You’ve probably heard about this in the news but in case you haven’t, the U.S. issued a temporary ban on electronics in cabins on some Middle Eastern flights to the U.S. It’s a temporary 96 hour ban at the moment but it still sucks if you were planning on traveling to the U.S. in the next few days and like me, take all your on inflight entertainment with you. Oddly though, according to AP, the ban includes Kuwait.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 international airports serving the cities of Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The ban was indefinite, said the official.
I wasn’t aware of any direct flights to the U.S. from Kuwait. United Airlines stopped flying out from Kuwait and Kuwait Airways now stops in Ireland for security reasons on the way to New York. Is there a flight that is direct to the U.S. from Kuwait that I am not aware of?
Update: It might be a temporary ban, it might not be, everyone seems to be confused
Update2: Kuwait Airways will begin flying non-stop to New York starting from Sunday, March 26.
The Associated Press published an article yesterday on how the new Jaber Hospital will only be for Kuwaitis and also how in general, Kuwait is becoming a lot more aggressive towards expats living here while also making their lives more difficult. The article got picked up by The Washington Post as well as a number of other international publications. This is obviously not something new, but the fact it’s being brought to light by foreign press makes me wonder if more of this negative publicity might actually result in the government backing down and easing things on expats.
Expats in Kuwait have been feeling unwanted for years but with the government recently being pretty trigger happy with deportations, expats probably feel unwanted now more than ever. It’s why expats are always looking for an exit plan. To top it off, the antiquated sponsorship system, the lack of permanent residency and the lack of ability to purchase a home or fully own a business just add to this unwanted feeling.
Check out the article in The Washington Post [Here]
The Eco Experts recently revealed the “most toxic countries in the world” and Kuwait came in second place. The data was compiled by taking five environmental factors into account:
– Energy consumption per capita
– CO2 emissions from fuel combustion
– Air pollution levels
– Deaths attributable to air pollution
– Renewable energy production.
Even though last year I posted a study which ranked Kuwait’s air quality as the 9th worst in the world, I still found this new study as surprising as I found that one. I guess because when I imagine bad air quality I imagine those articles in the news about China, where the smog is so bad planes can’t land and visibility is down to nothing. But here, I mean other than the occasional dust storms, the weather is usually pretty clear and doesn’t seem polluted at all.
But it is.
A friend found out the local US Embassy has a Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) which you can check out from your phone or browser. According to the index, the air quality at this very moment as I write this post is “Very Unhealthy”. That’s pretty scary. You can check the AQI yourself by clicking [Here]
Now if we go back to the list of most toxic countries, you’ll notice something in common with the top 10:
1- Saudi Arabia
5- United Arab Emirates
10- Trinidad and Tobago
All 10 nations are all heavily involved in the oil and gas industry. If you want to read more about this study, here is a [Link]
Maybe a doctor can chime in in the comments below about the potential health issues that can be caused by this.
Update: Since I published the post the current air quality index has gone up to the status of “Hazardous”! WTF?!
Ministry of Information has banned the publishing and broadcasting of any commercial advertisements of the sale of mass destruction weapons including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in newspapers, audiovisual media, and electronic media, reports Arab Times Daily. [Source]
And right before Christmas. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
A reader just passed me a link to an interesting Economist article which I thought would be worth sharing on the blog. The two paragraphs below kinda sums up the article for me:
Innovative Dubai is the comparison that most frustrates Kuwaitis. That is in part because Kuwait was once the Gulf’s trailblazer. It set up the world’s first sovereign-wealth fund in 1953 and was a leader in health care. It started one of the first airlines in the region. But the decline of Kuwait Airways is instructive. As its fleet aged and losses piled up, carriers from Qatar and the UAE began offering better service and more routes. Politicians have talked of privatisation. But parliament, reluctant to mess with one of the country’s biggest employers, has frustrated these efforts.
The government’s failings extend to public services. It has neglected public hospitals and schools. Low electricity prices and a sweltering climate make Kuwait one of the world’s biggest consumers of energy per person. But the government, which is the sole provider of electricity, has invested little in infrastructure. Parliament has delayed efforts to boost the supply. In 2014 a power outage shut down all three of the country’s oil refineries, crippling fuel production for a week. Endemic corruption completes the dismal picture.
It’s not that long of an article and is worth reading fully, so check it out [Here]
The picture on top is currently my favorite Kuwait skyline photo and was taken by @ziadgram
DNA testing will only be applied on convicted felons and no one else, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah told Al-Jarida newspaper yesterday. Sheikh Sabah said that discussions on the issue of DNA testing, also known as DNA fingerprinting, were over, stressing that no tests will be applied on ordinary citizens. Recently, HH the Amir directed HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to revise and reconsider the DNA testing law, calling on him and the government to apply constitutional standards on the proposed decree. [Source]
Besides the fact that it would have been invasive to our privacy, testing everyones DNA including tourists would never have been doable, feasible or manageable, so I’m glad thats behind us now.
Described as the first of its kind, the UAE’s new “national law of reading” was announced by UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, earlier this week. It will allow government staff time to read at work – although they must focus on reading matter about professional and personal development within the context of the workplace.
The law will also oblige coffee shops to offer reading material for their customers, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the UAE’s vice-president and Dubai’s ruler, and will see branches of libraries opened in malls, as well as exempting books from fees and taxes. [Source]
Can we please just get a decent bookshop in Kuwait? We’re not asking for much.
Minister of Communications said Tuesday GBI company would be carrying out maintenance to the underwater internet cable in the Arabian Sea on November 2-6, which would affect internet service in Kuwait and GCC countries.
The ministry, in a brief statement, urged local internet providers in Kuwait to seek alternative international cables during the maintenance period to prevent slow service. [Source]
Just an FYI in case your internet provider starts blaming sharks again.
An Emirati drama set in the underworld of street car racing in the UAE has been banned in Kuwait, producers have told Gulf News. Hajwala, which follows two teams of drifters who go head-to-head in an all-stakes race against each other, is scheduled to release in 37 screens across the Gulf on Thursday.
“We are very disappointed, especially because they haven’t event explained to us why they have not allowed the film to release,” said producer Ali Al Marzouqi of Dhabi Gulf Film. “This is a double standard since they allow similar Hollywood films to release without any problem, even if they don’t have any message. Our film has a very strong message.” [Source]
I’m guessing it got banned because Kuwait has a growing problem with street racing and they’re worried this film might encourage it. But Saudi have a bigger street racing problem and if the film isn’t banned there, I don’t understand why it would be banned here. You can watch the trailer on top, it’s basically a khaleeji version of Fast and Furious.
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