Gas Explosion Rocks Mishref Coop

Post by Mark

An explosion ripped through one of the restaurants at the Mishref Coop earlier tonight. Eight people were injured, four of whom are in intensive care. According to reports the explosion was a result of a gas leak at one of the restaurants at the coop. I got a few videos taken at the scene through whatsapp awhile ago and I’ve combined them into one video which you can watch below.

Thanks Ghadeer!


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Assima Project on Fire

Post by Mark

The Assima mall and tower which is currently under construction in Kuwait City (across from KIPCO Tower) caught fire earlier today. The fire started in the afternoon and by the time I passed by in the evening, the whole site was engulfed in flames. Solo Pizza, Sola Taco’s and A’s Chicken were forced to close down since their shops are located right behind the construction site.

So if you were wondering what all that smoke coming from the city was, now you know.

Update: Below are some epic photos taken earlier tonight by a reader. Thanks Ricardo!

Update2: According to KUNA, the fire started around 3:30PM and it took 180 firemen to put it out. [Link]

Update3: Now that the fire is out the damage to the site looks to be pretty extensive. According to a reader, the shoring around the site is completely burned and the “shores” are collapsing. Before you start digging to create a hole for construction, you first have to stabilize the sides so they won’t collapse. That process is called shoring. The shoring is composed of steel beams with wooden planks between them [Like this] that hold up the sand walls. The wooden planks are now mostly burnt and the sand walls are collapsing into the site as you can see in the picture above. Thanks Dragos!


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Delivery Hero Buys Carriage

Post by Mark

Online food takeaway firm Delivery Hero, which sources have said is considering a flotation imminently, has agreed to buy Middle East food delivery platform Carriage, the latest in a series of technology deals in the region. Chief Executive Niklas Ostberg said in a statement on Monday that Kuwait-based Carriage, which operates in the Gulf Council countries, would strengthen Delivery Hero’s foothold in a region with “significant growth potential”.

Delivery Hero first entered the Middle East in 2015 when it bought regional market leader Talabat from Rocket Internet. Ostberg said Carriage would be a “perfect addition” to Delivery Hero’s current offering under the Talabat brand.

[Source]

Oh wow, I did not see that coming.


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Smuggling Drugs with Carrier Pigeons

Post by Mark

Customs officers at the Al-Ebdelli border entry point found a homing pigeon used as a drug mule to smuggle 178 amphetamine pills which were wrapped and tied round its body.

The officers spotted the bird which was coming from Iraq and pursued it till they caught it perching on a building rooftop, with a belt around its body that was stuffed with the pills. [Source]

If I saw a bird flying across the border I wouldn’t have thought anything of it.


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Divorce Rate in Kuwait Reaches 60%

Post by Mark

The alarm has been sounded again in Kuwait after figures for 2017 show that around 60 per cent of Kuwaiti marriages have ended in divorce.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice indicate there were 2,001 marriages in January and February, down from 2,425 in the same period last year. The figures also show there were 1,193 cases of divorce in the first two months of 2017, up from 1,180 last year. [Source]

That would put Kuwait with Luxembourg in 6th place on the World’s Most Divorced Nations list:

1- Belgium (71%)
2- Portugal (68%)
3- Hungary (67%)
4- Czech Republic (66%)
5- Spain (61%)
6- Kuwait and Luxembourg (60%)
7- Estonia (58%)
8- Cuba (56%)
9- France (55%)
10- Lithuania (53%)


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Serena Williams’s Coach to Open Kuwait Tennis Academy

Post by Mark

A world-renowned tennis academy, run by the coach of Serena Williams, will open its first overseas coaching facility in Kuwait.

Tamdeen Group, the Kuwaiti property developer, has signed up the France-based Mouratoglou Tennis Academy for its upcoming Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex. [Source]

The tennis complex is part of the new 360 Mall expansion and will have a combined stadium seating for over 7,600 people across two main arenas, each with the capacity to hold 4,000 and 1,600 people respectively, eight indoor courts with over 500 seats and eight outdoor courts with 1,500 seats. It was already expected to become one of the world’s best tennis facilities without this academy, now it seems like a sure thing.

Thanks bionicnomad


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Woman Held for Filming Maid’s Fall from Window

Post by Mark

By now most of you have probably watched the video of the maid falling from the seventh floor apartment while her employer snapchatted the whole incident instead of trying to help her. If you haven’t watched the video then good, don’t watch it, you don’t need trauma in your life. The good news is that according to Kuwait Times, the woman who filmed the incident is now being held and will be prosecuted:

Police have detained a woman for filming her Ethiopian maid falling from the seventh floor in an apparent suicide attempt without trying to rescue her, media and a rights group said yesterday. The Kuwaiti woman filmed her maid land on a metal awning and survive, then posted the incident on social media. The criminal investigation police referred the employer to the prosecution over failing to help the victim. The Kuwait Society for Human Rights yesterday called on the authorities to investigate the case and refer it to court.

According to attorney Nouf Al-Ruwaih, videoing the incident itself is not a crime, but he said the employer could be charged with negligence and failure to offer help. Investigations are currently ongoing to determine whether the case is a suicide attempt, an accident that happened while the maid was working, or a case of attempted homicide and libel. “The law says that any person who fails to help someone else who poses a grave danger to himself or his possessions will be punished with a maximum three months in jail and/or fine,” Ruwaih said. [Source]

Sadly, the maximum sentence is just three months in jail and I doubt she’ll get that.


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Electronics banned from cabins on some Middle Eastern flights to the U.S. including Kuwait

Post by Mark

ku2

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.


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In Kuwait, ‘too many foreigners’ becomes a frequent refrain

Post by Mark

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]


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Kuwait, the Second Most Toxic Country in the World

Post by Mark

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
2- Kuwait
3- Qatar
4- Bahrain
5- United Arab Emirates
6- Oman
7- Turkmenistan
8- Libya
9- Kazakhstan
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?!

Thanks Omair and Nibaq


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