Gas Prices to Increase Starting September 1st

Post by Mark

gaskuwait

Kuwait is to increase the prices of gasoline by as much as 73 percent from September, showing how the oil price slump is affecting the energy-rich Gulf state’s finances.

Kuwait’s cabinet said on Monday that the price for the ultra gasoline grade would rise to 165 fils a litre, from 95 currently, the super grade to 105 from 65 and premium grade to 85 from 60, state news agency KUNA reported. [Source]

Ouch, thats a pretty steep hike.


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Kuwaiti Medalist Refuses to Carry Olympic Flag

Post by Mark

Legendary Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid al-Deehani has refused to carry the Olympic neutral team flag at the Rio Games opening ceremony, where the Gulf state’s athletes cannot march behind their own emblem.

Kuwait is suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other leading federations such as FIFA, football’s world body, over government interference in sport.

According to Kuwaiti media, the IOC asked al-Deehani, who took trap shooting bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney and 2012 London Games, to carry the Olympic neutral team flag.

But the Kuwait army officer turned down the request.

“I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag,” he said. “I cannot carry the IOC flag.”

The Kuwait Olympic Committee on Sunday called on the government to start dialogue in a last-gasp bid to get the Kuwait flag in to the Rio opening ceremony.

Hussein al-Mussallam, vice chairman of the committee’s legal and international relations commission, told AFP it was time “to sit down together and review things in a positive way”.

He said “the interests of Kuwaiti athletes should come above all else”.

“I am speaking on behalf of the KOC and not in the name of international organizations,” al-Mussallam added.

“The time has come in front of everyone, the Kuwaiti government and the ministry for youth and sports, the Kuwait Olympic Committee and the Olympic Movement Kuwait to sit together for the national interest and for Kuwait to return as it was.”

Al-Mussallam also appealed for all sides to “stay away from personal issues”.

“The Olympic movement has a role to deal with the government in the interest of sport. The government has to hear the point of view of international organizations and the United Nations and the opinion of the Kuwaiti Olympic movement.”

The official said that Kuwaiti athletes want to compete in Rio “under the flag of our country, so and we demand the sports minister respond to the advice of the International Olympic Committee and to stop the implementation of the conflicting articles in the Kuwaiti sports law”. [Full Article]

I’ve been having a hard time finding the final list of Kuwaiti athletes that will be taking part at the Rio Olympics. The article above lists the following:

Abdulrahman Al-Faihan (Trap)
Ahmad Al-Afasi (Double Trap)
Khaled Al-Mudhaf (Trap)
Saud Habib Al-Kandari (Skeet)
Fehaid Al-Deehani (Double Trap)
Abdullah Al-Rashidi (Skeet)
Abdulaziz Al-Shatti (Fencing)
Abbas Al Qali (Swimming)

But, the list isn’t accurate since they leave Faye Sultan out who will be competing in swimming as well. That means there might be other athletes missing as well. So far though, 9 Kuwaitis will be at the Olympics this year.


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Kuwaiti Athletes Featured in Washington Post

Post by Mark

athletes

Washington Post have an article on muslim female athletes and Kuwaiti athletes are featured prominently in it. It’s an interesting article that highlights the struggle muslim female athletes go through in the Arab world but it also kind of shows how liberal Kuwait is (or can be). Kuwaiti athletes won’t be able to participate at the Rio Olympics this year under the Kuwaiti flag due to the ban imposed on Kuwait by the IOC, but I believe there will be a number of Kuwaiti female athletes competing (Faye Sultan is confirmed), I’m just still waiting to get the final list so I can share it. Here is the link to the Washington Post [Article]


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Law Regulating Internet Media Comes Into Effect

Post by Mark

regulate

A new law regulating all Web-based publications including electronic news services, bulletins, websites of newspapers and televisions and alike came into effect yesterday after its bylaws were published in the official gazette. Information Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said the law is for professional online media in a bid to preserve Kuwaiti traditions and counter extremist ideology.

The minister urged all those running online news services to register on the ministry website to obtain the necessary license to operate in the country. Under the legislation, all these services must obtain a license from the government before they can operate. Those in existence have one year to comply with the law. Violations committed by these services will be looked in court under the press and publications law, which stipulates hefty jail terms for several offenses.

During its debate in the Assembly in January this year, the minister insisted the law is aimed at regulating electronic media and it will not apply to personal accounts, like those of bloggers. Under the law, the owner and director of all online services must be Kuwaiti. Violations can be penalized by jail terms of up to 10 years if these services call for the overthrow of the country’s regime. [Source]

Thankfully I’m not included in this since I run a personal blog. If I did fall under this new regulation it would turn out to be such a complicated mess since I’d have to register the blog as online media outlet and I might not get approval for it. And then even if I did get approval I wouldn’t be able to own the blog because I’m not Kuwaiti. The whole thing doesn’t make sense though, you can’t regulate or control the internet.


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Kuwait Motor Town Race Circuit Given Green Light

Post by Mark

Under the direction of His Highness the Amir, the Amiri Diwan has taken on several key projects in Kuwait. The Diwan’s project portfolio includes projects such as the new Al-Jahra Hospital, Al-Shaheed Park and Kuwait’s two cultural centers (Abdullah Al-Salem & Jaber Al-Ahmed) set to be complete by year’s end. On 20 June, the Amiri Diwan announced the awarding of a KD 49 million contract to local developer Bayan National Trading Company to design and build Kuwait’s Motor Town.

According to press reports the project aims at building seven race circuits compatible with international standards. These circuits would enable Kuwait to host Formula 1 and MotoGP races in the future.

The project is located south of the city, in Orafjan, adjacent to the Wafra road. The contract also includes the construction of a pit building and a media center. According to press reports, the project is set to include a hotel and shopping mall at a later stage (not part of the current package). [Source]

motortown1

Hard to believe but it looks like we’re finally getting a race track in Kuwait. Not any racetrack might I add, but a FIA Grade 1 circuit designed by Hermann Tilke, the same guy behind a number of popular F1 tracks including Yas Marina and the Baku City Circuit.

motortown2

I couldn’t find a lot of information on Kuwait Motor Town online other than the video above and a couple of renderings along with the following brief description on the Tilke website:

Kuwait Motor Town shall position itself as a new place making destination with a unique FIA grade 1 circuit as the nucleus of the state of the art facility, which will attract a wide spectrum of people. Whether professional race driver, or families seeking for leisure activities, or club members desiring premium level services, Kuwait Motor Town with its fully integrated portfolio of entertainment assets will create the upmost exciting and innovative automotive experience for the whole region.

I’m not fond of the name Kuwait Motor Town but it will probably change by the time the project is completed and honestly, even if they called it Cupcake Town it doesn’t really matter because end of the day we’re finally getting a race track. Now I just need to convince Alghanim to give me an 80% discount on the Lotus Exige S.

Thanks q8-msc


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Kuwait Sets New World Temperature Record

Post by Mark

superhot

Temperatures Thursday reached an incredible 54°C (129.2°F) in Mitribah, Kuwait, setting the record for the warmest temperature ever recorded outside of California’s Death Valley, according to a Weather Underground report. [Source]

That was it? I guess there isn’t much of a difference between 54°C and our usual 51°C weather. Today felt like just any other day.

Thanks Kinda


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Largest Pill Seizure Ever

Post by Mark

This latest seizure netted over 10 million Captagon pills with a street value of KD25 million. If the whole population is 3.3 million, that means this one haul was large enough to give every single person in Kuwait 3 pills. How popular is this drug in Kuwait? [YouTube]

drugbust

Thanks Gravity


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Have a Scorching Hot Weekend

Post by Mark

recordchallenging

All-time record-challenging heat to scorch the Middle East through Friday
A powerful area of high pressure centered from Iraq into the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf will result in historic heat building over the region through Friday.

Temperatures have risen across the region each day this week and are expected to peak on Thursday and Friday.
The highest likelihood for all-time record high temperatures on either day is from Iraq and southwestern Iran into Kuwait and northeastern Saudi Arabia.

Many current all-time records in these areas are between 51 and 53 C (124 and 127 F) and similar or slightly higher temperatures are possible Thursday and Friday.

The temperature soared to 52.4 C (126.3 F) in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on Wednesday, only 0.6 C (1.1 F) from the all-time record.

Even if all-time records are not set, dangerous heat is expected in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Basrah, Iraq and Ahvaz, Iran. [Source]

If you thought it couldn’t get any hotter you’re in for a surprise since this weekend is going to be a record challenger. Have fun everyone.


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Jazeera Airways Gets Approval for New Airport Terminal

Post by Mark

Jazeera Airways has been granted approval by the Kuwait Council of Ministers for land to build a dedicated passenger terminal and car park buildings at Kuwait International Airport.

The terminal is a solution proposed by the airline to help ease the congestion at Kuwait International Airport, the country’s only primary airport, which is currently operating over capacity.

The project’s investment value is KD14 million ($46.232), and its total construction time frame is 15 months, including the permits acquisitions phase.

The terminal is part of the airline’s ‘Next Big Thing’ series of value boosting projects and initiatives tasked with creating a better travel experience on ground and in the air. Other initiatives include a remote check-in facility, in-flight broadband internet, a business class lounge, and long-haul flights. [Source]

Rumors of a dedicated Jazeera Airways terminal had been floating around for years and it looks like they finally got the approval from the government. Until the new terminal is built, Jazeera Airways are setting up a remote check-in station for the current airport:

Remote Check-in
Jazeera are building a check-in facility two minutes away from the main airport terminal. You arrive at the facility where parking valets will meet you, unload your baggage and then park your car for you. You then check in your baggage at this facility and get your boarding pass before being shuttled to the main terminal where you can head straight to immigration. The idea here is that you’ll bypass the airports congestion by skipping the whole parking and check-in process at the main terminal. They’ve already started construction on this facility and it should be operational by the end of this year. [Source]

So if I am to understand this correctly, we will end up having a total of 4 different terminals. We have the current main terminal at the Kuwait International Airport, the Sheikh Saad terminal, the huge new terminal that will start construction soon and now the Jazeera terminal. Nice.


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Kuwait Students Snatch Top Places in Smart Brain Contest

Post by Mark

kids

A group of talented students of Kuwait’s Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity (SAGC) has offered an impressive performance and the grabbed the top positions in the International Mental Math Championship, held in Thailand.

In a press statement, the SAGC reported that the Kuwaiti students have won the first place in the group category.

They have also performed well in the individuals categories wining the first and second places in level No. 1. The Kuwaiti students have snatched the first places in levels 3 and 4 and the fourth place in level No. 5.
Over 1465 students from across the world have partaken in the competition which started Sunday. The students were challenged by complicated math equations.

Smart Brain is part of the global Smart Brain Franchise, which spans over 20 countries and teaches over 275,000 children every year.

It seeks to bring the internationally renowned Abacus Mental Arithmetic and Whole Brain Development Program to every child, thereby instilling a powerful learning tool that will aid the child in overall learning abilities such as reading comprehension, math, memory recall and concentration. [Source]

I hadn’t heard of Sabah Al-Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity until this article. I took a look at their website (which is a mess) and they offer after school activities to help the needs of talented and creative students who aren’t having their abilities challenged with the regular school curriculum. I don’t know if this is strictly for Kuwaitis or also expats but it’s still pretty interesting nevertheless and impressive that we have it. [Link]


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