Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What we are reading: March 21st 2007

>> Tribalism 'an obstacle to real democracy in UAE'; Who are we, that's the question
Dr Al Suwaidi - who is also the political adviser to General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces - said if the election process is to be expanded, "it will perhaps become even more tribal and will take the UAE back at least 50 years."

Tribalism hinders the growth of a civic society, he said, adding that "in the UAE, there are no real civic society organisations. For example, where is the Human Rights Society? It has done nothing since its creation last year. It is just a name, a banner."

The media is in a similar sorry state, said Dr Al Suwaidi. "We have to ask if we really have an Emirati media or just some kind of media in the emirates. It [the media] suffers from self censorship. Everybody talks about the freedom of expression but they never exercise it."
>> Banks warned against giving big unsecured loans
Dubai: The Chief of Dubai Police has warned five banks they will be named and shamed if they do not stop giving loans without guarantees and through big enticements, as many people have got into trouble for failing to pay off their debts.
...55.6 per cent of youngsters in jail were involved in bounced cheque cases, 40.3 per cent of them were university graduates, while 41.6 per cent of them were jailed for failing to pay back personal loans which they took for various reasons such as to get married, buy a car, or to buy shares. More than 60 per cent of them had been jailed for the first time and did not previously have a criminal record.

Dr Murad said personal loans in the UAE amounted to Dh160 billion last year, while loans increased by 63.9 per cent from 2005 to 2006.



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