KUWAIT: A number of Ethiopian laborers gathered in front of the Labor Department affiliated to Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor for the second time in less than one week to ask for humanitarian and official intervention to end inhumane treatment and blackmail by the cleaning company that employs them. The laborers said the company has threatened to deport them if they continue to complain, despite the company is holding back their salaries.
They also said the company makes unnecessary deductions from their salaries monthly upon illogical reasons, while they are forced to live inside accommodations that lack humanitarian supplies, similar to shelters without humane and sanitary facilities. In light of bitter situation wherein over 1,800 Ethiopian laborers have fallen victims to cleaning company that benefits from government contracts, although it has not been listed in the bourse, an official from the Ethiopian embassy attended the gathering and said, “We receive only promises whenever we come here. We need decisive solution to the problem since over 1,800 laborers are suffering.”
Meanwhile, the issue corroborates doubts which the State Audit Bureau expressed in its report over what it described as clear manipulations related to irregularities detected in the assessment of some companies and their manpower needs. The laborers further indicated the company has refused to renew their residences on the pretext that it must finish the contract with government first, although the same company has signed a new contract with the government for three years.
To make matters worse, the company also refuses to allow them to transfer their residences to other sponsors. In a related development, government team affiliated to Construction Projects recommends that the companies must be allowed to bring in expatriate laborers without any restrictions provided that the companies will take the responsibility to repatriate them when the tasks are completed, besides providing for the laborers basic expenditure and health care.
KUWAIT: The General Immigration Department will ban foreigners, who violate the period and conditions for visit visa, from entering the country for two years; while their sponsors will lose the sponsorship right for three months up to one year, reports Al-Seyassah daily quoting sources. Sources explained that foreigners on visit visas will be blacklisted for two years if proven they have violated the period and conditions for obtaining such visas.
Sources said this means they will not be able to acquire any type of visa within the specified period. On the other hand, sources disclosed the sponsors of those who violated the period and conditions for obtaining visit visas will not be allowed to sponsor anyone for three months if the violation is committed for the first time; six months for the second time and up to one year if the violation is repeated. Sources also clarified that expatriates who hold visas under articles 17 and 18 are allowed to sponsor their relatives to visit Kuwait provided their salary is KD 250 and above; while those under articles 19 and 24 are exempted from the salary condition.
Sources added the abovementioned expatriates can sponsor only their first-degree relatives like husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings and parents-in-law. Sources said the tourist visa is valid for 90 days and the commercial visit visa is valid for 60 days; indicating there is no ban imposed on any nationality.
ISLAMABAD: Kuwait Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al- Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah would be visiting Pakistan this month with the aim of further cementing bilateral relations and cooperation, Kuwait Ambassador in Islamabad Nawaf Al-Enezi said Tuesday. His Highness Sheikh Jaber is scheduled to meet President Mamnoon Hussain and hold talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who visited the Kuwaiti senior official to visit Pakistan, the foreign office added in a statement. “The upcoming visit of the His Highness Kuwaiti Prime Minister to Pakistan would further strengthen the brotherly relations between the two countries,” Ambassador Al-Enezi told KUNA. “Kuwait and Pakistan enjoy healthy relations and the visit of His Highness the Prime Minister shows the keenness of the leadership of both the countries to enhance the bilateral relations,” said the Ambassador.
The Ambassador expressed his hopes for the enhancement of the bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries. He added that both sides were expected to sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) and trade agreements. His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait will be accompanied by a delegation of ministers and businessmen.
The Kuwaiti Prime Minister would be warmly welcomed in Pakistan on his first visit to the country. Sharif will be hosting a lunch and the President will host dinner in the honour of His Highness Sheikh Jaber, according to the Foreign Office. It said the visit would take place within the framework of relations of friendship and cooperation between the State of Kuwait and Pakistan, as well as mutual desire to strengthen and expand those relations.
It will give a new impetus to the existing cordial bilateral relations and provide a good opportunity to reinvigorate efforts aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields, said an official press release. (KUNA)
KUWAIT: The camping season started few days ago and people set up their tents in the desert without paying a deposit which has been proposed many times by different officials. It’s expected that next year it will be applied on the camps to organize camping and avoid violations that cause harm to the environment. An employee of the emergency center of Kuwait Municipality who preferred to stay anonymous noted that many people camping in desert leave a big mess and garbage behind them after leaving the camp. “Unfortunately, the workers of the Municipality have to clean the desert and sometimes they don’t reach all the faraway areas.
The violators are not punished as they are not known to us. This seriously harms our environment and destroys nature,” he told Kuwait Times. The oft-discussed proposal of obligatory registration of camps after paying a deposit was not applied this year as it hasn’t been approved yet. “We hope and strongly believe that in the new year, the Municipal Council will approve it. According to the proposed law, the desert will divided into marked areas and people who aim to camp in any area will have to pay a deposit which they will get back after removing their camps. In case they leave the place dirty or leave their belongings behind, a fine will be deducted from their deposit amount.
It will be easy to identify who was camping in that place due to the registration, which is not available now,” he added. Currently people can only be penalized for any violations committed in the desert if somebody was caught doing it and still camping at the place. “If somebody complains to the Municipality about a violation at a camp, our inspectors will go to the place and hand the violator a fine. We at the emergency call center receive complaints 24 hours a day. People can contact us on 1855552,” concluded the employee.
To ensure the safety and security of campers, three authorities have set joint posts including the Fire Department, Ministry of Interior and the Medical Emergency. These posts are available in the common camping areas including Julaia on Nuwaiseeb Road and on Mutlaa Road in the north of Kuwait. Khalil Al-Ameer, PR and Media officer at the Fire Department announced that they are ready for this camping season. He also said that people should respect rules and fire prevention procedures while camping to prevent accidents and ensure safety and security at the camps. These instructions include leaving a distance of 6 m between camps to avoid the spread of fire, especially since it spreads very fast in tents; ensure having powder extinguisher weighing 4 kg in the tent and a first-aid bag; ensure the safety of the electrical wires before installation, and it’s preferred they are insulated; switch off the generator when filling fuel and avoid using any heating source; clean any leaking oil before starting the generator and put the coal heater out of the tent before going to sleep.
By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: Getting a closer look at the seashore in Kuwait on Gulf Road demonstrates how such a piece of heaven was harmed by people and ignored by the authorities. The Kuwait Bay is contaminated with different kinds of pollutants such as plastic bags, litter and sewage that have all turned the nice sea breeze into stinking odors. This report probes what is currently happening to the 325-km long Kuwaiti coastline. Recent studies suggest that Kuwaiti waters occupy a leading place in terms of marine environment pollution. There has been remarkable environmental destruction because of human practices such as building ports, draining sewage, radioactive and factory wastes into the sea, which caused these waters to mix with highly hazardous substances, on top of which comes mercury.
When this extremely dangerous substance exceeds normal levels allowed by the World Health Organization, not only will it pollute the waters in Kuwait, but it will also make it poisonous and unfit for neither human nor animal consumption. It also leads to the death of tons of fish, such as the death of mullets in Kuwait Bay, and over 20 percent of corals and marine algae and seaweeds that take a long time to grow. This led to serious ecological and climate changes that have had a serious impact on human beings. An earlier report prepared by the environment studies unit at the Ministry of Health proved that Kuwaiti shores are polluted and that sewage dumped from the Mishref plant was untreated sewage waters that contained bacteria, fungi, worms and viruses that may pose health problems such as cholera and other diseases.
The report also warned of the dangers of chemicals used by concerned relevant authorities and approved by the Environment Public Authority (EPA) with the excuse of sterilizing sewage dumped from the Mishref plant into the sea. The report stressed that these chemicals were extremely dangerous and that they lead to forming carcinogens and toxic elements in fish that are later consumed by humans.
The Sources of Pollution
When touring the areas of Sulaibiya, Kuwait Towers and the Free Zone beaches, marine pollution was extremely evident in the form of dumping various kinds of solid wastes such as industrial, construction, ship wastes and litter that includes unrecyclable plastic and treated and untreated sewage waters in addition to oil leaking from ships and boats. Local and migrating birds, fish and shrimp are the most vulnerable to pollution. Moreover, contaminated fish and shrimp are a prime cause of various health problems for the people consuming them, doctors claim.
What is more alarming is the fact that many of hospitals in the health zone in Shuwaikh that directly overlook the sea have been dumping their waste (usually contaminated with bacteria and microbes after treating infectious diseases and epidemics) directly into the sea. The shores have turned into dumpsters for litter, dead fish and animals and sewage that have turned blue sea waters into gloomy dark grayish ones. A once fascinating picturesque scene has now turned into a mutilated painting. The most alarming environmental danger are mud precipitations that are rich in bacteria that are harmful for both the environment and human beings.
They also cause bad odors that have spoiled people’s enjoyment of the sea. At the seafront, hundreds of people have been dumping non-decomposing substances such as plastic bags and containers, aluminum cans and bottles that not only pose environmental threats but also endanger those enjoying the beaches or swimming. In addition, the amount of wastes help spread and attract insects and rodents. Some boat owners and fishermen are also to blame for irresponsibly getting rid of their motor oil cans, used ropes and nets in the middle of the sea. This makes one wonder why the municipality does not act to stop such messy violations. More fines should be imposed and more control practiced over beaches to stop this pollution, residents say.
This marine pollution has created unprecedented damage to marine life such as ‘red tide’ resulting from pouring sewage into the sea amidst high temperatures and humidity that eventually led to a lack of oxygen in the water and as a result, the death of fish. Most recently, large quantities of oysters and crabs were found dead at Al-Khairan beaches. In fact, the number of dying oysters is alarmingly increasing amid calls for more efforts from experts and environmentalists to stop the process and save other oysters still in the sea. In this regard, the Public Authority For Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) and Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) have taken specimens of both dead and living oysters as well as the waters near the site to study them.
What is happening is an environmental crime against nature by all means because Kuwait had always been blessed by waters that used to be the best diving spots in the Arabian Gulf. So will officials act to end this disaster and will the government and the parliament cooperate to come up with revolutionary decisions to save what is left of this divine gift? It remains to be seen. (Kuwait Times)
KUWAIT: Well-informed security sources stressed that 12 robberies were committed in Kuwait on a daily basis and that police stations all over the country had received 2,500 robbery reports in the period of January-July 2013. The sources added that most of the time, perpetrators manage to get away and the cases get filed against anonymous suspects.
The sources explained that vehicle, commercial stores and house robberies are on top of the list, which calls for stricter security measures and redeployment of security patrols inside residential areas according to how densely populated they are. “Robbing vehicles by smashing their windows while parked outside citizens and expatriates’ houses, markets or workplaces has become a phenomenon”, stressed the sources . The sources added that total robberies committed in 2012 reached 4,664 and that crimes have accordingly doubled this year. “Some new crimes are on the increase such as premeditated murder, robbery, armed robbery, fights for various reasons, assaults, possessing unlicensed firearms and suicides,” explained the sources, noting that all state bodies should joint efforts to study such crime and discuss finding proper solutions to them. “Though robberies are widespread worldwide, the dangerous thing here in Kuwait is that culprits are never caught in some cases and cases get filed against anonymous perpetrators and are closed,” added the sources, noting that car thieves have gone as far as robbing vehicles parked outside police stations.
The sources added that most of those arrested are unemployed people, teens, drug addicts and people with criminal records who usually smash vehicles’ windows to get a few dinars to cover their daily expenses and that the robbers usually focused on certain brands and models that can be taken apart and resold for spare parts at the scrap market. Notably, other security sources told Al-Rai that the new measure of having dependant wives and children older than 18 have their fingerprints scanned on renewing their residency visas was meant to update security records, which may help solve some unsolved crimes where criminals remain unknown and no match could be found for their fingerprints. —Al-Qabas
KUWAIT: The rate at which oysters are dying at the Khairan beach has doubled since the incident was first reported last Wednesday, an environmental organization warned in a statement yesterday in which they demanded extensive investigation to find the reasons behind this phenomenon. “The Kuwait Dive Team found piles of dead oysters in numbers that vastly exceed those first reported on Wednesday”, team leader and President of the Environment Voluntary Foundation Waleed Al-Fadhel said yesterday. He further indicated that other marine species such as crabs were found dead at the same site.
This comes as a government body rejected concern about a potential environmental phenomenon behind the massive number of dead oysters reported recently at the Khairan beach. “The dead oysters were likely disposed by people who caught them for consumption or to look for pearl”, said Dr Muna Husain, head of the biodiversity protection department at the Environment Public Authority. She further added in a statement Thursday that “dead oysters naturally do not float to the surface, but remain attached to the seafloor or rocks near the beach”.
Newspapers had quoted Al-Fadhel who insisted that what happened was not a result of human intervention. “Dead oysters were opened by 45 degrees whereas a person looking for pearl would open the shells by 180 degrees”, he explained in statements to Al-Watan daily. Al-Fadhel further indicated that three types of shellfish, in addition to squids and algae where recorded in the death site, which he says further supports the argument that what happened was a result of pollution or natural phenomenon.
The Green Line, meanwhile, seems to agree that the dead oysters were washed ashore after being first caught then dropped back in the sea. “According to eyewitnesses and scientific indicators compiled by marine specialists, there is no doubt that the oysters were first removed from the seafloor and then thrown back to the water by perpetrators looking for pearl”, Green Line President Khalid Al-Hajri said in a statement Thursday.
He further indicated that his group “managed to identify people suspected in this crime” through an “environmental inspection method that the Green Line exclusively adopts”. Al-Hajri also took the opportunity to criticize the EPA for “failing to protect the Kuwaiti shores as shown evident by the recent incident”, and also blamed “a voluntary organization which hosts a traditional pearl diving ceremony every year”.
Harvesting pearl oil is illegal in Kuwait’s territorial waters as per a Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources decision made in 2007 to protect the marine species from overfishing. The dead oysters were found near a location known historically as the “best spot to fish for pear oyster in Kuwaiti waters”, according to Al-Fadhel.
“The spot located in front of Al-Khairan at depths ranging between 1 and 4 meters is considered the best pearl diving spot for the past 300 years for producing the most expensive kinds of pearl in the world”, said Al-Fadhel who called for procedures to protect “the national wealth”. Meanwhile, Al-Fadhel revealed that the Kuwait Dive Team recorded red tide in Al-Fentas Thursday, but did not connect between this phenomenon and the oyster deaths.