Quality of Living in our Region 2016

Post by Mark

sultan

Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living rankings were just released and it’s not that much different from last years. Nearly everyone in the region dropped a couple of spots but Kuwait managed to move up one point to 124th place world wide. Regionally though Kuwait still trails behind UAE, Oman and Qatar.

1 – Vienna, Austria
75 – Dubai, UAE (-1)
81 – Abu Dhabi, UAE (-4)
107 – Muscat, Oman (-3)
110 – Doha, Qatar (-2)
124 – Kuwait City, Kuwait (+1)
133 – Manama, Bahrain (-3)
164 – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (+1)
165 – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (+1)
230 – Baghdad, Iraq

Check out the full list over [Here]

Photo by Mohammed Al Sultan


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Kuwait Towers Reopening March 8th

Post by Mark

The Kuwait Towers will be reopening next month to the public on March 8th with the actual opening ceremony (which will include fireworks) on March 5th. Oddly though, according to the general manager of the Kuwait Towers Mubarak Al Anezi, the refurbishing of the restaurant and observation deck took only two months to complete. So why were the towers closed for 4 years?


[YouTube]

Thanks Sala6a


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Smoking Banned in Malls Starting This Week

Post by Mark

A smoking ban inside malls will be implemented this week, a source at the Environment Public Authority (EPA) said, reminding that smokers indoors would have to pay a fine ranging between KD 50 and KD 100.

The penalty would also apply on those who smoke electronic cigarettes inside restaurants or cafes, the sources said. Meanwhile, an owner of a restaurant or cafe that allows smoking inside his or her facility risks paying up to KD 5,000, the source added.

An office for environmental police has been allocated in malls around Kuwait to monitor and make sure that the anti-smoking law is applied, the sources said, adding that the officers would intervene instantly should customers refuse to cooperate. Mall administrations were allowed to set up special cabins for smokers. [Source]

Sounds like déjà vu.


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Internet Prices in Kuwait – 2016

Post by Mark

Even though InfoConnect got canceled this year, the local internet providers still decided to introduce special offers and discounted prices. I took the liberty to list all the internet prices in a table to make it easy to compare. Most of the internet providers are providing additional benefits like scratch and win cards or gifts, so make sure you visit their website for more details. The list above is based on the yearly prices and taken from the internet providers websites. This year I’ve also decided to add mobile internet prices to the list due to the fact that their connection speeds and prices have become extremely competitive with the regular internet providers. Check out the list below:

internet2016


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Fork Fed: It’s NOT All About the Numbers

Post by Fork Fed

scale

Recently, I decided to measure my body fat percent on a body composition machine and boy oh boy was I nowhere near happy by the numbers. I’ve been going to my workouts religiously and watching what I eat, for the most part. My pant size has gone down 2 sizes, I’m much more toned and definitely stronger than I’ve ever been before. Why haven’t my numbers changed?? Here are some reasons as to why numbers do not really reflect that change that is DEFINITELY going on within you.

Equipment used to measure body fat percent is not always accurate!
The most common of all equipment to measure body fat percent is the bioelectrical impedance, and despite the fact that this machine is commonly available and easy to use, it is probably the least accurate way to measure body fat percentages. Bioelectrical impedance works by sending electrical impulses through the body and measuring how long they take to return; the quicker the return of the impulses are equates to a leaner body (fat hinders the movement of the impulses). This technique is not always accurate because hydration levels can also affect how fast the electrical impulses move through the body. The more hydrated you are the faster the impulses move; therefore if your body was somewhat dehydrated, you will be getting a false reading in regards to your body fat percent. The calipers are probably the most accurate, BUT you need to have a skilled person taking measurements and the measurements need to be taken in the same place at different times to ensure accuracy. It can be hard to remember the exact skin-fold that was measured previously.

The scale and BMI are the worst measures of weight loss.
Both the scale and body mass index (BMI) do not take your muscle mass into account. Therefore if you are someone that is working out and doing a lot of resistance training – you are building muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, your weight might increase or stay the same regardless of the fact that you are actually losing fat and dropping in size. If you are not exercising and only restricting your food then using a scale to monitor your weight loss could actually be beneficial. Although to be completely honest with you, I do not like the term weight loss and prefer to focus on fat loss. Taking a look at BMI, it is a calculation of your weight and height. It does not take into account how much of your weight actually comes from muscle or fat, therefore it is the worst indication of whether or not you are at a healthy weight range.

The numbers may frustrate you, but don’t let them bring you down! Numbers do not always reflect everything. As long as you feel good about yourself, then that is all that matters. Make sure you are exercising, eating and sleeping well. Remember, any change you make should be a lifestyle one and not a temporary one. I hope this helps you if you’ve been let down by your weight.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.

Image Source


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Did Your ATM Card Stop Working Recently?

Post by Mark

chip

In the past two months I’ve had three different KNET cards fail on me because the security chip on them stopped working. The first time it happened I didn’t think much of it, I just went to NBK and got a new ATM card made. But, a few days after getting my new card it stopped working again with the exact same chip error. I was kinda embarrassed to go back to the same branch cuz I thought maybe I had done something wrong but I couldn’t think of any change I did in the way I was handling my ATM cards. Still, I went back to a different NBK branch and had them print another card for me. Everything was fine until last week my card stopped working again with the same chip error as before. So I went back to NBK and this time the employee at the front desk asked me if I had used my card at a gas station? She proceeded to tell me that they’ve been having a lot of chip failures because the gas station card machines were ruining the chips. She wasn’t talking about the KNET machines which you use to pay at gas stations, but the second machine they slip your card into after you’re done paying. Thats when it hit me, every time my card failed I had used it to fill up gas at the Alfa gas station on the Gulf Road (Shaab).

I’m not sure if this applies to all gas stations or just the Alfa ones, but in my case my chip cards were getting ruined because of that one Alfa gas station on my way home. As you can imagine its extremely annoying to have your ATM card just stop working but this is exactly why I have two bank accounts with two different banks, it’s for unfortunate situations like this. And even though NBK can print a new card for me while I wait, I still have to keep creating a new account for my online banking every time I get a new card and I am so over filling in answers to different security questions.

So if you’ve had ATM card failures recently now you know why. I’m going to be paying only cash at the gas stations until this issue gets sorted out.


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World’s 50 Richest Arabs 2016

Post by Mark

richest

Arabian Business have released their World’s 50 Richest Arabs list for 2016 and Kuwait made the list three times:

10- The Al Kharafi Family
11- The Bukhamseen Family
26- The Alghanim Family

The richest Arab is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud from Saudi Arabia but thats not a surprise. What is a surprise to me at least is that 7 people from Lebanon made the list including Joseph Safra whom I hadn’t heard of before coming in 2nd place. Due to the amount of wealth in Kuwait I just expected more people from Kuwait to make the list although a lot of Kuwaitis are not on the list like Mohammed Alshaya because Alshaya is a private and family-owned business and so their finances are a secret.

Check out the full list [Here]


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Fork Fed: Going Bananas!

Post by Fork Fed

banana

As I’m getting ready to move apartments, I can’t help but feel like I’m going bananas! Which, brought me to think about discussing bananas. I’ve realized that people can be divided into 2 groups – a group that loves bananas and think they’re healthy and a group that wants to stay away from one of the starchiest fruits out there. So are bananas worth the calories? Let’s take a look.

Taking a look at the Nutrition Facts (please keep in mind that a banana comes in a variety of sizes and ripeness, this information is for the average medium sized banana)

– Energy: 105 kcals
– Carbs: 27 grams
– Protein: 1g

The calories in bananas are mainly from 2 types of carbohydrates – resistant starch and pectin. Both are mainly found in unripe (green bananas).  These type of starches are essential in maintaining gut health (feed your good bacteria), keeping you full, and helping avoid a blood sugar spike post meal. All of which are key factors to helping anyone eat less and hopefully lose some weight regardless of the caloric amount. This makes banana an excellent choice for a quick and easy breakfast, along with a nut butter, or alone as a snack. Keep in mind that the more ripe a banana is the less pectin and resistance starches are available, BUT don’t let that bring you down, ripe bananas contain a good amount of soluble fiber, the kind that attracts water turning the food into a gel-like consistency and slowing down absorption. I guarantee you you’ll be full regardless of the ripeness of the banana.

Bananas are also high in antioxidants like dopamine and catechins (similar to those found in white tea), provide your body with many nutrients and help protect your heart’s health. The antioxidants and nutritional profile make a banana an excellent snack for athletes as it provides a quick source of energy as well as many electrolytes to help avoid dehydration.

I personally find bananas to be worth every single calorie. I know that some may prefer another 100 calorie snack, but not all calories are the same, and if you choose to alter your taste buds to favor the unripe kind, bananas could actually keep you full and help you achieve your weight loss goals. In the midst of packing up my kitchen and not having any cookware to prepare a meal, a banana with 2 tablespoons of almond butter might just be my dinner of choice.

Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.


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965 Flowers is now Bleems

Post by Mark

Back in 2012, 965 Flowers launched as a local online flower delivery website and I ended up posting about them after I needed to use them one day. Over time though they started adding other items that also fit with the different occasions people gifted flowers, items like chocolates, baked goods and other kinds of small gifts. They also started expanding to other parts of the GCC so their name 965 Flowers became an issue for them. They were no longer just based in Kuwait and they no longer just had flowers so they decided to rebrand and starting today they’re going by Bleems.

bleem

They chose the word Bleems because it doesn’t mean anything and works in Arabic and English. They chose a word that had no meaning because they didn’t want to end up with a name that would limit their ability to expand their business later on down the line. Personally Bleems reminds me of the old PlayStation emulator for the PC called Bleem! while a quick search on Urban Dictionary pops up some interesting other definitions. In any case, it’s still a much better name than 965 Flowers (or 965 anything).

Their official re-launch is today and the owners sent me the video above which basically explains everything I just wrote. Here is a link to their [Website]


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Kuwait Islands Project 2035

Post by Mark

island1

Yesterday the Amir was presented a video showing a proposed project for developing the Kuwaiti islands Boubyan, Failaka, Awha, Warba and Miskan. I watched the video late last night and I’m in complete awe. The video presentation is around 20 minutes long and showcases ideas on what could be done to our islands. It was pretty inspirational and really made me realize how lucky we are to have all these islands around us. But, it also made me realize how we are under utilizing the islands even though there is so much potential.

I don’t have permission to share the video just yet, I was told it should be launching officially sometime today so for now I’ll just share some screenshots below. I’ve already uploaded the video online so once I get the green light I’ll share it right away.

Read the rest of this entry »


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