Ministry of Health withdraws Smoking Ban from Shisha Places

Post by Mark

According to the website Box News, the Ministry of Health is withdrawing the smoking ban a day after the law got passed because it would be impossible implement. This has to be a joke. Why don’t they give it a shot and try it out for more than half a day before giving up? [Link]

I’m upset. Can we also cancel the ban on running red lights and the ban on speeding since those two seem impossible to implement as well…

Update: I just found two things: 1) I shouldn’t rely on Google Translate and 2) it’s not actually a complete withdrawal of the ban as I had understood from the article. The ban is still in place for public places like airports, malls, restaurants etc.. but now does not apply to shisha cafe’s, hotels and other designated areas. This actually makes more sense since I was actually against the idea of banning smoking at shisha cafes. I’ve gone ahead and amended the post title. I am no longer upset.

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Kuwait imposes a public smoking ban… kinda

Post by Mark

Just read on Gulf News that “Kuwait has banned smoking and shisha in all public places, including airports, cafes, restaurants, shopping centres and recreational areas.” I thought at first the law was against shisha only but it seems it’s against both smoking and shisha.

Now what’s confusing me is that in the same article it states that “Under the ban, cafes, restaurants and hotels have to allocate a secluded area for smokers.” Isn’t that basically how things are right now? [Source]

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2012 World Press Photo Winners

Post by Mark

You can now view the entire collection of winning images from the 55th World Press Photo contest [Here]. There are a ton of great shots but below you can find some of my favorites:

Lucha libre at La Loba
15 June 2011
Masked luchadores at La Loba in the Chimalhuacán neighborhood of Mexico City. Lucha libre, the Mexican version of free wrestling, is probably only rivaled by soccer in popularity among Mexican people, and its cultural impact may be even greater.

Cliff-Climbing Polar Bear Attempting to Eat Seabird Eggs
30 July 2011

A male polar bear climbs precariously on the face of a cliff above the ocean at Ostrova Oranskie in northern Novaya Zemlya, attempting to feed on seabird eggs. This bear was marooned on land and unable to feed on seals–its normal prey–because sea ice had melted throughout the region and receded far to the north as a result of climate change.

North Korea
05 October 2011

A picture of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, decorates a building in the capital Pyongyang.

Occupy Wall Street
21 October 2011

Arrest of protesters in Harlem, New York, during a demonstration against police tactics and income inequality.

Here is a link to all the winning photos [Link]

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Vehicle catches fire at Kuwait Airport

Post by Mark

A fire was reported in a vehicle at Kuwait International Airport on Tuesday, which was successfully put out by firefighters, head of operations department at the airport Isaam Al-Zamel said.

No damage was reported, the official told KUNA, adding that the cause of the fire was an electric shortcircuit within the towing vehicle. [Source]

Video via Q8 Lens

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Young men flee ‘tiger attack’ in Salmiya

Post by Mark

Investigations are currently ongoing in a case in which a group of friends claim that an enemy they were preparing to fight against almost released a large tiger at them. The alleged incident reportedly took place on Al-Blajat street in Salmiya where the 12 young men approached someone they had unfinished business with, and decided to settle their differences the old fashioned way.

Soon enough, the enemy was joined by a friend, who reportedly had an adult tiger sitting in the backseat of his car. The group opted to flee when the tiger’s owner threatened to release the wild beast at them. They reported the incident at Rumaithiya police station immediately afterwards. Investigators are working to confirm the allegations before further action is taken.

WTF? [Source]

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Music Master pulls out of Kuwait over censorship woes

Post by Mark

A leading music distributor has shuttered its Kuwait operations after claiming the Gulf states’s censorship of albums and artwork had made it impossible to run a full-scale operation. Music Master, which distributes music from major labels such as Universal, Sony and EMI, said curbs on content from bestselling artists such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce had left it battling to maintain its profit margins.

I didn’t even know they were in Kuwait. I actually can’t think of one place that still sells new CD’s now that Virgin has closed down. [Link]

Thanks Ahmad

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Kuwait Elections 2012 Live Results

Post by Mark

Looks like this year the government is really thinking digital with the upcoming elections in Kuwait. Last week I posted about their Flickr page where they were uploading pictures taken at different events related to the elections. Well Saud A. Almutairi contacted me and provided me with details regarding the election day website he helped the government setup.

On the day of the elections the Kuwaiti public will have access to preliminary results via the following channels:

Main Website
On the day of the elections after all polls are closed at 8pm that’s when counting will begin. An hour later if you visit the MOI news portal at you will be automatically redirected to a live results website containing 5 tabs each representing a Kuwaiti circle and each containing 3 lists:

    The Candidates
    This first list will be a list of all the candidates (ordered alphabetically) and contain two fields that will be constantly updated: the vote count and current rank of the candidate. This list will NOT be auto sorted based on rank as to avoid confusion. This list will remain alphabetically ordered.

    The second list will contain a list of candidates a user wants to follow. This list will be empty by default until the user adds his candidates. In the screen shots below you can see how it looks empty and how it looks with some candidates added.

    The Leaderboard
    This final list will contain the top 15 candidates based on rank. This list will be constantly changing as per the vote count so unlike the first list, the names of the candidates here will move up or down. This list will also contain the percentage of votes the candidate has based on all votes in the circle.

If there is an update the numbers will flash. Updates to the website should start around 10PM and occur every 5 to 10 minutes.

Mobile Website
When a user visits from a mobile device (tested on the iPhone and Android) they will be presented with a mobile optimized version of the website. You can check out the screenshots below on how the information will be presented. The only thing to note here is that on the mobile website, the list of candidates are sorted by rank.

Twitter Integration
For twitter the MOI will have 5 handles, one for each Kuwaiti circle. The system will be set up to automatically post updates every 5 minutes on the Top 12 candidates.

Here are the twitter handles for all circles: @MediaKuwait1 @MediaKuwait2 @MediaKuwait3 @MediaKuwait4 @MediaKuwait5

Note: The results from the MOI are considered preliminary scores and NOT official scores.

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Kuwait back as leader in freedom of the press in the Arab world

Post by Mark

After falling down behind Lebanon last year, Kuwait is once again back in the lead in the latest World Press Freedom Index for 2012. Below is the ranking for the Middle East and North Africa, the global ranking is in the brackets:

1- Kuwait (78)
2- Israel (92)
3- Lebanon (93)
4- UAE (112)
5- Qatar (114)
6- Oman (117)
7- Algeria (112)
8- Jordan (128)
9- Tunis (134)
10- Morocco (138)
11- Iraq (152)
12- Palestine (153)
13- Libya (154)
14- Saudi Arabia (158)
15- Egypt (166)
16- Sudan (170)
17- Yemen (171)
18- Bahrain (173)
19- Iran (175)
20- Syria (176)

You can check out the full list in PDF format [Here]

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Kuwait snaps up former site of London stock exchange

Post by Mark

Wouldn’t it be funny if they decide to turn it into a Pinkberry? [Link]

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Kuwaiti female shooter qualifies for London Olympics

Post by Mark

Here’s some good news:

After coming third in the general standings at Asian qualifiers for the 10m air rifle individuals on Saturday, female shooter Maryam Erzouqi earned Kuwait’s first place at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Kuwait’s shooting team director Mohammad Al-Ghorba praised the shooter for her efforts in achieving the milestone.
He also expressed confidence other members of the shooting team, taking part in the Asian qualifiers in Doha, would follow suit, particularly in the double trap category.

Maryam had taken home two gold medals, in the 50m rifle prone and the 10m air rifle, at the recent Arab Games. [Source]

On a side note KUNA have redesigned their website and although it’s not great it’s much better than their previous one. You can check it out [Here]

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