Photo Fail

Post by Mark

This was in today’s newspaper.

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Kuwait no longer leader in freedom of the press in the Arab world

Post by Mark

According to the Freedom of the Press 2011 survey release, Kuwait no longer tops the Arab world in freedom of the press, that position now goes to Lebanon. Previously Kuwait was always on top but this year it dropped from a global position of 115th last year to 124th place in 2011. You can check out the full results and press releases [Here]

Below is the freedom of the press ranking for the Middle East and North Africa:

1- Israel
2- Lebanon
3- Kuwait
4- Algeria
5- Jordan
6- Egypt
7- Qatar
8- Iraq / Morocco
10- Oman / UAE
12- Bahrain
13- Palestine / Saudi Arabia / Yemen
16- Syria
17- Tunisia
18- Iran
19- Libya

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Kuwaiti courier led to bin Laden capture?

Post by Mark

There seems to be some kind of miscommunication going around or maybe it’s me that is wrong. All the news sites are reporting the courier that led to the capture of bin Laden was a Kuwaiti.

Aide Who Led to Bin Laden Was Kuwaiti-Born Courier

A diplomatic source told CNN that the courier who was in close contact with Osama bin Laden and who eventually led the United States to him was a Kuwaiti named Abu Ahmad.

Phone call by Kuwaiti courier led to bin Laden

The guy’s nickname was “al Kuwaiti” but from what I’ve read he wasn’t a Kuwaiti but instead a Pakistani national who was born in Kuwait which doesn’t make him a Kuwaiti.

It took years of work before the CIA identified the courier’s real name: Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a Pakistani man born in Kuwait. [Source]

I wonder if the Kuwait PR department will kick in to correct this bit of information since right now its giving Kuwait a bad image.

Update: The main headline right now on is “U.S. tracked Kuwaiti courier since 2007

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Art in Kuwait highlighted by The Economist

Post by Mark

I was just checking the blog ArtKuwait when I found out that there was an article on Art in Kuwait yesterday in The Economist. Turns out there is an artist who currently has his work exhibited on four billboards in Hawalli (who would have thought) and they’re going to be up there until the end of the month (check pic above). Here are some excerpts from the article:

ABOVE a busy roundabout in Hawalli, a suburb of Kuwait, loom four giant but subtle photographs about Arab identity and placelessness by Tarek Al-Ghoussein. A Palestinian photographer originally from Kuwait, Mr Al-Ghoussein has exhibited widely, but this is the first time his work has been seen in the country of his birth. Kuwaitis and Palestinians have a chequered past. Decades of relative harmony between the two peoples were soured when Yasser Arafat, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, applauded Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Since then, the Palestinian population in Kuwait has dwindled from nearly half a million to around 40,000.

Mr Al-Ghoussein’s billboards will be on view in Kuwait until the end of April. They are the second instalment in a series of four art projects by Palestinians that includes Khalil Rabah, Jack Persekian and Tarek Atoui. Instigated and underwritten by Rana Sadik, a collector and philanthropist of Palestinian descent, the series is arranged to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Kuwait’s independence and the 20th anniversary of its liberation from Iraq.

“The billboards are a way to remind people on both sides of the positive historical relationship between Palestinians and Kuwaitis,” said Abdulaziz Al-Mulla, a board member of the Kuwait Graduates Society, an organisation of some 5,000 members. Interestingly, the artist’s father was Ambassador to America in the 1960s and instrumental in getting Kuwait into the United Nations. So it is apposite that Mr Al-Ghoussein’s photographs have been given such a cordial diplomatic role.

You can read the full article on The Economist [Here]

via ArtKuwait

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Ten must-read blogs from the Middle East

Post by Mark

CNN have put together a list of the 10 must-read blogs from the Middle East and my blog made it to the list! This is what they had to say about me:

Want a break from politics? Try 248am for a slice of Kuwaiti life

Mark Makhoul, 32, a creative director at an advertising agency, began his current blog, 248am, in 2005. Mark’s wife Nataly Tawil, a designer, makes occasional contributions to the blog. The pair are both Lebanese and live in Kuwait.

While it may not offer the political insight of some of the other blogs on the list, it does present a slice of life in Kuwait, covering art, technology and more, with lots of reader contributions.

And it’s not entirely without controversy … Makhoul is apparently being sued by a Japanese restaurant chain over a negative review.

Check out the full list and article by clicking [Here]

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Kuwait ranks 13th in the world when it comes to retail

Post by Mark

According to the latest report by CB Richard Ellis “How global is the business of retail?”, Kuwait City ranked 13th in the world the list of most targeted retail destination, up one place from 14th last year. Dubai and London tied for first place followed by New York in second and Paris third. 13th place is actually incredibly good (we tied with Berlin and Istanbul) since the 12 countries ahead of us are big shots like LA, Moscow, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Berlin etc. plus we beat out cities like Milan, Munich, Tokyo and Miami. Below is the top 20 list:

1 – Dubai
1- London
3- New York
4- Paris
5- Madrid
6- Hong Kong
7- Moscow
8- Los Angeles
9- Singapore
10- Barcelona
11- Beijing
12- Shanghai
13- Berlin
13- Kuwait City
13- Istanbul
16- Riyad
17- Milan
18- Munich
19- Tokyo
20- Las Vegas
20- Miami
20- Hamburg

You can download the full report from the CBRE website [Here]

Now slightly off topic, they represented Kuwait with two visuals in the icon above, one is a stretched out version of Kuwait Towers, but what is the other? Looks like our very own Taj Mahal maybe.

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Alshaya’s 2000th store… Shake Shack

Post by Mark

A reader emailed me the flyer above, I’m guessing Alshaya sent it out to their employees. I am also guessing the first Alshaya store is the Mothercare branch next to my house in old Salmiya. I remember when they opened up all those stores in my street, Mothercare, BHS, The Body Shop, Oasis, Next, River Island and whatever else I might have missed. It made the street pretty cool and they’re all actually still open here except I think Oasis which became H&M.

I know a lot of people don’t like Alshaya but I grew up with them on my street so I’m a big fan and I love how they’re bringing over American chains now (example Shake Shack). It’s sad though that their 2000th store had to be one that opened up in Dubai and not here in Kuwait. I guess it’s not something you plan… or at least I hope it wasn’t planned that way.

Thanks Joe

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Al-Anbaa… English Edition?

Post by Mark

For some odd reason, smack dab in the middle of the Al-Anbaa Arabic newspaper website, there’s an English Edition of the paper. It’s a tiny section with not that many articles and I think it’s pretty weird. There isn’t an “English” button on the top of the page or anything like that, just scroll down half way and you’ll find it. I wonder if they’re planning on expanding it and having a proper English version of their website. [Link]

Thanks Abdulaziz

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Expats cancer med fees waived

Post by Mark

According to Arab Times “expatriates will no longer be required to pay for cancer diagnosis and treatment in all hospitals and medical centers, provided they are legal residents in the country.”

I think that’s really great news for expats like me living here. Here is the link to the [Article]

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2nd GCC Women’s Games?

Post by Mark

Just found out by mistake that there is a mini Olympics of a sort just for women that being held in Abu Dhabi for the next six days. Not sure if it’s been publicized or not but I just found out about it now and not sure if the games will be broadcasted on television or not. Kuwait is participating in the games as well as female athletes from Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. They will be competing in athletics, volleyball, equestrian, taekwondo, bowling and shooting. Not sure who or how many from Kuwait are participating so if anyone has more information on this I will gladly post it. Here is a link to an article about the games. [Link]

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