DNA Tests Mandatory for Everyone in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

dnatesting

In a move that will make privacy advocates cringe, Kuwait passed a law yesterday making DNA tests mandatory for all residents. According to the AFP, people who refuse testing will face a year in prison and a hefty fine.

The draconian law will establish a comprehensive database of all residents in Kuwait, presumably making it easier for law enforcement to track down criminals after the fact. The country’s 1.3 million citizens and 2.9 million foreign residents will all be affected. Roughly $400 million has been set aside to implement the national DNA database program.

Many countries, including England, Sweden and the United States, routinely store the DNA of convicted criminals. Kuwait’s program would be the first such mandatory DNA test for every resident of a given country, regardless of criminal history. [Gizmodo]

Not sure how I feel about this. Don’t think I’m allowed to have feelings on this anyway, it’s compulsory so if I don’t like it I’ll have to GTFO or else I’ll have to spend a year in jail.


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#onekuwait

Posted by Mark

explosion

I’ve spent the last 30+ minutes trying to figure out what to write. I tend to have a difficult time with words but never like this. By now you’ve probably heard about the devastating explosion that took place at a mosque today during prayers. As of this post at least 13 people are reportedly. I’ve been getting a steady supply of photos and videos via Whatsapp of this tragedy but I won’t be sharing any of them here out of respect. It’s so sad, I can’t believe this happened. If you want to stay up to do date on whats going on, please use this [Link]

This is heartbreaking, may they all rest in peace.


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Excavator Falls Through Kuwait Airways Building

Posted by Mark

One of three excavators demolishing the Kuwait Airways building (from the roof down) fell nine stories when the floor underneath the excavator collapsed. The operator of the excavator sadly passed away. [Source]

kuwaitairwaysd

I drove by the building earlier today on my way to my barber and noticed they had firetrucks blocking the main road in front of the Kuwait Airways building. I figured it was for safety incase the building collapsed into the street. Only while I was getting a haircut did I get an email from the blog Sala6a informing me of the collapse. So when I left the barber, I passed by the site and noticed an excavator busy digging around the area of the collapse. I couldn’t see the excavator that fell but I could see the other two abandoned excavators on the roof.

hole

It’s dangerous enough when it’s just one excavator on the roof, but three??? How many workers have to die before the authorities put a stop to this? The video on top, shot with a drone shows where the excavator fell through. The other two excavators were lucky to survive.


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Two Deported for Fighting

Posted by Mark

deported1

A bunch of people sent me the link to the story below today about two expats getting deported because they fought over a parking lot:

Two Asian men who fought over a car parking spot were arrested by police. The fight started in a Salmiya parking lot, and police were called to break it up. One of the Asians sustained a head wound, so he was taken to Mubarak hospital, while the other man was sent to the police station. Both will be deported. [Source]

Should they be punished? Yes. Deported? No way.

deported2

In the paper a day earlier there were two other reports of fights as well (pictured above). One was related to a husband beating his wife and another related to three girls fighting at a cafe. Were they also deported? I doubt it. This whole deportation thing is unjust, confusing and it doesn’t look like it will be applied to everyone.


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Step inside $190M ‘ghost’ stadium

Posted by Mark

ghost

If you check the sports page on CNN.com right this moment, the current featured article is on Kuwait’s abandoned Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. The stadium which was completed back in 2007 has only been used once since then for an officially sanctioned match.

I just read the article and I’m still confused to why the stadium is closed. Supposedly what I heard is what everyone else had heard which is the stadium had a structural fault. But, according to the article, the contractor and the stadium’s security chief have both denied there is any kind of fault in the building. Yet the article also states that the Amiri Diwan have now taken over the project and have hired a new contractor who is currently in the process of repairing the building. So was there a fault or wasn’t there a fault? I don’t get it. Check out the article on CNN [Here]


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Kuwait’s Air Ambulance Service

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Up to 45 patients have been transported to hospitals and clinics by the new airborne transportation service since its launch in January, a Ministry of Health official said on Sunday.

The ministry has prepared specially equipped helicopters to transport patients or people hurt in accidents from the scenes to hospitals or health centers, thus shortening time needed the transfer time needed and evading road traffic. [Source]

The local air ambulance initiative was established by former servicemen, security veterans, and firefighters and went into service early this year. I spotted the air ambulance a couple of days ago flying over Kuwait City probably heading to the Amiri Hospital. Kuwait already had one of the best ambulance services in the region and having the chopper now as part of its arsenal is obviously beneficial to everyone. I’m not sure what kind of situation merits the use of the air ambulance so if anyone has details on that please leave it in the comments.


[YouTube]

There are a couple of videos on YouTube of the helicopter, I’ve shared two with this post.

airambulance


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Women from Sierra Leone ‘sold like slaves’ in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

domesticworker

“Choose the one you want,” says one agent with a smile. “I will give you a hundred days’ guarantee. If you don’t like her you can send her back.”

The Guardian published an article two days ago on the treatment of domestic workers in Kuwait, specifically ones from Sierra Leone. They compared it to slavery with every right to do so. One interesting fact the article highlighted is that nearly 90% of Kuwaiti households employ at least one foreign maid. That’s just an insane figure. Check out the full article on The Guardian [Here]

Also Fajer the Lawyer previously posted on Domestic Workers Rights [Here] in case you missed it.

Thanks Laila


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Scientific Center Expansion

Posted by Mark

science1

The Scientific Center is set to double in size with a new expansion project. The expansion will add the following new sections:

science2

– Dolphinarium (Al Dalaphene)
– Exploratorium (Dar Al-Estikshaf)
– Education and Conference Center
– Visitor Service Facilities
– Exhibit Halls
– Shaded Surface Parking

science3

I’m not too sure how I feel about the Dolphinarium since I highly doubt the dolphins here will be taken care of properly or be given enough space. But, I do like the expansion idea and going by the renderings in the article it’s going to look world class when completed.

science4

[Source 1] [Source 2]


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Kuwaiti Doctor Assists in World’s First Penile Transplant

Posted by Mark

Some of you might have read about the world’s first penile transplant that took place a few days ago. What you might not know is that one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery was a Kuwaiti (Dr Tallal AlQaoud). At first I was going to post about this myself but then realized it would make a lot more sense to have one of my friends who is an extremely talented surgeon himself and who has worked with Dr Tallal write the post instead. This is what he had to say about the surgery:

tallal2

Kuwaiti Doctor Assists in World’s First Penile Transplant
As you may have read on reddit and pretty much everywhere else, surgeons in South Africa’s Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town have performed the first successful penile transplant recorded in history. It was performed by Professor André Van der Merwe and a team of urological surgeons.

This may not seem very significant unless you live in country where 500 men die every year from ritual circumcisions gone wrong but this is in fact a major breakthrough.

For urological surgeons restoring erectile function, urinary function and blood flow after a patient has had a penile amputation (due to trauma or cancer) is not difficult, it’s pretty much a pipe dream. To illustrate the point, the team based their methods on lessons learned from facial transplants and with the same level of complexity.

What you may not know is the story of the guy on the right bottom corner of the photo. That young surgeon is Dr Tallal AlQaoud; a Kuwaiti resident at McGill University.

While many people in our field first fall in love it for the competition, prestige or financial prospects, it’s a rare thing to see someone who is actually willing to train himself in surgery like an athlete would for the olympics.

Dr AlQaoud jumped into medicine after graduating from NES (Yes, the New English School). He went on to do his undergraduate degree in the UK and eventually returned to do his internship in Kuwait. After finishing his internship in Kuwait he felt the need to learn how to do research and build a solid knowledge of his field so he did a masters in the UK sacrificing a whole year of operating. He then went on to do a surgical residency at Mcgill and took time off to join Professor Van der Merwe’s team in South Africa.

tallal

It’s very rare that you get to meet a person like Tallal, when he could be learning the basics of his specialty he chose to concentrate on the academic aspect of his field and published industry leading journals, when he could have specialized in Kuwait or in England. Instead he chose to go further afield and train in North America where he was exposed everything from surgical robotics to transplantation. When he could have been enjoying ski season in Quebec, he chose to operate voluntarily in Cape Town. Then there was that time he had a Friday night off and decided to join me in an emergency surgery taking out a guys colon at midnight; but that’s a story for another day.

He is truly a person who has chosen a road less travelled and one of the rare occasions where Kuwait has made it’s mark on the history of medicine.

As much as I’d like to have interviewed him for this story or tried to promote him on it, he never had an instagram account, a blog and I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten his Facebook password. His response to me on whatsapp are in this post. I am indeed honoured to say I scrubbed in with a Kuwaiti who made it to the history books.

– Post by Saud, a Kuwaiti doctor living and working/training in Montreal. Twitter: @saudnz


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Kuwait Towers to Re-Open Today

Posted by Mark

kuwaittowers

The Kuwait Towers which have been closed since 2012 are set to reopen today, coinciding with National Day and Liberation Day. If anyone gets a chance to pass by before I’m back in Kuwait, please let me know if they’ve changed anything on the inside. [Link]


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