Source: filipinotimes

A Kuwaiti radio host has expressed his disappointment over the remarks of Kuwaiti blogger Sondos Al Qattan questioning the newly signed law protecting the rights of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Gulf state.

Talal Malik, host of radio show ‘The Morning Show’ on Marina FM, said that Al Qattan’s remarks are “illogical” and that “Ninety-nine percent of Kuwaitis wouldn’t support what she said,” debunking the blogger’s earlier comment that many Kuwaiti nationals have the same sentiment as hers, reported ABS-CBN.

“I don’t support this in any way. What she is saying is completely illogical. Something like this is very controversial and they will cause themselves a lot of backlash. I’m sure 99 percent of Kuwaitis wouldn’t support what she said,” Malik said.

“She does not represent Kuwait in any way,” he added.

Malik also called for Al Qattan to stop taking the issue to another level after the Kuwaiti blogger uploaded a video saying the criticisms against her are attacks to Islam, Hijabis, and her country.

“No, not all. This is getting very silly. This conversation should stop because it is going nowhere. She said something, she should be very responsible for what she said. She should not take it to another level or another turn,” Malik said.

“I am a Kuwaiti myself and I’m sure that my family and most of my friends and if not all of them would be totally against what she said,” underscoring his disappointment over Al Qattan’s comment.

Another Kuwaiti, Manar Sanquor, a Marina FM producer, echoed Malik and underscored the importance of giving household service workers (HSWs) the rest their body needs.

“Everybody who work, have the right to have a vacation, a rest day and everything. Since the agreement has been signed, I think everybody should stick to that agreement so all rights should be set for everybody,” Sanquor said.

Earlier, Emirati vlogger Khalid Al Ameri defended Filipino domestic workers by responding to Al Qattan’s complaints.

“How would you feel if you worked for someone that not only did not give you the day off but disagree with the very ideology that you deserve a day off?” Al Ameri said in his video.

He added that almost every job in the world are granted days off so that employees can rest, and domestic workers should not be of any difference.

Al Qattan, who has over 2.3 million followers on Instagram, previously ranted on social media and questioned the Kuwaiti government’s reforms on the kafala system which now allows Filipino domestic workers to have the right to days off and possession of their own passports.

The Kuwaiti beauty blogger said that the reform was “pathetic”, adding that she doesn’t want to hire Filipino domestic workers anymore.


The beauty influencer's latest testimony says the media backlash was an affront to Islam and the Gulf

Source: thenational

Image result for Sondos Al Qattan

Kuwaitis have spoken out against Sondos Al Qattan, calling her an “embarrassment” after the beauty blogger said the backlash against her was an affront to Kuwaitis and the hijab.

Enraged by Al Qattan's comments, many have taken to social media to denounce her and say they will boycott the brands that are still sponsoring her. This is in direct contrast to Al Qattan's tirade, in which she said her followers would stop supporting the companies that had cut ties with her. Several brands sponsoring Al Qattan have revoked their deals after her controversial remarks, notably Max Factor and Mac.

“She’s an embarrassment. As far as I can remember, everyone knows that Sunday is a day off for those of us lucky enough to have help,” said Samia Al Duaij, who works at an international organisation in Kuwait. “Otherwise, it’s Friday if you're Muslim. I don’t know where this new idea of no days off came from.”

Ms Al Duaij said domestic help is entitled to a day off, as is usual in Kuwait and now enshrined in the country's new labour law. She said Al Qattan was perpetuating an image of Kuwaiti nationals as being oppressive.

“Yes, of course there are cases of inhumanity, as there are anywhere else in the world. But when [the Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte asked the Filipinos to leave earlier this year, 90 per cent of them began protesting,” she said. Ms Al Duaij was referring to a protest held in Kuwait this year over comments made by the firebrand Filipino president in response to the murder of Joanna Demafelis by a Syrian-Lebanese couple in Kuwait.

Al Qattan, a social media star and make-up artist, has courted controversy after her remarks on the recent law that entitles domestic workers to a day off and access to their passports.

The video, posted this week to her 2.3 million Instagram followers, garnered international attention just months after Kuwait and the Philippines resolved a diplomatic spat regarding treatment of domestic workers in the country.

Al Qattan has doubled down in her latest video, shocking many by not apologising and instead responding with a bizarre counterattack. “After seeing all this, I felt there's an attack on Islam, saying 'look, she is wearing the hijab, look at the Muslims, of course [look] at the Kuwaitis in particular, and similarly the people of the Gulf region, look at the Arabs',” she said in her video.

Al Qattan has been so heavily criticised online that she made her Twitter account private and disabled comments on her Instagram page.

LS, who works in Kuwait at a marketing agency, said her defence was clearly aimed at trying to create a diversion.

“I think it’s ridiculous. It doesn’t represent who we are, it doesn’t represent how we treat our housekeepers, because at the end of the day we need them as much as they need us,” LS said. “They take care of my children, so if I don’t treat them well I am not setting a good example to my children.”



Related image

Source: gulf-insider

Just because you have millions of followers, doesn’t make you right. And just because you wear a hijab, doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without being scrutinised. But most of all, if you have a public platform and use it to build your brand and business, you should expect to be fully accountable for what you say.

This is the story of Kuwaiti blogger Sondos Al Qattan, her comments about Filipino domestic workers and the subsequent backlash.

What we should hope for from this sorry tale is that it becomes a turning point in our public conversation, shedding light on serious social problems surrounding domestic workers’ rights and true empowerment for all women.

After complaining to her 2.3 million followers about maids having one day off each week and holding on to their own passports, because if they run away “who will refund me?”, Ms Al Qattan sought to silence her critics by explaining that she does pay her workers and doesn’t beat them.

This hardly seems worth applauding. I’d hope Ms Al Qattan can see the irony in fighting for her own autonomy while being complicit in crushing that of other women.

She has been dropped by the beauty brands for whom she acts as an ambassador. While comments on her social media are blocked, she has just posted images of herself decked in a heavy gold necklace and bangles. From someone who has quibbled about a domestic worker’s day off and “refunds”, the pictures seem distasteful.

The first result of this episode must be that protecting the rights of workers is put firmly on the agenda. But more significantly, the respect and perception of workers must radically shift. They are not objects, but real human beings.

Ms Al Qattan has also just released a statement asking why her critics are not talking about humanitarian crises elsewhere. It’s simple: to say that one day off a week is excessive, to hold a worker’s passport so they can’t “escape” and to demand a refund in exchange for a human being is a humanitarian crisis.

Next, she has claimed that the criticism she’s facing is an attack on Kuwait, the hijab and Islam as a whole. She’s wrong. This is a criticism of Ms Al Qattan’s specific and toxic attitudes, which as it happens are in contravention of Islam’s guidelines on treating people with respect and dignity.

There are many women like Ms Al Qattan who in the past decade have orchestrated a positive shift in the public presence and depiction of Muslim hijabi women. This has been a welcome development.

And yet while a Muslim hijabi might be breaking down barriers and prejudice, she can still be complicit in the oppression of others.

The bottom line is this. Building your own “liberation” on the backs of others is not a form of empowerment. Influencers and advocates (whether explicit or implicit) of freeing women from traditional constraints – as the rise of the female Muslim hijabi influencer has been all about – cannot do so at the expense of other women.

Dear Ms Al Qattan, as hard as it is to admit, the comments you made equated human beings to objects. Your hijab, your millions of followers and the many barriers you might have demolished don’t offer immunity from holding views which – and I’m sorry to use harsh words – are utterly abhorrent.

Please don’t hide behind your hijab. You have a chance here to do some soul searching and then to use your platform to make a truly radical transformation to the lives of millions of people and to make a paradigm shift in one of our most urgent global conversations about the rise of modern slavery.

If you are truly in the business of influencing to make life better for women, by changing opinions, then the first one you need to change is your own.

Shelina Janmohamed is the author of Love in a Headscarf and Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World


Sri Lankan police Friday arrested a Kuwaiti couple accused of assaults which left five customs officers in hospital after they tried to stop the tourists smuggling a pet dog, officials said.

A 32-year-old woman and her 29-year-old male partner turned violent when they were told of quarantine requirements and tried to flee Colombo airport with the animal, police and customs agents said.

“A woman customs guard was badly hurt after she was attacked by the Kuwaiti woman,” customs spokesman Vipula Minuvanpitiya told AFP.

“Four other customs officers were also injured when they tried to stop the couple attacking people. All five have been hospitalised.”

Airport police said they had never recorded such a case over a pet dog.

Police said the Kuwaiti couple were being held at a police station near the airport and would appear before a magistrate on Saturday.

Sri Lanka imposes quarantine rules on pets brought into the island country.

 Source: gulf-insider



Source: Times of india

PUDUCHERRY: A 44-year-old woman from Puducherry, who was forced to work for long hours as domestic maid and babysitter at households in Kuwait without the promised salary, was rescued and brought back to India following a timely intervention of the office of the lieutenant governor and Union external affairs ministry.

The woman identified as Meena Karthikeyan and her family members called on Bedion Tuesday and thanked her for the help. Meena, who lost her husband Karthikeyan, a journalist, 10 years ago, left for Kuwait to work as a maid in households through an agent at Sultanpet, Puducherry, in December last year. “Initially, I worked in a house receiving the salary promised by the agency for two months. However, later they shifted me to other households where I was forced to work from 5am till midnight without proper rest, food and accommodation. Also, they did not pay the salary they promised,” she said.


Meena said when she insisted the agent’s representatives at Kuwait to send her to India, they demanded Rs 3lakh to ‘release her’. “They (agent’s representatives) told me that they have invested Rs 3lakh for my travel and other issues and asked me to pay Rs 3lakh to return to India. I managed to call my son and narrated the situation,” she said. Her son K Puratchidasan, an undergraduate student at Indira Gandhi Government Arts and Science College, brought the issue to the knowledge of Bedi at an open-house session convened by the office of the lieutenant governor following a suggestion by his assistant professor. Bedi sought the intervention of Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

The ministry alerted the officials at the Indian Embassy in Kuwait. Bedi also told Puratchidasan to suggest his mother to reach the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.

“I reached the embassy and was immediately accommodated in a shelter. I stayed at the shelter for 18 days until the officials arranged my return to India. There were 37 others from different parts of India staying at the shelter. I am grateful to lieutenant governor madam, embassy officials and the Indian government for rescuing me,” she said.

Pakistan election results live: Imran Khan wins in Pakistan but needs support to form government

With only 11 seats left to count, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf enjoys a strong lead with 114 seats

The Election Commission said that with only 11 seats left to count, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) enjoys a strong lead with 114 seats, and will be the biggest party in parliament.

At a press conference the commission said that the outgoing Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had 63 seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which could prove kingmaker in a coalition government, had won 43.

The count indicates PTI will not achieve the 137 seats needed in the National Assembly to form a majority government in its own right.  

Imran Khan wins in Pakistan but needs coalition

ISLAMABAD: Official results show cricket star Imran Khan won in Pakistan's polls but he will have to seek out allies to form a coalition government.

After a tediously slow count, Pakistan election officials Friday announced Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 109 of the 269 seats being contested in the National Assembly. The election Wednesday gave his nearest rival, Shahbaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League 63 seats. Sharif who heads the party of jailed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected the results charging widespread fraud and manipulation.

Khan declared his victory on Thursday and dismissed the allegations of fraud calling it the most transparent election in Pakistan's history.

Third place went to the left of center Pakistan People's party with 39 seats. The Election Commission said vote counting was also still underway in 20 remote areas of the country, offering the long-time politician a possibility of more seats but not an outright majority.

A mix of smaller parties and independent candidates whom Khan will have to woo to form a coalition won the remainder of seats in Pakistan's National Assembly. 

'Efforts already underway'

Fawad Chaudhry, spokesman for Khan's party, said efforts were already underway to form a coalition, looking to both independents and allies, but the process is likely to take several days. 

I belong to the masses, says Imran

Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan, who is poised to become the next prime minister of Pakistan, has pledged to introduce polices for the masses and not for the ‘elite’.

In his victory speech yesterday evening (Thursday) from his house in Bani Gala in the capital Islamabad’s suburbs, Khan shared his ambitious plans for the country and vowed to safeguard the interests of the ordinary people. “I will live humbly because I belong to the masses and come from you,” he said in a televised video message.

According to provisional unofficial results, Imran Khan’ PTI has won majority seats (118 until the last count) to be able to form the government without any majority political alliance. He needs 172 seats out of the total National Assembly seats of 342 which has 70 reserved seats including 60 for women and 10 for minorities. Election were held on 272 seats and he needed to win 137 seats out of it. With the help of independents and smaller parties, he is comfortably placed to form the next government.

“I am thankful to people of Pakistan for giving me a chance to realise my dream of ‘Naya (new) Pakistan — free of corruption,” said a visibly happy Imran who was clad in white shalwar kameez (national dress of Pakistan).

Imran also responded to the election manipulation and rigging allegations by the other major parties who lost elections. “I promise to provide you full assistance required to investigate such allegations,” he said. However, he made it clear, this was the most transparent election ever held in Pakistan. 

Duterte may visit in October to thank Kuwait for ‘acceding’ to his demand

President Rodrigo Duterte might visit Kuwait in October in connection with his plan to thank the Gulf state for acceding to his demand for a labor pact ensuring the welfare of migrant Filipino workers, his top aide said on Wednesday, reports GMA News.

Image result for president rodrigo duterte

Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said the visit is subject to the availability of the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah. Duterte was supposed to visit Kuwait in May but it did not push through due to the diplomatic row triggered by the abuses suffered by overseas Filipino workers in the hands of their employers in the country.

Following negotiations, both countries entered into an agreement on the protection and welfare of OFWs, prompting Duterte to lift the total deployment ban on new hires. Among the key features of the agreement are the provision of food, housing, clothing; the registration in the health insurance system for domestic workers; and the use of cellular phones so that OFWs could communicate with their relatives in the Philippines.

The deal also provides that the employer should open a bank account under the domestic worker’s name to allow the reasonable opportunity to remit his or her monthly salary to relatives in the Philippines. In his third State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte said the government is continuing to work with host nations to ensure the welfare of Filipinos. He appealed to all host governments “to help us, as true and dependable partners, in this endeavor.” Duterte made the address before a packed Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City with members of the diplomatic community among those in the audience

By Virgil Lopez, GMA News


Following rocky relations between the Philippines and Kuwait due to the murder and abuse of a Filipina maid earlier this year, a new mandate by the Philippines could further worsen ties between the two countries.

The head of Kuwait’s domestic labor offices union, Khaled al-Dakhnan, told Gulf Business that the Philippines’ authorities issued an executive decision mandating Kuwait’s domestic labor offices to deposit $10,000 in local Filipino banks “for every Filipino worker” recruited in the country as a kind of insurance.

Dakhnan said that this number would be increased to $50,000 if several complaints are reported.

He added that the insurance amount would be deducted from the employer if the worker hasn’t completed their contract, or if they have not received their salary or have any other complaints.

The Philippines embassy in Kuwait, however, clarified that the $10,000 in insurance would be required to be paid in an escrow account by foreign recruitment agencies, and not for each hired worker.

Foreign agencies who apply for accreditation to hire Filipina workers would be required to set up and maintain an escrow account with a bank authorized by the Philippine Central Bank.

“This is to protect the interests of our workers and provide better protection, especially to household service workers, but is not required for each and every Filipino hired. The escrow deposit will primarily be for the settlement of all valid and legal claims and satisfaction of all judgment awards arising from violation of contracts of employment,” Ma Teresa Olgado, Assistant Labor Attache to Kuwait told the Kuwait Times.

Kuwait and the Philippines had signed a deal in May to regulate domestic workers, after a dispute between the two countries led to a ban on Filipino workers in the Gulf state.

Under the deal, Filipino workers would be able to keep their cell phones and receive one day of rest per week.

The dispute between the two countries, simmering for months, had reached a highin May when Kuwait had expelled the Philippine ambassador over videos of embassy staff helping Filipino workers flee allegedly abusive bosses in Kuwait.

Kuwait had also arrested drivers who work at the Philippine Embassy who were helping Filipino workers flee as well.

Joanna Daniela Demafelis, a Filipina worker whose body was found in a freezer in Kuwait earlier this year sparked tensions between both countries, and raised questions about domestic worker abuse.

Kuwait blogger shows no sign of backing down

Sondos Al Qattan says criticism against her is aimed at “Islam, Kuwait and Gulf”

Source: gulfnews

Cairo: Kuwaiti social media star, Sondos Al Qattan, who triggered an outcry over her criticism of a move to improve working conditions of Philippine domestic workers in her country, has said that criticising her “targets Islam, Kuwait and the Gulf”.

In May, Kuwait and the Philippines signed an agreement giving domestic helpers a day off every week and banning employers from keeping their passports. The pact came amid a diplomatic crisis over alleged abuses against Filipinos in the Gulf state.

Al Qattan called the new rules a “farce” and insisted on the employer’s right to keep the housemaid’s passport, remarks that brought her accusations of racism. Some brands have stopped collaboration with Al Qattan in reaction to her comments.

Showing no signs of backdown, Al Qattan, who has 2.3 million Instagram followers, has struck back.

“I did not make a mistake. All this attack is because I am a Muslim, wearing the hijab and belong to the Gulf,” she said in an online video.

“What have slavery and racism to do with my keeping the domestic worker’s passport in order to safeguard my safety and right? The issue is not personal, what is happening against me amounts to targeting the hijab, Islam and Kuwait. I trust in God to deal with enemies of Islam.”

She reprimanded her detractors, telling them to shift their sights to rights violations in the Gaza, Iraq and Syria.

Al Qattan said no brand had officially notified her of stopping cooperation.

“Once this happens, I’ll release the emails so that you can boycott their products,” she told her followers.

WARNING : Smartphone users have been warned

Why you need to update your phone NOW to stop hackers from taking your data, reading messages and stealing pictures

Smartphone users have been warned to update their systems immediately to prevent their data, personal messages and photos being stolen. 

A flaw affecting Bluetooth capabilities is leaving users at risk of having their personal information shared with complete strangers.

Apple, Google and Intel users are all at risk, Carnegie Mellon's Computer Emergency Response Team said this week. 

Smartphone users have been warned to update their systems immediately to prevent their data, personal messages and photos being stolen (stock) 

Smartphone users have been warned to update their systems immediately to prevent their data, personal messages and photos being stolen (stock) 

Carnegie said the flaw meant the connection between users was not properly encrypted.

If users did not immediately update their systems, the door would be left wide open for hackers.

In response to the urgent warning, companies are scrambling to patch up the security risk.

Apple released iOS 11.4 for iPhones, Intel updated its Bluetooth drivers for Windows and Google updated both ChromeOS and Android.

Carnegie urged smartphone users to take heed of the warning and act early to ensure their personal information did not end up in the wrong hands. 

Apple released iOS 11.4 for iPhones (stock), Intel updated its Bluetooth drivers for Windows and Google updated both ChromeOS and Android

Apple released iOS 11.4 for iPhones (stock), Intel updated its Bluetooth drivers for Windows and Google updated both ChromeOS and Android

Carnegie urged smartphone users to take heed of the warning and act early to ensure their personal information did not end up in the wrong hands (stock)

Carnegie urged smartphone users to take heed of the warning and act early to ensure their personal information did not end up in the wrong hands (stock)

Apple, Google and Intel users at risk of having personal data and photos stolen via bluetooth