Iraq's Mosul bides its time, 12 months under IS rule

A Welayat Nineveh Media video image from August 9, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic State militants inspecting the grounds of the Mosul dam on the Tigris riverWhen the Iraqi government lost Ramadi last month, Abu Yasser’s heart sank: the prospect of his own city, Mosul, shaking off jihadist rule had just faded farther into the distance. Wresting back Mosul, Iraq’s second city, was always seen as the top prize and climax of any fightback against the Islamic State group. “We were shocked when we heard the news that IS had occupied Ramadi,” said Abu Yasser, who would not give his full name.

6th person dies of MERS virus in South Korea

A tourist wears mask as a precaution against MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, virus at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, June 7, 2015. A fifth person in the country has died of the MERS virus, as the government announced Sunday it was strengthening measures to stem the spread of the disease and public fear. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Monday reported its sixth death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome as authorities were bolstering measures to stem the spread of the virus that has left dozens of people infected.

Government to retain 75% stake in Kuwait Airways – Move sounds death knell for privatization plan

KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee and the government yesterday reached a deal in principle for the need to raise the government’s stake in Kuwait Airways to 75 percent and make it the national carrier, a measure expected to delay or even kill the airline’s privatization plan. The move also excludes potential investors such as Jazeera Airways.

The privatization law, issued in 2008, stipulates to privatize the carrier by selling a 35 percent stake to a strategic investor, 40 percent to be given to citizens, 20 percent to the government and five percent to employees. Under the new proposal, the remaining 20 percent will be offered to citizens and five percent to current and retired employees.

Secretary of the committee MP Mohammad Al-Jabri said Communications Minister Essa Al-Kandari agreed in principle to raise the government stake in Kuwait Airways to 75 percent, which means the privatization plan will be dead. Jabri said that the amendment is required due to the fact that Kuwait Airways’ value has increased to around KD 2 billion after its plans to purchase 25 Airbus and 10 Boeing planes, which will make it difficult for local companies to purchase a strategic stake.

Previous proposals put the government’s stake at 20 to 40 percent and allowed strategic investors to own up to 35 percent. Kuwait’s low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways on May 31 said it filed an interest to acquire 35 percent stake in the state-owned carrier. The new proposal would exclude domestic carrier competitors as potential bidders.

The committee and the government also reached an understanding to establish a shareholding company for the recruitment of domestic helpers

Jabri said the committee will vote on the two draft laws in the next session, which could mean that the Assembly is not expected to debate them until the next term opening late October. Jabri said the maids committee will be established with the participation of the pension agency, Kuwait Investment Authority and the cooperative societies union, all of which have agreed to take part.

The public authority for minors’ affairs also agreed to own a stake provided that the proposed company must comply with Islamic sharia. He said that the ministries of defense and interior in addition to national guard have delayed expressing an opinion to take part or not until the next meeting.

Owners of the current private recruitment offices will be excluded from taking part in the new company, whose capital will range from KD 3-5 million, Jabri said. The company will not aim to make profits, Jabri said. The company was proposed in a bid to help cut costs for the recruitment of domestic helpers from abroad, which has skyrocketed in recent years. Meanwhile, the legal and legislative committee yesterday rejected to lift the immunity of MPs Nabeel Al-Fadhl, Hamad Al-Harashani and Mohammad Al-Barrak.

The committee also prepared the study necessary to refer article 111 of the constitution to the constitutional court for interpretation. The article refers to immunity enjoined by lawmakers during summer recess or when the Assembly is not in session and states that MPs will not lose their immunity during the summer recess and other long breaks. But a number of MPs have demanded that such immunity must be maintained, especially for those who continue to work with various Assembly panels during the holidays. They called for sending the article for interpretation to the constitutional court.

By B Izzak

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Expats top high school results

Education Minister Dr Badr Al-Essa (right) announces the general secondary school certificate results during a press conference

Education Minister Dr Badr Al-Essa (right) announces the general secondary school certificate results during a press conference

KUWAIT: Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Bader Hamad Al-Essa announced yesterday the results of Grade 12, the final year at high school, also known as general secondary school certificate (GSSC), for the academic year 2014- 2015. Success at the scientific section hit 91.2 percent, compared to 86.3 percent for the arts section.

Up to 33,790 students took the exams, 17,607 in the scientific section and 15,234 in the arts one, the Minister told a press conference. In the scientific section, top student on the state level was Ahmad Medhat Al-Najjar who scored 99.92 percent, followed by Amira Maher Taha, 99.89 percent, then Rawan Rafaat Al-Jauhari, third place with 99.86 percent. The fourth was Doaa Houssam Hamouda, 99.83 percent. In the fifth place came Omar Hamdi Shahin, 99.82 percent, the minister said.

All of the top five students are Egyptian nationals. The top student in the arts section nationwide was Mariam Jamal Jouda, with 99.32 percent, followed by Shaimaa Jamal Jouda, 99.31 percent.

Coincidently, Mariam and Shaimaa are twin sisters who took their finals at the same time. They are American citizens of Palestinian origin. In the third place came Sheikha Adel Al-Mezael with 98.50 percent. The fourth was Sara Al-Sayed Ahmad Rabei with 98.37 percent, followed by Naseiba Mu’nes Suleiman who got 98.31 percent. — KUNA

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Suspended companies’ workers can now lift arrest orders – Restrictions on visit visas to curb begging

KUWAIT: Director of the Labor Inspection at the Manpower Public Authority Sultan Hassan recently urged expatriate workers registered under suspended companies to check with the Dajeej department to get official letters from the immigration detectives’ directorate in order to lift arrested orders issued against them.

This process allows the workers to make use of the 60-day grace period they had been granted to transfer their work permits to other companies before the end of August.

Further, Hassan noted that only 100 of the 33,000 laborers registered in over 6,770 suspended companies had so far made use of the grace period, adding that many of them are afraid that they might be arrested if they showed up at the department. “The department might have to work afternoon shifts in case of a surge in workers seeking work permit transfers” he said.

Visit visas
Separately, the Ministry of Interior’s immigration departments are currently decreasing the number of issued family visit visas, and have rejected many applications for some nationalities, said informed sources. They noted that the decision was made after noticing an increase in visit visa applications presented by applicants from certain nationalities, whose nationals have in the past been caught begging during Ramadan after arriving to Kuwait for that specific purpose.

In this regard, wellinformed sources noted that it had been observed that visit visa applications always increase before Ramadan, and that concerned officials decided to reject such application in a bid to fight begging. Moreover, the sources said that MOI was in the process of taking strict measures against beggars by immediately deporting them to prevent such occurrences that usually increase near mosques. “Kuwait is a benevolent country and we are not against legal donations collected by charities in accordance to laws,” the sources concluded. —Al-Jarida and Al-Anbaa

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Dow Marine Conservation Program concludes activities – Over three tons of waste collected

Dow-Marine-ConservationKUWAIT: The Dow Chemical Company, in partnership with The en.v Initiative and implementing partner, the Kuwait Society for Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH), announced the conclusion of this year’s activities of the annual Dow Marine Conservation Program (DMCP). For its final conservation and education efforts this year, the DMCP hosted an educational workshop for local educators and wrapped up its inter-school competition with a showcase at the Scientific Center Kuwait. Since commencing its annual program this past November, the DMCP has carried out a total of five cleanups, managing to collect more than 3,226 kilograms of marine waste from beaches in Sulaibikhat and Failaka Island. These clean-ups engaged the efforts of hundreds of volunteers from across a variety of schools, youth groups and local organizations – including the United States Embassy in Kuwait, Honeywell Kuwait, the Kuwait Red Crescent, Universal American School (UAS), AUKause, R.U.G.B.I.I. Kuwait, Kuwait English School (KES) and Al- Bayan Bilingual School (BBS).

Creativity-driven
The program also wrapped up the “Al Yaal Agents of Change Challenge” with an exhibition and showcase held at the Scientific Center Kuwait (TSCK) on April 23rd and 24th, during the DMCP’s Earth Day celebration.

The five teams who participated in the research and creativity-driven environmental competition launched last February were selected to present their work to a panel of judges comprised of leading environmental experts, artists and activists. Over 300 members of the public also voted for their favorite project over the course of the two days, and the winners were selected based on a combination of public votes and judges’ scores.

The American School of Kuwait (ASK) won first place in the competition, with a project promoting plastic-free school lunches to reduce waste generation and littering in Kuwait.

The Earth Day celebrations also featured a number of interactive activities engaging children and adults alike, and showcased the work of other volunteer groups and educational institutions promoting environmental sustainability in Kuwait. Zahed Sultan, Managing Director at The en.v Initiative, said: “We are very proud of our accomplishments with the DMCP year on year. This year has been a successful one that has yielded impressive results. We continue to work diligently to promote marine environmental awareness across Kuwait, by actively engaging the local community in our efforts to affect real change and drive the local marine conservation movement.”

Environmental projects
As part of its education and awareness efforts, the DMCP also hosted a workshop for high school teachers and university professors, which took place on April 30th at Sadu House. The “Al Yaal Youth Engagement and Conservation Workshop” was designed specifically to equip local educators with the scientific data and the practical skills to enable them to engage their students in the classroom, and support the development of environmental projects that promote marine conservation in Kuwait. A total of 22 educators from 12 institutions attended the workshop which included presentations by a number of leading local environmental experts, including Dr Manaf Behbahani from Kuwait University, Eissa Ramadan from the Kuwait Meteorological Center, Dr Sarah Al-Ateeqi from the Public Authority of Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr Ameera Hasan from UN HABITAT, Fatima Al Sabah from K’S PATH and Aimee Cleary from ASK.

Ahmed Dualeh, Managing Director at Dow Kuwait, stated: “At Dow, we take our role to better the communities we operate in very seriously, and we believe that education plays a vital role in this. By engaging youth as well as educators in activities such as the Agents of Change Challenge and Youth Engagement and Conservation Workshop, we are helping empower those who can have the most impact on the future of Kuwait’s environment, and thus promote sustainability in the long-term.

We are very pleased with what has been achieved in this year’s edition of the DMCP, and are looking forward to continuing our efforts”. Introduced in 2011, the DMCP has been spearheading the national marine conservation movement in Kuwait and advocating the protection of fragile marine habitats in the country, such as Sulaibikhat beach, or the Mangrove Beach as it has been nicknamed by volunteers. The program carries out its work through sustained beach clean-ups, educational outreach activities and volunteer engagements. Now in its third year, the DMCP has managed to collect 17 and a half tons of waste over the course of more than 60 clean-ups. The program is carried out under the umbrella of Al Yaal, in partnership with en.v and K’S PATH, as a sustained marine conservation initiative which aims to encourage community advocacy in its efforts to preserve Kuwait’s coastal environment

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Health ministry intensifies campaigns against rats’ spread

KUWAIT: An official source at the health ministry said the ministry, through the rodents and insects fighting center, will intensify its campaigns this week in Khaitan and Jahra stables. He said there is cooperation with Kuwait Municipality, especially in regards to the quick removal of garbage in front of homes, which will reduce the presence of rodents and insects, and will make it easier for ministry technical teams to eradicate them.

The source said the teams will be in Khaitan, Jahra stables and Julaiah chalets, in addition to general hospitals, according to a time schedule which started yesterday. He also said that starting Ramadan, teams will avoid going into residential areas, since many citizens will be at their homes, and this makes it difficult to fight rodents, but said they will intensify efforts in government buildings and at Kuwait International Airport according to schedule.

He said it is necessary that citizens cooperate with teams that deal with rodents especially with the presence of dangerous types. He warned against the Norwegian rat in some areas, as its spread already reached 62 percent of the total houses in some areas, adding that rodents can chew up children and handicapped people’s extremities.

Call for help
Meanwhile, farm owners are asking for help, as they are losing KD 200 to KD 300 each month because of the rodents, while the health ministry, through its specialized teams, hand them adhesive materials or useless traps, which endangers their animals and birds.

Farmers expressed their fear when they saw the rats roaming the streets in numbers and added the fear has extended to the possible spread of disease in children who spend time in the farms. Bader Dashti, who raises pigeons in Kabd, said large numbers of rats attack the pigeons, chickens and sheep. He reported the rats sever the heads of pigeons and eat their guts. He said that their size is as large as a cat, and that even the cat fears it.

He said he informed the rodents fighting department about it and they sent teams, but it seems the poison they distribute is not effective, while the traps they gave remain two weeks without a catch. Dashti said that he loses KD 150 to 200 per month because of the rats and estimates more loses in the 6,000+ farms in Kabd. —Al-Qabas

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Women’s rights discussed at ‘Human Rights’ workshop

OHCHR regional adviser Nada Drooza

OHCHR regional adviser Nada Drooza

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) held a two-day workshop on Saturday and yesterday in cooperation with the Middle East Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The workshop was on the ‘tools of international protection of women’s rights’ and was presented by international expert Nada Drooza, regional adviser in gender affairs in the Middle East and North Africa at OHCHR. Thirty human rights activists participated in the workshop, representing various institutions in Kuwait including Kuwait University, Kuwait Youth Union, Bar Association, Red Cross, Embassy of Netherlands and the French Embassy.

A participant from Bahrain also attended the workshop. The main goal of the workshop was to build the ability of NGOs and human rights activists by increasing their knowledge on international tools to protect women’s rights in addition to providing international experiences in this field to strengthen their role in supporting women’s rights. “I preferred to present training and intensive interaction to raise the participants’ skills through their knowledge and increasing it even more, and then improve their experiences to play key role in spreading the social culture in the community,” Drooza said during the launch of the workshop. “The participants of this workshop will get information about the international treaties and conventions on women’s rights. They will be given real examples of gender issues to solve it, which will give them better knowledge of women’s rights.

Through this workshop we will discuss human rights in general, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and a view of international conventions and the role of various countries in applying these conventions,” she added. During the workshop, reports were also presented, such as the report by the National Association of Familial Security ‘Rawasi’, which is parallel with Kuwaiti’s report of the UPR review at the Human Rights Office of the UN during its 21st session, reports presented by member states according to article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women/Kuwait’s report, a report on the situation of human rights in Kuwait and other reports.

By Nawara Fattahova

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Fake oil reformists on top of corruption lists; Prostitutes arrested

KUWAIT: A Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) employees’ group stressed that decision-making in the oil sector should not be left in the hands of influential people ‘who are only after personal interests and winning tenders.’ The syndicate said in a statement yesterday that “those who claim to be keen on protecting public funds were the top oil wealth looters.” The group also rejected interference in decision-making and setting of future oil-related policies. It also warned of allowing pressure, blackmail and intimidation practiced on the oil sector. “History will never have mercy on lawmakers who will not fight and deter corruption in the oil sector that has been deteriorating for years since the Dow Chemical crisis,” the statement says.

Kuwaiti doctor acquitted from killing patient The appeal court yesterday overruled a previous court order which fined a famous Kuwaiti surgeon specializing in sleeve gastrectomy surgery with KD 200, and acquitted him from second degree murder. In his argument, the public prosecutor said that the doctor unintentionally made a mistake by not following standard protocol before such surgeries, when he prescribed the patient anti-clotting medications three days before the surgery, instead of at least ten days, which led to post-surgery complications, including a fatal clot. However, specialized medical reports from a Kuwait University panel of doctors proved that the doctor had followed standard procedures and protocols.

Prostitutes arrested An Egyptian taxi driver was recently arrested for facilitating prostitution by acting as a procurer, driving prostitutes to and delivering them to clients, said security sources. After interrogating the suspect, the police was led to and arrested ten Arab prostitutes, the sources said. A case was filed.

By A Saleh

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