Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, has been conferred the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ by the Aviation Achievement Awards, at this year’s Aviation Annual Gala Evening.

The award is in recognition of the carrier’s robust performance over the last 12 months where it continued to expand and maintain a steady growth. Air Arabia was also acknowledged for the humanitarian causes that it has been supporting through ‘Charity Cloud’, its award-winning corporate social responsibility initiative.

Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia said, "This award is a testament to the growth path of Air Arabia, and the efforts of our team across the board. We are proud to be the recipient of this prestigious award, and are committed to enhancing our services and keep raising the bar for affordable travel in the region."

Over the years the carrier has helped change the lives of the less fortunate by building schools and clinics across countries in its route network, which include Sudan, Yemen, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

Through ‘Charity Cloud’, over 70,000 patients have received medical treatment across the initiative’s clinics and, at present, over 30,000 patients are treated annually.

Air Arabia currently operates flights to 133 routes across the globe from five hubs located in the Middle East and North Africa.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 12:10

Eurofighter is coming to Kuwait

Kuwait’s 28 Eurofighter Typhoons will be the most advanced of the type produced so far. This multi-role fighter aircraft will have a package of capabilities on top of the previous Typhoon’s enhancement programmes, such as the Captor-E (E-scan) radar and several novelties in the weapon system that will bring the Kuwait Air Force to the front-line of fighter technology. Delivery of the aircraft will start in 2020 and will be completed in 2023 making Kuwait the aircraft’s eighth customer.

A Eurofighter with the Kuwait Air Force insigna

On 5 April 2016, a contract between the Ministry of Defence of the State of Kuwait and Leonardo (acting as Prime Contractor Organisation) was signed. It was a true success of the Italian Country System, where politics, diplomacy, the Armed Forces and industry worked together, with considerable benefits in terms of know-how and qualified employment.

The Eurofighter Programme: Leonardo’s role

The work sharing of the complex European partnership programme sees Leonardo in charge of producing all the left wings, complete with installed systems; all the rear sections of the fuselage, designed together with BAE Systems; some mobile surfaces and underwing pylons for loads; wing-fuselage joints and titanium engine fairing. Leonardo also designed and integrated important on-board systems (store management, navigation, flight controls, cockpit displays) and worked on the integration with the aircraft of the whole weapon and propulsion system.
 

The parts that are later assembled to build the wings are produced at the Aerostructures Division’s Nola (Naples) and Foggia plants and at the Aircraft Division’s Venegono plant, whilst the rear sections are produced at the Torino Caselle plant, which is the location of the final assembly line of full aircraft.

Structural parts, systems and sensors produced by Leonardo on board the Eurofighter

Leonardo’s Airborne & Space Systems Division, with the support of the various production sites in Italy and the UK, contribute significantly to the development and production of the aircraft’s avionics and main sensors. In particular, the Captor-E radar (M-scan and E-scan version), produced by the Euroradar consortium, the passive infrared PIRATEsystem, produced by the EuroFirst consortium (both consortium led by Leonardo) and the DASSauto-protection system (Defensive Aids Sub-System), and communication and IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems. Finally, at the Venegono Superiore plant in the Varese province, Leonardo designs and produces Ground Support Equipment (or AGE), such as air start and auxiliary power units.

Production for Kuwait

Since the second half of 2016 the Kuwait’s production activities started with details manufacturing, in line with the baseline plan and in some cases even ahead of schedule.

The capability packages granted to Kuwait” said Giancarlo Mezzanatto, Eurofighter Programme Unit Vice President of the Leonardo Aircraft Division “will include the integration of Storm Shadow and Brimstone and other air-to-surface weapons that enrich the multirole characteristics of the aircraft and enhance the weapon system. Moreover, this configuration foresees the integration of a new advanced laser designator pod, the introduction of a combat training pod, an enhanced navigation aid and the above mentioned new Captor-E radar with its advanced antenna repositioner”.

A Eurofighter in Kuwaiti colors with a complete war load

The Captor-E radar provides significantly more power than most competing systems. Combined with the fighter’s large nose aperture and the unique ability to move the radar antenna, the Typhoon has a field of view of 200 degrees and the flight tests are confirming the discriminating advantages this will bring. “This new radar underpins the Typhoon’s current and future capability evolution” Mezzanatto added.

The agreement with the Kuwait MoD includes also services to operate the Eurofighter fleet at its best such as the design and construction of the infrastructures at the Al-Salem Air Base in Kuwait and the initial support services for three years (with an option for a further five). This includes the supply of equipment and a suite of training devices to establish a pilot Operational Conversion Unit in Kuwait. 

 
 

The Eurofighter in the Gulf Region

This success in Kuwait is a further confirmation of the growing role that the multi-role aircraft produced by the Eurofighter Consortium plays in the Gulf Region. The latest contract signed is that inked by Qatar for 24 Typhoons, that sees Eurofighter partner BAE Systems acting as Prime Contractor. Furthermore the deliveries of all 72 units ordered by Saudi Arabia have been completed this year, and Oman has already received half of the 12 planned aircraft.

Saudi Eurofighter (Eurofighter copyright)

Cabinet to be sworn in on Tuesday ahead of first meeting

Kuwait: Kuwait on Monday announced a new-look cabinet 40 days after the government resigned on October 30.

The new cabinet will take the constitutional oath before the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad on Tuesday and will hold its first meeting afterwards.

 

Observers said that the change to the outgoing cabinet was around 60 per cent.

The Prime Minister, Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak who retained his post which he has held since 2011, presented the formation to the Emir who approved it and issued a decree on its formation, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

The cabinet includes a second woman minister after Jinan Mohsin Ramadan was appointed Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Service Affairs.

The other woman, Hind Sabeeh Barrak Al Sabeeh, kept her post as Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and Minister of State for Economic Affairs.

Nine new ministers made their debuts in the government, including Shaikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, who was named First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and Dr Bassel Humoud Hamad Al Sabah appointed Minister of Health.

Eight ministers left the government, including Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid and Shaikh Mohammad Al Abdullah.

"I renew the pledge to be worthy of the confidence in assuming responsibility at this very delicate stage in the history of our beloved homeland, fully aware of the magnitude of the great challenges, the outstanding issues and the vital problems that necessitate hard and productive work and the willingness to confront difficulties and obstacles that may hinder progress, work and achievement," Shaikh Jaber said as he presented the list of the new cabinet to the Emir.

The outgoing cabinet resigned following a bitter standoff with lawmakers who were calling to subject the minister of information to a vote of confidence.

The new Kuwait cabinet as announced by Kuwait News Agency (Kuna):

  • 1 Shaikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense
  • 2 Shaikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 3 Shaikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
  • 4 Anas Khaled Al-Saleh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs
  • 5 Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Minister of Finance
  • 6 Hind Sabeeh Barrak Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, as well as Minister of State for Economic Affairs
  • 7 Khaled Nasser Al-Roudhan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Youth Affairs
  • 8 Mohammad Nasser Al-Jabri, Minister of Information
  • 9 Dr. Bassel Humoud Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister of Health
  • 10 Bakheet Shibeeb Al-Rasheedi, Minister of Oil and Minister of Electricity and Water
  • 11 Jinan Mohsin Ramadan, Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Services' Affairs
  • 12 Hamid Mohammad Al-Azmi, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education
  • 13 Hussam Abdullah Al-Roumi, Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs
  • 14 Adel Musaed Al-Kharafi, Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs
  • 15 Fahad Mohammad Al-Afasi, Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs

Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker is putting pressure on the Minister of Social Affairs over reports that the state would pay the medical and living expenses of an Egyptian expatriate who was hospitalised after he was beaten up by a Kuwaiti at a car workshop.

“In accordance with what law, regulation or decision, is it possible to take care of an expatriate and his family?” MP Safa Al Hashem asked Hend Al Sabeeh.

 Image result for MP Safa Al Hashem asked Hend Al Sabeeh.

“What is the type of care that is provided and what is its source, especially since we have labour laws that are applicable. We are aware that the expatriate is now being treated in a public hospital and we can exempt him from fees, but we do not have to care for him and his family.”

Al Hashem who has been spearheading a campaign to limit the number of foreigners in Kuwait through regular calls and often controversial suggestions to address the “ominous” demographic imbalance said that the minister should reciprocate the attitudes of the Egyptian authorities towards Kuwaitis.

“Has the Egyptian government provided the same treatment to the abused Kuwaiti citizen in Sharm el Sheikh? Has the Egyptian government also provided the same treatment to the Kuwaiti family of the Kuwaiti mother and her daughter who were killed and thrown in a well in the far reaches of Egypt? Has the minister shown concern and visited the abused Kuwaiti to ask about his condition or has she looked into the case of the Kuwaiti mother and daughter?”

However, Al Sabeeh refuted the allegations regarding public expenses in the case of the Egyptian worker.

“Reports that the state is paying the treatment and living expenses of the Egyptian worker injured in a quarrel with a Kuwaiti citizen are inaccurate and lack credibility and objectivity,” she was quoted as saying by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Tuesday.

“Kuwait is a country of humanity and a state of institutions and laws whose officials are keen to protect the rights of residents in accordance with the local laws in force, and not according to any instructions from any official.”

The minister said that the injured Egyptian man worked for a Kuwaiti employer and had rights guaranteed by the law.

“The quarrel between the expatriate and the citizen has been referred to justice and there will be an independent decision,” she said. “I urge all citizens not to rush into making judgements without clear and irrefutable evidence. Kuwait is always keen to protect the rights of all citizens and residents from all over the world. The state wants to maintain diplomatic relations with brotherly and friendly countries according to local laws and international standards.”

The Egyptian worker, Waheed Mahmood Rafae, was last week savagely beaten and mercilessly kicked by a Kuwaiti client in the Shuwaikh industrial area after he reportedly told him to return following the lunch break to get the spare part he wanted for his motorcycle.

The onslaught was captured by the workshop surveillance camera and was subsequently widely circulated on social media, prompting angry calls for legal action and triggering a wave of sympathy and compassion with the worker.

 
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:05

Rape of Rohingya sweeping, methodical

The testimonies bolster the UN’s contention that Myanmar’s armed forces are systematically employing rape as a ‘calculated tool of terror’ aimed at exterminating the Rohingya people

Ukhia, Bangladesh: The newly-weds were asleep in their home in western Myanmar in June when seven soldiers charged in.

The woman, a Rohingya Muslim who agreed to be identified by her first initial, F, knew enough to be terrified. She knew the military had been attacking Rohingya villages, as part of what the United Nations (UN) has called ethnic cleansing in the mostly Buddhist nation. She heard just days before that soldiers had killed her parents and that her brother was missing.

 

Now they had come for her. The men bound her husband with rope, and tied her scarf around his mouth. They yanked off her jewellery and tore off her clothes. They threw her to the floor.

And then, she says, the first soldier began to rape her.

She struggled against him, but four men held her down and beat her with sticks. Her husband finally wriggled the gag out of his mouth and screamed.

And then she watched as a soldier fired a bullet into the chest of the man she had married only one month earlier. Another soldier slit his throat.

Her mind grew fuzzy. When the soldiers were finished, they dragged her outside and set her bamboo house ablaze.

It would be two months before she realised her misery was far from over: She was pregnant.

The rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar’s security forces has been sweeping and methodical, the Associated Press found in interviews with 29 women and girls who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. These sexual assault survivors from several refugee camps were interviewed separately and extensively. The women gave AP their names, but agreed to be publicly identified only by their first initial, citing fears they or their families would be killed by Myanmar’s military. They ranged in age from 13 to 35, came from a wide swath of villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and described assaults between October 2016 and mid-September.

Yet there was a sickening sameness to their stories, with distinct patterns in their accounts, their assailants’ uniforms and the details of the rapes themselves.

The testimonies bolster the UN’s contention that Myanmar’s armed forces are systematically employing rape as a “calculated tool of terror” aimed at exterminating the Rohingya people. The Myanmar armed forces did not respond to multiple requests from the AP for comment, but an internal military investigation last month concluded that none of the assaults ever took place. When journalists asked about rape allegations during a government-organised trip to Rakhine in September, Rakhine’s minister for border affairs, Phone Tint, replied: “These women were claiming they were raped, but look at their appearances — do you think they are that attractive to be raped?”

Doctors and aid workers, however, say they are stunned at the sheer volume of rapes, and suspect only a fraction of women have come forward. Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors have treated 113 sexual violence survivors since August, a third of them under 18. The youngest was 9.

Each woman interviewed by the AP described attacks that involved groups of men, often coupled with other forms of extreme violence. Every woman except one said the assailants wore military-style uniforms, generally dark green or camouflage. The lone woman who described her attackers as wearing plain clothes said her neighbours recognised them from the local military outpost.

Many women said the uniforms bore various patches featuring stars or, in a couple cases, arrows. Such patches represent the different units of Myanmar’s army.

Though the scale of these attacks is new, the use of sexual violence by Myanmar’s security forces is not. Before she became Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi herself said Myanmar’s armed forces used rape as a weapon to intimidate ethnic nationalities.

Yet Suu Kyi’s government has not only failed to condemn the recent accounts of rape, it has dismissed the accounts as lies. In December 2016, the government issued a press release disputing Rohingya women’s reports of sexual assaults, accompanied by an image that said “Fake Rape”.

More than three months after the men burst into F’s home, she was living with her neighbours — a couple and their five-year-old son. The timing of her rape left little doubt that the baby growing inside her belonged to one of the men who had caused all her grief.

She could only pray that things would not get worse. And then, one night in mid-September, they did.

The men broke down the door. There were five of them this time, F remembers. They slashed the boy’s throat, and killed the man.

Then they turned to the man’s wife, and to F. And her nightmare began again.

They stripped off the women’s clothes and threw them to the floor. F’s friend fought back, and the men beat her so viciously the skin on her thighs began to peel away.

But the fight had gone out of F. She felt her body go soft, felt the blood run between her legs as the first man forced himself on her, and then the second. Three men savaged her friend.

When it was over, the women lay on the floor for days.

Finally, F hauled herself to her feet, pulling her friend up with her. Hand in hand, the women stumbled to the next village, and then began the 10-day journey to Bangladesh.

Which is where F lives now, in a tiny bamboo shelter between two filthy latrines. And it is here that F prays her baby will be a boy — because this world is no place for a girl.

The child will be the only family F has left. For her, the most haunting reminder of the agony she endured also, somehow, represents her last chance at happiness.

“Everybody has died,” she says. “I don’t have anyone to care for me. If I give this baby away, what will I have left? There will be nothing to live for.”

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 09:48

New visa fees proposed

Director General of the General Department for Residence Affairs, Major-General Talal Ma’araf said that the proposed new visa fees will be implemented after the approval of Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah and the National Assembly.

According to new proposal, a fee of KD 30 was proposed for a month-long visit with the possibility of renewing it for more than a month. However, those who overstay their visit visa will have to pay KD one per day of overstay. Transfer of the visit visa to an article 14 residency (for temporary work) will be for a fee of KD 1 per day. 

Regarding the permission to remain outside the country for more than six months, there is a proposal to allow it for a nominal fee, he added.

According to the proposal, sponsoring dependents other than the wife and children can be done for an annual fee of KD 300 per person. 

The proposals are at the fatwa and legislation department and in the final stages of approval.

The amendments include granting multiple entry visit visas to businessmen to encourage the capital inflow and economic movement in the country, so that visitors can frequently visit the country at regular intervals according to the validity of the visa. The maximum validity of a visa granted to businessmen will be one year to enable businessmen to enter and exit the country multiple times.

Public Road Authority obtained all the approvals to develop the road network in areas surrounding the Avenues Mall to eradicate the never-ending traffic congestion in this area.

According to Al-Rai daily, authority has obtained all the necessary approvals and is prepared to sign a contract for supervision and execution next week. 

The project will include construction, completion and maintenance of roads, bridges, sewage system, and rainwater drainage network in addition to other services on Fifth Ring Road, Al-Ghazali Road, and Mohammed Bin Al-Qassim Street on a contract worth KD 15 million. The daily reported the project also includes development of six sites between Fifth Ring Road and Al-Ghazali Road to increase the capacity of traffic flow in the vicinity of the Avenues Mall.

The project is aimed at reducing the traffic congestion that road users and visitors to the Avenues Mall always complain about. It is also aimed at finding necessary lasting engineering solutions to the traffic problem around the mall.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 09:32

GANG BUSTED FOR ELECTRIC CABLES THEFTS

Kuwait: Farwaniya securitymen busted a gang of three members, two Egyptians and a Bangladeshi national for stealing a large quantities of copper wires and electrical cables from transformers, The suspects were referred to the concerned authorities for necessary legal action against them.

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Tuesday, 12 December 2017 00:01

EARTHQUAKE HITS WESTERN IRAN

A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hits the Iranian border with Kurdistan Region, people in Sulaimani, Erbil, Kirkuk 

 
 

An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale hit the city of Halabja in the northern Iraqi province of Sulaymaniyah.

"An earthquake shook the outskirts of the city of Halabja in the province of Sulaymaniyah this evening," said Abdul Karim Taqi, an official of the external observatories of the Iraqi Air Force.

"The earthquake shook 5.5 on the Richter scale," he said.As of 16:00 GMT, the official did not confirm or deny damage caused by the earthquake, but activists through the Facebook social networking site were trading images showing rocky falls in the Darbandikhan area south of Sulaymaniyah.

The Iraqi government fears the impact of the dervendikhan dam in Sulaymaniyah province and the dam of Mosul, in the north of the country, with aftershocks.On November 12, an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, centered in northeastern Iraq, killed hundreds, mostly in Iran, and wounded thousands.In Iran, state media said an earthquake measuring six degrees hit the west of the country

The epicenter was close to the town of Izjili, but residents of Kermanshah, the region's biggest city, also felt the tremors. 
A 7.3-magnitude quake hit western Iran last month, killing at least 530 people and injuring thousands

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