Kuwait News



In last week’s online poll, the Arab Times asked voters if the ban on visas for certain nationalities should be lifted. An overwhelming majority of voters voted in favor of lifting the ban as it would give everyone a chance to live with their families.

About 42 % of the voters went for lifting the ban. The ban has been a source of diplomatic discomfort between Kuwait and the countries in question. The topic is raised whenever a leader from the one of the banned countries visits Kuwait, and gets glossed over with vague promises of resolution and open-ended deadlines.

However, for the affected expatriates, the ban has been very frustrating. “We are unable to bring our families over, and it’s affecting our personal lives.” Respondents said that if the object of the ban is to curb criminality, keeping the ban on would encourage criminal behavior in other ways.” They were alluding to sexual crimes.

About 16 % of the voters expressed similar sentiments but with a twinge of caution. They say that the ban should be lifted, however with a few restrictions. Talking to the Arab Times, respondents supporting this view explained that restrictions could be by way of greater scrutiny of criminal records and credentials of the visitor. “This would make getting a visa difficult, but would keep hopes alive.” Respondents also shared their experiences of trying to apply for visas to Europe and the US. The whetting process is very stringent, and it’s hard to get a visa. “However, if you make sure that all your records are in place and fulfill all eligibility criteria, then you can get a visa. This way the traffic of visitors from certain countries can be controlled, but not fully stopped.”

Aslightly higher number, 17%, of voters favored a flat ban. Their argument is that a ban would effectively cut crime rate in the country. 10 % of the voters felt that bans could be lifted for certain categories of workers, like the skilled workers. But many respondents begged to differ stating that it would be tantamount to discrimination against unskilled laborers. Some voters supported an extreme view, saying that the ban should be expanded to include more countries.

Although 7 % of the voters held this view, not many among the respondents backed them. The few who supported the view stated that Kuwait’s population has reached the threshold and it would be a bad idea to let in more people. They were mainly concerned about the country’s health sector, which is already strained by the volume of patients.

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates have expressed their annoyance over the phenomenon of cheating prevalent in the fish markets where the selling prices of fish are increased way above the normal prices while some fishmongers sell rotten fish along with the good ones. They lamented that the lack of surveillance and control by the concerned authorities is the main reason behind the prevalence of such a phenomenon.

One of the consumers Bu Hussain said fishmongers have cheated him many times by selling rotten fish instead of fresh ones, adding that in such cases, he goes back to the sellers to get his money back. Another consumer Umm Hamad lamented that the prices of fish have increased recently due to which she hesitates to buy fish. She indicated that since her husband likes eating fish, she buys only one kilogram of fish due to the high prices.

On the other hand, a fishmonger Abdullah Mustafa insisted that he sells only fresh fish. However, he affirmed that only few sellers are honest, adding that some customers call for him to personally deliver their orders to their houses. Meanwhile, another fishmonger Essa Subhi indicated that manipulation of the selling prices in the fish market is not a new phenomenon. He revealed that many restaurants in Kuwait buy rotten fish at low prices, which are stored in rented apartments near the restaurants. He added that these restaurants trick their customers by using a certain concoction that contains lemon and garlic to remove the rotten smell of the fish.

KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry has suspended a decision to reduce the speed limit at the main highways in Kuwait ‘for further studying’, just a day after the decision went into effect according to the instructions of Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali. “The decision was put on hold for further studying so as to address all technical aspects pertaining it”, reads a statement released by the Public Relations and Security Media Department on Thursday.

Maj Gen Al-Ali made the decision last Tuesday with effect from January 1st 2014. It stipulates a decrease in the speed limits at main highways, including the Fifth and Sixth Ring roads where the speed limits dropped from 120 km/h to 100 km/h. The decision was seen as part of the efforts to tackle over speeding, which is the main cause of fatal accidents in Kuwait. 319 deadly crashes were reported during the first nine months of 2013 according to official statistics.

In another development, authorities have placed a security block on files of 12,000 expatriates in order to check their visas which are under suspicions in a case involving a senior official at the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration. The recent measure allows authorities to inspect the legal status of thousands of foreigners as part of investigations to identify those who benefited from transactions issued illegally by the suspended senior official with the help of other Interior Ministry officers.

Meanwhile, ‘high-level security sources’ yesterday revealed that a committee has been formed to investigate a number of immigration department officers on negligence charges. The officers are accused of failing to carry out their inspection duties – and as a result “allowed thousands of expatriates to fall victim of such illegal transactions”.

They added that simple checking would have uncovered the illegal transactions “thus saving the ministry from the embarrassment”. The officer in question was suspended and was later forced to submit his retirement papers following investigations initiated by a committee formed by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah. A newspaper report last week suggested that the committee was able to identify 80,000 persons who obtained visas illegally.- Agencies

KUWAIT: Some employees in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor have threatened to file a case if the ministry does not cancel the recent decisions related to promotions which, they claimed, were not in line with the regulations, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting sources.

Sources disclosed the decisions covered some department heads and directors, indicating the violations cited by the complainants included failure to abide by promotion criteria like seniority and educational qualifications. Sources said a number of irregularities were also uncovered and nothing has been done to punish those behind such acts; hence, the need for the intervention of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to address the problem.

KUWAIT: Ministry of Electricity and Water began its preparations for requirements during summer, as fears exist that increased demands for electricity may not be met. A working team will be formed shortly to set the plans to face supplying power without interruption, especially that the month of Ramadan coincides with the peak period in Kuwait.

Sources said the plans to be implemented is that to bring in additional gas generators and mobile electric stations that can be stationed at any sites that need additional electric production. The sources said “this will be in addition to the diesel generators that will be distributed in all governorates in case of any interruption

A Saleh

KUWAIT: Prices of 324 medications, pharmaceutical preparations and food supplements were given the green signal by Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah Al-Mubarak and were added to the price list which is issued by ministerial decision 69/2013 that sets the prices of medicine in the country, with a margin of profit that should not exceed more than 45% over the importation cost.

The decision stated that the number of medicines added to the list is 237, while the number of food supplements was 87. Meanwhile, an official source at the Health Ministry said the Central Tenders Committee gave its final approval in regards to building the new Sabah Hospital by a local company. He said the project will cost around KD 179 million, and expect the deal to be signed next month. The source said the new building will be near the Chest Hospital in Sabah Health Zone.

He said facilities in the new building will be integrated with a capacity of 600 beds and will include internal medicine department in addition to outpatient clinics and physiotherapy. It will be an eight storey building with two basements, and will contribute significantly in enhancing health services and remove the drawbacks that are prevalent in other hospital. The project will take four years to complete.

Meanwhile the source said the Ministry of Health supplied X-ray, radiotherapy, medical laboratories, medical supplies, dermatology, general and specialized surgery, anesthesia and ICU departments with equipment at a total cost of KD 150,000. On another issue, a financial and legal delegation that includes Assistant Undersecretary for Financial Affairs at the Health Ministry Mohammad Al-Azmi and Legal Advisor Mahmoud Abdelhadi visited Kuwait Health offices in London to evaluate it services to Kuwaiti patients. Informed sources said the timing of the visit is linked to return of Office Director Dr Yaqoub Al-Tammar to the Ministry and the appointment of new Director of the Technical Department Dr Majida Al-Qattan.

Sources said similar visits will be made to all Kuwait health offices abroad to evaluate its performance, adding that the Ministry intends to apply the law that stipulated that the head of the office for two years and can be renewed once only

KUWAIT: Embassy of Pakistan Notice: Due to some technical up-gradations in the Machine Readable Passport system, the embassy is not be able to entertain the MRP applicants on 29-Dec-2013 i.e. (Sunday)

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