KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major-General Abdulfattah Al-Ali said it is very important for the government agencies to cooperate with the ministry to end the traffic crisis on Kuwaiti roads, reports Al-Qabas daily.
Speaking to the daily, Al-Ali said the doors of his office are always open and that he does not deal with people who come with wasta. He added, the law is first applied on those who are supposed to arrest the violators and then the people. He said strict application of the law in the only way to get rid of the traffic crisis experienced by the country over the years. He stressed on the need for the government to cooperate with the ministry saying ‘You cannot clap with one hand.’
He disclosed 4,000 driving licences have been withdrawn from persons who had acquired them illegally. He also said the GTD has also reduced the number of issuance of driving licences from 7,000 a month to 1,200. He also disclosed the decrease in road accidents and this was evidenced by 19 death cases last month compared to an average of 50 every month. He also said due to strict implementation of traffic laws the number of citations have decreased drastically.
319 buses impounded: The General Traffic Department in a campaign against public transport buses are said to have impounded 319 buses and issued citations to drivers, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily. The daily saidsome of the citations were for reckless driving and others for speeding. The vehicles were impounded because of smoke arising from the exhaust.
KUWAIT: MP Dr Abdullah Al-Turaiji has said that Kuwaiti families residing in Block 12 in Salmiya are facing serious problem and family heads are concerned about the children and their personal life, as neighboring houses are full of bachelors. Al-Turaiji disclosed the majority of property owners in the area are members of the ruling family and traders who are only interested in making profits, indicating the landlords are greedy and rent out overcrowded apartments to many bachelors, which amounts to serious violation of building regulations. He noted the violation leads to waste of water and increase in the electricity load and exposing the area to fire, while the security of families residing in the vicinity is in peril.
He showed readiness to have direct discussion of the issue with the concerned ministers as a lawmaker “but being an ordinary citizen who’s sympathetic to the plight of compatriots, I decided to appeal to the Interior Minister, Electricity and Water Minister and their counterpart in the Municipality Affairs to solve this problem”. He urged the ministers to direct the concerned authorities to issue citations against violations at Block 12 of Salmiya and restructure the area to suit the purpose of its creation as family residential area for security and stability.
Meanwhile, MP Al-Turaiji has recommended a department to be launched at every governorate in Kuwait to take care of people with special needs. He wanted the departments to deal with transactions and procedures involving the category and their caregivers, and specified the renewal of their files, and medical reports from the Health Ministry and its affiliated authorities, as well as monthly support paid to them, traffic, immigration, citizenship and passport. Al-Turaiji said Articles 7 and 8 of the constitution are meant to strengthen the principle of justice, equity and equal opportunity among Kuwaitis. He stressed that approving salary increment for some employees while ignoring many others violates the principle of equality.
He also said financial grant is part of the goals and objectives for creating Kuwait Fund for Economic Development to assist developing nations, and considering the need to prioritize the welfare of citizens to overcome burdens, he recommended a clause to be added to create the Kuwait Development Fund to provide assistance in form of local grant to a segment of the Kuwaiti society. He recommended the establishment of fund under Social Insurance Authority to grant annual financial package from Kuwait Development Fund, saying the fund should specify the retirement of citizens according to prepared lists, which should be appropriate for anticipated cost.
KUWAIT: Criminal investigators arrested five suspects responsible for several ATM thefts reported recently in Kuwait after they managed to get away with KD 48,000, which they spent on drugs. Investigations led Jahra detectives to identify a stateless resident with a criminal record as the main suspect. Officers with an arrest warrant went to a farm in Al-Mutla desert where the suspect was hiding and arrested him. During questioning, the suspect admitted that he was responsible for the thefts and revealed information about his other accomplices. All four were arrested and it was discovered that two of them were recently pardoned from prison. Further questioning revealed that the suspects used a Chevrolet Silverado they stole from Sabah Al- Nasser to steal an ATM in Shuwaikh which contained KD 24,000 in cash, and later carried out a similar crime in Ardiya where they dragged an ATM containing KD 24,000 in cash as well. The suspects took the machines to Al-Mutla where they broke them open and extracted the money. They further said that they spent most of the money to buy drugs and host late night parties and were referred to the proper authorities to face charges.
KUWAIT: An informed source at the Commerce and Industry Ministry accounted for 60 non-operating companies, or what is known as ‘bogus companies’ during the first half of 2013.The source said the ministry accounted for over 1,900 operating companies during the same period in the fields of services, brokerage, industry, investment, holding, real estate, contracting, food, commercial sector, power, petroleum, banks and insurance. He said there are 471 operating companies that did not present financial data for 2012, including 132 companies in the services sector and 145 companies in the holding companies sector.The source said the number of companies that did not present financial data since their establishment until now is 116, including 50 in the services sector, 28 in the holding sector, 11 in industry and 11 in real estate.
KUWAIT: Middle East airlines saw a drop in passenger demand in July compared to the previous month due to the timing of Ramadan, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said. The region’s carriers still experienced the highest growth rate for any region, with July traffic up 7.8 percent compared to a year ago. “While this is a fall-off from even higher year-over-year growth in June (12.1 percent), part of the decline can be attributed to the timing of Ramadan, which has a dampening effect on demand,” IATA said in a statement. In 2013 Ramadan spanned most of July whereas in 2012, it occurred mostly in August. Capacity growth of 10.5 percent sent load factors down two percentage points to 78.3 percent.
Globally, overall revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) were up five percent compared to July 2012, IATA said. All regions were up year-on-year, with emerging markets recording the strongest increases. Capacity rose 5.5 percent on the previous July, ahead of demand, and industry load factor dropped 0.4 percentage points to 82.4 percent. “Passenger demand continues to be strong. But the story of emerging markets driving growth as developed economies stagnate could be shifting. We are still expecting growth of 5 percent this year. How that growth is achieved, however, appears to be at a turning point,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “The emergence of the Eurozone from an 18-month recession provided the biggest boost to traffic over recent months. In contrast, the deceleration of the Chinese economy has been a dampener on air travel, with weakness showing up throughout emerging Asian markets.” He added: “The price of oil, a huge cost item for airlines, is tracking political tensions in the Middle East. Along with the global cost impact of this, at the regional level there is the potential for disruption for one of aviation’s strongest and most consistent growth markets.”
KUWAIT: The new academic year is set to start within a week for the majority of schools and universities and the traffic nightmare will start again after the country’s residents enjoyed roads which were almost free of cars during the summer vacation when most of the people in the country were traveling.
Different state departments have been working together to find a solution to avoid traffic jams during rush hours every morning and noon, caused mainly by transportation for students. Joint Committee from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Kuwait University, and Public Authority for Applied Education and Training recently held a meeting to discuss changing the timing of schools, university and public authorities but no consensus was achieved in this matter.
The departments and ministries will meet again this week and will discuss the possibility of applying the proposal of Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs which suggests changing school timings to 7:00 am instead of 7:30 am while retaining university timings at 9:00 am. Officials at the Ministry of Education proposed changing the timings from 1:30 pm to 1:15 for kindergarten and elementary and timings for middle and high schools from 8:00 am-2:30 pm. Most parents were not satisfied with these proposals, especially ones with children studying in different grades. “I have three children; two in elementary and one in intermediate. So now if the difference between their leaving time is an hour, this will be very hard and I think that it will also cause jams on the roads as I have to rush home from school to pick up my other daughter and head to school again.
This will also cause me problems at work,” Yaseen, a 43-year-old father told the Kuwait Times. Officials proposed using schoolprovided transportation as one of the main solutions to avoid or at least decrease traffic jams but many parents say no to school buses for different reasons. “I don’t trust the bus drivers at all. My neighbor’s nine-year-old son was left disabled after he was seriously injured last year when the driver didn’t notice that he was getting down from the bus and hit him accidentally when he fell on the street. My friend told me how his son died when the bus stopped on the wrong side of a highway and a speeding car hit him and he died.
I think it’s dangerous and I won’t let my children travel by bus. I used to always take them to school and now both my kids are in university and drive their own cars,” said Osama, a 55-year-old Kuwaiti. Some parents are deterred by the time their kids spend on the bus. “My daughter’s school is just a five-minute drive from the house, so why should she spend two hours on the bus commuting every day? I tried the bus two years ago and it was terrible. The bus arrived at 5:30 am and she reached school at 7:30 am and on her way back, she left at 1:30 pm and reached home at 3:30 pm.
I have also heard stories of drivers abusing female students on the bus and I would never put my daughter at risk,” said George, a father of two. Some parents seek alternative solutions. “I have three boys and they go to the same school as my neighbor’s kids. I will talk to my neighbor and have him drop them in the morning and I’ll pick them up in the afternoon. This will help solve the traffic congestion,” said 45-year-old Mahmoud
By Nawara Fattahova
No citizen or expat will be allowed to travel or their transactions processed unless their security files are clean and all fines related to traffic, immigration, immigration detectives, nationality, passports and sentences implementations are paid even if it was only KD 5. Intensive and secret meetings will be held between heads of the service departments with officials from the IT department at the Interior Ministry to discuss and coordinate an advanced mechanism to make citizens and expats pay their fines, otherwise there will be strict measures including travel ban even if the fine is only KD 5! This measure is expected to be in effect next month, and was discussed after it was found that citizens and expats who face fines are careless about paying them and prefer to spend their money on travelling and do not think about paying the fines. This is expected to keep thousands from travelling until they pay their fines. An office is opened at Kuwait airport for travelers who face such cases especially that computers will block the names of citizens and expats who must pay fines of any kind and will be allowed to leave until they pay them. A source said this measure will make people respect the law and settle the fines and also to collect the neglected state money for years due to violators negligence.
Meanwhile Deputy Premier, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah thanked his Philippines counterpart Albert Rozario for the efforts of the Philippines government to secure the release of Kuwaiti citizen Ahmad Al-Kandari who was kidnapped in Manila.
Kuwait’s Ambassador to the Philippines Waleed Al-Kandari refused to say whether a ransom was paid for the release and only confirmed his release and that he is being questioned by Philippines security.