We take air pollution very lightly

Post by Mark

Bangkok recently went on full alert because their air pollution level was high after their PM2.5 reading reached 152 which is considered unhealthy. The odd thing is, at the same time, Kuwait’s pollution level was reading at 155 and nobody cared. Nobody probably cared because 155 isn’t even high by Kuwait standards, I’ve seen it hit 358 and I’ve seen it in the 200s multiple of times. Even when it was at 358 which is three times worse than when Bangkok declared red alert, nobody in Kuwait blinked an eye.

So why is it that we don’t seem to care (me included) about the quality of the air we breathe. Is it because there isn’t anything we can do about it or is it because it doesn’t seem like an issue because nobody is making a fuss about it?

When in Bahrain last month my friend rented a Chinese car (BYD) and although I found the car pretty crap, one cool feature it came with was a built-in air quality meter because its a feature people in China care about because of the pollution levels there. With a touch of a button, the car could tell you how bad the air quality was outside the car. Sounds like a gimmick but it’s a car feature we should all probably want to have like the Chinese do.

If you want to check the current air quality in Kuwait, click [Here]

Thanks Nibaq


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Chuck E Cheese Coming to Kuwait

Post by Mark

CEC Entertainment, Inc has signed development agreements with franchisees for 25 new Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants across Mexico, Egypt, Kuwait, El Salvador and Bahrain, a news release said.

The company has been actively growing its international franchise footprint and currently operates 65 Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants across 13 countries and territories outside the U.S., with the biggest concentration in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. [Source]

If you grew up in Kuwait during the 80s you’ll remember a place called Showbiz Pizza Place. In the US, Showbiz were actually direct competitors to Chuck E Cheese which was created by the Atari founder back in 1977. Chuck E Cheese went bankrupt in the early 80s and got purchased by ShowBiz Pizza Place. ShowBiz then went bankrupt themselves back in 1992 but Chuck E Cheese is still around somehow. I’ve only been to Chuck E Cheese once as a kid back in 1988 when I was in LA and all I remember is how similar it was to Showbiz. Back then it was full of arcade games and they even had an animatronic band like Showbiz. It was a lot of fun but not sure how relevant Chuck E Cheese is today…


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UAE begins implementing new 100% ownership, 10-year visa for expats

Post by Mark

The UAE cabinet has begun the implementation of 100% foreign ownership and 10-year residency visas for expats, investors and businesspeople.[Source]

What I found sad is the sub headline for the article which states that the new laws are expected to help retain expats in the UAE. It’s sad because most of the articles in Kuwait talk about different ways to get rid of us while UAE is appreciating their expats and wanting them to stay longer.


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Kuwait Will Not Co-Host the World Cup

Post by Mark

Sheikh Ahmed al-Yousef, head of Kuwait’s Football Association, said that Kuwait cannot facilitate the conditions of participating in hosting some of the World Cup matches.

Yousef told Kuwait’s al-Rai newspaper that it is hard to accommodate FIFA’s main conditions in Kuwait, the biggest of which is allowing all nationalities to enter the country with a visa upon arrival, including Israel.

He added: “Even if we selectively picked the teams playing in Kuwait, we cannot prevent the audience from attending. There are also alcohol brands that are sponsoring the event and would like to sell and promote its products during the games, and that is forbidden and criminalized in Kuwait, so how would we solve this problem?” [Source]

I didn’t even know Kuwait was even in the consideration to co-host the World Cup. This is such a huge missed opportunity, one which I don’t think we’ll have again. Qatar spent a lot of money getting the World Cup to come to the region so we basically would have gotten a free ride. The amount of publicity and visitors we would have gotten by hosting the World Cup, and all the improvements the government would have made to the local infrastructure, it’s so sad all this isn’t going to happen now.


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Non-Stop Flights to NY from January 1st

Post by Mark

Starting January 1st, Kuwait Airways will start flying to New York again non-stop. Kuwait Airways used to fly non-stop a few years ago but due to our airport’s weak security, flights to NY started stopping in Ireland for one more final security check. A non-stop flight to New York obviously makes the journey a lot quicker and practical, but with the new Kuwait Airways planes and terminal, it could also potentially be the best way to get to NY from Kuwait. [Link]


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18 Social Media Accounts Sued for Exploiting Kids

Post by Mark

After Kuwait’s attorney general issued on Monday strict guidelines to ensure that children are adequately protected from the potential dangers associated with social media, an attorney told Kuwait Times 18 social media accounts were referred to the prosecutor yesterday. Lawyer Mohammed Al-Khaldi explained the new guidelines only expound on already existing juvenile laws which criminalize the abuse of children. Chief among the new guidelines is introducing age restrictions requiring social media users to be at least 13 years of age. [Source]

Looks like the government is on a roll cracking down on Instagrammers. The last sentence is a bit confusing because it sounds like anybody under 13 isn’t allowed to have a social media account, but I think they actually mean anyone under 13 can’t be exploited by the parents on social media. At least I think that’s what they mean…


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Kuwait police investigating social media influencers for money laundering

Post by Mark

Detectives in Kuwait have been called to investigate several social media influencers for money laundering, according to reports.

Arabic publication Al-Jarida cited sources as confirming the notices regarding more than 10 bank accounts belonging to social media stars.

The sources said the balances in some of the accounts exceeded millions of Kuwaiti dinars and the ‘fashionista’ owners would need to prove their source of income. [Source]

I clearly must be doing blogging wrong…


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No More Wataniya Airways

Post by Mark

After getting their operation suspended back in September, the civil aviation authority have now pulled the license for Wataniya Airways. They were originally suspended because of recurring flights’ delays and cancellations and were given three months to get their act together. Seems like they weren’t able to do that so for the second time in the airline’s history, they’ve had to shut down.

This is pretty disappointing news since Wataniya Airlines were flying to some interesting destinations and more competition in the market is always a good thing. [Link]


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Kuwait Books Ban Overturned

Post by Mark

Over 4,300 books have been banned so far in Kuwait since 2014 with 700 of them being banned just this year alone. Random books like the Little Mermaid were banned as well as books written by local authors. The book bans were so absurd that New York Times last month published an article about it which you can read [Here]

Over the weekend, local designer Mohammad Sharaf installed a book graveyard next to Kuwait’s Annual Book Fair to protest the banning of the books. The book graveyard got removed by the authorities quickly but the pictures went viral sparking a conversation on the subject again.

Now Alqabas newspaper is reporting that the appeals court have overturned the Ministry of Information’s book ban stating we live in a different time where the world is a much more open place. This is obviously great news so I really hope its true. I’m hoping this ruling could possibly encourage someone to open up a large bookstore in Kuwait. The book fair was incredibly packed when I visited it with people buying books so there definitely is a market.


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Watch the Kuwait News Online

Post by Mark

If like me you don’t have satellite (live TV) and rely on streaming for your entertainment, you can still keep up to date with what’s going in Kuwait by watching the news online. Both KTV1 and KTV2 have live online streaming and you can watch them both on the MOI website [Here]


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