Infant drug recall

Incorrect dosages given on some batches of Panadol for babies

Incorrect dosages given on some batches of Panadol for babies (©2015 Noni Edwards)

Panadol Suspension for infants and children has been removed from shelves across parts of the Middle East because the wrong dosage instructions are printed on boxes.

The manufacturer of the popular brand of paracetamol, GlaxoSmithKline, advised local health authorities of the error this week.

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health issued a circular advising parents to seek the advice of a medical professional when administering the pain-relief medicine to children.

“Dosage instructions on all 13 batches of the medicine available in the UAE have been printed wrongly,” said Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, the Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing Sector at the UAE Ministry.

“It is important that people follow doctors’ instructions because those will be based on the weight and age of the child,” said Dr Al Amiri.

Incorrect dosages printed on packaging for distribution across Middle East

(Image supplied by UAE Ministry of Health) Incorrect dosages printed on packaging for distribution across Middle East

The UAE circular does not specify which of the printed calculations are wrong or what the correct dosages should be but said an error in dosage could have adverse drug reactions and could lead to liver damage.

For families travelling to Gulf countries and those doing stopovers at airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, who may not be able to consult a doctor, local health officials say it’s important to ask at the chemist for the correct dosage.

“People who buy this medicine over-the-counter, should follow instructions given by the pharmacists.” said Dr Al Amiri.

The UAE Ministry stopped short of issuing a recall, however.

“There is nothing wrong with the medicine but only with the dosage instructions printed on the box,” said Dr Al Amiri.

The UAE circular also asked hospital administrators, doctors and pharmacists to take note of the changes.

However on Friday, the UAE newspaper Khaleej Times said the pharmacists they’d contacted were not aware of the instructions.

Qatar’s Gulf Times reports that the Supreme Council of Health issued a recall to all pharmacies for batches N066 and N143 of Panadol 100ml syrup.

The Council says all other batches available in Qatar display safe guidelines.

Health officials in Kuwait ordered withdrawal of the medicine from the shelves immediately.

The Head of Drug Registration at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry, Rami Bebehani, is quoted by the country’s official news agency saying doctors should not prescribe the product until the error has been corrected.

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New Dubai refinery set to tip balance of global gold industry

emirati-goldOne of the world’s biggest gold refineries is under construction at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

When completed next year, it will help to alter the balance of power in the global gold industry.

While the growth in global demand for gold is shifting east to Asia’s fast-growing economies, key industry activities like refining and clearing remain dominated by Europe and the United States.

But the construction of a new 60 million dollar refinery, by Kaloti Precious Metals, is part of efforts to change that pattern.

So is the plan by the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange to introduce a spot gold contract this June.

kalotiMunir al Kaloti, who’s president and founder of Kaloti Precious metals, says Dubai currently represents only 11 percent of the world’s gold business but by 2020 this percentage is expected to grow to around 40 percent, becoming one the highest in the world.

Kaloti’s new refinery will have an annual capacity of 1,400 tonnes of gold making it more than three times the size of any of the UAE’s current refineries.

Current annual capacity in the United Arab Emirates is about eight hundred tonnes, including a 450-tonne refinery already operated by Kaloti.

Switzerland dominates the industry with over 3,000 tonnes, accounting for roughly 50 percent or more of global refining.

But nearly 40 percent of the world’s physical gold trade passed through Dubai last year, according to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

The value of gold import and export contracts handled by Dubai has soared from 6 billion dollars in 2003, to 75 billion this year.

Dubai’s drive to develop exchange-based trading may be as important to its growth as a gold centre as expansion of its refining capacity.
goldbullionIn April, the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, which currently trades gold futures, said it would introduce a spot gold contract this June.

The exchange is in the final stages of finalising specifications but the contract is expected to be for 1 kg of 0.995 purity gold, the type favoured by Indian consumers and investors.

If Dubai succeeds, it will be a new example of how the emirate can use its proximity to top consumers in India and China, its low-tax environment and highly developed transport sector to gain influence in industries traditional dominated by other players.

Originally broadcast on Emirates News

Chinese New Year heralds tourism influx for Dubai

Credit: Emirates News

Dubai is welcoming a surge in Chinese tourists who are fast becoming some of the biggest overseas spenders, globally.

This weekend marks Chinese New Year, the beginning of the lunar Year of the Horse, but for many well-to-do Chinese it’s a time for an overseas vacation and some luxury retail therapy.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has recognised the value of the Chinese yuan – with around a quarter of a million visitors a year, up 28 per cent annually, according to their most recent figures.

Courtesy of UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

DTCM has strengthened its focus this year, targeting Chinese tourists with valuable offers and discounts, especially during festivals like this weekend’s Chinese New Year.

Dubai’s world famous brands and labels, and favorable prices continually draw the Chinese, who are among the top consumers of luxury products, but constantly on the lookout for cheaper options than their domestic offerings, which attract taxes as high as 40 per cent.

For those who travel here, duty-free shopping was listed among the major attractions for Chinese tourists.

Elmo Kaidullah is the manager of the world’s largest shopping center, The Dubai Mall, and he says Chinese consumers are spending more now on every single purchase than consumers from any other countries.

“We recognize that they are becoming more acute in details, looking after more specific information, they are much more aware about the trend, the changes, the new comers, the new launches in the market,” says Kaidullah.

He says Chinese shoppers generally prefer leather bags, watches, accessories and cosmetics.

He added that their consumption habits have continually evolved with times as they are becoming better informed and more familiar with luxury products.

The DTCM says much of the growth in tourism can be attributed to destination marketing, and as of September last year, they now have four offices based in mainland China.

Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 31 January 2014

Sportswear tailored to a cultural fit

Throughout the Muslim world, and beyond, women like to dress both for comfort and according to their moral code and while this choice is largely linked to religion and culture, a woman’s personal preferences will always play a large role in what she wears and how she wears it.

Yoga teacher, Joumana Saber, from Dubai’s ‘The Yoga Room‘ says ‘I’ve seen different religious women cover up in different ways as well.”

“Obviously it depends on the region you come from and what your faith is, you know in Islam there are different sects and in these sects women wear the hijab in different ways, also if you’re from a different country that’s also a reflection of how you wear the hijab.” 

Dubai-designer Sarah Sillis identified this need for individual expression in exercise wear and her modest sportswear line Saqueena is proving popular on the market. 

Her customer Khadijatou El Hamed, says “Even though I don’t wear a headscarf, I am quite conservative, so when I heard about Sarah and her label I thought, finally, I can wear something I am comfortable in and I can go out for walks whenever I want.”

A Belgian national, Sillis started wearing the headscarf a few years ago. She found that women who wanted to dress conservatively but also be active were finding it hard to find appropriate clothing to workout in.

“We want to empower you girls to go out and do some sports activities,” says Sillis, “which is good for your health and at the same time it also builds your community and you feel comfortable.”

Yoga teacher Nea Ferrier agrees that comfort is key and for her variation of Ashtanga yoga, this needs to allow great freedom of movement.

“I’ve taught in quite a few different countries, in Australia, in China, Japan, Russia, Turkey and now Dubai and I’d have to say what people wear doesn’t vary that much, people wear fitted clothing, normally, particularly for Ashtanga yoga.”

Her colleague Joumana Saber agrees.

“There isn’t an outfit really, but obviously something you can easily move in,” says Saber, “something that you feel comfortable in because you will break a good sweat so you don’t want something that will feel heavy as well.”

Image Credit: Saqueena

Sillis uses a variety of fabrics in her designs including cotton, lycra and viscose, with items selling for between 450 and 500 dirhams.

Customer Sabreen Mahmoud appreciates that the swimwear range comes in two pieces with a turban-style cap.

“She uses summery colours and the fabric is nice and not cheap quality so it makes you feel good and encourages you to do more sports, and to go out with friends and family to water-parks, like Wild Wadi, without having to be constrained to go on women-only days,” says Mahmoud.

For Sillis what started out as a swimwear line, has now become a sportswear range which includes garments that can be worn for badminton, tennis and golf.

Now the designer hopes to expand her line even further by breaking into other markets and selling her items online to customers further afield.

Originally run in Emirates News, 22 June 2013.

Master storyteller tells inspiring tale

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

Renowned animator, Mohammed Harib, famed for the 3D cartoon series Freej, is telling a different story now, and its one he hopes will encourage more people to take their own path in life.

When the 35-year-old  developed the idea that led to the Freej animated cartoon series, Mohammed Harib wanted to give the rest of the world a taste of the Middle East and its culture.

Now it’s become so successful its been dubbed the Simpsons of the Middle East and he’s become an inspiration to others hoping to achieve success in creative industries, but his rewards didn’t come without hard work.

Harib began working on Freej when he was an undergraduate, studying arts and animation at Northeastern University in Boston.

“When I was in college, I used to sketch these characters, and my dream was to, one day, hopefully, try to see these characters move,” says Harib.

After graduating he began looking for investors and this continued another three years.

That’s when the Dubai government saw its potential and backed him to the tune of $1.3 million dollars.

Image Credit: UAE Interact / UAE National Media Council

When Freej began airing in 2006, it was a triumph for the individual but just as much for Dubai itself, telling the story of four elderly women living in modern day Dubai, and their view on the transformation of society.

Creative success has led to commercial success with merchandising including toy action figures, books and magazines.

Its animated characters are even being hired for advertising endorsements.

It’s a clear case of him finding success by choosing to follow his passion.

The only advice he can give is to be determined and courageous in pursuing one’s dreams.

“Going your own road, and doing your own thing, is a very hard road. But it’s a beautiful road whenever you reach towards the end of it,” says Harib.

“I really encourage everybody who has the strength and the mind and the capacity and the belief in himself to walk that road, to go for it, because that’s how you will be remembered in this world, because not everybody can create this kind of journey for himself.”

Now the series is being broadcast in English, Harib hopes there’s no limit to its reach, but he’s not standing still waiting for success to come to him.

He’s currently working on his first animated film, which is expected to wrap in November.

Originally on Emirates News 7 June 2013.

Dubai Police add Bugatti Veyron to supercar fleet

Bugatti Veyron - Image Credit: Dubai Police

Image Credit: Dubai Police

It would have to be a very fast criminal who attempts to outrun any Dubai Police officers now. Not content with a collection that includes a Ferrari, a Lamborghini and an Aston Martin, the force has just ordered the world’s fastest car, the Bugatti Veyron, to join its fleet of supercars that is more about raising the city’s profile in support of its Expo 2020 bid.

It’s no secret that Dubai is currently in putting its best foot forward for the opportunity to stage the what’s being billed as the biggest event in the world.

Each government department is doing what it can to boost Dubai’s profile and its chance of winning the World Expo 2020 bid – including Dubai Police.

They readily admit the purpose of the eye-catching fleet is to attract tourists and to promote Dubai’s image as the place to hold the Expo 2020.

“Of course it’s nice for the patrol,” says Second Lieutenant Khalifa Abdullah Al-Falasi. “It brings us closer to people because people greet you with a smile and are happy to see these sorts of cars patrolling.”

After starting with a $400,000 Lamborghini and $300,000 Ferrari, the Dubai police will soon be adding the world’s fastest street-legal car, the Bugatti Veyron, to bring the combined total value of supercars fleet to almost $4 million.

The supercar patrol team includes two female officers as part of the police force’s public face around Dubai’s key tourist hotspots, including Officer Badrya Salem AlSowaidi.

“These patrol cars are Dubai police security patrols for popular tourist areas like Downtown, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Palm,” she says.

“Of course I don’t normally drive cars this powerful so when I drive this car I definitely feel a sense of pride,” says Officer Maryam Abdulhameed Zarooni, “firstly because I am driving this type of car and also because it is for my job in the police.”

Dubai Police said they have selected a further six women to patrol in the burgeoning fleet, but they still have to complete their training and exams.

Despite acquiring nine sports cars in just two months, with a $1.4 million Bugatti on the way the police have not ruled out expanding their collection.

The Dubai Police fleet also includes an Aston Martin One-77, a Bentley Continental GT, and a Mercedes SLS. All cars are green-and-white and decorated with the Dubai police insignia on the front hood.

Originally in Emirates News, 6 June 2013.