Kuwait Local News

Amir leaves for Bahrain to attend GCC summit

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will leave for Bahrain today leading a Kuwaiti official delegation to attend the 37th Summit of the GCC Supreme Council and GCC leaders’ meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The summit is held amid quite significant regional challenges, affirmed Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the GCC Secretary General. These political, security and economic challenges warrant solidarity and cooperation among all the GCC member states and relentless action to attain merger among them, Zayani said in an interview broadcast by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) yesterday.

He indicated that agenda of the GCC summit, due on Tuesday, includes various files related to political, economic, security and social cooperation, as well as examining reports filed by the Ministerial Council, committees and the General Secretariat.

Challenges
Current economic conditions constitute some of the major challenges facing the GCC states, he said. The GCC countries had already taken steps at this level, endorsing the joint economic treaty, setting up the common market and the customs union.
Elaborating, Zayani re-affirmed the GCC states’ resolve to face security threats. “They will not hesitate to take all necessary measures to safeguard their security, stability and defend their sovereignty and interests,” he stressed.

The GCC countries have taken an unwavering approach for upgrading their security and military potentials for defense purposes and safeguarding achievements that have been made throughout the years, Al-Zayani added.
He rejected, anew, foreign intervention in the regional countries’ affairs for such meddling contradicts with international laws and threatens the Gulf security and stability, noting the UN prime role in this regard.

On the Syrian refugees’ plight, he underscored the GCC countries’ efforts at the public and private levels to help them, noting that the GCC states along with other countries had pledged more than $7 billion to aid the Syrians. Kuwait had hosted three international conferences grouping countries pledging support for the Syrians affected by the war. A fourth one was held in London.

Regarding Yemen, Al-Zayani said the GCC countries had given substantial financial support for the legitimate government to help it deliver relief supplies to those in need in the war-stricken nation. For its part, Saudi Arabia had established King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid to coordinate humanitarian operations in Yemen, with a special budget estimated at one billion Saudi riyals.

Integration
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah yesterday expressed confidence that the summit will come up with resolutions to promote the pan-GCC integration, and joint action. These will be topped with carrying on with implementation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ‘Vision 2030’ for accelerating the pace of cooperation among the member states, and enhancing the bloc’s joint action, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah said in a press statement.

He noted that the GCC Ministerial Council in 2016 approved measures for the completion of the Monarch’s wise vision, and the leaders endorsed the formation of a joint commission to reactivate economic and development.

The Bahraini chief diplomat pointed to the pivotal role the GCC member states play on the regional and international scenes. The 37th Summit will be a good chance to consolidate this role, and further boost security and stability in the region, to maintain unity, development, and prosperity in the region.

Concluding the statement, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah praised the Saudi King’s presidency of the 36th Summit held in Riyadh in December 2015, which has helped achieve remarkable steps for the GCC march, to continue with strong resolute in the Manama summit till the bloc realizes the aspired integration and unity.

Tension
In the meantime, MPs of the Bahraini Council of Representatives have affirmed the importance of the upcoming GCC Summit in facing the rising political, security and economic tension in the region. The MPs agreed in various statements that the current unstable conditions in the Arab World, mainly the escalation of terrorism and the economic situation in the Gulf countries due to the drop in oil prices, require the GCC states to unite.

Creating unity between the GCC countries will prevent any outer intervention in the Gulf’s own issues, said MP Nasser Al-Qaseer. The Gulf states have the ability to become one of the top economic powers, as they possess huge financial abilities, strong infrastructure and opportunities for attracting foreign investments, he added.

MP Mohammad Al-Amadi said meanwhile that the GCC citizens are looking forward for the outcome of the 37th summit, hoping the leaders would take measures to create a Gulf union to face the growing challenges and threats in the region. Sharing one language is a key factor to create a strong economic union, he said.

On this matter, he mentioned the successful experience of the European Union (EU), despite countries of different languages and backgrounds. Meanwhile, MP Jamal Dawoud noted the importance of discussing means of resolving the unemployment issues among youth through executing joint-GCC economic projects.
Unity
In the meantime, Bahraini Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Humoud bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heading towards a level of unity and further development. He further stressed the importance of the 37th GCC Summit to be held in Riyadh tomorrow, amidst the rising political, economic and security tension in the region. The ambassador hoped the summit will result in establishing the sought and the long-awaited Gulf union to face the challenges and threats and boost economy among the GCC states. – KUNA

World

The Great British Bake Off! Hottest June day for 40 years as heatwave continues

The temperature has reached 34.5C at Heathrow, west London, making it the hottest June day since 1976.

As well as marking five consecutive days that the mercury has soared past 30C, Britain’s scorching heat has also topped temperatures in holiday destinations such as Lisbon, Marseille, Barcelona and Athens.

It is the hottest prolonged spell in June since the drought summer of 1976 and also the warmest summer solstice on record.

Britain’s hot spell has seen the Met Office issue a level three amber heatwave warning, one step down from a national emergency, until Thursday.

Police in Cambridgeshire alerted motorists to melting roads, which forced the deployment of gritters in the area to shore up tarmac.

In the capital, London mayor Sadiq Khan has triggered an emergency air quality alert due to fears of toxic pollution.

Thousands gathered at Stonehenge on Tuesday night to welcome the sunrise at the ancient site on the longest day of the year.

Pagans, druids and other members of the public were watched over by armed police following the UK’s recent series of terror attacks.

The highest ever temperature on a June day was recorded in Southampton on 28 June 1976, when Britons baked under 35.6C heat.

Social media users have been making light of the humid conditions, with Steven Lockett tweeting: “If you don’t say ‘it’s too hot’ to every person you see, are you even British?”

And an account named ‘British Problems’ noted: “It’s so hot my marmalade liquefied.”

Glastonbury Festival threw open its gates to thousands of revellers

Glastonbury Festival threw open its gates to thousands of revellers

The heatwave has seen Royal Ascot abandon its strict dress code

The heatwave has seen Royal Ascot abandon its strict dress code

On Facebook, a tongue-in-cheek trend saw users ask red-haired friends to mark themselves as “safe” in the heatwave.

The heatwave has seen Royal Ascot organisers abandon the event’s dress code for the first time in history, with men allowed to remove their jackets on Tuesday.

Across the Wiltshire border from Stonehenge, thousands will travel to Glastonbury Festival in Somerset as the iconic music venue throws open its gates on Wednesday.
But the traditional Glastonbury mud could yet make an appearance, with thundery showers forecast on Wednesday night.

The heavy rain could drench parts of Wales, the Midlands, southern Scotland, northern and eastern England.

Flood alerts have even been issued for the North East.

World

New Zealand’s net migration hits record high

New Zealand annual net migration hit another record in May driven by foreign immigrants, with most coming from China, the UK and Australia.

Annual net migration reached 72,000 in the year to 31 May versus 68,400 in the same period a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

Three-quarters of the 130,400 migrant arrivals were non-New Zealand citizens, with New Zealanders leaving and returning to the country almost balancing each other out in the last year.

There has been a net migration gain of 73,000 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years as economic growth outpaced Australia’s, meaning fewer locals moved across the Tasman.

Rising immigration is shaping up to be a key election issue in September as it strains the country’s infrastructure and has been blamed for inflating property markets.

Chinese citizens accounted for 12% of migrant arrivals in the year, while 10% each came from the UK and Australia.

Annual migrant arrivals from India dropped 31% to 9,200 in the year, with a 40% drop in annual student visas granted to Indian citizens, which was offset by gains from the UK and South Africa.

China continued to make up the biggest source of migrants on residence visas, rising 18% to 3,419 in the year to the end of May, ahead of the total residence visa gain of 11% to 16,700.

There was a 14% increase in work visas granted in the year, to 44,500, while student visas dropped 14% to 23,700 and NZ and Australian citizen arrivals rose 4% per cent to 38,300.

Short-term visitor arrivals, which include tourists, people visiting family and friends and people travelling for work, reached 3.6m in the year ended 31 May, up 10% from a year earlier and a new annual record, Statistics NZ said.

In April the New Zealand government announced plans to tighten access to skilled work visas to help get Kiwis into jobs ahead of migrants.

World

French fitness blogger dies after exploding cream dispenser strikes her in the chest

A well-known lifestyle blogger in France has been killed by an exploding whipped cream dispenser.

Rebecca Burger’s death was announced on Facebook in what her family called a “domestic accident”.

A warning against the faulty dispensers was posted to her Instagram account, saying it had “exploded and struck Rebecca’s chest, causing her death”.

French media reported she had died of cardiac arrest after the incident, despite medical attention.

The popular fitness and travel figure was well-known in France, with some 55,000 Facebook fans and 154,000 followers on Instagram.

One of Ms Burger’s family members took to Instagram, warning readers not to use the dispenser, saying that tens of thousands of “defective devices” remain in circulation.

A photo from Instagram account rebeccablikes, showing a cream dispenser in pieces on the ground. In comments on the right, in French, someone has explained the details of the accident.

A whipped cream dispenser works by injecting gas into a metal container, keeping the entire dispenser under high pressure.

One French consumer group has warned readers for years about faulty connectors on the gas capsules, causing them to break and expel at high speed.

Kuwait Local News

Bangladeshi taxi driver robbed in Salmiya

Two passengers in a roaming taxi stole the driver’s wallet at knife point and escaped in Salmiya area, says Al-Seyassah. The Bangladeshi taxi driver went to Salmiya police station and lodged a complaint against the two suspects. He narrated the men waived him down and requested to go to Salmiya area.

On the way, one of them threatened him at knife point while the other stole the wallet from his pocket and escaped. He provided their description to the officers and case was registered.

Kuwait Local News

Kuwait among least expensive Middle East cities for ‘expats’ – Dubai, Abu Dhabi top

According to Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the second and third most expensive Middle Eastern cities for expatriate cost of living. The global ranking sees Dubai climbing one place from last year to become the 20th most expensive city in the world, with Abu Dhabi just behind in 23rd place and two spots up from last year.

The rise in the rankings follows the wider Middle Eastern trend of GCC countries becoming more expensive. Nuno Gomes, Principal Information Solutions Leader at Mercer Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, commented: “Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to rise in the global rankings in line with increasing cost of living indicators in the UAE. However, this year currency fluctuation was less of a factor in worldwide changes in the rankings, so the slight rise on the list represents a true increase in the cost of living in the UAE when compared to other cities globally.”

In addition to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, six other Middle Eastern cities appeared in the world’s top one hundred, including Riyadh (52), Beirut (53), Manama (55), Amman (59), Doha (81) and Muscat (92). Manama, Bahrain climbed by the most spots among Middle Eastern cities, coming in at 16 places higher than last year, with Riyadh and Muscat also rising by five and two places respectively.

Meanwhile, Beirut fell by two places, Amman by nine and Doha by five. Middle Eastern cities that fell just outside of the global top one hundred include Jeddah (117), which rose by four places, as well as Kuwait City (111), Istanbul (142) and Cairo (183), which dropped by eight, forty-one and ninety-two spots respectively.

The plummet in Cairo’s ranking follows a major devaluation of its local currency, and the city now represents by far the least expensive city in this part of the world. The other least expensive cities in the region are Istanbul, Jeddah and Kuwait City.

Mercer’s 23rd annual Cost of Living Survey finds that factors like instability of housing markets and inflation for goods and services contribute to the overall cost of doing business in today’s global environment.

 

Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Career Business, commented: “Globalisation of the marketplace is well documented, with many companies operating in multiple locations around the world and promoting international assignments to enhance the experience of future managers.

There are numerous personal and organisational advantages for sending employees overseas, whether for long- or short-term assignments, including career development by obtaining global experience, the creation and transfer of skills, and the re-allocation of resources.” Mercer’s authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

New York is used as the base city and all cities are compared against it. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The survey includes over 400 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. At a global level, European and Asian cities continue to dominate the top of the list.

This year’s most expensive city though is Luanda, Angola, back at the top spot which it also occupied in 2014 and 2015. The same cities remained at the Top 5, despite changes in ranking positions; Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore complete the list of most expensive cities in the world. Bonic added: “While historically mobility, talent management, and rewards have been managed independently of one another, organisations are now using a more holistic approach to enhance their mobility strategies. Compensation is important to be competitive and must be determined appropriately based on the cost of living, currency, and location.”

The Americas
Cities in the United States are the most expensive locations in the Americas, topped by New York City (9), San Francisco (22) and Los Angeles (24), which climbed by two, four and three spots respectively. Among other major US cities, Chicago (32) is up two places, Boston (51) is down four places, and Seattle is up seven places. Portland (115) and Winston Salem (140) remain the least expensive surveyed cities for expatriates in the US. Ms Constantin-Métral commented: “Overall, US cities either remained stable in the ranking or have slightly increased due to the movement of the US dollar against the majority of currencies worldwide.” In South America, Brazilian cities Sao Paulo (27) and Rio de Janeiro (56) surged 101 and 100 spots, respectively due to the strengthening of the Brazilian real against the US dollar. Buenos Aires ranked 40 followed by Santiago (67) and Montevideo, Uruguay (65), which jumped forty-one and fifty-four places respectively. Other cities in South America that rose in the rankings include Lima (104) and Havana (151). Dropping from 94th position, San Jose, Costa Rica (110) experienced the largest drop in the region as the US dollar strengthened against the Costa Rican colon. Caracas in Venezuela has been excluded from the ranking due to the complex currency situation. Depending on which exchange rate is being used, the city would arrive at the top or at the bottom of the ranking.

Offbeat

World Leaders Reimagined As Refugees In A Powerful Project By A Syrian Artist

The United Nations announced that the number of persons seeking asylum or escape from areas of conflict in 2016 reached 65.6 million, which is even more than there was after World War II. Many of these refugees live in dire conditions, so a Syrian refugee and an artist, Abdalla Al Omari, decided to act and send an urgent message to the world leaders, most of whom seem to be indifferent to the crisis.

Abdalla has created a series of paintings he called ‘The Vulnerability Series’, where he reimagines the world leaders like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un and more, as refugees themselves, putting them in harsh situations actual refugees face daily.

“Intimate hours I spent with them have thought me more than I could imagine. Just as easily as everything worth defending can become defenseless, moments of absolute powerlessness can give you superpowers,” Abdalla writes on his website. “In this universe without gravity, all we can hold on to is our vulnerability. I have convinced myself it is the strongest weapon humankind possesses, way more powerful than the trail of power games, bomb craters and bullet holes in our collective memories. Vulnerability is a gift we should all celebrate.”

#1 Donald Trump

Donald Trump

#2 Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un

#3 Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

#4 Barack Obama

Barack Obama

#5 The Queue

The Queue

#6 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

#7 Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

#8 The Boat

The Boat

#9 David Cameron

David Cameron

#10 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Picture Stories

4 Years of Trash This Photographer Created A Powerful Photo Series

After 4 Years Of Not Throwing Away His Trash This Photographer Created A Powerful Photo Series

Back in 2011, photographer Antoine Repessé stopped throwing away his recyclable trash to make a point. Four years later he started turning that point into a powerful photo series he called ‘#365 Unpacked’, which challenges us to rethink our role as consumers.

During the 4 year period, the Lille-based artist has accumulated over 70 cubic metres of trash: 1,600 milk bottles, 4,800 toilet rolls, and 800 kg (~1,750 lb) of newspapers, all of which he then separated for an even stronger visual impact: “I wanted to give an aesthetic dimension to my work,” he explains. “The choice of sorting the garbage gives a graphic effect. I tried to produce a perfect picture which evokes something disturbing.”

With his series, Antoine tackles the main obstacle for kickstarting the big changes in waste management or global warming – it’s how invisible these problems are in our day-to-day lives: “We’re often told about the quantity of waste we produce, but I think the impact of a picture can be more powerful than a ton of words,” remarks Repessé. “I hope my project can inspire change,” – and so do we.

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

This Photographer Stored His Trash For 4 Years And Then Created This Powerful Photo Series

World

People think the Queen was making a political statement with her hat

Queen Elizabeth II has delivered the 2017 Queen’s Speech which marks the beginning of a new parliamentary session.

Avidly watched by political commentators, journalists and anyone else who can get away watching TV in the middle of the day, the speech steered away from Theresa May’s more unpalatable policies and chose to focus instead on Brexit.

The Queen said that the Government will “provide certainty” over Brexit and maintain a “deep and special” alliance with the EU.

Just one thing though – notice anything… Well, familiar about her hat?

Even the Daily Mail managed to get in on it – although they made it “suspicious”:

And the Telegraph asked:

But the answer to that is probably:

Offbeat

Every Day This Dog Goes Shopping All By Himself, Returns With Bags Full Of Food

Meet Pituco, the awesome doggie from Brazil who goes to a shop all by himself every day to collect his food, taking canine independence to another level. “Everybody knows Pituco,” Agro Pet shop’s vet told The Dodo. “His food is on the top shelf, so we have to hand it to him. He barks until we do.”

As soon as the doggie gets his food, he simply heads home. Of course, the shop doesn’t just give Pituco his food for free. Agro Pet puts everything the canine grabs on a tab, and later the dog’s humans come by to pay.

But Pituco, being the good boy that he clearly is, is not only concerned with himself and his food. Sometimes his humans call Agro Pet to ask for cat food or birdseed for their other pets – and Pituco is always more than happy to go to the shop and bring the parcels back home for the other pets in the family.

Pituco, what a clever boy you are! I think all of us are madly in love with this doggie by now…

Geplaatst door Agro Pet Paraí op woensdag 17 mei 2017

World

Namibia unveils world’s largest diamond exploration ship

Anglo American’s (AAL.L) diamond unit De Beers on Thursday launched the world’s largest diamond exploration vessel off the coast of Namibia as it looks to maintain high production levels until 2035.

The 12,000-tonne, 113-metre-long SS Nujoma was built at a cost of $157 million and is named after Sam Nujoma, Namibia’s founding president.

“I am very, very confident this (vessel) will allow us to continue to extract 1.2 million carats a year,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver told Reuters by telephone.

He said he was “cautiously optimistic” about diamond sales in 2017 and in terms of value there have been “some small positive movements” but it was too early to declare a trend.

Anglo American and De Beers rely heavily on diamonds. Anglo American says they are central to its portfolio of assets as they tend to hold value when bulk commodities fall in price.

Diamonds are also important to Namibia as they generate 20 percent of its foreign export earnings. Namibia receives 80 cents of every Namibian dollar generated by Debmarine Namibia, its 50:50 joint venture with De Beers.

Marine diamonds are particularly prized. They are generally more valuable than land-based stones because lower quality gems are washed away by waves.

Debmarine Namibia produced 1.2 million carats of diamonds in 2016, a level De Beers says it can maintain until 2035 when its license expires on a 6,000 square km area.

The SS Nujoma is the sixth diamond exploration vessel to join Debmarine Namibia’s fleet. It can hunt for diamonds at more than double the speed of its predecessor, De Beers said.

De Beers has a budget for land-based exploration of about $35 million to explore in Canada, Botswana and South Africa.