KUWAIT CITY, May 15, (KUNA): Kuwait’s crescent sighting authority announced on Tuesday that the crescent moon of the Holy Month of Ramadan did not appear this night.
The authority added that the last day of Shaban will end tomorrow (Wednesday), and as a result the Holy Month of Ramadan, 1439 lunar Hijri calendar, will begin on Thursday.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah congratulated the people of Kuwait on the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, said the Amiri Diwan Tuesday.
The Amiri Diwan added that His Highness the Amir, along with His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Al-Sabah family, will hold a reception for Ramadan well-wishers from the army, the police, Kuwait National Guard (KNG), Kuwait Fire Service Directorate (KFSD) and diplomats on the first two days of the Holy Month at Bayan Palace.
The Amiri Diwan extended wishes of prosperity for the leadership and people of Kuwait, wishing for many happy returns of this joyous occasion
KUWAIT CITY, May 12: Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) organized extensive meetings with the representatives of Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) and employers’ unions to discuss the proposed decision to bar issuance, renewal and transfer of work permit for individuals reaching 65 years old, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
Concurrently to the meeting, sources from “PAM” expected the proposal to be endorsed with some exceptions in various professions.
The sources also indicated the decision to bar recruitment of university certificate holders who are below 30 years have been postponed.
In a statement, Director of KCCI Hamad Al-Omar explained that the meeting presented the motives behind the proposal and its objectives, which aim to organize the labor market to provide opportunity for youth employment — whether citizens or expatriates, while eliminating some negative phenomena such as tacit trade connivance.
Al-Omar indicated the representatives of employers’ unions asserted the decision might be positive in some aspects.
They reaffirmed their objection to the idea of restricting employers from hiring whosoever fulfills their requirements, and disregarding their right to select or keep experts that participated in the creation and rehabilitation process.
The meeting ended with KCCI requesting the employers’ unions to send their insights and suggestions concerning the issue to KCCI, which in turn will communicate with the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) to reach a harmonized solution that caters for the needs of private sector in the interest of the national economy.
By Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff and Agencies
KUWAIT CITY, May 8: MP Khalil Abul citing economic crisis has submitted a query to the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim to know why the policy of replacing expatriates with Kuwaitis and rationalizing spending at the Audit Bureau has not been achieved.
He also wants to know why some employees in senior positions continue to work even though they have crossed the retirement age.
In another query he talks about the motives the increase in salaries of non-Kuwaiti employees at the Audit Bureau under the replacement policy despite reduction in government budgets. He said this amounts to not adhering to the policy of rationalizing expenditure.
He asked the Speaker to provide him a statement showing the number of times ‘excellence awards’ have been granted to non-Kuwaiti employees compared to the Kuwaitis by the Audit Bureau, and details of performance which made them eligible for bonus.
Furthermore, MP Khalil Al-Saleh has forwarded queries to Minister of Health Dr Basel Al-Hamoud concerning closure of overseas health check centers for expatriates. He stated a decision was issued recently to close these centers which were operated by Kuwaiti companies but the same centers are now being operated by other Gulf companies.
He claimed the companies operated by other Gulf countries are prone to 10 percent error margin because of which diseases can seep into Kuwait, compared to hundred percent performance of the Kuwaiti companies. He added, the Kuwaitis want to ensure security and safety of the country.
He asked the minister the reason why the centers were closed and whether that decision was based on a technical study.
He said according to local newspapers, the justification given for cancelling the contract of these health centers was because of an agreement with GCC countries. He wanted to know if there is any stipulation obliging closure of these centers and how many GCC countries honor the provisions of the agreement.
He also asked if the GCC agreement has demarcated certain centers or talked about dealing with accredited GCC centers. He also wanted to know the capabilities of the GCC companies which will operate these centers and what makes them unique in the area of this work. He also asked if there are guarantees that expats suffering from infectious diseases will be prevented from entering Kuwait.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff
Source: Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, May 6: Director General of Kuwait Municipality Eng Ahmad Al-Manfouhi has disclosed strict implementation of procedures to monitor the performance of cleaning companies to ensure improvement in their performance in the coming phase, reports Al-Rai daily.
He said this will be done by tightening controls on the provisions of the contracts signed with these companies, applying the principle of reward and punishment on employees and officials in the municipality and putting the right person in the right position.
Eng Al-Manfouhi said this in response to the report published in Al-Rai daily about the delays in signing the tender contract for cleaning buildings and correspondence services in Kuwait Municipality, and the continuation of the suspension of tender works between signing and extension.
KUWAIT CITY, May 6: Personnel from Public Security Sector, in a recent campaign conducted in all six governorates of the country, arrested scores of people for criminal and civil offenses such as illicit drug peddling, residency and traffic violations, and evasion of sentence. Campaign in the Capital governorate led by Colonel Nasser Al-Adwani resulted in the arrest of a person involved in a crime and two people wanted for civil offenses, as well as six residency violators, 20 motorists without identification documents, and 9 individuals against whom the Public Prosecution had issued arrest warrant.
They also issued 86 citations against motorists for various violations, and towed one vehicle to the ministry garages. Meanwhile, in Hawalli, Major General-Abdeen Al-Abdeen led officers in his directorate to nail 8 people in possession of illicit drugs and paraphernalia, in addition to 6 people wanted for civil offenses, 20 people without identification documents, and 5 residency law violators from different nationalities.
They also issued 70 traffic violations. In Farwaniya, Major General Saleh Matar accompanied by other securitymen apprehended 7 individuals wanted for civil offenses and a Kuwaiti involved in a criminal case, with another citizen caught in possession of illicit drug, and a residency law violator.
They also issued 86 traffic citations offenses and impounded 11 vehicles. Also, officers from Jahra governorate supervised by Major General Ali Madi issued 90 traffic citations and towed 8 vehicles to the ministry garages. They also arrested some 20 people without identification documents, 3 people in possession of illicit substance, and 4 others involved in financial violations.
Some 15 individuals wanted for criminal and civil offenses were taken into custody by Mubarak Al- Kabeer security personnel led by Major General Fouad Al-Athari. The officers went ahead to seize two cars and issued 12 traffic violations against motorists.
And, Brigadier Abdullah Safah with his men issued 70 traffic citations and arrested 8 residency law violators plus 14 individuals without identification papers, in addition to 6 people wanted for civil offenses, 3 people caught in with illicit drugs, and two Asian liquor peddlers in possession of 200 bottles of local brew. All suspects were referred to concerned authorities for necessary action.
By Mishal Al-Sanousi Al-Seyassah Staff and Agencies
Source: Arab Times
KUWAIT CITY, April 22: “Procedures taken by the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuwait are in violation of the international law particularly the Vienna Convention. Therefore, decisive and deterrent actions against these unacceptable and irresponsible acts can be expected”, says the National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim.
Concerning the actions of the embassy and the issue of employment of Filipinos, he said, “In response to the question I submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid concerning this matter, he told me today that the Ambassador of the Philippines was summoned, and was presented with many issues including the options that are being studied by Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I believe the minister has the right to disclose these options”.
Al-Ghanim affirmed that, “Anything that affects the sovereignty and dignity of Kuwait and its reputation by linking the country with irregular and nonrecurrent incidents as well as the unjustified escalation from the Filipino side will receive a response from Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
He revealed that he obtained a request from MP Mohammed Al-Dalal to include this matter in the agenda of the coming session, adding that the lawmaker also demanded this subject to be discussed in a general debate at the session, and for the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to prepare a report in this regard.
Al-Ghanim said, “If we are unable to complete the agenda on Wednesday, this issue will be on the top of the agenda. The government will also have several clarifications on this matter”. He added, “I would like to reiterate to Kuwaiti people that Kuwait is taking action, as per the information received from the Foreign Affairs Minister.
The Filipino side has been informed, and it has requested a short period of time to rectify its status, statements and procedures”.
Meanwhile, MP Yousef Al-Fadhala said he sent a letter to the National Assembly, requesting for Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to be assigned to investigate the issue of smuggling Filipino maids, an issue of which videos have gone viral on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. He demanded for representatives of Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be invited in order to hear their statements in this regard.
MP Al-Fadhala also demanded the committee should complete its report within one month from the date of its assignment of the task.
Kuwaiti police arrested two Filipinos for allegedly convincing housemaids to run away from their employers’ homes as the Philippines’ ambassador faced questions for comments about his embassy’s work in aiding abused workers, authorities said Sunday.
The arrests, reported by the state-run KUNA news agency, come as relations are tense between Kuwait and the Philippines, which sends many domestic laborers to the Gulf Arab country.
Already, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases, culminating in a February incident that saw a Filipina’s body discovered in a freezer at a Kuwait City apartment abandoned for more than a year.
KUNA said Sunday the two Filipinos acknowledged convincing the maids to leave. It wasn’t clear what law the two men were accused of breaking, though KUNA said the two “confessed to the crime in addition to other similar offenses that had been committed in various regions of the country.”
The arrests came after Kuwait summoned the Philippines ambassador over comments he made that were reported in local press about the embassy’s effort to rescue domestic workers who are abused by their employers. Ambassador Renato Villa was quoted as saying his embassy moves in to help the abused if Kuwaiti authorities fail to respond within 24 hours.
Villa’s office said he was unavailable for comment Sunday. Duterte in January complained that cases of abuse reported by Filipina domestic workers “always” seem to be coming from Kuwait. There have been prominent cases of abuse in the past, including an incident in December 2014 where a Kuwaiti’s pet lions fatally mauled a Filipina maid.
The Philippines banned workers entirely from Kuwait after the discovery of Joanna Demafelis’ body in a freezer in February. In late March, Lebanese officials said 40-year-old Lebanese national Nader Essam Assaf confessed to killing the woman along with his Syrian wife, who remains at large. Authorities say Assaf faces a possible death sentence. More than 260,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many of them as housemaids. Kuwait and the Philippines have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there.
Philippine officials have demanded that housemaids be allowed to hold their passports and cellphones, which is normal for skilled workers like teachers and office workers. But many Kuwaiti employers seize their phones and passports. Around 225 undocumented Filipinos including six undocumented Filipino kids were repatriated to the Philippines on Sunday under the Kuwait Amnesty Program. The last batch of repatriates was fl own via Qatar Airways and all tickets were shouldered by the Philippine government.
Around 5,060 undocumented Filipinos availed the three-month amnesty that started on Jan 29, 2018. As of Sunday night, some undocumented Filipinos went to the embassy and took the last flight out before midnight. “On behalf of our Ambassador Renato Pedro Villa, we would like to thank the Kuwaiti government for giving this amnesty in 2018. We would have not repatriated successfully more than 5,000 undocumented Filipinos without their help — the Kuwait Immigration authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the media for helping us in the information campaign. Thank you,” stated Philippine Consul General Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, who fl ew with the last batch to Manila.
Most of the undocumented Filipinos worked as Household Service Workers (HSWs) who left their employers after experiencing various forms of maltreatment such as physical, verbal or sexual abuse, non-payment of salaries, lack of food and overwork.
They all thanked the Kuwaiti government, the Philippine Embassy and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for the free air tickets.
The undocumented Filipinos were ferried to the airport accompanied by the embassy staff and the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of the Undersecretary of Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) Augmentation Team from Manila.
Spotted also at the airport was visiting Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola who joined the team in sending off the last group. There are around 8,000 undocumented Filipino workers in Kuwait based on the records of the Ministry of Interior and the embassy earlier targeted to repatriate at least 65% of the undocumented OFWs.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim & Michelle Fe Santiago Arab Times Staff and Agencies
GENEVA (Reuters) - Melons contaminated with deadly listeriosis bacteria were exported to at least nine countries from Australia, where an outbreak has killed seven people and caused one miscarriage, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The rockmelons, or cantaloupes, were sent to Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and may also have gone to the Seychelles, a WHO statement said.
Between Jan. 17 and April 6, Australia reported 19 confirmed and one probable case of listeriosis, all of whom were hospitalized. Seven died.
The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium has a potentially long incubation period, usually one or two weeks but possibly up to 90 days, so more cases may be reported, the WHO said.
“Cases in the affected countries may still be identified,” it said.
The Australian melon producer, which the WHO did not name, recalled the fruit on Feb. 27.
On March 2 Australian authorities discovered the firm’s melons had been exported, and they sent detailed notifications through the International Food Safety Authorities Network to the countries concerned.
“It is believed that the cause of the outbreak was a combination of environmental conditions and weather contaminating the surface of the fruit, with low levels of the bacteria persisting after the washing process,” the WHO said.
“The grower continues to work closely with the relevant authorities and has returned to supply rockmelons (during the week starting 2 April) after testing cleared the property.”
Listeriosis can come in a mild form that causes diarrhoea and fever in healthy people within a few days.
But it also has a severe form that can cause septicemia and meningitis among more high-risk people, such as pregnant women, infants, old people, and people having treatment for cancer, AIDS or organ transplants.
The severe form has a 20-30 percent mortality rate.
As well as unwashed fruit, high risk foods include dairy products made of unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, deli meat products, ice creams, raw seafood, crustaceans and shellfish.
A separate listeriosis outbreak in South Africa killed at least 180 people earlier this year, sparking a class-action lawsuit against South African food producer Tiger Brands.
Reporting by Tom Miles, editing by David Evans