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.
KUWAIT: Housewives driving their personal cars arrive in the day early hours to buy food and other necessities and commodities, sufficient for a day or a longer period of time, and in a matter of minutes the chores are done and the items with aid of an all-time ready worker are put in the trunk. This is not a supermarket in downtown Washington or Berlin, it is Al-Shamiya store located close to downtown Kuwait, and other modern and historic landmarks, such as the parliament building, remnants of the old fence that had existed a long time ago before the oil boom in the 60s of the last century, along with the building of the American Hospital, founded by an American missionary early last century-now turned into a museum.
Al-Shamiya shopping complex, which includes food products, fruits such as imported American and African apples, various fruits from Iran, Syria and Turkey, diverse commodities, clothes as well as cafes, namely Starbucks, is one of up to 51 co-ops dotting Kuwait’s residential districts and serving the estimated 1.4 million native population, as well as hundreds of thousands of expatriates. The market, which employs nearly 600 workers and managerial staff, along with its sisterly markets and branches situated in the heart of the other residential districts, such as Keifan, Shuwaikh and Al-Shaab, has developed over the years, in terms of structure, facilities and services. “We have recently added online services for our customers; posting our accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and applications on smartphones, offering our customers various information and services, such as prices of commodities, lucrative prices and offers, as well as information about sideline activities, also with reasonable costs,” said Ahmad Tantawi, a staff who works at the management of the market in Al-Shamiya market.
The online information include prices, special rates for some commodities and activities. When asked about the possibility of delivering products through online orders, Tantawi said the idea has been pondered over and remains under consideration. “However, once we apply it, we will need additional staff and we need to restrict such service to certain goods,” he said, explaining that “home delivery might not be easy selling products such as vegetables and fruits because some clients are picky.”Moreover, the market offers various activities for residents of the Al-Shamiyah district, a vast neighborhood of tree-ornamented streets and roads and green public parks, adjacent to the airport road and the nearby residential district Keifan. According to references, the term Al-Shamiyah derives from Al- Sham (the Levant) for caravans from the Levant used during olden days, to stop in the area for resting and watering goods-carrying camels.
Elaborating Tantawi indicated that the market work is not restricted to commodities trade. It offers activities for the residents, such as expeditions to the holy land and chalets’ booking at low costs. Moreover, the managers are planning to build a three-storey parking lot and expanding the warehouses. An affiliate branch in the district of Gharnata will be renovated and expanded on a 5,000-squaremeter plot of land. Co-op shareholders of Al-Shamiya and the 50 other markets and branches get annual dividends in addition to earnings per point, scored according to purchases.
Up to 25 percent of the co-op market earnings are invested in some services and utilities in the area where it is located, such as beautifying public sites and locations and purchasing decoration items for national occasions, such as the National Day. “We even offer commodities for free to personnel of some governmental facilities in the region, such as the Citizen Service office,” he explained. Each co-op market is managed by a board; Shamiyah comprises of nine members.
The co-op markets often grants gifts to clients. A citizen posted on Instagram information and pictures about a large box of foodstuff she had received from Mishref supermarket last fasting month of Ramadan. “I arrived home yesterday to a big fat colorful box tied with a pink ribbon, so heavy you couldn’t lift it on your own. At first I thought someone had sent me a gift box but looking closely I realised it had the Mishref Co-op logo on it! Never before have I seen a local co-op distribute such a beautiful and well thought of gift before!” she wrote.
The co-op movement in Kuwait dates back to 1941 when the first society was founded at Al-Mubarakiah School. In 1955, a consumer co-op was founded for employees of the social affairs department. Later, the Ministry of Social Affairs drew up laws to organize the co-op sector. Al-Shamiya and Keifan co-ops were founded in 1962, when the movement started to flourish on basis of the constitution that stipulated collaboration and justice among citizens.
The number of the co-op markets reached 43 in 1997, with up to 200,000 stock holders. The overall capital of the co-op reached KD 75 million in end of 1995. The total net profit the same year reached KD 14 million. The cooperative movement began in Europe in the 19th century, primarily in Britain and France, although The Shore Porters Society claims to be one of the world’s first cooperatives, being established in Aberdeen in 1498 (although it has since demutualized to become a private partnership). The first documented consumer cooperative was founded in 1769, in a barely furnished cottage in Fenwick, East Ayrshire, when local weavers manhandled a sack of oatmeal into John Walker’s whitewashed front room and began selling the contents at a discount, forming the Fenwick Weavers’ Society. By 1830, there were several hundred co-operatives. — KUNA
KUWAIT CITY: A meeting today between the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and representatives of government and educational institutions focused on suitable work and school hours to avoid traffic congestions.
Chairman of the commission Abdulaziz Al-Zabin said in a press release that it was imperative to coordinate efforts amongst government institutions and educational facilities to avoid the traffic’s daily grind. During the meeting, the commission asked for the other participants to provide solid statistics and numbers to reach a solution for the traffic problems caused by the conflicting working and school hours, said Al-Zabin. Meanwhile, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has reportedly refused to hire a Kuwaiti woman who was recruited by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), because she did not wear an ‘Abaya’ during her interview, reports Al-Jaridah daily.
The candidate said she was shocked to receive the news particularly since she had passed the written test, adding she refused to see the officials of the ministry to complain about the problem. She explained that the ministry employee who was conducting the interview insisted that she must wear an Abaya, as it is compulsory to do so in the ministry. In response, she said an individual’s dress sense is a personal matter. After the interview, she was told that she had failed the test and would have to wait for another interview. She revealed that she did not get a call from the ministry for the interview even after one month.
KUWAIT CITY: Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Abdulfattah Al-Ali has referred two female employees working at the Citizens Center of the General Traffic Department to the Public Prosecution, reports Al-Qabas daily. They were caught forging documents and assisting two expatriates to get driving licenses for money.
During interrogation they admitted to facilitating 79 persons to get driving licenses — Arabs and persons of other nationalities. They also said they took KD 800 from each person.
Meanwhile, Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali has succeeded in pressuring those who were driving vehicles with expired insurance, as owners of nearly 17,000 vehicles out of 300,000 have renewed the insurances of their vehicles in August, reports Al- Rai daily quoting informed sources.
They explained that Major General Al-Ali had issued instructions to suspend the transactions of those people whose vehicles had expired insurances until they renew the insurances, adding that they are expecting the number to increase in the coming days.
KUWAIT: The Director of Kuwait’s Central Bank Dr. Reem Al-Radwan recently met the Ambassador of Pakistan to Kuwait Syed Abrar Hussain (left) in his office to offer appreciation for the successful conduct of the blood donation camp by Pakistani Blood Donors in Kuwait on Aug 2, 2013.
The Ambassador thanked the visiting guest. He said that Pakistan and Kuwait enjoy cordial relations and the success of emergency blood camp was reflection of care and love that Pakistani community feels for its Kuwaiti brothers and sisters. The Director also presented the Ambassador a shield and certificate. She was accompanied by the head of PR department Ali Al-Mahmeed.
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