Deera App – Does it work?

Posted by Mark

deera

Back in April I posted about Deera, an iPhone app which allows you to report issues with public services. The way it worked was fairly simple, you snapped a photo of the problem, specify what the issue was along with the location and then submit it. But does it work? Yes it does!

Last night I decided to use the app to report a garbage issue I spotted on my way home and just a few moments ago I got tagged on Instagram with the issue sorted. That’s a turnaround of under 12 hours. By flipping through the reported incidents in the app and then checking the Deera app Instagram account you’ll see that the majority if not all the incidents are getting fixed right away.

I have to say I am pretty surprised and impressed. Not just at the app but at the fact that the people behind the app are able to coordinate and get action from the different municipalities so quickly. Theres actually a huge pile of leftover construction material right in front of my building that has been there for months which I can’t wait to report now. If there was an award for best local app of the year this would have to be it.

If you want try this app you can download it for free from the Apple Store either by searching for Deera or by clicking [Here]


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Kuwait vs Worldwide Obesity Levels

Posted by Mark

scale

According to a new study that was published in the the Lancet medical journal, the world is getting fatter. Since the study first started back in 1980 the largest increase in the rate of obesity were in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Honduras, and Bahrain for women, and in New Zealand, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the USA for men. I downloaded the PDF of the study and I’ve put together a top 10 list of the highest obesity rates in the world:

Obese Girls < 20 Years
1- Kiribati 36%
2- Federated States of Micronesia 32.4%
3- Samoa 29.6%
4- Kuwait 23.3%
5- Libya 22.1%
6- The Bahamas 20.2%
7- Uruguay 18.1%
8- Soloman Islands 18.0%
9- Qatar 15.5%
10- Syria 15.4%

Obese Boys < 20 Years
1- Samoa 23.7%
2- Kiribati 22.9%
3- Qatar 18.8%
4- Kuwait 16.7%
5- The Bahamas 15.9%
5- Lebanon 15.9%
7- Libya 14.5%
8- Federated States of Micronesia 14.5%
9- Syria 13.9%
10- Israel 13.9%

Obese Women ≥ 20 Years
1- Samoa 69.1%
2- Tonga 67.2%
3- Kuwait 58.6%
4- Federated States of Micronesia 57.9%
5- Libya 57.2%
6- Kiribati 55.5%
7- Qatar 54.7%
9- Marshall Islands 49.1%
10- Egypt 48.4%

Obese Men ≥ 20 Years
1- Tonga 52.4%
2- Samoa 45.9%
3- Qatar 44.0%
4- Kuwait 43.4%
5- Kiribati 39.3%
6- Marshall Islands 31.9%
7- USA 31.7%
9- Federated States of Micronesia 31.3%
10- The Bahamas 30.9%

Sadly Kuwait made it into the top 5 of every list. Although no countries had significant decreases in obesity, I would be interested to see if Kuwait’s obesity rate has at least slowed down over the past few years. Everyone is generally more health conscious today than they were a few years ago (me included) and there are a lot more gyms and healthy food options available now as well. You can download the full study from [Here] (signup required)


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Kuwait will be a Huge Travel Destination in the Next 10 Years

Posted by Mark

kuwaithotspot

Based on data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the home swapping site “Love Home Swap” compiled a top 50 up-and-coming countries to watch list and Kuwait came in #15 as a new and upcoming holiday destination. Business Insider has even picked up the story further adding to the credibility of the list. So strange, check out the top 50 destinations [Here]

Thanks Taz


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1st Healthy City in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

yarmouk

Yarmouk became the first healthy city in Kuwait this month by fulfilling the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO). Some of the requirements they fulfilled included:

– Fighting against obesity
– Having a walk marathon
– Beautification and cleaning of the city
– Setting up a well-equipped walking track
– Planted trees
– Saved power and water
– Washed streets with water and soap
– Organized exhibitions for young entrepreneurs a
– Established an environment-friendly park
– Organized cultural, social, educational and health symposiums and lectures
– Urged people to donate blood
– Combatted smoking
– Fighting swine flu

I think thats really great now if only the same formula could be applied to my area or other areas around Kuwait. Checkout the article on KUNA [Here]

Photo by Samira


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The Emergency Lane Confusion

Posted by Mark

copemergencylane

I have no idea whats going on with the emergency lane situation in Kuwait but there seriously seems to be some major confusion. The other day an article in the Arab Times said the following:

Jail, 3-Mth Vehicle Seizure For Emergency Lane Violators
Director of Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department and Acting Director of Security Media Department, Brigadier Adel Al-Hashash has announced the activation of a traffic law which punishes motorists who use the emergency lanes, reports Al-Shahed daily.

Al-Hashash explained those who drive in the emergency lanes will be detained at police stations for between 24 and 48 hours and the Al-Anba daily added their vehicles will be impounded for three months. He denied motorists were allowed to use the emergency lanes because of traffic congestion. He added, the Interior Ministry’s media department had earlier issued a statement in this regard. He said the law was activated on May 19 and the security authorities will implement this law in its strict sense.[Source]

First of all it seems no one gives a crap about that new law because over the weekend during heavy traffic on the Fahaheel Expressway not only were people using both the left and right emergency lanes, they were using it even when there was a police car in front of them (pictured above). No one was afraid of getting stopped, fined or punished. But then again, I’ve seen people run red lights in front of cops with no reaction from the cops so don’t know why I was surprised by this.

If that wasn’t bad enough, today there is another article in the Arab Times but this one contradicts the statement I highlighted in bold and italics in the article above. I’ve copy pasted this new article below:

Move To Reduce Congestion
Ministry of Interior has permitted the use of safety lanes on certain roads at specific times to reduce congestion.

In a statement, the ministry indicated roads specified for this purpose include King Faisal Expressway from the Sixth Ring Road, King Abdul-Aziz Road from the Sixth Ring Road to First Ring Road, and Al- Maghrib Highway from King Fahad Road to the First Ring Road.

The permitted timings are 6:00am-9:00am and 12:30pm-3:30pm, noting the times specified are the busiest in the country because Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees and students leave and return from the schools, institutes and universities during the period.

The statement added the decision was based on directives from the Interior Minister and Acting Minister of Awqaf Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary Lieutenant General Suleiman Fahad Al-Fahad.

The road users can only use the safety lanes during the specific period and at specified locations to follow regulations, reiterating the lane is originally for ambulances, fire engines, police cars and civil defense but other vehicles can use it now, as instructed, and the speed limit is 45 km/h. [Source]

So a few days after one person issues a statement saying that no one is allowed to use the emergency lane not even during rush hour, another person releases another statement contradicting the the first person. Talk about lack of communication and confusion on this subject.


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Kuwait 11th Happiest Country in the World

Posted by Mark

happykuwait

Kuwait is tied in 11th place in the latest report from Gallup on the happiest countries in the world. I guess the Happy Kuwait video did Kuwait a lot of good.

happyrank

Survey Methods
Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in each country, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2013 in 138 countries and areas. For results based on the total global sample, the margin of sampling error is less than ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. For results based on country-level samples, the margin of error ranges from a low of ±2.1 to a high of ±5.3. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Check out the full report [Here]

Thanks BeeJay


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The new banknotes presentation

Posted by Mark

moneypresent

Yesterday the Central Bank of Kuwait introduced the new banknotes at a press event and now the presentation that was shared at that event is available online for everyone to watch. The presentation is in Arabic and talks about the reasons why the new banknotes were introduced, the images that were chosen for each banknote and the new security features amongst other things. The new banknotes will be officially launched next month on June 29th. Check out the full presentation below.


[YouTube]


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Wataniya Telecom to become Ooredoo

Posted by Mark

ooredoo

According to an invitation I received, Wataniya will launch the Ooredoo brand tomorrow night at a press event. They’ve already started rebranding their stores in preparation and I expect everyones phones display will start showing Ooredoo starting Thursday morning.

Ooredoo is a brand name that was introduced last year to replace the former name Qtel which is the Qatari telecom that owns Wataniya. Ooredoo currently has 95 million subscribers and they will grow overnight to 97 once Wataniya rebrands.


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Donate your old laptop

Posted by Mark

rwanda

Local group OXAdventure is heading to Rwanda this August and want to collect as many laptops as they can. They want to give the laptops to the students so that instead of three or more students sharing the same computer, every individual student would have their own to use freely.

So if you have an old laptop contact OXAdventure either by calling them on 99896666 or emailing them on info@oxadventure.com


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Sneak Peek: Kuwait Cultural Centre

Posted by Mark

kc1

Last month when I posted my photographic journey of Salam Palace I mentioned that right next door to the palace a huge project is currently under construction. I was shown renderings of the buildings and they looked out of this world but due to the secretive nature of this project (they want it to be a surprise to everyone) I wasn’t allowed to take any photos to share on the blog. Luckily with a little help from a friend of mine (thanks Khaled!), I was able to source out the images of the project online.

kc2

The site of the huge project is the old flag square opposite the church in Kuwait City [Map] and when completed will house four structures, an opera house, a music center, a theatre and a library. The official name for this cultural centre I believe will be “Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre”. The buildings will be made out of titanium shells and will have no pillars at all on the inside. When I met with Al-Diwan Al-Amiri they told me the project was expected to be completed in 18 months and I truely believe that will be possible due to the amount of resources they’ve assigned for this project. The project is already two months ahead of schedule.

kc3

As you can see from the images this project looks really stunning and like nothing else we have ever done in Kuwait. Its also located on the coastal road so it’s in clear sight for everyone to see. This is the quality of design all government projects should have but sadly don’t and I personally can’t wait until the project is completed.

kc4

kc5

kc6

Enjoy the renderings, I found them [Here]


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