Kuwait One of the Best Countries to Work in the Gulf

Posted by Mark

workers

According to the 2014 Global Rights Index by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman are the best countries to work in the Gulf and are on a par with working conditions in the US. The index was created based on 97 indicators such as whether employees were exposed to systematic physical violence, threats and intimidation, had the right to strike and were guaranteed protection under the law.

Kuwait came in category 4 which is similar to countries like the US but also similar to countries like Yemen and Iraq so factors like country stability and the social scene were obviously not included in the study. The 97 indicators are strictly related to workers rights and civil liberties. Check out the full study [Here]

Thanks Zainab
via Gulf Daily News


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The Old Photographer

Posted by Mark

photographer

For those of you who’ve been following the blog for a long time, you will know the story of the old photographer. Sadly, I just found out he passed away recently at the age of 84. May he rest in peace.


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Kuwait Metro Project is Back from the Dead

Posted by Mark

kuwaitmetro

Kuwait will tender the much-delayed USD multi-billion metro rail project in its next five-year development plan, according to the Gulf emirate’s minister of state for development and planning.

Hind Al Sabeeh said other major projects to be included in the 2014-2018 plan involve Mubarak port, the media city the privatisation of schools, university and cooperatives.

“The next development plan includes the tendering of large projects in Kuwait such as the Metro and rail projects,” she told the Saudi satellite TV new channel Al Arabiya on Sunday night. Her comments were published by Kuwaiti newspapers. [Source]

metro

A couple of years ago the expected operational date was 2020 but I’m guessing that date will now be pushed back since they really haven’t started on anything yet. The above is a rendering of how a metro station would look like while the metro map below shows where all the metro stops will be located.

You can view a higher resolution version of the map [Here]

metromap

Finally below is a video presentation of the planned metro project.

Kuwait Rapid Transit & Rail Road Systems ENG from Designa Comunicacion on Vimeo.


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Wataniya Airways Coming Back

Posted by Mark

wataniya

Failed Kuwaiti carrier Wataniya Airways is reportedly planning a comeback as soon as the first quarter of 2015. The airline has begun efforts to re-launch by attempting to raise KD24m ($85m) and lease an initial two planes, according to Kuwait Times.

The company has asked the Ministry of Commerce to publish the minutes of an extraordinary assembly meeting held this week and will then contact the Capital Markets Authority so it can prepare for a new initial public offering (IPO). The airline needs a minimum of KD11m in capital to re-launch operations, a company source was quoted as saying. [Source]

Looks like Wataniya Airways is finally coming back to life. I wonder if they’ll fly out from Sheikh Saad Terminal along with FlyDubai or if they’ll be joining the rest of the airlines at the main terminal?


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New Airport Construction Indefinitely on Hold

Posted by Mark

airprot

The construction of the new airport terminal that was designed by the architectural firm Foster + Partners has been placed on indefinite hold after most of the contracting companies quit bidding due to the conditions they were required to agree to.

Construction was originally set to start back in 2012 and it was a project everyone in Kuwait was looking forward to seeing completed so this is pretty disappointing news.


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Nearly 1 out 10 Families in Kuwait are Millionaires

Posted by Mark

millionaires

Kuwait has the second highest number of millionaire families among the GCC countries and fifth highest internationally with 9 percent, which means 99,000 families are millionaires. [Source]

That’s insane.

via Expat and the City


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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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No more Kubbar on weekends?

Posted by Mark

kubbar

There’s an article on KUNA’s website on Kuwait’s nine islands and about how they’re very important to Kuwait culturally. Near the end of the article this following paragraph caught my attention:

The committee aims at declaring the islands as reserve areas, where entry procedures would be arranged in coordination with bodies concerned in the country such as Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS), Kuwait University (KU), Cabinet’s security decisions’ follow-up committee, Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR), Ministry of Transpirations, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and Kuwait Volunteer Work Center, added Al-Enezi.

If the Kuwaiti islands all get declared as natural reserves then no one will be able to go there without permission and basically killing Kubbar as a weekend getaway hotspot. Not sure what happens to Failaka, they might just restrict access to certain parts of the island. Check out the full article on KUNA’s website [Here]

On a side note has the quality of the English on the KUNA website gone down recently or has it always been this bad? The last two articles I’ve read there have just been terribly written as if they were translated with Google first before being edited.

Photo by Mike Cockcroft


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Kuwait has 3rd Highest Hotel Prices in the World

Posted by Mark

hotelprices

According to an index compiled by Bloomberg, Kuwait is amongst the most expensive markets for hotel rooms coming in third place behind Geneva and Dubai. The reason behind the high prices is mostly likely because land is so expensive in Kuwait and the fact that there are a limited number of hotels. Still, it would feel pretty odd to pay so much more for a hotel here than one in London, New York or Miami. Check out the article [Here]


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Endangered Sea Turtle Brutally Killed in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

seaturtle

Over the weekend a video went viral showing an endangered sea turtle being killed on a beach in Kuwait. In the very graphic video (which I won’t share on this blog), one man is seen sitting on top of the large turtle with a small kitchen knife in his hand while his family and friends can be heard in the background encouraging him to cut off the turtles head. You can even hear a voice of a woman and a child in the video, both in support of the killing. Once the perpetrator starts cutting off the turtles head, a second man comes into the video frame to help hold the turtle down. Once the head is cut off the child in the background yells out that he wants the head while everyone else watches the now dead and decapitated turtle bleed on the beach.

killingturtle

The Environment Public Authority (EPA) is now offering a KD3,000 reward to anyone who can identify the people in the video. It’s a very horrific crime but animal abuse sadly isn’t very rare in Kuwait. Last year some guys were driving around with shotguns shooting and decapitating stray dogs and then posting pictures all over Instagram and they were never punished so I am hoping this time around the perpetrators will be punished and made an example of.

Most of the articles on the sea turtle killing are in Arabic but KUNA have a poorly written piece on it which you could read [Here]


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