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Roads repair process to start with highways in April

Minister to approve ‘special mixture’ of asphalt to repair damaged roads KUWAIT: Minister of Public Works and Minister of Housing Affairs Jenan Bushehri attends a parliament session this past Wednesday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat KUWAIT: Minister of Public Works and Minister of Housing Affairs Jenan Bushehri will approve the use of a special mixture…

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Roads repair process to start with highways in April

Minister to approve ‘special mixture’ of asphalt to repair damaged roads

KUWAIT: Minister of Public Works and Minister of Housing Affairs Jenan Bushehri attends a parliament session this past Wednesday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Minister of Public Works and Minister of Housing Affairs Jenan Bushehri will approve the use of a special mixture of bitumen and modified polymer manufactured by local factories on recommendations made by a previous committee and the recent investigation committee to be used in repairing roads in April, well-informed sources at the Ministry of Public Works said. The sources added that the process to repair roads damaged by heavy rain will start with highways, King Fahad Expressway and the Sixth Ring Road, adding that the minister had ordered the formation of a special committee to follow up the process. The sources said this part of the plan will be in conjunction with repairing internal roads in various governorates after taking all the needed measures with regards to contracts that are still under process or those within guarantee periods.

Treatment abroadHealth Minister Dr Basel Al-Sabah said the total number of Kuwaitis receiving medical treatment abroad dropped in 2018 to 6,837 patients compared to 7,024 in 2017, 16,249 in 2016 and 16,819 in 2015. Responding to a parliamentary inquiry, he said the budget set for treatment overseas for the current fiscal year (April 2018-April 2019) is KD 308 million, including KD 120 million for the health offices in London and Washington and KD 40 million as health insurance for students abroad, which requires an additional KD 200 million budget to cover overdue bills of various hospitals and medical centers abroad from 2016-2017.

KD 8.9 millionThe foreign ministry said revenues made from selling revenue stamps abroad during the fiscal year 2018-2019 were KD 8.9 million, including KD 6.6 million during the period of April-October 2018. Responding to a parliamentary inquiry about its commitment to the plans of automated connection between missions abroad and the finance ministry systems, the ministry stressed that the KD 1.39 million contract will be concluded during the fiscal year 2021-2022, adding that the project involves linking transactions made in 107 missions abroad with the ministry, improving employees’ capability to handle over 3,500 documents daily in various missions worldwide, cutting losses resulting from delayed correspondence, achieving swift and fast dataflow, facilitating easy and immediate issue of audit reports and fast archiving.

Planting treesKuwait Municipality Director Ahmad Al-Manfouhi stressed the significance of regional and national parks and ecological tree perimeters. Responding to a proposal made by municipal council member Ahmed Hadyan about the project of planting trees in various desert areas in Kuwait, Manfouhi stressed that in collaboration with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR), the municipality has been working on providing places to plant trees as recommended in previous structural plans. Manfouhi also said that the proposal made to build a roundabout and a traffic light between blocks number 5 and 6 in Kaifan was rejected by the Interior Ministry, because the U-turns on that street are enough to achieve easy traffic flows.

Exempted employeesThe Ministry of Education has set special regulations for employees exempted from punching in and out using biometric access control devices, on top of which is full commitment to official working hours, which will be documented at various centers. In this regard, educational sources explained that employees’ bosses and those next in the chain of command will follow up employees’ commitment. In other news, Kuwait’s cultural office in Cairo said Kuwaiti students desiring to register in various Egyptian universities will have to submit endorsed study leaves from their workplaces, their original certificates and birth certificates, in addition to a recent endorsed passport copy.

Social allowancesThe Civil Service Commission (CSC) issued a directive to various government bodies urging updating Kuwaiti employees’ marital status data every six months so that the data can be used in processing the employees’ social allowances.

By A Saleh

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Children killed in attack on Cameroonian school

Assailants storm private school in city of Kumba, Southwest Region, killing at least four students.Attackers have opened fire on a private school in Cameroon’s Southwest Region, killing at least four children, according to officials. The unknown assailants stormed the Mother Francisca School in the city of Kumba on Saturday. There was no immediate claim of…

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Children killed in attack on Cameroonian school

Assailants storm private school in city of Kumba, Southwest Region, killing at least four students.Attackers have opened fire on a private school in Cameroon’s Southwest Region, killing at least four children, according to officials.
The unknown assailants stormed the Mother Francisca School in the city of Kumba on Saturday. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“They attacked around noon. They found the children in a class and they opened fire on them,” Kumba sub-prefect Ali Anougou told the Reuters news agency.
At least nine other students were wounded and sent to the hospital. There were fears the death toll could rise.
The Associated Press news agency quoted Anougou as blaming separatists who have been fighting the military in parts of western Cameroon for the attack.

Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions – the Northwest and Southwest Regions – are home to a large minority of English speakers in a country where French speakers are the overwhelming majority – a situation that is the legacy of the decolonisation of western Africa by France and Britain more than 60 years ago.
In late 2016, long-standing complaints of political and economic discrimination against English speakers by the central government spilled over when lawyers, students and teachers began calling for reforms.
The government’s lethal response to the protests provoked rebels to declare in 2017 independence for a region they call “Ambazonia”, triggering a stronger crackdown by the authorities.
Both sides have since been accused of committing atrocities in a conflict that has killed some 3,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Anglophone secessionists have imposed curfews and closed schools as part of their protest against President Paul Biya’s government.
Last year, officials blamed separatists for kidnapping dozens of schoolchildren, charges the separatists denied.

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Vietnamese envoy hails KRCS’ global humanitarian efforts

KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer meets Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh. – KUNAKUWAIT: Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh hailed the humanitarian efforts of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) around the world. The remarks were made to KUNA yesterday after the ambassador’s meeting with KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer. He expressed appreciation…

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Vietnamese envoy hails KRCS’ global humanitarian efforts

KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer meets Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh. – KUNAKUWAIT: Vietnamese Ambassador to Kuwait Trinh Minh Manh hailed the humanitarian efforts of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) around the world. The remarks were made to KUNA yesterday after the ambassador’s meeting with KRCS Chairman Dr Hilal Al-Sayer. He expressed appreciation for the society’s aid to the Vietnamese Embassy during the coronavirus crisis.

The ambassador added that they discussed providing his country with aid to face the impact of the recent floods and landslides, considered to be the worst in decades. Sayer said he was pleased with the ambassador’s visit and affirmed that KRCS will continue exerting humanitarian efforts to aid those affected by natural disasters and crises everywhere. – KUNA

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Pain, frustration: Expats lose jobs to new rules and COVID

File photos show foreign workers applying to leave Kuwait during the amnesty. – Photos by Yasser Al-ZayyatBy Chidi Emmanuel After working for 24 years in Kuwait, Charley Lyon received the dreaded letter that many expats fear amid the economic downturn, coronavirus pandemic and new residency laws. Lyon is among thousands of expat workers in the…

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Pain, frustration: Expats lose jobs to new rules and COVID

File photos show foreign workers applying to leave Kuwait during the amnesty. – Photos by Yasser Al-ZayyatBy Chidi Emmanuel

After working for 24 years in Kuwait, Charley Lyon received the dreaded letter that many expats fear amid the economic downturn, coronavirus pandemic and new residency laws. Lyon is among thousands of expat workers in the government sector who were being laid off.

As part of its Kuwaitization policy, Kuwait is replacing expats with locals in the government sector. The government has also stopped issuing work permits to expats over 60 years of age without a university degree. These new rules have had a huge impact on the lives of thousands of expats in the country, leaving many with no choice but to pack their bags and leave.

Gulf countries are facing an exodus of foreign workers as the coronavirus pandemic pushes out foreign workers. In the midst of the COVID-19 and financial crunch, the National Assembly approved a draft law to slash expat numbers over the next five years.

As the budget deficit widens and economic conditions worsen, Kuwait is grappling with an economic downturn as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world. The combined shock of collapsing oil prices, the pandemic and joblessness is reshaping labor policies in the region, thus bringing anti-foreigner sentiments to the fore again.

While Kuwait’s expats struggle to secure their jobs, the government is calling for an increase in workforce nationalization in government entities. “Why will foreigners take the jobs meant for us (Kuwaitis)? They can work anywhere – but not in the ministries,” argued Abdullah, a 26-year-old Kuwaiti.

Buttressing Abdullah’s viewpoint, Fatma, an unemployed Kuwaiti woman, complained of the difficulty in competing with foreign workers for jobs in the private sector. “Foreign workers can work longer for less, unlike us Kuwaitis. So most companies prefer to hire non-Kuwaitis. This leaves us with only one sector (the public sector). I think this is why the government introduced Kuwaitization, so as to give unemployed Kuwaitis an opportunity,” she explained.

For Lyon, justice and fairness should override anti-expat sentiments. “It is understandable that ministries would give preference to locals for jobs during these tough times, but it would be fair to consider the efforts of the old staff who have put in their best to build this country,” Lyon, 61, and some of his co-workers who were laid off recently lamented, as they worry about their future.

Expats make up the majority of the population of Kuwait. Residency is tied to employment and Kuwait does not easily offer citizenship routes to non-nationals. “We have been here (in Kuwait) legally for over 20 years. It will be difficult to go back and start afresh in our home countries. More so, Kuwait’s residency is linked to the work permit – when you lose your job, you automatically lose your residency. I worry about my children who are still in school. The three-month notice will not be enough to relocate them,” Mustapha, an Egyptian expat who recently lost his job, said in dismay.

Abdurazak Hamad, an African expat, is in a dilemma. “I feel miserable leaving my family behind. I don’t want to go alone, but I can’t make my wife quit her KD 450 job since she is now the sole breadwinner. Starting afresh in my home country at this age (62) will be very difficult. I wish I can get a permit (residency) to stay here with my family,” said Hamad, who was recently sacked.

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