Categories
Animals & Wildlife News

‘Kuwait 6’ Lions have a New Home in South Africa

Here is a feel-good story to start the week. Six lions rescued from Kuwait finally have a new home at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa. Known as the ‘Kuwait 6’, the males Muheeb, Saham, Shujaa, Saif, and females Dhubiya and Aziza were victims of the illegal pet trade. All the lions were less than two years old when they were either surrendered, confiscated, or captured in Kuwait after being abandoned by their owners.

Staff and volunteers at the Kuwait Zoo nursed the lions back to health and looked after them until they were able to find them a home. After a long 15-hour journey, the lions arrived in South Africa last week.

Animal Defenders International (ADI), the non-profit organization that campaigns against animal cruelty and exploitation, offered the lions a new life at the 455-acre ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. Qatar Airways Cargo assisted ADI in transporting the animals as part of their WeQare ‘Rewild the Planet’ initiative. Qatar Airways Cargo has an amazing and very caring program where they offer free transport to organizations involved in returning wild animals to their natural habitat.

For their first two weeks, the lions will be in quarantine before being released into the main habitat. ADI have been posting photos and videos of the ‘Kuwait 6’ on their instagram account @animal_defenders_international and it looks like the lions are in a really good place.

If you’d like to donate for the care of the ‘Kuwait 6’, you can by clicking this link. But, you also have the option to adopt one of the lions starting from just 20KD. For more on adoption, click here.

Categories
News Travel

Hacker Claims to have Kuwait Airways Passenger Data

A hacker is claiming to have 600,000 passenger data for Kuwait Airways customers which supposedly contains the following information:

Member title, first name, middle name, surname, marital status, job title, dob, gender, e-mail address, nationality, Kuwait national ID, passport, passport validity period, primary telephone, second telephone, address, city, state, zip code, country, award mile, next card, qualify miles, quality sector, tier, total award miles, total qualify miles, valid from, valid till, contents.

Kuwait Airways have responded to the claim stating:

The security and privacy of our passengers’ information are paramount to us. We are investigating the claims made on social media and have engaged leading cybersecurity experts to assess and mitigate the situation. source

I’m a Kuwait Airways customer so I originally was concerned my credit card details might have been part of the security breach. But, I checked and I don’t have my credit card details saved, and don’t think there is a way to save them anyway. So one positive I guess. For more details, check this article out on cybersecuritynews.com

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News

Alshaya Looking to Sell 30% of Starbucks Business

Alshaya is reportedly in talks to sell a minority stake in its Starbucks franchise business. A US private equity firm and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) are both supposedly interested in acquiring the stake.

This doesn’t seem to be related to the recent boycott of the brand since Alshaya has been looking to sell this stake since 2022. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the boycott helped push the deal closer.

source 1
source 2

Categories
News

Throwing water balloons can get you arrested

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I really hate the water balloons throwing trend as much as I used to hate the foam spraying. But… I also don’t think it deserves up to three years in prison in case you’re caught.

The environmental police in Kuwait have emphasized that throwing water balloons constitutes a violation of environmental protection laws. Offenders may face penalties of up to a KD 5,000 fine or imprisonment for a maximum of three years. source

I highly recommend you click the source link and watch the hilariously sounding English dubbed video which reminds me of old Kung Fu movies.

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News

Saudi Arabia to Open First Alcohol Store

This is interesting, according to Reuters, Saudi Arabia is preparing to open its first alcohol store in Riyadh which will serve exclusively non-Muslim diplomats. The store will be located in the Diplomatic Quarter, a pretty nice neighborhood I’ve visited before, and where lots embassies and diplomats reside.

Even though this store will only be for diplomats, it’s one step closer to Saudi legalizing alcohol.

I wonder how legalizing alcohol in Saudi would affect Kuwait. Will we get alcohol if they get alcohol? Not that I care honestly, but I wouldn’t mind a Tomatini every now and then.

Update: I found another article with a bit more info..

The store sits next to a supermarket in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a socially sensitive topic in Saudi Arabia. The diplomat walked through the store on Wednesday, describing it as similar to an upscale duty free shop at a major international airport.

The store stocks liquor, wine and only two types of beer for the time being, the diplomat said. Workers at the store asked customers for their diplomatic identifications and for them to place their mobile phones inside of pouches while inside. A mobile phone app allows purchases on an allotment system, the diplomat said.

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News

Invasion-era Bombs Found on the Gulf Road

The Gulf Road waterfront from the Yacht Club in Salmiya all the way to the Kuwait Towers is currently going under a major facelift to include amenities like a dedicated bicycle and jogging path among other things. I posted about that project back in September (pictured above) and you can read more about it here.

Last week while digging near TGIF, workers came across a large number of projectiles and cluster bombs dating back to the invasion. If you’re too young to remember, or you weren’t here back in 1990, the Iraqi army had assumed the allies were going to invade Kuwait from the sea. So they dug trenches, planted mines and had tanks and artillery lined up all across the Gulf Road.

It’s kinda unreal to imagine just a few decades ago the Gulf Road waterfront was covered in mines and trenches. The bombs found were all safely defused but the idea that I was riding my bicycle all these years near unexploded bombs is pretty freaky.

Here is a link to two articles that covered this story. Link 1 and Link 2.

And just to clarify, only the first photo on top is new, the rest were taken in 1991.

Categories
News

The Kuwait Metro Project has been Canceled

Although I knew there was a big chance this wasn’t going to happen to begin with, it still feels sad now that it’s been officially canceled.

The Supreme Committee of the Public-Private Partnership Projects Authority has decided to cancel the Kuwait Metro project, which is part of the Rapid Transport Systems Project. This decision, made in lieu of the Authority’s Board of Directors, was based on the project’s significant administrative and financial burdens on public funds, amounting to 2.152 million dinars, as reported by the Audit Bureau. Source

Back in 2012 they had stated the metro project would be completed by 2020. That didn’t happen but in 2020 they did say the project was still happening and gave more details would about:

Metropolitan Rapid Transit System Project (KMRT) will be built over five phases stretching over 160 kilometers, and will have 68 stations along three lines, according to the plan. The first phase of the project includes a railway stretching 50 kilometers from Kuwait City to Kuwait International Airport, with 27 new stations, 30 percent of which will be underground with two underground stations. Source

Since the metro is now canceled I’m not sure what’s the plan to improve the public transportation system will be, if there is one.

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News

Traffic Fines Going Digital

The Ministry of Interior announced yesterday that starting September 1st, traffic fines will be issued digitally. This applies to fines given by the cops, for example if you park illegally. Instead of writing the ticket on a piece of paper and then having someone manually enter it into the system, the cops will now be able to issue the ticket digitally and you should get the fine instantaneously.

Problem is, to pay the fines you have to use the Sahel app which as of now is only in Arabic. I can read Arabic (slowly) and it took me some time yesterday to find the section for checking and paying fines so no idea how non-Arabic speakers are going to manage. I guess through a friend.

Categories
News Videos

Kuwaiti Divers Clean Seabed

Yesterday the Associated Press uploaded the short video above of a group of Kuwaiti divers who are on a mission to clean up Kuwait’s seabed and improve its marine environment. According to Walid Al-Fadhel who is the team’s leader, they were able to salvage 172 boats and yachts.

The video was only uploaded in 360p resolution for some reason so it’s not great quality, but it’s good enough to tell their story.

Categories
Movies News

Talk to Me Banned Movie in Kuwait

News on an Australian film being banned in Kuwait has been popping up on my news feed all morning. A horror film called “Talk to Me” is supposedly banned in Kuwait because one of the actors identifies as nonbinary and is a transmasculine (a female that identifies as a male). According to the news articles there isn’t any LGBTQ+ content in the film, and there is also no mention of the actor’s gender identity, it’s just banned because one of the supporting actors is trans. Source

I’m now curious if, moving forward, all movies that contain openly gay actors will also be banned in Kuwait. If X-Men or Lord of the Rings came out today would they both be banned because they star Sir Ian McKellen who is openly gay? There are a lot of gay Hollywood actors and directors so I’m really interested how this is going to play out.

Categories
News

Cryptocurrency is Now Banned in Kuwait

Late last week the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) issued a circular banning crypto payments, investment and mining.

Kuwait is currently one of the cheapest countries in the world to mine bitcoin. It is estimated that last year the cost of mining in Kuwait was just $1,400 per BTC when bitcoin was worth more than $40,000 at the time. But, the high power consumption of mining doesn’t seem to be the reason for the ban. According to an article on Yahoo Finance, the reason behind the ban is money laundering. Countries are required to put up guardrails to prevent money laundering but I guess it’s easier to just ban it completely.

What does this mean if you already own cryptocurrency? My best guess is that it would make transferring large sums of money from abroad into your account in Kuwait more difficult. If you transfer large amounts of money you need to explain where it’s coming from and I don’t think you can tell the banks anymore that they’re from your crypto investments. Maybe a banker can clear this up for us.

Update: according to a reader the circular doesn’t apply to individuals.

Categories
News

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Banned in Kuwait

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was meant to be released in the region on June 22, but last week it got banned in Kuwait and across the region. The reason behind the ban is due to the presence of transgender symbolism in the film, a “Protect Trans Kids” poster which appeared briefly during one scene (pictured below).

Whats interesting is that we’ve recently started seeing more movie bans and less censorship and that is supposedly due to the studios no longer allowing cinemas to edit their films. Disney and Sony have both recently not allowed Asian countries to edit out LGBT content so the only option cinemas have is to ban the films outright. It’s interesting because they previously would allow cinemas to edit out nudity or kisses, so it’s odd that they aren’t allowing LGBT content to be cut.

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News

Offices No Longer Needed for a Business License

This is really good news for anyone looking to open a business in Kuwait or currently pays rent on an office that they never use. Yesterday the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that it is no longer required for businesses to have an office if they don’t have employees.

Previously if you wanted to get a business license you had to have an office even if you didn’t need one. So what people would do is rent out cheap 250-300KD offices in basements of dodgy complexes in Hawalli and other cheap neighborhoods which they would never use or even visit. People had to pay thousands on rent just so they could have a business license. With the new rule, the home address can be used to obtain a license.

This is going to help out a lot of people and encourage a lot of new businesses to open in Kuwait.

Categories
News

The 8 Most Powerful Kuwaiti Businesswomen

Over the weekend Forbes Middle East revealed their annual list of 100 Middle East’s Most Powerful Businesswomen and 8 from Kuwait made it this year. The U.A.E. and Egypt scored the most entries at 15 and 12, followed by 11 from Saudi Arabia and then Kuwait.

Check out Kuwait’s top 8 below:

Categories
News

Kuwait Launching its Very First Satellite with Space X Today

A Space X rocket, carrying the first Kuwaiti Satellite (Kuwait Sat-1) will launch into space from Florida later today.

The satellite is a CubeSat which is a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. CubeSats are generic, modular satellites that come in different sizes and can be customized with various payloads. Kuwait’s satellite will have a camera payload which was put together by students at Kuwait University and will be operated by them after disengaging from the rocket.

With this satellite, Kuwait will be able to take its own photos of its own country from space which could then be used for many purposes ranging from environmental studies to mapping cities.

If you’re interested in watching the launch, 360 Mall will be broadcasting it live on their Oval Screen in the Main Atrium at 5:45 PM. For more information check @kw.university and @kfasinfo