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Kuwait Times Sunday, July 3, 2022

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 9:00pm

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Lebanese president calls for unity to address challenges

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 8:01pm

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Saturday called on Arab leaders to unite in order to tackle the various challenges now facing the Arab world. “We must work together to address different challenges, including defending the Palestinian cause and rights of Palestinian people, putting an end to wars in our countries, and not sparing efforts to fight against terrorism in addition to dealing with the biggest waves of displacement in modern history,” reported a statement by Lebanon’s Presidency quoted Aoun as saying.

Aoun made the remarks during his meeting at Baabda Palace with Arab foreign ministers, including Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, who had arrived in Beirut for the consultative ministerial meeting of the Arab League. During the meeting, which was chaired by Lebanon, Aoun called on Arab countries to help his country secure a safe return of Syrian refugees to their homeland as Lebanon is suffering from a number of crises and can no longer support a big number of displaced refugees on its territory.

Lebanon is determined to resolve its multiple crises, said Aoun, adding the country has successfully held parliamentary elections and is now forming a government and seeking to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to prevent the country from collapse. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said the league would support Lebanon, the Lebanese government and its people. The AL’s Council of Foreign Ministers meets twice a year, in July and September, to discuss issues that concern the Arab nations.

The Arab foreign ministers discussed during their consultative meeting a range of regional crises, with emphasis on food security and the impact of the war in Ukraine on Arab countries. Praising the tone and atmosphere of the meeting, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou-Habib said the meeting was a complete success and drew broad participation.

“The transparent, highly responsible and substantive discussions led to consensus on a host of regional and international issues,” he said at a joint press conference with Aboul-Gheit. “We felt amity and solidarity from all participants towards Lebanon, which is undergoing challenging economic conditions. All of them hope to see the Lebanese economy recovering as early as possible; their participation in the meeting at this time sent a message of support to Lebanon,” Bou-Habib noted.

The discussions dealt with the need to continue support to Lebanon, improve the living conditions of the Lebanese people and realize the objectives of the Kuwaiti initiative for Lebanon, he said. The minister noted he raised during the meeting the need of finding a new solution to the crisis of Syrian refugees other than funding their stay in Lebanon. On the Palestine question, he said the conferees discussed the abuses of the Zionist occupation authorities which undermine the possibilities of fair and comprehensive peace based on the two-state vision.

Regarding food security, the meeting mulled over the risks of famine in Somalia due to draught and reached consensus on offering emergency assistance to the Arab country to alleviate the suffering of the people there, Bou-Habib said. As for the war in Ukraine, the top Arab diplomats were unanimous in their rejection of any politicization of international organizations against the backdrop of this conflict, he added.

Aboul-Gheit said the consultative meeting took place between two regular formal meetings of the Arab League’s Council in March and September. “The conferees reviewed preparations for the coming Arab Summit and the impacts of the war in Ukraine on Arab countries in such areas as food security and energy,” he noted. They held good discussions on how to help Lebanon recover from the current difficulties and support it in the talks with the IMF, he revealed. On Lebanese-GCC relations, Aboul-Gheit said there is good progress in this relationship, which signals a shared desire to normalize relations.


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Zelensky accuses Russia of terror as missiles rain down

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 7:28pm

KYIV, Ukraine: Missiles rained down on Ukraine killing many civilians and wounding dozens in built up areas as the weekend began, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to accuse Russia of state “terror”. Strikes on a southern resort town left 21 dead and dozens wounded after missiles slammed into flats and a recreation centre in Sergiyvka, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Black Sea port Odessa. Rockets struck residential properties in Solviansk in the heart of the embattled Donbas region, killing a woman in her garden and wounding her husband, a neighbour told AFP Saturday, describing debris showered across the neighbourhood.

The witness said the strike on Friday was thought to use cluster munitions which spread over a large area before exploding, striking buildings and people who were outdoors. The attacks came after Moscow abandoned positions on a strategic island in a major setback to the Kremlin’s invasion.

Victims of the Sergiyvka attacks included a 12-year-old boy, Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation, adding that some 40 people have been injured and that the death toll could rise. “I emphasise: this is an act of deliberate, purposeful Russian terror-and not some kind of mistake or an accidental missile strike,” Zelensky said. “Three missiles hit a regular nine-storey apartment building, in which nobody was hiding any weapons, any military equipment,” he added. “Regular people, civilians, lived there.”

‘Cruel manner’

Germany swiftly condemned the violence. “The cruel manner in which the Russian aggressor takes the deaths of civilians in its stride and is again speaking of collateral damages is inhuman and cynical,” said German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

The attacks follow global outrage earlier this week when a Russian strike destroyed a shopping centre in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, killing at least 18 civilians. President Vladimir Putin has denied his forces were responsible for that attack and Moscow made no immediate comment on the Odessa strikes.

On Friday, Zelensky hailed a new chapter in its relationship with the European Union, after Brussels recently granted Ukraine candidate status in Kyiv’s push to join the 27-member bloc, even if membership is likely years away.

“Our journey to membership shouldn’t take decades. We should make it down this road quickly,” Zelensky told Ukraine’s parliament. The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Ukrainian lawmakers by video link, said membership was “within reach” but urged them to work on anti-corruption reforms.

Norway, which is not an EU member, on Friday announced $1 billion worth of aid for Kyiv including for reconstruction and weapons. And the Pentagon said it was sending a new armament package worth $820 million, including two air defence systems and more ammunition for the Himars precision rocket launchers the United States began supplying last month.

Soup spat

In a decision that further cooled relations between Kyiv and Moscow, the UN’s cultural agency inscribed Ukraine’s tradition of cooking borshch soup on its list of endangered cultural heritage. Ukraine considers the nourishing soup, usually made with beetroot, as a national dish although it is also widely consumed in Russia, other ex-Soviet countries and Poland.

UNESCO said the decision was approved after a fast-track process prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We “will win both in the war of borshch and in this war,” said Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko on Telegram. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Hummus and pilaf are recognised as national dishes of several nations. Everything is subject to Ukrainisation.”

Phosphorus bombs

On Thursday, Russian troops abandoned their positions on Snake Island, which had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance in the first days of the war, and sat aside shipping lanes near Odessa’s port. The Russian defence ministry described the retreat as “a gesture of goodwill” meant to demonstrate that Moscow will not interfere with UN efforts to organise protected grain exports from Ukraine.

But on Friday evening, Kyiv accused Moscow of carrying out strikes using incendiary phosphorus munitions on the rocky outcrop, saying the Russians were unable to “respect even their own declarations”. In peacetime, Ukraine is a major agricultural exporter, but Russia’s invasion has damaged farmland and seen Ukraine’s ports seized, razed or blockaded-sparking concerns about food shortages, particularly in poor countries.

Western powers have accused Putin of using the trapped harvest as a weapon to increase pressure on the international community, and Russia has been accused of stealing grain. Ukraine on Friday asked Turkey to detain a Russian-flagged cargo ship that Kyiv alleged had set off from the Kremlin-occupied port of Berdyansk.

While heavy fighting continued in eastern Ukraine, officials said schools in the Ukrainian capital would re-open at the start of the school year on September 1 for the first in-person classes since lessons went online after the invasion began. Olena Fidanyan, head of Kyiv’s education and science department, said land around schools will be checked for explosives and school bomb shelters will be restocked with essentials. – AFP


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Categorie: Kuwait

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 7:00pm

By Atyab Al-Shatti

Article 70 of the Constitution of Kuwait, states “HH the Amir approves conventions by a decree and refers them to the National Assembly for ratification, then to be published in the official gazette as a pillar point to announce the date of commencement of these provisions. After this fundamental legal procedure, conventions shall have the power of national laws and supersede national laws with regards to implementation in case of any conflict.”

Through this constitutional principle, conventions’ provisions become effective in the legislative system and the national judiciary, but in terms of practice, most of the verdicts issued by the court rely only on national laws as a source of laws and provisions. It is rare to have these verdicts based on conventions which Kuwait has signed, ratified and have become nationally binding. Also, it is rare to find verdicts issued according to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). This reflects the need to implement provisions of international conventions ratified by Kuwait in general and CERD in particular.

Today, it is crucial to harmonize national legislations with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, considering the fact that Kuwaiti law combats discrimination and racism, yet does not define discrimination specifically to enhancing combating discrimination. Such a legislative vacuum creates a serious gap between the definition of discrimination as stated in our national regulations and the definition in article 1 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which Kuwait has signed and ratified.

Many relevant national legislations were not harmonized with the convention, particularly labor laws such as law 6/2010 concerning work in the private sector which does not ban direct and indirect discrimination based on reasons mentioned by International Labor Organization (ILO) convention no. 111/1958 concerning discrimination in employment and occupation in respect of all aspects of work, particularly prohibition of sexual harassment and discrimination on multiple grounds, like the sponsor (kafeel) system, lack of social security for female migrant workers and a shortage of providing an appropriate mechanism to help them get their legal rights.

The abovementioned law hasn’t been amended since it was enacted in 2010 with respect to discrimination in employment, occupation and the sponsorship system and its mechanisms. Civil service law no. 15/1979 hasn’t been amended to prohibit discrimination in employment according to gender, origin, language and religion. Moreover, a number of regulations and administrative decisions restrict the rights stipulated in certain laws, like law no. 15/1979. Article 2 of this law defines the employee as anyone who holds a civil job at a government authority regardless of the nature of their job, title, or being a citizen or migrant worker.

Non-Kuwaiti employees and migrant workers are usually appointed by contracts according to circular no. 6/1979 concerning the rules and provisions of temporary appointment. Such contracts restrict the rights granted to them by the Civil service law. For example, migrant teachers are appointed according to the second contract (B), therefore their salary is fixed based on item B of article 4 of circular no. 6/1979. So, the salary will not be raised periodically and there is no promotion to supervisory positions. Finally, we trust the humanitarian sense of our authorities to help amend these legislative gaps and enact just laws.

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Categorie: Kuwait

Food waste increased significantly in Kuwait in recent years: Food Bank

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:56pm

By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: A recent report indicated that an individual in Kuwait wastes 95 kg of food annually. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti families waste 397,700 tons of food every year, according to the food waste index report for 2021 issued by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and partner organization WRAP. The report shows that most of this waste comes from households, which dispose 11 percent of the total food available in the consumption stage in the food chain, while food service establishments and retail outlets waste five percent and two percent respectively.

Meshal Al-Ansari

Meshal Al-Ansari, Vice President of Kuwait Bank for Food and Relief, told Kuwait Times the bank had submitted a project proposal to relevant authorities to establish a factory that recycles surplus food to produce chemical fertilizer and animal feed. “Food waste has increased significantly in Kuwait in the past few years due to a lack of awareness by individuals and food service establishments, which requires a strong pause to study the laws and legislation that should be set to reduce food waste,” Ansari stressed.

Kuwait ranks 20 on the list of top food-wasting countries in the world, according to the report, with 931 million tons of food wasted annually in the world, which is equivalent to 17 percent of available food. The Food Bank for Food and Relief is a charitable organization approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor that was established with the aim of fighting hunger and poverty, as well as reducing food waste through awareness and guidance.

Bank’s activities

Regarding the food bank’s mechanisms that are being implemented to reduce or take advantage of surplus food, Ansari pointed out the bank has made an agreement with a volunteer team called “Al-Issa Endowment” to distribute surplus cooked meals from restaurants, hotels and home banquets to needy families in Kuwait. “Meanwhile, the food bank, in cooperation with the ministry of education, has started a campaign that educates and guides school students to learn ways of reducing food waste. It boosts awareness of the negative effects of food waste and the damage it causes to the individual and society,” he said.

“As for the direct role of the food bank, we do not deal with unpacked materials. Our direct work is only related to canned products that have a validity of not less than three months,” Ansari said. “Co-ops and companies have a list of monthly sales and have knowledge of monthly surpluses. They allocate a percentage of the surplus for donation, playing a community role and preventing food waste.” Ansari pointed out there are companies that refuse to donate surplus food and prefer to waste it, saying they have commercial goals and try to maintain prices. However, “community participation and donation of the surplus returns to the company as double profits,” he said.

Ansari strongly agreed on the importance of setting laws and legislations to reduce wastage. “We have income from oil that covers the costs of wasted food, but now after a big rise in food prices globally, it has become a burden on families and forces them to only buy basic foodstuffs,” he said. “With the presence of legislations and regulations that regulate food waste and security, it will help the country to reduce food waste, as well as save huge amounts of money wasted annually.”

Ansari warned not to rely on the current food price rise to reduce food waste. “With the rise in prices, people are forced to buy less food, but we must have continuous projects for the future and not think about a reaction to the current situation, because prices may fall in the future or the price of oil will rise, along with lifestyles, which will lead us back to food waste,” he said. A special committee should be established by people involved in the food sector to find radical solutions to implement goals and keep up with international communities that work on reducing food waste.

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Categorie: Kuwait

Kuwaiti academic named among 20 “rising stars” in pharmaceutical sciences

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:51pm

KUWAIT: The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has picked Kuwaiti academic Dr Dalal Al-Taweel among 20 women pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators as the first FIPWiSE Rising Stars, said Kuwait University. “The FIP Rising Stars list aims to promote, encourage and inspire women in the fields of pharmaceutical sciences and education,” Kuwait University said in a press statement on Saturday. It is a new feature of the Women in Science and Education (FIPWiSE) initiative established by FIP in 2000 to champion and enable women to achieve their fullest potential and to attract female students and young professionals into these fields.

Dr Dalal Al-Taweel is Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Affairs at Kuwait University’s College of Pharmacy. The FIP’s list comprises 20 women pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy educators from 13 countries. The criteria for FIPWiSE Rising Star nominations include demonstrated achievements, innovations and significant impacts in pharmaceutical sciences or pharmacy education, being a “pathfinder” in the profession despite challenges, and going “above and beyond” for the pharmacy profession. – KUNA

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Categorie: Kuwait

Charging spots pop up around Kuwait as electric cars become more popular

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:46pm

KUWAIT: The global push for cleaner modes of transportation had a great leap with electric vehicles becoming more popular in recent years. In Kuwait, one might be able to spot electric cars roaming around with said vehicles using electric charging spots, which started to pop-up in several locations throughout the country. Being environment friendly and aware is perhaps the main driving force behind electric vehicles with several car companies now providing this option for eager clients. – KUNA

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Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak ends at Wimbledon

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:42pm

London: Iga Swiatek was dumped out of Wimbledon in straight sets on Saturday by French veteran Alize Cornet, ending the world number one’s 37-match winning streak.

Cornet, ranked 37, took advantage of an error-strewn performance from her Polish opponent to win 6-4, 6-2 on Court 1 in their third round tie.

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Categorie: Kuwait

Czech embassy hosts handover of EU Council presidency event

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:34pm

KUWAIT: On June 30, 2022, a joint press conference was held at the premises of the Czech Embassy in Kuwait to mark the handover of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from France to the Czech Republic. The Ambassador of the European Union Dr Cristian Tudor, the Ambassador of France Claire Le Flecher for the outgoing Presidency, and the Ambassador of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Siro for the upcoming Presidency spoke at the press conference.

Dr Cristian Tudor, Ambassador of the European Union explained the system of the rotating Presidency by saying: “The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates among the EU Member States every 6 months. Before taking up this important role, the EU Member State, which holds the Presidency, prepares its detailed program for the topics and priority issues that will be addressed by the Council of the EU in Brussels. The EU Delegation in Kuwait worked closely with the Embassy of France for the past half year to assist them in achieving objectives of their Presidency. I look forward to continuing this excellent cooperation with the Czech Embassy as they take over the role of rotating Presidency tomorrow.”

The EU Ambassador added: “Unfortunately, one of these issues during the last six months was the return of war to Europe in the form of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Europe will continue to work with Ukraine and like-minded partners to counter this aggression and eventually Ukraine will prevail. He concluded by saying that the EU Delegation plays an important role in organizing and hosting regular meetings at the level of Heads of Missions for the 17 EU Member States represented in Kuwait, which provide a platform for EU Member States Ambassadors to exchange views and coordinate our work in Kuwait.

Claire Le Flecher, Ambassador of France, underlined how the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 has unexpectedly affected the agenda of the French Presidency of the European Union. She added that contrary to Russian hopes and calculations, the EU has demonstrated strong unity and collective purpose. “The EU has shown its ability to react decisively on many fronts. First, it had to address as a matter of urgency the major humanitarian crisis provoked by the war and greet hundreds of thousands having to take shelter in EU countries, primarily neighbors.

Second, it quickly started to address the situation from a security and defense viewpoint, through coordinated supplies of military equipment to enable Ukraine to defend its territory, and it adopted for the first time a Strategic Compass expressing how the EU collectively sees and intends to defend its strategic interests. Third, it took strong action to reduce its dependency on Russian energy supplies. And fourth and last, it adopted several rounds of targeted sanctions against Russia.”

The EU also had to keep on, as one of the main engines of the world economy, to press on with its recovery agenda, in a context of rising energy and food prices. It is now focusing on how to help low-income countries face the food security crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As to key long-term challenges, climate change remains by far the most worrying one for the world. Le Flécher added that “Despite the present energy crisis, the stakes are too high not to sustain the course. New progress has been achieved by the EU on its plan for green transition “Fit to 55″. On this issue as many others, we are happy and very confident to pass the relay to the Czech Presidency, with whom France has strongly coordinated during the past six months.”

Jaroslav Siro, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, presented the priorities of the Czech Presidency and congratulated Ukraine on the EU candidate country status granted by the EU Member States. In his address, he said: “I am pleased to announce here, that starting on July 1, 2022, the Czech Republic will hold for the next six month the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the Motto: ‘Europe as a task – Rethink, Rebuild, Repower’. It fully reflects the attitude of the Czech Republic to such a responsible task. Let me use this opportunity to thank the French Presidency for their excellent work and performance during their tenure.”

He further continued: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has brought along the necessity of a fundamental reassessment of the EU priorities and significantly influenced the preparation of the five Czech Presidency’s priorities: supporting Ukraine, energy security of Europe, reinforcement of European defense capacities, strategic resilience of EU’s economy and protecting European democracy.”

With respect to the relations with Kuwait and the GCC countries, he said: “High on the list of the priorities of our Presidency lies a firm support to the development and strengthening of relations with the Gulf countries, including Kuwait. We support the proposal by the European Commission to grant the Schengen visa waiver to citizens of Kuwait and Qatar, which will help to strengthen people-to-people contacts. Yesterday, the Council of the EU approved the negotiating mandate for the Presidency to negotiate with the European Parliament on the liberalization of short-stay visas for Kuwait and Qatar. This is an important step in legislative procedures of the EU.”

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Categorie: Kuwait

Independent Algeria turns 60, but colonial-era wounds remain

Kuwait Times - Sab, 02/07/2022 - 6:31pm

ALGIERS, Algeria: Algeria marks 60 years of independence from France on Tuesday, but rival narratives over atrocities committed during more than a century of colonial rule still trigger bitter diplomatic tensions. The North African country won its independence following a gruelling eight-year war which ended with the signing in March 1962 of the Evian Accords.

On July 5 of the same year, days after 99.72 percent voted for independence in a referendum, Algeria finally broke free from colonial rule-but memories of the 132-year occupation continue to mar its ties with France. The country’s authorities are planning to mark the anniversary with pomp and ceremony, capped by a vast military parade in Algiers, the first of its kind in 33 years.

A show is also planned at the capital’s opera house that “retraces the long history of Algeria”, said the minister for independence fighters, Laid Rebiga. The government has even commissioned a logo-a circle of 60 stars containing military figures and equipment-to mark “a glorious history and a new era”.

Algeria’s war of independence left hundreds of thousands of dead and, despite a string of gestures by French President Emmanuel Macron, a crisis late last year underlined how spiky the issue remains six decades on. Macron reportedly questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion and accused its “political-military system” of rewriting history and fomenting “hatred towards France”.

Algeria withdrew its ambassador in response. “Relations between the power system in Algeria and ‘official France’ have been punctuated by crises and pseudo-reconciliations since independence,” said Athmane Mazouz, head of Algeria’s secularist opposition party RCD. “At this point, all bets are off on whether they can establish better ties.”

‘Take heat out of debate’

France has ruled out any form of apology for the colonial period. But Macron has also made a number of gestures aimed at mending ties with the former colony. Visiting Algiers during his first presidential campaign in February 2017, he described colonisation as a “crime against humanity”.

He has since acknowledged the French army was behind the death of Algerian nationalist lawyer Ali Boumendjel and anti-colonialist French mathematician Maurice Audin. France has returned the skulls of 19th century Algerian resistance fighters and opened state archives on the Algerian war.

And the two sides appear to have moved on from the latest crisis. Macron and his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune confirmed in a June 18 phone call their desire to “deepen” relations. Tebboune even congratulated Macron on his “brilliant” re-election and invited him to visit Algeria. Historian Amar Mohand-Amer said it was time for “a quick return to a normal situation”. “Sixty years after independence, isn’t it time we took the heat out of this debate?”

‘Unstable geopolitics’

Mohand-Amer pointed out that the anniversary celebrations come at a time of raised tensions in the wider region around Algeria. The country cut ties with regional arch-rival Morocco last August, accusing it of “hostile acts”. In early June, Algiers suspended a two-decade-old cooperation pact with Madrid after Spain backed Morocco’s stance in the long-running dispute over Western Sahara. To the east, in war-scarred Libya, the emergence of two rival governments has raised fears of a return to armed conflict after a two-year truce.

And to the south, Mali is in crisis after army officers, disgruntled at the government’s failure to roll back a jihadist uprising, ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2020. “The very unstable regional geopolitics demand strong positions in the mid to long term and the consolidation of political and economic relations” between Algeria and France, Mohand-Amer said.

But the historian fears that Macron’s move towards reconciliation could face a major test due to gains by extreme right leader Marine Le Pen’s party the Rassemblement National in June elections. Le Pen said in March that colonialism had “contributed to Algeria’s development” and accused Macron of “spending his life apologising without asking anything in return from an Algerian government that continues to insult France”. Mohand-Amer warned that “the French far right will transform this mandate into a big battlefield of memories, where revisionism and the falsification of history will be omnipresent.” – AFP


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Categorie: Kuwait

Kuwait Times Thursday, June 30, 2022

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 9:00pm

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Kuwait plans new rules to control iqamas, visit visas

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:40pm

KUWAIT: The interior ministry has received instructions from the Cabinet to wait for a new plan to grant residencies in Kuwait. The Public Authority of Manpower has also received instructions on the conditions to grant work permits and who can renew them and who cannot. This comes after visit visa issuance was halted until new mechanisms are in place to decide who has the right to get them.

Official sources said the number of residency violators has increased more than that during the coronavirus pandemic, to over 120,000 residents, which is a massive number and constitutes a danger to domestic security. They said instructions given to the interior ministry include “rationalizing” visit visas to a minimum after the start of reissuing them, and limiting them to expats with certain jobs with high salaries. According to the instructions, only those whose salary is KD 600 or higher can bring in a parent, but that will rise to double the figure as new developments occur.

Sources said visit visas have become a business for some and are dealt with commercially on social media, which reflects a defect, and calls for a pause and review of granting of residencies and work permits. They said in a few months, the Cabinet will issue, through an agreed-upon system between the interior ministry and PAM, conditions for coming to Kuwait for work, and banning the transfer of visit visas to work permits of any type, in addition to doubling punishments for visitors who do not leave on time.

Punishments will also be doubled for those who employ visitors living in Kuwait, because it was found that many expat visitors come to work in any job only to make money, and this is what keeps them in the country after their visit period expires. It will also be decided that the duration of a visit visa will be only one month and will not be renewed.

The sources said conditions for allowing residency in Kuwait will be toughened through increasing residency fees, with the possibility of imposing annual fees on each resident in exchange for state services. Every employer will have to pay new fees for bringing in an expat from abroad in order to reduce the number of expat workers in the private sector and end iqama trade, in addition to preventing any employer from having employees more than needed, because the more employees they have, the more fees they will have to pay, closing a loophole that was exploited for iqama trading.

The sources said imposing health insurance on every expat has become a serious government thought which will be implemented after legal, administrative and technical aspects are reviewed, so that every expat in Kuwait must obtain health insurance like those who are 60 years or older without a university degree, and this will be a prerequisite to granting residency and work permits.

The sources said a decision to ban work permits for citizens of countries with large communities in Kuwait will be seriously discussed, so only technical and qualified labor can be brought in from these countries. They said the new residency law will be supervised directly by the Cabinet, as each department must take the approval of the Cabinet first and it will not be up to their directors to decide who will be authorized to enter and work in the country.

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Categorie: Kuwait

Kuwait second cheapest Gulf city for expats

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:37pm

KUWAIT: Kuwait is ranked 131st worldwide on the Mercer Cost of Living Index for expats, and seventh in the Gulf region, out of 227 cities around the world, despite a rise in inflation in Kuwait and around the world that has made expat workers increasingly worried about their purchasing power. Kuwait City is the second cheapest Gulf city behind Doha, Qatar, which is eighth in the Gulf and 133rd worldwide.

Hong Kong, Zurich and Geneva are the top three most expensive cities for foreign workers, with Basel fourth, Bern fifth, and New York and Singapore in seventh and eighth spots respectively, followed by Tokyo and Beijing. The Mercer index reflects issues that have an effect on the lives of expat workers worldwide. The return of high inflation all over the world has made expat workers worried over their purchasing power, which led them to expect an increase in their salaries.

In the Arab world, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the 31st and 61st most expensive cities for foreign workers, followed by Riyadh in 103rd place, Jeddah (111), Manama (117), Muscat in 119th place, Doha (133), Cairo (154), Rabat (162) and Tunis in the 220th spot. Ankara is the least expensive city on the list in 227th place, while Bishkek is 226th, Dushanbe (225), Islamabad and Karachi 224th and 223rd respectively, Istanbul 222nd and Tashkent in the 221st spot.


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Categorie: Kuwait

Turkey seeks extraditions under deal

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:34pm

ISTANBUL: Turkey said Wednesday it would seek the extradition of 33 alleged Kurdish militants and coup plot suspects from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Ankara’s support for the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped weeks of resistance to the two countries’ NATO ambitions at crunch talks held on the eve of an alliance summit Wednesday focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Erdogan emerged from the meeting declaring victory after securing a 10-point agreement under which the two countries vowed to join Turkey’s fight against banned Kurdish militants and to swiftly extradite suspects. Turkey put the deal to the immediate test by announcing that it would seek the extradition of 12 suspects from Finland and 21 from Sweden.

“We will seek the extradition of terrorists from the relevant countries within the framework of the new agreement,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a statement. “We ask them to fulfil their promises.” The unnamed suspects were identified as being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a group led by a US-based Muslim preacher that Erdogan blames for a failed 2016 coup attempt.

The European Union and Washington both recognize the PKK as a “terrorist” organization because of the brutal tactics it employed during a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. But the agreement also stipulates that Sweden and Finland vow to “not provide support” to the YPG – a PKK offshoot in Syria that played an instrumental role in the US-led alliance against the Islamic State group.

Sweden and Finland abandoned decades of military non-alignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and were formally invited into the alliance at Wednesday’s summit in Madrid. Their applications appeared to be headed for swift approval until Erdogan stepped in. The Turkish leader accused Finland and particularly Sweden of providing a haven to Kurdish fighters and financing terror.

Erdogan also wanted the two countries to lift embargoes on weapons deliveries they imposed in response to Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into Syria. The memorandum appears to address many of Erdogan’s concerns. It says Finland and Sweden pledge to “address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously and thoroughly”. “Finland and Sweden confirm that the PKK is a proscribed terrorist organization,” says the agreement. “Finland and Sweden commit to prevent activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well as activities by individuals… linked to these terrorist organizations.”

Erdogan’s office hailed the agreement as a full victory. “Turkey got what it wanted,” his office declared in a statement. Erdogan also secured the promise of a long-sought meeting with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO talks. A US official told reporters that Biden was “keen” to improve relations with Turkey after a difficult spell caused in part by Turkey’s crackdown on human rights.

Most of Turkey’s demands and past negotiations have involved Sweden because of its more robust ties with the Kurdish diaspora. Sweden keeps no official ethnicity statistics but is believed to have 100,000 Kurds living in the nation of 10 million people.

Stockholm recognized the PKK as a “terrorist” organization in the 1980s but has adopted a more supportive stance toward the YPG. Pro-government Turkish media were outraged by two meetings Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde held last year with Ilham Ahmad – the leader of the political wing of the YPG-led forces that expelled IS from a large swathe of Syria. Linde called her two meetings “good” and “fruitful” on Twitter.

It was not immediately apparent whose extradition Turkey sought. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told reporters that his country has “not been presented with any list so far, at least as far as I know”. But the Brookings Institution warned that problems may arise from Turkey’s “loose and often aggressive framing” of the term “terrorist”. “The complication arises from a definition of terrorism in Turkish law that goes beyond criminalizing participation in violent acts and infringes on basic freedom of speech,” the US-based institute said in a report. – AFP

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Lockdown in Udaipur after grisly killing

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:31pm

UDAIPUR, India: Hundreds of police were deployed in an Indian city on Wednesday after the murder of a Hindu tailor allegedly by two Muslims in revenge for inflammatory comments about Islam by a ruling party member. The attack – in which the men seemingly tried to behead their victim – in the western city of Udaipur was captured on video that went viral and has gripped a country with a long history of communal violence.

The video showed Kanhaiya Lal being attacked in his shop, with further footage showing the two accused purportedly brandishing large knives and threatening to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They then justified their murder as a response to  Lal’s alleged support of comments about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a spokeswoman for Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party – remarks that have triggered protests across parts of the Islamic world in recent weeks.

Hundreds gathered outside Lal’s house ahead of his funeral on Wednesday, a day after several hundred protested and chanted Hindu slogans in response to the killing. People on motorcycles and cars waved saffron flags – the color of the Hindu faith – and shouted slogans demanding the death penalty for the accused. “Hang them, hang them. My husband has gone,” the man’s distraught widow told reporters. “If the law doesn’t want to do anything, give them to us so that we can kill them,” said another relative.

The two young men were arrested on Tuesday as they attempted to flee Udaipur by motorbike, news reports said. The central National Investigation Agency (NIA) said that the men circulated the video “in order to trigger panic and strike terror among the masses across the country”. To prevent potential sectarian violence, authorities deployed 600 extra police and put the city of around 450,000 people under curfew, cutting mobile Internet access there and in other parts of Rajasthan state.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to people not to share the video as it would “serve the attackers’ motive of creating discord in society”. “The involvement of any organization and international links will be thoroughly investigated,” Indian Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted. On social media, members of the ruling BJP party and supporters depicted the killing as an attack on all Hindus.

Indian Muslim organizations condemned the killing, but Surendra Kumar Jain from the far-right Hindu group Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that many Muslim leaders have “insulted Hindu beliefs”. “You should be afraid of the day when Hindus too start giving reply to the insult in the same coin,” Jain said in a video message. A demonstration in New Delhi called by a far-right Hindu group drew around 100 people shouting slogans.

The remarks about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma at a TV debate in late May sparked protests that turned violent in some parts of India and demonstrations across the Islamic world. She was sacked by the party after her comments, which prompted the governments of nearly 20 countries to summon their Indian envoys to express their displeasure.

Lal’s wife told broadcaster NDTV that on June 10 her husband was arrested over a social media post supporting Sharma and released on bail a day later. Five days later the father of two said he had received death threats but on Tuesday returned to work in his shop, she said. The purported video of the killing – which police have not yet confirmed is genuine – showed Lal measuring one of the men for new clothes before he and his accomplice attacked him.

India has seen sporadic sectarian violence between majority Hindus and Muslims, who make up around 14 percent of the 1.4-billion-strong population. Religious riots in the capital New Delhi left 53 people dead in 2020, while in 2013 another 62 were killed in the nearby city of Muzaffarnagar. In 2002 at least 1,000 were killed in violence in Gujarat – at the time led by then state premier Modi. Most of the victims were Muslims.

Rajasthan also saw riots earlier this year, when almost 100 people were arrested after police fired tear gas to stop fighting and stone-pelting. Modi’s party has been accused of marginalizing the Muslim community and sowing divisions with Hindus since coming to power in 2014. – AFP

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World Bank lends $500m to Egypt, $130m to Tunisia

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:27pm

CAIRO/TUNIS: The world’s top wheat importer Egypt said Wednesday it is to receive $500 million from the World Bank to alleviate the impact of war between its main suppliers Russia and Ukraine. “The World Bank financing will support the government’s efforts to meet food needs and enhance resilience to future shocks,” International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat said in a statement.

Egypt’s food security has been under mounting pressure since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February causing massive disruption to exports from Black Sea ports. Before the invasion, the two countries accounted for 85 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports. The new tranche of World Bank financing will go towards “funding wheat purchases” as well as “increasing wheat storage capacities” in anticipation of future crises, the ministry said.

Since the war began, the government has already ramped up wheat purchases from domestic farmers as well as trialing wheat substitutes in a bid to counter the supply shortfall. On Tuesday, state bakeries in New Valley province in the southwest hailed successful trials of “sweet potato bread”, Egyptian media reported. The adjusted recipes use sweet potato to supplement wheat in the flour used to make state-subsidized flatbread – an everyday staple for the country’s 103 million people.

Some 71.5 million Egyptians rely on bread subsidies, which account for 57 percent of the state’s subsidy budget, according to official figures. Soaring world commodity prices helped to push Egyptian inflation to a three-year high of 15.3 percent in June, according to official figures. In late March, the Central Bank of Egypt allowed the Egyptian pound to depreciate against the dollar, causing it to lose around 18 percent of its value overnight.

Foreign currency reserves fell around $6 billion in April and May to stand at $35.5 billion, as a result of moves “to calm the markets” as well as “external debt repayments”, the bank said. To help weather the crisis, Egypt has requested a new loan from the International Monetary Fund, that will add to an already sizeable foreign debt equivalent to almost 90 percent of GDP. On a visit to Cairo earlier this month, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pledged “immediate relief of 100 million euros” to support food security in Egypt.

Meanwhile, the World Bank announced a $130-million loan to help Tunisia cover the cost of cereal imports whose prices have spiraled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The package aimed “to lessen the impact of the Ukraine war by financing vital soft wheat imports and providing emergency support to cover barley imports for dairy production,” the lender said. It would also help buy “seeds for smallholder farmers for the upcoming planting season,” it said in a statement late Tuesday.

Tunisia was already dealing with heavy public debt, a low credit rating and steep inflation before the Ukraine war, and has been left reeling by Russia’s military blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea. “Tunisia faces a major grain supply shock due to difficulties in accessing financial markets and rising global prices which affected the ability to procure imported grain,” said the World Bank’s Tunisia country manager Alexandre Arrobbio.

Last year Tunisia imported 60 percent of its soft wheat, used for bread, and 66 percent of its barley from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The loan approved Wednesday aims to ensure “affordable bread for the poor, barley for livestock, and agricultural inputs for domestic grain production,” the World Bank said.

Bread is a vital part of Tunisian’s diets and bread shortages or price hikes have contributed to political upheaval in the past – including shortly before the 2010 uprising that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring revolts. The World Bank said its loan program was “expected to reduce import dependency through incentives to sustainably increase domestic grain production,” the World Bank said. The lender has in the past urged Tunisia to focus on crops with “greater labor intensity”, such as citrus fruits, arguing that Tunisia “does not have a strong comparative advantage in cereals”.

In April the government unveiled a program to support farmers with access to better seeds, technical assistance and state-backed loans in a push to boost its self-sufficiency in grains. Tunisia is expected to start formal talks with the International Monetary Fund in the coming weeks for a bailout package of around two billion euros, in exchange for “ambitious reforms” to rein in public spending and reform state-owned companies. – AFP

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Traffic, visa fines payment available on ‘Sahel’ app

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:24pm

The Ministry of Interior launched new e- services through the ‘Sahel’ app, including payment of traffic, residency and visit visas’ fines. The new services also include paying for deportees’ travel tickets and obtaining medical test results for expatriates. In addition, the services include renewal and transfer of temporary visa (article 14) for expatriate residents.

The new services come as per instructions of First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and as part of efforts to make the ministry’s services more accessible to the public through use of the latest technology and online methods, the ministry said in a statement.

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Sweet 16 for Djokovic as Wimbledon seeds crash

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:18pm

LONDON: Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached the Wimbledon third round for the 16th time on Wednesday as potential semi-final opponent Casper Ruud crashed out. Top seed Djokovic brushed aside 79th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and will face Serbian compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic for a last-16 place.

Third seed and French Open runner-up Ruud was knocked out by 112th-ranked Ugo Humbert, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4. “I’m very happy with my performance. I started very well, solid from the back of the court,” said Djokovic, who is looking to join Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion. “I made him work for every point and worked him around the court,” added the 20-time major winner.

Kokkinakis had likened Djokovic to a “brick wall” before the match. “It was one-way traffic. I got chopped today,” said the 26-year-old Australian after his Centre Court torment. In the women’s event, second seed Anett Kontaveit lost 6-4, 6-0 to Germany’s Julie Niemeier as the Estonian endured another Grand Slam to forget. Kontaveit has made the quarter-finals of a major just once in 29 attempts. Ninth seed and 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza also exited in her delayed first-round clash, losing 6-4, 6-0 to Belgium’s Greet Minnen.

WIMBLEDON: Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit reacts as she plays against Jule Niemeier during their women’s singles tennis match on the third day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships on June 29, 2022. – AFP

‘Amazing support’

Lesia Tsurenko came out on top in three sets over Ukrainian compatriot Anhelina Kalinina to make the third round for the second time. Tsurenko, ranked at 101, proudly wore a ribbon in the colors of Ukraine on her shirt. “It was a big court. Two Ukrainian players but a lot of people were watching us. We felt amazing support,” said Tsurenko after her 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

“Today on the way from hotel to the club, we got a driver,” she added. “She has taken two people from Ukraine into her house. “I think it’s amazing when people help Ukrainians so much.” Later Wednesday, two-time champion Andy Murray puts his 8-0 record against John Isner on the line in their second-round clash. Former number one Murray, now down at 52 in the world, needed four sets to defeat Australia’s James Duckworth on Monday.

At one point, the British star dropped in an underarm serve to carve out a winning point, much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd. “I don’t know why some people find it disrespectful,” said Murray. Despite his losing record against Murray, 37-year-old Isner has never played the Briton on grass. He is confident he has the weapons at his disposal, having fired 54 aces to knock out qualifier Enzo Couacaud on Monday. “I’m older than Andy, I’m no spring chicken, but I work hard,” said the American, who stands 6 feet 10 inches tall.

Isner has now served 13,688 aces in Tour-level matches during his career-just 40 behind the record of 13,728 held by Ivo Karlovic. Isner was one of 13 American men to reach the second round, the most since 1995. Spanish teen sensation and fifth seed Carlos Alcaraz aims for a place in the last 32 for the first time when he meets Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands. Britain’s US Open champion Emma Raducanu tackles France’s Caroline Garcia, who collected her third grass-court title at Bad Homburg last week. – AFP


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Remaining WCup tickets to go on sale next week

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:15pm

DOHA: The remaining tickets for this year’s World Cup in Qatar will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from next week, FIFA said on Wednesday. About 1.8 million tickets were sold in the first two batches of sales, FIFA said, without saying how many are now available. Qatar will host the first World Cup in the Middle East from November 21 to December 18 at eight stadiums in and around the capital, Doha.

The latest tickets will go on sale online from July 5 at 12pm Doha time until 12pm on August 16, FIFA said in a press release. “Huge worldwide interest is anticipated in the new sales period,” the world body said. Officials said three million tickets are available in total, including those allocated to sponsors.

Last week, the World Cup’s chief organizer Hassan Al-Thawadi said 1.2 million tickets had been sold so far. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said there were five million ticket requests just for the final at the 80,000-seat Lusail stadium. Doha, with a population of about 2.4 million and limited accommodation, is bracing itself for a huge influx of visitors for the 32-team tournament. Last month, Qatar announced scores of daily shuttle flights from neighboring Gulf countries, allowing fans to stay elsewhere and fly in to watch games.

World Cup fans

Meanwhile, Qatar said on Tuesday that World Cup fans have “a lot of options” with more than 100,000 rooms currently available and tens of thousands more expected by the tournament’s kickoff. Some football supporters have expressed concern that they have been unable to find accommodation in line with their budget for the World Cup, which runs from November 21 to December 18. Prices range from 300 Qatari rials (just over $80) to several thousand dollars per night.

Qatar has so far taken more than 25,000 bookings, said Omar Al-Jaber, the official in charge of accommodation for the tournament’s organizing committee, specifying that he was taking about “bookings, not rooms or nights”. “If you go through our website, you will find a lot of options,” he told reporters on a tour of an available apartment in Doha. “And if you don’t find it today, you need to check tomorrow or after tomorrow… because… we add more inventory to this portal.

“More than 100,000 rooms (are) available as of today,” he said. “If we go to November, maybe we’ll reach more than 130,000 rooms or 140,000 rooms.” Supporters normally find accommodation themselves for such tournaments. But Qatar – set to host the most geographically concentrated World Cup in history and with limited hotel capacity – is seeking to channel supporters through an official platform that is reserved for ticket holders and managed by the tournament’s organizers.

Eighty-five percent of accommodation – whether permanent or temporary – is now complete and the remainder will be finished by a “deadline” of end-August, according to Jaber. The country will be closed to visitors without match tickets during the course of the tournament, Jaber said. As of Tuesday, the US, Mexico, United Kingdom, Argentina and India accounted for some of the biggest sources of reservations. – AFP

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Sparkling Maori All Blacks stun Ireland in tour opener

Kuwait Times - Mer, 29/06/2022 - 8:07pm

HAMILTON: Ireland conceded they were a distant second best after opening their tour of New Zealand with a 32-17 loss to a sparkling Maori All Blacks in Hamilton on Wednesday. In a worrying sign three days out from the first Test of a three-match series against New Zealand, the Irish paid for ill-discipline and inaccuracy against a Maori outfit who scored all their four tries in the first half to open a 32-10 lead at the break. Despite wet conditions at Waikato Stadium, the home team weren’t afraid to take risks and strung together some sweeping attacking moves, with two tries emanating from within their own half.

Fly-half Josh Ioane kicked 12 points and was a constant menace with ball in hand. Ireland paid for a heavy penalty count against them in the opening half, with their problems exacerbated by an aimless kicking game and a back-pedalling scrum. Coach Andy Farrell will be concerned about the health status of at least two of his players, after back Jamie Hume and prop Cian Healy were assisted from the field nursing leg injuries.

Farrell fielded an inexperienced, virtual second-string, side with most of his likely starters for the first Test at Auckland on Saturday watching on from the grandstand. He took some positive elements from “a game of two halves” but said the Maori were clearly deserved winners. “We’re disappointed. We know it was a big week for the Maori boys but it was a big week for some of our guys, playing for Ireland for the first time,” Farrell said. “There was really good stuff from certain individuals but a lot of dumb stuff along the way.

“It was brilliant as far as our learning is concerned because that’s what you’ve got to iron out if you want to make it to the top.” Maori captain Brad Weber said all of his players were encouraged to attack with ball in hand if they saw space. “We just wanted the boys to play with a bit of flair and at a speed that we would hope that Ireland couldn’t handle,” he said. “That first half certainly showed it. It was fun to be part of, man. We’re all Maori so we all want to bring out that flair.”

Ireland’s New Zealand-born Bundee Aki captain crossed to put his side 10-8 ahead in response to an early try from impressive Maori fullback Zarn Sullivan. The home side then took control with three tries in the space of 11 minutes in the leadup to halftime, with wing Shaun Stevenson, halfback Weber and forward Cullen Grace all crossing. A more even second half threw up just one try, when Ireland forward Gavin Coombes burrowed across. The two teams will meet again in Wellington on July 12, midway between the second and third Tests. – AFP

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