KUWAIT: Kuwait Diving Team of the Environmental Voluntary Foundation lifted remains of sunken boats, tires and other dumped materials littering the seabed in Kuwait Bay. Team leader Walid Al-Fadhel said on Saturday that the divers brought to surface a sunken ship, remains of a two-ton yacht, others of a sunken boat weighing three tons from Oshairej shores. They also removed abandoned wooden and plastic materials, fishing nets weighing five tons and monitored fishermen picking crabs and snails in an illegal fashion. He reiterated the appeal upon seagoers and fishermen to abide by rules for safeguarding the Kuwaiti marine environment.
The Kuwaiti divers have not suspended activities at sea to rid the marine environment of harmful objects left behind by negligent persons. Moreover, they have been regularly examining condition of coral reefs in territorial waters despite extraordinary conditions prevailing in the country due to the coronavirus crisis.
The fishermen had in the past lifted various objects harmful to the reefs, such as abandoned heavy anchors and dumped nets. The reefs off the Kuwaiti coast had also suffered from bleaching in the peak of past summers. The foundation along with state authorities have repeatedly urged sea goers and seamen to refrain from littering the sea and dumping objects that hurt coral reefs and other marine creatures. —KUNA
KUWAIT: Lawmakers are pressing the government for a definitive plan to substantially reduce the number of expatriates within one to two years, rapporteur of the National Assembly’s human resources development panel said yesterday. MP Osama Al-Shaheen however said the government has so far refused to commit to such a plan and is seeking a loose “framework” that leaves details and figures to the government.
Expats at present form 70 percent of the population with 3.35 million residents, while Kuwaitis form just 30 percent with 1.45 million, according to official statistics. Shaheen said the prime minister has pointed out that the ideal situation is by reversing the percentage to 70 percent citizens and 30 percent expats, while the government in studies talks about a 60-40 ratio in favor of Kuwaitis.
But the reality is far from the two proposals, said Shaheen, adding that the government opinion on this issue must be united before even debating the required plan. Reducing expats to just 30 percent of the population means making them around 700,000, which is impossible by all counts simply because the number of domestic helpers currently stands at 750,000.
Shaheen said what is important now is “to begin in a real and effective way”, which has not happened until now, adding that the number of illegals who left voluntarily was only 29,000 out of 150,000, “so what can be done with those living legally in the country?” Shaheen said the Assembly panel has given the government ample time to study proposals submitted by lawmakers, adding that MPs are hoping for a resolution to this issue within a year or two at most. But he acknowledged that the problem, which has been accumulating for the past 50 years, requires a longer time to resolve.
Head of the panel MP Khalil Al-Saleh said in press statements yesterday that Kuwait can reduce the number of expats by one million within three months after resuming commercial flights. He said this number includes around 168,000 illegals – 500,000 “roaming workers” who have no fixed jobs, in addition to expats who would be laid off from government jobs.
MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said yesterday that the increasing number of violations against marginal expat workers and trafficking in persons are the main reasons for asking the minister of social affairs to prepare a report on measures taken against violators. He said the request, which was approved by the Assembly, calls on the minister to submit the report within just one month and should include names of those involved.
In a related development, the issue of the Bangladeshi MP detained in Kuwait on human trafficking and money laundering charges appears to be snowballing to include several leading officials and lawmakers. Footage posted on social media yesterday showed the Bangladeshi lawmaker speaking in the Bangladeshi parliament and claiming that he was making some KD 100,000 daily in Kuwait and that he was spending a lot on poor people and charities in his country. Local press said leading figures from the government have been added to his list of accomplices, in addition to at least two current Kuwaiti MPs and an ex-MP.
Meanwhile, the manpower authority yesterday explained in a press release that emergency teams were dispatched to the scene of a protest in Mahboula last week and found over 148 workers demonstrating because they had not received salaries for March, April and May. The employer was summoned, who said his contract with the government had expired on Jan 22 and his contract with the foreign partner had expired on Jan 29.
The employer added that on June 25, he had submitted a portfolio of documents indicating the contract’s expiry and an affidavit from the foreign partner bearing responsibility for the workers’ financial, administrative and legal liabilities and rights. The authority added that on receiving this portfolio from the company, the matter was referred to Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel on June 26.
Aqeel was asked her to contact the ministers of oil and electricity and water to take proper measures and withhold the company’s cash deposit and any due payments, as well as administratively suspend dealing with the company until the workers’ dues are paid. The authority said despite notifying the workers of the measures taken so far, they have continued their agitation.
KUWAIT CITY: The Council of Ministers will likely adopt to the recommendations by supreme ministerial committee who follow up on day to day reports and statistics on status of infections and its spread of Corona virus on it first stage of evaluation on gradual return to normalcy plan.
Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled has determined that five conditions must be met to overcome it and move to the second stage.
Informed sources stated that due to high number of infections of Kuwaiti citizens in recent days basically for not following health instructions and guidelines may delay the transition to the second stage in full.
• Bader Al-Kharafi: “Now more than ever, the need for a fundamental systemic change is central to the region’s transformation and growth”
• Zain Group included in FTSE4Good Index Series, recognizing company’s ESG standards
•Report focuses on providing Meaningful Connectivity through digitalization, whereby Zain aims to unlock the opportunities of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
KUWAIT: Zain Group, the leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the publication of its ninth annual sustainability report, entitled “The Road to the Future”. Embedding sustainability in every aspect of its business, Zain is dedicated to its digital strategy of consistently working towards developing the mobile telecommunications ecosystem centered on a vision of inclusive development that leads to socio-economic growth.
In this consolidated Group-wide report, the company focuses on the concept of providing Meaningful Connectivity which triggers systemic change, ultimately creating room for development and growth, aiming to address the company’s social, economic and environmental impacts. Noteworthy, is the FTSE Russell’s inclusion of Zain Group in its FTSE4Good Index Series, the world’s leading Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) index, a key indicator to help investors identify companies that meet globally recognized sustainability standards.
‘The Road to the Future” report includes Zain’s key ESG indicators which is primarily based on the company’s sustainability strategy and initiatives, established on six main pillars with its activities driven by the following imperatives: Creating shared value; Promoting social innovation; Inclusivity and leaving no one behind; Addressing Sustainable Development Goals; Tackling climate change; and Youth empowerment.
Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi commented: “Now more than ever, the need for a fundamental systemic change is central to the region’s transformation and growth. In our world, digital and technological advancements offer endless opportunities to not only address negative impacts but create positive ones. Through digitization, our wide range of services, and reach, Zain aims to unlock the possibilities that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer and the publication of this report is testament to our ongoing efforts and resolve.” Kharafi continued, “FTSE Russell’s inclusion of Zain Group in its FTSE4Good Index Series reconfirms our commitment to embedding ESG principles in every operational aspect of the company.”
On her part, Zain Group’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Jennifer Suleiman said, “In an era of rapid change and disruption, having a forward-thinking vision is an essential aspect of our sustainability strategy. At Zain, we welcome the tides of disruption as they often provide us the chance to evolve in a positive manner.” Suleiman added, “It is short-sighted for a company not to consider what the impact of its operations are on the environment and adjust its way of doing business accordingly. The reason we remain so committed to publishing our sustainability reports is to be extremely forthcoming of our own experiences in this area, and to inspire others to follow suit and have real conversations and implement real solutions in the pursuit of truly sustainable programs.”
Action in motion
Internal and external stakeholders alike are at heart of Zain’s sustainability activities. Throughout 2019, some of the significant developments undertaken by Zain and its operations include:
1. Regarding the universally important issue of climate change, Zain became a member of the GSMA Climate Action Task Force with the objective to play a more strategic role in addressing the company’s environmental footprint. By becoming a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project, which provides a reporting framework and guidance to address climate change, Zain also installed 849 outdoor (base station/power) solutions and 91 small shelters across its operations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while deploying 25 solar and hybrid base solutions. These actions symbolize a firm step by Zain in the fight against climate change.
2. Zain continued to solidify its supply chain process through implementing initiatives such as the Supplier Assessment Questionnaire; joining up to the Supplier Code of Conduct; alignment to international best practices through Zain’s ESMP Guidelines; and supporting two audit visits per year on selected suppliers on social and environmental criteria.
3. From an economic perspective, the company has expanded its life-enhancing digital financial services available in Jordan and Iraq under the Zain Cash brand, to now include Saudi Arabia, under the brand name Tamam, an end-to-end digital microlending platform offering micro-loans to vulnerable communities in the Kingdom. 52 percent of men, and 35 percent of women possess a bank account in the Kingdom, though among the unbanked population, 86 percent men and 75 percent of women own a mobile phone. Moreover, Zain Kuwait and Boubyan Bank announced plans for the development of the first digital platform for Islamic banking services, marking the first digital partnership of this nature in the region made between one of the biggest regional telecom entities. This encourages the development of digital banking services helping support startups and emerging enterprises and contribute to the incredible digital innovation taking place across the region.
4. With respect to the people at Zain, who are the heart of the organization, the company further enhanced its Gender Diversity and Inclusion program building its Women Empowerment initiative aiming to develop and increase female leadership. Furthermore, Zain launched its WE ABLE program to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace aiming to become Disability Inclusive by 2022 and became a signatory to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network Charter. Zain firmly believes it is important that the contributions that people with disabilities can make in our workforce and in society in general are given ample opportunity to be recognized.
5. Moreover, Zain’s Youth (ZY) Empowerment Program plays an instrumental role in empowering youth in the region. Initiatives launched under ZY include Generation Z; a year-long graduate program in Kuwait that enhances digital and behavioral skills preparing them for future employment and contributing to society at large; Zainiac, an internal e-platform that aims to encourage intrapreneurship within the organization and thereafter support in the incubation process and developing the business idea, noting the initiative has received over 700 unique ideas; and Reverse Mentoring, aiming to improve diversity and inclusion by reducing gaps between younger and senior employees, whereby youth act as a sounding board for new product launches and initiatives, better understanding one another’s perspectives.
6. Engaging with its teams across the region, Zain organized several forums to align departmental strategies and objectives with the main aim of sharing best practices and scaling the opportunities of Meaningful Connectivity that empower the communities Zain serves. Functions included Regulatory, Digital, Risk Management, Commercial, Legal, Procurement and Technology.
7. From a products and customer perspective, Zain launched 5G networks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, expanded much needed 4G networks across other key markets and continued to expand its B2B presence expanding its reach by including SoHo (small and home offices) and SMEs segments. Furthermore, the company is moving forward in its plans to set up a centralized ICT and Digital professional services hub that serves Zain’s operations and other business entities across Zain’s footprint and beyond. This hub will provide Cloud and Cybersecurity services, IoT, Big Data and Analytics as well as a wider spectrum of new technologies covering areas related to Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Drone solutions to name a few. It is through these key steps that exemplify the efforts that the connectivity Zain provides takes a life of its own, and embodies the true meaning of Meaningful Connectivity, further accelerating much needed systemic change.
8. The company also scaled its Zain Group API, growing it exponentially in products offered and customer usage in Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and expanding it during the year to Bahrain, Iraq and Oman. The social ambition is to open some of Zain’s assets to emerging developers both regionally and internationally with the aim of creating new opportunities for young entrepreneurs to partner with Zain. This will allow the company to provide their services to our customers therefore expanding their reach ultimately creating shared value for both the company and the entrepreneurs. One relevant example that had multiple benefits, is Zain’s launch of the Zain Kids application offering educational games and videos that can be managed by parents.
9. Safeguarding future generations and mitigating negative impacts of broadband connectivity is an especially important part of Zain’s sustainability agenda, and the company reinforced its commitment to protecting children, publishing a report titled “Child Online Safety: Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation” online under the Broadband Commission Working Group: Child Online Safety.
The above are just a few examples of the many initiatives outlined in the Report. With the MENA region undergoing drastic changes, Zain’s sustainability agenda will continuously evolve so that the company remains of value to all our stakeholders.
The “The Road to the Future” report is aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles adhering to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards reporting guidelines. In accordance with Zain’s sustainability agenda, the 2019 sustainability report is available only in digital format and can be downloaded for free by visiting: https://zain.com/en/sustainability/sustainability-report/
KUWAIT: Minister of State for Services Affairs and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Mubarak Al-Haris announced Sunday a three progressive phases plan developed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to re-operate commercial flights. In a press statement after his meeting with DGCA officials, the minister said that the Kuwait International Airport will operate in the first stage at 30 percent of its capacity, then will rise to 60 percent in the second stage, and back to normal level in the third and final stage. The minister affirmed that DGCA was keen, when developing the plan, to abide by the Cabinet decisions, taking into account adherence to the preventive and precautionary measures issued by the health authorities. — KUNA
وزیر مملکت برائے خدمات برائے امور اور وزیر مملکت برائے قومی اسمبلی مبارک مبارک حارث نے اتوار کو تجارتی پروازوں کو دوبارہ چلانے کے لئے ڈائریکٹوریٹ جنرل سول ایوی ایشن (ڈی جی سی اے) کے ذریعہ تیار کردہ تین ترقی پسند مراحل کے منصوبے کا اعلان کیا۔ ڈی جی سی اے حکام سے اپنی ملاقات کے بعد ایک پریس بیان میں ، وزیر نے کہا کہ کویت بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈ Airportہ پہلے مرحلے میں اپنی صلاحیت کا percent of فیصد کام کرے گا ، پھر دوسرے مرحلے میں بڑھ کر to 60 فیصد اور معمول کی سطح پر واپس آئے گا۔ تیسرا اور آخری مرحلہ۔ وزیر نے تصدیق کی کہ ڈی جی سی اے صحت کے حکام کی طرف سے جاری احتیاطی اور احتیاطی تدابیر پر عمل پیرا ہونے کو سامنے رکھتے ہوئے ، کابینہ کے فیصلوں کی پاسداری کے منصوبے کو تیار کرنے کے خواہاں تھا۔
KUWAIT: As all schools and colleges have been closed in Kuwait due to the pandemic for months and learning is suspended till August, most colleges have shifted to online learning to avoid losing this semester. For some practical majors, this way of learning is not possible, but for many it has been successful. Kuwait Times spoke to some college students to gauge their opinion.
Ali, a student of business at Gulf University for Sciences and Technology (GUST), said online courses were something new for everyone at the university, including instructors and students. “It was a bit hard for everyone to keep up with everything, especially on such short notice. But thanks to our departments and our president, they made everything very clear and as easy as they could while maintaining the high quality of teaching,” he told Kuwait Times.
On the other hand, he thinks it is also stressful. “I think it is hard to manage. I prefer the traditional way of teaching due to the way information is conveyed. Online courses are not as effective as traditional teaching. I see the real problem in the way the student absorbs information. Also, the environment plays a big role as well. To sum up, online courses are easy and hard at the same time. Traditional learning is the most effective,” declared Ali.
Omar Al-Mansour, a student of aircraft maintenance engineering-avionics at the College of Aviation Technology (CAT), who enrolled in 2019, took the e-learning course as he is in the foundation year. Online learning is not available for other grades due to the practical aspect of the course, which can’t be done online.
Omar finds e-learning easy. “The academic year started smooth and easily, until we faced the pandemic that resulted in closing the college, which shifted to the e-learning system for the foundation year. I appreciate the efforts of the college’s administration to take this step and provide online learning. In general, I haven’t faced any complications in this online course, except that it needs intensive concentration,” he said.
“Communication with teachers and asking questions is easy. Also, the system of homework is easy, and I improved my skills in researching during this semester. This improved students’ knowledge, as they are depending on themselves more in searching for information. The teachers are very helpful after each lecture, and they arrange appointments for more questions and explanations using the same technology of e-learning. I hope e-learning is also applied in the next semesters to preserve the academic schedule and graduate on time without delay,” Omar added.
Afrah Al-Ajmi, also a student of aircraft maintenance engineering at CAT, agrees the online course is easy and a success. “It is a comfortable way of learning, especially since it saves time and we avoid the traffic on the streets. I’m not worried of the coming semester, and I’m ready to take the course whether it is online or traditional. The teacher taught me how to use this system, which is really easy,” she pointed out.
KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah stressed the necessity of enhancing cooperation between the parliament, government and judiciary to implement the noble directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. In a press statement after his meeting with the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem on Sunday, His Highness the Prime Minister asserted that synergy in this coronavirus crisis is an urgent necessity to achieve the interests of both the country and the people. His Highness the Prime Minister hailed the great role played by the parliament by proposing ideas and suggestions, offering visions, and passing laws to support the government’s efforts.
Ghanem, meanwhile, praised His Highness the Prime Minister’s sincere efforts to tackle the novel coronavirus crisis and combat corruption. In a press statement after the meeting, Ghanem said that these meetings represent an embodiment of cooperation between the authorities. These meetings and mutual visits also come in implementation of the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, he added. —KUNA