A record 3,415 Americans ditch their passports

Posted by Mark

passports

The number of Americans choosing to give up their passports hit a record 3,415 last year, up 14% from 2013, and 15 times more than in 2008, when only 231 people renounced their citizenship.

Experts say the recent surge is coming from expats who no longer want to deal with complicated tax paperwork, a burden that has only gotten worse in recent years. [Source]

I wonder how many of the 3,415 were Kuwaitis since Kuwaiti banks last year decided to start complying with FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) which means any American citizen will have their bank information automatically passed on to the IRS for tax purposes. For Kuwaitis with dual citizenship this meant they would have to start paying taxes on their undisclosed finances.

Thanks Motez


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Kuwait Moves Up in the World Press Freedom Index

Posted by Mark

pressindex

The 2015 edition of the World Press Freedom Index is out and Kuwait is up a spot from last year and still leading in our region.

90 – Kuwait
98 – Lebanon
101 – Israel
115 – Qatar
120 – United Arab Emirates
127 – Oman
156 – Iraq
163 – Bahrain
164 – Saudi Arabia

90th place isn’t Kuwait’s highest ranking, in 2009 Kuwait had come in 60th place. Check out the full index [Here]


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Talabat Sold for KD50,000,000

Posted by Mark

Rocket Internet AG (“Rocket”, ISIN DE000A12UKK6, RKET) today announces the signing of the acquisition of 100% of the shares in Talabat, one of the leading players in the attractive online food takeaway market in the Middle East, headquartered in Kuwait, for approximately EUR 150 million. The closing of the transaction is expected in the next few weeks.

Daaaaaaammmnnnn… [Source]

Thanks Ziad


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Will the New Airport Ever be Built?

Posted by Mark

airport

A committee in Kuwait’s public works ministry has recommended that all bids to build a new terminal at the country’s international airport be rejected, state news agency KUNA reported on Sunday.

In November, the tender committee for the project said a consortium of Kuwait’s Kharafi National and Turkey’s Limak Holding had submitted the lowest bid for the contract, worth 1.386 billion dinars ($4.78 billion).

But KUNA quoted Kuwait’s minister for electricity, water and public works, Abdulaziz al-Ibrahim, as saying on Sunday that a technical committee in the ministry had recommended all bids be rejected. Ibrahim did not give a reason for the recommendation, but said the committee had studied all aspects of the bidding. [Source]

Sigh…


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5 Dead, 50+ Injured in Bus Crash

Posted by Mark

Five people were killed and more than 50 others injured in a horrific crash in Kuwait yesterday, involving a bus carrying Bahraini pilgrims.

Thick fog blanketing most of the region was blamed for the incident which happened when the bus, carrying pilgrims from Bahrain to Karbala in Iraq, was apparently overtaken by a water tanker, leading it to crash into a truck carrying bricks. [Source]

A horrific accident that took place the other day here in Kuwait during the thick fog. [YouTube]

crash

Update: Video has been removed by the uploader


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Kuwait to Start Losing Money Soon

Posted by Mark

oil

Kuwait now expects to post its first deficit in two decades by 2017, Finance Minister Anas Al Saleh has reportedly told the Kuwaiti Parliament.
Al Saleh said the recent decline in oil prices, which account for about 90 percent of export revenues, would see Kuwait fall into the red sooner than the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s 2017-18 prediction, according to Kuwait Times. [Source]

The price of oil is currently under $40 and Kuwait needs it to be at $78 to pay all its bills and stay in the black. So can an expert tell me what it would mean for us if Kuwait ends up in the red? Does everything continue as it is while the government digs into its savings until the oil price goes back again? Or would some of the amenities like free health care stop to help cut down costs? Will this cause inflation?


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Kuwait refuse to play against UAE in Asian Cup warm-up

Posted by Mark

football

The Kuwait national football team had to be escorted out of the Robina Stadium in Australia’s Gold Coast by police on Saturday after refusing to play a friendly against the UAE. According to sources, Kuwait took exception to the fact the Asian Cup warm-up game couldn’t be filmed by their technical staff and so abandoned the friendly match in protest. They stayed on the field for an impromptu training session instead. [Source]

Did I read that correctly? Because the game wasn’t going to be filmed the Kuwaiti team decided they didn’t want to play anymore? Kinda reminds me of a story my friend told me about this guy who goes to his gym. The guy always comes in, starts lifting some weight while taking selfies and then once he is done taking selfies he leaves the gym.


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Illegal barbecuing will get you deported

Posted by Mark

nobbq

“There is a plan to set up a new link with the interior ministry to deport the foreigners who break the municipal laws, including barbecuing on the beaches and public parks,” Ahmad Al Saubaih said. “The municipality had designated specific spots at the beach and in public gardens where people could barbecue. It has also imposed a ban on having a barbecue in certain areas. However, several people fail to comply with the laws and regulations, even though they are aware that those who cause any form of damage to public utilities and facilities are punished,” he said, quoted by local daily Al Rai on Sunday. [Source]

I personally hate it when people barbecue on the Gulf Road since I end up smelling like a kebab after my bike ride. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t ride my bike on the Gulf Road on weekends. But, I do think deporting someone for barbecuing is ridiculous in the same way I thought it was ridiculous when they introduced the KD1,000 fine two years ago. In comparison, the fine then for dangerously running a red light was just KD300.

Photo by Michael Milosits


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Kuwait is the lightest-drinking country

Posted by Mark

drinkinginkuwait

Not sure how accurate this report by the World Health Organization is but Kuwait has the lowest alcohol consumption rate in the world. The reason I doubt the accuracy is because:

(a) Because alcohol is illegal in Kuwait so the majority drink in secret and I highly doubt with admit to it on a survey
(b) They list beer as the most consumed alcoholic drink in Kuwait when in fact it should be spirits

For those curious Saudi Arabia came second after Kuwait as the lightest-drinking country while Belarus came first as the heaviest-drinking country. Check out the BBC Booze Calculator [Here] and the WHO report [Here]

via BlogBaladi


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Lion kills Filipina housekeeper

Posted by Mark

I was just catching up on the news and found out about this sad incident. Not sure what more has to happen for the authorities to start cracking down on people keeping dangerous wildlife as pets.

A Filipino domestic helper died in Kuwait days after she was attacked by her employer’s pet lion, a report on “24 Oras” said Thursday.

The report said Lourdes Abejuela was brought to a hospital after she was attacked by the lion, which escaped from its cage, but she was immediately discharged.

Quoting Abejuela’s friend, the report said the domestic helper, who had been working with the same employer for years, experienced headaches days after the discharge.

This reportedly prompted Abejuela’s employer to bring her back to the hospital, where she died Wednesday.

The report said investigation is ongoing to determine the Filipino woman’s cause of death.

[Source]


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