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Kuwait Times Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 20:51

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Categories: Kuwait

Diabetes program trainees celebrate graduation at Volvo Cars headquarters

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 20:15

KUWAIT: Through the celebration of World Diabetes Day in November, the first batch of graduates from the Dr Hamdy’s program for weight loss, prevention and management of diabetes celebrated their graduation at Volvo Cars headquarters, one of the program’s sponsors. The graduation was held under the auspices and presence of Dr Ebaa Al-Azairi, Head of the Medical Sector at Dasman Diabetes Institute, who gave her opening speech.

Prof Dr Osama Hamdy, Professor at Harvard University and Head of the Obesity Management Program in People with Diabetes at the Joslin Diabetes Center in the United States of America, congratulated the first batch of graduates and presented the results they achieved in terms of weight loss and diabetes remission and/or control, which exceeded in his opinion the results of the program in the previous 15 years in the US.

And he introduced the four cornerstones of the program, which are the psychological, nutrition therapy, physical activity and health education for diabetes. This program is considered the first of its kind in the world in the application of multidisciplinary technology (medical, psychological, physical activity, nutritional and health education), which works in harmony with the participants to reach one and consistent goal, which is weight loss and diabetes control.

The integrated multidisciplinary team works mainly to change the unhealthy nutritional behaviors and health habits of the participants and help them adopt healthy eating that help them manage or suppress diabetes, and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes for non-affected people, through losing at least seven percent of the weight, where studies have shown that losing seven percent to 10 percent of the weight leads to the prevention of diabetes by 58 percent. Also, people with diabetes may partly or completely stop their diabetes medicines.

The consultant nutritionist Shireen Al-Mutawa, the team leader, confirmed that the results of the graduates of the program were amazing, as some of the participants lost 15 to 20 kilos of fat, and in general, some were able to get rid of diabetes medications, while maintaining blood sugar levels in the target range.

Nutrition is essential
Dr Ghanima Al-Falih, a therapeutic nutrition specialist, also indicated that nutrition is an essential part managing diabetes, and that her efforts in the program have paid off through the participants’ adoption of new convictions after educating them about everything related to proper nutrition on the basis of the Dr Hamdy’s program. The participants also acquired new skills and methods of healthy nutrition to enable them to move forward in their future lives efficiently and to be able to control all the expected obstacles.

Psychological specialist and coach, Shatha Abu Hijleh, introduced the importance of scientifically proven Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) sessions in immediately changing behavior to contribute to imparting healthy behavior on the participants, in addition to the comprehensive psychological awareness of the participants in everything related to exercise and nutrition, which contributed effectively and extensively to changing the participants’ perspectives on these aspects.

Coach Salah Al-Shatti confirmed that sports is one of the pillars of the program and that he trained the participants over a period of three months and contributed to the success of the program in terms of increasing muscle mass and the participants lost weight from fat mass, as this is one of the most important secrets to maintaining the ideal weight and not gaining extra weight again in the future. Also, coach Salah worked with the participants to increase their fitness, self-confidence and passion of exercise through his continuous motivation.

At the end of the graduation ceremony, Dr Walid Al-Dhahi, consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist and president of the Kuwait Diabetes Association (KDS), gave the closing speech and handed the participants graduation certificates of the program. The team and participants praised the support provided by the sponsors of the program, Volvo Cars, and the media sponsor Marina FM, who attended to cover the event, as well as Health Planet, which provided all participants with organic protein shake. Coach Shatha Abu Hijleh ensured that all participants were provided with a free consultation that contributed to their successful development and change of behavior.

The team also announced its readiness and passion to launch registration for the second group to complete the successful course of the program, which will start on January 11 and 12 for men and women, respectively. The registration has started via the program website https://www.webmediakw.comapplication, Or via the coaches’ Instagram:
Specialist Shireen Al-Mutawa @shireenalmutawa
Dr Ghanima Al-Faleh: @Drg.diet
Coach Shatha Abu Hijleh: @shatha.hijleh

We all work hand in hand to spread exercise, nutritional, health and cultural awareness to protect society from the high rates of obesity, as obesity rates in Kuwait for adults reached 71 percent and for children and adolescents 51 percent, as well as diseases resulting from it such as type 2 diabetes and its dangerous complications if blood sugar is not regulated. Volvo is proud to sponsor this program which achieved outstanding results for the participants. We are not just a car company but a safety leader and a human centric brand and one of our main responsibilities is the safety and development of the community.


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Categories: Kuwait

Al Hilal win Asian Champions League for record fourth time

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:40
RIYADH: Hilal’s players celebrate with the trophy after winning the AFC Champions League final football match against South Korea’s Pohang Steelers yesterday. — AFP photos

RIYADH: Saudi giants Al Hilal won the Asian Champions League with a 2-0 victory over South Korea’s Pohang Steelers in the final yesterday. Both teams were aiming for an unprecedented fourth title but it was the hosts who made history with Nasser Al-Dawsari and Moussa Marega on target either side of the break at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi capital.

A breathtaking history-making Nasser Al-Dawsari goal after just 16 seconds of the AFC Champions League final set Al-Hilal on their way to a deserved 2-0 win over Pohang Steelers and a record fourth continental title at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium yesterday. The 22 year-old’s early breakthrough was record-breaking in another sense as it was the fastest that the Champions League final has ever seen. It was also a stunning strike and worthy of winning any championship anywhere in the world. It was added to in the second half by Moussa Marega and Pohang, who were second-best for much of the game, never really looked likely to come back from that.

RIYADH: Hilal’s fans cheer during AFC Champions League final football match between KSA’s Al-Hilal and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers yesterday at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The East Asians, the tournament is divided into two geographical zones until the final, were up against it from the start. The roars from the 50,000 plus Saudi Arabian fans that had greeted kick-off had not even died down by the time the left-back gave the Blues the lead. Al-Dawsari, who made his national team debut earlier this year, picked up a loose ball just inside the Korean half, moved forward and unleashed a fierce shot from around 30 meters that flew into the top corner.

Goalkeeper Lee Jun may have been caught by surprise at the timing, the power and the pace of the shot but had it come in the last minute and not the first, there was still little that he could have done. It was unstoppable. The sea of blue around the arena erupted and Pohang were stunned as their opposite numbers celebrated with almost as much disbelief as delight. The Koreans, with three continental titles of their own, had enough experience to know however that there were still more than 89 minutes to play. There was a reminder of that just ten minutes later as the Steelers silenced the din in Riyadh for the first time.

RIYADH: Hilal’s fans cheer during AFC Champions League final football match between KSA’s Al-Hilal and South Korea’s Pohang Steelers yesterday, at the King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi capital.

Sin Jin-ho won the title with Ulsan Horang-i last December and the attacking midfielder must have thought he had got on the scoresheet this time as his half-volley from the edge of the area dipped over the diving Abdullah Al-Mayouf. Unfortunately for the Steelers the ball bounced back off the underside of the bar. Lim Sang-hyub was there to fire home the rebound but his shot bounced back off the underside of Al-Mayouf’s legs. It was as close as the Koreans came all night.

The game started to settle into something approaching a more traditional final. The visitors were wary of conceding a second that would make an already tricky task doubly difficult and did not threaten enough. In fact, it started to get a little scrappy with some heavy challenges and misplaced passes. Hilal, with playmaker Matheus Pereira getting more and more into the game, looked more dangerous going forward but in the last half-hour of the first half, neither goalkeeper had much to do until right at the end Al-Mayouf was grateful to see a close range header from Gwon Wan-kyu fly straight into his hands.

Pohang made a double substitution at the start of the second half, a signal of their more adventurous intent but it was Hilal who made the first chance with Pereira finding Gomis in the area, though the striker’s shot was blocked by Alex Grant. Soon after Pereira’s free-kick flew just over Pohang’s top corner.

The Koreans, with seven losses in their last nine league games, were struggling to get a foothold in the game but with just a one goal deficit were never out of it. A mix-up in the Hilal defence just before the hour allowed substitute Go Young-joon to get in a shot from the edge of the area that went wide. Then, with 63 minutes on the clock, Gomis slipped the ball through to Marega in the right side of the area and the former FC Porto striker found the opposite corner with a low shot. Given that Pohang had not done enough in attack, that seemed to be that.

Mistakes can still change games however and that almost happened soon after as Al-Mayouf came and missed a looping cross and the ball fell invitingly for Jeon Min-gwang from close range but there was Muteb Al-Mufarrij to react quickly to clear the danger. Pohang started to push forward but not only did it seem too little too late, it gave Al-Hilal more opportunities and 3-0 still seemed likelier than 2-1 and with 10 minutes remaining, the busy Gomis shot just wide from inside the area.

That was the last big chance but Al-Hilal and their fans did not care as by this time, they were starting to celebrate becoming the first team to be champions of Asia four times. On the night, few could have argued that they did not deserve a second triumph in three seasons. – Agencies


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait seeks to attract regional, foreign capital

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:31
KUWAIT: Photo shows Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway Bridge. Kuwait is seeking to attract regional and foreign capital to invest in its economic development projects through its ‘Vision 2035’.

KUWAIT: Kuwait is seeking to attract regional and foreign capital to invest in its economic development projects through its ‘Vision 2035’. Part of the vision is the development of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway’s southern and northern banks and two artificial Islands, which will be transformed to hubs of commerce, work, leisure activities, and tourism.

Development of the southern bank of the causeway (Shuwaikh area) will be at an area 635,913 square meters with a construction capacity of 30 percent of the allocated region. The commercial activities will cover 12 percent with the ability to build eight-storey buildings, housing offices, cafes, and restaurants. The southern Island project of the causeway (at an area of 282,355 square meters) would have 20 percent used for four-storey buildings and 10 percent for commercial purposes.

The northern Island project, at 283,358 square meters, will utilize 20 percent of its total area, while the northern bank of the causeway in Subiya area, covering 565,504 square meters will utilize 30 percent of space. The public and private sectors will be welcomed to invest in the development project.

A member of the Municipal Council Dr Hassen Kamal told KUNA that Kuwait is eyeing ventures providing more leisure and commercial services to citizens and residents alike. The Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway is operational and now is the time to invest more in the project to revitalize the economy and encourage business and commerce, he said.

The development of the two Islands in addition to the southern and northern banks of the causeway was presented to the Municipal Council and Cabinet’s Secretariat for approval. He affirmed that the municipality was in favor of all lucrative government projects, noting that a special session was held last August to discuss the nitty-gritty of the venture. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

Energy Globe Award goes to Kuwait’s Faisal Al-Fozan

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:24
KUWAIT: Faisal Al-Fozan (center) receives the Energy Globe Award from Austrian Ambassador Marian Alexander Wrba (right) and Caroline Adenberger, Austrian Trade Commissioner for Qatar and Kuwait. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The Energy Globe Award was given to 17-year-old Faisal Al-Fozan of Kuwait, for his exemplary work on the project ‘LOOP’. The award was handed over to him by the Embassy of Austria at the ambassador’s residence in Rawda yesterday. Fozan was chosen as a recipient for the award for his outstanding and sustainable recycling project, using recycled plastic materials. “HH the Crown Prince of Kuwait recently underlined the great importance of environment sustainability and spoke about climate change.

I believe that his work will serve as an inspiration to many, especially to the young generation. I am happy with this young man who has the heart and care for the environment,” Marian Alexander Wrba, Ambassador of Austria to Kuwait told Kuwait Times. “We want to recognize his effort and his love for the environment. We need more of these people for a better and sustainable future of this world we are living in,” he added. He said people are becoming more committed to developing solutions for the most pressing environment problems “and the ‘LOOP’ project is one of them.”

‘LOOP’ is a company founded by young people. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East where 3D printer filament is manufactured using recycled materials. The project aims to create economic value from waste, and reducing carbon footprint by having local micro-manufacturing of filament to eliminate long distance shipping associated with international deliveries of filament. “This is the first 3D manufacturing of filament in the Middle East,” Fozan said. “We recycle plastic waste materials from various sources, and we turn them into filament then eventually turn them into money.”

With more than 180 participating countries, the Energy Globe Award is one of the most important environment awards worldwide. Projects from all over the world are submitted, ranging from small and simple initiatives to large scale high-end ones. The national winners of the Energy Globe Award are published in cooperation with UNIDO at www.energy globe.info.


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait’s Murad wins first prize in nature photography contest in India

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:21
Kuwaiti photographer Mohammad Murad

NEW DELHI: Kuwaiti photographer Mohammad Murad won the first prize in a nature photography contest on Monday, held in India with global participations. In a statement to the press, Murad said that he believes he is the first Kuwaiti or perhaps the first Arab photographer to win the first prize in India’s Nature inFocus Photography Contest.

He said that the photo of the Arabian Red Fox which earned the first prize was taken in Kuwait. “The photographer spent more than two months observing and documenting the behavior of Arabian Red Fox families near their dens in the Kuwait region. Although scared at first, the foxes became more comfortable around his presence after frequent visits.

They even began to emerge from their dens when they heard the sound of his car and came close enough to inspect his camera gear,” the Nature inFocus Photography Contest 2021 said on its official website announcing the first prize to Murad in the animal portraits category. – KUNA

The winning photo ‘Arabian Red Fox’.


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwaiti activist talks diversifying economy at Doha conference

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:18
DOHA: Participants in the conference pose for a group photo.

DOHA: The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies organized a conference titled “Economic Diversification in the Gulf Countries: Opportunities and Challenges” in Doha, Qatar recently, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.

Asrar Hayat, Kuwait Transparency Society’s board member and social activist, participated in the event, which featured participation of researchers and economic experts from 16 different countries. During the event, Hayat presented a research paper on the importance of diversifying sources of income and applying this to Kuwait and focused on the transition from a single-resource economy in Kuwait to a diversified economy.

Asrar Hayat speaks during the event.


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Categories: Kuwait

KCCI participates in world chambers’ conference in Dubai

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:14
DUBAI: Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Mohammad Al-Saqer (center) participates in the conference. – KUNA

DUBAI: Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Chairman Mohammad Al-Saqer said the 12th World Trade Chambers Conference (12WCC), held yesterday in Dubai, is an ideal platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the world trade congress. This came after the inaugural session of the conference, which was held in Jumeirah under the slogan ‘Future Economy: The Next Generation of Chambers of Commerce’, where heads and representatives of chambers of commerce from 100 countries attended.

In a statement to the press, Saqer said this conference is one of the important world conferences that discusses all issues regarding world economy, showcasing the latest experiments, experiences and studies concerning the private sector and ways to boost it. The conference discussed many important issues including the growing role of partnerships between public and private sectors, health and safety standards, business flexibility, preparedness for crises and future risks, and logistical support for the sector, and several other issues, added Saqer.

He pointed out that the conference aims to link the chambers of commerce and industry together and re-stimulate global cooperation, as well as highlighting the chambers’ role in boosting the flexibility and adaptability of the business community and forming the chambers’ future role.

In a similar statement, the Chamber’s second vice-president, Fahd Al-Joan, said that they discussed the prospects for economic recovery after an unprecedented period of challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic. The attendees reviewed the role of the chambers regarding the digital revolution and global economic changes, and the role the chambers must play to serve its members during the next stage, added Joan. The three-day conference, organized by Dubai Chamber in cooperation with the World Federation of Chambers of Commerce of the International Chamber of Commerce, includes 40 discussion sessions and a workshop attended by 80 specialists. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

Caretaker PM asked to form new Cabinet

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:11

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: An Amiri decree was issued yesterday asking caretaker HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah to form the new Cabinet. The decree was signed by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who had been entrusted with some of the Amir’s constitutional powers. HH Sheikh Sabah resigned about two weeks ago after several sessions of a national dialogue that resulted in HH the Amir pardoning several opposition figures who were living in exile in Turkey.

There is no timeframe for the Prime Minister-designate to submit the new Cabinet line-up to the Amir. National Assembly sessions have been suspended due to the resignation of the Cabinet. Under Kuwaiti law, the presence of (at least) one minister is essential to convene an Assembly session.

A majority of the opposition figures who were pardoned have returned to the country with the exception of ex-MP Faisal Al-Muslim and activist Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah. Muslim’s lawyer announced yesterday that he is scheduled to return to Kuwait next Monday on the 29th of this month. Muslim confirmed his lawyer’s announcement by re-tweeting it. Jarallah, however, cannot return now because he is facing other cases in court.


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Categories: Kuwait

46 killed in Bulgaria as bus crashes

Kuwait Times - Tue, 23/11/2021 - 19:06
BOSNEK: Officials work at the site of a bus accident, in which at least 46 people were killed, on a highway near the village of Bosnek, south of Sofia yesterday. – AFP

BOSNEK: Forty-six people, including a dozen minors, were killed after their tourist bus caught fire on a Bulgarian highway yesterday in Europe’s deadliest road accident in the past decade. A cause has yet to be determined but officials believe the bus crashed into the guardrails and caught fire while travelling from Istanbul in Turkey to Skopje in North Macedonia.

There were no other vehicles involved in the accident, which occurred around 2:00 am on a highway about 40 kilometers from Sofia, near the village of Bosnek. Seven people – five men and two women – survived. “Unfortunately, there are many victims, 46, including 12 minors,” North Macedonian Health Minister Venko Filipce told public BNT television after visiting the survivors in a Sofia hospital.

The survivors include a 16-year-old girl and are all from the same family and in stable condition, official said. The dead were mostly from North Macedonia and from different ethnic groups and also included a Belgian and a Serbian national, officials said. Local media in Macedonia said the bus was registered with the “Besa trans” tourist agency, which organizes tours to Istanbul.

Bulgaria’s interim Prime Minister Stefan Yanev said a probe into the accident had been launched, dismissing the suggestion that road conditions were to blame. Images showed the carcass of the charred bus after it broke through the guardrails between the two sides of the highway.

North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told state news agency MIA that he had spoken to one survivor. “He explained that they were sleeping in the bus when an explosion was heard. They succeeded in breaking one of the windows and saved a few people. Unfortunately, the rest did not succeed,” he said. “It is a great tragedy… 12 (victims) are under 18 years old, and the rest are young people about 20 to 30 years old,” he added.

Bulgarian national police chief Stanimir Stanev said the bus driver died “immediately so there was no one able to open the doors”. Survivors “jumped out of the windows”, said Maya Arguirova, head of the treatment centre for severe burns where they were transported. Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov was among those who rushed to the site of the crash. “It’s a terrifying scene. I haven’t seen anything like that before,” Rashkov told journalists.

“Nobody can say for certain how many were there and who they were. The bodies are badly burned and have to be identified one by one,” he added. Frantic relatives of those on tours to Istanbul organized by the agency were trying to contact their loved ones in the hope they were not on the ill-fated bus. “We are calling Besa tours non stop, but no one is answering for hours,” Xhelal Bakiu told reporters in Skopje, saying he had been unable to reach his cousin on the phone.

‘Europe stands with you’
Bulgaria has a history of deadly bus accidents, but yesterday’s disaster is the worst, according to officials. Twenty Bulgarians died in 2018 when their bus skidded on a wet road and overturned. EU chief Ursula von der Leyen sent her “deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished in the tragic bus accident” and wished “a fast recovery to those injured”.

“In these terrible times, Europe stands in solidarity with you,” she said. Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his “sincere condolences” and said he hoped for “the speedy recovery of all those wounded”. A total of 628 people died in road accidents in 2019 and 463 in 2020 in Bulgaria, according to official data.

The accidents were often attributed to poor road conditions, outdated cars and speeding. Yesterday’s accident occurred on a section of highway with steep gradients and without clear demarcation lines, where many accidents have taken place, according to Diana Roussinova of a road safety NGO, which has complained to authorities about the stretch in the past. In Europe, in one of the worst accidents in recent years, 43 people died in 2015 when a coach carrying a pensioners’ club collided with a lorry and caught fire in southwest France. – AFP


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait Times Sunday, November 21, 2021

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 20:33

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US unwavering in Middle East security commitment: Austin

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 19:19
MANAMA: Bahrain’s Minister for Defense Affairs Abdulla bin Hasan Al-Nuaimi receives the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Manama. – AFP

MANAMA: The United States warned yesterday it was capable of deploying “overwhelming force” in the Middle East as it faced questions about its willingness to use its military power in the region. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain’s capital that all options would be open if diplomacy fails to halt Iran’s nuclear program, but he was also forced to rebut claims the US has become reluctant to use force.

The Pentagon chief was asked why Washington did not respond to last month’s drone-and-artillery attack on a base used by the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria. “The United States of America maintains the right to defend itself. And we will defend ourselves and our interests, no matter what, at the time and place of our choosing,” he replied.

“And let no country, let no individual be mistaken about that. We are committed to defending ourselves and our interests and that includes our partners as well,” said Austin. “And we’re also committed to not allowing Iran to get a nuclear weapon.” Iran and world powers are set for talks on November 29 aimed at reviving an accord that placed restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran has always denied it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Austin said Washington’s major goal was to strengthen its “unmatched” alliances in the Middle East, but said military force remained an option with tens of thousands of its troops stationed in the region. After ending its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan in August, the US is poised to withdraw its combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. This month, Iraq’s prime minister escaped an assassination attempt two days after security forces clashed with supporters of Iran-backed parties that lost support in recent elections.

Yesterday, Iran said it had seized a foreign boat smuggling diesel in the oil-rich Gulf. Since February, Iran and Zionist entity have been engaged in a “shadow war” in which vessels linked to each country have come under attack in waters around the Gulf. The US and Zionists accuse Iran of using drones and missiles to destabilize the region.

In brief remarks to the forum, senior Saudi figure Turki bin Faisal Al Saud called for “demonstrative action” in the region, including the “total enforcement” of the arms embargo on Yemen’s Iran-supported Houthi rebels, who are fighting a Saudi-led coalition. Austin said that “America’s commitment to security in the Middle East is strong and sure.” “Ultimately, our mission is to support diplomacy and to deter conflict and to defend the United States and our vital interests,” he said.

“If we’re forced to turn back aggression, we will win and we will win decisively.” Austin’s visit comes days before Iran returns to talks with world powers on resuming a nuclear deal which has been stalled since 2018, when former US president Donald Trump walked away. On Friday, US special envoy Robert Malley told the conference that time was running out to return to the deal if Iran continues to make “advances” in its nuclear program.

“We remain committed to a diplomatic outcome of the nuclear issue,” Austin said. “But if Iran is not willing to engage seriously, then we will look at all the options necessary to keep them the United States secure.” Iran’s Gulf neighbors are concerned that concessions could be made to the Islamic republic in the nuclear talks. – AFP


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Categories: Kuwait

World’s first electric cargo ship launched

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 19:15
OSLO: The world’s first self-propelled, electric container ship MV Yara Birkeland is moored at Langkaia in Oslo, on November 19, 2021. – AFP

OSLO: Zero emissions and, soon, zero crew: the world’s first fully electric autonomous cargo vessel was unveiled in Norway, a small but promising step toward reducing the maritime industry’s climate footprint. By shipping up to 120 containers of fertilizer from a plant in the southeastern town of Porsgrunn to the Brevik port a dozen kilometers away, the much-delayed Yara Birkeland, shown off to the media, will eliminate the need for around 40,000 truck journeys a year that are now fuelled by polluting diesel.

“Of course, there have been difficulties and setbacks,” said Svein Tore Holsether, chief executive of Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara. “But then it feels even more rewarding to stand here today in front this ship and see that we were able to do it,” he said, with the sleek blue-and-white vessel moored behind him in an Oslo dock, where it had been sailed for the event. The 80-metre, 3,200-deadweight ton ship will soon begin two years of working trials during which it will be fine-tuned to learn to maneuver on its own.

The wheelhouse could disappear altogether in “three, four or five years”, said Holsether, once the vessel makes its 7.5-nautical-mile trips on its own with the aid of sensors. “Quite a lot of the incidents happening on vessels are due to human error, because of fatigue for instance,” project manager Jostein Braaten said from the possibly doomed bridge.

“Autonomous operating can enable a safe journey,” he said. While the distance the Yara Birkeland will cover may be short, it will face many obstacles. It will have to navigate in a narrow fjord, and sail under two bridges while managing currents and heavy traffic from merchant ships, pleasure craft and kayaks, before docking at one of Norway’s busiest ports. The next few months will be a learning period.

“First of all, we have to detect that there’s something there. We have to understand that it’s a kayak, then we have to determine what to do with that,” said Braaten. “Currently, large vessels don’t do much with a kayak. They can’t do much. They can warn, but they cannot manoeuvre away” or reverse to avoid an incident. Autonomous navigation will require a new set of regulations that do not exist yet.

‘100 Teslas’
On board the Yara Birkeland, the traditional machine room has been replaced by eight battery compartments, giving the vessel a capacity of 6.8 MWh – sourced from renewable hydroelectricity. “That’s the equivalent of 100 Teslas,” says Braaten. The maritime sector, which is responsible for almost three percent of all man-made emissions, aims to reduce its emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.

Despite that, the sector has seen a rise in recent years. International and domestic shipping and fishing combined, the industry emitted more than one billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2018, up from 962 million tons in 2012, according to the latest figures from the International Maritime Organization.

By itself, the Yara Birkeland’s contribution to global climate efforts will be just a drop in the ocean – eliminating 678 tons of carbon dioxide per year churned out by the redundant trucks. And experts don’t expect electric vessels to become a universal solution for the industry any time soon. “Electricity has a ‘niche’ use, in particular for ferries as these are often short and stable routes, possibly on coastal and river transports. But it’s not well-adapted for long ocean crossings,” said Camille Egloff, a maritime transport expert at Boston Consulting Group.

“Not only would (a vessel) need to be autonomous for long distances but you would also have to equip ports with battery chargers. So there are technical and infrastructure challenges that would need to be coordinated,” she said. While dozens of electric ferries already criss-cross the fjords of Norway – a major oil and gas producer which is paradoxically also a leader in electric transport – ocean liners will have to rely on other technologies to go green, such as LNG, e-methanol and hydrogen. – AFP

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Categories: Kuwait

Biden declared healthy and ‘fit’ for presidency

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 19:12
MARYLAND: US President Joe Biden waves after getting a medical check up as he departs Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on November 19, 2021. – AFP

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden got a clean bill of health from the White House doctor on Friday after undergoing an extensive, routine check-up during which his powers were briefly transferred to Vice President Kamala Harris. “The President remains a healthy, vigorous, 79-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief,” Kevin O’Connor, the White House physician, wrote.

The detailed report said that Biden did have “perceptibly stiffer and less fluid” motion while walking than a year ago, and suffered “increasing frequency and severity of ‘throat clearing’ and coughing during public speaking engagements.” However, these two symptoms were not considered of immediate concern and did not appear to result from serious conditions, O’Connor’s letter said.

On a raft of tests, Biden came out with high marks. He has “no signs of heart failure,” “no dental issues,” has no “suspicions for skin cancer,” and his eye health “is reassuring.” One reason for that solid report may be the doctor’s finding that “the president does not use any tobacco products, does not drink alcohol, and he works out at least five days a week.”

Biden, who turned 79 yesterday and is the oldest president in US history, takes three common prescription medications and two over-the-counter medicines, as well as wearing contact lenses, the letter revealed. He measures five feet, 11.65 inches, weighs 184 pounds and has a body mass index of 25. A smiling Biden returned to the White House from his checkup at Walter Reed hospital earlier, saying “I feel great.” “We’re in great shape,” he said, wearing his trademark aviator sunglasses.

Historic 1.25 hours
While the annual visit to Walter Reed hospital was routine for a president, the requirement for Biden to transfer power while sedated during a colonoscopy exam made history. For one hour and 25 minutes, Harris was the first woman to hold presidential power in the United States. She is already the first female vice president.

The White House press office said that official letters to Congress declaring the temporary transfer of power were sent at 10:10 am. “The president resumed his duties at 11:35 am,” the White House said in a statement. “Today that was another chapter in that history for many women, young girls across the country,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, noting Harris’ trailblazing role.

Harris made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020, before being picked as Biden’s running mate. While holding the temporary presidential reins she continued to “work from her office in the West Wing,” Psaki said. Psaki noted that a similar temporary transfer of power, “following the process set out in the Constitution,” had been carried out when president George W Bush underwent the same procedure in 2002 and 2007. The details on Biden’s health were being closely watched, given speculation on whether he will stand by his stated intention to seek a second term in 2024.

The positive medical assessment mirrored an earlier letter from Biden’s physician during his election campaign in December 2019, when he was described him as “a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency.” He was vaccinated early on against COVID-19, and received a booster shot in September.

The health check comes at a crucial moment in his presidency, with the House of Representatives voting to send Biden’s huge “Build Back Better” social spending agenda to the Senate for approval. Earlier this week, Biden signed into law another package to fund the biggest national infrastructure revamp in more than half a century. The twin victories come after weeks of falling approval ratings for Biden and setbacks for his Democratic Party ahead of next year’s midterm elections when the Republicans are widely predicted to take control of at least the lower house of Congress. – AFP


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Categories: Kuwait

Qatar prepares to host WCup

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 19:10
DOHA: Photo shows construction workers at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium, one of the Qatar’s 2022 World Cup stadiums, around 20 kilometers north of the capital Doha. – AFP

DOHA: Exactly one year before it hosts the football World Cup, Doha is criss-crossed with trenches and snarled with traffic as officials race to install a vital feature – adequate drainage. Rainstorms are rare but paralyzing in the Qatari capital, often causing flooding that leads to gridlock. With 1.2 million fans expected next year, such disruption is to be avoided at all costs.

For taxi driver Mohamed, squeezing past construction sites in the downtown West Bay business district, the roadworks are a headache that he and his passengers could do without. “They weren’t thinking 20 years ago when they did this (drainage system),” he said. “Customers don’t like waiting.” Cruising down the corniche, an arcing highway with West Bay views, is usually a Doha highlight but now, with excavations and gaggles of workmen, the city’s main artery is strangled.

Journey times have multiplied and in the evening rush-hour, cars sit in a giant traffic jam. Frustrations have bubbled over into rare criticism of officials on social media. “Doha has become a building site, we’re driving in the middle of roadworks. And this is going to go on right up to the World Cup” next November and December, said a young Qatari. Annual rainfall is only about 75 millimeters in the city but scenes of flooding are not unknown, with cars semi-submerged, tunnels blocked and residents enjoying impromptu watersports.

“Many of Doha’s roads were built without proper drainage so whenever it rained it flooded,” said a source briefed on the construction efforts. “They are now rushing to install drainage, even on roads that were finished.” World Cup chiefs have boasted that because of Qatar’s compact size, the longest journey between any two of the eight tournament stadiums in and around Doha would be under 45 minutes.

But gridlock would affect journey times, especially with the heavy influx of visitors – some on hospitality packages that cost thousands of dollars for a single group game. Qatar has earmarked 3.9 billion riyals ($1.07 billion) in the 2021 budget for drainage and estuaries, compared to 3.2 billion riyals for highways. “Development of drainage stations, water treatment plants, pumping and rainwater drainage networks in several regions to prevent flooding due to rain” are a priority in 2021, the Public Budget Statement said.

Qatar has spent billions of dollars on a new metro system that is used so far mainly by migrant workers from South Asia and the Philippines, with wealthier expatriates and Qataris sticking to large SUVs and luxury cars. Ashghal, the body in charge of public works, gave assurances that the main routes will be ready to link “the eight stadiums with a rapid road network that avoids any traffic jams for their users”.

“These routes are also linked to metro and bus stations as well as commercial centers for World Cup fans,” said Salem Al-Shawy, deputy director of roadworks at Ashghal. “We understand that drivers are suffering… but we want to make sure that this project will finish on time before the FIFA (World Cup),” he added. In the meantime, Uber driver Mohammed, who comes from Bangladesh and has been living in Qatar for 15 years, is doing his best to keep his passengers happy. “Now, I warn them in advance and I ask them if they know a shortcut, to avoid any unhappiness,” he said. – AFP

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Chelsea extend lead, thrash Leicester

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 19:07
LEICESTER: Chelsea’s Italian midfielder Jorginho (left) vies with Leicester City’s English midfielder James Maddison during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium in Leicester yesterday. – AFP

LONDON: Manchester United slumped to another damaging defeat for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in losing 4-1 at Watford yesterday as Chelsea thrashed Leicester to extend their Premier League lead to six points. Solskjaer has clung onto his job despite a run of just one win in seven Premier League games to slip to seventh, 12 points adrift of the leaders. A managerial change made an instant impact for Aston Villa as late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings beat Brighton 2-0 to give Steven Gerrard a winning start to his coaching career in the Premier League.

However, Newcastle slipped to the bottom of the table in the absence of their new boss Eddie Howe, who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, as the Magpies were held 3-3 at home by Brentford. United’s hierarchy has remained loyal to Solskjaer despite intense pressure in recent weeks to make a change. But even their resolve will be tested after a fifth defeat in seven league games against the struggling Hornets. Watford could even afford to miss an early penalty twice as David de Gea saved from Ismaila Sarr and Kiko Femenia’s follow-up from the first spot-kick was ruled out for encroaching.

Joshua King worked under Solskjaer in the United youth ranks and did his old boss no favors by converting a low cross on 28 minutes to give the home side a deserved lead. Sarr made amends for his penalty misses just before the break by drilling home from a narrow angle. Solskjaer responded by introducing Donny Van de Beek at half-time and his refusal to give the Dutchman more opportunities will be questioned after he made an instant impact to turn home Cristiano Ronaldo’s header across goal.

However, just as the visitors were building momentum, captain Harry Maguire’s miserable season suffered another setback when he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis rubbed more salt into United’s wounds in stoppage time. After a tough Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday, United travel to the league leaders Chelsea next weekend with the question again whether Solskjaer will still be in charge.

Chelsea surge clear
The Blues were dominant as they toyed with Leicester in a 3-0 win despite still missing record signing Romelu Lukaku through injury. Antonio Rudiger’s header opened the scoring before N’Golo Kante came back to haunt his old side with a brilliant run and strike from the edge of the box. Substitute Christian Pulisic put the seal on a brilliant all-round performance from the European champions, who also had two goals ruled out for offside. “It’s a good away game, an excellent result,” said Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. “We knew we needed to be strong from first to last minute. This is what we did.” Gerrard got off to a dream start at Villa Park as his new side moved four points clear of the relegation zone.

England internationals Watkins and Mings produced stunning finishes in the final six minutes to edge a nervy contest against Brighton. Howe had to watch a thriller at St. James’ Park from a hotel in isolation. The Magpies twice had to come from behind after Ivan Toney cancelled out Jamaal Lascelles’ opener for the home side. Rico Henry put Brentford in front before the much-maligned Joelinton leveled. Lascelles then netted at the wrong end, but Allan Saint-Maximin salvaged a point for Howe’s men that does little for their bid to beat relegation as they are five points adrift of safety.

Norwich also got a bounce from a new manager as they moved off the foot of the table in Dean Smith’s first match in charge thanks to a 2-1 win over Southampton. Che Adams put the Saints in front, but Teemu Pukki and Grant Hanley lifted the Canaries to within three points of safety. Burnley remain rooted in the bottom three after another six-goal thriller at Turf Moor ended 3-3 with Crystal Palace. West Ham missed the chance to move into second and cut Chelsea’s lead to three points as Raul Jimenez scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Wolves at Molineux. – AFP


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Categories: Kuwait

Planting requires concerted efforts, says Kuwait’s agriculture authority

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 18:54

KUWAIT: Unquestionably, tree-planting has become a national and international prerequisite that necessitates the concerted efforts of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. The Middle East Green Initiative and the recently held climate change conference, known as COP26, came to serve the ultimate goal of coordinating action to boost green areas worldwide and stop the rise in global temperatures. The Middle East Green Initiative was launched in March with a view to growing 50 billion trees and boosting forests in the Middle East region.

The importance of reversing the effects of climate change is tangible across the Middle East and North Africa, where the impact of rising temperatures is already affecting livelihoods and opportunities. The initiative is mainly meant to plant 50 billion trees across the Middle East (including 10 billion at home in Saudi Arabia), through afforestation, restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land reducing 2.5 percent of global carbon levels, and contribute to reducing carbon emissions resulting from hydrocarbon production in the region by more than 60 percent.

The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October-13 November 2021, bringing parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main goals of the COP26 are to secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach and adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. These events, together with previous gatherings, came up with a slew of concrete and effective commitments to increasing afforestation, nature reserves, parks, planting and environmental rehabilitation.

In this context, Kuwait’s Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) underlined that it is necessary to grow new types of plants and trees in Kuwait in a bid to ease its hot weather conditions. Therefore, it said in a press release, that it is trying hard to plant the Sidra tree, also known as Ziziphus spina-christi tree or the Christ’s thorn jujube, along highways, main roads and residential and desert areas. Unlike palm trees, the Sidra tree is an evergreen shrub or tree that withstands scorching heat, thrives in the harshest environments and consumes little water, the authority said.

From now on, palm trees would only be planted in houses and farms, rather than along roads or at public parks, the authority underlined, pointing out a plan to grow Sidra trees at nature reserves. It added that contracts pertinent to public parks have been unprecedentedly separated from those bearing on roads and streets in a bid to stave off looming negative impacts on tree-growing projects nationwide. Some 39 old parks have already been rehabilitated on the basis of this fledging separation mechanism which has been put in place for the first time since the authority was established, according to the release.

Furthermore, the authority has created a total of 64 athletic courts and 48 kids play areas as part of its endeavors to reduce buildings and boost afforestation nationwide. All these efforts, together with planting awareness campaigns, are primarily intended to increase countrywide green coverage with a view to providing more oxygen, breaking visual pollution and cutting surging temperatures, it noted. Finally, the authority emphasized that it is committed to throwing much weight behind all initiatives and campaigns by individuals and civil society organizations, along with the private sector, to increase green areas in all governorates. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

Ultimate frisbee, global team sport garnering young people’s interest

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 18:51
AMMAN: A group photo of teammates participating in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan. – KUNA photos

AMMAN: Ultimate frisbee is a widespread international team sport that attracts many young men and women across the world in pickup games. Being a non-contact and self-refereed team game played by players with a flying disc, ultimate was developed by a group of students in the United States in 1968.

Although ultimate resembles many traditional sports like rugby in its athletic requirements, it is unlike most sports due to its focus on self-officiating. The popularity of the sport has spread quickly, taking hold as a free-spirited alternative to traditional organized sports. In recent years, college ultimate has attracted a greater number of traditional athletes, raising the level of competition and athleticism.

A picture taken during Kuwait’s participation in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan.

The player with the disc is called the thrower. The thrower may not run with the disc, but must instead move the disc by passing to teammates in any direction. Game rules state that points are scored by passing the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone, while players must not take steps while holding the disc. In Kuwait, a team consisting of players Sultan Al-Sultan and Lujain Al-Mullah took part in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan.

Speaking on this maiden participation, Sultan said the game began to spread in Kuwait in 2017 thanks to social media campaigns and through youth occasions. Groups of young people involving males and females were initially interested in practicing this sport in spare times on beaches and pitches, and now there are at least a hundred players forming three teams who have occasional friendly competitions, he said.

Sultan pointed out it was the first time for a Kuwaiti sports team to partake in the recent ultimate frisbee event in Jordan. He stressed that players wishing to join his groups should be 18 years and above and have high fitness as well as physical flexibility as basic requirements.

Echoing Sultan’s views, Lujain Al-Mullah said that she has been praising ultimate frisbee for nearly three and a half years. She added that she and her teammates only began to play this sport in an earnest manner a year following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She regretted that most people believe that ultimate frisbee is an individual game that can only be practiced by children and youth on beaches and at parks.

Mullah elaborated that the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is the international sports federation responsible for world governance of flying disc (Frisbee) sports, including Ultimate, Beach Ultimate, Disc Golf, Freestyle, Guts, and Individual Events. WFDF is a federation of 103 member associations, which represent flying disc sports and their athletes in more than 100 countries. WFDF is an International Federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

On the basic rules of the sport, she said two teams of seven players compete on a playing field about the same length as a football field, but narrower. At each end of the playing field there is an end zone. Each team defends one end zone. They score a goal if one of their players catches the disc in the opposite end zone. On the latest 12-team competition held in Jordan, she said the Kuwaiti team came seventh by winning three games and losing three others, but won the Spirit of the Game Award, she said. A team from Dubai won the third version of the sports event, which attracted as many as 300 male and female players. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

stc official sponsor of KFA championships for eighth straight year

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 18:47
KUWAIT: Sheikh Ahmed Youssef Al-Sabah, President of KFA (left), and engineer Maziad Alharbi, CEO of stc shake hands after signing the agreement.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Telecommunications Company – stc, a world-class digital leader providing innovative services and platforms to customers, enabling the digital transformation in Kuwait, announced the continuation of its strategic partnership with the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) and its soccer tournaments in the 2021-2022 season for the eighth consecutive year.

The signing ceremony of the official sponsorship took place at stc’s Headquarters at Olympia Tower and was held in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed Youssef Al-Sabah, President of KFA, and engineer Maziad Alharbi, CEO of stc, as well as executives joining from both parties. The sponsorship of the upcoming season includes the Kuwait Premier League, the Division One league, the Super Cup, and the Amir and Crown Prince Cups may God bless and protect them, coupled with stc’s active participation in promoting and achieving another successful season.

On this occasion, Sheikh Ahmed commented, “Once again, we would like to welcome the Kuwait Telecommunications Company – stc, one of the leading companies in Kuwait and the region, as the official sponsor of the Kuwait Football Association championships for the eight consecutive year. We are confident that continuing this strategic partnership will help support the local sports scene by fostering a healthy competitive spirit amongst all the Kuwaiti football clubs.”

He added, “We highly value the support, assistance, and capabilities that stc brings to the table, aiding us in presenting a professional platform to host championships that reflect the caliber and quality of our sports activities while instilling good sportsmanship.”

Sheikh Ahmed also pointed out that the stc Premier League brings together Kuwait’s 15 football clubs to compete amongst themselves for the championship title. Through the league, the points scheme will determine the clubs that remain in the league and the clubs that will participate in the second-tier division league based on their performance.

On his part, Alharbi commented, “We look forward to witnessing more friendly competition in the 2021-2022 season, and are keen to support both sports and the Kuwaiti youth. Following a difficult period due to the onset of the pandemic, we are confident that the teams will continue to perform outstandingly and compete to their best abilities to qualify for the winning titles.”

Alharbi said, “stc affirms its continuous support towards the Kuwaiti community through various initiatives and activities. This vision stems from the Company’s strategic approach to empower the younger generation and back entrepreneurs in their quest to introduce world changing ideas, hence stc’s role in offering an array of pioneering solutions to members of the community and businesses alike.”

Alharbi concluded, “By implementing our strategy to enable digital transformation in Kuwait, we have been able to position stc as a leading company within the field of innovative technology. Moving forward, we will continue to focus on seamlessly providing our valued customers with access to a wide range of innovative services and digital solutions that suit their diverse lifestyle needs.”

With regards to sponsoring the activities of the Kuwait Football Association, Alharbi expressed that stc was keen to participate and sponsor the upcoming season due to the positive impact the championship generates to both individuals and the community. This sponsorship comes as a continuation of stc’s collaboration with the KFA, which was initiated in 2013. He expressed that through the highly experienced team at stc, the Company will ensure that the stc Premier League maintains its glorified reputation in the local sports scene, side by side with the KFA.


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait condemns Houthi militia breaking-in of US embassy in Sanaa

Kuwait Times - Sat, 20/11/2021 - 18:45

KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry yesterday voiced Kuwait’s condemnation and denunciation of Houthi militia’s storming of the US Embassy in Sanaa and capturing of a number of its employees.

In a statement, the ministry said this internationally criminalized act is a flagrant breach of international norms, international law, the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1968 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which prohibit the storming of diplomatic property and grants immunity to diplomatic missions and buildings.

The ministry underlined that the State of Kuwait totally backs the US, while calling on Houthi militia to observe international law rules by withdrawing from the embassy building immediately and setting free its detained local staffers. – KUNA


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