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KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Cabinet discussed steps to apply the “E-Gate” government online website, which will lessen the dependency on paper documents for procedures, in a step aimed at cutting red tape. The move will aim to “support the comprehensive path for development and modernization,” said an official statement read out by State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, which added that the move will be implemented across all state ministries and bodies. In their weekly session at Sief Palace on Monday evening, ministers were briefed on a Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) report, presented by both its Director General Abdullateef Al-Saraya and the Minister of Communications Issa Al-Kanderi on the matter.

The website — e.gov.kw — will provide around-the-clock government services, in addition to information and local regulations to nationals, expatriates, businesses and visitors.
It will also offer the ability to pay fees and penalties online — either by e-mail or teleconferencing — or over the phone, according to the briefing.
 
The briefing went on to discuss obstacles facing the project, and was followed by the appointment of First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah as the head of a committee tasked with its implementation.
His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah declared His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s operation in the US a success, after a personal phone call he had made to the Amir.
Ministers were also briefed on a message addressed to His Highness the Amir from Lebanon’s ex-prime minister Fouad Siniora, who expressed gratitude over the warm reception he had received during a recent visit to Kuwait.
They were also presented with a message addressed to His Highness the Prime Minister from his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault. The message discussed boosting the already existing bilateral relations. (KUNA)

KUWAIT : Traffic officers issued 100 citations against traffic violations and seized 30 vehicles during traffic campaigns that they launched in Shuwaikh area based on instructions from the Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at Ministry of Interior Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali. According to security sources, traffic officers set up checkpoints at the exits of Shuwaikh Industrial Area for carrying out the campaigns.

 
By Munaif Nayef 
Al-Seyassah Staff
(Arab Times)
KUWAIT: Prices of foodstuff, especially vegetables and fish, increased remarkably during the national holidays; making consumers confused and angry due to the way traders exploited the situation for their own benefit.
A consumer said he observed the price hike on the first day of the national holidays, citing as an example the price of one kilo of eggplant that increased from less than 400 fils to more than 700 fils.
Another consumer attributed the problem to the absence of an effective mechanism for regulating prices, particularly during holidays when most traders think the officials in charge of protecting the consumers are on vacation.  
All those interviewed regarding the issue agreed on the need to intensify efforts of the authorities to protect consumers and regulate prices during holidays; otherwise, the unscrupulous traders will just continue filling up their pockets at the expense of the consumers.
 
 By Najeh Bilal
Al-Seyassah Staff (Arab Times)

KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, and State Minister for Planning and Development Affairs Hind Al- Sabeeh says she intends to form a committee comprised of representatives from the Higher Council for Planning, Central Statistics Department and ministries of Interior and Social Affairs and Labor to modify the population structure in Kuwait, reports Al-Jaridah daily.

She explained that the committee will study ways to confine the number of expatriates of each nationality and discuss about issuing decisions to organize the entry process of the laborers into the country through a certain ‘quota’ system based on the extent the country benefits from each nationality as well as the general educational and cultural levels. In another development, Head of parliamentary Financial and Economic Affairs Committee MP Faisal Al- Shaye said the Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh revealed to him that the government is still studying and discussing the children allowance case.

He said the committee invited the minister to attend the meeting scheduled for Sunday, during which they will discuss the children allowance, adding that the committee will study all proposed alternatives submitted by the lawmakers and the government during the meeting. He demanded the government to attend the meeting in order to submit and discuss its alternatives.

KUWAIT: MPDr Khalil Abdullah has stressed on the necessity to balance the population structure in the country, reports Al-Rai daily. In this regard, he says, he has a proposal to reduce the number of expatriates. He said the percentage of Kuwaitis should equal the percentage of expatriates in the country and this means reducing the number of expatriates from 2.5 million to 1.1 million within five years. In other words, this translates into reducing the number of expatriates by 280,000 expatriates annually.

However, he added, the expatriates who play a role in the development of the country and those who provide expertise for the Kuwaitis should be exempted. Their stay in the country should be unlimited. He added it has become necessary to reduce the number of expatriates to lessen the pressure on infrastructure and congestion at all government institutions.

In this way, he added, Kuwaiti youth can be hired in the government and private sectors. He indicated the country should ban certain nationalities particularly those whose number has reached double the number of Kuwaitis calling this index ‘dangerous’ on the social and economical fronts.

Meanwhile, MP Faisal Al- Duwaisan categorically rejected the Gulf Security Pact at a time he affirmed support for the Gulf organization and all pacts related to it, reports Al-Jarida daily.

In a recent press statement, Al- Duwaisan demanded for the activation of all pacts included in the Gulf organization; while inquiring about the reason behind the delayed implementation of the Gulf train and unified Gulf currency projects.

The lawmaker clarified, “I have reservations on the Gulf Security Pact as it violates the Kuwaiti Constitution. If this pact is prepared by a legal expert, then I will be reassured. Definitely, it will be a different story if it is written by a policeman searching for a certain crime.”

KUWAIT: The government must include the legislative authority in the preparation of the annual general report to be submitted to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Oct 27, says Head of the parliamentary Human Rights Protection Committee MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan. Al-Duwaisan pointed out the Constitution mandates the government to take such a step, especially since the preparation of the annual report falls within the responsibilities of the Foreign Affairs minister.

He said the Parliament will question the minister in case he fails to accomplish this task. He disclosed the Human Rights Council in the United Nations (UN) has requested for the inclusion of lawmakers in any country’s delegation, as well as members of the judicial authority.

He added the council also asked for the participation of non-governmental human rights organizations in order to present a more cohesive report. Urging the government to respond positively to the council’s requests, Al- Duwaisan stressed the significance of taking this step considering that the Defense Committee’s efforts in the field of human rights were mentioned in the 2010 report.

He also unveiled his plan to submit a proposal to the National Assembly Office to invite the concerned government officials to participate in the discussion and preparation of the annual report within the Human Rights Protection Committee.

Furthermore, the MP expressed regret that the government accepted the Human Rights Council’s recommendations only in paper, as no action has been taken in terms of implementing the recommendations. He alleged the government accepted the recommendations just to avoid international embarrassment.

He revealed the recommendations include unbiased attitude towards naturalization of women in Kuwait and cancellation of the sponsorship system to replace it with a mechanism in line with the country’s laws and regulations.

In addition, the council also called for the immediate establishment of the National Institution for Human Rights, which the government failed to accomplish despite the numerous proposals and draft bills submitted by the Assembly.

The MP went on to say the Assembly is keen on presenting a transparent and cohesive report to the Human Rights Council; at the same time it is adamant in demanding for the inclusion of its input in the report, instead of leaving everything in the hands of the government. “We will be able to portray a great democratic picture to the UN by including the three authorities in the report, as well as the non-governmental organizations,” he asserted. On visiting the Central Prison for investigation, Al-Duwaisan said he prefers a surprise visit to see what really goes on daily in the prison rather than being accommodated with sweets and other formalities.

On the other hand, MP Abdullah Al- Turaiji wondered whether the Kuwaiti borders are safe and secured at a time the country is commemorating the 23rd anniversary of its liberation from the Iraqi invaders. He said the memory of the liberation comes with pain and sadness, indicating there are legitimate questions lingering in people’s minds. He stressed the need for everyone to pause for awhile and assess the current situation to ask what has changed in the course of action and what the country has done in terms of the political, defense and security aspects. He added the Kuwaitis cannot forget Feb 26 as it is their Liberation Day, particularly the euphoria associated with it. “This occasion is precious to our hearts but it should not take us away from the suffering of hundreds of families of martyrs. We should learn from the lessons of the occupation. We must not forget its stations both in and outside Kuwait. The first of these lessons is to ask what benefits and lessons did the government get from the well-planned invasion carried out by the Arab-Muslim neighbor. He wondered whether Kuwait’s borders are secured and if its relationship with Iraq is strong. He asked if the government has succeeded in organizing an information and educational campaign on the Iraqis who became victims of the media machine of Saddam’s regime. He stressed the executive authority must not close the pages of invasion as if nothing happened.

He said, “The government should think continuously about the circumstances and causes of the occupation and the fall of all State bodies. This does not exempt the legislative authority from joining the government in carrying such a burden”. He warned this country is within the vicinity of a volatile political and security situation dominating the region. He believes the regional and international interests have an impact on the stability of the region, “so the joys of Liberation and National holidays should not make us forget the suffering during the seven months of terror; especially the deprivation and loss of loved ones, friends and brothers.” He added the occasion also necessitates statements from the government and the National Assembly eulogizing the innocent martyrs and condemning the massacres of the late tyrant, Saddam Hussein; while paying tribute to the steadfastness of the Kuwaiti people at home and abroad as they rallied around legitimacy. He implored God Almighty to have mercy on the martyrs and protect Kuwait and its people from all harm under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, may God protect him.

In another development, Al-Turaiji has threatened to grill State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al- Hammoud in case he allows a person suspected of wrongdoing to join the Kuwaiti sports delegation that will leave the country on Tuesday for an official assignment abroad. He asserted the minister will bear the political responsibilities if the delegation leaves along with this person. Meanwhile, MP Ahmed Al-Azmi forwarded a congratulatory letter to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on the occasion of Kuwait’s Liberation and National days. In his letter, the MP mentioned how this day reminds the public of our perseverance during the Iraqi invasion; in addition to the blood of brave men and women who gave their lives for the country. He also affirmed that he understands the pain of families who lost their loved ones during the invasion; indicating the people of Kuwait clearly defined the word, ‘unity’, at the time. The MP went on to praise the glorified rule of the Al-Sabah Family, adding that, “With the wisdom, insight and courage of our forefathers, Kuwait has become a symbol of glory.” His letter concluded by wishing the best for HH the Amir and his people, and for Allah to give him strength and guidance to lead the country to a better tomorrow.

KUWAIT: Some lawmakers have expressed reservations on the steps being taken by Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Abdul- Fatah Al-Ali.

The current outcry is unprecedented to the extent that some of them want the government to remove the traffic chief from his position. MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji expressed objection against the idea of increasing fines for traffic violations under the pretext of finding solutions to traffic congestions.

He noted the failure of government in resolving traffic problems led to undue introduction of indirect tax and deportation of some violators. He retorted, “The funniest aspect is that Al-Ali claims the traffic congestion will disappear in 2016 - the same year he is due for retirement! He should resign now since he failed to find lasting solutions to the problem.” Corroborating the statement of his colleague, MP Hamdan Al-Azemi stressed it is totally unacceptable for the Interior Ministry to impose indirect tax on citizens and expatriates in the form of traffic violation fines.

He pointed out the National Assembly should discuss the traffic issue to curb the excessive acts of Abdul-Fatah Al- Ali. “What becomes of the proceeds of the indirect tax and where do they go?” he asked.

MP Mohammad Tana claimed Al- Ali has been harassing citizens and expatriates through his failed policies. He regarded imposing outrageous fines and fees for driver’s license as indirect tax, which has nothing to do with implementing the rule of law but just a money-making venture.

He addressed Ali Ali, saying, “We will not allow you to impose tax, because we are aware the action is not application of law. If you want to be rigid, then stay in your house.”

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