Kuwait Society for Human Rights launched hotline to help expat workers

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Kuwait Society for Human Rights launched a “hotline 22215150” to raise awareness of migrant workers in Kuwait of their various legal rights and duties.

The hotline operates in five different languages including “Arabic, English, Filipino, Hindi and Urdu” in order to receive as many inquiries as possible about labor laws, ministerial decisions and legal procedures to protect rights.

Chairman of the board of Kuwait Society for Human Rights Khalid Al-Hamidi said that Through the hotline, legal advice can be sought as it will be answered by specialized experts and it provides a service of responding to all the migrant workers’ questions on laws and procedures concerning labor rights.

The hotline received many complaints, including “cancellation and transfer, recovery of passport, claim for financial dues, final cancellation of travel and a number of problems faced by migrant workers.”

His Highness the Amir congratulates newly sworn-in Indian president

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His Highness the Amir congratulates newly sworn-in Indian president
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on being sworn-in as the 14th president of India on Tuesday.
His Highness the Amir wished Kovind luck and success in his new role.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables.
Kuwait's parliament speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim on Tuesday congratulated India on the swearing in of its new president, Ram Nath Kovind. Al-Ghanim expressed the sentiments in two cables sent to the Chairman of India's Rajya Sabha (upper house) Mohammad Ansari and Speaker of the Lok Sabha (lower house) Sumitra Mahajan.

Hike in expats healthcare fees eyed KD 5 – KD 10 from KD 1 or KD 2

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Solar storms are sending radiation towards the Earth that could knockout satellites

Space experts have issued a series of warnings about unusually high solar activity, which could affect satellites and disrupt power supplies.

The American Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC) monitors the surface of the sun and observed a huge eruption late last week.

This sent a stream of radiation hurtling towards the Earth, which is likely to continue bombarding the planet in the coming days.

As well as causing potential disruption, the activity has also fuelled the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, which have been visible further south than is usual.

Space experts have issued a series of warnings about unusually high solar activity, which could affect satellites and disrupt power supplies, caused by a coronal mass ejection (pictured in a stock image)
 

The first warning, issued by SWPC on Sunday, spoke of 'an interplanetary shock, likely associated with the arrival of a 'coronal mass ejection' that was first observed on Friday, at around 6:15 am BST (1:15 am EST). 

The initial warning was of a 'minor solar storm' headed for the planet, but this was upgraded to a moderate threat.

That warning was repeated yesterday evening and experts believe these conditions could continue into Wednesday.

Possible effects include power grid fluctuations, orientation problems for spacecraft and interference with radio transmissions.

One of the more pleasant affects, however, has been an increase in the beautiful displays of The Northern Lights.

These are caused when charged particles from the enter the earth's atmosphere. 

The reason why this often happens near the two poles is because that's where the earth's magnetic field is the weakest.

The particles from the sun then transfer energy to oxygen and nitrogen on Earth, and to get rid of some of the energy, they cast off photons which cause the colour display.

Among those lucky enough to spot the natural light display were night owls in Michigan.

 

HOW IT COULD IMPACT EARTH 

Solar flares can damage satellites and have an enormous financial cost.

Astronauts are not in immediate danger because of the relatively low orbit of this manned mission.

They do have to be concerned about cumulative exposure during space walks.

The charged particles can also threaten airlines by disturbing the Earth's magnetic field.

Very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies. 

 

The initial SWPC warning was of a 'minor solar storm' headed for the planet, but this was upgraded to a moderate threat. That warning was repeated yesterday evening (pictured) and experts believe these conditions could continue into Wednesday.

SWPC released this footage of solar activity into Monday night and through the early hours of this morning 

They were treated to a display Sunday night, when the Northern Lights reached south into the United States.

The displays also continued into Monday night and through the early hours of this morning.

If these conditions continue, similar displays could be visible again tonight. 

Dr Tamitha Skov, a Los Angeles-based space weather expert believes there is a 25 per cent chance of major activity today and 20 per cent chance of minor activity tomorrow.

This animation shows SWPC's predictions for Northern Light activity over Monday night into Tuesday. If these conditions continue, similar displays could be visible again tonight

Dr Tamitha Skov, a Los Angeles-based space weather expert believes there is a 25 per cent chance of major activity today and 20 per cent chance of minor activity tomorrow

Observers at northern latitudes above 60 degrees, including parts of Russia, Canada, Alaska, Norway and the Shetland Islands, are most likely to see aurora activity. 

Skygazers at middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees, including most of the United States, Europe and Asia, have a significantly lower chance of spotting the lights.

Many in the UK were hoping they might be able to catch a rare glimpse on home soil over the weekend, but it proved to be a disappointment.

Writing on Aurora Watch UK, Dr Nathan Case said: 'We had such high hopes. 

The geomagnetic storm caused the Northern Lights to be visible as far south as Michigan (pictured), New York and Washington State late Sunday night into early Monday morning
Another photographer captured a picture of the aurora appearing in shades of purple and yellow in the sky near Walla Walla, Washington, on Monday morning (pictured)

'Predictions were good, the best we'd seen for a while, and the early stats were promising but the aurora fizzled out before we had a chance to see it. 

'With so few hours of darkness, catching a sighting of the aurora was always going to be a little harder than during those long, cold winter nights. 

'Here in Lancaster, civil twilight ended at 10:23 pm and began again at 4:12 am. 

'For those of you further north, darkness was even shorter.'

Others were more lucky, with photographers in the US capturing the ongoing atmospheric activity.

They have since taken to social media to share some of the images they captured. 

User Kim Hines said: 'Aurora N. of Winnipeg approx 12:10 am July 18.

The displays also continued into Monday night and through the early hours of this morning. Twitter user Kim Hines spotted the aurora at around 12:10 am today north of Winnipeg
Leon Kauffman added: 'It wasn't as wild as sometimes, but the early morning aurora made for a starry, colorful backdrop for the silhouetted trees.'
Meteorologist Mark Tarello shared an image captured by Brennan Jospeh Jontz. He said: 'WOW! Northern Lights seen early this morning near Grantsburg, Wisconsin'
Meteorologist Mark Tarello shared an image captured by Brennan Jospeh Jontz. He said: 'WOW! Northern Lights seen early this morning near Grantsburg, Wisconsin'

'Faint to the naked eye. Pretty high up though.' 

Leon Kauffman added: 'It wasn't as wild as sometimes, but the early morning aurora made for a starry, colorful backdrop for the silhouetted trees.'

Meteorologist Mark Tarello shared an image captured by Brennan Jospeh Jontz.

He said: 'WOW! Northern Lights seen early this morning near Grantsburg, Wisconsin' 

WHAT ARE AURORAS? 

There are two types of auroras - Aurora Borealis, which means 'dawn of the north', and Aurora Australis, 'dawn of the south.'

The lights are created when charged particles from the sun enter Earth's atmosphere.

Usually the particles are deflected by the Earth's magnetic field, but some enter the atmosphere and collide with gas particles.

These collisions emit light, in many colours although pale green and pink are common. 

Kuwait to deport 88 expats for breaking residency, labour rules

Sponsors of the violators will be blacklisted and prevented from sponsoring others under strict rules

Kuwait is to deport 88 foreigners for breaking residency and labour rules, officials have said. The expatriates were arrested during a campaign conducted on Wednesday in the Governorate of Al Ahmadi to look for lawbreakers and marginal workers without valid documentations.

They all admitted during their questioning that they were not working under their sponsors as requested by the law. The probe revealed that many had absconded from their original work while others were wanted in other cases.The sponsors of the violators will be blacklisted and will not be allowed to sponsor any foreigner under the strict rules adopted by the Kuwaiti authorities to ensure better compliance with the laws.

In March last year, Kuwait deported 1,053 foreigners detained in a raid on Jleeb Al Shuyukh, an area in the capital inhabited mainly by workers from South Asia and Arab countries.During the raid, 4,015 foreigners had their identity documents checked to ensure they were not overstaying their residency in the country or were not on the list of people wanted for felonies.

In February, Kuwait deported 1,170 foreigners detained in a massive crackdown in the Khaytan area carried by several security agencies that dealt with 3,548 people.

“The raid was part of the security campaigns launched regularly by the ministry to arrest lawbreakers, convicts and wanted people,” the interior ministry said. “We checked the documents of those detained and allowed 2,378 people to go. However, 1,170 were referred to the competent authorities for deportation. The list includes seven who were wanted in relation with felonies.”

The ministry said that 218 of the detainees had broken the residency rules and overstayed in the country despite the expiry of their permits.Two thirds of the 3.4 million people living in Kuwait are foreigners, mainly unskilled workers, helpers and drivers from Asian countries.

Do YOU live in the world's laziest country?

Global analysis reveals the steps people take each day across the planet (and you might be surprised to learn which residents are the fittest)

 

If you've ever wondered which country leads the way in terms of staying fit each day, your queries have been answered.

Smartphone data from more than 700,000 people has been collated by scientists to show just how active different parts of the world are.

And residents of Hong Kong can proudly claim to be the fittest, walking an average of 6,880 steps each day - the equivalent to around three-and-a-half miles (6km).

But those living in Indonesiaappear to be the laziest, managing just 3,513, according to Stanford University researchers.

By comparison, Britons walk 5,444 steps on a daily basis, less than three miles (5km), tipping their US counterparts who manage just 4,774.

 

Smartphone data from 700,000 people has been collated  to show how active different parts of the world are. Residents of Hong Kong can claim to be the fittest, walking an average of 6,880 steps each day. But those living in Indonesia appear to be the laziest, managing just 3,513
 

Smartphone data from 700,000 people has been collated to show how active different parts of the world are. Residents of Hong Kong can claim to be the fittest, walking an average of 6,880 steps each day. But those living in Indonesia appear to be the laziest, managing just 3,513

Scott Delp, a professor of bioengineeering behind the findings, told the BBC: 'The study is 1,000 times larger than any previous study on human movement.

'There have been wonderful health surveys done, but our new study provides data from more countries, many more subjects, and tracks people's activity on an ongoing basis.

'This opens the door to new ways of doing science at a much larger scale than we have been able to do before.' 

On average, the number of daily steps taken was 4,961 - two-and-a-half miles (4km), according to the research published in the journal Nature.

But many countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, also fell below the standard estimated amount. 

Experts say the overall findings, which delved into multiple factors such as 'activity inequality' and obesity rates in 46 countries, could help tackle bulging waistlines.

Contrary to popular belief, the main findings of average steps in each country had little impact on obesity levels. Instead, activity inequality - dubbed the vast difference between the active and the non-active - was a more accurate reflection

Contrary to popular belief, the main findings of average steps in each country had little impact on obesity levels. Instead, activity inequality - dubbed the vast difference between the active and the non-active - was a more accurate reflection

Contrary to popular belief, the main findings of average steps in each country had little impact on obesity levels.

Instead, activity inequality - dubbed the vast difference between the active and the non-active - was a more accurate reflection.

The researchers told the BBC the bigger the gap between the two sets of people, the more obese people who lived in the country. 

Tim Althoff, a PhD candidate in computer science who was involved in the research, said: 'For instance, Sweden had one of the smallest gaps between activity rich and activity poor... it also had one of the lowest rates of obesity.'

His claims were backed by the findings, which showed the US and Mexico to have similar average step counts - but stark differences in activity inequality and obesity levels.  

The findings were based on anonymous data from participants who used the Argus app on their phones, designed to track daily activity.  

ANOTHER FINDING OF THE SAME STUDY

Well designed pedestrian friendly cities can help combat obesity, the Stanford University team also found.

By analysing the data from 69 cities in the researchers found that city design has health impacts.

The cities that were best designed for walking had a better rate of activity among all its citizens.

Jennifer Hicks, director of data science for the Mobilise Centre at Stanford, said: 'Looking at three California cities in close geographic proximity - San Francisco, San Jose and Fremont - we determined that San Francisco had both the highest walkability score and the lowest level of activity inequality.

'In cities that are more walkable everyone tends to take more daily steps, whether male or female, young or old, healthy weight or obese.'

REVEALED: THE FULL FINDINGS FROM THE STUDY OF MORE THAN 700,000 PARTICIPANTS
THE 46 COUNTRIES THAT WERE STUDIEDAVERAGE AMOUNT OF STEPS TAKEN
Hong Kong 6,880
China  6,189 
Ukraine 6,107
Japan 6,010
Russia 5,969
Spain 5,936
Sweden 5,863
South Korea 5,755
Singapore 5,674
Switzerland 5,512
Czech Republic 5,508
UK 5,444
Italy 5,296
Ireland 5,293
Denmark 5,263
Hungary 5,258
Poland 5,249
Norway 5,246
Germany 5,205
Finland 5,204
Chile 5,204
France 5,141
Netherlands 5,110
Turkey 5,057
Israel 5,033
Taiwan 5,000
Belgium 4,978
Australia 4,941
Canada 4,819
US 4,774
Thailand 4,764
Romania 4,759
Portugal 4,744
Mexico 4,692
New Zealand 4,582
UAE 4,516
Greece 4,350
Egypt 4,315
India 4,297
Brazil 4,289
Qatar 4,158
South Africa 4,105
Phillipines 4,008
Malaysia 3,963
Saudi Arabia 3,807
Indonesia 3,513

WhatsApp's latest update will make sending bold, italic and strikethrough text easier with a special dropdown menu

A new WhatsApp update will make changing fonts much easier with a floating toolbar.

Users will be able to select the text to change and then add the effect which will be automatically applied.

Last year the Facebook-owned app allowed users to add certain characters before and after the words or sentences to make them go bold, italic or with a line through the centre, known as a strikethrough.

However, many people were unaware of the change and so the formatting options were rarely used.

The new feature is currently in WhatsApp 2.17.148 beta testing on Android but will likely come to the iPhone in the future.

In order to change the text users will be able to tap the overflow button and the changes will be applied automatically.

This will make formatting options much more accessible to users.  

WhatsApp has not revealed when the new features will be released.

Currently, to make text appear bold, users can type an asterisk before and after the word like this: *MailOnline*.

To make text appear italicised, the underscore character needs to be typed before and after the word.

To strikethrough a word, type the tilde character before and after.

THE NEW FEATURE

A new WhatsApp update will make changing fonts much easier with a floating toolbar.

The new feature is currently in WhatsApp 2.17.148 beta testing on Android but will likely come to the iPhone in the future.

In order to change the text users can tap the overflow button and the changes will be applied automatically.

Users will be able to select the text to change and then add the effect which will be automatically applied.

Along with this update WhatsApp are also testing an emoji search option which allows users to find an emoji based on a word or character search.

This means users can search using key terms rather than flicking through all the emoji. 

WhatsApp has been contacted for comment. 

Currently, to make text appear bold, users can type an asterisk before and after the wordTo make text appear italicised, the underscore character needs to be typed before and after the word

Currently, to make text appear bold, users can type an asterisk before and after the word. To make text italicised, the underscore character needs to be typed before and after the word

Last month new findings suggested the encrypted messenger service may not be as secure as once thought.

A computer programmer discovered a flaw in the app that could be revealing the location of its users after they've sent a weblink using the service.

The study suggests that people who assume messages sent via the service are totally untraceable could be less protected than they believe.

WhatsApp has not revealed when the new features will be released. Currently, to strikethrough a word, users can type the tilde character before and after the word

WhatsApp has not revealed when the new features will be released. Currently, to strikethrough a word, users can type the tilde character before and after the word

The security hole was exposed by Adam Wolk, a software developer from Sanok, Poland.

He found that a facility designed to ensure that URL links sent via the app are not malicious was exposing IP addresses, the personal identifier assigned to each internet connected device, as well as other information.

Speaking to The Register, Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist Erica Portnoy said: 'You can see where someone made a design decision there.

'If you assume that people copy rather than type in URLs, well, it's probably fine because they just visited it anyway.

'But it becomes less fine when, say, you were careful to visit that site over Tor (an encrypted browser), but now your IP address is leaked to the server because you typed it in the message.

'Imagine you found out that someone posted revenge porn about you, and WhatsApp just leaked your IP address, which gives the person running the website information about your location', she said. 

No domestic visa for people of Madagascar

The Acting Director-General of the General Department for Residence Affairs Major-General Abdullah Al-Hajri, has issued a circular not to issue Visa Article No. 20 to people of Madagascar (domestic workers). According to Al-Anba daily, the suspension of Visa under Article No. 20 comes at the request of the government of Madagascar which has decided against sending domestic workers to the Gulf states.

Saudi Arabia impose ‘tax’ on expats

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RIYADH, July 6, (AFP): Saudi Arabia on Thursday said it had begun taxing foreigners working in the private sector as part of fiscal reforms aimed at coping with a drop in oil revenues. Long a tax-free haven for expatriates, the Saudi economy was dealt a serious blow in 2014 when global crude prices plummeted.

The kingdom, the world’s largest exporter of oil, has since launched an economic diversification plan and slashed state spending in an attempt to cope with a hefty deficit.

On July 1, foreigners working in the private sector began paying a family tax of 100 riyals ($26.60/23.40 euros) per month for every minor or unemployed relative living in the kingdom, the Saudi general directorate of passports said in a statement.

An estimated 11 million foreigners work in the Saudi private sector, with 2.3 million of their dependents based in the kingdom, according to the Public Authority for Statistics.

The tax is expected to increase every year until 2020, when it will cap at 4,800 riyals ($1,280/ 1,126 euros) per dependent annually.

Saudi Arabia projects a government budget balance in 2020. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious “Vision 2030” plan, unveiled in April 2016, aims to broaden its investment base and diversify the once oil-dependent economy.

The plan will also see the sale of nearly five percent of state-owned Aramco — the world’s largest oil company reportedly worth between $2 trillion and $2.5 trillion.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar aim to introduce value-added taxes in 2018 to deal with fiscal deficits, followed by the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council states — Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman

Visit visa violators allowed to adjust status

Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah gave immigration departments’ directors in all governorates the authority to extend visit visas of expatriates and allow visit visa violators to adjust their statuses after paying fines. The new instructions took effect on Tuesday, according to Al-Anbaa daily.

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