Kuwait declares start of 3rd GCC Traffic Week

The Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday inaugurating the Third GCC Traffic Week, themed "your life is a liability," scheduled to proceed till March 18. The week-long activity has already begun with police patrols distributing leaflets of guidance to motorists at road intersections. Members of the participating GCC delegation have visited the operation and control rooms, inspecting the traffic personnel task performance, ensuring smooth flow on the road via smart visual equipment.


The ministry's statement said the GCC Week activity is aimed at gearing up all possible efforts to limit accidents, spare lives and swap expertise among the Council member states. The traffic department holds exhibitions at the Avenues and 360 malls during the week, with participation of medical teams, staff from various traffic departments, the information systems' department and the general director of relations and security information. During the exhibition, motorists with grave penalties will be given the chance to re-examine and get softer punitive measure -- except for very grave cases.

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LANDMINE BLAST KILLS CHILD, INJURED ANOTHER

Kuwait: A 6-year-old boy has died and his 4-year-old brother was injured after an active landmine exploded inside their house in Al-Qusoor area, the incident happened when the two children found the bomb shaped as rock from the desert and they brought it home, exploded while the were playing inside their room, a case was registered.

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E-cigarette smokers 'may be exposing themselves to high levels of cancer-causing chemicals'

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E-cig smokers may be exposing themselves to high levels of cancer causing chemicals, according to new research. Benzene, found in traffic pollution and paint stripper, has been linked to a number of diseases including leukaemia and bone marrow failure.

Now scientists have found that levels can form in the vapours of the devices when they are operated at high power. These are much higher than those found in the surrounding atmosphere - which have been linked to increased cancer risk. The higher an e-cig's voltage, the greater the resulting amount of vapour. This means a stronger throat hit and more intense taste. Vaping competitions, where participants produce huge clouds of smoke, have become increasingly trendy with the world championship offering total prize money of $100,000.

Benzene is a component of petrol and is found in urban air because of industrial emissions and traffic pollution. It has been named the biggest single cancer-risk ambient air toxin in the United States. Significant amounts of benzene was detected in of the devices, also known as vapes, at power levels well within the manufacturer's recommended range of settings. The power levels used in the study were still far below those accessible to users on some devices, which can exceed 200 watts.

Professor James Pankow, of Portland State University, said: "The fact vaping can deliver benzene levels many times higher than those found in the ambient atmosphere - where it is already recognised as a cancer risk - should be of concern to anyone using e-cigarettes. Please, stay away from high power if it's available on your device." He tested three different devices and found the tank-type that allows power to be varied was capable of producing benzene thousands of times higher than in ambient air when e-cig chemicals benzoic acid or benzaldehyde were added.

The researchers said their finding published in PLOS ONE was alarming, despite the levels still being 50 to 100 times reduce than in smoke from conventional cigarettes. Variable voltage e-cigs make it possible to change the power of the device to produce just the right flavour for personal choice. Some taste better on low voltage where others improve on high. They produce more vapour than the small e-cigs most people buy when they first begin vaping with the 'cigarette lookalike'.

The power levels used in the study were still far below those accessible to users on some devices, which can exceed 200 watts.  The study follows research last month that suggested e-cigs can be just as bad for the heart as conventional cigarettes. E-cigs are used by almost three million Brits, with many relying on them to help kick their smoking habit.

But evidence is mounting vaping is not as safe as many people were led to believe, after a number of controversial studies pointed to the risks. Last year Swedish scientists said just ten puffs on a vape can be enough to increase the risk of developing heart disease. Other studies have warned of further risks, including one which pointed to long-term health damage for e-smokers even if they don't lead to tobacco use.

Further research has suggested that e-cigs can actually make it harder to quit smoking, or even serve as a gateway leading to non-smokers being introduced to the real thing. But many health bodies still view vaping as a safer alternative, with Public Health England saying the devices are "around 95 per cent less harmful than smoking." 

MP Safa Al-Hashem proposes ban on govt medicine for expats

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In a latest in targeting expatriates, Parliamentarian Safa Al-Hashem said that the authorities should stop giving free medicines to expatriate patients at public clinics and hospitals. She said that the the KD 1 and KD 2 fees expatriates pay at clinics and hospitals, respectively, should be considered as a doctor's fee without including drugs.

In her proposal, Hashem called for making the drugs at clinics and public hospitals exclusively for Kuwaiti patients and that expatriates should buy their medicines from private pharmacies and drug stores.

Currently, in addition to the 1 kd and 2 kd expatraites paying at the medical centers, expatriates also pay a mandatory annual health insurance fee of KD 50 per person per year. In addition, expatriates pay charges for a long list of medical services especially x-ray and radiology services, surgeries, sleeping at hospitals and for some laboratory tests and examinations.In public hospitals, many higher cost medicines are already restricted, in practice, to Kuwaitis only.

She also presented another proposal for imposing a tax of 5 percent on the remittances of expatriates. Earlier, the proposal of similar nature was rejected by the
Parliament.

Twitter continues its campaign against abuse by censoring profiles that 'may include sensitive content'

The California company now censors whole profiles with a whitewash warning that greys out the profile's tweets, bio and profile picture. It gives users the option to view the profile if they wish.

TWITTER'S NEW WARNING SYSTEM 

Greys out the profile photo, bio and tweets of user profiles that may contain 'sensitive material'.

Users must then click a button to confirm that they want to see the profile.

But profiles that are censored have not been informed by Twitter.

The move is part of Twitter's recent campaign to curtail abusive and offensive behaviour on their website. 

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27 planes hit Kuwait sky with aerobatic displays

Around 27 planes from all Gulf countries displayed remarkable aerobatic shows over Kuwait’s sky yesterday as part of the Kuwait Frist Flying Gathering event, which kicked off earlier. The planes displayed beautiful rhythmic segments that were highlighted by each plane’s distinctive color.The two-day event’s shows were held at Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Airport. The event- considered as one of a kind in Kuwait’s history, is under the auspices of the Minister of State for Youth Affairs. – KUNA

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Exclusive: 1,000 US troops to Kuwait to fight against ISIS

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U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is weighing a deployment of up to 1,000 American soldiers to Kuwait to serve as a reserve force in the fight against Islamic State as U.S.-backed fighters accelerate the offensive in Syria and Iraq, U.S. officials told Reuters.

Proponents of the option, which has not been previously reported, said it would provide U.S. commanders on the ground greater flexibility to quickly respond to unforeseen opportunities and challenges on the battlefield. It would also represent a step away from standard practices under President Barack Obama's administration by leaving the ultimate decision on whether to deploy some of those Kuwait-based reserve forces in Syria or Iraq to local commanders.

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"This is about providing options," said one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The officials said the deployment would differ from the existing U.S. troop presence in Kuwait. It was unclear whether the proposal had the support of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who could opt to use other tools to give commanders more agility. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis declined to comment on options being weighed by the Trump administration.

Obama's administration was often accused of micromanaging even the smallest tactical details about the fight against Islamic State, weighing in on the use of helicopters or movement of small numbers of U.S. forces. It also set limits on U.S. deployments that would be adjusted incrementally, a strategy meant to avoid mission creep by the military and prevent military moves that might seem good on the battlefield but which could have inadvertent diplomatic or political consequences. Such limits are now under scrutiny. The decision on whether to create a more rapidly deployable Kuwait-based force is part of the ongoing review of the United States' strategy to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where around 6,000 U.S. troops are deployed, largely in advisory roles, the officials said.

Trump has made defeating Islamic State one of the key goals of his presidency. U.S. officials have acknowledged the review may lead to an increase in American troops in Syria, where U.S.-backed Arab and Kurdish forces are isolating the city of Raqqa - Islamic State's de facto capital - ahead of an assault. But they have so far played down expectations of a major escalation or dramatic shift in a strategy that has focused on training and advising local ground forces, pointing to successes so far in Syria and the steady advance of Iraqi forces in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul.

 

By Phil Stewart| WASHINGTON

Is yellow fever the new Zika virus? Scientists fear sudden outbreak in Brazil could become an epidemic

Health experts fear a random outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil could affect millions if it isn't contained.

 

The entire state of Espirito Santo is now considered at risk for transmission of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims. But it says it could leave residents in densely-populated cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo at risk if it spreads.Although the risk remains remote, it comes just one year after the country's dramatic Zika epidemic, which later spread to various parts of the world.

The ongoing yellow fever outbreak has so far been limited to rural areas, where it is mainly spread to humans by two rural species of mosquito that likely bit infected monkeys, according to Brazilian health officials. But there are growing concerns it could likely start spreading in a human-to-human cycle via the Aedes aegypti mosquito. That mosquito, common in many tropical and subtropical cities, also carries the dengue and Zika viruses, which has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains.

In a 2013-17 risk assessment, the WHO advised travelers get vaccinations if they were visiting all but eight Brazilian states - six in the northeast, along with Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro.  The WHO list now includes northern Rio de Janeiro and all of Espirito Santo, according to WHO guidance updated this week. Brazil's Health Ministry said Tuesday that since December, when the yellow fever outbreak was first detected, there have been 127 confirmed deaths, with another 106 under investigation. 

WHAT IS YELLOW FEVER?

Yellow fever is a serious viral infection that's spread by certain types of mosquito. 

It’s mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa, South America and parts of the Caribbean. 

The symptoms occur in two stages. The initial symptoms develop three to six days after infection and can include: high temperature, vomiting and muscle pain. 

Most people make a full recovery with a few days, but 15% will go on to develop more serious problems, including jaundice, kidney failure and bleeding from the mouth.

Up to half of these people will die.

SOURCE: NHS Direct 

 

BIRTH DEFECTS JUMP IN ZIKA-HIT MOTHERS, STUDY FINDS

Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus last year were 20 times more likely to bear children with birth defects than those who gave birth prior to the epidemic, US health officials said earlier this month. Researchers for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared birth outcomes prior to the Zika epidemic's outbreak in 2015 -- using data from three US state registries -- to those of mothers infected by the virus in 2016.

The defects included microcephaly -- a crippling deformation that leads to babies having very small brains and heads -- as well as poor cranial development, neural tube defects and other brain or eye abnormalities. The study found that those defects were seen in about three live births per 1,000 in 2013 and 2014. But in 2016 abnormalities were found in some 60 infants and fetuses per 1,000 when their pregnant mothers were infected by Zika.

Among infected women, the virus was also responsible for 48 percent of miscarriages and 66 percent of premature births, with fetuses frequently suffering from neural tube defects or other brain abnormalities in early stages of development.

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Out of a total 1,500 suspected yellow fever cases, 371 have been confirmed, 966 are still being examined and the rest ruled out.  Worryingly, the number of suspected and confirmed cases is Brazil's highest since 2000. Vaccination against yellow fever fell in Brazil's southeast in recent decades because the virus had in large part been eradicated from the region.  Now, though, the health ministry is rushing to vaccinate people, sending nearly 15 million extra doses to the newly affected areas.

A viral disease found in tropical Africa and the Americas, yellow fever mainly affects humans and monkeys.  It is often asymptomatic or mild in humans, but is deadly for monkeys.

A sharp increase in the number of dead monkeys found in Brazil's southeast first raised alarm the virus is spreading, especially after a few confirmed cases in monkeys occurred near Belo Horizonte and Vitoria. It is not yet clear what sparked the outbreak. Brazil's health officials are investigating whether it is related to a dam collapse in 2015 at an iron ore mine. The accident, Brazil's worst ever environmental disaster, could have disrupted monkeys' habitat and food supplies. 

 

Source : MailOnline

Now Facebook copies Snapchat Stories with 'Messenger Day' feature to share photos and videos with filters and stickers

Facebook is not yet done being a Snapchat copycat. The firm is rolling out a feature in Messenger called 'Messenger Day' that lets users decorate and share content that disappears in 24hrs.

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MESSENGER DAY 

 Facebook is introducing its global user to Messenger Day, which lets user share photos and videos with illustrated filters that vanish in 24 hours.

When users open up their Messenger app there will be a sun icon centered in the bottom – it is the camera option.

There are more than 5,000 frames, effects and stickers that can be added to photos and videos prior to adding them to 'My Day', which is similar to Stories on Instagram.

You can choose to send the content to certain individuals or share it on Day where you will be notified who views it- messages are also shown in a carousel at the top of the app, just like in Instagram.

And similar to Snapchat, the messages will disappear within 24 hours of sharing.

Ministry urged landline telephone subscribers to pay the bills

The Ministry of Utilities urged landline telephone subscribers to pay off their bills to avoid programmed service disconnection due to be in effect this month. The ministry explained that a warning message will be sent on Sunday followed by another on the following Sunday, after which the service would be disconnected for those who do not pay by Sunday, March 26. The ministry also explained that the limit for the programmed service cut to take place is KD 50 for domestic landlines and KD 100 for commercial lines in addition to lines rescheduled to pay off previous debts by monthly installments if they fail to pay them. The ministry said that the service will be cut for subscribers who have not paid annual subscriptions for over six months.

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