Kuwait News



KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali gave orders to register vehicles or motorcycles only for people with licenses to drive those vehicles. This was reported by Al-Jarida yesterday quoting Driving Test Department Director at the Capital Governorate, Major Abdulwahab Al-Omar.

“The decision came after it was noticed that many expatriates apply to register vehicles and motorcycles by their names while they are yet to obtain a driver’s license”, he explained. Decisions like this one helps address Kuwait’s traffic problem “in a very significant way”, said Al-Omar. “Finding a solution to the problem does not stop at road expansions or controlling issuance of driver’s licenses, but there are administrative decisions that continuously need to be activated and implemented in the long-term”, he said.

Meanwhile, Al-Omar announced that Maj Gen Al-Ali gave orders as well to subject a person arrested for reckless driving, serious or repeated traffic violations to a new driving test before the license is returned. “Driving test departments received authorization to reevaluate drivers through theory and practical tests and then release detailed reports that determine whether a driver is qualified to receive their license again”, Al-Omar said. — Al-Jarida

KUWAIT: Nearly a hundred doctors and medical staff members demonstrated outside the Amiri Hospital on Monday in a ‘silent protest’ against a decision made by the health committee in the parliament which upheld the Minister of Health’s order to transfer Dr Kefaya Malak to the Infectious Diseases Hospital. This was the second protest since the transfer order was made; which doctors insist was a ‘punishment’ for her instructions to move the ailing father of an MP out of the intensive care unit in order to make room for another patient.

The gatherers also indicated that more protests could be held until Dr Malak’s transfer order is reversed. “This was a silent gathering because the issue has already became clear”, Dr Saad Al- Zanki said as a spokesman for the protesting doctors. “Silence is the best way to express what cannot be described by words”. Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al- Sabah had reiterated earlier that Dr Malak’s transfer “meets the general interest” and denied once again “falling under pressure from any parliament member”.

He further rebuffed accusations that the ministry ‘made a deal’ with a health committee member by awarding a tender to a company owned by his brother in exchange of covering documents that convict the minister in the case. “The issue is left up to the investigations committee headed by former health minister Abdulwahab Al- Fawzan and consist of people from outside the ministry”, Al-Sabah said

KUWAIT: According to Adel Al-Saadoun, an astronomer at Al-Fintas Observatory, there won’t be rains on Saturday and Sunday as another meteorologist predicted yesterday. “According to weather predictions for the coming days, we should not expect rain at the beginning of next week. There will be clouds on Thursday but rain is not expected,” he told Kuwait Times. In case it rains, Kuwait is ready and nothing serious is expected to happen. “Kuwait dealt with the previous rains in very good way and after an hour, streets were normal. In fact anywhere in the world, streets get paralyzed for a certain period in emergencies such as heavy rain. But people here like to exaggerate. They are against the government, so if anything bad happens, they blame the government and grill the minister in charge. Kuwait was the best in the Gulf region to deal with the rains unlike Saudi Arabia and other countries that suffered more damages and loss of lives,” he added.

Regarding the earthquakes that took place earlier this week on the Iran-Iraq border, Saadoun believed it was not very strong so it won’t have strong aftershocks. “The slight tremor felt by people in Kuwait was not an aftershock – it was the earthquake itself. An aftershock should happen at the same location of the earthquake, and can happen a week, month or even a year later. In general, Kuwait is not in danger of earthquakes as we are not located on a fault line. But earthquakes can’t be predicted,” he explained. On any danger to the nuclear reactor in Bushehr in Iran, he said that this was a new reactor built to resist earthquakes up to 7 or 8 degrees on the Richter scale. “It’s not the same as the Japanese reactor in Fukushima that was mostly destroyed by water due to a tsunami.

Fortunately in Kuwait and the Gulf, tsunamis are unlikely due to shallow waters and small spaces,” stressed Saadoun. In case the reactor is damaged, radiation can spread in two ways – through air and water. “Through air it’s difficult to reach Kuwait as the wind usually is either northwest, so it will return to Iran, or it’s southwest and will go to Iraq. It can only reach us with easterly winds which is rare. If the water is polluted with radioactive material, then it’ll be dangerous as we depend here on desalinating seawater. Currents move the water to the head of the Gulf and bring it back to Kuwait, so this can’t be prevented,” he concluded.

By Nawara Fattahova

Kuwait: Border security officers foiled two people’s attempt to smuggle their friend who is wanted on state security charges on their way into the country on Sunday. Police grew suspicious when two Kuwaiti men in a vehicle with Saudi licenses requested urgency. Police searched the vehicle and found a person hiding under the backseat of the car. The man was identified as a Kuwaiti national who is wanted by the State Security Service. He was taken to the authorities for further actions while his friends were referred to face smuggling charges.

KUWAIT: Ethiopian authorities have banned local domestic workers to travel to Kuwait for work until recruitment procedures as well as regulations that organize the work of recruitment offices and medical tests in Kuwait are reviewed, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor insiders.

Speaking to Annahar on the condition of anonymity, the sources warned that the decision is likely going to increase fees for housemaid recruitment with the number of main markets becoming limited to the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. Several attempts to contact the Ethiopian embassy to confirm or deny the report were unsuccessful. It true, Ethiopia would join Indonesia which banned domestic workers from traveling to Kuwait in 2009 as well as other southeast Asian countries including Vietnam.

The step would also increase fees that recruitment offices collect which currently ranges between KD 650 and KD 750 to hire a domestic worker from the Philippines, according to the sources. The sources also confirmed that local recruitment offices contacted the interior and social affairs ministries with demands to finalize requirements necessary for Kuwait to sign agreements of understanding with countries that export domestic helpers that protects the rights of both workers and employers.

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


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