Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kuwait eyes closer ties with India

Kuwaiti Sheik’s Influence in Olympic World Grows

As hundreds of members of the sports industry elite gather this week in Buenos Aires, one member of the International Olympic Committee is likely to play a major role in all the big decisions, from which city will host the 2020 Games to which sport will be added to the roster.
He is Sheik Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a jet-setting member of the Kuwaiti royal family who has quietly become one of the most powerful and controversial people in global sports while remaining largely overlooked by many outside the tightly knit Olympic political circles.
Al-Sabah is the new head of the Association of National Olympic Committees, a consortium of 205 national Olympic committees spanning five continents. The job comes with considerable influence in the Olympic world, along with a fund to disperse to needy athletes and impoverished countries. The fund, Olympic Solidarity, will give away $438 million in the 2013-16 cycle, an increase of about 40 percent from the $311 million budget from 2009 to 2012.  
Since becoming an I.O.C. member in 1992, al-Sabah, 50, has built a coalition that can sway votes and appoint executives, according to interviews with more than a dozen I.O.C. members, officials and consultants. He played a key role in a recent vote to award the 2018 Youth Olympic Games to Buenos Aires; at least one consultant involved created a spreadsheet tallying which members were thought to be in al-Sabah’s voting bloc, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Representatives for al-Sabah did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
He has skirted around the edges of I.O.C. rules recently. He was quoted in the German press regarding Thomas Bach, a candidate for the I.O.C. presidency, prompting Olympic officials to write a letter to al-Sabah reminding him of the rules prohibiting endorsements.
The al-Sabah family has extensive interests in the oil industry, and his relatives hold prominent positions in the government and the military. His father, Fahad al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, was deeply involved in a number of international sports organizations, including the I.O.C., until he was killed defending the palace when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. At 29, al-Sabah joined the I.O.C. after his father’s death and was among its youngest members ever. Beyond his involvement in sports, al-Sabah has served as head of Kuwait’s national security commission and as OPEC chairman. He attended Kuwait’s military academy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kuwait’s MPs accord housing ‘Top Priority’

An informal meeting attended by 36 lawmakers yesterday decided that the housing crisis in the country, where families wait for as long as 15 years to get a home, must be accorded top priority in the National Assembly’s next term starting late next month. Assembly speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanim said after the meeting that the decision will not become official until after the National Assembly upholds the informal decision taken yesterday when it opens the new term on October 29.
Ghanim said the National Assembly should utilize its legislative and monitoring powers to help in resolving the housing crisis under which more than 107,000 families are on the waiting list for government houses and the number is increasing by around 9,000 new families every year.
Despite repeated promises to resolve the crisis, the government has failed to meet rising demand for houses over a variety of reasons, topped by a lack of enough land for housing – mainly as a result of allocating most of the country’s territory for oil exploration and production. The Assembly’s decision came after conducting a poll which showed that Kuwaitis overwhelmingly want that housing should be given top priority by their elected representatives.
Ghanim said, according the top priority to housing does not mean that MPs could ignore other important issues. He also called on the government to pay greater attention to housing. The speaker said that MPs look forward to provide the government with a new strategy to resolve the problem that includes a roadmap and targets that can be achieved within a defined timetable.
Ghanim said that MPs have demanded more coordination with the government and that there should be a parliamentary committee to tackle the issue of housing. A number of MPs who attended the meeting however said they were not very optimistic about the government ability and willingness to resolve the problem. The lawmakers urged the government to release more land for housing purposes and also called for breaking the oil company’s monopoly over 80 percent of Kuwait’s territory.
The focus over housing problem came after two youth groups launched two online campaigns to press the government and MPs to accord priority to speed up government plans to build homes for citizens. Nater Bait and Watab Beleejar campaigns have been urging Kuwaiti families waiting their turn for a house to participate in their activities to press the government to accelerate its plans.
Housing Minister Salem Al-Othaina told a special debate in the National Assembly that the government plans to build 174,000 houses by 2020 as a fundamental solution for the crisis. But many MPs doubted the minister’s plan, saying that the government is bowing to pressure by influential real estate dealers who want to keep prices very high.
The housing crisis originates from the scarcity of land for housing and the high price for land and houses to the extent that the cheapest house in Kuwait is worth close to KD 300,000 ($1 million) making it almost impossible for Kuwaitis to buy their own houses. Kuwaitis depend on the government which builds houses and distributes them to citizens for interest-free loans payable over 30 years. But the government construction is far too slow to meet rising demand.
In another development, the Criminal Court yesterday acquitted former opposition MP Mussallam Al-Barrak from the charge of defaming and insulting former Assembly Apeaker Jassem Al-Khorafi. Khorafi had sued Barrak over press statements that he had accused Khorafi of funding former MP Mohammad Al-Juwaihel who had repeatedly insulted Bedouin tribes and the Kuwaiti political opposition.  Barrak denied the charge, saying that the newspaper which published the statements had fabricated the accusations.

Lion caught roaming Kuwait streets

A passer-by in Kuwait lured a runaway lion roaming an upmarket suburb into his car and then called the police for help, in an incident that raised concerns about wild animals kept as pets.
Pictures in Kuwaiti media showed the animal glaring out of the back of a police car after it had been moved from the passer-by’s vehicle.
The lion, which police said was a young adult, filled the back seat.
“[The passer-by] sat inside the car with the lion and then it became dangerous so the citizen called police who came and took it from that car to their car,” a police source said.
The lion was picked up as it wandered the streets of Kuwait’s Bayan district, south of the capital, on Saturday.
Police are seeking the owner of the lion, believed to be someone who was illegally rearing it as a pet in a country where such animals are sometimes considered status symbols.

Breastfeeding concerns common among new mothers

NEW YORK: During their child’s first two months of life, most new mothers have concerns about breastfeeding that make them consider giving up and switching to formula, according to a new study. Ninety-two percent of mothers surveyed when their baby was three days old were worried about breastfeeding – for example, that they weren’t making enough milk or that the infant wasn’t latching on well.
That proportion fell over time, but the majority of women continued to have reservations about breastfeeding for months after their baby’s birth, researchers report Monday in Pediatrics. “We were surprised by the large number of concerns mothers had, and we were very concerned by how particular concerns were strongly related to giving up with breastfeeding” – such as worries about babies not getting enough nutrition, said Laurie A Nommsen-Rivers, the study’s senior author, from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Dr Lori Feldman-Winter, a pediatrician at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, did not think the findings were surprising. But they are “alarming” in light of all the resources the United States has put into promoting breastfeeding at the hospital level, she told Reuters Health. “My sense is in my gut that the ability for moms to find adequate breastfeeding support in the community is very variable and in many communities nonexistent,” Feldman-Winter, who also chairs the policy committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding, said. “We’re going to have many women really wanting to breastfeed and encountering difficulties.” The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding – without any formula or solid food – until a baby is six months old, followed by continued breastfeeding with the addition of appropriate foods through age two.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more than three quarters of US women start breastfeeding and more than half of week-old babies have only had breast milk. Just 16 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed for six months, however. For the new study, the researchers surveyed 532 first-time mothers-to-be from one medical center about their plans for breastfeeding, then interviewed them six more times: when their baby was just born and when it was 3, 7, 14, 30 and 60 days old. During those interviews, women raised 49 unique breastfeeding concerns, a total of 4,179 times. The most common ones included general difficulty with infant feeding at the breast – such as an infant being fussy or refusing to breastfeed – nipple or breast pain and not producing enough milk.
Between 20 and 50 percent of mothers stopped breastfeeding altogether or added formula to the mix sooner than they had planned to do when they were pregnant. Of the 354 women who were planning to exclusively breastfeed for at least two months, for example, 166 started giving their babies formula between one and two months. And of 406 women who had planned to at least partially breastfeed for two months, 86 stopped before then. New mothers who expressed concerns at day 3 were three times more likely to start giving formula before two months and nine times more likely to stop breastfeeding altogether, compared to the small group of women who had no concerns. “It’s a shame that those early problems can be the difference between a baby only getting breast milk for a few days and going on to have a positive breastfeeding relationship for a year or longer,” Nommsen-Rivers told Reuters Health. “If we are able to provide mothers with adequate support, 95 percent of all breastfeeding problems are reversible.”
Although the US has gotten better about promoting breastfeeding in the hospital, she said, there is a “tremendous gap in care” when women are discharged. “It can be very overwhelming, those first few days at home,” Nommsen- Rivers said. She recommended women take time during their pregnancy to find both friends and professional resources in the community where they can turn if they find breastfeeding challenging.—Reuters

MP Suggest special health insurance for visitors

MP Khalil Al-Saleh suggested imposing a special health insurance on visitors temporarily visiting Kuwait in a bid to prevent negative utilization of local health facilities.

Traffic fines payment necessary for Civil ID renewal

Expatriates in Kuwait are required to pay pending traffic fines before they are able to renew their Civil IDs, a local daily reported yesterday quoting Interior Ministry sources with knowledge of an agreement reached between the ministry’s traffic and civil information departments on that regard.

The decision is “one of many” to be announced soon in which the General Traffic Department looks to force delayed fines by connecting their payments with issuance of transactions at other state departments including the Ministry of Electricity and Water, Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, reported Al-Rai daily.

Kuwait placed last in GCC tourism

“Kuwait is not as interested as other GCC states in the tourism sector”, said Nabila Al-Anjeri, General Manager of Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development (Leaders Group), pointing out that tourism was responsible for 28 percent of the world’s services revenues and 11 percent of the world’s economic output. “All other GCC states have achieved progress in terms of their ranking in world tourism while Kuwait is retreating every year”, she underlined. 

In the company’s monthly report, AlAnjeri added that according to the Travel And Tourism Competitiveness Indicator for 2013, Kuwait came last amongst GCC states and 101 out of 140 countries worldwide. She added that according to the Conde Nast Travel Magazine, USA, unlike Dubai, Kuwait does not have the infrastructure needed to attract tourists. In its 2013 report on non-attractive countries for tourism such as Pakistan, Angola and Togo, the magazine placed Kuwait fifth in the world pointing that, except for restaurants and shopping malls, it lacks recreational facilities. Al-Anjeri also pointed that the strength of Kuwait’s currency compared to dollar was one of the many obstacles tourists may face as they would have to exchange $3.5 per Kuwaiti dinar. She added that there were six points to be taken into consideration on the world’s tourism competiveness scales: Laws and regulations that would attract visitors and foreigners Qualified infrastructure like airports, their capacity, hotels, transport grids and recreational sitesCommercial environment and shopping sitesHuman resourcesCultural diversityCountry’s nature and climateLG’s report stressed that Kuwait lacks most of the above and that Kuwaiti legislations including strict rules for issuing visit and entry visas for foreigners repelled foreign investors. The report also noted that the current airport was always congested during busy seasons with little avenues to expand it while other GCC state airports meet international standards. 
The report also laid emphasis that GCC states were preparing to spend $380 billion on regional touristic projects like building developed touristic centers and facilities capable of attracting tourists till 2018. The report wondered where Kuwait is placed here and whether it will build and develop such touristic projects in the future. 
Kuwaitis spend over $5 billion annually on foreign tourism because of lack of local tourism and recreational projects whichwould meet citizens’ needs for recreation. 
The report added that 60 percent of Kuwaitis expenditure on tourism, around KD 962 million, was spent on recreation (with a 6 percent increase) while 40 percent (KD 616 million) was spent on business tourism (with 7.8 percent increase) in 2012. This means that Kuwaitis spent KD 2.4 billion on flight tickets and hotels alone. The report also quoted the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s tourism sector remarks, according to international tourism industry indicators, that Kuwaiti tourists spent the highest on touristic journeys which was $1,500 per journey - twice of what European tourists would spend. 
The ministry’s statistics also showed that Kuwait had 6,972 hotel rooms including 3,002 in five-star hotels, 1,376 in four-star hotels, 1,297 in three-star hotels, 226 in two-star hotels, 54 in one-star hotels and 972 unclassified rooms.

'Dhoom Machale Season-2' the biggest dance event in Kuwait

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back After 4months !

It has been 4-long months that I had not logged into my blog.....though every second n minutes I thought about it.

I became irregular after we shifted our residence....took nearly two months for phone and internet  connection.....n then by the time we got it , it was my last stage of my pregnancy.

After birth of my child, I was busy with him and post cesarean problems.

And now i am back....