Kuwait News

 

 

KUWAIT: MP Kamel Al-Awadhi yesterday asked the interior minister about the number of expatriates legally residing in the country, those who own vehicles and the number of these vehicles. He also asked about the number of expatriates with article 20 residence permits (domestic workers including maids, cooks, drivers and others), those who own vehicles and the number of these vehicles. He asked about rumours that 8,500 people of this category own more than 10,000 vehicles. Awadhi, who was director of the immigration department before he was elected MP, also asked for the number of expatriates who own two cars and more, and inquired about reports that 15 Arabs and foreigners own between 300 and 1,000 vehicles each.

The lawmaker asked for the number of Kuwaitis who own three cars and more, and the number of Gulf citizens and bedoons who own more than two cars and if it was true that Gulf citizens own more than 110,000 vehicles. “Are there 110,000 Gulf citizens actually living in Kuwait?” he wondered. Awadhi also demanded the number of roaming taxi offices, and the number of cars registered by them.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Housing and Municipality Salem Al-Othaina said yesterday he was ready for the debate of the two grillings filed against him in tomorrow’s session and insisted that he will not demand a secret session. MPs filed the two grillings against the minister for allegedly failing to implement the housing strategy, thus causing the number of applications from citizens for houses to reach a record number of around 107,000 applications.

The grilling request was filed by MP Riyadh Al-Adasani. Two other MPs – Abdullah Al-Tameemi and Faisal Al- Duwaisan – also filed another request to grill Othaina holding him responsible for ordering the municipality to remove a number of tents erected by Shiites to mark Ashura. Othaina said he will not demand the second grilling to be debated behind closed doors amid reports that a number of MPs will demand that the grilling be debated in a secret session because of its sectarian sensitivity.

The minister yesterday presented to the National Assembly housing committee a plan that will greatly ease the housing problem. He said that he also informed the committee the legislation and measures needed to resolve the crisis. The Assembly is scheduled to hold a special debate on the housing issue next month. In another development, the Assembly’s health committee ruled yesterday that the controversial transfer of a senior Kuwaiti doctor from the Amiri hospital to the Infectious Diseases Hospital was “a correct decision” and taken without any violation on part of the minister.

Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah took the decision earlier this month to move Dr Kefaya Abdulmalek, who alleged that the decision was politically motivated to appease a lawmaker. Her colleagues said the decision was taken after the MP complained to the minister that the doctor did not keep his ailing father in the ICU for a sufficient time although the doctor said she did what was medically required. Committee Rapporteur MP Saadoun Hammad said that the committee discussed the issue in detail and found the transfer decision was normal and correct. Head of the committee MP Saad Al-Khanfour said that the panel found that the minister had taken similar decisions and Abdulmalek was not singled out. However, MP Hussein Al-Quwaiaan, who grilled the health minister, said he has registered his objection to the committee decision being a member in the panel, adding that the panel’s probe was not neutral. He said that the committee refused to review a text message sent by the health ministry undersecretary to Dr Kefaya on her mobile telling her to keep the lawmaker’s father in the ICU on the instructions of the minister.

 

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The cornerstone was formally laid yesterday of the new Algonquin College in Taima in Jahra. Although the building is already under construction and the first phase is half-finished, the laying of the foundation stone symbolizes their strong determination to start their operation as early as September next year. Algonquin and their local partner, Orient Education Services Company, want to begin classes in the upcoming academic year of 2014.

The groundbreaking ceremony was graced by Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas George and Algonquin College President & CEO Dr Kent D MacDonald with local partner and Orient Education Company Algonquin Kuwait Chairman Saud A Jafar. The project, according to MacDonald, took about eight years in the making before it actually materialized. “We are all excited on the opening. I am particularly excited on the impact it will have on the local economy here. It’s important to have a world-class university, but for the economy to prosper, it is also necessary for a country to have a world-class college of applied learning. That is what we are offering,” he said.

Algonquin College was first established in Ottawa in 1967. Currently they’ve got around 20,000 local and international students in different campuses in Canada. Algonquin College also has branches in various countries around the world including China, India, Montenegro and Saudi Arabia. “I am here particularly to check out on the progress and to formally lay the foundation stone for the college. The first phase is almost complete, and it’s impressive. Students will be in the campus by September next year,” he said. Algonquin College will offer preparatory courses for college followed by preparatory business and technology programs. “Algonquin is known for hands-on applied programming. We are clear in our objective – to provide programs that are badly needed in the industry right now. Hands-on education will prepare the workforce for the real world,” MacDonald mentioned.

The President & CEO pointed out that Algonquin is not in Kuwait only to offer educational programs to fill the gaps, but to identify the real need of the country’s workforce. “Our college has an advisory committee and researchers to study the industry’s needs and we know exactly what the community and industry need,” he explained. With regards to college competition, MacDonald said with their 50-year record in providing the highest quality of programs which help individuals get employed and prosper, he believes Algonquin will do well in this part of the world. Canadian Ambassador George said Algonquin’s reputation is known to many as having an excellent record in providing world-class, quality education. “I am pleased to see Algonquin in Kuwait. They are an excellent institution back in Canada. I myself took some programs at Algonquin. This college will bring Canadian-style education here and I am quite happy because it will allow local students to enroll and get the wide range of diplomas greatly needed by Kuwait’s workforce,” he added. The envoy also lauded their countries’ growing cooperation in education. “Their (Algonquin’s) presence can boost students from this part of the world. When they experience the educational system we offer, it will encourage more students from Kuwait to continue their higher studies in Canada. We have hundreds of universities offering the same quality of education. We are an oil producing country like Kuwait so perhaps we could share the best education we’ve got in Canada,” he pointed out. Canada hosts hundreds of students from Kuwait who are enrolled in various colleges and universities.

The ambassador also revealed another well-known university in Canada expects to join the roster of foreign universities in Kuwait by 2015. “We both appreciate value education and we are happy to host many Kuwaitis pursuing their education in Canada. In return, they are also welcoming Canadian students here. Visas will be issued in Kuwait very soon for both tourism and students. If you are a student in Canada, you’ll be allowed to study and work at the same time. You will be in world-class institutions in an open and friendly environment.” Algonquin College-Kuwait Chairman Jafar also expressed delight on the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is a happy moment for us – our focus now is in recruiting for the next academic year. We expect to admit students this winter for the opening come September.

Our focus will be on enhancing disciplines in Information Technology, Marketing and Business Administration. I also expect that through this college we will be able to transfer not only knowledge to our youth but also the technology greatly needed by the workforce,” he concluded. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a publicly funded English-language college and member of Polytechnics Canada located in Ottawa. The college serves the National Capital Region and the outlying areas of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. The college has three campuses – a primary campus located in Nepean, Ontario, and secondary campuses located in Perth, Ontario and Pembroke, Ontario.

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The cornerstone was formally laid yesterday of the new Algonquin College in Taima in Jahra. Although the building is already under construction and the first phase is half-finished, the laying of the foundation stone symbolizes their strong determination to start their operation as early as September next year. Algonquin and their local partner, Orient Education Services Company, want to begin classes in the upcoming academic year of 2014.

The groundbreaking ceremony was graced by Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas George and Algonquin College President & CEO Dr Kent D MacDonald with local partner and Orient Education Company Algonquin Kuwait Chairman Saud A Jafar. The project, according to MacDonald, took about eight years in the making before it actually materialized. “We are all excited on the opening. I am particularly excited on the impact it will have on the local economy here. It’s important to have a world-class university, but for the economy to prosper, it is also necessary for a country to have a world-class college of applied learning. That is what we are offering,” he said.

Algonquin College was first established in Ottawa in 1967. Currently they’ve got around 20,000 local and international students in different campuses in Canada. Algonquin College also has branches in various countries around the world including China, India, Montenegro and Saudi Arabia. “I am here particularly to check out on the progress and to formally lay the foundation stone for the college. The first phase is almost complete, and it’s impressive. Students will be in the campus by September next year,” he said. Algonquin College will offer preparatory courses for college followed by preparatory business and technology programs. “Algonquin is known for hands-on applied programming. We are clear in our objective – to provide programs that are badly needed in the industry right now. Hands-on education will prepare the workforce for the real world,” MacDonald mentioned.

The President & CEO pointed out that Algonquin is not in Kuwait only to offer educational programs to fill the gaps, but to identify the real need of the country’s workforce. “Our college has an advisory committee and researchers to study the industry’s needs and we know exactly what the community and industry need,” he explained. With regards to college competition, MacDonald said with their 50-year record in providing the highest quality of programs which help individuals get employed and prosper, he believes Algonquin will do well in this part of the world. Canadian Ambassador George said Algonquin’s reputation is known to many as having an excellent record in providing world-class, quality education. “I am pleased to see Algonquin in Kuwait. They are an excellent institution back in Canada. I myself took some programs at Algonquin. This college will bring Canadian-style education here and I am quite happy because it will allow local students to enroll and get the wide range of diplomas greatly needed by Kuwait’s workforce,” he added. The envoy also lauded their countries’ growing cooperation in education. “Their (Algonquin’s) presence can boost students from this part of the world. When they experience the educational system we offer, it will encourage more students from Kuwait to continue their higher studies in Canada. We have hundreds of universities offering the same quality of education. We are an oil producing country like Kuwait so perhaps we could share the best education we’ve got in Canada,” he pointed out. Canada hosts hundreds of students from Kuwait who are enrolled in various colleges and universities.

The ambassador also revealed another well-known university in Canada expects to join the roster of foreign universities in Kuwait by 2015. “We both appreciate value education and we are happy to host many Kuwaitis pursuing their education in Canada. In return, they are also welcoming Canadian students here. Visas will be issued in Kuwait very soon for both tourism and students. If you are a student in Canada, you’ll be allowed to study and work at the same time. You will be in world-class institutions in an open and friendly environment.” Algonquin College-Kuwait Chairman Jafar also expressed delight on the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is a happy moment for us – our focus now is in recruiting for the next academic year. We expect to admit students this winter for the opening come September.

Our focus will be on enhancing disciplines in Information Technology, Marketing and Business Administration. I also expect that through this college we will be able to transfer not only knowledge to our youth but also the technology greatly needed by the workforce,” he concluded. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a publicly funded English-language college and member of Polytechnics Canada located in Ottawa. The college serves the National Capital Region and the outlying areas of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. The college has three campuses – a primary campus located in Nepean, Ontario, and secondary campuses located in Perth, Ontario and Pembroke, Ontario.

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Government will not issue any decision that involves raising the fees for public services offered to citizens and expatriates on its own, reports Al-Anba daily quoting reliable sources. The same sources affirmed that any increment must be approved by the National Assembly first after some items in law No. 79/1995 related to the fees charged for using public utilities have been modified, adding the government will not submit the modified draft law until the beginning of fiscal year 2015/2016. In an unrelated development, parliamentary sources are surprised with the recent announcement made by government to suspend until next April cashing of allowances paid to unemployed citizens who are searching for jobs, except for those the government approves of.

They want to know why government will apply insurance law against unemployment when the concerned authority has yet to finalize its bylaws. Other sources said the basic items of the executive bylaws have been completed and will be published in the official gazette soon.

On the other hand, the Department of Citizenship and Passports has prepared the files of 900 non-Kuwaiti women who are married to Kuwaitis after their spouses filed applications on their behalf for the Kuwaiti citizenship. Sources said director general of the department Brigadier Sheikh Mazin Al- Jarrah gave instructions to finalize reviewing of files and refer those that fulfill stipulated conditions to the Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalid. The files will be forwarded to the Cabinet. (Arab times)

KUWAIT: According to a report published yesterday in a local Arab daily, the government is planning to limit the number of vehicles a person is allowed to own at two for citizens and one for expats. This proposal may be announced at the beginning of the next year. The proposal also calls to stop renewing registrations of old vehicles without specifying the period, which could be between 8 to 12 years.

The Ministry of Interior hasn’t received any official instructions to take action in this matter. “We are an executive department that applies the law and executes decisions. It’s possible that there are committees at the ministry studying this proposal, but we are not aware of it yet,” Maj Naser Buslaib, Head of the Media Department at the Ministry of Interior told Kuwait Times. Economic analyst Hajaj Bukhadour thinks such a proposal is not realistic and doesn’t believe it may be applied. “Such rules do not exist in any country, even the poor ones or those suffering from traffic woes. Through such unreal proposals, the officials in charge are trying to shirk the problem.

The officials pin the blame and responsibility on expats as they are not qualified and creative enough to find a solution for the traffic problem in Kuwait,” he pointed out. Development and improvement in administration is important to solve major problems. “We should improve the performance of the officials who are in charge of issuing decisions.

There are mistakes in any institution, but we need to improve and this is a great part of solving the problem. Such a proposal proves that officials in charge at the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Interior and other institutions didn’t study the problem correctly,” stressed Bukhadour. There are various solutions according to him. “Different public institutions should cooperate to organize the movement of people in streets through different timings of public employees, schools and others. Also, the government should provide modern and clean public transportation such as a metro or new modern buses that will respect the time and have stops near residential areas that are shaded to suit the hot weather when passengers are waiting for the bus,” he explained. He mentioned additional solutions. “Developing roads and the infrastructure is very important in solving the traffic problem. Also, the development of the Traffic Department will help in this matter. I think that such suggestions may bring better results in solving the traffic problem rather that coming up with unreal proposals,” concluded Bukhadour.

By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah kicked off the third Africa-Arab summit yesterday by pledging $1 billion in low-interest loans and the same amount in investments to African states. The two-day summit in Kuwait is exploring ways to promote economic ties between the Arab world, which includes wealthy Gulf states, and investment-thirsty Africa. “I ordered officials of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to provide soft loans worth $1 billion to Africa over the next five years,” Sheikh Sabah announced. The Amir added that Kuwait, in cooperation with the World Bank and other international institutions, had decided “to provide investments and investment guarantees worth $1 billion” over the coming years focused on infrastructure projects.

The Kuwait Fund is the state’s investment and aid arm in African, Asian and Arab countries. It has already provided billions of dollars in low-interest loans for development and infrastructure projects. Thirty-four heads of state, seven vice presidents and three heads of government are attending the summit, which brings together 71 countries and organisations. The meeting is the first of its kind since 2010, when leaders met in Libya prior to the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled long-term dictatorships in the region. The leaders are expected to approve measures and resolutions adopted by foreign ministers on Sunday aimed at boosting economic cooperation between countries in the two regions.

In his opening speech, Sheikh Sabah called for a focus on projects to achieve “food security” in Arab and African countries. African leaders who address the meeting said an economic partnership between Africa and the Arab world would benefit everyone. “It is a win-win partnership for the two sides,” said Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba. He called for increased cooperation between the private sectors and for the formation of an African-Arab business council. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also co-chairperson of summit, said that focused investments by sovereign wealth funds can lead to a “green revolution” in Africa “which is capable of meeting Arab food demands”.

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said the summit would discuss a proposal by the Africa-Arab Economic Forum to create an Arab-African common market for a combined population of around 1.2 billion people. The leaders will also look at how to accelerate investment flows into Africa, which is facing an acute investment gap. According to the World Bank, Africa needs around $30 billion a year just to develop its energy sector.

The International Monetary Fund says African economic growth was a solid 5.0 percent in 2012 despite the world economic crisis. Growth is forecast to ease slightly at 4.8 percent this year and rebound to 5.1 percent in 2014. In addition, Africa has 12 percent of global oil reserves and 42 percent of its gold deposits. The discovery of large quantities of natural gas off Africa’s east coasts has added to the continent’s economic potential. On the other hand, the energy-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states have accumulated surpluses of $2.0 trillion thanks to persistently high oil prices. A majority of the assets are invested in the United States and Europe.

The summit held in Libya three years ago adopted an Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy and a 2011-2016 Joint Action Plan to increase investment, trade and other economic projects. But implementation has been slow, in part because of the turmoil unleashed by the 2011 Arab Spring, which saw the leaders of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen toppled by mass protests and the outbreak of civil war in Syria.

Meanwhile, an Arab ministerial committee charged with monitoring the Middle East peace process blamed Israel for the impasse in negotiations with the Palestinians after the meeting. “Israel is responsible for the deep crisis in negotiations because of its intensifying of settlements (construction), repeated attacks against the sacred Al-Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem), seizing of Palestinian lands, and strengthening the blockade against Gaza,” it said in a statement.

The committee, which is chaired by Qatar and includes 13 Arab countries, met on the sidelines of the Arab-African summit in the presence of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The latest peace talks, launched at Washington’s urging in July, have shown little sign of progress, with the Palestinians objecting to repeated Israeli announcements of new settlement construction on occupied territory. A major spike in settlement announcements last week prompted the resignation of the entire Palestinian negotiating team. But on Sunday Abbas told AFP that peace talks with Israel would continue for the full nine months agreed with Washington -”regardless of what happens on the ground”. – Agencies

KUWAIT: Education Ministry Undersecretary Mariam Al-Wutaid yesterday declared that today (Wednesday) will be a holiday for school students of all grades. She added in the press statement the announcement does not include teachers and other educational staff, for whom it will be a usual working day. The decision was reached after a study by assistant undersecretaries of the education ministry and extends to all public, private and special needs schools.

Meanwhile, Director-General of the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) Dr Ahmad Al-Athari said yesterday that all students of colleges and institutes, except for teaching and administrative staff, will be on holiday tomorrow. “The decision has been taken as a result of the bad weather and heavy rains in the last two days,” he told KUNA, noting that the rains damaged some PAAET’s facilities. – KUNA

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