she obliged. “He was much more polite after that,” she said.
"That's bullshit," Trump appeared to say on Tuesday as he watched from the defendant's table.

The alleged encounter took place while Trump was married to his current wife Melania. Daniels said she confided in only a few people about the sex. She said she saw Trump at public events on several occasions in the years that followed, but then fell out of touch with him after he did not put her on "The Apprentice."

Daniels said she was determined to keep the incident private after being threatened in a parking lot in 2011 but changed her mind during Trump's 2016 presidential bid, when he faced multiple accusations of sexual misbehavior.

"My motivation wasn't money, it was to get the story out," she said. Daniels ultimately negotiated a $130,000 payment with Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, and prosecutors say Trump falsified business records to obscure the fact that he reimbursed Cohen for the payment.

She testified she was eager to collect before the 2016 election because she was worried he would not pay her if he won. The case is widely seen as less consequential than three other criminal prosecutions Trump faces, but it is the only one certain to go to trial before the election.

The other cases charge Trump with trying to overturn his 2020 presidential defeat and mishandling classified documents after leaving office. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all three.

In Florida, where Trump is accused of illegally keeping classified documents, a judge decided to indefinitely postpone the trial on Tuesday, greatly reducing the odds he will face a jury in the two federal case before the election.

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Man Who Fatally Stabbed Woman and Set Fire to Ajman Shop Apprehended Within 10 Minutes

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Launch of Unified GCC Tourist Visa System Anticipated by End of 2024: SCTDA Official

 

The launch of the unified GCC tourist visa system is anticipated by the end of 2024, as revealed by Khalid Jasim Al Midfa from the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA) during the Arabian Travel Market event.

Al Midfa emphasised the importance of the e-service component in this initiative, aiming to streamline the process without compromising security.

The system, termed GCC Grand Tours, will enable tourists to explore the six GCC countries for more than 30 days, making regional travel more accessible and economical, according to Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy.

Al Marri highlighted the potential of this visa scheme to showcase the diverse tourism offerings across the GCC, attracting longer stays from tourists and positioning the region as a premier destination.

Discussions are underway to develop comprehensive tour packages in collaboration with major tourism operators, hotels and airlines. Al Midfa stressed the collaboration between government entities and the private sector to facilitate seamless travel experiences.

The focus is on extending visitors' stays within the UAE and the GCC region, aligning with international travel norms where leisure trips typically span several weeks. Coordination efforts are also underway to synchronise major events, ensuring a cohesive and appealing itinerary for tourists.

Once the unified tourist visa is operational, both leisure and business travel packages will be readily available from the private sector.

Sarah Buhijji, CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, echoed the sentiment, expressing Bahrain's commitment to promoting regional tourism packages. Collaborative efforts with Saudi Arabia and other GCC nations aim to present the entire region as a unified and compelling destination for travellers, she noted.

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UAE Corporate Tax: Black Points for Tax Agents' Incorrect Advice Starting July 1

Starting July 1, UAE tax agents will face penalties, known as 'black points', for providing incorrect advice to clients regarding their corporate tax obligations.

The move is part of a broader effort to enhance the regulation of tax agents in the UAE, aligning with international standards. These penalties aim to deter misconduct and negligence among tax agents, ensuring they adhere to updated standards and continuously update their knowledge.

The application of 'black points' will vary based on the nature of the violation:

  • If the violation is committed by an individual tax agent not associated with a corporate entity, black points will be applied to the individual.
  • If the violation involves a tax agent employed by the client, both the individual agent and the corporate client will receive black points.
  • If the violation involves a representative of a corporate tax agent affecting the client, both the individual tax agent and the tax agency will be penalised.
  • If the violation involves a representative of a tax agency not affecting the represented client, only the individual tax agent will receive black points.

Tax agents are an intrinsic part of the unfolding corporate tax regime in the UAE. As per the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), they will represent clients before the authority and will oversee the filing of their annual tax returns.

In fact, it is prohibited to practice as a tax agent without completing the registration and receiving accreditation from the FTA.The criteria for accreditation are:

  • A Bachelor's or Master's degree in tax, accounting, or law from a recognised educational institution. Or a tax certification from an internationally known tax institution if the Bachelor's degree is in any other field.
  • Recent professional experience of at least three years in either tax, accounting, or law.
  • Language proficiency documentation for both Arabic and English, written and spoken.

Penalties on tax agents also come into effect for other acts of omission or commission. Now, if a tax agent is found to have shared information about the client - or any taxpayer -- with a third party without their explicit consent in writing, they will face a deduction of 100 points.

The exception is when agents have a reason to disclose under a 'legal, professional, or regulatory obligation'.

Additionally, 200 points will be docked if tax agents promote, design, or jointly design 'aggressive tax planning' marketed to multiple taxpayers, with the intention to breach any law or jeopardise the integrity of the tax system, resulting in a loss of revenue for the FTA.

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Pakistani Teenager Who Went Missing Three Weeks Ago Found Dead in Ajman

Ibrahim Muhammad, the 17-year-old Pakistani teenager who disappeared almost three weeks ago following a disagreement with his mother, has tragically been found dead. As the elder of two sons, his mother tearfully confirmed the devastating news delivered by Ajman Police, stating, "Today, I was summoned to identify his body. It was indeed him.

My heart has shattered into countless pieces," she told local media. She revealed that his body was found near Al Khor Tower in Ajman. The family had filed a missing person report, and Ibrahim's father had made an impassioned plea for his safe return.

Expressing the rollercoaster of emotions she endured, Ibrahim's mother said: "I have been oscillating between hope and despair. We received reports of possible sightings in Sharjah on numerous occasions recently, and each time I rushed there in anticipation.

However, they all turned out to be false alarms. Every morning, I woke up with the hope of my son's return, but today, my worst nightmares have become reality. No mother should endure such anguish."

Missing Cases on the Rise

Ibrahim's disappearance follows the case of another 17-year-old from Pakistan who went missing in Sharjah on April 14 but was reunited with his family after five days. The boy's father explained that he had sent his son to fetch a carpenter, but he never returned. The circumstances surrounding his return remain ambiguous as his father opted not to disclose details for privacy reasons.

Recent months have witnessed several instances of teenagers going missing in the UAE, underscoring the difficulties encountered by young individuals and their families. Just last month, a French teenager who vanished in Sharjah was located in the desert not far from her residence.

Similarly, a Sharjah teenager with autism disappeared from a shopping mall and was found 18 kilometres away at Dubai Airport, thanks to the alertness of an Indian passenger. In December, an 11-year-old boy disappeared from Arabian Ranches, triggering an extensive search operation involving drones and search dogs. He was eventually located late at night.

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Dubai: Man Handed Life Sentence for Murdering Girlfriend, Concealing Body in Suitcase

In the Dubai Criminal Court, an Asian individual has been sentenced to life imprisonment, followed by deportation, for the murder of his girlfriend in his apartment amid a dispute between them.

The perpetrator concealed the deceased girlfriend's body in a large suitcase and attempted to dispose of it in a waste container for the building where he resided, after spending a day with her remains under a bed in his bedroom. The Court of Appeal has upheld this ruling.

The incident, occurring in International City, traces back to January 2022, when a building guard alerted the police upon discovering a body inside a suitcase near the building’s waste container. Upon opening the suitcase, a portion of a human foot protruded, initially mistaken for a doll by the guard. Upon closer inspection, he discovered the body of a woman and promptly notified the authorities.

During interrogation, the guard revealed his ability to identify the victim, a woman who frequented the same building where he worked, particularly one of the apartments occupied by a young Asian man.

A police officer disclosed that a team of investigators entered the suspect’s apartment and gathered evidence from the crime scene. Although traces of the murder were found inside the room, the suspect was absent from the premises. Subsequently, a search warrant was issued, leading to his arrest in a nearby hotel in the Jebel Ali area.

Upon questioning, the defendant confessed to a prior friendship with the victim, revealing that he had killed her during a dispute on the day of the crime. Their relationship had originated from a chance meeting at a nightclub, progressing into a close friendship and romantic involvement.

Plans were made to formalise their relationship, but a disagreement ensued, escalating into a verbal altercation on the day of the incident. The defendant cited the termination of their relationship by the victim as the catalyst for the dispute, expressing his refusal to let her go and his attempts to reconcile. When she attempted to leave the apartment, the altercation turned physical, resulting in her demise by strangulation.

Afterwards, he disposed of her belongings and mobile phone in a waste container near a hotel where he had previously stayed, with the assistance of three friends. These accomplices were also convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, followed by deportation, for their complicity in concealing the crime from authorities despite their awareness of it.

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Dubai RDC Upholds Landlord Right, Evicting Tenant Who Refused to Vacate

In a noteworthy development within the realm of landlords' property rights, the Dubai Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC) has issued a significant judgment. The ruling establishes a pivotal precedent intended to incentivise landlords, particularly investors in real estate in the country, to play a more active role in their investments.

The case revolved around a rental dispute between a landlord and a tenant, wherein the landlord sought to regain possession of his property successfully.

Background

The landlord leased the property to the tenant on a yearly basis. In compliance with Law No. 26 of 2007 and its amended Law No. 33 of 2008, which regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants in the Emirateof Dubai, the landlord served the tenant with a 12-month legal notice to vacate the apartment, expressing the intention to reclaim it for personal use.

However, upon the expiration of the notice period, the tenant refused to vacate the premises, leading to a dispute. Subsequently, the landlord initiated eviction proceedings against the tenant in the Rental Dispute Settlement Centre (RDC). In the initial court hearing, the judgment was erroneously pronounced in favour of the tenant.

Legal Proceedings

NYK Law Firm contested for the landlord's right to regain possession of his property and pursued an appeal in the Appeal Court (RDC). The landlord's action was in accordance with Article 25(2)(d) of Law No. 33 of 2008, which stipulates that upon the expiration of the lease contract, the landlord may seek eviction of the tenant if the intention is to sell the property.

This provision mandates that the landlord must notify the tenant of the eviction reasons at least 12 months prior to the eviction date, and the notice must be served through a Notary Public or by registered mail. It's worth noting that the landlord fulfilled these conditions.

Ruling

In the appellate ruling, the Honourable Court delivered a judgment favouring the landlord, thereby instructing the tenant to vacate the property. Additionally, the court directed the tenant to settle all outstanding rental dues up to the date of eviction and to obtain all necessary clearances from authorities such as DEWA and other relevant entities.

The ruling serves to underscore the legal obligation of tenants to fulfill their commitments to landlords in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement and applicable laws. Furthermore, it reaffirms the principle that tenants are responsible for adhering to the terms of their tenancy contracts and for maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements governing the rental of properties.

Through such decisions, the legal system reinforces the importance of upholding contractual obligations and ensuring equitable relationships between landlords and tenants within the framework of the law.

Conclusion

This ruling stands as a significant motivator for landlords to diligently adhere to the laws governing tenancy agreements. By observing legal protocols and fulfilling their obligations, landlords can defend their position should they encounter disputes requiring legal intervention.

Courts are inclined to favour landlords who adhere to such legal requirements, as evidenced by the favourable judgment in this case. Moreover, the ruling sends a clear message to tenants regarding the importance of respecting the rights and responsibilities outlined in their lease agreements.

It serves as a deterrent against the misuse of legal protections afforded to tenants, emphasising the need for tenants to uphold their end of the contractual commitment. By fulfilling their obligations, tenants contribute to fostering a harmonious and equitable rental environment where both parties can confidently rely on the terms of their agreements.

In essence, this ruling not only reinforces the legal framework governing landlord-tenant relationships but also promotes a culture of compliance and mutual respect between both parties. It underscores the vital role of the legal system in safeguarding the rights and interests of landlords and tenants alike, ultimately contributing to the stability and fairness of the rental market.

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New York Judge Fines Donald Trump $9,000 for Violating Gag Order in Hush Money Case

New York Judge Juan Merchan has fined former President Donald Trump for repeatedly violating the gag order in the hush money trial. Merchan ruled Trump violated the gag order nine times for criticising expected trial witnesses in posts on social media and his campaign page. Trump must pay the $9,000 fine by the end of the week.

Merchan also threatened incarceration if Trump willfully violates the gag order again, writing in his ruling, “Therefore, defendant is hereby warned that the Court will not tolerate continued willful violations of its lawful orders and that if necessary and appropriate under the circumstances, it will impose an incarceratory punishment.”

Trump did not visibly react as the judge was reading his decision in court. Trump on Tuesday afternoon removed the seven “offending posts” from Truth Social and the two “offending posts” from his campaign website, as Merchan ordered.

In last week’s hearing on gag order violations, Trump’s defense argued that reposts of other people’s words do not violate the gag order and that the posts represent protected political speech in response to attacks.

Merchan rejected both arguments in his contempt ruling Tuesday. First, he found that reposts are, in this case, endorsements. “There can be no doubt whatsoever, that Defendant’s intent and purpose when reposting, is to communicate to his audience that he endorses and adopts the posted statement as his own,” Merchan wrote.

Second, Merchan acknowledged that the gag order does allow Trump to respond to political attacks, but said criticisms of key witnesses were not allowed. “To allow such attacks upon protected witnesses with blanket assertions that they are all responses to ‘political attacks’ would be an exception that swallowed the rule.

The Expanded Order does not contain such an exception,” he wrote.

Prosecutors had asked Merchan to hold Trump in contempt for violating the gag order, citing 10 social media posts from before and during the trial where the district attorney’s office accused Trump of violating the judge’s restrictions barring Trump from commenting on witnesses and jurors. They also want the posts taken down.

Prosecutors cited Trump’s comments about Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels and the makeup of the jury pool. The judge made the ruling after a hearing last week that, at times, got heated between him and Trump’s defense attorney Todd Blanche.

Prosecutors have subsequently flagged an additional four comments that Trump has made since last week’s hearing, including about Cohen and former AMI chief David Pecker, who testified last week. Merchan has scheduled another hearing on Thursday to address those comments.

$1,000 per violation is the maximum allowed by New York State law. This is the first sanction against Trump for violating the gag order in this case.

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Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months for Allowing Money Laundering

Changpeng Zhao, founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was sentenced to four months in prison for looking the other way as criminals used the platform to move money connected to child sex abuse, drug trafficking and terrorism.

US District Judge Richard A. Jones credited the founder and former CEO of Binance for taking responsibility for his wrongdoing. Zhao, 47, pleaded guilty in November to one count of failing to maintain an anti-money-laundering program. Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle related allegations from the US government.

“I failed here,” Zhao told the court on Tuesday. “I deeply regret my failure, and I am sorry.”

But the judge said he was troubled by Zhao’s decision to ignore US banking requirements that would have slowed the company’s explosive growth. “Better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” is what Zhao told his employees about the company’s approach to US law, prosecutors said.

“No person — regardless of wealth — is immune from prosecution or above the laws of the United States,” Jones said.

The sentence, which included a previously agreed-to $50 million fine, was far less than the three years the Justice Department had sought, but defense attorneys had asked that Zhao spend no time in prison.

Zhao is the first person ever sentenced to prison time for such violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires US financial institutions to know who their customers are, to monitor transactions and to file reports of suspicious activity. Prosecutors said no one had ever violated the regulations to the extent Zhao did. If he did not receive time in custody for the offense, no one would, rendering the law toothless, they argued.

“This wasn’t a mistake,” Justice Department lawyer Kevin Mosley told Jones. “When Mr. Zhao violated the BSA he was well aware of the requirements.” For example, Mosley said, Zhao directed the company to disguise customers’ locations in the US in an effort to avoid having to comply with US law.

The Justice Department on Monday sent a letter urging Congress to stiffen penalties in such cases. Violations can allow billions of dollars to flow illicitly through the US financial system, but penalties under the government’s sentencing guidelines are “poorly calibrated to address the severity of the crimes,” the letter said.

Binance allowed more than 1.5 million virtual currency trades, totaling nearly $900 million, that violated US sanctions, including ones involving Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, al-Qaeda and Iran, prosecutors have said.

Defense attorneys Mark Bartlett and William Burck told the judge there was no evidence Zhao knew of any specific transaction that would have been barred by US regulations or sanctions.
Also, they argued, Binance transactions that violated US sanctions constituted a miniscule portion for a company that processed trillions of dollars per year. And they noted that Zhao began making changes to improve Binance’s compliance before stepping down.

In a letter to the court, Zhao wrote that there was “no excuse for my failure to establish the necessary compliance controls at Binance.”

“I wish I could change that part of Binance’s story,” he added. “But under my direction, Binance has now implemented the most stringent anti-money laundering controls of any non- US exchange, and those controls have been in place since 2022.”

Zhao, his legal team and family members left after Tuesday’s hearing without speaking to reporters. Zhao will report to serve his sentence at a date yet to be determined.

Scandals, Market Meltdowns

The cryptocurrency industry has been marred by scandals and market meltdowns. Zhao was perhaps best known as the chief rival to Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, which was the second-largest crypto exchange before it collapsed in 2022. Bankman-Fried was convicted last November of fraud for stealing at least $10 billion from customers and investors and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Zhao and Bankman-Fried were originally friendly competitors in the industry, with Binance investing in FTX when Bankman-Fried launched the exchange in 2019. The relationship deteriorated, however, culminating in Zhao announcing that he was selling all of his cryptocurrency investments in FTX in early November 2022. FTX filed for bankruptcy a week later.

More recently, Nigeria has recently sought to try Binance and two of its executives on money laundering and tax evasion charges. The US Justice Department on Tuesday charged early bitcoin investor Roger Ver, known as “bitcoin Jesus” for his avid promotion of the currency, with evading $50 million in taxes.

The judge described Zhao’s life story as remarkable: He grew up in rural China and his family immigrated to Canada following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He worked at a McDonald’s beginning at age 14 and eventually became enamoured of the tech industry while in college.

He founded Binance in 2017, motivated at least in part by a desire to help people in underdeveloped countries access reliable banking. The company made him a crypto celebrity and a billionaire many times over; he announced in 2021 that he intends to give away nearly all of his fortune.

Zhao’s philanthropic interests include funding free online education programmes for children across the globe and work by small research labs to cure diseases. Zhao’s attorneys pointed to his willingness to leave the United Arab Emirates, where he and his family live, to enter his guilty plea in the US, even though the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty.

They also argued that he would not be safe in prison. Because he is not a US citizen, he is ineligible for placement in a minimum security facility. Given his status and wealth, as well as Binance’s cooperation with US law enforcement in certain investigations, he might be a target for violence in a medium security prison, they suggested.

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Billionaire’s Paradise: Dubai's 120 Richest Families, Individuals Own $1 Trillion in Wealth

Dubai hosts over 120 of the world's wealthiest families and individuals, boasting a collective net worth exceeding $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion).

The UAE has emerged as a magnet for thousands of millionaires globally, particularly following the pandemic, solidifying its status as the foremost wealth destination in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) and ranking among the top 22 wealthiest cities worldwide, according to the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Recent data reveals a significant influx of more than 3,500 millionaires from Africa and 1,500 high-net-worth individuals from the UK relocating to Dubai in the past decade, as cited by New World Wealth.

Moreover, Henley Private Wealth reports that 9,700 millionaires migrated to the UAE in 2022 and 2023 alone. Dubai is currently home to 68,500 millionaires with at least $1 million in liquid assets, along with 206 centi-millionaires and 15 billionaires, according to the World's Wealthiest Cities Report 2023.

This surge in affluent residents includes a diverse array of individuals from the Indian Subcontinent, Russia, Europe and other South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, drawn to Dubai for its safety, security, minimal taxation, exceptional healthcare and educational infrastructure.

Many of these billionaire families are locally grown enterprises that have flourished under the favourable business legislation and environment in Dubai. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE's Minister of Economy, notes the nation's enduring appeal as a hub for business and investment in the GCC and wider MENA region, aiming to become the focal point for family businesses.

DIFC Plays a Pivotal Role

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) plays a pivotal role in supporting the management of assets for these affluent families and individuals. By attracting global financial asset managers, DIFC has facilitated professional management of portfolios for millionaires and family-owned businesses, further enhancing Dubai's allure as a wealth management destination.

In 2023, DIFC introduced the world's first Family Wealth Centre, dedicated to enhancing global family wealth and supporting family businesses. With 230 banks, including 27 of the top 29 globally systemic banks, over 350 reputable wealth and asset management firms and more than 440 registered foundations, DIFC has cemented its reputation as a premier destination for family businesses worldwide, as emphasised by Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC.

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Iraqi Father Takes Legal Action Against BP Over Son's Death Linked to Flaring

An Iraqi father is initiating legal proceedings against the UK-based oil giant BP concerning the passing of his 21-year-old son. Hussein Julood alleges that the practice of burning off gas, known as flaring, at a BP-managed oil field in Iraq contributed to his son Ali's leukemia.

A 2022 investigation by BBC World Service revealed that Ali's village, situated within the field, had elevated levels of cancer-causing pollutants associated with flaring.

BP acknowledges the concerns raised and expresses its commitment to facilitating change. The case marks a significant instance of an individual taking legal action against a major oil corporation regarding its flaring practices.

The claim, outlined in a letter seen by BBC News, asserts that Ali's leukemia and subsequent demise were caused by "toxic emissions from the Rumaila oilfield," for which BP, as the lead contractor, shares responsibility.

Julood seeks compensation covering his son's medical expenses, loss of earnings, funeral costs and the emotional toll of losing his son. Speaking to BBC News, Julood emphasised the broader implications of his case, representing not only himself but also the local community suffering from pollution.

Wessen Jazrawi, a partner at Hausfeld & Co representing, underscored the significance of this environmental litigation, aiming to hold major carbon-emitting companies accountable for their harmful practices.

Flaring, the burning of gas released during oil extraction, poses significant health risks due to its emission of cancer-causing chemicals like benzene. The Rumaila oil field, according to BBC analysis of World Bank data, records the highest documented levels of flaring globally.

Julood's primary objective with his claim is to halt regular flaring in Rumaila to prevent further harm to families in the region. Ali's battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia began at the age of 15, undergoing extensive treatment before his passing at 21. His father describes him as a vibrant individual, whose untimely death deeply affected the family.

Ali's documentation of life within the Rumaila oil field, along with pollution monitoring conducted by the BBC, revealed heightened exposure to carcinogens among local residents, raising concerns about increased leukemia risk.

While the Iraqi government owns the Rumaila oil field, BP leads its management through the Rumaila Operating Organisation (ROO) consortium. BP's flaring emissions from Rumaila in 2021 surpassed 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, a figure exceeding the annual emissions of two million UK cars.

Although the incident occurred in Iraq, Julood can pursue the claim in UK courts due to BP's UK headquarters. BP's response emphasises its support for ROO's efforts to reduce flaring and emissions at Rumaila.

Despite assurances from BP, Julood observes continued flaring and pollution, highlighting the disparity between promises and action. Julood alleges additional cancer-related deaths in the community since Ali's passing, underscoring the urgency of addressing environmental concerns.

BP faces the choice of entering compensation negotiations or contesting the claim, with the latter potentially leading to a court hearing in the UK.

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UAE Supports Converting to Islam While Apostasy is a Serious Offense

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, diverse population, and adherence to Islamic principles. In a society where Islam is the official religion and holds significant influence over daily life, inquiries regarding religious conversion, particularly frequently arise.

It is crucial for individuals contemplating such a decision to comprehend the legal ramifications and procedures for religious conversion in the UAE.

Is it Legal to Convert from Islam in the UAE?

The UAE operates under Sharia law, which is derived from Islamic teachings and principles. As a result, matters concerning religion, including conversion, are governed by Islamic law.

In the context of converting away from Islam, also known as apostasy, there are legal and social considerations to be aware of in the UAE.

Under Sharia law, apostasy is generally considered a serious offense and is not legally recognised or accepted in many Islamic countries, including the UAE.

While the UAE Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, this right is subject to limitations, particularly when it comes to converting from Islam. Apostasy is viewed as a rejection of the Islamic faith and can carry social and legal consequences.

How to Embrace Islam in the UAE?

If one wants to embrace Islam, one can do so after following the procedures of the Ministry of Justice and other local government authorities. The process may involve:

  • Declaration to embrace Islam at the Ministry of Justice.
  • Declaration of embracing Islam at the Judicial Department in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • Request for issuance of a certificate declaring Islam from Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department (IACAD). 

Methods of Conversion

One method to convert to Islam in the UAE is through IACAD, while the other method is through the UAE Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Both options are similar and free of charge.

Notably, the conversion process does not require physical attendance; it is conducted virtually through electronic means, either via the IACAD or MoJ websites or by phone.

Submission of Documents

All required documents, such as a copy of the passport and Emirates ID, along with two photos (with the woman wearing a headscarf), need to be submitted online through the respective authorities' websites. The authorities' websites list the necessary documents for conversion.

Meeting with a Representative or Judge

After submitting the identification documents, a meeting will be scheduled with a representative or a judge, preferably in the presence of male witnesses. During this meeting, the applicant will declare the Islamic Proclamation, confirming their faith.

Issuance of Conversion Certificate

Following the meeting, a fully attested certificate of conversion will be sent by email and made available through the online portal. The conversion process typically involves only one meeting and is relatively straightforward.

Considerations and Restrictions

It's essential to note that women who are married to non-Muslims cannot convert to Islam, as it would nullify the marriage. Additionally, at this stage, there is no requirement for Islamic courses unless one intends to marry soon afterward. In such cases, basic Islamic courses that last only a few days, may be necessary.

Updating Immigration Records

Once the conversion is complete, it is advisable to take the conversion certificate to the immigration authorities in the UAE to update the religious status on the immigration application.

Additional Rules and Regulations

Islamic law outlines specific rules and procedures for converting to Islam in the UAE. The process for those interested in embracing Islam typically involves several key steps.

Declaration of Faith (Shahada): The central requirement for conversion to Islam is the declaration of faith, known as the Shahada. This declaration affirms the belief in the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad - Peace Be Upon Him. Reciting the Shahada publicly or in the presence of witnesses is a fundamental aspect of converting to Islam.

Islamic Education and Guidance: Many individuals seeking to convert to Islam in the UAE undergo Islamic education and guidance to deepen their understanding of the faith. This may involve attending classes, seeking guidance from religious scholars or mentors, and participating in Islamic rituals and practices.

Public Declaration of Conversion: Some individuals may choose to publicly announce their conversion to Islam, either through social media, community gatherings, or formal ceremonies. While not a legal requirement, this public declaration can be a significant step in embracing the new faith and integrating into the Muslim community.

Embracing Islamic Practices: Upon conversion to Islam, individuals are expected to adopt Islamic practices and adhere to the tenets of the faith. This includes performing the five daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, giving to charity and upholding Islamic moral and ethical principles.

Legal and Social Considerations

While converting to Islam is generally accepted and supported in the UAE, individuals considering such a step should be aware of the legal and social implications. Apostasy, or renouncing Islam, can result in legal consequences, including potential criminal charges and social stigma.

In the UAE, apostasy is not explicitly defined in the legal code, but actions that are perceived as apostasy, such as publicly renouncing Islam or engaging in activities contrary to Islamic teachings, may be subject to legal scrutiny and social backlash.

Non-Muslim expatriates who convert to Islam may face challenges related to family relationships, employment, and social acceptance, particularly if their conversion is met with resistance from family members or community members.

Converting to Islam in the UAE is a significant step that involves following specific procedures outlined by the IACAD or the Ministry of Justice. It's important to be aware of any legal restrictions and considerations, as well as the administrative steps required to update immigration records following conversion. Overall, the process is accessible and straightforward for those seeking to embrace Islam in the UAE.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Safeguarding Children's Rights: Evolution of Child Rights Protection in UAE Divorce Laws

In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has witnessed significant advancements in its divorce laws, particularly in ensuring the protection and well-being of children throughout the divorce process.

With a focus on prioritising children's interests and fostering healthy co-parenting relationships, the UAE's legal landscape has evolved to promote joint custody arrangements as a means of safeguarding children's rights.

Historically, divorce laws in the UAE leaned towards granting sole custody to one parent, often the mother, with limited visitation rights for the other parent.

However, the UAE's legal framework has transformed to embrace joint custody arrangements, recognizing the importance of both parents' involvement in their children's lives post-divorce.

Joint custody, also known as shared custody, involves both parents sharing responsibility for the upbringing and care of their children. This approach acknowledges the value of maintaining strong bonds with both parents, providing children with stability, emotional support, and a sense of security during a tumultuous time.

How UAE Protects Children's Rights?

The UAE's divorce laws prioritise the child's best interests, ensuring their rights and well-being are protected throughout the divorce process. Courts in the UAE consider various factors when determining custody arrangements, including the child's age, preferences, and the ability of each parent to provide a nurturing environment.

Furthermore, the legal system in the UAE provides mechanisms to address any disputes or conflicts that may arise between parents regarding custody or visitation rights.

Mediation and counseling services are often utilised to help parents reach amicable agreements that serve the child's best interests.

Financial Support and Maintenance

Ensuring financial support for children is another crucial aspect of the UAE's divorce laws. Following divorce, both parents are obligated to provide financial support, known as child maintenance, to meet the child's needs and maintain their standard of living.

Courts in the UAE assess various factors when determining child maintenance, including each parent's income, financial resources, and the child's needs.

Child maintenance orders are enforceable by law, underscoring the importance of ensuring children receive the necessary financial support to thrive.

Case Studies

Gayatri Jayesh, a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, provided insights into the changing terrain of divorce law through two compelling case studies. In one case, a father willingly surrendered all guardianship rights, relieving himself of financial obligations towards his child and wife.

Notably, the wife, who was financially reliant on the husband, sought support under the new joint custody laws, leading to the father being mandated to contribute to the child's upbringing despite not being obliged to support the wife. This ruling demonstrated a favourable stance toward the child's welfare.

In another scenario, Gayatri discussed a contrasting case where the mother relocated abroad, obstructing the father's access to their child. However, under the principles of joint custody outlined in the updated legislation, the father was granted rights to maintain contact and spend time with the child, ensuring his continued presence in the child's life.

"These cases exemplify the evolving landscape of divorce law, where equitable distribution of responsibilities between parents, particularly in joint custody scenarios, is paramount. The judiciary's focus on the child's welfare is evident, even in situations where one parent waives their rights. Such cases underscore the importance of maintaining parental involvement for the child's benefit, as per the updated legal framework," Gayatri explained.

The UAE's latest divorce laws reflect a progressive approach towards safeguarding children's rights and well-being in the aftermath of divorce. By embracing joint custody arrangements, prioritizing the child's best interests, and ensuring adequate financial support, the UAE's legal framework aims to provide a supportive environment for children as they navigate the challenges of divorce.

Ultimately, the UAE's divorce laws aim to promote healthy co-parenting relationships that allow children to maintain loving and meaningful connections with both parents. Through these legal provisions, the UAE endeavours to create a nurturing and stable environment for children, ensuring their continued growth and development despite the challenges of divorce.

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Sex Scandal: Why Are So Many Female Guards Having Sex with Prisoners in This UK Jail?

 

In 2017, when Britain's largest prison, HMP Berwyn, opened its doors, it was celebrated as a £212-million beacon of offender rehabilitation.

However, just seven years later, the facility in North Wales has garnered a drastically altered reputation — now serving as the focal point of a sex scandal that has engulfed the entire Prison Service, Daily Mail reported.

Reports from last year revealed that a staggering 18 women employed at the Category C 'super-prison' for adult males, boasting a capacity of 2,100, had either been dismissed or resigned due to breaching rules regarding relationships with inmates.

Consider the case of probationary officer Ayshea Gunn, who engaged in over 1,200 phone calls, including explicit video calls, with prisoner Khuram Razaq. She even smuggled a pair of underwear into his cell, concealed in her bra.

Similarly, her colleague Emily Watson partook in a sexual act with an inmate in his cell on Christmas Day.

This misconduct is not isolated to HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, which renames cells as 'rooms', blocks as 'communities', and allows inmates to possess personal phones and laptops.

Forbidden Relationships

There has been a concerning surge in the number of female officers from across HM Prison Service found culpable of cultivating forbidden relationships.

Recently, two female prison employees appeared at Bolton Crown Court, accused of simultaneously engaging in relationships with the same inmate. Aleesha Bates, 30, and Jodie Wilkes, 27, exchanged numerous messages with a prisoner in an illicit love triangle at HMP Buckley Hall, Rochdale.

Bates, infatuated, sent explicit messages and photos, even planning a future once the inmate was released. Wilkes, an operational support worker, became involved when a contraband phone with 'dozens' of messages was discovered in the prisoner's possession.

Both women pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office, resulting in Bates receiving a two-year and eight-month sentence, while Wilkes was given a 12-month suspended sentence for two years.

Although this issue is not exclusive to female staff in male prisons, the statistics are striking. In the three years leading to March 2023, 31 female prison staff in male prisons were dismissed, including one who bore her inmate lover's child and another who tattooed his cell number on her thigh.

This represents a more than 50 per cent increase from the 19 dismissals in the preceding four-year period, not including incidents at private prisons operated by companies like G4S, Serco and Sodexo.

During the same timeframe, five male employees in male prisons and one or two women in female prisons were dismissed for inappropriate relationships.

According to insiders, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. As a former prison officer, identified as Officer A to preserve anonymity, disclosed to the Mail: “The actual numbers will likely be much higher than reported because these incidents are often swept under the rug — if a sexual relationship comes to light, the officer is typically given the opportunity to resign. Authorities prefer to keep these matters confidential as they are deeply embarrassing.”

What Truly Unfolds Behind Prison Walls?

For an outsider, comprehending what motivates an officer to risk an affair with an inmate, knowing the potential consequences if discovered, remains baffling. The question persists: what truly unfolds behind prison walls?

Vanessa Frake, who served in the prison system for 27 years, including as governor at the challenging men's prison Wormwood Scrubs, expresses deep concern over recent revelations.

"I believe this type of behaviour has always existed in some form," she states. "However, when you see the frequency of reported incidents at places like HMP Berwyn, it raises serious questions about how this has been allowed to happen."

Frake points to changes in prison staffing policies as a contributing factor. Historically, under the 1823 Gaol Act, women's prisons were exclusively staffed by women and men's prisons by men for approximately 150 years.

It was only in the 1980s that cross-sex postings began to be advertised. Since then, the influx of women entering the prison service has rapidly increased, with approximately 40 per cent of public sector prison staff now being female.

Additionally, perceptions of prison service employment have shifted over time. "When I joined, I saw it as my lifelong career," Frake reflects. "Unfortunately, nowadays the prison service is often viewed as a temporary stopgap for young individuals who spend a couple of years before moving on to something else."

The minimum entry age for recruits has decreased from 21 (when Frake joined) to just 18. "In my view, that's too young," she asserts. "You have 18-year-olds interacting with seasoned criminals who are much older and experienced."

Frake is not alone in her concerns about younger and less experienced recruits being susceptible to manipulation. "Previously, many officers in challenging prisons were ex-military, with significant real-life experience and a lack of intimidation," notes Officer A, who departed from the system seven years ago after a decade of service in the north-east of England.

"However, there was a shift to hiring more individuals straight out of school who were eager but lacked the confidence to deal with hardened criminals," Officer A continues.

"If you're a 19 or 20-year-old, relatively small in stature, you won't have the same confidence or authority to confront these individuals, and they'll perceive you as more compliant and easier to manipulate than a seasoned officer. It's a harsh reality."

Another former officer, referred to as Officer B, also voices concerns that junior officers are being entrusted with greater responsibilities prematurely. "I speak with former colleagues who say someone with just 18 months of experience might be the most senior person on a wing, making critical decisions for the team. It's concerning."

Frake, author of "The Governor: My Life Inside Britain's Most Notorious Prisons," emphasises deficiencies in training, vetting procedures, and mentorship within the system. "It's all so rushed now," she laments.

"There's overcrowding, staff shortages, and a host of other issues, and then you have someone walking in who isn't perceived as a vulnerable young person, but merely another body expected to manage a prison wing."

Last year, Mark Fairhurst, general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), cited inadequate training and vetting as contributing factors to officers succumbing to corruption. Fairhurst highlighted that interviews are often conducted remotely via Zoom, making it challenging for supervisors to identify potential issues.

Moreover, guards are reportedly struggling to maintain control over inmates, while inmates keenly observe guards for vulnerabilities they can exploit, Officer B explains.

"To many prisoners, sexual relationships or flirtation isn't the end goal—it's a means to gain leverage for smuggling tobacco, drugs, or mobile phones. They understand that forming a personal connection can be a way to manipulate and gain influence over officers."

“Inexperienced officers, especially younger women working in a male prison environment, may feel vulnerable and targeted.”

Complex Realities

The motivations of prisoners are clear, but what drives officers to fall for these tactics?

Some observers attribute this trend to an unconscious urge to pursue unsuitable partners, perpetuating clichés about women being drawn to 'bad boys'.

However, the reality is more complex and involves a variety of factors, including attraction and a tendency to transgress boundaries. According to Officer B, inmates often employ a deliberate strategy of coercion.

"You cannot show any weakness, or you're done," Officer B advises. "I would caution recruits never to discuss their personal lives in public areas because prisoners listen and use that information against you.

It might start with a small challenge, like a game of pool for a candy bar. If you break the rules, they have leverage. The pressure builds from there."

Once a boundary is breached, others quickly follow, shifting the power dynamic from officer to prisoner. "The inmate has nothing to lose—they're already in prison," Officer B explains.

"But for the officer, their entire life is at stake. If the inmate can ruin you, you'll do anything to prevent that."

When sentencing Bates, Judge Elliot Knopf acknowledged that the prison officer had been 'ensnared' by her lover, remarking that she didn't have to accept his advances.

As for the logistics of illicit affairs within a closely monitored prison, Officer B notes that there are numerous opportunities, such as secluded rooms or cells, especially with accomplices to keep watch.

Officer A recalls an incident where a colleague was caught in a compromising situation with an inmate in a medical room, exposed by a distinctive tattoo that only a few colleagues knew about.

While offenders like the officer in that case may escape consequences, others face severe penalties for crossing the line.
Unfortunately, the focus often shifts solely to the officer, neglecting the manipulative behaviour of prisoners behind bars.
"There are legal mechanisms to address this behaviour," Vanessa emphasises.

"We need to be more assertive in holding these corrupters accountable." A Prison Service spokesperson highlighted efforts to combat corruption within the system, catching the minority of staff engaging in misconduct.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

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Get in Early: Spinneys IPO Opens in Dubai for Investors -- Here's How to Invest!

From today onwards, you have the opportunity to be among the inaugural investors in the grocery retailer Spinneys’ initial public offering (IPO) in Dubai.

Here's what you need to know about purchasing and owning shares before its public listing on May 9 and how to proceed.

Following Spinneys' announcement of offering 900 million shares, equating to a 25 per cent stake, new investors can now subscribe to the IPO at a price range of between Dh1.42 to Dh1.53 per share. This range indicates the company's valuation at Dh5.1 billion to Dh5.5 billion upon listing.

Spinneys operates premium grocery retail supermarkets under the brands ‘Spinneys’, ‘Waitrose’, and ‘Al Fair’ in the UAE and Oman, with more than 70 stores in the UAE alone. It has reserved five per cent of the stake for individual investors, while the remainder is allocated to institutional investors.

By investing and becoming a shareholder, investors will benefit from dividend payouts. The company plans to distribute dividends in April and October each year, allocating 70 per cent of its profits to shareholders.

How to Subscribe to Spinneys Shares?

To subscribe to or purchase Spinneys’ IPO shares, you must submit a subscription application through your bank or brokerage firm in your own name (unless representing another subscriber).

Investors can participate in Spinneys’ IPO through various banks including Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, and others.

When investing, ensure you have an updated NIN and complete all necessary fields in the subscription application with the required documents.

How to Apply for a National Investor Number (NIN)?

Apply for an Investor Number instantly or by submitting the necessary documents via DFM eServices on their website.

  • Register for DFM eServices on the DFM website or DFM Smart Services mobile app.
  • Log in with your username and password.
  • Select the eFORMS tab, choose the form, and complete it.
  • Attach the required documents and click ‘Submit.’
  • Receive the Investor Number via SMS and email notification upon request status update.

Minimum Investment Threshold

Individual investors can subscribe with a minimum of Dh5,000, while additional investments can be made in lots of at least Dh1,000. Institutional investors have a minimum subscription of Dh1 million.

Subscription Period and Allotment

The subscription period runs from April 23 to April 29, with share allotment expected by April 30. The final offer price will be determined on May 1.

Considerations for IPO Investments

Investors should bid early in the IPO process to enhance their chances of allotment, as demand typically exceeds supply. It's essential to review the company's prospectus, financial circumstances, and risk tolerance before investing.

Overall, this IPO presents an opportunity for investors to participate in an exciting venture with potential for volatile price movements post-listing.

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Congress Passes Bill Targeting TikTok, Potentially Leading to its Ban After Years of Delays

Congress has passed a bill that could lead to the ban or forced sale of TikTok, marking a significant move against the popular video-sharing platform's Chinese ownership over concerns related to national security.

The Senate voted 79 to 18 in favour of the measure, included as part of a larger package offering aid to Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan. President Biden plans to sign the bill into law on Wednesday.

Once enacted, the provision will give TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, approximately nine months to sell the app or face a national ban, with the possibility of a 90-day extension.

This bipartisan measure represents a substantial threat to TikTok's US operations, which boast over 170 million users and have become a major economic and cultural force.

Lawmakers cite worries that ByteDance's ownership could potentially compromise American data security, a claim that TikTok disputes.

TikTok is expected to challenge the legislation, setting the stage for a significant legal battle asserting free speech rights for its millions of users. Despite TikTok's efforts to sway lawmakers, including urging users to contact representatives and running ads promoting data security, these actions have not deterred Congress.

The legislative push comes after years of scrutiny over TikTok's ties to China, with concerns about user data vulnerability. TikTok had proposed measures to address these concerns, but negotiations stalled, prompting lawmakers to pursue legislation empowering the executive branch to act against the platform.

Efforts to pass this bill gained momentum recently, with key lawmakers and administration officials collaborating for months. House lawmakers strategically paired the TikTok bill with legislation targeting data privacy concerns, allowing for swift advancement through Congress.

Despite bipartisan support, some lawmakers oppose the legislation, fearing government overreach and potential restrictions on online speech. However, the bill's inclusion in a broader foreign aid package facilitated its passage, demonstrating effective legislative maneuvering.

This unexpected turn of events highlights the complex process of policymaking, underscoring the intersection of national security, privacy, and free speech concerns in the digital age.

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FTA Urges Resident Corporations to File Corporate Tax Applications by May 31

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has urged resident companies that obtained licences in January or February to submit their Corporate Tax applications by May 31, 2024, to avoid breaching tax regulations.

In a press release, the FTA emphasised the importance of adhering to the timelines outlined in FTA Decision No. 3 of 2024, effective from March 1, 2024.

Failure to meet the specified deadlines could result in administrative penalties, as per Cabinet Decision No. 10 of 2024.

Administrative penalties will be enforced on companies failing to comply with the requirement of filing Corporate

Tax registration applications within the designated deadlines for each category of corporate taxable entities. The decision delineates specific deadlines for both legal entities and individuals, whether residents or non-residents.

The FTA has called upon all stakeholders involved in implementing the Corporate Tax Law to familiarise themselves with the legislation, relevant guides available on the FTA’s website and associated decisions, accessible via the following link.

Emphasising the accessibility of Corporate Tax registration through the EmaraTax digital platform at all times, the FTA highlighted that the registration process entails four simple steps, taking approximately 30 minutes.

For added convenience, entities already registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) or Excise Tax can utilise their accounts on EmaraTax to complete the Corporate Tax registration process and submit the necessary documents.

Upon approval of the registration request, applicants will receive a Tax Registration Number (TRN) for Corporate Tax purposes.

The FTA stressed that unregistered entities subject to Corporate Tax must create a new user profile. New users can access the EmaraTax platform via the FTA’s e-Services portal at e-Services Portal, where they can establish an account using their email address and phone number.

Subsequently, they can proceed with registration by providing taxpayer identification and selecting the "Corporate Tax registration" option to complete the process seamlessly.

Furthermore, the FTA facilitates Corporate Tax registration requests through various Government Service Centres across the UAE, staffed by trained specialists offering electronic services adhering to government standards to ensure quality service delivery.

Upon completion of the application processes and verification of the electronically entered data at the service center, FTA officers will review the applications.

Successful applicants will receive their Tax Registration Number (TRN) via the email address provided during the Corporate Tax registration application submission.

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UAE Rains: Sharjah Police Announces Fees Waiver for Car Damage Certificates

Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, has announced that certificates of destruction will be issued free of charge to all those affected in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Affected individuals are encouraged to complete and submit their applications through the official platforms of the command, including the Sharjah Police Smart App and its website. The initiative supports the authorities' efforts to alleviate the burden on families affected by the floods during these exceptional circumstances.

The official further explained that field teams are working tirelessly in cooperation with all partners and stakeholders to ensure housing stability and provide maximum assistance to affected families, enabling them to return to normal life across all cities in the Emirate of Sharjah soon.

Maj. Gen. Al Shamsi emphasised that the safety and security of citizens, residents, and visitors remain a top priority. The General Command is collaborating with all partners to fulfill its national, societal, and humanitarian responsibilities.

This action aligns with the directives of the wise leadership and demonstrates commitment to its strategy, which prioritises the highest level of preparedness in crisis management.

Ajman Initiative

Ajman Police officers are taking proactive steps to issue car damage reports, eliminating the inconvenience of motorists having to navigate rainwater or visit a police station. The initiative comes in response to the recent heavy rains in the UAE, which caused flooding and stranded vehicles.

In Ajman, the Police General Command has launched a proactive service to issue loss and damage certificates to community members whose vehicles were affected by flooding. This approach aims to streamline the process for affected individuals, ensuring timely assistance without additional inconvenience m

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Unlocking Matrimony: Essential Legal Requiements for Islamic Marriage in the UAE

In the UAE, Islamic marriages are governed by Sharia law, and specific legal requirements must be met for a marriage to be considered valid under Islamic law.

Here are the key legal requirements for conducting an Islamic marriage in the UAE.

Consent: Both parties must freely consent to the marriage without coercion or duress. Consent is fundamental for the validity of the marriage contract.
Offer and Acceptance (Ijab wa Qabul):The marriage contract (Nikah) is established through an offer from one party and acceptance from the other. This offer and acceptance must occur in the presence of witnesses and with the intention of marriage.
Mahr: The groom must offer a Mahr (dowry) to the bride as a symbol of his commitment and financial responsibility. The Mahr is agreed upon by both parties and is given to the bride as her exclusive property.
Wali (Guardian): The bride must have a Wali (guardian) who acts on her behalf during the marriage contract negotiations and ceremony. The Wali is typically the bride's father, but if he is unavailable, another male relative or a designated Islamic authority may act as her Wali.
Presence of Witnesses: The marriage contract must be witnessed by two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses who are of sound mind and have reached the age of maturity (puberty).
Announcement: The marriage contract may be publicly announced to ensure transparency and acknowledgment within the community.
Registration: While not mandatory under Islamic law, couples may choose to register their marriage with the relevant authorities for legal recognition and documentation purposes.

It's important to note that while Islamic marriages are recognised under Sharia law in the UAE, couples may also need to fulfill additional legal requirements for civil registration and documentation purposes, particularly for matters such as inheritance, guardianship and spousal rights.

It's advisable for couples to seek guidance from legal experts or religious authorities familiar with Islamic family law in the UAE to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

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MoF Launches Public Consultation on Implementation of R&D Incentive under UAE Tax Law

The UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced the launch of a digital public consultation to gather feedback from relevant stakeholders regarding the potential implementation of a Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive under the UAE Corporate Tax law.

The consultation period will run from April 19 to May 14, 2024, and can be accessed through the Ministry’s website and the UAE Government portal.

This digital public consultation underscores the Ministry’s commitment to engaging with all stakeholders, including businesses operating in the UAE, advisors, service providers, institutions, and investors.

The objective of this consultation is to assess the range of potential R&D activities conducted by businesses and corporations in the UAE, the types of activities that an R&D Tax Incentive might encompass, and the logistics of implementing and administering such an incentive.

Given that an R&D Tax Incentive would introduce a new concept in the UAE, and to familiarise stakeholders with the concept of R&D, a Guidance Paper is included as part of this consultation. This paper will outline the activities that may qualify as R&D, aligning with the definition provided in the

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Frascati Manual.

The UAE Ministry of Finance encourages stakeholders to provide clear and concise feedback, supplemented where possible with examples, data, or other supporting information. Responses must be submitted by May 14, 2024, and will be treated confidentially, with no publication of individual responses

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Navigating Insurance Costs for Rain, Storm and Hail Damage in the UAE

Residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers numerous advantages, yet it also presents a unique set of challenges, especially concerning weather-related hazards like rain, storms and hail that can cause damage.

With the rise in extreme weather occurrences in the area, comprehending the expenses linked to insuring your vehicle or residence against such perils is essential.

Let's explore how insurance premiums are computed for home and auto coverage in the UAE, as well as the factors that influence the amount you'll be required to pay.

Home Insurance Premiums

When safeguarding your home from rain, storms and hail damage in the UAE, various elements are taken into consideration when determining insurance premiums.

The location of your property plays a significant role, as properties situated in flood-prone or hailstorm-prone areas may face higher insurance premiums due to the elevated risk of damage.

Additionally, the value of your property, encompassing its size, construction material  and features, will impact your insurance premium, with higher-value properties potentially attracting higher premiums.

Moreover, your previous claims history can influence your insurance premium, as insurers may perceive you as a higher risk if you have filed claims for weather-related damage in the past, resulting in increased premiums.

Furthermore, the choice of deductibles can also impact your home insurance premium, as selecting a higher deductible can potentially lower your premium, although it means you'll have to cover more expenses out of pocket in the event of a claim.

Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums in the UAE are influenced by various factors such as the value of the vehicle, driving history, coverage options and location.

Vehicle Value: The make, model, age, and condition of your car significantly affect your insurance premium. Typically, newer or more expensive vehicles tend to have higher premiums due to the increased cost of repairs or replacement.
Driving History: Your history of accidents or
claims affects your auto insurance premium. If you have a record of accidents, insurance companies may consider you a higher-risk driver, resulting in higher premiums.
Coverage Options: Comprehensive auto insurance policies that provide coverage for weather-related damage, such as rain, storms, and hail damage, generally have higher premiums compared to basic coverage options.
Location: The area where your vehicle is parked influences your insurance premium. Vehicles parked in flood-prone or hailstorm-prone areas are at a higher risk of damage, leading to higher insurance premiums.

Insurance companies in the UAE rely on actuarial data and risk assessment models to calculate insurance premiums.

These premiums are determined by evaluating the probability of a claim occurring and the potential expenses associated with settling such claims.

Various factors, including those mentioned earlier, are carefully considered to determine the appropriate premium for your insurance coverage.

It is crucial for both homeowners and vehicle owners in the UAE to understand the factors that impact insurance premiums for damages caused by rain, storms and hail.

By having a clear understanding of these factors, individuals can make informed decisions about their insurance coverage.

Additionally, taking proactive measures to minimize risks can help individuals strike a balance between having adequate coverage and managing insurance costs effectively.

To ensure they have the right level of protection while keeping insurance costs under control, individuals should consult with insurance providers and explore different coverage options.

By doing so, they can find the most suitable insurance policy that meets their needs and budget.

This is particularly important in the face of unpredictable weather conditions, where having appropriate coverage is essential for financial security.

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Miscreants Fuelled Rumours as Heavy Rains Wrecked Havoc in UAE: Punishment is Imminent

The UAE experienced severe disruptions due to heavy rains that persisted from late Monday, causing widespread challenges in daily life.

However, authorities and residents joined forces to ensure public safety amidst the inclement weather.

The National Centre of Meteorology confirmed that the record rainfall over the past 24 hours until 9 pm on Tuesday, 16th April, was unprecedented in the UAE's recorded climate history.

As news of the floods circulated on social media, so did rumours linking the weather directly to the UAE's cloud seeding initiatives.

The UAE is renowned for its cloud seeding efforts aimed at increasing rainfall in arid areas. Nevertheless, baseless claims emerged online, suggesting a direct link between the heavy rainfall and cloud seeding operations.

Authorities swiftly addressed these rumours, emphasising that cloud seeding is conducted with stringent scientific protocols and safety measures.

The National Centre of Meteorology clarified that while cloud seeding can influence precipitation under specific conditions, attributing the floods solely to this practice is unsupported.

Spreading Rumours is a Serious Offence

The UAE government's response underscores the gravity with which misinformation is treated. Spreading false information that undermines public trust or jeopardises public safety is a serious offence under UAE law, carrying severe penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or deportation.

Spreading rumours on social media is strictly forbidden in the UAE, carrying severe penalties like imprisonment and hefty fines under Federal Law Number 5 of 2012. Articles 29 and 9 address malicious rumour-spreading and IP address misuse.

Recent decrees, such as Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 and No. 31/2021, reflect the government's commitment to combat cybercrimes.

Article 43 penalises spreading false events with fines up to Dh500,000, while Article 52 targets misinformation that disrupts public peace or threatens public interest, with fines starting from Dh100,000 and detention, especially in crises.

Rely on Verified Sources

In response to the rumours, UAE officials urged the public to rely on verified sources for information and refrain from spreading unverified claims on social media.

They emphasised the importance of responsible online behaviour, especially during emergencies, to prevent panic and misinformation from causing further harm.

To combat the proliferation of rumours, UAE authorities have intensified monitoring of social media platforms and online forums.

Those found guilty of spreading false information will face swift and stringent legal action, serving as a deterrent to others tempted to engage in similar activities.

Sharjah Rumour Mongers Warned

Meanwhile, in Sharjah, those spreading rumours were cautioned about potential legal action following the circulation of false narratives on social media claiming that two individuals had died from electrocution while walking through a flooded street in the emirate.

Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, denied the story circulated on social media about the supposed deaths and urged residents to stop spreading false information.

The report warned people to avoid walking on flooded areas and “touching metallic objects attached to the ground.”

The report stated two people died of electrocution in Sharjah as they tried to cross a flooded road. Both individuals reportedly “died” instantly.

“Power distribution lines are mostly built underground in the UAE, so please avoid walking through flooded areas,” the social media post warned.

Report Denied

Major General Al Shamsi confirmed that they did not register any death due to such incidents.
Sharjah Police warned against spreading false alarms and unverified stories on social media due to its negative impact on society.

“The Sharjah Police informs all fellow citizens and residents not to circulate rumours, misinformation, photos, and news that come to them through social networking sites and other means of smart communication,” Major General Al Shamsi said.

He also asked residents not to distribute such content in any way to avoid legal accountability. The police asked residents to check with authorities any news or information given to them, urging them to verify with Sharjah Police to ensure its credibility.

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Woman Can’t be Held for Abetting Suicide if ‘Lover’ Ends Life Due to ‘Love Failure’: Delhi Court

The Delhi High Court has recently observed that if a “lover” dies by suicide due to “love failure”, then the woman cannot be held responsible for abetting the man’s suicide while granting ‘pre-arrest’ (anticipatory) bail to a woman and a man.

An FIR was registered by a man alleging that the two applicants had abetted his son’s suicide. The woman was stated to be in a romantic relationship with the deceased while the other applicant was stated to be a common friend.

A single-judge bench of Justice Amit Mahajan, in its April 16 order, held, “If a lover commits suicide due to love failure, if a student commits suicide because of his poor performance in the examination, a client commits suicide because his case is dismissed, the lady, examiner, lawyer respectively cannot be held to have abetted the commission of suicide.

For the wrong decision taken by a man of weak or frail mentality, another person cannot be blamed as having abetted his committing suicide.”
When the body of the deceased was found by his mother in his room, a “suicide note” was also recovered in which he had written that he was ending his life because of the applicants.

Justice Mahajan said that a bare reading of Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 306 (abetment of suicide) demonstrates that there are twin requirements – suicide and abetment to commit suicide.

The court said “prima facie” from the WhatsApp chats placed on record, it appeared that the deceased was of “sensitive nature and constantly threatened” the female applicant of ending life whenever she refused to talk to him.

The court also noted that the two applicants were granted interim protection last year pursuant to which they joined the investigation.

“It is correct that the deceased had written the name of the applicants in suicide note, but, in the opinion of this court, there is nothing mentioned, as to the nature of threats in the alleged suicide note written by the deceased of such an alarming proportion so as to drive a ‘normal person’ to contemplate suicide,” the high court said.

The court noted that prima facie the alleged suicide note “only expressed a state of anguish” of the deceased towards the applicants, but it “cannot be inferred that the applicants had any intention”, that led the deceased to commit suicide.

“The allegation with respect to applicants teasing the deceased in regards to the failure of his romantic relationship with the (female) applicant…however, does not appear to be instigation which would amount to abetment of suicide in terms of Section 306 IPC. The factum of the alleged suicide note and whether there was any instigation by the applicants will be seen in trial,” the high court underscored.

It was alleged that a scuffle took place between the deceased and the applicants after he saw them together and asked why they were meeting. During the altercation, the deceased sustained injuries and the applicants allegedly damaged his car by throwing bricks. It was also said that while the deceased was leaving the place, the applicants allegedly instigated him by saying they had made “physical relations with each other and will get married soon”.

The woman argued that she had been falsely implicated, and except for her name mentioned in the alleged suicide note of the deceased, there was nothing to show that “he was prompted, forced and instigated by these persons to commit suicide”.

Meanwhile the police alleged that offence committed by the two applicants is “heinous in nature” and the names of both the applicants were written in suicide note, because of whom the deceased died by suicide. The police said that the CCTV footage from the location where the deceased had met with the applicants was also obtained in which the deceased and the male applicant can be seen in a scuffle.

The high court held that custodial interrogation of the applicants is not required. It said that in the event of arrest, the applicants will be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs50,000 each with two sureties each of the like amount subject to certain conditions.

The court also said that in case the applicants violate the conditions mentioned in the order, the police would be free to move a plea for cancelling their bail. The court, however, clarified that the observations in its order are made to decide the pre-arrest bail applications of the two persons, should not influence the outcome of the trial, and should not be taken as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case.

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Global Property Insurers See 'Alarming' Losses as Risk Models Lag, Says Report

Global property and casualty insurers showed "alarming" underwriting losses in 2022 as natural catastrophes increased and risk models failed to keep up, a report from consultants Capgemini said on Wednesday.

Global insured losses from natural catastrophes have been surpassing $100 billion annually in recent years, driven higher by issues such as winter storms. Industry sources see climate change and increased building in exposed areas as contributing to the losses.

The insurers' global combined ratio, a measure of claims and expenses against premium revenue, was 103 per cent in 2022, Capgemini said. A level above 100 indicates an underwriting loss. Property insurers have suffered three years of underwriting losses in the past four years, the report said.

Only 27 per cent of insurance executives surveyed believe their firms have advanced predictive modelling capabilities.

"Accurate risk prediction and pricing are becoming increasingly challenging and leading to insurability concerns," Anirban Bose, Capgemini financial services strategic business unit CEO, said in the report.

The report gathered information from 18 insurance markets, including Britain, Hong Kong, India and the United States, through polling of insurance customers and interviews with insurance executives and underwriters.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Judge Dismisses Certain Claims Against Zuckerberg Regarding Social Media Harm on Children

The US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, has ruled in favour of Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, dismissing some claims in multiple lawsuits alleging that he concealed the harmful effects of Facebook and Instagram on children.

The ruling is part of a broader litigation involving numerous lawsuits filed by children, accusing Meta and other social media companies of fostering addiction to their platforms.

While twenty-five of these cases sought personal liability against Zuckerberg, arguing that his public image and influential role obligated him to fully disclose the risks posed by Meta's platforms to children, Judge Rogers rejected this argument.

She stated that relying on Zuckerberg's unique understanding of Meta's products to establish a personal duty to each plaintiff would set a precedent for a duty to disclose for any public figure, which she deemed untenable.

Meta, though remaining a defendant, refrained from commenting on the ruling, maintaining its denial of any wrongdoing.

The lawsuits, filed on behalf of individual children, assert that social media usage has caused them physical, mental, and emotional distress, including anxiety, depression and in extreme cases, suicide.

The ongoing litigation seeks both damages and an end to the alleged harmful practices of the defendants. Additionally, several states and school districts have also initiated legal action against Meta, with those cases still pending.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Planned in the US, Executed in Mumbai: Decoding the Salman Khan Firing Incident

It reads like a plot straight out of a crime thriller: a plan conceived in the United States, a network of professional shooters and weapon caches strategically placed across various Indian states -- all culminating in a shooting outside Bollywood actor Salman Khan's residence.

Early Sunday morning, around 5am, two men on a motorcycle fired four rounds outside Galaxy Apartments in Mumbai's Bandra, where the actor lives, before swiftly fleeing the scene. CCTV footage captured the assailants wearing caps and carrying backpacks, clearly aiming towards the actor's home. One suspect wore a white t-shirt with a black jacket and denim pants, while the other was in a red t-shirt with denim pants.

According to police sources, both men are affiliated with the notorious Lawrence Bishnoi gang. Bishnoi himself is currently incarcerated at Tihar Jail for several high-profile murder cases, including those involving musician Sidhu Moose Wala and Rajput leader Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi of the Karni Sena.

Origins of the Plot

The scheme originated in the United States, where Anmol Bishnoi, Lawrence Bishnoi's brother, tasked Rohit Godara -- a fellow gangster based in the US -- with selecting shooters. Godara, known for his extensive network of professional shooters across India, likely facilitated this operation. Anmol Bishnoi later claimed responsibility for the incident through a Facebook post, although the post's IP address was traced back to Canada, prompting suspicions of VPN usage.

Godara, a key figure in the Bishnoi gang, played a crucial role by providing weapons through associates strategically located in multiple states. Vishal (alias Kalu), chosen for his involvement in previous violent incidents orchestrated by Godara, along with another suspect, acquired a second-hand bike from Raigad district to reach Khan's residence.

Security Concerns and Past Threats

Salman Khan has been a target of threats before, particularly due to his infamous 1998 black buck hunting incident that reportedly offended the Bishnoi community. Last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) identified Khan as a top target on Lawrence Bishnoi's hit list.

In response to heightened security threats, Mumbai Police escalated Khan's security status to Y+ and continue to review this arrangement. Eleven security personnel, including commandos and Personal Security Officers (PSOs), accompany Khan at all times in fully bulletproof vehicles.

The investigation into the recent shooting incident involves a coordinated effort across five states --Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. The involvement of multiple agencies, including the Maharashtra ATS and the NIA, underscores the gravity of the situation.

While the case has been transferred to Mumbai's Crime Branch, there has been no formal request to involve the ATS or NIA in the investigation. The sale of the motorcycle used in the crime is currently under scrutiny, as authorities continue to pursue leads to apprehend those responsible.

1998 Blackbuck Poaching Case

During the shooting of his blockbuster movie Hum Saath Saath Hain, Salman Khan allegedly killed two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani located in Kankani village near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. He was charged under section 9/51 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

In what came to be known as the 1998 Blackbuck Case, his co-actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were also charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and under Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. However, they were all acquitted after being given the benefit of doubt.

Two other people, namely Dinesh Gawr and Dushyant Singh, were also accused of being with the actors when the poaching allegedly took place.

What Really Happened?

Back in October 1998, the film Hum Saath Saath Hain was being shot in Jodhpur. It has been alleged that the actors were driving around the Kankani Village in a gypsy car when they came across a herd of blackbucks and Salman Khan shot two of them. On realising that they might have been seen, the group of actors allegedly fled the scene.

Blackbucks are sacred to the Bishnoi tribe of Rajasthan; they protect the species for religious reasons. Poonamchand Bishnoi, a member of the sect, claims to have witnessed the event taking place. Bishnoi later testified against the group of actors, saying that he saw the actors fleeing away from the scene.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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UK Set to Announce Social Media Prohibition Plans for Under-16s Within Weeks

The UK government is reportedly preparing to announce plans to prohibit children under the age of 16 from accessing social media platforms within a few weeks. Downing Street is expected to unveil proposals for stricter age limits on apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat as part of a consultation aimed at enhancing online safety for children, as per The Sunday Times.

The consultation will gather feedback from parents on the appropriate age for children to start using social media, with the suggested range being between 13 and 16 years old. Currently, several platforms allow membership for children as young as 13, including Meta, which recently lowered the minimum age for WhatsApp use in Europe to 13.

The decision was criticised by Smartphone Free Childhood as an instance of “a tech giant prioritising shareholder profits over children’s safety”. A Meta spokesperson stated, “We provide all users with options to control who can add them to groups, and when you receive a message from an unknown number for the first time, we offer the option to block and report the account.”

This development follows a call from Esther Ghey, mother of murdered 16-year-old transgender girl Brianna Ghey, for a social media ban for under-16s. In addition to potential social media restrictions, the government is contemplating banning under-16s from purchasing smartphones. Currently, individuals under 18 need parental consent to obtain phone contracts, but they can buy pay-as-you-go phones independently.

The proposed changes would limit this option for under-16s, although parents would still be able to buy phones for their children. A spokesperson for the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology stated: “We do not comment on speculation. Our commitment to making the UK the safest place for children online is firm, as demonstrated by our world-leading Online Safety Act.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Europe Faces Mounting Court Cases to Halt Weapons Exports to Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

Court cases are mounting in Europe as several NGOs are taking the unprecedented step of suing governments over weapons exports to Israel amid allegations of war crimes in Gaza or genocide, claims Israel denies.

A recent ruling by a Dutch court ordering the government to halt the export of F-35 parts to Israel has sparked similar legal actions in Denmark last month and in France this week.

The Dutch government has appealed the decision, which will be reviewed by the Supreme Court later this year.

"We are greatly inspired by the Dutch court case," said Lars Koch, Secretary-General of Oxfam Denmark, one of the four NGOs involved in the lawsuit against the Danish police and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

France quickly followed suit as eight NGOs, including Amnesty International, filed an urgent summons with the administrative court of Paris on Thursday. The judge has 48 hours to respond to their request to suspend weapons exports to Israel due to concerns that the Israeli military might use them for war crimes in Gaza.

Aymeric Elluin, Arms Transfers Advocacy Officer at Amnesty International France, anticipates a response early next week. "It's an unprecedented request, so the judge's response is uncertain at this stage," Elluin said.

Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has downplayed the significance of French weapons exports to Israel. In 2022, they represented €15 million ($16 million) – equivalent to 0.2 per cent of all of France's weapons sales abroad that year.

"No licences will be granted to Israel for weapons of war to be used in ground operations in Gaza," Lecornu said last month.

Cases could Drag on for Years

Court cases in Denmark and France could drag on for years. However, for those involved, the outcome is less critical than fostering public debate on arms transfers to Israel as soon as the lawsuits are filed.

Other efforts to increase pressure on Israel at the European level include requests from Ireland and Spain to the EU Commission to review a trade agreement amid concerns that the human rights clause has been violated.

There has been no response to the request made in February so far. The bloc is divided over the conflict, which limits its diplomatic influence. Meanwhile, court cases are also accumulating in Berlin as human rights lawyers filed a lawsuit on Friday against a German government decision to approve the export of 3,000 anti-tank weapons to Israel, the second such case this month.

For activists, it's crucial that small EU countries like Denmark uphold the rules-based order. "We are also leveraging the court case for our ongoing campaign for a ceasefire and an immediate halt to arms exports to Israel," said Koch.

Crowdfunding Campaign

Oxfam Denmark launched a crowdfunding campaign on the same day they announced the lawsuit on March 3 to cover legal costs. They have raised 1.5 million DKK ($210,000) from private donors so far.

Fifteen Danish companies supply components for F-35 fighter jets exported to the US and then on to third countries, including Israel. "We argue that you cannot export responsibility for the end use of these weapons," Koch said.

In the UK, the High Court dismissed a legal challenge in February against the Department for Business and Trade over similar concerns of potential breaches of international humanitarian law.

The lawsuit was brought by two NGOs, including the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq, which is also involved in the Danish case. However, activists hope the dismissal will be overturned at a hearing later this month, allowing the case to proceed.

(The writer is a legal associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Navigating Legal Evolution: A Comprehensive Guide to Developing Law in Kuwait

Kuwait, with its rich history and vibrant culture, is at a pivotal juncture where tradition converges with modernity. As the nation progresses, its legal framework must also evolve to align with the demands of a dynamic society.

Developing law in Kuwait is a multifaceted endeavour that blends tradition with innovation and harmonises local values with global standards. This article delves into the process of legal development in Kuwait and provide insights into navigating this complex landscape.

Understanding Kuwait's Legal System

Before exploring legal development, it's essential to grasp the foundations of Kuwait’s legal system. Kuwait follows a civil law system heavily influenced by Islamic law (Sharia).

The Constitution of Kuwait serves as the supreme law, defining the framework of governance and fundamental rights. Kuwait has a dual court system comprising civil courts and Sharia courts, each with jurisdiction over specific matters.

Factors Driving Legal Evolution

Several factors contribute to the evolution of law in Kuwait. The society is diverse, with a blend of traditional values and modern aspirations.

Social changes such as urbanisation, globalisation, and demographic shifts influence legal needs and expectations.

Economic growth, driven by oil reserves and diversification efforts, necessitates legal frameworks to regulate commerce, investment, and employment. As a member of the United Nations and signatory to various international treaties, Kuwait is committed to aligning its legal framework with international standards.

Addressing Contemporary Challenges

The digital revolution has transformed governance and law. Developing laws to address cybercrime, data protection, and e-commerce is imperative in the digital age.

Developing law in Kuwait requires a systematic approach that balances legal tradition with contemporary needs. It begins with thorough research and consultation with experts, stakeholders, and the public to understand societal needs and concerns.

Drafting new laws or amending existing ones involves careful consideration of constitutional principles, international norms, and societal expectations to ensure clarity, coherence, and enforceability.

Role of the National Assembly

Kuwait’s National Assembly plays a pivotal role in the legislative process. Proposed laws undergo review and debate, allowing elected representatives to scrutinize and refine legal provisions.

Engaging the public enhances transparency and legitimacy through consultations, hearings and feedback mechanisms.

Investing in Legal Education and Capacity Building

Developing a robust legal framework requires investing in legal education and capacity building. Training programmes for lawmakers, judges, lawyers and legal professionals ensure a competent workforce capable of interpreting and applying the law effectively.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite progress, Kuwait faces challenges like bureaucratic inefficiencies and judicial backlog, presenting opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and reform.

Embracing change, fostering dialogue, and upholding the rule of law are essential for navigating legal development while safeguarding Kuwait’s values and aspirations.

By adopting a strategic approach and collective effort, Kuwait can continue to evolve its legal framework to meet the evolving needs of its people and the demands of the modern world.

(The writer is a law associate at NYK Law Firm, one of the top legal consultants in Dubai)

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Qatar Airways Escapes Lawsuit Over Strip-searches of Women at Doha Airport

Qatar Airways has evaded a lawsuit in Australia brought by five women who underwent strip-searches and invasive examinations at Doha airport.

According to BBC, the incident occurred after a baby was discovered abandoned in an airport bin in 2020, prompting outrage and condemnation from various nations.

The women sought damages for what they alleged was "unlawful physical contact" and false imprisonment resulting in mental health issues such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, their claim was dismissed by Justice John Halley of the Federal Court of Australia on the basis that Qatar Airways could not be held liable under the Montreal Convention, a treaty governing airline liability for passenger injury or death.

Justice Halley also ruled that the airline's staff had no influence over the actions of Qatari police or the examining nurses, deeming the proposition otherwise as "implausible." The lawsuit was also struck down against Qatar's aviation regulator due to immunity from foreign prosecution.

Nonetheless, the women are permitted to pursue their claim against Matar, a subsidiary of Qatar Airways responsible for operating Hamad International Airport.

They argue that Matar employees failed in their duty of care by not preventing the invasive examinations.

The affected women have expressed that they did not consent to the examinations and were not informed of the reasons behind them.

One of them likened the experience to feeling "raped," while another believed she was being kidnapped.

Qatari officials responded to the incident by assuring that the abandoned baby was being cared for and condemned the treatment of the female passengers as not reflective of Qatar's laws or values.

Despite a criminal prosecution in Qatar resulting in a suspended jail term for an airport official, the women proceeded with the lawsuit due to perceived inaction from Doha.

Their goal, as articulated by one of the women, is to seek a formal apology from Qatar and ensure changes in airport procedures to prevent similar incidents in the future, aiming to spare other women from such "demoralising, horrendous treatment."

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Abu Dhabi Authority Issues Rules to Regulate Civil Use of Drones in Emirate

The Department of Municipalities and Transport – Abu Dhabi (DMT) has issued Administrative Decision No. (48) of 2024 to regulate the civil use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in Abu Dhabi.

The decision aims to ensure the safe operation of drones and to manage, regulate and monitor drone activities within the emirate. The regulation seeks to standardise drone systems and procedures, promote Abu Dhabi as a leading hub for the drone industry, enhance smart transportation, foster innovation in aviation and attract investment in the local drone sector.

The decision applies to all types of drone-related activities in Abu Dhabi, including design, manufacturing, assembly, modification, inspection, maintenance, simulation systems development, training, qualification, clubs, infrastructure development, airports, fuelling stations, energy and other associated uses, except for those exempted under Federal Decree by Law No. (26) of 2022 on Regulating the Civil Use of Drones and Related Activities.

DMT assumes several responsibilities under this legislation, including oversight, issuance of permits and certificates, establishment of rules for drone flight conditions, setting standards for drone take-off and landing sites and developing guidelines for drone-specific infrastructure like airports and runways in coordination with relevant local and federal authorities.

Additionally, DMT will conduct awareness workshops for drone owners and operators, covering both individuals and entities. These sessions will explain the procedures and requirements for drone operations and associated activities within Abu Dhabi, aligning with administrative directives, civil aviation regulations and technical guidelines governing drone systems in the emirate.

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Ex-JP Morgan Analyst Receives $35M After Viral Glass Door Accident

A video capturing the moment Meghan Brown, a former analyst at JP Morgan, pushed open a glass door, causing it to shatter and injure her, has garnered widespread attention online.

Brown, aged 36 at the time, received a hefty compensation of $35 million following the incident which occurred at a building in New York City in 2015, leaving her with permanent brain damage.

The video footage, shared by a user named Collin Rugg, depicts Brown attempting to exit a building when the glass door unexpectedly breaks upon contact, causing her distress. The clip also shows bystanders rushing to her aid.

Rugg's caption accompanying the video explained: "Former JP Morgan analyst awarded $35 million after a glass door shattered on her in Manhattan. Meghan Brown was leaving a physical therapy appointment in 2015 when the glass door shattered on her."

Detailing the aftermath, Rugg stated: "Brown says the event caused a traumatic brain injury which she says ruined her career. The woman was out of a job for a year due to the incident and returned to JP Morgan where she worked until getting fired in 2021."

Rugg informed that "Jurors awarded Brown $35,184,208 in damages after determining that building owner 271 Madison Co.’s negligence was 'a substantial factor in causing' the injury."

Commentary on the video varied among users, with one expressing skepticism about the compensation amount, stating, "that will be a fun appeal. Does she deserve something? Sure. But 35 million??? Nope."

Another user remarked, "She might as well have won the lottery." According to The New York Post, Brown suffered from various health issues post-incident, including Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), memory decline, sensitivity to light, focus and vocabulary issues, permanent headaches, neck pain, balance problems and distorted depth perception.

Reports also mentioned Brown's necessity to acquire a service dog to prevent her from falling.

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Dubai Centre for Family Businesses Launches New Corporate Governance Toolkit

The Dubai Centre for Family Businesses, which operates under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has developed a new guide aimed at helping family businesses cultivate sustainable growth through the implementation of effective corporate governance.

The ‘Corporate Governance Guidelines for Family Businesses’ toolkit focuses on governance structures, governance frameworks and key regulatory guidelines for family businesses.

The launch of the new toolkit reflects the centre’s ongoing commitment to providing practical guides on the main topics of interest to family enterprises.

It follows the publication of six guides during 2023 addressing key areas affecting the continuity of family-run businesses and aims to support their long-term sustainability and competitiveness.

Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, commented: “Family businesses are an essential part of our economy, contributing significantly to Dubai’s non-oil GDP and employing a substantial proportion of the country’s workforce.”

He added: “These companies play a vital role in driving economic growth, and we remain committed to encouraging them to follow best practices in corporate governance that support their continuity and ensure the successful transition of leadership between generations.

The success of family businesses boosts economic activity and contributes to achieving the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy over the coming decade.”

The new guide comes as a continuation of the centre’s efforts to provide effective tools to support family businesses.

It underlines the importance of corporate governance for family businesses, as well as highlighting the main bodies entrusted with family business governance including, family councils, the board of directors and board committees; key governing documents; and the main requirements for board committees and meetings.

Family businesses account for around 90 per cent of the total number of private businesses in the UAE and contribute around 40 per cent of the national GDP.

With an estimated compound annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent in new wealth, the BCG Global Wealth Report 2023 has forecast that private financial wealth in the country will reach US$ 1.3 trillion by 2027, a surge that is expected to drive significant expansion within the family business sector.

Supporting the sustainability and growth of family businesses is crucial in ensuring they remain key contributors to the nation’s economy.

Launched under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers in May 2023, the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses is entrusted with ensuring the growth and long-term sustainability of family businesses in Dubai.

The centre aims to further develop this vital sector and enhance its economic contribution to support the emirate’s future development plans.

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Google to Destroy Billions of Browsing Data to Settle Consumer Privacy Lawsuit

Google has agreed to dispose of billions of data records to resolve a lawsuit alleging that it clandestinely tracked the Internet activities of users who believed they were browsing in private.

The terms of the settlement were submitted in the federal court in Oakland, California, pending approval by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

Estimated by plaintiffs' attorneys at over $5 billion and potentially as high as $7.8 billion, the settlement does not entail any damages paid by Google. However, individual users retain the right to sue the company for damages.

Initiated in 2020, the class action encompasses millions of Google users who employed private browsing since June 1, 2016.

Users contended that Google's analytics, cookies and apps enabled its subsidiary Alphabet's new tab unit to improperly monitor individuals who set Google Chrome browser to "Incognito" mode and other browsers to "private" browsing mode.

This allegedly transformed Google into an "unaccountable repository of information," granting access to details ranging from users' social circles, culinary preferences, leisure pursuits, shopping tendencies, to the most intimate and potentially sensitive online searches.

According to the settlement terms, Google will enhance disclosures regarding its data collection practices in "private" browsing, a process already underway. Additionally, it will allow Incognito users to block third-party cookies for a period of five years.

Plaintiffs' lawyers highlighted that this would result in Google gathering less data from users' private browsing sessions, consequently reducing its revenue from data monetisation.

Jose Castaneda, a spokesman for Google, expressed the company's satisfaction with the settlement, branding the lawsuit as meritless and emphasising that Google never associates data with individual users in Incognito mode.

Castaneda reiterated Google's commitment to deleting obsolete technical data that was never linked to an individual or utilised for personalisation.

David Boies, representing the plaintiffs, hailed the settlement as a pivotal move towards demanding transparency and accountability from dominant technology entities.

A preliminary settlement was reached in December, forestalling a scheduled trial on February 5, 2024, with terms undisclosed at the time. Plaintiffs' attorneys intend to subsequently pursue unspecified legal fees payable by Google.

Alphabet, Google's parent company, is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

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Dubai Set to Host Inaugural International Photonics Conference this Month

Dubai is gearing up to host a groundbreaking event this month with the inaugural Photonics Middle East conference set to take place from April 19 to 22, 2024.

Expected to draw in 400 scientists and researchers from around the world, the event will be held at the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Healthcare City.

Dr PT Ajith Kumar, the Technology Chair and Convener of the event, emphasised the significance of this gathering amidst a pivotal moment in science and technology.

"The event arrives at a crucial juncture as we witness a transformative shift from electronics to photonics," remarked Dr Kumar. Photonics, encompassing the science and technology of light and light-based devices, now permeates every facet of human existence, from information communication technology and artificial intelligence to defence and aerospace, education and healthcare and green energy production and manufacturing.

Photonics Middle East uniquely balances the interests of research and development, industry and academia, according to a press note issued by the organisers.

The conference's focal points span an array of critical areas including photonics in medicine and medical diagnostics, artificial intelligence, robotics and communication, green energy, nano-photonics, photonic chips and integrated optics, aerospace, marine and offshore, manufacturing and fabrication, bio-photonics, photonic structures and materials, laser holography and diffractive optics, lasers for healthcare, immersive learning and Metaverse, document security and identification, photonic crystals and materials, precision non-destructive testing and ultra-high density information storage and archiving.

In addition to insightful research presentations by leading global experts, the conference will feature four enriching workshops tailored for students and participants, along with an exhibition titled Photonics Innovation and Solutions.

A key feature of the event is the Photonics Business Conclave, anticipated to draw policy makers, industry leaders, R&D professionals, healthcare experts and institutions, academic institutions and start-ups.

Photonics Middle East is co-organised by Photonics Innovations, Dubai, and Photonyx Global, USA, with support from various departments and institutions.

The gathering promises to be a defining moment in the advancement of photonics, offering a platform for collaboration, innovation and transformative progress on a global scal

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Navigating Data Protection in the UAE: Essential Steps for Organisations

 

In today's digital age, data protection has become a critical concern for organisations across all sectors, especially those operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With the UAE's stringent data privacy regulations impacting businesses collecting or processing personal data within its jurisdiction, it's crucial for organisations to take proactive measures to establish or enhance their data protection programs.

Below are key steps that organisations should take to ensure compliance and effectively navigate the landscape of data protection in the UAE.

1 Appointing a Data Protection Officer (DPO)

One of the initial and crucial steps is the appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO). This individual plays a pivotal role in overseeing data privacy compliance within the organisation.

Whether the DPO is an internal employee or outsourced to a third party with expertise in data privacy, having a designated DPO showcases the organisation's commitment to upholding privacy standards and cooperating with regulatory requirements.

2 Establishing Comprehensive Consent Mechanisms

Organisations must develop robust consent forms and disclosures for processing personal data. While obtaining explicit consent is fundamental, the law also specifies instances where data processing can occur without consent, such as for public interest, legal proceedings, public health protection, compliance with other laws, and specific limited purposes. Ensuring clear and comprehensive consent mechanisms is essential for compliance.

3 Reviewing Vendor and Supplier Contracts

Conducting a thorough review of contracts with vendors and suppliers is imperative. Organisations need to identify agreements involving data sharing and ensure that these parties adhere to UAE data protection laws. Contractual revisions should reflect data privacy compliance requirements and delineate liabilities effectively, thereby mitigating risks associated with data processing by third parties.

4 Creating Data Mapping and Processing Records

Maintaining a transparent data map and a Record of Processing Activity is crucial for compliance documentation. These records outline the specific processes and systems that utilise personal data, aiding in accountability and demonstrating adherence to regulatory standards.

5 Developing a Comprehensive Breach Response Plan

Organisations should establish a robust breach response plan along with notification procedures. Being able to promptly detect data breaches, initiate response protocols, notify regulators and affected individuals and conduct thorough data analysis are critical components of compliance readiness.

6 Implementing Privacy Impact Assessments

Conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs), Vendor Assessment Questionnaires, and Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) are essential for evaluating privacy risks and obligations. These assessments inform policy development, technology assessments, and decision-making regarding partnerships and data processing activities.

7 Strengthening Information Security Measures

Collaboration with IT teams is essential in implementing robust information security and access control mechanisms. These measures are instrumental in preventing unauthorized access, safeguarding data integrity, and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations.

8 Streamlining DSAR Processes

Efficient Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) processes are vital for addressing data subject inquiries promptly and effectively. Leveraging technology workflows, audit trails, and standardised procedures enhances the efficiency and transparency of DSAR handling.

9 Addressing Cross-Border Data Transfers

Organisations engaged in cross-border data transfers must assess the adequacy of data protection in recipient jurisdictions. Special controls, safeguards and documentation may be required to facilitate compliant data transfers while ensuring the protection of personal data.

10 Conducting Ongoing Staff Training

Continuous staff training is crucial for cultivating a culture of data privacy compliance within the organisation. Regular training sessions enable employees to stay updated on evolving regulations, best practices and organisational policies related to data protection.

In conclusion, navigating data protection in the UAE requires a comprehensive and proactive approach from organisations. By implementing these essential steps, organisations can enhance their data protection posture, build stakeholder trust and effectively navigate the complex regulatory landscape in the UAE.

(Thw writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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Former US President Donald Trump Posts $175million Bond in New York Civil Fraud Case

Former US president Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, as revealed in a court document on Monday, thereby avoiding potential asset seizures while awaiting the appeals process.

Previously, a New York appeals court had reduced the bond requirement from the original $454 million to $175 million, granting Trump a 10-day period to meet this revised sum. Originally facing the risk of asset seizure if unable to fulfill the half-billion-dollar bond, Trump secured a significant reduction and swiftly found a company, Knight Specialty Insurance Company from California, to provide the required bond, as confirmed in a court document released on Monday.

In response to the appellate division's decision, Trump stated, "I greatly respect the decision... I will post $175 million in cash and bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly, within the 10 days."

This development marks a temporary reprieve for the 77-year-old real estate tycoon, who, despite securing the Republican nomination once again, faces legal challenges stemming from allegations of fraud.

The case revolves around accusations that Trump and his two adult sons misrepresented the value of assets, including Trump Tower and a building at 40 Wall Street, to obtain favourable bank loans and insurance terms.

Trump, along with his family company, was found guilty in a non-jury trial by Judge Arthur Engoron, resulting in a $454 million judgment against him. While Trump is appealing this order, he remains under scrutiny for various alleged crimes, including attempting to overturn the 2020 election and falsifying business records.

In a separate case, Trump is accused of making pre-election hush money payments to a porn star, Stormy Daniels. The presiding judge has expanded a gag order to include family members of those involved, following Trump's attacks on the judge and his family members on social media platform Truth Social.

Facing a criminal trial scheduled to begin on April 15, Trump has expressed willingness to testify. This trial marks a historic event as the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president. Trump's legal battles continue to mount, with four criminal indictments and 88 felony counts against him, reflecting the extensive legal challenges he currently faces.

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Microsoft to Separate Teams and Office Globally Amid Antitrust Scrutiny: Report

Microsoft has announced plans to globally separate its chat and video app, Teams, from its Office product, following antitrust scrutiny.

The decision comes six months after the company unbundled the two products in Europe to avoid potential fines from the European Commission, which has been investigating Microsoft's tying of Office and Teams since a complaint filed in 2020 by Slack, a competing workspace messaging app owned by Salesforce.

Teams, originally added to Office 365 for free in 2017, replaced Skype for Business and saw increased popularity during the pandemic, particularly for its video conferencing capabilities. However, rivals argued that bundling the products gave Microsoft an unfair advantage.

To address concerns and provide clarity to customers, Microsoft has decided to extend the separation of Teams from Office globally, a move initially implemented in the European Economic Area and Switzerland on October 1 last year. The decision aims to offer multinational companies more flexibility in their purchasing decisions across different regions.

Analysts suggest that while Microsoft's previous concessions in response to antitrust scrutiny, notably regarding Internet browsers in 1998, led to significant changes in the market, the impact of separating Teams from Office might not be as dramatic given the entrenched nature of enterprise products like Teams.

Despite the separation, Microsoft's user base for Teams has remained relatively stable, according to data from Sensor Tower. The company has also introduced new commercial Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites without Teams for regions outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, along with standalone Teams offerings for enterprise customers in those regions.

Customers have the option to continue with their current licensing agreements or switch to the new offerings, with prices for Office without Teams ranging from $7.75 to $54.75 for existing customers and $5.25 for standalone Teams. However, exact pricing may vary by country and currency.

While Microsoft's efforts to unbundle Teams from Office may not fully alleviate antitrust concerns, proactive measures could potentially influence regulators' stance. The company faces the risk of significant fines, up to 10 per cent of its global annual turnover, if found guilty of antitrust breaches, having accumulated 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in EU antitrust fines over the past decade.

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What is Intellectual Property Due Diligence in Media Mergers & Acquisitions

In today's dynamic media landscape, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are common strategies employed by companies to expand market presence, acquire new technologies and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

However, given the critical role of intellectual property (IP) in the media industry, conducting thorough due diligence is essential to mitigate risks and ensure the success of M&A transactions.

This study provides a detailed analysis of the due diligence process concerning intellectual property rights (IPR) in media mergers and acquisitions.

Intellectual property assets, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets and proprietary technologies, are invaluable assets in the media sector.

They underpin content creation, distribution, licensing, and revenue generation. Therefore, understanding and safeguarding these assets are paramount in M&A transactions to preserve value and mitigate legal and financial risks.

What are the Objectives of IP Due Diligence?

  • Identify and assess all intellectual property assets owned or utilised by the target company.
  • Verify ownership rights, validity, and enforceability of intellectual property rights.
  • Evaluate the strength, value, and marketability of the intellectual property portfolio.
  • Identify potential risks, liabilities, and compliance issues related to intellectual property.
  • Develop strategies for protecting and maximising the value of intellectual property post-acquisition.

What ate the Key Components of IP Due Diligence?

1. Identification of Intellectual Property Assets: Conduct a comprehensive inventory of all IP assets, including content, brands, technologies, and patents.

2. Ownership and Title Verification: Verify ownership rights, chain of title, and validity of registrations for each IP asset.

3. Assessment of Rights and Licenses: Review agreements, licenses, and contracts to ascertain the scope of rights granted and any restrictions or obligations.

4. Evaluation of IP Portfolio: Assess the strength, uniqueness, and marketability of each IP asset in relation to the target company's business objectives.

5. Risk Analysis and Compliance: Identify legal, regulatory, and infringement risks associated with IP assets and assess compliance with applicable laws and standards.

6. Litigation and Enforcement History: Review past and pending litigation, disputes, or enforcement actions related to IP rights and evaluate potential liabilities.

7. Technology and Innovation: Evaluate the target company's R&D activities, innovation pipeline, and proprietary technologies to assess the value of IP assets.

8. Complexities of Digital Rights Management: With the proliferation of digital content, managing rights and licensing agreements becomes increasingly complex.

9. Globalisation and Cross-Border Issues: M&A transactions involving media companies often involve international IP rights, requiring careful consideration of cross-border regulations and jurisdictional issues.

10. Rapid Technological Advancements: Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain pose new challenges and opportunities in IP due diligence.

11. Cultural and Creative Considerations: Media content often involves cultural sensitivities and creative nuances that must be addressed in IP due diligence.

Intellectual property due diligence is a critical aspect of M&A transactions in the media industry, ensuring that buyers understand the value, risks, and opportunities associated with IP assets.

By conducting thorough due diligence, companies can mitigate risks, protect their investments, and position themselves for long-term success in the competitive media landscape.

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Corporal Punishment in Schools, Homes Illegal; Jail, Fine for Offenders

Corporal punishment is strictly prohibited by law in the UAE. As debates on the topic gain global attention, questions regarding its legality and ethical ramifications have emerged. Given its diverse cultural makeup and contemporary legal framework, the UAE is thrust into the heart of this discourse. Let's delve into the specifics of corporal punishment laws in the UAE.

Legal Framework: In the UAE, it is illegal to use physical violence or other forms of abuse to discipline a child. This includes hitting, slapping, punching, or any other physical act that causes harm. Parents who engage in physical violence towards their child can face criminal charges, including assault and child abuse.

Article 32 of the UAE's Constitution guarantees the protection of human dignity, and any form of physical harm or torture is considered a violation of this fundamental principle. Additionally, the UAE is a signatory to international treaties and conventions, such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which further reinforce its commitment to prohibiting corporal punishment.

Penal Code: The UAE Penal Code explicitly criminalises any act of physical harm or assault against individuals, including corporal punishment. Article 282 of the Penal Code states that anyone who inflicts physical harm on another person shall be liable for punishment, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.

Child Rights: In line with international standards, the UAE prioritises the protection of children's rights and welfare. The country ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which prohibits any form of violence or abuse against children, including corporal punishment. As such, corporal punishment in schools, homes, or any other setting is strictly prohibited under UAE law.

Recent Developments: In recent years, the UAE has taken steps to strengthen its legal framework to safeguard human rights and prevent instances of abuse or violence. In 2016, the UAE issued Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights, which provides comprehensive legal protection for children and prohibits any form of violence or exploitation, including corporal punishment.

Legal Interpretation and Enforcement: While the legal framework in the UAE unequivocally prohibits corporal punishment, challenges remain in terms of interpretation and enforcement of the law. Instances of corporal punishment may still occur in certain settings, such as schools or households, raising concerns about accountability and oversight.

Corporal punishment is unequivocally prohibited under UAE law, which emphasises the protection of human dignity and the rights of individuals, including children. The UAE's legal framework, supported by international treaties and conventions, reaffirms its commitment to preventing any form of physical harm or abuse and promoting a safe and inclusive society for all.

As the UAE continues to strengthen its legal framework and enforcement mechanisms, it remains crucial for stakeholders, including government authorities, educators and civil society organisations, to collaborate in raising awareness and promoting a culture of respect for human rights and non-violence in all aspects of society.

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Legal Framework and Regulations Governing Property Mortgages in UAE

The real estate market in the UAE has experienced significant growth, attracting investors globally. An important aspect of property ownership in the UAE is having a thorough understanding of the legal framework governing property mortgages.

It is essential for property owners, investors and lenders involved in real estate dealings in the UAE to have a solid grasp of UAE property mortgage laws.

By familiarising themselves with the fundamental concepts, processes and legal considerations highlighted in this article, stakeholders can effectively navigate mortgage transactions and safeguard their interests in the ever-evolving UAE property sector.

Key Concepts of UAE Property Mortgage Law

Definition: A mortgage is a legal contract where a property owner (mortgagor) pledges their property as collateral to secure a loan from a lender (mortgagee). The lender maintains a lien on the property until the loan, including principal and interest, is fully repaid.

Mortgage Registration: All property mortgages in the UAE must be registered with the respective emirate's land department to be legally binding. This process involves submitting the mortgage agreement and necessary documents to the land department and paying the required registration fees.

Mortgage Priority: The priority of a mortgage determines its position concerning other creditors' claims on the property. Typically, mortgages are ranked based on their registration date and time with the land department, with earlier registrations holding higher priority.

Rights and Obligations: Property mortgages in the UAE grant specific rights and responsibilities to both the mortgagor and mortgagee. While the mortgagor retains property ownership and possession, the mortgagee has the authority to enforce the mortgage in case of default by the mortgagor.

Procedures for Property Mortgage Transactions

Negotiation and Agreement: The process commences with negotiations between the mortgagor and mortgagee to establish the terms and conditions of the mortgage, such as loan amount, interest rate, repayment schedule, and other relevant terms.

Execution of Mortgage Agreement: Upon reaching a mutual understanding, the parties proceed to execute a mortgage agreement that outlines the terms of the mortgage. This agreement must adhere to the legal requirements set forth by UAE law and must be signed by all parties involved.

Registration Process with Land Department: Following the execution of the mortgage agreement, along with the submission of necessary documentation, the agreement is presented to the land department of the relevant emirate for registration. Once registered, the mortgage is officially documented in the land registry, serving as notice to third parties regarding the mortgagee's stake in the property.

Funds Disbursement: Upon successful registration, the mortgagee releases the loan funds to the mortgagor in accordance with the agreed-upon terms. The mortgagor can utilise these funds for property acquisition, development, or other purposes, as outlined in the mortgage agreement.

Legal Considerations for Property Stakeholders

Conducting Due Diligence: Prior to finalising a mortgage agreement, property owners and investors should conduct thorough due diligence on the property, lender and mortgage terms to mitigate risks and ensure compliance with legal regulations.

Sharia Compliance: In instances where Islamic financing structures like Murabaha or Ijara are utilised, all parties must ensure adherence to Sharia principles governing financial and property transactions.

Default and Foreclosure Awareness: Property owners should understand the implications of defaulting on mortgage payments, which could lead to foreclosure proceedings initiated by the mortgagee to recover the outstanding debt by selling the mortgaged property.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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International Court of Justice Orders Israel to Ensure Urgent Aid Reaches People of Gaza

The International Court of Justice, the world's foremost legal body, has issued a directive to Israel to ensure that essential food supplies and urgent humanitarian aid reach the people of Gaza promptly.

The court's order, issued on Thursday, highlights the alarming onset of famine in the region following nearly six months of conflict. Repeated warnings from the United Nations have underscored the imminent threat of a "man-made famine" in Gaza, attributing the dire situation to

Israel's restrictions on aid, which have resulted in alarming levels of hunger and deprivation. According to the Hague-based UN court, the situation has escalated beyond a mere risk of famine; famine conditions are already prevalent among Palestinians in Gaza. The court has urged Israel to take immediate and effective measures to facilitate the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.

Following attacks by Hamas on October 7, Israel imposed a comprehensive siege on Gaza, severely limiting access to food, water, and medicine. Although some aid deliveries have since been permitted, humanitarian organisations assert that the sporadic influx of aid trucks falls significantly short of meeting the region's needs.

The UN's human rights chief has even suggested that Israeli restrictions may constitute the use of starvation as a weapon of war. The desperation gripping Gaza was tragically illustrated this week when individuals vying for food aid drowned or were trampled to death as aid parcels were dropped into the sea by parachute.

Matthew Hollingworth, the Palestine director of the World Food Programme, emphasised the severity of the situation, stating, "Nowhere else in the world do so many people face imminent famine."

Access to clean water is also severely limited, forcing Gazans to embark on long journeys in search of water sources that may have already dried up. Maram Abu Amra lamented the daily struggle, saying, "We have to queue for everything... Sometimes, we return empty-handed, without water."

Despite calls for an "immediate ceasefire" by the UN Security Council, heavy fighting and relentless bombardments persist, resulting in further loss of life and destruction of infrastructure. The conflict has transformed much of Gaza into a wasteland and crippled the healthcare system.

Amid the turmoil, allegations have arisen regarding Israeli military actions targeting hospitals, with accusations of militants using medical facilities as cover. Israel has defended its actions, citing the need to combat terrorist infrastructure.

The conflict, which began with an attack by Hamas on October 7, has claimed thousands of lives on both sides and taken a heavy toll on civilian populations.

Efforts to broker a truce have faced significant challenges, with mediators striving to prevent the escalation of violence into a wider regional conflict. The involvement of key players such as the United States, Egypt, and Qatar reflects the international community's efforts to find a peaceful resolution.

In light of the ongoing crisis, discussions have also turned to the governance of Gaza in the post-war period, with considerations for the role of the Palestinian Authority in the region.

The situation remains highly volatile, with the people of Gaza enduring unimaginable hardships amidst the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.

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Lulu Employee Flees After Allegedly Stealing Dh600,000 From Cash Office

An Indian expat working at the Abu Dhabi-based hypermarket chain Lulu stands accused of disappearing with approximately Dh600,000 in cash.

Lulu Group International has taken action by filing a complaint with the Abu Dhabi Police against the employee. The individual, aged 38 and originally from the Indian state of Kerala, held a position in the cash office at the LuLu Hypermarket located in Khalidiya Mall, Abu Dhabi City.

The management of the hypermarket launched an internal investigation after the employee failed to report for afternoon duty on March 25. Attempts to contact him proved unsuccessful as his cell phone was switched off. An audit later revealed a significant shortfall of over Dh600,000 in the cash office.

Having served with the Lulu Group for 15 years, the employee resided in Abu Dhabi with his wife and two children. However, following his alleged disappearance, his family reportedly left the UAE without informing anyone, as per the group's statement.

Furthermore, Lulu Group stated that a report has been made against the employee to the Kerala Police, with help from the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

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‘Vested Interest Group Trying to Pressure Judiciary’: Indian Lawyers Petition CJI

 A coalition of legal professionals, including prominent figures like senior advocate Harish Salve and Bar Council of India chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra, has penned a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), asserting that a "vested interest group" is exerting undue influence on the judiciary and tarnishing its reputation "through unsubstantiated claims and outdated political agendas."

The letter, dated March 26 and addressed to CJI DY Chandrachud, highlights concerns over what they perceive as orchestrated attempts to manipulate the judiciary, particularly evident in cases involving political figures accused of corruption. These tactics, the letter alleges, pose a threat to the integrity of the courts and undermine the democratic principles they stand for.

While the letter refrains from explicitly naming specific individuals, it implicates a faction of lawyers who, it claims, oscillate between defending politicians during the day and attempting to sway judicial decisions through media influence at night.

The group of lawyers, numbering approximately 600 and including Adish Aggarwala, Chetan Mittal, Pinky Anand, Hitesh Jain, Ujjwala Pawar, Uday Holla and Swarupama Chaturvedi, among others, expressed concerns about the propagation of misleading narratives about the judiciary's past, aimed at influencing court proceedings and gaining political mileage.

Although no specific cases are cited in the letter, its release coincides with ongoing high-profile corruption trials involving opposition leaders. Opposition parties, many of whose members are legal practitioners themselves, have accused the government of orchestrating politically motivated prosecutions, a charge denied by the ruling party.

In their missive to CJI Chandrachud, the signatories lament the erosion of public trust in the judiciary due to what they perceive as baseless allegations of past judicial susceptibility to external influence. They vehemently deny allegations of "bench fixing" and criticise attempts to draw parallels between Indian courts and those in countries lacking in rule of law.

The letter also condemns what it describes as a "my way or the highway" attitude among critics, who selectively praise or disparage judicial decisions based on their personal biases. Such behaviour, the lawyers argue, undermines public confidence in the legal system.

Expressing apprehensions about the timing of these criticisms amidst impending elections, the lawyers recall similar episodes in 2018-2019, characterised by what they term as "hit and run" activities aimed at delegitimising the judiciary.

In conclusion, the lawyers call upon the Supreme Court to vigorously defend the independence and integrity of the judiciary against perceived external pressures.

They emphasise the importance of CJI Chandrachud's leadership in navigating these challenges and stress that silence or inaction risks empowering those seeking to undermine the judiciary's authority.

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Kim Kardashian Sued by Judd Foundation over Counterfeit Furniture

American reality TV star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian is being sued by the Judd Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the legacy of artist Donald Judd.

The organisation has filed a lawsuit against Kardashian in California federal court, alleging that she featured counterfeit versions of Judd's furniture in a YouTube video.

According to the complaint, Kardashian falsely described tables and chairs produced by Los Angeles-based interior design firm Clements Design as genuine Judd furniture. The foundation accuses Kardashian of false endorsement, while Clements Design faces allegations of false advertising, unfair competition, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement.

Representatives for Kardashian and Clements Design have yet to respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Rainer Judd, president of the Judd Foundation and daughter of the late artist, emphasised the importance of Judd's furniture to his legacy, stating that counterfeit pieces undermine the integrity of his original work.

Donald Judd, a renowned figure in minimalist art, passed away in 1994. His works are housed in prestigious museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London. The foundation ensures that Judd's furniture designs are faithfully reproduced according to his specifications.

The complaint alleges that Kardashian's skincare company, SKKN by Kim, hired Clements Design to produce furniture in Judd's style for its offices. Kardashian purportedly showcased the counterfeit furniture in a 2022 YouTube video tour of the offices, which was later removed.

The lawsuit claims that Kardashian's statements in the video misled viewers into believing that the furniture was authentic Judd pieces. Despite attempts to rectify the situation, including requests to recycle the furniture, delete the video, or issue corrective advertising, Clements Design and Kardashian allegedly refused to comply.

The Judd Foundation asserts that it had no choice but to pursue legal action to protect the integrity of Donald Judd's legacy and ensure accurate representation of his work.

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Energy Transition and Diversification Key Catalysts for Middle East Deal Making in 2024

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) anticipates a favourable dealmaking landscape in the Middle East for 2024, driven by decarbonisation efforts and economic diversification.

According to a recent report by PwC, the region's non-oil sector growth, increased private sector engagement and vibrant capital markets are stimulating merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.

The report highlights the enduring influence of factors such as technological disruption and climate change, which are propelling investments regionally or abroad, particularly in critical sectors like energy transition and digital transformation.

Emphasising the necessity for dealmakers to adapt, the 2024 TransAct report underscores the importance of reinventing business models, talent acquisition, and maintaining agility amidst market fluctuations, with a focus on mid-market deals to drive value creation.

"While the global economy has witnessed a slower growth rate, the Middle East has exhibited resilience, bolstered by robust economic fundamentals and supportive government policies," the report notes. This resilience has fostered stability and investor confidence, resulting in a relatively active deal market compared to regions grappling with higher interest rates and recessionary concerns.

Despite decreases compared to 2022, the report anticipates continued activity and growth across various sectors in 2024, driven by governments' strategic agendas to advance diversification efforts and strengthen their economies.

Imad Matar, transaction services leader at PwC Middle East, highlights Saudi Arabia's resilient dealmaking environment, particularly in non-oil private sectors such as infrastructure, industrial manufacturing, and clean technology industries.

"In 2023, Saudi Arabia witnessed less pronounced declines in deal volume. IPO activity also remained robust, and we anticipate a strong pipeline for 2024," Matar stated.

He further predicts sustained momentum as the government moves forward with privatisation initiatives, encourages private sector listings to attract investments, enact reforms and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

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Dani Alves, Former Brazilian Soccer Star, Released on Bail After Conviction for Rape

Convicted rapist and former Brazil international Dani Alves left a prison near Barcelona on Monday after posting the one-million-euro bail set by a court to ensure his release pending appeal.

The 40-year-old has been in jail since his arrest in January 2023 on suspicion of raping a young woman in the VIP bathroom of a Barcelona nightclub in the early hours of December 31, 2022.

Wearing jeans, a white poloneck and black jacket, his face expressionless, Alves walked out of the Brians 2 prison in San Esteban Sasroviras near Barcelona with his lawyer, according to a media report.

He got into a white car without saying a word to the hordes of reporters waiting nearby, just hours after depositing the sum determined by the court five days earlier.

The former Barcelona player, one of the world’s most decorated footballers, was convicted last month and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail, with his lawyers swiftly moving to file an appeal.

But in a surprise move, the court agreed last Wednesday to conditionally release him conditionally in exchange for posting a one-million-euro ($1.08 million) bail, handing over his Spanish and Brazilian passports, staying in Spain and presenting himself to court every week.

Alves had tried to make bail several times since his arrest but his requests were turned down on the basis he was a flight risk since Brazil does not extradite citizens sentenced in other countries.

Alves’ lawyers are seeking his acquittal, and the appeal process could take months to complete.
Prosecutors, however, want his prison sentence doubled to nine years. They and the victim’s lawyer Ester Garcia have appealed the decision to grant Alves bail.

“This sends the message that this is justice for the rich, and even if there is a conviction, if you pay bail there are no criminal consequences,” she told reporters last week.

“It’s a very dangerous message for society,” she added, saying her client was “totally outraged, very despondent and very frustrated”.

Meanwhile, the court’s decision to free Alves was also robustly criticised by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

“We cannot stay silent in the face of this injustice,” he said on Thursday, stressing that money “cannot undo the crime that a man commits by raping a woman”.

“When sex is something between two people, it has to be agreed to by both of them” and if not, that constitutes “a crime”, he said.

During the trial, the victim, who testified behind a screen to protect her identity, said Alves had violently forced her to have sex despite begging him to let her go, causing her “anguish and terror”, according to prosecutors present for her declaration.

Alves’ lawyers had argued the victim had been “glued” to the player while dancing at the nightclub, saying there was “sexual tension” between them.

But in its 61-page decision, the court said that did not mean “that she consented to anything that might have subsequently happened”.

Spain’s leftist government passed a new law in 2022 that strengthens the country’s penal code against rape by requiring explicit consent for sex acts, a move long demanded by assault survivors and women’s rights groups.

Alves is widely considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, having won 42 trophies. The peak of his career was with Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, alongside Lionel Messi, when he won 23 trophies.

At the time of his arrest, he was contracted to Mexican club Pumas UNAM. He was sacked soon after being detained.

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UN Security Council Passes Resolution Favouring Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan

The UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the month of Ramadan, a breakthrough coming after more than five months since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The 15-nation Council adopted the resolution, put forth by the 10 non-permanent elected members of the Council, with 14 nations voting in favour, none against and an abstention by permanent member the US.

“The Security Council just approved a long-awaited resolution on Gaza, demanding an immediate ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a post on X.

“This resolution must be implemented. Failure would be unforgivable,” he said.

The resolution “demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan respected by all parties leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire, and also demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical and other humanitarian needs, and further demands that the parties comply with their obligations under international law in relation to all persons they detain.”

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the resolution rightly acknowledges that, during the month of Ramadan, “we must recommit to peace. Hamas can do that by accepting the deal on the table. A ceasefire can begin immediately with the release of the first hostage.”

“And so, we must put pressure on Hamas to do just that. This is the only path to securing a ceasefire and the release of hostages, as we have all called for today. That is what this resolution means, a ceasefire of any duration must come with the release of hostages. This is the only path,” she said.

She said that with the adoption of the resolution, “this Council spoke out in support of the ongoing diplomatic efforts, led by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt, to bring about an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, secure the immediate release of all hostages, and help alleviate the tremendous suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who are in dire need of protection and life-saving humanitarian assistance.”

The US envoy said that the only path to a durable end to this conflict is the release of all hostages. UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country has long been calling for an immediate humanitarian pause leading to a sustainable ceasefire without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life, as the fastest way to get hostages out and aid in.

“That is what this resolution calls for and why the United Kingdom voted yes on this text,” she said.

“This resolution sets out the urgent demand for the unconditional release of all hostages. And we welcome the ongoing diplomatic efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United States to this end,” she said.

Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Guyana said that after more than five months of a “war of utter terror and destruction”, a ceasefire is the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and others.

“This demand (by the Council) comes at a significant time as Palestinians are observing the Holy Month of Ramadan,” she said.

Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, said that Israel needs to immediately respond to the UN Security Council resolution by facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, ending the starvation of Gaza’s population, and halting unlawful attacks.

“Palestinian armed groups should immediately release all civilians held hostage. The US and other countries should use their leverage to end atrocities by suspending arms transfers to Israel.”

The adoption of the resolution comes more than five months after the latest conflict in Gaza erupted following the October 7 Hamas attacks against Israel.

The Security Council, with its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, has remained deeply divided and has till now not been able to adopt any resolution on a ceasefire in Gaza.

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UAE: President Enacts Legislation Transforming Rehabilitation Centers in Abu Dhabi

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved a law regulating rehabilitation and correctional centers in Abu Dhabi, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The law delineates the general policies governing rehabilitation and correctional centres in Abu Dhabi, with a focus on safeguarding inmates' rights and providing appropriate social and cultural rehabilitation.

As per the law, punitive and correctional facilities in Abu Dhabi will be renamed rehabilitation and correctional centres. Under the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, the roles and responsibilities of rehabilitation and correctional centres include receiving inmates, determining appropriate care duties and informing inmates of their responsibilities and expected conduct.

Additionally, these centres are tasked with providing inmates with health and social care services, educational and vocational training opportunities and implementing rehabilitation programmes aimed at reintegrating them as productive members of society.

Moreover, the responsibilities of rehabilitation and correctional centres extend to training staff in accordance with the best international practices, enabling them to effectively carry out their mission of rehabilitating inmates while ensuring efficient economic management within the rehabilitation framework of the emirate.

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Kate Reveals She has Cancer; Could File Civil Lawsuit over Records Breach at Hospital

Kate Middleton, Britain’s Princess of Wales, has revealed she has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. In a video statement on Friday, she said that she had undergone major abdominal surgery in London in January, saying that it was initially thought her condition was noncancerous.

“The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventive chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment,” her statement said.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

Kensington Palace said it is confident she will make a full recovery, according to the BBC.
“I am well and getting stronger everyday by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits,” Kate later added in her speech.

She asked for space and privacy while she completed her treatment. It was not announced what type of cancer it was, or at what stage it was caught.
Buckingham Palace said King Charles III, her father-in-law, was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also released a statement, saying: “We wish health and healing for Kate and the family, and hope they are able to do so privately and in peace.”

Kate stayed in the hospital following the surgery. At the time, there was no confirmation of what the surgery was, with Kensington Palace saying Kate, 42, hoped that the public would respect “her wish that her personal medical information remains private.” The palace suggested at the time that Kate would not be resuming public duties until after Easter.

Disappearance and Mother’s Day Row

The princess had not been seen in public since Christmas Day 2023 when she was seen walking to and attending a church service alongside the wider royal family, including her children and husband Prince William, the heir to the British throne.

An online frenzy over her condition and her whereabouts dominated social media since news of her operation. The palace had largely stayed silent on the matter, which at times added fuel to the fire.

Obsession reached a peak after a picture of the former Kate Middleton was released on Mother’s Day -- March 10 in the U.K. News agencies pulled the picture later that day, issuing a so-called kill notice, finding it had been edited too heavily.

Every detail of the image was scrutinised, from Kate’s hair to the children’s clothes that seemed inconsistent, to a ledge in the background that appeared warped.

On March 11, Kensington Palace posted a statement from Kate on social media, saying she edited the picture. “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C,” it read.

Since then, images and video of what appeared to be Kate appeared in British tabloid newspapers, further stoking conspiracies and conversation.

‘Kate Could File a Civil Lawsuit’

Earlier this week, reports also emerged that a staff member at the The London Clinic Kate was being treated at tried to access her files without permission to do so.

Princess Kate could take legal action after her private medical records were involved in a security breach at the hospital, according to legal experts.
“Kate can always file a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy,” a senior legal expert, who is not involved with the case, said on Wednesday. “If she wants to go after the perpetrator to say that her privacy rights were violated, she can absolutely do so.”

The London Clinic has launched an investigation into its employees after members of the hospital reportedly tried to access Kate’s private medical records following her January abdominal procedure, according to media reports.

It should be “easy to catch” the perpetrator, given the nature of the breach, the legal expert noted.

Probe over Breach of Medical Records

The UK Police have been asked to look at claims that at least one worker attempted to access the confidential medical records of Kate during her hospitalisation, a minister said on Wednesday.

Britain’s privacy and data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, told The Washington Post on Wednesday it was assessing a potential breach of Kate’s medical records during her stay at the London hospital.

Under British law, medical facilities are required to protect patient confidentiality, which extends even beyond death. Disclosure of any confidential patient information is only permitted for “the direct clinical care of the patient to whom it relates,” according to England’s National Health Service.

Exceptions apply only when the patient explicitly consents to the disclosure, if it’s required by law, or if the disclosure can be justified in the public interest.

“We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided,” a spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office said, without giving further details about the nature of the breach or its assessment.

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Prince Harry's Landline Calls were Bugged by Murdoch’s Tabloids, Say Lawyers

Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid papers allegedly intercepted Prince Harry’s landline phones and accessed the messages on the pager of his late mother Princess Diana, as disclosed by the British royal’s legal team to the London High Court.

Harry, the younger son of King Charles and the late Princess Diana, along with more than 40 others, are suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) over allegations of unlawful activities by journalists and private investigators associated with its tabloids, the Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, spanning from the mid-1990s until 2016.

In a ruling last July, Judge Timothy Fancourt allowed Harry to proceed to trial with claims of unlawful information gathering, while dismissing allegations of mobile phone hacking due to being filed too late.

During a hearing at the High Court on Thursday, Harry’s legal team sought to amend his lawsuit in response to the ruling, and to introduce additional allegations.

These new claims include assertions that the Sun commissioned private investigators to target his then-girlfriend and now-wife Meghan in 2016, as well as accusations of widespread phone bugging.

According to court documents, Harry's lawyers stated: “The claimant also brings a claim and seeks relief in relation to the interception of landline calls, the interception of calls from cordless phones and analogue mobile calls and the interception of landline voicemails, as distinct from phone hacking.”

The claim also involves allegations regarding Diana, who "was under close surveillance and her calls were being unlawfully intercepted by NGN, which was known about by its editors and senior executives."

NGN is contesting the addition of what they referred to as a “significant number of new allegations” for various reasons, including their late submission, lack of evidence, and their overlap with previously dismissed phone-hacking claims.

NGN’s lawyers argued in court filings: “They cover time periods falling outside the scope of the current pleading and the generic statements of case, and in many cases relate to allegations which have been well-publicised for as long as 30 years.”

NGN’s lawyers also expressed doubts about the feasibility of Harry's case being heard at a trial expected to commence in January next year if his new allegations were to be included.

In 2011, NGN issued an apology for widespread phone hacking by journalists at the News of the World, a publication that Murdoch subsequently shut down due to public outcry. Despite settling over 1,300 claims since then, NGN has consistently denied any wrongdoing by Sunstaff.

During proceedings on Wednesday, lawyers representing Harry and other claimants asserted that Murdoch and other senior executives were complicit in covering up widespread misconduct, providing false evidence to courts, parliament and a public inquiry.

NGN contends that some claimants are utilising these lawsuits as a means to attack the tabloid press and dismisses allegations against its current and former staff as “a baseless and cynical assault on their integrity.”

Since stepping back from royal duties in 2020 to relocate to California, Harry has focused on confronting the British press, alleging intrusion into his private life since childhood and dissemination of false information about him and his loved ones.

In December, Harry won a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of phone hacking and unlawful activities, with the judge acknowledging that senior figures were aware of the wrongdoing.

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US Files Landmark Case Against Apple For Monopolising Smartphone Market

The US Department of Justice filed a landmark lawsuit against Apple, alleging the tech giant's monopolistic practices in the smartphone market.

The lawsuit, supported by several US states, contends that Apple has unlawfully maintained its dominance in the iPhone realm, stifling competition and burdening consumers with excessive costs.

This highly anticipated legal action marks a significant clash between Apple, founded by Steve Jobs in 1976, and the US government, following decades of limited scrutiny from Washington.

Apple now joins other tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Meta (formerly Facebook) facing antitrust scrutiny in the United States. Upon news of the lawsuit, Apple's shares plummeted by as much as 3.75 per cent on Wall Street.

Central to the case are allegations of Apple's exclusionary tactics, which impose stringent and often opaque conditions on firms and developers seeking access to the iPhone's vast user base of 136 million in the US.

The lawsuit claims that these practices compel consumers to remain within the Apple ecosystem and invest in the company's pricier hardware, notably the iPhone.

Apple swiftly refuted the lawsuit's validity, asserting that it is "wrong on the facts and the law," and vowed to vigorously defend against it. The company contends that a favourable ruling for the government would establish a concerning precedent, granting excessive regulatory control over technological innovation.

The lawsuit specifically targets Apple's alleged suppression of "Super Apps," comprehensive web portals that could offer various services on iPhones beyond the confines of the App Store.

Additionally, it accuses Apple of monopolising tap payment technology through its proprietary wallet app and impeding interoperability between messaging apps on iPhones and Android devices.

The broad scope of the case extends to other products and services, including smartwatches and web browsers, where Apple's practices allegedly hinder competition and innovation.

Despite Apple's efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond the iPhone, the company faces mounting pressure amid slowing sales growth. The Department of Justice highlighted Apple's unprecedented profits, surpassing those of any other company in the Fortune 500 and exceeding the GDP of over 100 countries.

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Public Prosecution Completes Crime Classification and Criminal Legislation Digitisation Project

The UAE Public Prosecution has successfully concluded its ambitious project, "Classification of Crimes and Digitisation of Criminal Legislation within the Criminal Case Management System."

This pioneering initiative involved the conversion of legal texts into a digital format compatible with information systems, leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for comprehension and execution.

Aligned with the visionary leadership's directives, the project aimed to harness human and institutional capabilities for attaining a prominent position in digital transformation.
A specialised workforce comprising 30 prosecutors and seven technicians from the Information Technology Department played a pivotal role in this endeavour. Collectively, they devoted an impressive total of 3,821 working hours to meticulously scrutinise, individualise and encode laws into the newly developed system.

This rigorous process resulted in the digitisation of over 17 federal laws and the detailed classification of 32,000 criminal charges, encompassing a wide range of acts, penalties and legal circumstances.

Furthermore, the project is poised to enhance the speed, efficiency and transparency of the penal system through the integration of modern technologies. It will propel the ongoing evolution of digital systems and judicial processes, reinforcing the UAE's status as a global hub and a leading digital governance model.

The Public Prosecution emphasised that the project will streamline tasks and procedures, reducing bureaucratic obstacles by enabling electronic systems to function autonomously. It also aims to automate electronic communication with strategic partners and simplify searches within legal frameworks.

The initiative is expected to establish a benchmark for future legislation, aligning with the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.

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ED Arrests Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in Liquor Policy Money Laundering Case

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal has been arrested by Enforcement Directorate in now scrapped Delhi liquor policy scam case. The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to grant Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal any protection from coercive action in an excise policy-linked money laundering case.

An Enforcement Directorate (ED) team reached CM Arvind Kejriwal's residence in Delhi on Thursday evening, officials said, shortly after the high court refused to grant him protection. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief had earlier skipped multiple summonses of the agency in the case.

"We have received news that ED has arrested Arvind Kejriwal... We have always said that Arvind Kejriwal will run the govt from jail. He will remain the CM of Delhi. We have filed a case in the Supreme Court. Our lawyers are reaching SC. We will demand SC have an urgent hearing tonight," said senior AAP leader Atishi.

ED's Aallegations

The ED in a press note had called Kejriwal a "conspirator" in the case. Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader in Telengana, K Kavitha, allegedly conspired with Kejriwal, and AAP leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh while framing the now-scrapped liquor policy case, the ED has said.

The alleged conspiracy involved making a policy that would benefit a liquor lobby from southern India, which the ED had called the "South Lobby".
In return, the "South Lobby" would give ₹100 crore to the AAP, according to the ED.

Kejriwal's name had appeared in the statements of some accused and witnesses. The ED has mentioned this in its remand note and chargesheets. Vijay Nair, one of the accused in the liquor policy case, frequently visited Kejriwal's office, and would spend most of his time there, the probe agency said.

Nair allegedly told liquor traders that he discussed the policy with Kejriwal. It was Nair, who got Indospirit owner Sameer Mahendru to meet Kejriwal, the investigators have said.

When the meeting was unsuccessful, he got Mahendru and Kejriwal talk in a video call, in which Kejriwal said Nair was his "child" who he trusts. Raghav Magunta, the first accused in the "South Lobby" and now a witness, had said his father, who is a YSR Congress Party MP in Andhra Predesh, met Kejriwal to know more about the liquor policy.

Sisodia's former secretary C Arvind in a statement in December 2022 had said that in March the previous year he got a draft group of ministers report from Sisodia. When he went to Kejriwal's house after Sisodia called him, Arvind said he also saw Satyendar Jain there and the document. He alleged he was surprised because no such proposal was discussed in any group of ministers' (GoM) meeting, but claimed he was asked to make a GoM report based on this document.

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Dubai's Parkin Shares Jump more than 30% in UAE’s First IPO of the Year

 

Shares in Parkin, which oversees public parking operations, jumped more than 30 per cent in their debut on Dubai bourse on Thursday after the company raised $429 million from investors in the emirate's first privatisation deal this year.

Shares rose as much as 31.4 per cent to Dh2.76 ($0.7516) apiece after the market opened compared to the initial public offering (IPO) price of Dh2.1.

Parkin's IPO was oversubscribed 165 times, attracting $71 billion in demand, a record-breaking debut for Dubai.

Gulf governments are racing to list state companies in a bid to deepen capital markets, part of a wider push to cut their reliance on oil.

Companies in Dubai have raised Dh34.5 billion in the last three years through the sale of shares on the Dubai stock exchange, according to the Dubai Securities and Exchange Higher Committee.

Parkin is the latest of six privatisations embarked upon by the government, first announced in 2021 as part of a programme to list 10 government-linked companies to attract investment to its domestic bourse.

Dubai Taxi Company's IPO late last year raised $316 million through the sale of a 25 per cent stake, which was oversubscribed 130 times.

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Donald Trump Says Prince Harry Could be Deported from US Over Drug Use

Former US President Donald Trump stated that if Prince Harry had lied on his visa application regarding drug-taking, he would pursue "appropriate action" if he were to win November's presidential election, refusing to rule out the possibility of Harry leaving the United States.

Trump made these remarks in an interview with British right-leaning media outlet GB News, conducted by presenter and frequent Harry critic Nigel Farage.
US visa applicants are obligated to disclose any history of drug use, as it can impact their application status. Providing false information on an application can lead to penalties, including deportation.

Harry, who has resided in California since 2020, openly admitted to past illegal drug use in his memoir "Spare." Subsequently, the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, filed a lawsuit against the US Homeland Security Department to obtain access to Harry's immigration records. Earlier this month, a judge ruled in favour of disclosing the details related to Harry's visa application in that case.

Farage, a long-time ally of Trump, asked the former president if Prince Harry should be granted any "special privileges" if it was discovered that he had lied on his application.
Trump responded: "No. We'll have to determine if they have information regarding the drugs, and if he indeed lied, appropriate action will be taken."

When pressed on whether this might entail Harry "not staying in America," Trump replied, "Oh, I don't know. You'll have to inform me. It's surprising they didn't know this earlier."

Since Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their royal duties and relocated to California, they have frequently criticised the treatment they received from the British royal family.

From their revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 to a Netflix documentary series and Harry's forthcoming book, the couple has asserted that the royals and their aides failed to shield them from a hostile press and leaked negative stories.

Since departing for the United States after their marriage in 2018, the couple has seldom returned to Britai.

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Dubai Firm Ordered to Compensate Employee with Dh200,000 for False Accusation Resulting in Travel Ban

The Civil Court in Dubai has ruled in favour of an employee, ordering a company to pay Dh200,000 in compensation. The employee was falsely accused by the company of forging contract papers to inflate entitlements, leading to a nine-month travel ban.

The court's decision follows a lawsuit filed by the employee against the company, seeking Dh500,000 in damages. He alleged that the company lodged a baseless complaint to coerce him into forfeiting his labour rights.

The false accusation, the employee argued, not only caused emotional distress but also prevented him from visiting his ailing mother and attending her funeral in his home country.

According to local media reports, the company had alleged that the employee falsified his employment contract to raise his basic salary to Dh20,000 from Dh5,000. However, the Criminal Court acquitted the employee, deeming the company's complaint malicious and solely intended to deprive him of his labor rights.

In addition to the Dh200,000 compensation, the Civil Court ordered the defendants to pay five per cent legal interest and cover all expenses, fees and attorney's fees. The court emphasised the financial and emotional toll on the employee, who faced financial hardship due to the travel ban, which prevented him from bidding farewell to his deceased mother and constrained his ability to secure employment amidst the criminal case.

The employee has been provided with a copy of the acquittal judgment as evidence of his innocence

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Dubai Islamic Bank, NMC Healthcare Reach Out-of-Court Settlement for All Litigation

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Woman Sentenced to Jail for Blackmailing Upon Learning Boyfriend's Marriage Status

 

A 45-year-old beautician has been sentenced to three months in jail by the Dubai Criminal Court for threatening to tarnish a man's reputation unless he paid her Dh1 million.

The court also ruled for her deportation after serving her prison term. The case, heard last Wednesday, involved the Polish defendant using sensitive personal information to extort money from a 57-year-old Australian consultant, with whom she had an intimate relationship.

The relationship soured when the woman discovered the man was married, leading to a confrontation and demanding compensation. Despite the man paying Dh300,000 to keep the affair hidden from his family, the woman persisted in her threats.

Court records reveal that the couple met in September 2022 and separated in March 2023, with the woman initiating a series of disrespectful messages one month after the breakup.

The woman further threatened to defame the man if he didn't pay her Dh1 million, even sending intimate photographs of the couple to his wife, children, and other family members.

The man reported her to the police in May last year, leading to criminal proceedings and a civil case demanding temporary compensation of Dh51,000 for emotional damages.

The Criminal Court convicted the woman, sentenced her to three months in prison, and ordered her deportation, with the civil case referred to the Civil Court for further action.

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Supreme Court Raps SBI's Selective Approach with Electoral Bonds, Sets New Deadline

The State Bank of India (SBI) can't be selective in disclosing information linked to electoral bonds, the Supreme Court of India said on Monday, directing the bank to submit full details of the bonds' numbers to the Election Commission by March 21.

The apex court also ordered the chairman of the bank to file a compliance affidavit by March 21.

The Supreme Court ordered the bank to disclose all "conceivable" electoral bond details in its possession, including unique bond numbers that would disclose the link between the buyer and the recipient political party.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, in a strongly worded rebuke, said it had asked the bank to disclose all the details of the bonds and that it should not wait for further orders.

"We had asked all details to be disclosed by the SBI which includes electoral bond numbers as well. Let SBI not be selective in disclosure," the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the SBI, said it should not seem that "we are playing with court". He said if the court wants the numbers of electoral bonds, "we will give".

The bank said it will give every bit of information required by the court.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said the bank should file an affidavit stating that it has not suppressed any information.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the main aim of formulating the electoral bonds scheme was to curb black money in politics. He said that the apex court must be aware of how this judgment is being played outside the court.

He claimed witch-hunting has started over the details. He claimed some social media posts, which "intended to cause embarrassment", have started to surface. He urged the court to issue some direction in this regard.

Responding to the request, CJI DY Chandrachud said: “As judges, we are only on the rule of law and work as per the Constitution. Our court is only to work for the governance of the rule of law in this polity. As judges, we are also discussed in social media but our shoulders are broad enough to take this. We are only enforcing our directions of judgment.”

In two tranches, the SBI has disclosed the names of donors and beneficiaries. The BJP has emerged as the party which has encashed the largest sum over the period of 2019 and 2024. The Trinamool is second on the list, the Congress third and the BRS fourth.

The SBI has not disclosed who has donated to whom. Only the DMK has shared the breakup of donations by donors.

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MoF Launches Digital Public Consultation on Implementation of Global Minimum Tax in UAE

The UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced the commencement of a digital public consultation aimed at gathering feedback from relevant stakeholders regarding the implementation of the Global Minimum Tax (GMT) or Global Anti-Base Erosion Model Rules (Pillar Two) (GloBE Rules), as well as other tax-related matters in the UAE.

The consultation period will run from March 15, 2024 to April 10, 2024, and interested parties can participate through the ministry’s website or the UAE Government Portal.

This digital public consultation underscores the ministry's commitment to engaging with all stakeholders, including multinational groups operating within the UAE, advisors, service providers, and investors.

The consultation process comprises two main components. Firstly, stakeholders will be invited to provide input on potential policy design options for the implementation of the GloBE Rules in the UAE, with a focus on the development of a domestic minimum tax.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the GloBE Model Rules, serving as a template for jurisdictions interested in adopting qualified rules.

Secondly, stakeholders' perspectives will be sought on the introduction of substance-based incentives within the UAE, which would be integrated into the UAE Corporate Tax regime.

To facilitate stakeholders' understanding of the rules and ensure well-informed feedback, the ministry has issued a briefing document on the Global Minimum Tax alongside the consultation materials.

The UAE Ministry of Finance encourages stakeholders to provide clear and concise comments, supported by examples, data, or other pertinent information. Responses must be submitted by April 10, 2024, via the ministry's website. All responses will be treated as confidential and will not be made public.

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Directives Issued to Reduce Work Hours for Employees in the UAE During Ramadan Season

As the Holy Month of Ramadan commenced on March 11, 2024, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued directives to reduce working hours for both public and private sector employees to honor this sacred period.

These changes are mandated by regulatory authorities such as the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) and the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE), and governed by relevant legislation. They aim to accommodate the religious practices of fasting Muslims.

Public Sector

In accordance with directives issued by the FAHR, ministries and federal entities have implemented revised working hours during Ramadan.

Official working hours are set from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm from Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, traditionally a day of communal worship, working hours are further adjusted to 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, with exceptions made for roles requiring extended coverage.

These adjustments enable ministries and federal entities to adopt flexible working arrangements, ensuring compliance with daily working hour requirements while accommodating individual needs.

Private Sector

Private sector employers are required to reduce regular working hours by two hours throughout Ramadan, as prescribed by Cabinet Resolution No. (1) of 2022 and Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021.

This legal framework ensures that employees have sufficient time for rest and sustenance during the fasting period. Additionally, employees who exceed stipulated working hours during Ramadan are entitled to overtime compensation in accordance with UAE Labour Law provisions.

Exemptions

While the overarching principle mandates reduced working hours, exemptions exist for workplaces operating fewer than six hours regularly during the non-Ramadan period.

Similarly, entities with established policies prescribing shorter hours on Fridays may maintain their customary schedules, provided they comply with regulatory standards and uphold employees' rights.

Such flexibility underscores the UAE's commitment to accommodating diverse workplace practices while upholding legal standards and respecting religious observances.

Navigating the intricacies of adjusted working hours during Ramadan requires both public and private sector entities to adhere to regulatory guidelines and protect employees' rights.

By fostering an environment of compliance and understanding, organisations can meet their legal obligations while demonstrating respect for the cultural and religious diversity inherent in the UAE's workforce.

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Dubai International Financial Centre Introduces World’s First Digital Assets Law

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has introduced groundbreaking legislation, marking the world's first digital assets law and amendments to existing security laws. 

These changes are designed to address the implications of the new digital assets framework and revised security regulations, ensuring that DIFC remains abreast of the rapid advancements in global trade and financial markets driven by technological innovation.

After a thorough examination and a period of public consultation in 2023, DIFC has implemented its own digital assets law. Moreover, existing DIFC laws, including contracts law, law of obligations, law of security, law of damages and remedies, trust law, and foundations law, have been updated through DIFC Amendment Law, No. 3 of 2024, to accommodate specific issues related to digital assets.

The updates to the law of obligations also allow for the use of electronic transferable records, equivalent to traditional paper trade documents such as bills of lading, bills of exchange, and promissory notes. Recognising these documents in electronic form enhances efficiency in cross-border digital trade, expediting document transmission and enabling automation of transactions through smart contracts.

Furthermore, significant progress has been made in secured transaction regimes internationally since the enactment of DIFC's security law in 2005. The emergence of platforms facilitating credit extension secured by digital asset collateral necessitated a review of existing laws. 

This move aims to clarify security over digital assets and streamline financial collateral provisions within the new law of security, thus modernising DIFC's securities regime to meet evolving market needs.

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European Lawmakers Pass World’s First Major Act to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

The European Parliament has approved the world's first comprehensive framework for constraining the risks of artificial intelligence (AI). The sector has seen explosive growth - driving huge profits but also stoking fears about bias, privacy and even the future of humanity.

The AI Act works by classifying products according to risk and adjusting scrutiny accordingly. The law's creators said it would make the tech more "human-centric."
"The AI act is not the end of the journey but the starting point for new governance built around technology," Member of European Parliament (MEP) Dragos Tudorache added.

It also places the EU at the forefront of global attempts to address the dangers associated with AI. China already has introduced a patchwork of AI laws. In October 2023, US President Joe Biden announced an executive order requiring AI developers to share data with the government. But the EU has now gone further.

"The adoption of the AI Act marks the beginning of a new AI era and its importance cannot be overstated," said Enza Iannopollo, principal analyst at Forrester.
"The EU AI Act is the world's first and only set of binding requirements to mitigate AI risks," she added.

She said it would make the EU the "de facto" global standard for trustworthy AI, leaving every other region, including the UK, to "play catch-up."
In November 2023, the UK hosted an AI safety summit but is not planning legislation along the lines of the AI Act.

How the AI Act will Work

The main idea of the law is to regulate AI based on its capacity to cause harm to society. The higher the risk, the stricter the rules. AI applications that pose a "clear risk to fundamental rights" will be banned, for example some of those that involve the processing of biometric data.

AI systems’ considered "high-risk", such as those used in critical infrastructure, education, healthcare, law enforcement, border management or elections, will have to comply with strict requirements.

Low-risk services, such as spam filters, will face the lightest regulation - the EU expects most services to fall into this category. The Act also creates provisions to tackle risks posed by the systems underpinning generative AI tools and chatbots such as OpenAI's ChatGPT.

These would require producers of some so-called general-purpose AI systems, that can be harnessed for a range of tasks, to be transparent about the material used to train their models and to comply with EU copyright law.

OpenAI, Stability AI and graphics chip giant Nvidia are among a handful of AI firms facing lawsuits over their use of data to train generative models. Some artists, writers and musicians have argued the process of "scraping" huge volumes of data, including potentially their own works, from virtually all corners of the internet violates copyright laws.

The Act still has to pass several more steps before it formally becomes law.

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Parkin Secures Dh1.6b as IPO Oversubscribed by a Remarkable 165 Times

Marking a historic milestone in Dubai's financial landscape, Parkin has emerged as the leading provider of paid parking services in the emirate following its highly successful initial public offering (IPO).

The company revealed on Thursday that its IPO achieved an unprecedented level of oversubscription on the Dubai Financial Market, with investor demand reaching an astonishing Dh259 billion, oversubscribing the offering by a staggering 165 times.

In response to overwhelming demand, Parkin made adjustments to accommodate retail investors, increasing the number of ordinary shares by 12 per cent in the retail category. Consequently, the company reduced the tranche for qualified investors, now representing 88 per cent of the offered shares. Parkin set the share price at Dh2.10, translating to a market capitalisation of Dh6.30 billion upon listing.

The IPO generated Dh1.6 billion in funds through the sale of shares, positioning Parkin as the foremost provider of paid parking services in Dubai.
Notably, Parkin's IPO is the inaugural offering of 2024 in the UAE, underlining its significance in the market. With approximately 197,000 paid parking spaces strategically located across the emirate, Parkin stands poised for substantial growth.

The qualified investor tranche attracted over Dh230 billion in demand, marking an oversubscription of 166 times, while the retail offering garnered Dh29 billion in demand, oversubscribed by 153 times, with nearly 63,000 applications—a record-breaking achievement for a DFM IPO.

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US House Passes Bill that Could Lead to TikTok Ban; Battle Shifts to Senate

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill targeting TikTok's ownership, with bipartisan support.

The legislation prohibits app stores from distributing TikTok unless its Chinese parent company relinquishes control of the platform. Despite opposition from former President Donald Trump, the bill gained traction, backed by concerns raised by US security officials regarding national security risks associated with Chinese ownership of TikTok.

Lawmakers dismissed TikTok's lobbying efforts, including an in-app campaign urging users to oppose the bill. Notably, even after Trump's reversal on the issue, 197 Republicans supported the bill. The White House emphasised its stance, clarifying that it seeks to address ownership concerns rather than banning the app outright.

National security advisor Jake Sullivan highlighted the central issue of ownership, emphasising the choice between American or Chinese control over TikTok and its user data. The House's strong vote sets the stage for Senate consideration, potentially increasing pressure on senators to address the matter.

However, challenges remain, particularly regarding concerns over free speech raised by Senator Rand Paul. TikTok's supporters argue that the rights of its millions of American users are at stake. Senate committees, including the commerce committee chaired by Democrat Maria Cantwell, are scrutinising the bill to ensure it aligns with constitutional principles while addressing national security threats.

The legislation gives ByteDance a 180-day deadline to divest TikTok to avoid being removed from app stores. Introduced by Representatives Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the bill gained unanimous approval from the House energy and commerce committee.

TikTok's lobbyist, Michael Beckerman, criticised the bill's expedited process, citing constitutional concerns and refuting claims of Chinese government influence over the platform. US officials worry about ByteDance's potential compliance with Chinese demands under national security laws, including FBI director Christopher Wray, who testified that ByteDance might be compelled to provide user data to Beijing upon request.

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Parkin Increases IPO's Retail Investor Share Due to Over-subscription

The retail portion of the Parkin IPO has been increased from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, with the Dubai-based company confirming an "exceptional level of oversubscription."

The retail subscription closed on Tuesday, March 12th. The overall size of the IPO remains at 24.9 per cent. Each investor will be allotted a minimum of 2,000 shares, although the final minimum share tally will be determined once the full extent of the oversubscription is calculated.

The IPO will close today with subscriptions raised from professional investors.

Parkin marks the UAE's first stock market float of the year, and according to banking and market analysts, it has garnered instant demand from both retail and professional investors, as well as significant interest from overseas investors.

The market is already anticipating an oversubscription of well over 100 times for Parkin, driven primarily by the retail demand that has been building up for over three months.

Based on the IPO price range of Dh2 to Dh2.10 per share, the retail tranche will now amount to between Dh179.93 million and Dh188.92 million. The total IPO size remains unchanged at 749.7 million shares, representing 24.99 per cent of the total issued share capital.

Following the increased allocation to UAE retail investors, the allocation for professional investors will be 659.73 million shares instead of the previous 674.73 million, accounting for 88 per cent of the offered shares compared to the previous 90 per cent.

The Parkin listing is scheduled for March 21st.

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Threat to National Security: UAE Intensifies Combat Against Seditious Activities

In recent months, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been actively addressing threats to national security and stability through legislative measures and judicial proceedings.

As concerns over seditious activities proliferate, the UAE government has intensified efforts to combat such challenges, underscoring its commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting its citizens and residents.

Amidst this backdrop, the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal is currently hearing a landmark case involving 84 defendants accused of establishing a clandestine terrorist organization known as the "Committee for Justice and Dignity."

These individuals, allegedly affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood, face charges of plotting violence and unrest within the UAE.

“This case mirrors the broader context of the UAE's response to threats posed by subversive activities. While legislative amendments target seditious content and activities online, the terrorism trial reveals the real-world consequences of such extremist ideologies.

The defendants' alleged efforts to incite public unrest through protests and violent confrontations underscore the gravity of the challenges faced by the UAE in maintaining law and order, said  Shulka Chavan Legal Associate at NYK Law Firm.

“The government's proactive stance, reflected in both legal reforms and judicial proceedings, highlights its commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting its citizens and residents from destabilising forces. As the trial progresses and legislative measures are implemented, the UAE continues its efforts to preserve stability, security, and prosperity for all,” she added.

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of seditious content and activities, authorities in the UAE have intensified efforts to combat threats to national unity and social cohesion. In December 2023, the UAE Cabinet approved amendments to Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrimes, which include provisions targeting individuals and entities involved in seditious acts online.

Under the revised legislation, the dissemination of seditious material through digital platforms, social media, or any other electronic means is strictly prohibited, with stringent penalties imposed on offenders.

The amendments aim to curb the spread of false information, hate speech, and incitement to violence, thereby safeguarding the UAE's digital landscape from subversive influences.

Furthermore, in January 2024, the UAE Federal National Council (FNC) announced discussions on proposed amendments to Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 on Combating Information Technology Crimes, with a particular focus on enhancing provisions related to sedition.

The proposed amendments seek to strengthen legal mechanisms for prosecuting individuals engaged in seditious activities, including those involving the misuse of information technology.

In a recent statement, the Minister of Interior of the UAE underscored the importance of robust legislation to counter sedition and uphold national security.

He emphasised the need for proactive measures to address emerging threats in the digital age, reaffirming the government's commitment to preserving the UAE's societal fabric and values.

The UAE's stance on sedition reflects a broader trend in the region, with neighboring countries also prioritising legislative measures to combat destabilising forces and safeguard public order. By taking decisive action to strengthen its legal framework, the UAE aims to deter individuals and groups intent on undermining its sovereignty and disrupting social harmony.

While the UAE's efforts to bolster sedition laws have drawn praise from supporters of national security, critics have raised concerns about the potential impact on freedom of expression and civil liberties. Advocates for reform argue for a balanced approach that safeguards national interests while respecting fundamental rights and freedoms.

As debates surrounding sedition laws continue to unfold, the UAE remains steadfast in its commitment to preserving stability, security, and prosperity for all its citizens and residents.

With ongoing legislative reforms and proactive measures, the country seeks to mitigate risks posed by seditious activities and uphold its status as a beacon of security and progress in the region.

(The writer is a legal associate at Dubai-based NYK Law Firm)

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Ministry of Economy Unveils Plan to Bolster Pricing Controls, Protect Consumer Rights

The Ministry of Economy (MoEc) has outlined its plan to strengthen the supervision of prices of products and services in the country's markets during Ramadan 2024.

The goal is to safeguard consumer rights within a comprehensive and leading consumer ecosystem that is in line with global standards, thus maintaining a balanced trade-consumer relationship in the UAE.

Through this plan, the ministry aims to bolster its collaboration with partners in enforcing consumer protection laws and regulations in the country. It also seeks to educate consumers about the country's legislative framework for consumer protection and guide them towards making informed consumption choices.

Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Follow Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, emphasised that the UAE is moving forward in establishing a comprehensive regulatory and legal framework to safeguard consumers and guarantee their rights.

He pointed out that the ministry consistently works in cooperation with relevant government bodies at the federal and local levels, particularly through the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, engaging and coordinating with the cooperative sector, private sector and other stakeholders to create a safe and favourable environment for consumers when buying products or using services.

“The Consumer Protection Department at the ministry organised over 26 meetings with suppliers of essential goods in the country in 2023. These goods include cooking oil, eggs, dairy products, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread and wheat.

All these meetings were aimed at ensuring the adequate availability of products to meet consumer needs during Ramadan 2024,” he said.

Al Shamsi added: “The UAE implements best policies to ensure a strategic supply of all vital goods required by citizens, residents and visitors in the country, in ample quantities for extended periods.”

He also pointed out that as Ramadan approaches, the UAE markets see a substantial increase in the availability of goods and products, especially that of essential consumer items.

He further emphasised the ministry’s commitment to meeting all consumer needs and facilitating their access to these goods effortlessly and without any unjustified price hikes and providing the quantities they require.

In addition, Al Shamsi explained that the prices of essential goods cannot be increased without prior approval from the Ministry and relevant authorities, following the pricing policy for basic consumer goods.

This policy includes a ban on raising prices for nine key items: cooking oil, eggs, dairy, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread and wheat.

The enactment of Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023 amending certain provisions of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection, along with its executive regulations, has strengthened consumer rights and supported national efforts to tighten price regulation in the UAE’s markets.

This involves the imposition of over 43 obligations on suppliers and implementing comprehensive regulatory measures to promote fair business practices.

New initiatives

Al Shamsi reviewed a series of new initiatives that the ministry, in collaboration with relevant federal and local authorities and economic development departments, seeks to implement during the next phase. They will promote a safe environment for consumers in the country and raise it to new levels of competitiveness and prosperity. These initiatives include:

  • Establishing a national team to monitor the prices of essential consumer goods and products in the country.
  • Promulgating a code of conduct to strengthen the contractual relationship between outlets and suppliers in the country’s markets.
  • The Ministry and the relevant authorities shall oversee retailers’ adherence to the unit prices, while monitoring and taking appropriate action on any irregularities regarding the obligation of not raising the prices of essential consumer goods.

Market Tnspection Tours

Al Shamsi revealed that in 2023, the ministry's teams carried out nearly 96,200 inspection tours, resulting in the detection of 6,645 violations. The number of inspections carried out by the ministry in January and February 2024 totalled approximately 620.

He noted that these tours form part of the ministry’s efforts to further monitor markets and outlets and assess merchants’ commitment to price labelling, as well as prevent cases of commercial fraud and trademark infringements.

Al Shamsi also confirmed the availability of alternatives to consumers, giving them the option to choose products based on their purchasing needs and budget.

This allows them the flexibility to shift from one brand to another when its price is higher, the quality is low, or there are other competitive advantages. This is of great significance since the purchasing decisions of consumers are a key and critical factor that influences prices, market trends, and supply and demand.

He pointed out the key role consumers play as partners in the market monitoring efforts by interacting with regulatory bodies and contacting the ministry or relevant authorities through available channels to file complaints.

The can also report harmful business practices for consumer protection, or submit proposals and ideas that contribute to the development of the consumer protection culture in the country by dialing 8001222.

He called on consumers to adhere to conscious purchasing practices such as retaining the invoice, which is the first step towards securing their rights and matching them with what they had purchased.

Invoices guarantee that any complaints regarding the violation of consumer rights are lodged with the relevant competent authority.

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Rental Disputes Centre Signs Deal with Tarahum Charity Foundation

Rental Disputes Centre (RDC), the judicial arm of Dubai Land Department (DLD), has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tarahum Charity Foundation to strengthen their strategic partnership in community and charitable endeavours.

Aligned with the commitment to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the collaboration aims to provide support to citizens and residents dealing with rental issues and judicial rulings.

The agreement between the two parties aligns with the UAE’s directives to foster partnerships between the public and private sectors and enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

The MoU was signed by Judge Abdulqader Mousa Mohammed, Chairman of the Rental Disputes Centre at Dubai Land Department, and Osama Ibrahim Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tarahum Charity Foundation.

The signing ceremony was attended by Eng. Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency at the Dubai Land Department, Judge Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Anwahi, President of ‘Yadul Khair’ committee and Mohammad Al Mulla, Deputy Director General of Tarahum Charity Foundation.

Judge Abdulqader Mousa Mohammed said: “The Rental Disputes Centre is steadfast in its mission to provide aid and support to families facing rental disputes. Our partnership with the Tarahum Charity Foundation marks a crucial stride in realising our vision, aligning with the directives of our esteemed leadership to strengthen collaboration between the government and private sectors in pursuit of the emirate’s goals.

We are pleased with this partnership and anticipate further enhancing the role and impact of the ‘Yadul Khair’ committee within the RDC, embodying the humanitarian ethos that defines Dubai.”

As outlined in the memorandum, the collaboration aims to define a framework and parameters for the partnership between the two entities, with the goal of realising their vision, strategic goals, and satisfying stakeholders. This involves fostering cooperation through community involvement, as well as promoting and advertising shared ventures through suitable media channels and effective methods.

Osama Ibrahim Seddiqi said: “The memorandum of understanding aims to establish an institutional partnership with steady steps and clear visions to serve and assist individuals facing rental issues and judicial rulings in Dubai.”

He emphasised that the joint effort aims to assist humanitarian cases affected by rental lawsuit issues and resulting judicial rulings from the Rental Disputes Centre. He also underpinned that this memorandum would serve as a beacon of hope for struggling families to start a new life, bringing happiness back to them.

He also highlighted the role of RDC in achieving precise and speedy justice, providing both judicial and humanitarian services and promoting tolerance in UAE society through an integrated judicial system focused on consolidating a secure real estate environment, underscoring that the Tarahum Charity Foundation greatly prioritises assisting all segments of society, considering it a top priority.

Judge Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Anwahi affirmed that this initiative aims to support humanitarian cases affected by rental disputes in Dubai and alleviate their burden during the holy month of Ramadan. He emphasised that the RDC handles many humanitarian cases, which the centre prioritises over material concerns in line with the law and ethos of Dubai.

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Crypto Mania Continues to Sweep, Bitcoin Briefly Rises to Record High Over $70,000

Bitcoin briefly rose to a record high on Friday in volatile trading, as crypto mania continued to sweep through the investment community.

The leading cryptocurrency topped the $70,000 mark for the first time, boosted by investor demand for new US spot exchange-traded crypto products and expectations for global interest rates to fall. It rose to as high as $70,105 before quickly dropping, and was last trading at $68,317.72.

Billions of dollars have flowed into ETFs in the past few weeks, and the market is getting extra support from an outlook that includes an upgrade to the ethereum blockchain platform, home to the second-largest cryptocurrency ether , and a bitcoin "halving" event, which slows the flow of bitcoin minting, in April.

Still, some say it's hard to shake off the speculative nature of these assets. After hitting a record high on Tuesday, bitcoin sharply reversed course and fell more than 10 per cent back below the $60,000 level.

"Navigating old highs is notoriously tricky and the bitcoin dam doesn’t tend to burst at the first time of asking," Reuters said, quoting Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto lending platform Nexo. "Volatility defines bitcoin bull markets, and 2024 will be littered with sudden and gut-wrenching 10 per cent -20 per cent plunges."

The approval of 11 spot bitcoin ETFs by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in late January marked a watershed moment for the industry, following an 18-month-long crypto winter plagued by a string of high-profile corporate bankruptcies and scandals.

Even institutional investors, who once shunned crypto due to its sharp, wild moves, have begun committing long-term money, which analysts say could help sustain the latest leg of this rally.

Net flows into the 10 largest US spot bitcoin funds reached $2.2 billion in the week ended March 1, with more than $2 billion of that going into BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust, opens new tab, according to London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) data.

The recent optimism over bitcoin has also spilled over to other digital tokens, particularly ether, which ranks second behind bitcoin in terms of total market value, up more than 60 per cent since the start of the year.

Ether was last up 1.62 per cent at $3,939.84. Crypto stocks were also up on Friday, with shares of Coinbase, opens new tab last higher at 8.2 per cent, and crypto miners Riot Platforms, opens new tab and Marathon Digital, opens new tab up 5.1 per cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively.

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AMLCTF Executive Office and Dubai Police Join Hands to Combat Financial Crimes

In a significant move towards bolstering the nation's capabilities in investigating financial crimes, the UAE Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (EO AMLCTF) and Dubai Police have inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaborative efforts in combatting financial crimes.

The official signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the third edition of the World Police Summit, held from March 5 to 7 at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.

The MoU, signed by Hamid AlZaabi, Director-General of the EO AMLCTF, and Expert Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs at Dubai Police, signifies a deep commitment to joint endeavours by both organisations in countering money laundering and financial crimes.

Hamid AlZaabi emphasised that the agreement would significantly enhance the UAE's capabilities in investigating and combating financial crimes. "Law enforcement agencies serve as a vital pillar in the fight against financial crimes, leading investigations into suspected illicit activities and working closely with prosecutors to secure convictions.

In recent years, several high-profile arrests related to financial crimes have been made by law enforcement agencies, reflecting substantial efforts to foster a secure national economy. The activities outlined in this MOU will strengthen these capabilities, sending a clear message to criminals that their illicit actions will not be tolerated within the UAE's borders,” he noted.

Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri said that the MoU is part of Dubai Police's collaborative efforts with relevant entities to enhance the means of combating financial crimes. "Under the wise leadership's directives, joint efforts have achieved significant success, recently leading to the United Arab Emirates being removed from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) grey list. Today, through our collaborative efforts, we continue to develop tools and resources that align with the strategic objectives between the parties and contribute to establishing effective mechanisms to decisively confront financial crimes."

Through the MoU, the EO AMLCTF and Dubai Police reiterate their shared commitment to enhancing cooperation in exchanging information and specialised studies, conducting joint awareness campaigns and launching academic programmes, training courses and workshops to cultivate and bolster specialised competencies in the field. They will also collaborate on developing strategies and technological solutions to address the evolving challenges posed by these types of crimes.

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Bitcoin and Other Digital Currencies to be Accepted for Donations this Ramadan

Authorities in the UAE have announced that Bitcoin and other digital currencies will be accepted for donations during Ramadan, alongside conventional methods such as cash, in-kind contributions and digital payments.

Various fundraising avenues exist, including vouchers, SMS campaigns, markets, exhibitions, auctions, and charity dinners. Additionally, donors can contribute through monthly deductions, bank transfers, social media, and digital platforms.

Mohammed Naqi, Director of the Ministry of Community Development's non-profit public associations department, cautioned against unlawful fundraising activities. Only approved entities, such as associations, federal and local authorities, and non-profit organisations, are permitted to raise funds for charity after obtaining authorisation.

Unauthorised fundraising can result in fines ranging from Dh200,000 to Dh500,000 and imprisonment. Repeat offenders may face doubled penalties, while entities falsely claiming charitable status could be fined up to Dh100,000. Authorised entities must acquire permits for fundraising, and donations must be channeled through charitable organisations; individual fundraising activities are prohibited.

Naqi emphasised that the law aims to prevent exploitation and terrorism financing, underscoring the importance of verifying licensed entities before donating. A list of accredited organisations authorised to collect donations is available on the Ministry of Community Development's website, and suspected violations can be reported to their call centre at 800623.

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Indian Workers in UAE to Benefit from New Scheme Offering Up to Dh75,000 Compensation

 

The Indian Consulate has introduced a life insurance package tailored for expatriate workers in the UAE.
Approximately 3.5 million Indian nationals live in the UAE, of whom around 65 per cent are
blue-collar workers. The new scheme ensuring that the employees’ families will get compensation of up to Dh75,000 in case of their death, be it due to accidents or natural causes.

Announced by the Consulate in Dubai, the Life Protection Plan (LPP) became effective on March 1.
The initiative was specifically designed to cater to the needs of the 2.27 million blue-collar workers employed in the UAE, aiming to fill the void in employment benefits, the consulate highlighted.

Despite the prevalent provision of health insurance and compensation for work-related incidents, there exists a notable absence of mandatory coverage for natural deaths among employees. Consequently, the families of many workers could find themselves without adequate funds for repatriation expenses in the unfortunate event of the breadwinner's demise.

In response to this pressing concern, the Indian Consulate facilitated a meeting between prominent UAE-based companies that recruit blue-collar workers and two insurance service providers, striving to tackle this gap in coverage.

What are the Benefits?

The insurance scheme presents annual premiums varying between Dh37 and Dh72, applicable to individuals aged 18 to 70 years.

In the event of a worker's death due to either an accident or natural causes, beneficiaries are eligible for compensation ranging from Dh35,000 to Dh75,000, contingent upon the chosen premium.

Additionally, the plan offers coverage up to Dh12,000 for the repatriation of the insured employee's remains.
Two insurance firms collaborated on tailoring a package tailored specifically for blue-collar workers, followed by negotiations on the terms and conditions with recruitment companies.

The Policy and Compensation

  • For the policy with Dh72 annual premium, the compensation is Dh75,000
  • For Dh50 per year, it's Dh50,000
  • For Dh37, it's Dh35,000 

Community Welfare

In 2022, the Indian Consulate registered 1,750 deaths in Dubai, with 1,100 of them being workers. A comparable pattern was observed in 2023, where 1,000 worker fatalities were recorded out of a total of 1,513 deaths. Over 90 per cent of these fatalities were due to natural causes.

“The welfare of the Indian community remains our utmost priority," said Consul-General Satish Sivan.
"Keeping in view a large number of natural death cases of workers in a year and in order to provide some financial benefits to the family of the deceased, the Consulate-General of India, Dubai, encourages all companies to consider a subscription to the LPP," he added.

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Bitcoin Surges Past $68,000, May Hit Record High as Money Keeps Rushing In

Bitcoin surged to a two-year high on Tuesday, surpassing $68,600 and closely approaching its all-time peak as investment pours into the leading cryptocurrency.

This year, Bitcoin has seen a 50 per cent increase, with a significant portion of the surge occurring in recent weeks, coinciding with a surge in investments into US-listed bitcoin funds.

During Asian trading hours on Tuesday, Bitcoin hovered around $68,500, reaching a session high of $68,828, just shy of its all-time high of $68,999.99 set in November 2021.

The approval of spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds earlier this year in the United States paved the way for new institutional investors, reigniting excitement and momentum similar to the surge seen in 2021.

"It's crypto mania 4.0, and I think if we continue to see fairly low bond and rate volatility, it could keep going. There's definitely something of an irrational behavior creeping into the market," Kyle Rodda, senior markets analyst at Capital.com, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

According to London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) data, net inflows into the top 10 US spot bitcoin funds totalled $2.17 billion in the week ending March 1, with more than half of that directed towards BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust.

"The appetite to gain exposure to Bitcoin is reaching insatiable levels. While Bitcoin may be overbought in the short term, the upward momentum is far from over, and declines will likely be well supported, with a move towards $80,000 not out of the question," Tony Sycamore, a market analyst at IG, told Reuters.

This rally coincides with record-breaking performances on stock indexes such as Japan's Nikkei, the S&P 500, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq, along with decreasing volatility indicators in equities and foreign exchange markets.

Ethereum, Bitcoin's smaller counterpart, has also seen significant gains amid speculation surrounding the potential approval of exchange-traded funds. Ethereum is up over 50 per cent for the year, currently trading at $3,649.

On Monday, a regulatory filing revealed that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has further delayed its decision on an application by asset manager BlackRock for a spot ethereum exchange-traded fund.

Additionally, Tether, a cryptocurrency company, announced that the number of dollar-pegged stablecoins issued by Tether has surpassed $100 billion. Tether issues stablecoins designed to maintain a constant value of $1.

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Are You an E-Scooter Rider? Follow These Rules for a Safe Journey

Dubai authorities have introduced a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at promoting responsible riding and reducing accidents.

Outlined by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), these guidelines encompass various safety stipulations that E-scooter users must adhere to while navigating Dubai's streets and pathways.

To ensure passenger safety, the RTA has banned E-scooters from Dubai Metro and Tram.

Age Requirement: Users must be at least sixteen (16) years old to operate an E-scooter.

Protective Gear: Wearing a protective helmet, appropriate gear, and shoes is mandatory.

Parking:E-scooters must be parked in designated areas to avoid obstructing pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Consideration for Others: Users should maintain a safe distance between e-scooters, bikes, and pedestrians and avoid blocking pathways.

No Passengers: It is prohibited to carry passengers on E-scooters.

Traffic Regulations: Adherence to traffic instructions, regulations and warning signs is essential.

Safety Checks: Regular checks of the E-scooter's technical specifications, lights, horns, tires, and brakes are necessary.

Manufacturing Standards: E-scooters must comply with climatic conditions and specifications approved by relevant authorities.

Speed Limit: The maximum speed limit for E-scooters is set at 20 km/h.

Additionally, users are required to inform competent authorities in the event of any accidents, regardless of whether damage to others occurred.
E-scooter riders are urged to practice caution and avoid reckless behaviour that could endanger public safety.

These safety guidelines underscore the commitment of Dubai authorities to promoting responsible E-scooter usage and ensuring the well-being of both riders and pedestrians. The RTA reserves the right to introduce further stipulations as deemed necessary in the future.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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UAE Enacts 15 Laws, 62 Regulatory Decisions in Finance Sector in 2023

In 2023, the UAE enacted 15 new federal laws and implemented 62 regulatory decisions within the finance sector.

Nine major national projects were also undertaken during this period. His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, disclosed these developments in a statement on Sunday, underscoring the review conducted by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, regarding the financial accomplishments and initiatives of the UAE government for the same year.

It was also revealed that the government executed 151 decisions aimed at bolstering resource efficiency and sustainability within the government.
Notably, the total federal assets soared to Dh481.5 billion in 2023, positioning the UAE as the global leader in four key indicators of financial competitiveness.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum emphasised in his statement that these achievements reflect the efficacy of national financial policies as well as the robustness of financial institutions and digital infrastructure within the country.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

 

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Spying on a Spouse Using Tracking Devices Could Lead to Imprisonment

Individuals who use tracking devices to monitor their spouses could face severe legal consequences, including imprisonment. While these devices are commonly used for keeping track of pets or belongings like car keys, some people are misusing them to intrude upon the privacy of their family members.

The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department recently released a statement emphasising that using tracking devices, such as GPS trackers, to spy on individuals in the UAE violates the law. "Utilising tracking devices for the purpose of stalking or spying on individuals in the UAE may result in imprisonment along with significant fines," the statement noted.

"Abusing these devices to infringe upon the privacy of others is subject to legal penalties," it added. This cautionary announcement follows a recent court case in Dubai where a woman was prosecuted for placing a tracking device on her former spouse. The 41-year-old woman was charged with violating her ex-husband's privacy by concealing an Apple AirTag within a teddy bear belonging to their daughter. The incident occurred subsequent to the couple's divorce in July.

The ex-husband became aware of the device through alerts on his mobile phone, which led him directly to the teddy bear. He accused his former wife of invading his privacy by monitoring his whereabouts. The woman denied the allegations, asserting that the tracking device was intended for locating her pets rather than for surveillance purposes.
Lately, there has been a surge in cases involving surveillance apps installed on phones. Such actions not only infringe upon an individual's privacy but also often result in children becoming collateral damage in parental disputes.

Under the cybercrime law, misusing tracking devices could result in a minimum of six months' imprisonment or fines ranging from Dh150,000 to Dh500,000, or both. Tracking devices are readily available both in stores and online, with prices varying between Dh20 and Dh2,000 depending on the technology.
According to UAE law, GPS tracking devices can only be used on registered commercial vehicles.

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It's banned! Don't Take Your E-scooters Inside Dubai Metro, Tram Starting Today

Starting today (March 1, 2024), commuters will no longer be permitted to bring E-scooters onto the Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai announced via their official platform that this prohibition is implemented to prioritise commuter safety.

With the objective of bolstering road safety measures and ensuring compliance with regulations, Dubai will introduce a state-of-the-art robotic system in March. This innovative technology will be tasked with identifying violations committed by users of bicycles and electric scooters.

Unveiled by the RTA on Thursday, the advanced AI-powered robot will be deployed to oversee bicycle and electric scooter usage. It will utilise its AI capabilities to detect various infractions, including large gatherings, failure to wear safety gear such as helmets, improper parking of scooters, carrying multiple passengers on a single scooter and riding scooters in pedestrian-restricted zones.
Identified violations will be promptly reported to Dubai Police for collaborative analysis and action.

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and adhering to strict safety standards, the robot boasts over 85 per cent accuracy in violation detection. It delivers data within five seconds and has a surveillance range of up to two kilometres.

For enhanced safety and security, the robot is equipped with sensors that automatically stop its movement when within 1.5 metres of an object or individual.

E-scooter Rules in Dubai

Riding an E-scooter against the flow of traffic is strictly prohibited. Carrying passengers is not allowed and e-scooters should only be used in designated areas.

In recent years, e-scooters have gained popularity among residents due to their affordability and ease of use and maintenance. However, failure to adhere to regulations can result in fines, confiscation of the e-scooter, and in severe cases, accidents leading to injuries or fatalities.

Here is a comprehensive guide outlining the regulations governing e-scooter usage in Dubai:

Permit: If you have a valid driving licence, you are exempt from obtaining an e-scooter permit. You will need to carry your driving licence with you when riding the electric scooter and present it to a police officer, when asked. If you do not have a driving licence, you will need to apply for an e-scooter permit.

You can request the permit via the official RTA website at rta.ae, and there's no fee involved. Simply complete the online training courses and pass the test.

Upon successful completion of the test, you'll be issued an electronic permit for your e-scooter license via the RTA website. Once obtained, you'll need to download and store the permit on your mobile device.

Speed Limit: As per RTA regulations, the speed limits on bicycle and E-scooter paths vary based on the location: 20 km/h is the maximum speed allowed on designated paths within residential areas and beaches. For the Meydan track and streets shared with vehicles, the speed limit is set at 30 km/h.

Age Limit:  You must be 16 years old and above to ride an e-scooter in Dubai. This is as per Executive Council Resolution No. (13) of 2022 issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai in March 2022.

Safety First

Ensuring safety while riding an e-scooter is paramount, as highlighted by the RTA and Dubai Police. The majority of e-scooter incidents stem from riders' failure to adhere to basic safety protocols. Common violations include neglecting to wear mandated safety equipment, riding against traffic flow and unauthorised use of specified vehicle paths.

To safeguard oneself and fellow road users, it's imperative for e-scooter riders to consistently observe these fundamental rules:

  • Stick to designated tracks, follow traffic regulations, and heed warning signs on the paths.
  • Refrain from riding e-scooters outside designated or shared lanes.
  • Avoid reckless maneuvers that jeopardise public safety.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other E-scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians.
  • Always wear a helmet and reflective jacket.
  • Avoid carrying objects or passengers that may destabilise the E-scooter.
  • Disembark from the e-scooter at pedestrian crossings and proceed on foot.
  • Ride solo and ensure you're above the age of 16.
  • Obtain the necessary e-scooter driving permit or carry your driver's licence.
  • Avoid using headphones while riding.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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Six Essential Factors to Consider Before Renting a Car in Dubai

Before you hit the road, there are 6 key things to consider to ensure a smooth rental experience.

Renting a car in Dubai offers unparalleled convenience and flexibility for exploring the city and its surroundings. However, before you hit the road, there are several important factors to consider to ensure a smooth and hassle-free rental experience.

Here are the top five things to keep in mind before renting a car in Dubai:

1. Valid Driver's Licence: Before renting a car in Dubai, ensure that you possess a valid driver's licence issued by a recognised authority in your home country. Alternatively, an International Driving Permit (IDP) may be required for certain nationalities. Make sure to check the specific requirements with the rental company to avoid any issues during the rental process.

2. Age Requirement: In Dubai, the minimum age for renting a car is typically 21 years. However, some rental companies may have higher age requirements, especially for luxury or high-performance vehicles. Be sure to verify the age restrictions with the rental company beforehand to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria.

3. Insurance Coverage: Insurance coverage is a crucial aspect of renting a car in Dubai. Before signing the rental agreement, inquire about the insurance options available, including comprehensive coverage for the vehicle, third-party liability, and personal accident insurance. Understanding the extent of coverage and any exclusion will help you make an informed decision and avoid potential liabilities in case of an accident or damage to the vehicle.

4. Rental Terms and Conditions: Carefully review the terms and conditions of the rental agreement before finalizing your booking. Pay attention to important details such as rental duration, mileage limits, fuel policies, and any additional charges or fees. Clarify any questions or concerns with the rental company to avoid misunderstandings and unexpected expenses during the rental period.

5. Vehicle Inspection and Documentation: Before accepting the rental vehicle, conduct a thorough inspection of its exterior and interior for any pre-existing damage or defects. Take note of any scratches, dents, or mechanical issues and inform the rental company to avoid being held responsible for damages you did not cause. Additionally, ensure that all necessary documentation, including rental agreements, insurance papers, and vehicle registration documents, are provided and properly maintained throughout the rental period.

5. Familiarise yourself with the Traffic Laws: It is crucial to familiarise yourself with the traffic laws and regulations in Dubai to ensure compliance while driving. Speed limits, road signs, and driving etiquette may differ from your home country, so it is important to educate yourself on local traffic laws before getting behind the wheel.  By adhering to all traffic laws, you can avoid fines, penalties, and legal consequences during your rental period. Prioritise safety, drive responsibly and respect local laws to have a safe and enjoyable driving experience in the city.

By considering these six factors before renting a car in Dubai, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a safe and enjoyable driving experience in the city. Remember to plan ahead, research rental options, and communicate openly with the rental company to ensure a seamless rental process.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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NYK Law Firm, Rotary Club of Downtown Collaborate to Provide Legal Aid to Labourers

Finding the best lawyer to address your legal concerns can often be a time consuming task. However, with NYK Law Firm, you can gain access to the premier legal consultants in the UAE, ensuring the resolution of all your legal matters efficiently.

In a commendable initiative aimed at providing legal assistance to labourers, NYK Law Firm partnered with Dubai Rotary Club of Downtown to host a legal aid session at Al Naboodah Labour Camp.

The event, held on Sunday from 11am to 1pm, saw the participation of around 50 labourers representing diverse nationalities, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Sunil Ambalavelil, Chairman of the Dubai-based NYK Law Firm, spearheaded the legal aid initiative. Accompanied by Rtn. PDRR. Devanand Mahadeva, President of Dubai Rotary Club of Downtown, and a team of five legal associates, he took charge at the event, offering assistance to labourers seeking guidance on legal matters in their home countries. Initially hesitant, the labourers gradually opened up to the lawyers, sharing their queries and apprehensions.

The session was organised into group discussions, with each group of labourers guided by a legal associate from NYK Law Firm. The legal associates patiently listened to the labourers' concerns and provided them with relevant legal advice and guidance.

For issues requiring further consultation or legal aid in their home countries, the NYK team facilitated connections with lawyers specialised in the relevant jurisdictions.

Sunil Ambalavelil expressed his satisfaction with the event, noting, "it’s heartening to see the labourers opening up and actively seeking legal guidance. We aim to equip them with the necessary knowledge and assistance to address their legal challenges effectively. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Rtn. PDRR. Devanand Mahadeva, President of Dubai Rotary Club of Downtown, for giving us this opportunity."

The labourers hailed the opportunity to engage with seasoned professionals regarding their legal woes. One labourer remarked, "I was hesitant at first, but the lawyers made me feel comfortable, and I was able to get clarity on my legal issues.”

The legal aid session served as a valuable platform for labourers to receive legal assistance and gain insights into managing legal issues in their home countries.

The collaboration between NYK Law Firm and Dubai Rotary Club of Downtown underscores the importance of community-driven initiatives in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations and promoting access to justice

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UAE Announces New Federal Law to Manage Government Properties

The UAE Ministry of Finance has unveiled Federal Decree-Law No. 35 for 2023, focused on enhancing the legislative framework for the inventorying and administration of government properties.

The decree encompasses the organisation of all federal assets, be they real estate or otherwise, with the overarching goal of more effectively managing and enhancing the financial resources of the federal government both domestically and internationally.
By implementing leading global practices, the law aims to streamline the governance of federal assets, optimise their utilisation and promote sustainable growth.

Furthermore, it aspires to elevate the country's global competitiveness rankings and bolster its credit rating.
The new legislation mandates the development of a cutting-edge electronic platform to catalog federal real estate properties, enhancing their protection, oversight, and upkeep. This initiative strengthens asset security and fosters transparency, in line with the country's digitalisation efforts.

The law provides clarity on the definition and registration procedures for federal real estate assets, addressing uncertainties in their management and utilisation.

It introduces strategies for optimising government asset returns by enabling efficient leasing and usage while accommodating the specific requirements of federal entities.

Under the decree-law, federal government assets encompass various properties used for public services such as roads, railways and bridges, including movable assets supporting these properties referred to as "real estate by allocation."
It also encompasses other non-real estate federal properties and federation-owned personal property not designated for public use, whether movable or immovable.

Additionally, the legislation delineates rights related to any federal property and explicitly identifies intangible assets as recognised properties of the federation.

Moreover, the decree-law outlines regulations for managing private federal properties and non-real estate assets not allocated to public service, specifying procedures for acquisition, utilisation, and disposal. It establishes a registry for federal real estate properties and facilitates coordination with relevant local authorities for asset recovery or transfer to local governments.

The law outlines the management of federal properties within and outside the state, sets leasing rules for private properties, and stipulates requirements for using and benefiting from federal assets.

The law also emphasises the need to comply with local urban planning and building regulations to ensure the optimal utilisation of these properties.

“One of the key aspects of the law is the emphasis on property rights and fair usage. The law establishes guidelines for the allocation and use of federal properties, ensuring that they are utilised in a manner that promotes sustainable development and benefits the public interest. This includes provisions for the protection of property rights, fair competition in the allocation of properties and the prevention of misuse or abuse of federal properties,” said a senior legal associate at international law firm Kaden Boriss.

The new law will replace the federal Decree-law No. 16 of 2018 concerning federal government real estate properties when it comes into effect on March 28,2024. The aforementioned decree-law can be found on the UAE legislation platform.

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Prosecution Demands Maximum Sentence in Terror Case, Hearing Adjourned

The case involving members of the Muslim Brotherhood charged with crimes related to the establishment and management of a terrorist organisation, as well as money laundering, saw an adjournment to the next session on March 7. The State Security Chamber of the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeals Court is set to hear arguments from the counsels representing the "Justice and Dignity Committee OrganiSation," a group deemed as a terrorist entity.

The 84 defendants, comprising individuals and entities, stand accused of various crimes, including the formation and operation of a terrorist organisation, along with the laundering of proceeds derived from its clandestine operations.

The Public Prosecution had concluded their pleas, which extended over two separate sessions, during which they confirmed that this case is completely different from case number 79 of 2012 State Security Offenses, and is not a retrial of the defendants according to the evidence presented in the public session, which included confessions and statements of the defendants.

The confessions were consistent with the investigations of the State Security Apparatus, and the testimonies and reports of the experts who were assigned to monitor and analyse the activities of the defendants.

The Public Prosecution demanded the maximum statutory sentence on the defendants, based on Article 88 of the Penal Code, which states that if crimes were committed for a single purpose and were inextricably linked, they must be considered a single crime and the punishment prescribed for the most serious of those crimes must be imposed.

Article 90 of the Penal Code also states that if the perpetrator in the case provided for in Article 88 of this law has been convicted of a crime punishable by a lesser penalty, he must then be tried for the crime that is punishable by the maximum penalty. In this case, the court shall order the execution of the punishment imposed in the latter judgment, after deducting what was actually executed from the previous judgment.

Terrorist Justice and Dignity Committee Organisation

The Public Prosecution's pleadings extended over two separate sessions. In the first session, which lasted for about 5 hours and was attended by the defendants' counsels, their families, and media representatives, the prosecution presented their evidence against the defendants on charges of establishing and managing a clandestine terrorist organisation in the UAE (The Justice and Dignity Committee), for the purpose of committing terrorist acts and collecting and laundering money to serve the organisation.

The prosecution presented evidence against the defendants, including confessions of one of the defendants that the organisation studied the events that coincided with the so-called "Arab Spring Revolutions" in order to create a similar revolutionary model in the UAE.
The defendant also confessed that the first and second defendants proposed the establishment of the terrorist "Justice and Dignity Committee" organisation as a clandestine organisation separate from the "Reform Call" terrorist organisation, with the intent to instigate a violent revolution that would involve clashes with security personnel, resulting in deaths and the disruption of essential state functions.

The defendant also confessed that the method of the aforementioned terrorist organisation relied on cultivating widespread anger and resentment within society, seeking to manipulate these emotions into mass street protests that would inevitably turn violent through confrontations with security forces, potentially leading to casualties and injuries.

The organisation would then exploit this as fuel to increase resentment and promote it in the media, both domestically and internationally, in order to obtain support from external organisations. The defendant also confessed that the organisation established teams and identified their tasks and members.

The defendant also confessed that the organisation planned to stage a public demonstration in a well-known square in the country.
The defendant concluded his confessions by stating that the meeting of the organisation's members in the second defendant's house clearly demonstrates the true nature of the terrorist organisation, its purpose, and its method of inciting chaos, even if it leads to bloodshed and loss of life.

Organisational structure and 5 Teams

The Public Prosecution presented to the audience the organisational structure of the terrorist Justice and Dignity Committee Organisation, which was headed by the second defendant. The organisation consisted of five teams:
The electronic team: This team was responsible for spreading news on the internet and social media platforms that would incite public opinion.

The legal team: This team was responsible for communicating with local, regional, and international legal organisations.
The national team: This team was responsible for mobilising notables and intellectuals in the country against what they called "violations by the security services."

The media team: This team was responsible for creating accounts on social media platforms, publishing tweets and news, and carrying out media campaigns. The team also trained the organisation's youth on how to incite public opinion on the internet and try to prepare people's minds for the idea of a "revolution."

The external action team: This team was responsible for facilitating the escape of the organisation's members from the country, coordinating with the other Muslim Brotherhood organisations in the Gulf to support the fugitives, and working to organise media campaigns against the State's institutions from abroad.

The Public Prosecution reviewed documents proving the defendants' involvement in inciting public opinion and undermining citizens' confidence in State institutions in order to create a state of tension in society that could explode. The prosecution presented a document proving that some members of the organisation met at one of their homes, and this document shows the attendees discussing a proposal to "raise questions to incite public opinion."

The prosecution also presented documents that were seized from one of the defendants, which included a plan to translate news, articles, and incitement reports into English, and to contact media outlets, including 27 foreign media platforms, and provide them with archival material. The plan also included holding a series of meetings with prominent journalists from foreign countries on the pretext that there was a state of discontent in the society, so that the foreign media would cover it.

The Public Prosecution also presented a video clip proving that one of the defendants incited students to go out into the streets, film it, and circulate it on social media platforms in order to incite this segment of society to protest in the streets to pressure State institutions.
The Public Prosecution also presented pictures of tweets by one of the defendants in which he compared "Tahrir Square" in Egypt to one of the famous squares in the country, symbolising it as a "square for revolution".

Electronic Monitoring

In its presentation of evidence, the Public Prosecution relied on a report by a committee of media experts that was formed to analyse the organisation's media and electronic activity. The committee concluded that this activity was carried out in a systematic manner with a unified approach, and that the defendants deliberately sought to create a state of popular anger, incite public opinion, and incite it, target national unity, cast doubt and belittle the success of the country's development model, generate a state of anger, and create a state of tension and direct the collective mind towards accepting the idea of gathering and protesting.

The Public Prosecution commented on the report of the media committee, stating that the committee's findings from electronic monitoring and analysis of the defendants' accounts, what they published on social media platforms, and their media activity, indicate the correctness of the investigation findings, witness testimony, and the defendant's confession, confirming the existence of an electronic media plan that matches his confession.

Audio recordings and confessions

The Prosecution also presented the defendants' confessions to paying monthly sums of money to the organisation, facilitating the holding of meetings of its members in their homes, exploiting the so-called "Arab Spring Revolutions" to serve the agendas of the terrorist organisation, and inciting people to take to the streets and stage demonstrations. The Public Prosecution also presented audio recordings proving that the defendants distributed the tasks of the teams in the terrorist "Justice and Dignity Committee" organisation, in addition to using university students and activists to serve the purposes of the organisation, and seeking the help of others from outside the organisation to give the impression that public opinion is interacting with them.

In the second public session, the Public Prosecution addressed in its pleas the charge of money laundering proceeds from the crimes of establishing and founding a secret terrorist organisation. The prosecution confirmed that the members of the organisation established two companies as fictitious economic arms to launder the proceeds obtained, which were collected through monthly subscriptions from the members of the organisation, in addition to collecting donations illegally.

The Public Prosecution presented the testimony of a witness who confirmed that the secret terrorist organisation relied on several sources of funding, namely subscriptions imposed on the members at a rate of 5% of the monthly income of employees and 1% of the profits of those working in the field of trade or professionals.

The witness also confirmed that the collection and transfer of money was carried out in a secret organisational manner, in addition to collecting donations, charities, and Zakat money from some individuals, in addition to donations from members of the organisation.
The Public Prosecution presented the confession of one of the defendants (the financial manager) about illegally collecting donations and monthly subscriptions and placing them in a safe in his house, on the condition that he would hand them over to the heads of the central committees of the organisation based on the instructions of the members of the organisation's board of directors.

The prosecution presented a document obtained from the computer of the aforementioned defendant, which included a statement of the funds that were collected monthly in one year. A document written in the defendant's handwriting was also presented, in which he mentioned some of the amounts received, along with another document related to donation money.

Companies to Invest Illegal Funds

The aforementioned witness also confirmed that the organisation established a financial entity through which the Group could be financed through real estate investments, whether in their personal names or in partnership with others. The two companies mentioned above contributed to the establishment of two other companies, and the aforementioned companies worked to disguise the origin and nature of their illegal funds by channeling them into a variety of projects within the country. They camouflaged these funds by merging them with other legitimate commercial activities, hiding them from the scrutiny of security services.

The witness testified that the organisation deliberately used a chain of companies to mask the true source of the funds. This intentional obfuscation, achieved through transfers between companies, aimed to make it extremely challenging to trace the money back to its origin.

Obtaining Bank Loans

The Public Prosecution presented evidence of suspicious funds being transferred between these companies, as planned by an organisation member, who exploited his position in one of the banks in the UAE, to purchase assets, shares, and real estate in the name of the aforementioned companies, for the purpose of laundering the funds.

The Public Prosecution relied on the testimony of two members of the Financial Review Committee formed under the Public Prosecution's decision on the investigations from the Financial Intelligence Unit, which confirmed, after scrutiny, that the terrorist organisation committed the crime of money laundering through 6 interconnected companies, contracting with several banks in the country and using the funds to invest in financial and real estate assets, aiming to grow their capital.

After meticulously reviewing defendants' confessions, testimonies of 8 witnesses, reports from the Media Committee and Financial Intelligence Unit, and other supporting evidence, the Public Prosecution delivered its final arguments. They demanded the maximum sentence for the defendants, citing their proven intent to inflict harm on the community, endanger public safety, and jeopardise state institutions.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.

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UAE Introduces New Law for Mental Health Patients

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