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Updated: 10 hours 27 min ago

Kuwait Times Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 20:41

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Kuwait, Arab countries ban nine African nations over new strain

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 20:31
JOHANNESBURG: Airport staff assist travelers at various check-in counters while an electronic flight notice board displays some cancelled flights at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg yesterday, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant Omicron. – AFP

By B Izzak and Agencies

KUWAIT: Kuwait yesterday banned commercial flights with nine African nations over the new COVID-19 variant Omicron but allowed cargo, government spokesman Tareq Al-Mazrem said. The ban begins today and is indefinite. The countries are South Africa, where the new variant was originated, in addition to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi.

The Council of Ministers also decided at an extraordinary meeting to ban entry of foreigners from those African countries unless they have spent at least 14 days in a third country. Kuwaiti citizens arriving from those nations must undergo institutional quarantine for seven days with a PCR test done on the day of arrival and a second on the sixth day, Mazrem said. The Council of Ministers also called on citizens to avoid travel out of Kuwait now, unless it is extremely necessary, especially to countries that have reported cases of Omicron.

Fears mounted yesterday that a highly-infectious new coronavirus strain was pushing its way into Europe as the world brought the shutters down to contain the new Omicron variant. Suspected new cases emerged in Germany and the Czech Republic, while Dutch authorities quarantined 61 passengers from South Africa who tested positive for COVID-19. South Africa complained that it was being “punished” with air travel bans for first detecting the strain, which the World Health Organization has termed a “variant of concern”.

Australia and Thailand joined the United States, Brazil, Canada and a host of other countries around the world restricting travel from the region, fearing a major setback to global efforts against the pandemic. Scientists are racing to determine the threat posed by the heavily mutated strain, which is more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant, and whether it can evade existing vaccines.

Anxious travelers thronged Johannesburg international airport, desperate to squeeze onto the last flights to countries that had imposed sudden travel bans. Many had cut back holidays and rushed back from South African safaris and vineyards. “It’s ridiculous, we will always be having new variants,” British tourist David Good told AFP, passports in hand. “South Africa found it but it’s probably all over the world already.”

‘Worrisome variant’
But the virus has already slipped through the net with cases in Europe and Hong Kong and Zionist entity. Germany became the second European country to find a suspected case of the new strain, after Belgium on Friday. “The Omicron variant has with strong likelihood already arrived in Germany,” tweeted Kai Klose, social affairs minister in the western state of Hesse.

The neighboring Czech Republic was carrying out further tests on a woman who had travelled from Namibia and was suspected to have the new variant, prime minister Andrej Babis said. The Netherlands meanwhile found that around one in 10 – 61 out of 600 – people who had arrived at Schiphol airport on Friday from South Africa were positive for COVID-19. The rest tested negative. The infected people, who flew in on two KLM flights that took off before the Dutch government announced a ban on travelers from the region, were being kept quarantined in a hotel near the airport.

“The positive test results will be examined as soon as possible to determine whether this concerns the new worrisome variant,” the Dutch Health Authority said in a statement. The Netherlands on Friday became the latest in a series of European countries to tighten its COVID restrictions. The WHO said it could take several weeks to understand the variant, which was initially known as B.1.1.529, and cautioned against imposing travel curbs while scientific evidence was still scant.

‘Draconian’ measures
South Africa has called the travel curbs “Draconian” and yesterday said the flight bans were “akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker.” “Excellent science should be applauded and not punished,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The main countries targeted by the shutdown include South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. US President Joe Biden meanwhile said richer countries should donate more COVID-19 vaccines and give up intellectual property protections to manufacture more doses worldwide to stem the spread of the virus. “The news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” he said.

But with memories still fresh of the way global air travel helped the spread of COVID after it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, countries clamped down on the new variant. Australia became the latest to act, banning all flights from nine southern African countries. Thailand meanwhile restricted flights from eight countries, as did the United States, Brazil, Canada and Saudi Arabia. EU officials agreed in an emergency meeting to urge all 27 nations in the bloc to restrict travel from southern Africa, with many members having already done so.

The World Trade Organization called off its ministerial conference, its biggest gathering in four years, at the last minute Friday due to the new variant. Vaccine manufacturers have held out hope that they can modify current vaccines to target the Omicron variant. Germany’s BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer said they expect data “in two weeks at the latest” to show if their jab can be adjusted. Moderna said it will develop a booster specific to the new variant.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was among countries in the Middle East and North Africa to ban travelers from several African nations due to fears over a new coronavirus variant. The Saudi interior ministry and authorities in the United Arab Emirates said visitors from seven African countries were barred from entry. They listed the countries as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini.

The Saudi ban comprises flights to and from those countries, the official Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an interior ministry official. It said, however, that foreign nationals from the seven countries could enter the kingdom if they had spent the previous 14 days in another country and comply with Saudi health protocols. The official Emirati news agency WAM said the UAE ban would go into effect on Monday and was only for travelers coming from those African countries, regardless of the airline, and included transit passengers.

Bahrain announced similar measures targeting six African countries, including South Africa, the official BNA news agency said. Jordan’s interior ministry, acting on recommendations from the health ministry, also announced a ban for non-Jordanian travelers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini. The North African kingdom of Morocco banned travelers from those same countries due to fears over the new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa.



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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait’s Speaker urges lawmakers to be bold

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 20:27
Kuwait Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanem

MADRID: Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanem has affirmed that criticism of some “erroneous practices in the democratic system and examining it regularly” is not aimed at undermining the governing regime, but rather safeguarding it. Al-Ghanem, addressing the general assembly of the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), thanked organizers who have chosen the theme “contemporary challenges in the face of democracies,” as a main topic for debates during the international gathering.

The Speaker of the Kuwait parliament has indicated that it is not sufficient to address or adopt democracy with superficial rhetorical discussions. “The matter warrants in-depth culture and intelligence,” he noted, also underscoring other core issues in this respect, namely the practicing, the obstacles, the social, economic and cultural dimensions of the issue. Al-Ghanem called upon his fellow lawmakers to put aside slogans and purported “sanctities” when addressing “this file.”

Masking any ruling regime, even in the cases where it has a democratic form, is the number-one hindrance in the face of the approach to renew and remedy its drawbacks, Al-Ghanem noted, stressing, “We should not be afraid when we point the finger at wrong practices; for democracy is a means not an objective; it is rather a practice and not a slogan and we ought not to turn into slaves for political paganism or legal statue even if they carry a democratic name.”

Democracy is not sacred and nothing should prohibit efforts to correct or guide it where the practices are not right, he stressed further. In his lengthy address, Al-Ghanem cautioned that democracy may encounter serious threats and challenges where the society witnesses sharp polarization with parties getting embroiled in irresponsible conflicts.

Moreover in the shadow of this system, social media may turn into an arena for strife among intelligence agencies, ransom seekers and criminals, infested with rumors and misleading information intended to foment troubles. Setting other examples of unsound phenomena under the wings of democracy, he mentioned prevalence of the majorities at the expense of the rights of some communities. In some countries malpractices jeopardize development, Speaker Al-Ghanem added.

Moreover, he urged the conferring legislators to hold further and longer discussions and brain-storming debates to pin point issues and shortcomings that transpire under democracy. Al-Ghanem expressed readiness to host at the Kuwaiti parliament headquarters seminars to discuss and debate the challenges facing democracy – under the IPU aegis. The Kuwait parliamentary delegation, headed by the Speaker, arrived in Madrid on Wednesday to partake in the IPU conference. – AFP


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First ‘robotaxis’ enter service in Beijing

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 20:14
BEIJING: An Apollo Go autonomous taxi is seen on a street in Yizhuang, a town of Daxing District, in the southeast suburbs of Beijing. – AFP

BEIJING: It looks like a normal car but the white taxi by the kerb has nobody driving it, and communicates with customers digitally to obtain directions and take payment. Beijing this week approved its first autonomous taxis for commercial use, bringing dozens of the so-called “robotaxis” to the streets of the Chinese capital.

The vehicles can only carry two passengers at a time and are confined to the city’s southern Yizhuang area. An employee of the taxi firm also sits in the front of the car in case any sudden intervention is needed, but the vehicle drives itself. The roll-out is a significant step forward for the driverless ambitions of Chinese tech giant Baidu and start-up Pony.ai, who were given the green light to deploy the cars on Thursday.

But it is expected to be years before the taxis operate fully without human intervention, due to regulations and safety requirements. Developers are hoping Chinese consumers – who have embraced e-commerce, online payments and other digital solutions – will quickly get used to the sensation of travelling in a car without a driver. Pony.ai co-founder Peng Jun said the key to moving the industry forward is “policy, technology and public acceptance”.

More than 500,000 trips have already been made in Pony.ai’s robotaxis during earlier testing stages, the Toyota-backed start-up said. Passengers using Baidu’s “Apollo Go” cars must download an app called “Luobo kuaipao” – meaning “radish run” – and can hail a cab at one of 600 pick-up and drop-off points. Sixty-seven Baidu taxis are on the roads in Beijing charging just over two yuan ($0.30) for a 5.9-kilometre journey. Alibaba-backed start-up AutoX and ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing have also been running robotaxi pilot projects in cities around the country. – AFP


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Indian man builds Taj Mahal replica home for his wife

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:58
BURHANPUR: School children walk past a replica of the Taj Mahal during their visit at Burhanpur in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. – AFP

BURHANPUR: A lovestruck and historically minded Indian husband has emulated the world’s most famous display of marital devotion by building for his wife a replica of the Taj Mahal. The original “Monument to Love” was constructed on the orders of heartbroken Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz, in the 17th century.

Anand Prakash Chouksey’s beloved remains very much alive, and even helped consult on the project and his version of the marble wonder of the world, around one-third the size of the original. “My wife’s only demand was for a meditation room. She’s a spiritual woman,” the 52-year-old businessman told AFP. “She says the dome creates a different environment and there is a lot of positive energy.”

The original Taj Mahal – dubbed a “teardrop on the cheek of time” by writer Rabindranath Tagore – is in Agra south of Delhi, however the new replica is 800 kilometers away in Burhanpur. But the central Indian city is none other than the place where Mumtaz died while giving birth to her 14th child in June 1632, having accompanied Shah Jahan to quell a local revolt.

Mumtaz’s body was even initially buried there too, and according to locals Shah Jahan had at first wanted to build the Taj Mahal for her on the banks of the river Tapti. “The soil structure back then was not suitable to build the Taj here that’s how it was decided to be built in Agra,” Chouksey explained. The city is still home to the dilapidated remains of the palace where the royals lived, including a once-beautiful hammam or bathhouse built by Shah Jahan for his wife to relax in before she died.

Message of peace
Chouksey’s story has none of the tragedy and building his new home has taken him three years — a dozen less than the mausoleum that inspired it. It cost 15 million rupees ($200,000) to build. “We used marble from Makrana to build the house, which is the same that was used to build the Taj Mahal,” he said. Chouksey plans to mount an Indian flag on top of the main dome and add symbols from India’s most popular religions to the four minarets surrounding his new manor. “We want to send a message of peace and religious harmony. There is a lot of hate around. Love solves all problems in life and Taj Mahal is a symbol of that.”- AFP

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Zain shares ambitions of youth at NUKS conference in United States

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:34
CHICAGO: Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah with Waleed Al-Khashti and Zain’s team at the company’s booth.

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading digital service provider in Kuwait, took part in the opening ceremony of the 37th annual conference of the National Union of Kuwaiti Students in the United States of America (NUKS USA). The company is the platinum sponsor of the event, which is held in Chicago, Illinois under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

The opening ceremony witnessed the presence of many national figures, including the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the United States of America Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Communications and Relations Officer Waleed Al-Khashti.

During his opening speech, Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Communications and Relations Officer Waleed Al-Khashti said: “Every time we fly to the US and meet our youth, we are overwhelmed with feelings of pride in a generation filled with ambition, eagerness, and dedication to achieve so much for our nation.”

Zain’s Waleed Al-Khashti addresses Kuwait’s students in Chicago.

Khashti added: “We did not allow the pandemic to be an obstacle that prevents us from taking part in this year’s conference. We have always been a main partner of this event throughout the years because it is a national gathering through which we meet our students abroad, who represent our hope for the future.”

Khashti continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my pride in Kuwait’s students abroad, and further renew our support to your programs here in the US. At Zain, we strongly believe in the capabilities of our youth, and we dedicate a major part of our efforts towards youth and education initiatives as part of our sustainability and social responsibility strategy.”

Khashti concluded: “Investing in the next generation is the most profitable form of investment and is a top priority for us. That’s why at Zain we focus much of our sustainability and social responsibility efforts on issues that cater to the youth. Kuwaiti is full of ambitious minds like yourselves that aspire for change, and we feel it is crucial that companies and organizations embrace these young minds to help and empower them to believe in themselves and achieve positive change.”

Zain is proud to be the platinum sponsor of the conference, which makes a return after a halt of nearly two years due to the COVID pandemic. This year, Zain continues its role as a main supporter of the event for 17 years. The conference is considered the largest gathering of Kuwaiti students abroad, and Zain’s support comes in line with its corporate sustainability and social responsibility strategy towards the youth and education sectors. The company is proud to have become an integral part of this event’s success, through which it connects with the country’s youth abroad.

Zain will be contributing to the event by organizing several unique activities and programs for the students. The company will sponsor a special sports seminar featuring many distinguished current and past Kuwaiti athletes, as well as sponsor a health seminar that will host Ministry of Health Spokesperson Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad, who will share a behind-the-scenes look at the ministry’s efforts to curb the COVID outbreak last year.

Zain will take part in a special exhibition for sponsors, where the company will present available career opportunities to students, as well as showcase its leading experience in the telecom sector. In addition, Zain has prepared several surprises for students who will be visiting the event. The company is also set to host ZAINPHONIC, a special workshop that shares tips and tricks of smartphone photography, giving the students a chance to learn the best techniques for taking pro-level photos with their smartphones and helping them unleash their creativity.

Zain’s presence in the event conveys its enthusiasm to interact with the future generations of Kuwaiti youth, especially those who pursue their education abroad, as the NUKS USA conference is considered the largest gathering of Kuwaitis outside of Kuwait, and welcomes students from all over the US. The event appeals to students on both intellectual and social levels and it serves as an open forum for them to exchange opinions and views regarding important domestic issues with the presence of distinguished national figures from the Kuwaiti community, including academics, media personalities, athletes, doctors, and more who fly to the US for the purpose of meeting with the students and sharing their experiences with them.

Zain sees its annual participation in the conference as part of its responsibility as a leading national company to help provide bright and enthusiastic young Kuwaitis with a great social experience, as well as listen to their ideas and experiences while pursuing their education abroad. The National Union of Kuwaiti Students in the United States of America (NUKS USA) serves nearly 14,000 Kuwaiti students studying in the United States.

The union aims, through its events and programs, to connect Kuwaiti students with each other on one level, and with their nation and the latest updates of the Kuwaiti community on another. NUKS USA was publicized in the USA and was granted the recognition of the United States government. The achievement is considered a proud milestone for Kuwait’s youth, and is a direct result of the great relations between the State of Kuwait and United States. Such a recognition is a clear reflection of the strategic relations between the two nations.


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait University celebrates 55th anniversary

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:30
Dr Mardhi Al-Ayyash

KUWAIT: Many qualified employees in different state departments have graduated from Kuwait University, the University’s Secretary General Dr Mardhi Al-Ayyash said. His remarks came in a press release yesterday, in celebration of the university’s 55th anniversary. Celebrating the anniversary came in time with the students’ return to schools after staying at home for about a year and a half, due to the coronavirus pandemic, he noted.

University elections, student conferences and debates also resumed, Ayyash added. Since its establishment, Kuwait University has always exerted efforts to provide proper education and encourage scientific research that serve the country’s development requirements and the Kuwait Vision 2035, he said. Kuwait University was officially inaugurated on November 27, 1966. – KUNA

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Indian embassy celebrates India’s constitution day

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:27
KUWAIT: Indian Ambassador Sibi George, Joice Sibi and others take a look at a portrait on display at the exhibition on ‘Making of Constitution of India’ at the Indian embassy.

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: Embassy of India in Kuwait celebrated ‘Constitution Day of India’ on Friday, commemorating the adoption of the country’s constitution. The ceremony got off to a solemn start with Indian Ambassador Sibi George paying floral tribute to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the embassy premises. Welcoming members of Indian diaspora and representatives of Indian associations in Kuwait, the ambassador underlined the importance of constitution of India in making India one of the biggest democracies of the world. On November 26, 1949, the constituent assembly of India adopted the constitution of India which came into effect on January 26, 1950.

“Every day, it is the constitution of India that gets celebrated when we conduct our day-to-day life in peaceful and orderly manner. Every day, it is the constitution of India that gets celebrated when we conduct our examinations all across the country to select people on the basis of merit. Its influence and impact are so deep at everything in India,” the ambassador said in his opening remarks.

The ambassador noted that due to the constitution, unity in diversity can be seen across the length and breadth of India. “Today, we remember the members of the constituent assembly, its president Dr Rajendra Prasad and the chairman of the drafting committee Dr B R Ambedkar and many others who gave us this constitution. The constitution has provided India the necessary framework helping the country make achievements in diverse fields, including atomic energy, space science, agriculture, bio-technology and information technology,” he said.

He concluded his speech by reading the ‘Preamble of the Indian Constitution’. A video on ‘Attack of 26/11’, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage to martyrs of the terror attack on Mumbai, the financial capital of India, was screened. A documentary on ‘Making of Constitution of India’ was screened and winners of ‘Arts Exhibition’ organized by the Indian Women Network (IWN) were felicitated on the occasion. An exhibition on ‘Making of Constitution of India’ was also jointly inaugurated by the ambassador and his spouse Joice Sibi at the embassy premises.


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Categories: Kuwait

KFH supports first carbon offset platform in Kuwait

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:24
KUWAIT: The officials attend a press conference announcing the partnership.

KUWAIT: Kuwait Finance House (KFH) signed a strategic partnership with Sidra Initiative and Green Dream Team under the umbrella of (KFH is Green) campaign. This activity comes as part of its efforts to protect environment and achieve the plantation and greening of Kuwait as part of its social responsibility. This strategic partnership aims to spread awareness on the significance of reserving environment and plantation.

The partnership comprises of several environment projects and activities in the field of tree plantation and the elimination of carbon emissions. The partnership aims to unify efforts to increase greenery in Kuwait and encourage environment friendly initiatives. Also, through this kind of initiatives, KFH can support UN Sustainable Development Goals which are compatible with Kuwait’s 2035 vision.

KFH Assistant Manager – Public Relations, Fahad Al-Saad said: This agreement represents an integral part of KFH strategy which aims to continue efforts to achieve a sustainable impact for its social initiatives and contributions, thus reflecting the bank’s interest in various issues namely the environment issue. Through these initiatives, we expect KFH to be the main supporter to preserve Kuwait’s environment and enhance environmental culture among society members and to encourage them to protect environment.

From his side, Shibeeb Alajmi, Green Dream Team Leader said that “A strategic partnership has been signed with KFH to support biological diversification in the State of Kuwait and increase plantation of wild trees in natural reserves. We thank KFH for this initiative and wish you all prosperity and success”

The founder of Sidra Initiative, Khaled Alwaqqyan expressed his pleasure in signing the strategic partnership with KFH. He said “Through this partnership we shall establish the first Carbon Offset Platform in Kuwait. We shall initially mitigate carbon emissions by increasing trees plantation and other future environmental projects will follow later”

The Carbon Offset Platform designed by “Sidra” is considered as a center to facilitate the plantation of trees by giving all individuals and institutions an equal opportunity to participate in this project. To crown this strategic partnership among KFH, Sidra and Green Dream, KFH is participating in the initial stage of this project by planting 500 trees including 3 years maintenance, which is the average nursing period required for the tree to be self-sufficient.

KFH plans to exert more efforts in the coming stages to plant more trees and organize similar initiatives. To this end, KFH has encouraged all its employees in addition to the voluntary team to participate in the tree plantation campaign in Abdali reserve as determined by the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR).

It is worth mentioning that KFH has participated recently with PAAAFR  in supporting the tree plantation and greening campaign for the agricultural season 2021/2022. The partnership is considered as part of the tree plantation and greening campaign of Kuwait areas. Also, KFH has participated with the authority, in the opening day, in the plantation of Sider trees and participated in other events within the same campaign.


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwaiti lawmaker applauds national diplomacy for serving nation’s causes

Sat, 27/11/2021 - 19:21
KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem is seen in a group photo on the sidelines of the conference. – KUNA photos

MADRID: Kuwaiti MP Salman Al-Hlailah, currently in Spain taking part in the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference that began Friday, praised Kuwait’s parliamentary diplomacy noting its paramount role for backing the State policies. MP Hlailah, Secretary of the Kuwaiti Parliamentary Caucus, affirmed in remarks on the sidelines of the convention yesterday, that the Kuwaiti diplomacy at the parliamentary level has proven effective for establishing “global unanimity” toward Arab and Islamic causes as well as just universal questions.

The Kuwaiti parliamentary caucus, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanem, has succeeded in creating fruitful cooperation among the Arab and Islamic caucuses for forming unified stances toward various issues at continental and international levels, he said. A Kuwaiti parliamentary delegation headed by Ghanem arrived in Madrid on Wednesday to participate in the IPU conference.

The delegation includes Secretary of the Parliamentary Caucus Dr Hamad Al-Matar, Treasurer and MP Al-Hlailah, member of the caucus MP Usama Al-Munawer and the National Assembly Secretary General Adel Al-Loughani. The five-day convention tackles modern-time challenges facing democracy, tackling social divisions in the shadow of dwindling masses’ confidence in political establishments, mounting fanaticism and dissemination of misleading information via social media.

Members of the Kuwaiti delegation participating in the event.

Central institutions
Delivering the opening speech at the conference, King Felipe VI of Spain stressed that the conference is being held although the coronavirus pandemic has not concluded yet. He referred to necessary health measures taken to restore social and economic life in various countries, as well as institutional relations and cooperation amongst countries. He said the parliaments are central democratic institutions that represent citizens and nations, and their function extends to take decisions, build agreements and achieve political consensus. The conference mainly discusses “contemporary challenges facing democracy: overcoming divisions and building society” in light of a decline in public confidence in political systems, an increase in extremism and the spread of misinformation through social media.

Along with discussing the role of national parliaments in addressing these issues, MPs have a chance to exchange ideas on how to engage more meaningfully with the public and ensure that decisions are made as inclusive as possible. The conference also focuses on how to deal with threats facing MPs following the assassination of British MP David Amis last October. IPU Human Rights Commission is set to consider the cases of more than 100 MPs wanted by several countries, including Afghanistan, Myanmar and Venezuela.

The IPU will launch new tools for MPs including a regional report on sexism, harassment and violence against women in parliaments in Africa and guidelines for parliamentarians on budgeting to achieve the sustainable development goals. The five-day convention tackles modern-time challenges facing democracy, tackling social divisions in the shadow of dwindling masses’ confidence in political establishments, mounting fanaticism and dissemination of misleading information via social media.

Meanwhile, Ghanem and his accompanying delegation are participating in the coordination meetings of Arab, Islamic and Asian groups to share views on issues that will be discussed and unify stances regarding them. The Kuwaiti delegation is also participating in the meetings of the IPU permanent committees on the issues of sustainable development, finance, trade, democracy, human rights, international peace and security and United Nations affairs, in addition to several sub-committees.

The delegation includes Secretary of the Parliamentary Caucus Dr Hamad Al-Matar, Treasurer and MP Hlailah, member of the caucus MP Usama Al-Munawer and the National Assembly Secretary General Adel Al-Loughani. The previous 142nd conference of the IPU was held virtually last May, with the participation of 750 MPs from 135 countries, and the next one will be held in Indonesia’s Bali next March.

Seeking consensus
Ghanem had said on Friday that the Kuwaiti delegation is seeking consensus with respect to the “emergency topics” concerning the Arab and Muslim nations; presented by peers at the gathering. The Kuwaiti parliament speaker, in a statement after a meeting of the Islamic geopolitical group on the sidelines of the conference, affirmed that the delegation of the Kuwaiti National Assembly has been effective among the geopolitical Asian, Arab and Islamic groups.

He revealed that Kuwaiti MP Matar was nominated for membership in the permanent sustainable committee during a meeting with the geopolitical Arab group on Thursday. Moreover at Thursday’s meeting, there was consensus on supporting a topic proposed by Indonesia regarding the humanitarian condition of the Palestinian people. The Turkish parliamentarians, for their part, he added, proposed a term regarding fighting against terrorism and desecration of the Islamic sharia on the social media.

However, Ghanem indicated that more than one topic, proposed by a single group, could not pass in the conference, thus he had proposed merging the two issues or delaying one to the next meeting, due in Bali, Indonesia. Elaborating, he noted that there was an agreement, at a coordination meeting of the Islamic group, on choosing one of the two topics. The speaker of the Kuwaiti parliament affirmed keenness on consensus on subjects that concern the Muslim and Arab nations. – AFP


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Categories: Kuwait

Kuwait Times Thursday, November 25, 2021

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 20:39

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Amir confident Crown Prince, Speaker, Prime Minister ‘up to the task ahead’

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:50
KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. – Amiri Diwan and KUNA photos

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received at Dar Al-Yamama, yesterday His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. His Highness the Amir also received Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. During the gathering, His Highness the Amir spoke to the three top officials, saying that they held a huge responsibility in their hands and expressed his confidence that they were up to the task ahead.

His Highness called on the three top officials to refer to him in times of need when addressing matters concerning Kuwait, affirming that they were on a mission to achieve the aspirations and dreams of the Kuwaiti people. He called on them to follow the law and constitution to serve the people of Kuwait. His Highness the Amir reiterated his confidence in the officials, wishing them the best in serving the country and its people.

His Highness the Crown Prince replied to His Highness the Amir, affirming that he, Speaker Ghanem, Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled, and other officials would carry on their duties with due diligence. Separately, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal received Speaker Ghanem and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled yesterday at Bayan Palace.

His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem.

Authorities’ cooperation
Following the meeting with His Highness the Amir, Speaker Ghanem said that the Kuwaiti leadership was keen on the executive and legislative authorities’ cooperation to address important national issues of concern. He added that the parliament will be willing to cooperate with the government for the benefit and interest of Kuwait. Their Highnesses tasked us with an important duty relating to the future of Kuwait and its people and the two authorities are willing to tackle issues such as corruption, economic development, and other topics of great significance.

According to the 56 article of the constitution, His Highness the Amir assigned His Highness the Crown Prince to some of his constitutional rights and therefore, His Highness Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad chose Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled as Prime Minister and tasked him with forming the cabinet, indicated Ghanem. He affirmed that the Crown Prince called on the National Assembly to cooperate with the new cabinet to achieve the dreams and aspiration of the Kuwaiti people. – KUNA

His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.


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Categories: Kuwait

No more business visit visas to work permits: PAM

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:45

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) announced yesterday that it has stopped transferring business visas into work permits as of today. The Authority said it will continue to accept such visas which had been issued until the end of the year but new visas issued from yesterday will not be transferred.

The Authority said the reason for taking such a measure is the decision of the government to resume issuing all types of visas through the Interior Ministry. Reports said that the Interior Ministry has resumed issuing tourist visas to certain nationalities through online applications.

Interior Ministry’s Residency sector announced that in cooperation with the information technology department the e-visa system was updated so that tourist visas can be issued through Interior Ministry website for 53 countries whose nationals are allowed to apply for such visas – that in addition to some residents of GCC countries where jobs are mentioned in the ministerial decision 220/2008.

These are: doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, consultants, judges, prosecutors, university professors, journalists, pilots, computer programmers, managers, business men, diplomats, owners managers and company mandoubs and commercial establishments as well as privileged Saudi residency holder.


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Categories: Kuwait

Zain strategic partner of FoodBuzz

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:43
KUWAIT: Zain and FoodBuzz officials during the event.

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading digital service provider in Kuwait, announced its strategic partnership with FoodBuzz, a community event that offers a unique social environment for visitors to socialize, connect, and enjoy the spring and winter seasons. The event, which runs for two days every month from November 2021 to February 2022, is held at Arraya Center in the heart of Kuwait City and features many distinguished food and beverage brands.

By partnering with FoodBuzz, Zain continues its ongoing efforts of empowering local talents as part of its solid and well-focused Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility strategy. The company continuously works towards identifying initiatives like FoodBuzz that carry a clear objective of empowering the next generation of Kuwaiti businesses that are well-capable of contributing to national economy.

Zain was present at FoodBuzz via its dedicated booth, where the company offered many social and entertaining programs to visitors, sharing the wonderful positive atmosphere that the Kuwaiti community enjoys nowadays as normal life gradually returns after the pandemic. Zain also held exciting competitions at the event and presented valuable prizes to winners.

FoodBuzz, established in 2016, introduces a new concept that is all about networking, connecting, and exploring Kuwait’s food and beverage community at its best. The event serves huge numbers of visitors who are primarily employees from business sectors, given that it is located at the heart of Kuwait’s business community, allowing them to engage and socialize in a professional environment while enjoying a variety of food and beverage vendors during winter and spring seasons.

Zain expressed its ongoing keenness in supporting events that uplift local talents to higher levels, by encouraging outstanding projects and ideas like FoodBuzz, which served over 6,000 visitors last season. Zain’s support is aimed at investing in the creative abilities of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs, preparing them to engage in the business world by encouraging them further and nurturing innovation within their businesses.


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Categories: Kuwait

KJA looks forward to ‘quantum leap’ in govt performance

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:40

KUWAIT: Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) released the following statement yesterday, expressing appreciation for the reappointment of HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah as Prime Minister of Kuwait, and hoping that the next phase features a ‘quantum leap’ in governmental performance.

“Following the Amiri order signed by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to appoint HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah as Prime Minister and assigning him to nominate members of the new Cabinet, Kuwait Journalists Association is looking forward for the next period to see a quality move in government performance and a harmonious relationship between the executive and legislative authorities, by abandoning disputes and understanding differences.

“The current period comes with much optimism, especially after the call by HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on September 29 for a national dialogue, which resulted in the pardon decrees. This is something that calls for serious work to reach stability, and the first pillar of this condition is the selection of a political and economic reform government that is distant from appeasements, something citizens are no longer tolerate.

“We all are looking forward to see all ministries receive the same level of attention and consideration, particularly the education and health ministries because they are the backbones of society’s righteousness and the foundation of the country’s development. “KJA values the confidence HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince have put in HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled as Prime Minister and asking him to form the new Cabinet. It is a deserved confidence in a person who is known of being a clean hand and sincere at work.”

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Categories: Kuwait

Boursa Kuwait becomes humanitarian partner of KRCS

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:38
KUWAIT: Dr Hilal Al-Sayer, Chairman of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society (right) presents a memento to Naser Al-Sanousi, Marketing and Communication Director at Boursa Kuwait.

KUWAT: Boursa Kuwait sponsored the efforts of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society as a ‘Humanitarian Partner’, contributing to the sponsorship of the society’s ‘Basic Education’ initiative, helping children inside Kuwait to gain an education. The initiative aims to reduce the burden on of low-income families, paying part of the tuition fees for about 5,000 students. The campaign, which is running for the sixth year in a row, pays orphans’ full tuition fees.

The initiative forms part of Boursa Kuwait’s efforts to create a lasting meaningful impact on the communities where it operates as part of its Corporate Sustainability strategy and is in line with Goal 4 – Quality Education – and Goal 17 – Partnership for the Goals – of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the National Development Plan for the State of Kuwait, “New Kuwait 2035”.

Dr Hilal Al-Sayer, Chairman of the Kuwait Red Crescent Society, commented on the occasion, saying, “The goal of the “Basic Education” initiative is to decrease illiteracy and the damage it inflicts on the community, through fostering the abilities and educations of the next generation and fulfilling them economically and socially. Education is the foundation of any stable society, which is why we think that this initiative is one of our most promising and important. I would like to thank Boursa Kuwait for their sponsorship and support, and look forward to more fruitful collaborations in the future.”

Naser Al-Sanousi, Marketing and Communication Director at Boursa Kuwait, added, “Boursa Kuwait is proud of our strategic partnership with the Kuwait Red Crescent Society as a humanitarian partner and sponsor of this tremendous initiative. Boursa Kuwait seeks to be a force for good for all our stakeholders through an ongoing and diverse range of community and social impact initiatives that are in line with our Corporate Sustainability strategy and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to thank the Kuwait Red Crescent Society and Dr Hilal Al-Sayer for hosting us today.”

Boursa Kuwait’s Corporate Sustainability strategy stipulates ensuring initiatives apply and fall in line with the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), industry best practice standards and investor expectations, creating strong and sustainable partnerships that ultimately achieve success and allow Boursa Kuwait to leverage the capabilities and strengths of other companies or organizations that have experience in different fields, and integrating sustainability efforts with the company culture, in order to achieve longevity and an ongoing impact that is carried on and instilled in the day-to-day operations of the stock exchange.

As part of the strategy, Boursa Kuwait has launched many initiatives in partnership with local and international organizations, focusing on support for nongovernmental organizations and charity programs, financial literacy and capital market awareness, the empowerment of women, as well as environmental protection.


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Categories: Kuwait

Mosques with Ottoman architecture in Kuwait

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:35

KUWAIT: Some mosques in Kuwait are built to mirror Ottoman architecture, with exterior and interior designs and drawings showing its beauty. Among these mosques are Badria Al-Jee’an Mosque, commonly referred to as the Golden Mosque, a 3,600-square-meter newly-built mosque in Salmiya. The other is the cemetery’s mosque. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

KCCI chairman commends Kuwait pavilion at Expo 2020

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:32
DUBAI: KCCI Chairman Mohammad Al-Saqer is seen during his visit to the Kuwaiti pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. – KUNA

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai is a window peering into the country’s history, tradition and development, Chairman of the Board for the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Mohammad Al-Saqer said yesterday. Speaking to the press after visiting the pavilion, Saqer said that he was amazed by what the pavilion had to offer for visitors, indicating that the architectural design complimented the State of Kuwait’s vision in a sustainably developed region creating various career opportunities and business.

The Expo, held for the first time in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia regions, is a triumph not only for the UAE but also for all Gulf countries as well including Kuwait, he said. Holding the Expo during the challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic successful was also another point of achievement for the UAE, he affirmed. Expo 2020 Dubai began on October 1, 2021 and will last until March 31, 2022. – KUNA

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Categories: Kuwait

EU appreciates Kuwait’s ‘constructive and positive role’ in the region

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:30
BRUSSELS: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Majdi Al-Dhafiri meets with Secretary-General of the EEAS Stefano Sannino. – KUNA

BRUSSELS: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Majdi Al-Dhafiri concluded his one-day visit to Brussels Tuesday evening after holding constructive and successful talks with European Union and Belgian officials. “I heard today from the EU highest appreciation of Kuwait’s role in the region and its foreign policy which was led by the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and is being completed by determination and strength by HH Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,” he told the press after the talks. He said Kuwait is leading the “active diplomacy” by having contacts and communication with the countries of the region to create a climate of regional stability and security.

“The Kuwaiti diplomatic heritage has become an example for the countries of the world and the EU speaks about this Kuwaiti example,” stressed Dhafiri. He said that dialogue with the EU is essential and a strategy for the state of Kuwait and added that “we are continuing this dialogue with all our determination to deepen the bilateral ties.

“It was very heartwarming to hear that the EU intends to respond to the Kuwaiti request to lift the Schengen visa for Kuwaitis because of the high trust for Kuwait in Brussels he said and hoped that this would happen in the near future.” The EU-Kuwaiti relations are strong and distinguished by their untiring efforts for peace and stability and resolving problems based on international law and the UN charter,” he added.

Dhafiri had met earlier the Secretary-General of the EU External Action Service (EEAS) Stefano Sannino who said “the relationship between the EU and Kuwait are very important, very relevant for us.” “It is a key country in the Gulf region but also beyond playing a very positive and constructive role in the region,” Sannino said welcoming the Kuwaiti delegation. “We appreciate this. We are trying to enhance the relationship with the region. We are going to create a communication relation with the EU and countries of the Gulf which is shaping a framework in enhancing our common work,” he added.

Dhafiri also met Theodora Gentzis Director General of the Belgian foreign ministry Tuesday afternoon and discussed Belgian-Kuwaiti relations and ways to strengthen and deepen the relations in all sectors, trade, economic, investments or security. “We are happy to have a strong relationship with the Kingdom of Belgium and Belgium and we seek to develop this relation to the strategic level,” he said. “Belgium’s role is pivotal and Kuwait’s role is also pivotal in the region,” he stressed.

Dhafiri’s visit began with in a luncheon meeting in Brussels today with Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs, Political Director of the EEAS. Ambassador Ayham Al-Omar assistant foreign minister for the office of deputy foreign minister and Ambassador Naser Al Hain assistant foreign minister for European affairs, Kuwait’s ambassador to the EU, Belgium and NATO Jasem Al-Budaiwi also attended the meetings. – KUNA


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Categories: Kuwait

Putting gender equality first

Wed, 24/11/2021 - 19:28
Josep Borrell

By Josep Borrell and Jutta Urpilainen

Rarely in the world have women’s and girls’ rights been challenged in such a concerning way as they have been in Afghanistan. The EU has made it clear that future EU development assistance will depend on the respect for norms on human rights, including women’s and girls’ rights. The EU will continue to support women and girls worldwide, sticking to our values and beliefs.

Human rights, freedom and democracy, and equality represent core values that make the European Union what it is. It enriches our societies and strengthens resilience. Gender equality is key for peace, security, economic prosperity and sustainable development.

That is why working on all levels to promote and safeguard progress on gender equality is a political priority and objective for the EU. The EU Gender Action Plan III and the new EU external action budget provide a roadmap for global action towards a gender-equal world. We work closely together with multilateral, regional and bilateral partners, including civil society organizations, to achieve those objectives. We still have a long way to go; there is no room for complacency.

Jutta Urpilainen

In many countries, the pandemic has exacerbated existing gender inequalities across different areas: education, vocational training, health, security and safety, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and economic opportunities. In addition, the COVID-19 lockdowns have often led to an increase in gender-based violence, in particular domestic violence. At the same time, a significant part of the care burden has fallen on women and girls. Workers in the informal economy and in low-skilled jobs (most of whom are women), migrants, and those belonging to minorities, have been more at risk and face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

Moreover, school closures have exposed girls to an increased risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy, child labor, and forced marriage. The Malala Fund estimates that 20 million more girls risk dropping out of school, adding up to a total of 150 million girls – equivalent to a third of the EU population – without educational prospects.

According to a recent UN report, military spending in 2020 still outplaced the worldwide expenses on health, even in a year that was dominated by the corona pandemic. For a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to promote gender equality.

Time to do more
This challenge now requires a global response, when we are building the future we wish for our children and grandchildren to grow up in a post-pandemic world that is more equal, more diverse, and where equal opportunities are a reality. We need to address the root causes of gender inequality and discrimination in order to achieve sustainable change.

The European Union and its Member States, as well as the European financial institutions have stood with the women and girls of the world throughout the pandemic. As Team Europe, we have already mobilized €46 billion in support of over 130 partner countries, with a particular focus on women and youth.

Three examples as an illustration: In Nepal, we helped one million girls and boys continue their education through radio-based learning. In Togo, we supported the creation of a universal income scheme and the appointment of women to head new municipalities. Worldwide, the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative has helped 650,000 women and girls prevent or address violence against them, and educated 880,000 men and boys on positive masculinity, non-violent conflict resolution and parenting.

Still, to meet the growing challenges, we need to do more. That is the purpose of the Gender Action Plan III. It promotes leadership and meaningful participation of women, girls and young people in political, economic, social and cultural life, as well as in all matters related to peace and security.

Human development back on track
We are now making this plan a reality with the help of the new €79.5 billion NDICI-Global Europe instrument that will support the EU’s external action for the next seven years. Support for education and particularly girls’ education will have a central role. Just as we support education in emergencies, the EU has worked with partner countries throughout the pandemic to minimize its impact on children, and to facilitate a safe return to school.

We already provide more than half of all global aid to education as Team Europe. We will increase funding further, to promote gender equality through quality education at all levels. Our joint €1.7 billion pledge to the Global Partnership for Education in July – to transform education for girls and boys in up to 90 countries and territories – is part of this new beginning.

We are multiplying our efforts, from supporting women and girls’ education and economic opportunities to improving their access to sexual and reproductive health services. By 2025, 85% of all the EU’s new external actions – across all sectors – will contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is now being finalized with our partner countries based on close consultation with civil society organizations, women’s rights activists, and youth. We need to put human development back on track and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, leaving no one behind. It is crucial we get it right.

– Josep Borrell is the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission
– Jutta Urpilainen is the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships


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