Court adjourns Barrak speech promoters’ case to May 5

KUWAIT: A local court yesterday adjourned till May 5, 2015 a hearing on a case filed against a number of citizens, including former MPs, for promoting a speech made by former MP Musallam Al-Barrak at Irada Square for which he is already sentenced to and doing two years in prison. The defendants are facing charges of insulting His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and questioning his powers

Bargash’s citizenship A local court yesterday ordered the Interior Ministry to justify its decision to revoke the citizenship of former MP Abdullah Al- Barghash and his family members in a hearing to be held on May 5, 2015.

KFA challenges asset seizure Another court yesterday issued a verdict by which the assets and bank accounts of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) will be seized pending a case filed by lawyer Hazza’ Al-Thafeiri. However, KFA stressed that this was only a first instance verdict and that it plans to contest it before the court of appeals.

Camps’ removal Kuwait Municipality’s Public Relations Manager Rashid Al-Hashan said the municipality’s monitoring apparatuses would start removing violating camps from today, as the camping season ended yesterday. Hashan added that demolitions and camp removals would commence immediately without any prior notice or warning. He also noted that the demolition teams would be accompanied by media personnel. In addition, Hashan also urged all camp owners to clean their campsites after dismantling them so that the areas would be useable in the next camping season.

By A Saleh and Meshaal Al-Enezi

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Poor Reception

Marie Yeghiayan, also known as Mariam Nour, is a Lebanese-American writer and media personality and an expert in the science of macrobiotics – or natural alternatives. She was invited to visit Kuwait on the sidelines of a book exhibition, but her visit turned to be a problem for her and her hosts, as it descended into swearing and verbal sparring because of the reception she got, in her view.

Mariam allegedly swore at some Arab leaders, as a local paper reported, considering them “the result of a Zionist conspiracy”, adding that if she were Haifa Wehbe (a popular singer), many senior dignitaries would have been at her reception. Her action prompted organizers of the exhibition to prevent her from continuing to speak and asked her to leave the country. It seems that what agitated her was the small number of people receiving her, mostly friends and admirers, and no one from the NCCAL, the body that is responsible for the exhibition.

It was said she started swearing at the airport, but passport officers ignored her tirade. It was also said she was disappointed because she was not received at the VIP hall. If we suppose that what Mariam was quoted as saying is true that she like others who believe that they are better than others in knowledge and manners but do not receive the respect they deserve by many, compared to what a singer or ballet dancer receives, this matter is not limited to Kuwait, as we find something similar in most important countries. It is normal for the White House to host senior artists in receptions attended by presidents, because of what those artists enjoy in popularity.

The role of the artist, if Nour knows this, is great. I personally prefer to sit with Abdelhussein Abdelreda (a Kuwait actor), before even thinking about sitting with a major intellectual, and the reason is that the former has the charisma and presence that I cannot feel without meeting him, but as for the latter, I have his books and works in my hand.

Human nature is more inclined towards happiness and joy than serious and worrying matters, and receiving an artist more enthusiastically than an intellectual or a writer is not wrong, and personally I will not feel insulted if I entered a place with Halima Boland, and her reception party was much larger than mine, as this is the nature of people.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

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Loan shark jailed

KUWAIT: The appeals court sentenced a man to six months in jail after convicting him for providing loans on large interests, but exonerated him of money laundering charges, which he was accused of by a local bank. The court of first instance has sentenced the man to 5 years in jail and the confiscation of KD 2.5 million, which is the total amount of operations he carried out. He also was fined KD 1.1 million for the same charges. — Al-Qabas

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Wife accused of adultery; Boyfriend charged

KUWAIT: A man accused his wife of adultery after finding her with a friend in a suspicious building. The man had doubted the behavior of his wife, so he monitored her until she entered a suspicious building, so he called police. Policemen found the husband waiting, but he could not tell them which flat or floor she went to. Police decided to wait, and an hour later, the woman came down accompanied by a man, so her husband caught her while policemen caught the man. The two were taken to the police station, where the husband insisted to file adultery charges.

Boyfriend charged A young man assaulted his girlfriend after she refused to accept his apology. A security source said after a dispute with his girlfriend, the suspect sent her many messages asking for forgiveness, but she did not respond. The man waited for her until she went to the co-op, where he approached her and repeated his apologies, but she ignored him. He then grabbed and argued with her. The girl pushed him away, making him angry, so he hit her. Passersby caught him and called police. He was charged with assault and battery.

Fugitive’s escape foiled A Gulf national failed in an attempt to leave Kuwait using his brother’s passport, and was found wanted on drugs and weapons charges. The suspect went to Nuwaiseeb border center, where officers discovered the passport he was using is not his, and he admitted it was his brother’s. He was sent to criminal detectives.

Father charged A citizen rejected a court ruling which gave custody of his daughter to his ex-wife. When he went for a visitation, he took the girl and refused to return her. The mother went to Jaber Al-Ali police station, where officers called the father, but he refused to return the girl. He was charged with kidnapping, and police are working on the case.

Car owner threatened A detainee at Jahra police station, who earlier rented a car and refused to return it, threatened and insulted the owner and told him: “There is no car, and if you complain, I will kill you.” The owner nevertheless filed a complaint against the suspect, who was found detained in another case.

Family feud A falcon caused a dispute between two cousins. One of the cousins said he agreed with the other to buy a falcon worth KD 17,000, then when he went to receive it, he discovered that it was not the same one that he had agreed to buy. The seller told police that he sold the falcon that they had agreed upon, and that his cousin wanted the other falcon which is worth KD 70,000. Both were sent for questioning.

Work mishap A Syrian man was admitted to Mubarak Hospital’s ICU after falling from a building under construction in Rumaithiya. The Syrian suffered fractures and bruises.

Drug dealer caught Police in Jahra arrested a citizen who used and sold drugs. He also had Kuwaiti and Saudi currency, and was sent to the Drugs Control General Department. – Al-Rai

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Officers arrested for smuggling fugitives

KUWAIT: Nuwaiseeb detectives arrested three officers who formed a network to smuggle out wanted persons on civil cases, charging them KD 250 to KD 400. A security source said detectives learned about the involvement of the three in helping wanted people leave the country and return without being stopped. The three were sent to the prosecution for further action.

Domestic violence Salwa police freed a citizen whose husband detained her in the house and beat her. Police received a call from the woman asking for help. Police arrived and freed her. She then went to Mubarak Hospital and brought a medical report on the injuries she sustained. She then filed a complaint.

Suicide attempt A girl attempted suicide by shooting herself with an air rifle in the neck, and was taken to Adan Hospital for treatment. Her mother said that the girl was depressed because of the death of her friend three years ago, and this is why she wanted to end her life.

Teen rapist caught Adan detectives arrested a man for raping a juvenile. A police patrol noticed a car in an open area in Adan, and when they approached it, they found two persons in a compromising position. Both were sent to concerned authorities.

Drunk employee jailed A passports officer at Kuwait International Airport reported to work drunk, so her surprised colleagues left the office room. Airport police officers were puzzled about what to do with her, and reportedly failed to report her to the police station to face charges of public drunkenness. Instead, the drunk officer remained at the airport for 21 hours without performing her duties, until she sobered up and later reported to Jleeb Al-Shuyiykh police station. The investigator there was surprised that airport security sent the woman to the police station after this long time. He criticized the officers for not bringing her to the station quickly, because procedures include an alcohol blood content test.

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Two arrested with drugs, documents

kuwait-drugsKUWAIT: Jahra police arrested two men with possession of drugs, documents and seals. A security source said that a car driver attempted to escape when he was told to stop, then he along with a passenger got out of the car and ran on foot, but were arrested. The suspects are Saudis, and aged 25 and 22. The duo threw envelopes from the car during the attempted escape. Titles of stolen cars from Salwa and Jahra, 17 IDs and two seals of the Jahra health zone and of a doctor along with medical report forms were also found with them. They were sent to Taima police station.

Duo held with ‘chemical’ drugs
Criminal detectives arrested an American and a Syrian with 40 envelopes of ‘chemical’ drugs (a variation of hashish), as well as shabu, hashish, and colored plastic envelopes to sell drugs. Information was received about the American man selling drugs, and following legal procedures, an undercover agent was sent to him. He was arrested with 24 large envelopes of “chemical” drug. He said he brings the drugs from the US and sells it wholesale, adding that a second man helps him sell the drugs. The Syrian was then arrested, and when his house was searched, 16 large envelopes and 55 small black envelopes containing the same substance were found, along with an envelope of shabu and a piece of hashish. The suspects and the material were sent to concerned authorities.

Foul play suspected in man’s death Ahmadi prosecutor sent the body of an unidentified person found near Al-Kout Mall to the coroner because of suspicions of foul play. A preliminary police report considered drowning as the cause of death, but officials are waiting for the coroner’s report on the cause of death.

Fugitive nabbed A Bangladeshi expat man sent to drugs control authorities, and will later be sent to prison to serve a four-year jail sentence. A security source said the man was arrested after he attempted to run away. The suspect was found wanted to serve a four-year prison sentence, was absconding, wanted by the DCGD and his visa had expired too. Material thought to be drugs was found on him.

Policeman assaulted A police captain in Ali Sabah Al-Salem police station accused four men of beating him as he was chasing a reckless driver. He said the driver entered a house, and later came out with four men who beat him.

Forgery Residency affairs detectives arrested a female citizen who works at a service center after she registered expats on the file of a citizen without his knowledge.

Car thieves caught Jahra police arrested three bedoons in Taima in a car stolen from Shamiya. All three are wanted for drug sale and use and theft.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun

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Nigeria’s Buhari closes in on historic victory

Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari

Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari

ABUJA: Nigeria’s opposition contender Muhammadu Buhari held a sizeable lead as counting in the country’s election resumed yesterday, raising the prospect of a stunning ballot box victory for a man who first came to power three decades ago via a military coup. According to a provisional Reuters tally collated from 31 of Nigeria’s 36 states, the 72-year-old general had more than 13 million votes after campaigning as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up the corrupt politics of Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation.

That compared to 10.5 million for President Goodluck Jonathan, whose five years at the helm of the continent’s top oil producer have been plagued by corruption scandals and a bloody insurgency by Islamist Boko Haram militants. With one of Jonathan’s big support bases in the oil producing Niger Delta yet to report, it is still possible that the election result could change. But as the announcement of the tally resumed on live television from the election commission headquarters in Abuja at 0900 GMT, some analysts were already starting to talk about a Buhari victory over Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). “There are probably lots of reasons why the PDP might have lost, but I think the key one is that the elections just haven’t been rigged,” said Antony Goldman, a business consultant with high-level contacts in Nigeria.

In Rivers state, the volatile and hotly contested home of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, Jonathan won a massive 95 percent of the vote. Such results prompted suspicion among diplomats, observers and sympathizers of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC), some of whom took to the streets in protest. In the oil city of Port Harcourt police fired tear gas at a crowd of 100 female APC supporters demonstrating outside the regional offices of the INEC election commission. “Their intention was to destroy INEC materials,” a policeman at the scene told Reuters. The weekend vote was marred by technical glitches, arguments and occasional violence but overall proved to be less chaotic than previous elections in the country of 170 million, which only got rid of military rule in 1999. At least 15 people were shot dead on polling day, most of them in the northeast where Boko Haram has declared war on democracy in its fight to revive a mediaeval caliphate in the sands of the southern Sahara.

The United States and Britain said that after the vote there were worrying signs of political interference in the centralized tallying of the results. “So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process,” US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a joint statement. “But there are disturbing indications that the collation process, where the votes are finally counted, may be subject to deliberate political interference,” they added. Should Buhari lose, such views are likely to fuel an APC belief of political skulduggery and increase the chances of a repeat of the 2011 post-election violence in which 800 people were killed, most of them in the predominantly Muslim north.

Even before preliminary tallies were recorded, the party rejected the outcome in Rivers state and denounced the vote there as “a sham and a charade”. Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also painted itself as a victim of rigging, but said it would make no difference. “We are confident of victory,” party spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode told reporters. “Any attempt to manipulate figures or to rig us out from any quarter will be firmly resisted.” — Reuters

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Iran’s nuclear program: What we know

Officials wait for a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel yesterday in Lausanne. Officials are meeting in Switzerland for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program

Officials wait for a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel yesterday in Lausanne. Officials are meeting in Switzerland for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program

VIENNA: Will the hoped-for deal with Iran do enough to prevent Tehran developing nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities, as world powers hope? As negotiators in Switzerland rushed to meet a midnight deadline to agree the outlines of a deal, this is a brief lowdown on the current status of Iran’s nuclear activities. Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons and says that its program is purely for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

Plutonium There are two possible materials to make the explosive core of a nuclear bomb: plutonium or highly-enriched uranium. Plutonium can be extracted from spent nuclear fuel rods. Western powers fear that a reactor Iran was building until an interim deal in November 2013 at Arak could have produce a bomb’s worth of the material a year. Now the powers want the design of the reactor to be changed so that the amount of plutonium Iran could obtain is significantly reduced. Iran is not thought to possess the capability to extract the plutonium, and a secret facility would be easily detected. Arak would also have to run for at least a year before plutonium could be obtained

Uranium Of greater concern is uranium. Enriching uranium raises the percentage of a certain isotope by using sophisticated machines called centrifuges spinning at supersonic speeds. For nuclear power 3.5-5.0 percent is needed, 20 percent is for medicines and 90 percent for a bomb. Iran is already enriching to low levels and until January 2014 was doing so to 20 percent. It is not thought to have purified to weapons-grade-although it has the knowhow and the equipment.

Breakout The name of the game for world powers is to extend the “breakout” time to around a year from several months at present. This is the time period Iran would in theory need to process enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for one bomb. This could happen through reducing the number of centrifuges to a few thousand from the current 19,000, around half of which are operating. Iran could also reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium- some 8,000 kilos, enough for eight bombs if further enriched, experts say-by exporting it or converting it to another form. In addition, the UN atomic watchdog, already responsible for painstakingly accounting for Iran’s every ounce of nuclear material, could conduct additional inspections.

‘Sneakout’ Experts stress that the “breakout” concept should however be treated with caution. It fails to include the additional time needed for Iran to work out how to incorporate the fissile material into a warhead and mount it on a missile, steps which would take many months, experts say. More likely, some say, Iran would go for a “sneakout”-using facilities that the UN watchdog does not know about. But this possibility would be covered by greater oversight by the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.— AFP

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Law punishing prostitutes’ clients scrapped in France

PARIS: France’s upper house of parliament yesterday scrapped a law punishing clients of prostitutes and made soliciting an offence, as the country wrestles with how to legislate the world’s oldest profession. The legislation must still be approved by the lower house, but has already drawn fierce opposition from sex workers, who said it would drive prostitution further underground and make them vulnerable to abuse.

Hundreds of prostitutes-many South American and Chinese-took to the streets of Paris on Saturday to protest against the proposed law. The senators reversed an earlier draft of the law, proposed by the lower house National Assembly, that would have made the clients of prostitutes liable for fines.

The legislation is likely to be revised yet again by the lower house before hitting the statute books. Health Minister Marisol Touraine hit out at the Senate, saying: “What happened … is absolutely unbelievable and contemptuous towards women.” Putting the blame on prostitutes rather than their clients is “regressive” and “deprives us of a major tool to reduce demand and therefore prostitution,” she added. Associations representing prostitutes said the offence of soliciting made the women’s job harder and made them subject to harassment and abuse

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