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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Despite frequent ceasefire violations and heavy exchange of fire with Pakistan forces on the international border and across Line of Control, Union minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj helped a Lucknow boy, living in the bylanes of Old City, tie the knot with his Pakistani fiancee last Friday.
The ‘nikah’ of Naqi Ali Khan (27), an engineer from Agha Mir Deodhi area near City Station and Sabahat Fatima (24) from Karachi, was solemnised by senior Shia cleric and vice-president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq.
The couple got married on Friday and their reception was held on Saturday.
The marriage of Naqi Ali Khan and Sabahat Fatima had been fixed almost two years ago but cross-border tension caused visa hassles for the bride.
A TOI report from Lucknow in July about a similar case kindled hopes and Sabahat took to social media and contacted Sushma Swaraj last year. The minister helped the couple and granted visa to Sabahat.
“Our families are related. But were divided when the two countries underwent partition. The groom’s maternal grandmother and the bride’s paternal grandmother were sisters and lived together in Lucknow before partition,” said Naqi’s elder brother, Muzaffar.
Incidentally on Sunday, the couple watched a Bollywood movie in which the female lead plays the role of a Pakistani and the male lead is an Indian.
“Both of us are extremely grateful to Sushma Swaraj for this great gift. We are hopeful that the Indian government will help us in getting Sabahat Indian nationality as well,” said the couple.
A 22-year-old woman was dragged out of a car and sexually assaulted as her husband and brother-in-law were held at gunpoint in Gurgaon on Sunday night, in the latest rape horror to emerge from Haryana this year. Four persons have been arrested, the police said on Monday.
The family was returning from a function in the woman’s brother-in-law’s car when they stopped near the Business Park Tower in Sector 56. The woman’s husband got out of the car to use the toilet.
Two cars stopped near them and four men, apparently drunk, came out and asked why they had stopped there. They started thrashing the woman’s husband.
On spotting the woman inside the car, one of the men pulled her out, dragged her to the bushes and raped her, according to her police complaint. The other three men held guns to her husband and brother-in-law the entire time, said senior police officer Manish Sehgal.
Before running away, the men warned the woman and her family against going to the police. But the woman’s husband managed to jot down the registration number of one of the cars, Mr Sehgal said.
This helped the police track down the attackers yesterday. The young man who allegedly assaulted the woman is a water tanker supplier, the police say.
“The accused were arrested from their residences in Johalka village near Sohna in Gurgaon and a case has been registered against them,” the officer said.
Haryana has been struggling to cope with incidents of crime against women in the past few days. In three of the worst cases, young girls were raped, tortured and killed.
India has emerged as the fifth most attractive market for investments and the optimism over global economic growth is at a record level, a survey of CEOs by global consultancy PwC said.
The findings come on a day when the rich and powerful are meeting in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual summit.
“The US remains the top spot for global investment, while India moves into the top 5,” PwC’s 21st CEO Survey said, adding that there is surprising faith and optimism among chief executives in the economic and business environment worldwide, at least over the next 12 months.
Around 46 per cent of global CEOs consider the US as one of the three most important countries for growth, followed by China (33 per cent) and Germany (20 per cent) at second and third places, respectively. At the fourth spot is the UK (15 per cent).
“India (9 per cent) bumps Japan (8 per cent) as the fifth most attractive market in 2018,” it noted.
PwC India Chairman Shyamal Mukherjee said backed by definitive structural reforms, the India story has been looking better in the past one year.
“Most of our clients are optimistic about their growth. The government has made efforts to address concerns around areas like infrastructure, manufacturing and skilling, although newer threats like cybersecurity and climate change are beginning to play on the minds of our clients,” he noted.
As per the survey, 54 per cent of the CEOs plan to increase their headcount this year while only 18 per cent expect to reduce their staff.
The sectors having the highest demand for new recruits are health care (71 per cent), technology (70 per cent), business services (67 per cent), communications (60 per cent), hospitality and leisure (59 per cent).
Notwithstanding the optimism in the global economy, 40 per cent of CEOs are ‘extremely concerned’ about geopolitical uncertainty and cyber threats while 41 per cent feel so about terrorism.
Other factors for concerns are availability of key skills (38 per cent) and populism (35 per cent). “These threats outpace familiar concerns about business growth prospects such as exchange rate volatility (29 per cent) and changing consumer behaviour (26 per cent),” the survey said.
Further, terrorism is seen as among the top ten threats to growth whereas only 20 per cent felt so in 2017.
“The threat of over-regulation remains the top concern for CEOs (42 per cent extremely concerned), and over a third (36 per cent) remain concerned about an increasing tax burden,” it added.
SPwC conducted 1,293 interviews with CEOs spread across 85 countries between August and November 2017. Besides, the sample is weighted by national GDP to ensure that CEOs’ views are fairly represented across all major countries.
The revenue of 40 per cent of the companies was at least $1 billion and 35 per cent of firms’ revenues ranged between $100 million and $1 billion. Around 20 per cent of the companies had revenues of up to $100 million while 56 per cent of the entities were privately owned.
Police have arrested a Kuwaiti who is believed to be in his 60s for impersonating police and robbing an Iranian who is believed to be in his 70s and causing him injury, reports Al-Rai daily. In his complaint to the Nugra Police Station, the Iranian said the impersonator stopped him and robbed him of his money.
When the Iranian attempted to snatch his money back from the Kuwaiti, all that he could do was hold on to the car of the suspect and as a result he was dragged to some distance and he got injured. The complainant then gave police the car plate number of the suspect and also provided a medical report which led to the arrest of the suspect. The Iranian picked the suspect from a police line-up after he arrested and brought to the police station.
Staff Ministry of Interior has commenced installing cameras on patrol vehicles in order to record what transpire between security operatives and violators of law or wanted persons with the aim of putting an end to differences and ensuring preservation of rights. According to sources, some patrol vehicles have cameras, but the ministry has decided to install them on all patrol vehicles. The cameras are installed on the vehicles as well as attached to police uniforms in order to document the audiovisual interactions between the officers and violators of law or wanted persons. The rights to be protected in such instances are of both the police and civilians. The cameras are directly linked to the Operations Room for proper monitoring.
Kuwait Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah briefed the Cabinet on the President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte’s “sudden” suspension of laborers’ dispatch to Kuwait, which ran counter to mutual interest. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said Duterte’s “sudden statement” prompted the relevant authorities in Kuwait to contact with authorities in Philippines to clarify the president’s statement.
He said the president mentioned individual cases which did not apply to the majority, and those cases were subjected to legal procedures.
The State of Kuwait, said the top diplomat, has clean human rights record by which the expatriates enjoyed full rights. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the laws in Kuwait were organizing relations between employees and employers, which encouraged many nationalities to come work in Kuwait.
The Foreign Ministry summoned yesterday Ambassador of the Philippines, Renato Pedro Villa, and expressed regret and bewilderment toward Duterte’s decision to suspend dispatch of laborers to Kuwait. Such a stance contradicts nature of the distinctive ties between the two countries and does not serve their common interests, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said.
Al-Jarallah added that the Kuwaiti side noted to the ambassador that freedoms and rights enjoyed by the expatriate communities in the country contributed to lifting number of the Filipino workers to 276,000.
Moreover, the Kuwaiti side expressed readiness to host Filipino diplomats to discuss conditions of the community and follow up on Filipinos’ problems. Al-Jarallah added that the envoy was asked to seek to lift the ban. The Filipino envoy praised the cooperation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and pledged to recommend to his government to end the ban soon.
First Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah briefed the Cabinet Monday about Qatari Defense Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah’s visit to Kuwait yesterday, and outcome of his talks with the senior officials regarding regional developments. This came during the weekly Cabinet meeting, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, said Deputy Premier and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh in a statement.
The Cabinet welcomed Lebanese President Michel Aoun who would pay a state visit to Kuwait tomorrow Tuesday. Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah then briefed the executives about his visit to Paris last week and meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, to discuss regional and international developments.
He also briefed them about his participation in a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat so-called Islamic State (IS), which was held in New York last Friday. The New York meeting, said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, aimed at discussing the peace process in Iraq through restoration of stability and reconstruction of areas liberated from IS. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled also talked about his meeting with Brett McGruk, US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition, during which they discussed preparations for an international ministerial meeting of the coalition.
Meanwhile, the government approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UN regarding youth, a technical cooperation agreement with Japan, an agreement with Beijing to establish a Chinese cultural center, and an agreement on cyber-security with Britain. It also approved aviation agreement with Djibouti, an articrafts agreement with Oman, an economic and technical cooperation agreement with Honduras, an environment protection deal with Albania, an agreement on renewable energy with Morocco, a higher education and scientific research agreement with Pakistan, a housing agreement with China, agreements on youth and tourism cooperation with Turkey, and a deal with Latvia to exempt diplomatic and private passport holders from entry visas.
On the other hand, the government assigned the Finance Ministry to subscribe on behalf of citizens for initial public offering of public-privatepartnership projects. It instructed relocation of Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base before June 1, 2018, to pave way for construction of Kuwait International Airport building. The Ministries of defense, public works and finance, and civil aviation directorate will speed up relocation of the Air Base, said Minister Al-Saleh.
The government also approved establishment of board of trustees of Silk City and Boubyan Island development authority. Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim will chair the board, and will have Salem Al- Athaina, Mohammad Al-Marzouq, Omran Hayat, Adnan Al-Bahar, Khaled Al-Nassar, Tareq A-Essa and Sara Akbar as members. The government also set up a committee tasked with receiving complaints of employees.
The committee will be chaired by President of the Civil Services Commission Ahmad Jassar, Justice Sultan Burusli as deputy chairman, and membership of Ahmad Al-Duaij, Hessa Al-Anjeri and Mufarreh Al- Shemmeri. The Cabinet members then discussed a grilling motion against Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh. Al-Sabeeh explained the interpellation and elaborated on her answers, and the government members extended full backing to their colleague.
Undersecretary of Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Fareed Al-Emadi revealed that the ministry asked Civil Service Commission (CSC) to equate Kuwaiti muezzins and imams with teachers in terms of salaries and allowances, reports Al-Rai daily.
He expressed sorrow over the abstention of Kuwaitis to work as muezzins and imams, indicating that the ministry has a total of 1,600 mosques but only 130 Kuwaiti muezzins and imams.
Al-Emadi stressed that laborers are strictly prevented to perform “Azan” (call for prayers), insisting that the imam should take over the task of muezzin if the latter is on leave. He affirmed that the ministry will take necessary action against imams and muezzins if any of the laborers or citizens performed Azan
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said the stances of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah since he was foreign minister have made Kuwait very close to Lebanon and other friendly countries.
The State of Kuwait under His Highness the Amir is held in great esteem by the Lebanese and all Arab peoples, President Aoun said in an interview with KUNA ahead of his first visit to Kuwait as president. “My visit to Kuwait is to convey a genuine desire on the part of the Lebanese people for openness and cooperation with all active players in the region on the principles of mutual respect for the sovereignty, independence and privacy of each other.
“I will carry a message of love and respect,” he pointed out. President Aoun noted that Lebanon has never adopted a hostile policy towards any countries in the Middle East region. “To the contrary, Lebanon was antagonized and victimized repeatedly by aggressors, but struggled relentlessly to defend its own values and distinctive role in the region,” he said, apparently alluding to Israel.
The State of Kuwait understands, more than any other country in the region, the situation in Lebanon because it (Kuwait) underwent a similar bitter experience in 1990, he said, referring to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. “His Highness the Amir, then the foreign minister, played a key role in Kuwait liberation and restoring the country’s active and essential role in the region,” President Aoun recalled.
On the bilateral ties, he said both countries maintained firm and deep-rooted historical relationship and share the desire to open new horizons for cooperation in all areas. “The state-to-state and people-to-people friendship creates proper ground for the two countries to restore the unity and solidarity of the Arab nation in the face of mounting challenges. “To do so requires building a political consensus on how to address the current problems through open and candid dialogue because risks face all of us,” he stressed, citing the efforts of His Highness the Amir to bring the views of Arab leaders close to each other.
President Aoun expressed desire to work with Kuwait for preventing hostile forces from taking advantage from the current disputes among some Arab countries in order to undermine the Palestine question, which is the Arabs’ central cause. He denounced the Israeli designs to Judaize Jerusalem and blur its Arab identity, and deprive the Palestinians of the right to statehood and the refugees of the right to return to their homes.
Dealing with the tourist sector that suffered problems late last year due to security concerns, President Aoun said his country doubled efforts to restore its position as a main destination for tourists from the Gulf region, particularly from Kuwait.
“The security of tourists is an integral part of the security of Lebanon. There is no justification for Arab brothers to panic into staying away from Lebanon. “The situation in Lebanon is stable and calm thanks to the vigilance of the security services and the strong will of the people for stability,” he said, citing recent reports of field studies. Regarding the new oil and natural gas discoveries in Lebanon, President Aoun welcomed cooperation with Kuwaiti energy producers that have long experience in this sector. “It sounded far-fetched for Lebanon to join the oil club but the dream came true,” he said, noting that many energy companies from around the world have offered bids to explore for and exploit the energy resources in Lebanon.
He added that Lebanon is preparing to launch a plan to turn its economy from consuming into productive. The plan is well set through taking the advice of experienced international companies, fighting corruption and developing infrastructure. As for the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, President Aoun said that more than 1.8 million refugees added more strains on the already fragile economy of Lebanon besides the security burdens. “Many donor countries failed to honor their aid pledges and humanitarian undertakings towards Lebanon. This is why we are lobbying for the return of the refugees to safe havens inside Syria,” he regretted.
“In this connection, Lebanon pins high hopes on Kuwait which proved to be a reliable friend of Lebanon at numerous regional and international forums,” President Aoun went on. “The State of Kuwait, mindful of the developments of the situations in Lebanon and the region, can play an essential role in international conferences, we are preparing for, in support of Lebanon,” he stated. President Aoun added that Lebanon’s policy to keep its distance from turmoil in neighboring countries gained global praise.
The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held from April 7 to May 27, the IPL governing council announced on Monday. The opening ceremony, opening game and the final will all be held in Mumbai on April 6, April 7 and May 27 respectively. Accepting broadcaster Star Sports’ request, the IPL governing council has also allowed a shift in timings of the matches. The 8 pm game will now begin at 7 pm while the 4 pm start has now been pushed to 5:30 pm. “The broadcaster has requested for change in timings. By and large the GC has accepted it. It gets too late in the night if the game starts at 8pm,” said IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla after the GC meeting.
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, also a GC member, could not attend the meeting.
“As far as the double headers on weekends are concerned. The 4pm game will now be played at 5.30pm. There will be an overlap but the broadcaster says it has enough channels to show the games simultaneously,” Shukla said further.
At the meeting, it was also decided that Kings XI Punjab will play four of their home games in Mohali and three in Indore.
The home matches of Rajasthan Royals, who are returning to IPL after serving a two-year ban, will be finalised after the Rajasthan High Court’s hearing on January 24.
“The matter is in court. I think on 24th (Wednesday), the court may dispose off the matter. We are waiting for that.
Preference will given to Jaipur if the stadium is ready and court clears RCA’s status. If that doesn’t happen, the alternate venue will be Pune,” said Shukla.
A total of 578 players including 360 Indians will go under the hammer at the IPL auction in Bangalore on January 27 and 28.
India was today ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index, much below China’s 26th position and Pakistan’s 47th.
Norway remains the world’s most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said while releasing the yearly index here before the start of its annual meeting, to be attended by several world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.
The index takes into account the “living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness”, the WEF said. It urged the leaders to urgently move to a new model of inclusive growth and development, saying reliance on GDP as a measure of economic achievement is fuelling short-termism and inequality.
India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China’s 15th and Pakistan’s 52nd position.
The 2018 index, which measures progress of 103 economies on three individual pillars — growth and development; inclusion; and inter-generational equity — has been divided into two parts. The first part covers 29 advanced economies and the second 74 emerging economies.
The index has also classified the countries into five sub-categories in terms of the five-year trend of their overall Inclusive Development Growth score — receding, slowly receding, stable, slowly advancing and advancing.
Despite its low overall score, India is among the ten emerging economies with ‘advancing’ trend. Only two advanced economies have shown ‘advancing’ trend.
Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five.
Small European economies dominate the top of the index, with Australia (9) the only non-European economy in the top 10. Of the G7 economies, Germany (12) ranks the highest. It is followed by Canada (17), France (18), the UK (21), the US (23), Japan (24) and Italy (27).
The top-five most inclusive emerging economies are Lithuania, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.
Performance is mixed among BRICS economies, with the Russian Federation ranking 19th, followed by China (26), Brazil (37), India (62) and South Africa (69).
Of the three pillars that make up the index, India ranks 72nd for inclusion, 66th for growth and development and 44th for inter-generational equity.
The neighbouring countries ranked above India include Sri Lanka (40), Bangladesh (34) and Nepal (22). The countries ranked better than India also include Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Macedonia, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia.
Although China ranks first among emerging economies in GDP per capita growth (6.8 per cent) and labour productivity growth (6.7 per cent) since 2012, its overall score is brought down by lacklustre performance on inclusion, the WEF said. It found that decades of prioritising economic growth over social equity has led to historically high levels of wealth and income inequality and caused governments to miss out on a virtuous circle in which growth is strengthened by being shared more widely and generated without unduly straining the environment or burdening future generations.
Excessive reliance by economists and policy-makers on Gross Domestic Product as the primary metric of national economic performance is part of the problem, the WEF said.
The GDP measures current production of goods and services rather than the extent to which it contributes to broad socio-economic progress as manifested in median household income, employment opportunity, economic security and quality of life, it added.
The WEF also said that rich and poor countries alike are struggling to protect future generations, as it cautioned political and business leaders against expecting higher growth to be a panacea for the social frustrations, including those of younger generations who have shaken the politics of many countries in recent years.