KUWAIT CITY: The Criminal Court adjourned cases filed against some 67 expatriates accused of falsifying university degrees to obtain drivers license for hearing until Oct 8.
The Public Prosecution charged the expatriates who are from Syria, Jordan and Egypt and entered the country on family visas for securing driver’s license with forged documents, as they didn’t meet the criteria of KD 400 salary and university degree.
They are also charged for helping six other expatriates to obtain fake certificates for KD 300-KD 500 after they were able to use their forged certificates to serve their purpose. The Interior Ministry officials who discovered the disloyalty referred them for Public Prosecution.
‘Driving school paper mandatory’
Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali declared that a certificate from the driving school is a mandatory requirement in order to apply for the driving test, reports Al-Rai daily. He stressed that no applicant can take the driving test without submitting a certificate from the driving school where he obtained driving skills as well as learnt the rules to follow while driving on the roads in the country. He insisted that the certificate must include the skill level of the applicant, number of classes he took, the details of the driving school where he took the classes from and the name of his trainer.
Major General Al-Ali explained that the applicants will undergo a practical driving test on the street to test their level of driving skill as well as a theory test on the computer system to test their understanding of the driving rules of the country. He indicated that the General Traffic Department will supervise the driving schools and evaluate the ability of the trainers to ensure they are committed in following the schools’ work regulations. Meanwhile, Major General Al-Ali revealed the department’s intention to set up new buildings for the departments of driving tests in Farwaniya and Mubarak Al-Kabeer this year as well as launch online tests based on instructions from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Khalid Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior Lt Ghazi Al-Omar
KUWAIT: The political situation in the Middle East is not stable, and people are worried of the repercussions of US attacking Syria. Some are anxious while others aren’t bothered too much and feel safe in Kuwait. The government tried to allay fears by announcing that it is ready for any emergency situation. George, a 35-year-old Filipino expat is worried of the situation and the planned attack on Syria. “I already bought canned food to last me for two weeks at least and some of my friends also have done the same. In case of an attack, or if the war spreads across the region, I will head back to Philippines with my family as it’s quite far away. But if everything is fine, I will continue to stay in Kuwait,” he told the Kuwait Times. Osama, a professional expat photographer is optimistic and thinks that nothing will happen. “I think US is only threatening and they won’t attack.
In fact, I don’t care if they attacked Syria since it’s quite far from here and I wouldn’t mind going there to take photos of the war, if it happens. In general, I feel safe in Kuwait,” he pointed out. Nand, a 50-year-old doesn’t believe that any great attack will take place. “The United States only wants to save its face internationally and not really interested in regime change in Syria.
At the most, it might be an attack on a small scale, so I’m not really worried. My philosophy is to not worry as it won’t help or change reality. I feel safe here and have no plans to leave or buy extra food supplies,” he stated. Ahmadi Co-op noted that the sales are in normal range, and they are not running short of supplies in the canned food department. Khaitan Co-op experienced a shortage during these last two days but that’s only because they were taking stock. Also the Diaya Co-op didn’t notice any increase in sales or demands for canned food over the past few days. Siham, a 29-year-old Lebanese expat also thinks she is safe here. “We don’t feel the threat of any attack on Syria here as they do in Lebanon and Syria.
Hezbollah threatened to attack any country supporting the US attack which may reach the GCC countries, but I feel safe here and I hope nothing will happen. This is one of the primary reasons why I’m living in Kuwait. I have started saving to help my family in Lebanon in case they need something, but I don’t think my life will change,” she noted. Ibtisam, a 33-year-old Syrian expat is only worried about her family members living abroad. “In general, I don’t think the threat is very serious, and here we are far from it. Kuwaiti government stated that everything is safe and we don’t have to panic. Even when the war on Iraq in 2003 happened, we didn’t suffer, despite Iraq being our neighbor.
I think that maybe some demonstrations related to the attack may take place in Kuwait but the government will control it. I’m only worried about some of my family members who are still in Syria and I pray that nothing will happen to them,” she explained. Abdulwahab, a 55-year-old, said that he has been through more terrifying situations in Kuwait but still never thought of leaving. “I’m optimistic and I don’t think something bad will happen, and even if it did, Syria is far from here and is not Kuwait’s immediate neighbor, unlike other countries. Besides, I don’t have any money to save and I’m living my life normally,” he admitted.
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: Three months ago, the price of this precious yellow metal came down a considerable level in the world market. The reason, according to some analysts, was connected to the improving US economy. The collapse in gold prices – from a peak of $1,900 an ounce in August 2011, to under $1,250 at the beginning of July 2013 – represents a vote of confidence in the global economy. During a downward spiral, customers took advantage of the decline. Although it was short-lived, it was enough for some people to buy and get a pretty discount on the metal – especially Indians who love and adore gold. “It was a short but really great relief for many Indians who are investing in gold crazily,” said P Pouldas, owner of Plaza Atlas, International Jewelry.
He said, the downward trend can also be attributed to the fact that gold in the United States was sold to invest in the stock market and other economic prospects. “Usually if the economy is improving, the overall attitude of investors is positive to push the trend forward. So, if they have savings in gold, they will sell it and invest it in the market,” he added. But it was short-lived. Now, the price is climbing rapidly and many blame uncertainty in the Middle East for it. “We are witnessing an upward trend, mainly because of rumors of an impending war,” he said. “At a time like this, people don’t want to invest.
They want to hold on to their money until the rumors are confirmed. This will automatically affect our buying and selling,” he explained. For some Indians like Felomina, the rise in gold price spells bad news. “I love to invest money by buying gold. But the price now is not what it was four months ago. It’s really expensive and not affordable but I will still buy, albeit for a smaller amount, for my daughters,” Felomina admitted she’s been buying gold for herself and for her children. “I have three daughters and the only reason I have been working so hard is for us to save some money and buy gold for them.
I have to invest for them, because it is our custom to decorate our daughters with gold during their wedding, so that they can have a better life,” she said. Felomina works as a secretary at a private firm in Kuwait City. According to her, six months ago, the Indian government had already implemented a 10 percent tariff on all gold purchases. “If you buy gold now in India, it is far more expensive than what it was six months ago because our government imposed a tax on gold,” said Felomina, who is originally from Kerala but now lives in Goa.
Arabs are not that fond of buying gold though they do buy it during holidays like Eid and on other special occasions. Indians, however, according to Pouldas, will continue to purchase gold regardless of price. “They will continue to buy gold because the culture demands it.
They usually save for the future. During hard times, they can easily go to the bank and get money, so even the poor will make sure they have some gold reserve,” Pouldas added. Prices of gold in Kuwait market are heavily dependent on the international price tags. On the onset of the global financial crisis, the price of gold has often been portrayed as a barometer of global economic insecurity. Gold has hit a record price of $1,900 an ounce.
The price tag though will increase dramatically when the precious metal is turned into ornaments like necklaces, rings, earrings, bangles or armbands where craftsmanship is usually counted as ‘making charges’.
By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Recently some MPs proposed approving conscription law in Kuwait. This draft was proposed about five years ago, but after the political situation in the Middle East witnessed turbulence, this proposal was highlighted again at the parliament session. The proposal reinstates mandatory military service in Kuwait after Kuwait’s parliament suspended obligatory military service in 2001. According to this draft, conscription is necessary for Kuwaiti men aged between 18-35 years of age, who will have to undergo military training and serve in one of the army’s units.
University graduates will have to serve for nine months minimum, while those without a university degree will serve for a year. This law will exclude students of courses from the army, Ministry of Interior, National Guards, Fire Department, or volunteers at these institutions. Among the ones who will be excluded from enlistment are single children, the oldest sons and brothers of martyrs. Joining service may be delayed for a year if the man is the sole provider at home for his parents or if his mother is divorced or widowed and is dependent on him.
Similarly, a widower with young children can buy time before starting service. According to the MPs who proposed this law, their aim is to encourage Kuwaitis to help meet the requirements of the defense ministry against possible threats, and also to raise strong youth who can shoulder responsibility. 25-year-old Khalid thinks this law draft should be organized in terms of the age category. “A 25- or 26-year-old man is usually working. He could be a doctor or teacher and this enlistment could hold him back from progressing in his career and may create a vacuum in these professions.
Conscription should be enforced upon graduation from high school between June and September and then for another three months during the next vacation as this is the time when students are free,” he told Kuwait Times. “As a businessman, attending such a course will affect my plans and complicate my work. On the other hand, I will join military service, as it’s my duty towards my country. This service helps the applicants develop their character.
Military service should be improvised to suit modern life better,” added Khalid. The law may also include single Kuwaiti women between 18 and 30 years of age in activities that suit their nature. “I agree with the idea of Kuwaiti women joining mandatory military service as most armies around the world have women soldiers. It’s necessary as we make up the other half of the community and this service is our national duty. I think there will be better communication between women and men if both are a part of the army. If I was single, I would definitely join,” said Fatma, a 27-year-old married Kuwaiti. Some Kuwaitis have had a bad experience with the previous conscription service. “If the new system and conditions of the mandatory military service are the same as the old one, then I’m 100 percent against it. It was a waste of time and money. I’m a technician, and I had to serve for two years as a guard at one of the gates, although it had nothing to do with what I had studied. It made no sense because even though a technician’s position was open in the army, they made me guard the gate,” grumbled Faisal, a 35-year-old Kuwaiti. “The law should organize this service to let people serve or work in their field. For instance, they should not force a pilot to leave his job to work as a guard at any gate, when there is a shortage in the airline company where he works.
In the military, there is a need for pilots and he could serve as a pilot instead of just guarding some gate,” he further said. Nawaf, a 30-year-old citizen, thinks this is the best time to apply this law. “The current political situation in the region in not stable and we need to be prepared for all eventualities. If something like the Iraqi invasion happened again, we should at least have basic military knowledge. We are a rich country and don‘t have to scrimp and save here and besides, we are surrounded by three big, strong countries, so we really need mandatory military service. If it was applied, I will definitely go but on the condition that they pay me the same salary I’m getting now. I have financial obligations and it’s not logical for me to leave my job now that pays me KD 2,000 to join service at a KD 200 pay. I also think that women should be allowed to enlist as well since they have a lot of free time which they waste in cafes and restaurants,” he opined
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: In a bid to reduce the number of on sick leaves, the health ministry announced its intention to automatically link government hospitals and specialized polyclinics’ data systems with that of the Civil Services Commission (CSC). MoH’s undersecretary, Dr Khaled Al-Sahlawi met with CSC undersecretary, Mohammed Al-Roumi to discuss the process. “New legislation’s are being considered to limit sick leaves”, he said. Ministry of Public Works decided to take action against several contractors for violating the contracts signed with the ministry concerning general conditions and delaying payment of fines. Meanwhile, during a meeting with his undersecretaries, Abdul Aziz Al-Ibrahim, Minister of Public Works and Minister of Electricity and Water, stressed the need to develop and improve performance in various development projects. Al-Ibrahim also said that he ordered all technical sectors to report on their respective agendas, projects and their subsequent followup.
Threats to grill Dr Rola Dashti, Minister of Planning, seem to have snowballed, according to sources, who said that three MPs led by Safa Al-Hashim are set to file a grilling motion against Dashti. MP Osama Al-Tahous said Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, Minister of Education and Higher Education, has to choose between either cooperating with the parliament or get ready to answer questions. Al- Tahous added that Al-Hajraf had been delaying accreditation of PhD degrees and universities. Al-Tahou also filed an inquiry against Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs, over the ministry’s strategy and the youth-oriented projects the ministry has begun.
MP Mohammed Al-Howailah, Chairman of the Parliamentary Educational Committee said that the committee was preparing its next meeting agenda and that it would include various educational issues like the need to establish more governmental universities, organizing work in private schools and linking the outcome of the educational process with the job market to create more job opportunities for citizens. He added that Kuwaiti PhD holders must be appointed in Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training.
He also urged the Ministry of Education to prepare well for the new year. MP Khalil Abdullah Abul, the parliamentary educational committee member called for a meeting to determine the committee’s agenda and priorities and said that setting priorities requires a state vision and a clear road map. “We can’t set priorities without a vision”, he opined, pointing out that MPs had no right to interfere in appointing PhD holders in any educational facilities simply because he was Kuwaiti. “This is unacceptable”, he stressed. He also called for creating more equal job opportunities and urged fellow MPs to stop interfering to appoint less competent people while more qualified ones are without jobs.
He also said that the session called to discuss regional changes which should focus on the possible impacts and the measures to be taken to avoid negative ones. “It should not be held so that some people can start cursing, insulting and shouting. They do this at home if they like”, he underlined. The Joint Group Contracting Co said that building a pipeline to carry treated water from the Ministry of Public Works center in Subbiya to the research center in Kabed would cost KD 1.69 million.
Medical errors MP Adel Al-Kharafi filed an inquiry with the Minister of Electricity and Water, Abdul Aziz Ibrahim about suspending a number of tenders and projects. Al-Kharafi queried about the results of investigating assistant undersecretaries over the past 10 years, the smart meter tender and whether he had the audit bureau’s permission to launch the Jaber Bridge project. The Health Ministry is reconsidering the idea of establishing a special fund to pay compensations for medical errors committed by staff at the Health Ministry facilities. Notably, the fund was suggested earlier and MoH has now revived it to implement it after the Cabinet approves it.
The project aims to make doctors pay monthly subscriptions which would be used to pay compensations ordered by courts in case of medical errors. Ali Al-Jazzaf, Deputy Secretary General of the Justice and Peace Forum, announced that the forum supports the nomination of former Dasma An Benaid Al-Gar Coop chairman to run for the municipal council elections due next month. MP Mansour Al-Thafeiri promised Thekra Al- Rashidi, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, a hard time for her violations where she appointed her relatives once the next parliamentary term started. “What the minister says about following CSC laws and rule in these appointments is nonsense”, he stressed pointing out that the people she appointed had taken the positions of other more qualified people.
By A Saleh
KUWAIT: Bored of your regular lazy cat or your sweet little dog? How about making things interesting with a cheetah or a tiger, lazing around with you in your living room? Breeding wild animals like cheetahs, lions, tigers, or crocodiles is becoming common in Kuwait.
It’s not strange anymore to see a young man driving his car with a cheetah sitting next to him in the front seat. Some use wild animals like big cats or baby monkeys to attract attention from girls. These wild animals are taken out of their natural environment and raised as house pets.
They get used to people who take care of them and feed them, despite being dangerous animals. Wildlife experts think that they should be placed back in their natural habitat instead of creating an artificial environment for them.
Though many people want to keep these animals, not everyone can take care of them. When they realize that it could pose a danger to them or their family, they conveniently abandon them in the desert or sometimes, the animal tends to escape and venture out on its own, much to society’s chagrin.
Recently, Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) found an escaped baby lion. “This lion is popular as its photo was published in the press after being found in the chalets area in Kheiran. PAAAFR brought it to us to keep it quarantined for 21 days and then move it to the zoo because we don’t have enough space to keep it. This small lion is now kept in a cage and I feel sorry for it as it needs special care. Its owner removed its teeth and claws and it can’t tear or chew hard meat. It can only eat soft food and we don’t know what to do with it after 21 days, frankly speaking,” an employee who preferred to stay anonymous admitted at the Kuwait Zoo.
These animals are expensive. “The owner of this lion contacted the zoo and demanded it back as it cost him KD 3,000, but we won’t return it. According to the law, people are not allowed to possess, breed, or trade with wild animals. We don’t receive calls from owners as they are expensive and so they prefer to hide them.
The zoo has limited resources, so we can’t buy them also. The owner of the baby lion claimed that he took it to his chalet, and somebody stole it. The thief couldn’t handle it and abandoned it on the road. The lion is sad about being separated from its mother,” added the employee. The law allows confiscating of wild animals but not from private residences. “PAAAFR has trained staff to deal with wild animals and is responsible for confiscating them in public places.
We can also confiscate them from the animal markets, pens, or farms as these follow PAAAFR. But we are not allowed to enter a house, so in this case we need the help and cooperation of the Ministry of Interior. So if the policemen helped us enter the house or its garden, we can then catch the wild animal.
If the owner of the animal called us to take the animal and transfer it to the zoo, we comply,” said Shakir Awadh, PR at PAAAFR. Colonel Adel Al-Hashash, PR and Moral Guidance Director of the Ministry of Interior assured that the Ministry of Interior is cooperating with PAAAFR. “If we received a statement about a wild animal threatening people, we secure the place, organize the traffic and so on but we don’t catch the animals because it is the responsibility of PAAAFR’s staff. In some emergency cases, the policeman can immediately deal with the animal to avoid any danger or risk,” he pointed out.
Psychiatrist Dr Adnan Al-Shatti said that wild animals will behave as pets at home when they are treated that way but their hunter instincts will kick in when they’re hungry. “Wild animals feel jealous the same way as other domestic animals or humans and they seek attention. If a child was already in the house before it came along, it will accept him but if the child came later, it will become jealous and hostile. The wild animals don’t attack animals of the same kind, but they have a tendency to attack other animals, and they may consider humans as animals and attack them when they’re hungry.
If a child is attacked by an animal, it will suffer psychiatric trauma for the rest of his life even if the physical injuries heal,” he explained. Attorney Saleh Al-Huseini spoke about the responsibility of animals’ breeders. “According to Article No. 243 of the Civil Law, the breeders are responsible for taking care of their animals and also for the damage these animals cause. So in case the animal injures a person, the owner should compensate for the injured person and is responsible for his welfare,” he stated.
KUWAIT CITY: Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior M a j o r- G e n e r a l Abdel Fattah Al-Ali was recently quoted as saying the General Traffic Department has discovered that 40,000 driving licenses have been issued to persons who do not meet the conditions, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily quoting a reliable source
The source added, according to a ministerial decree a person must be a university graduate must have been a resident of Kuwait for not less than two years and must earn more than KD 400 salary to apply for the driving license.
The source disclosed those who got the driving licences through illegal means based on forged documents will be withdrawn. The traffic sector, the source added, has begun summoning such persons and that 1,200 licenses have already been withdrawn over the past few months.
The source pointed out the GTD received between 5,000 and 8,000 driving license applications a month before the ministerial decree was issued. After the issuance of the decree the number has fallen to 2,000.
Meanwhile, Major-General Abdel Fattah and the Kuwait Municipality Director Ahmed Al-Sabih met last week and issued guidelines for a joint campaign to lift more than 10,000 cars which are ‘abandoned’ on open grounds and public places.
The source added both the authorities will launch a joint campaign within the next few days in all the governorates of Kuwait. The vehicles will be towed to the garages of both the authorities and the owners of the vehicles will have to paying towing and parking fees to retrieve their vehicles.