A record 3,415 Americans ditch their passports

Posted by Mark


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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Sultanchef Opening at Symphony Mall

Posted by Mark


The Turkish Steakhouse Sultanchef is opening a new location at the Symphony Style Mall in Salmiya. It’s the same location where Bubba Gump Shrimp was previously supposed to open so not sure whats going on there. Koryokwan, the Korean restaurant was also supposed to open in the basement below that spot but don’t think thats happening as well since they’ve removed the Koryokwan logo from the hoardings.

Sultanchef is very popular and their current location in Kuwait City is always packed so my guess is they’ll be brining a lot of footfall to the very dead Symphony Style Mall. If you haven’t already, check out my review of Sultanchef [Here]

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Alghanim Industries Takes Over Wendy’s in the Middle East

Posted by Mark


Alghanim Industries acquired the rights to develop Wendy’s restaurants across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region from Alamar Foods, a Saudi-based company owned jointly by Al Jammaz Group and the Carlyle Group. The value of the deal remains undisclosed. Alghanim Industries has acquired all operational outlets in the UAE with plans to open additional stores across MENA over the next 10 years. Part of the expansion in the region includes opening stores in Alghanim Industries home market, Kuwait, which has among the highest consumption of fast food per capita in the MENA region. [Link]

It’s interesting that Alghanim are getting into the food industry, makes me wonder what they will be bringing next?

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Kuwait Moves Up in the World Press Freedom Index

Posted by Mark


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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Happy Shani Day

Posted by Mark


Have you gotten your loved one a Shani today? [Link]

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LuLu Hypermarket Salmiya Now Open

Posted by Mark


Lulu Hypermarket opened up their Salmiya location this weekend and I passed by last night to check it out. I have to say, opening up Lulu in the new Al Salam Mall had to be the worst idea in the world and I’ll tell you why.

The Lulu in Qurain has a parking lot the size of 6 football fields and it’s always packed. Same with the Lulu in Al Rai which has parking in front, on the side and a super huge parking lot in the back the size of 4 football fields. Their Salmiya location has a parking lot that is too tiny for the mall itself to begin with yet alone a mall with Lulu in it. The whole are around the mall is now jam packed with cars parked in every conceivable spot be it in the middle of the main road or on top of sidewalks. The traffic around the mall has also increased considerably and there are now traffic jams where there rarely used to be any cars before. The ridiculous part is there used to be a multistory parking lot behind the mall but for some reason they decided to demolish it.

The other issue is the amount of people who want to shop at this Lulu. When I went yesterday you literally couldn’t shop. I was without a trolley walking around and I had difficulty maneuvering through the crowd. If you did decide to do some shopping then you were met with the longest supermarket cashier queue I had ever seen (check the picture above).

I’m not sure if its currently super packed because they just opened but I hope thats the case. I think its probably always going to be super packed because it’s the closest Lulu for everyone living in the heavily populated areas of Jabriya, Hawalli, Salmiya and Salwa. As it is right now though it’s just insane.

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Big D is Leaving Hip Hop

Posted by Mark


Earlier this morning local rapper Big D sent me his resignation letter from hip hop. He’s no longer going to be producing music which I’m sure is going to please a lot of people. Oddly though the main reason he’s leaving music behind is because he now believes music is a sin and that the rap industry as whole are advocates of the Devil. You can read his long and strange resignation letter [Here]


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Things to do in Kuwait this Weekend

Posted by Mark

This is another super busy weekend but hopefully the weather gets better since most of the events are outdoors. My personal picks for this weekend would be The Kuwait Riders Bike Show and The Yard Outdoor Movie Night for Thursday. For Friday I would do the Concours d’Elegance and Snodrops Market. On Saturday I would do the K’S PATH 10th Anniversary Open Day followed by Saturday Night Lights in The Secret Garden at night. Check out the full list of events for this weekend below:

Exhibition: Al-Seef
Exhibition: Van Leo – Master Cairo Portrait Photographer
1001 Inventions Exhibition
Kuwait Concours d’ Elegance
Kuwait Riders 5th Bike Show
The Yard Outdoor Movie Night
Rooftop Movie: Macbeth

1001 Inventions Exhibition
Kuwait Concours d’ Elegance
Kuwait Riders 5th Bike Show
Food Styling and Photography Workshop
Snodrops Market
Book Club Meeting

1001 Inventions Exhibition
Kuwait Concours d’ Elegance
Kuwait Riders 5th Bike Show
Food Styling and Photography Workshop
Guided Tour: Grand Mosque
K’S PATH 10th Anniversary Open Day
Madeenah Tour: City on Display
Dhow Sunset Dinner Cruise
Saturday Night Lights in The Secret Garden
Valentine’s Day Charity Concert
Nuqat Film Screening: Stories From Kuwait
Rooftop Movie: Dr. Strangelove

If you’d like to share an event on the blog [Email Me]

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Most of Kuwait in the Dark #halablackout

Posted by Mark


The electricity went off around Kuwait awhile ago around 7:30PM. At first I thought it was just my neighborhood Salmiya but from twitter it looks like the affected areas so far are:

Mishref, Salmiya, Salwa, Surra, Da3iya, Qadsiya, Bayan, Sabah Al-Salem, Mahboula, Jabriya, Riggai, Mubarak Al Kabeer, Fintas, Mangaf, Abu Halifa, Shaab, Hawalli, Arabella and The Avenues.

No idea what caused the blackout but if you’re in the dark and your area isn’t mentioned above let me know. #halablackout

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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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