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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Payment System for Home and Small Businesses

Post by Mark

taplogo

Yesterday I had a meeting with TAP, (the local electronic payment company) since they wanted to let me know of some new things they’ll be introducing in a couple a months time. I can’t disclose any of it for now but while meeting with them I did manage to get some details on their current services. To be truthful, I wasn’t a fan of TAP before my meeting and that’s mostly because of the ridiculous no desktop browser rule they had in place. Basically on more than one occasion when I wanted to pay for an item using their service, the link the seller provided wouldn’t work from my computer. Turned out their service would only work when using a mobile phone browser and I thought that was the dumbest thing ever. There was no technical reason for it, they just decided not to allow people on desktops from using their service. Not very practical especially when I would link to workshops on my event page that required TAP payments. Thankfully, this annoyance will be solved with their upcoming updates.

pay

With that rant out of the way, what I wanted to write about in this post is how their payment system is actually really great for home and small businesses in Kuwait. When I was starting a company and wanted to setup a payment system for an online store, the fees involved were ridiculous. Firstly you needed to be an officially registered business which means home businesses couldn’t setup an online payment system. Secondly the cost involved was just too high, depending on the bank you would pay a setup fee of around KD750 (KD1,000 in some cases), then a monthly fee ranging from KD25 to KD50 depending on the bank and then on top of that a charge per transaction, 1% for debit cards and 3% for credit cards. So if you’re just starting up those fees could be pretty brutal.

TAP on the other hand offer two services for home and small businesses and in both services you do not have to be an officially registered business.

GoCollect
The first service is called GoCollect. Say you have an instagram account and you sell cupcakes out of your home, when someone places an order with you through whatsapp, you would provide them with a link that will send them to the TAP website where they could pay you either with a debit card or credit card. There is no setup fee for this service and you can sign up to it from the TAP website. You could be up and running in less than 24 hours. TAP make their money with transaction fees, they charge 200fils 2.5% per debit card transaction and 3% for credit card transactions. TAP gets your customers money and then deposits it into your account. You don’t have to be dealing with a certain bank either, they work with all local banks.

softwares

GoSell
The second service they offer is called GoSell. This is for small businesses that have an online store. Say you’re selling tshirts and you created an online shop using one of the online services like Shopify, Magento, WordPress or whatever, TAP would provide you with a plugin (or API for pros) that would allow you to integrate their payment system with your ecommerce website. They charge around KD300 to set this up for you, maybe a bit less, maybe a bit more depending on the size of your business and then like with GoCollect, they charge 200fils 2.5% per debit card transaction and 3% for credit cards. No monthly fees.

If you’re a home or small business or thinking of starting a business then this is currently the easiest way to setup a payment system. If you want to find out more you can visit their website for more details [Here]

Update: I was informed by TAP to replace the 200fils debit card transaction fee in my post with 2.5% since they don’t have a fix rate. Depending on the size of your business and your negotiation ability the debit card transaction fee could be 200fils, could be 1%, could be 2.5% etc.. it varies


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First Ring Road – An Infinite Loop

Post by Mark

firstringloop

Awhile back I was talking to my friends dad who’s been in Kuwait working on the local infrastructure since the 60s and he told me that when the First Ring Road was originally conceived it was meant to be a loop. I don’t remember the exact conversation but they ran into issues (I think a politician didn’t want a bridge overlooking his property or something along those lines) and the project never got completed. Now the project is back on track and those of you who work in the city have probably noticed a lot of road closures. Last week the road from Dasman roundabout to the First Ring Road was shutdown and dug up and yesterday the Dasman roundabout itself was dissected (pictured below) so construction can start there as well.

dasman

I’m going to try and get official pictures of the project but once construction is completed it should look something similar to my drawing on top. I’m guessing as well that once the project is completed you should be able to loop the First Ring Road without stopping at any traffic light so I’m curious to see how they’re planning to connect the current end of the First Ring Road which ends at Souk Mubarakia to the new extension which starts near the Grand Mosque and Kuwait Stock Exchange. I checked the Projects Explorer on the Ministry of Public Works website and according to the information I found there, once this project is completed there will be a total of 5 bridges connecting the current end of the First Ring Road to the start of the First Ring Road. I couldn’t find a completion date nor could I find renderings of how the project will look like also once completed but I’m trying to get my hands on them.

If you have any renderings or more information please share it.


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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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4D Movies Now Available at Grand Cinemas

Post by Mark

mx4d

Early this month Cinescape launched 4DX theaters that include high-tech motion seats and special effects including wind, fog, lightning, bubbles, water, rain and scents to go along with the movie. Yesterday while booking tickets at Grand Cinemas for Star Trek Beyond (not worth watching btw) I found out Grand Cinemas launched MX-4D which is the direct competitor for 4DX. Based on the specs I’ve read online, MX-4D provides even more special effects with their seats featuring a rumbler, water blast, seat popper, back poker, leg ticklers, air blast, wind, neck tickler, snow, scent, strobe, fog, rain and bubbles. The cost of the ticket is similar to Cinescape at KD8 per person. I still haven’t tried 4D yet but I’ve been told it’s worth experience so will be doing so soon.


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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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How do you find the best Pokémon in Kuwait?

Post by Mark

pokemonkuwait

Pokevision is a Pokemon tracker/locator for the mobile game Pokemon Go. It uses the Niantic API to grab the location of all Pokemon near your (or your selected location) and display them on the map in real-time; this means if it is displayed on the map, you can go out and catch them!

If you’re struggling trying to find a specific Pokémon then check out [Pokevision]


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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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Drone View of the New Cultural Center

Post by Mark

cultural-center

The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre was expected to open back in February but it’s now expected to open in November. It looks ridiculously good.

Thanks lovelykuwait


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In Focus: Al-Hakimi Auto Parts

Post by Mark

hakimi

Just a quick post about this place. Al-Hakimi has been a life saver for me, I’ve been finding and getting a lot of my mechanical parts for my Datsun from them. They seem to have everything except body parts. So far I’ve gotten my fuel pump, brake pads (can’t believe I found these!), oil pan gasket and intake manifold gasket from them. They even have shocks that fit my 240z. A friend of mine was looking for parts for his Toyota AE86 and turns out they had them as well. It’s a gold mine! So if you’ve got an old Japanese car and need mechanical parts for, I can’t recommend these guys enough. Here is their location on [Google Maps]

Update: Here is a link to their [Website]


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