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KUWAIT: Immigration officials busted a Bangladeshi gang that issues new passports for Bangladeshis who return to Kuwait after being deported. A gang member and six Bangladeshis who received fake passports were arrested and the officials are on the lookout for the rest. Officials suspected that the gang has a lot of wasta as the confiscated passports were brand new and issued in Kuwait. Immigration detectives noticed that when a Bangladeshi wanted to transfer information from his old passport to the new one, he denied going to the main office to get an iqama.

After verification, it was discovered that there was a difference in the photo though the name and the rest of the information was the same. He was fingerprinted and it was noticed that he had been deported earlier and had re-entered Kuwait illegally.

Upon questioning, he revealed that his friend asked for KD 1,000 to get him a new passport after claiming that he lost his previous passport. He also said that six others were deported and came back to Kuwait with the fake passports. Further investigations are underway.

KUWAIT: Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thikra Al-Rasheedi has issued the decision to allow domestic workers to transfer their residence to the private labor sector. The decision will be valid for only two months from the date it is published in the official gazette.

The decision stipulates that the domestic worker can transfer his domestic visa to work permit under the same sponsor or one of his first-degree relatives. The worker’s residence must be valid for minimum six months and he should complete three years of service under the sponsorship of his last employer.
The Undersecretary of Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Abdulmohsen Al-Mutairi explained that the decision is aimed to meet the needs of the local market as well as of those employers who are interested in legally changing the status of their personnel. 

System 
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Assistant Director General for Development Affairs Engineer Ahmad Al-Manfouhi announced Wednesday that the Kuwait Municipality has activated the automated system for issuance of commercial licenses, adding the system became operational in all municipalities and governorates since last week, reports Al-Qabas daily. 

In a press statement, Engineer Al-Manfouhi indicated the automated system is working well and technical team is in place to revise and follow-up responses issued in relation to Ministry of Trade’s inquiries. 

He added the system provides more than 100 immediate approvals of licenses, while in the past it took weeks for applications to be completed.

Engineer Al-Manfouhi noted some hitches have been reported by the technical team and they are currently working to resolve them, indicating the negative aspects of the system will be fixed within a short period.

He the system works in an automated manner through a program that relies on special automated number allotted by Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) where in approval or rejection of application is transmitted directly.

Information 
He also said individual attendance is needed in some transactions, especially when the relevant information isn’t entered into the system or when an in which a commercial business is intended to be established is still under planning or study, citing Shuwaikh area, or when the plot in question has recorded old violations that need to be sorted out. 

He revealed another development period wherein the system will be linked through entire construction and demolition licenses using automated building numbers, so that all commercial entities will be allotted special numbers by PACI before construction begins, and owners of the building will deal with the Ministry of Trade directly without need for individuals to go to the Municipality.

He explained that all approvals issued through the automated system will be reviewed by Municipality inspectors later to check for irregularities, and if major irregularities are detected, the Municipality will address Ministry of Trade to cancel the license, while the Municipality will deal with in minor cases through its punitive codes.

He expressed appreciation to every concerned authority for efforts exerted to implement the system, saying he hopes the system will meet intended expectation. He is confident that the system will cut short endless circles and give both the citizens and expatriates sense of equality and impartiality.  

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.”

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