Panel told of increase in expats terminations early next month

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Civil Service Commission (CSC) has informed Parliament’s Replacement Committee about an increase in the number of expatriate employees in the public sector to be terminated, which will reach 3,140 early next month, reports Al-Qabas daily.

According to informed sources, the replacement policy is working based on a time schedule. The batch of nominations among university graduates from the registered list of CSC will be announced next month. CSC provided the committee with its plan for updating the data of registered applicants in the central employment system, and the committee approved it unanimously.



Would-be Shoplifter Sets Himself on Fire in Agadir Supermarket

Rabat – The scene shocked Marjane shoppers in Agadir. According to local media outlets, a 30-year-old man set himself on fire at the main entrance of the supermarket Sunday, June 3, to the cries of others nearby.


The 59-second footage of his act, taken by a customer, has circulated on social media, causing uproar among citizens.

A security agent at the store intervened, running after the man to extinguish the fire. After local authorities arrived, the man was transported to Hassan II Hospital in Agadir with second- and third-degree burns.

According to the local news site, the man has a criminal record, as he first entered the mall on Sunday morning to steal. He was caught in the act of shoplifting.Once the stolen object was paid for, he left the store, only to return later in the afternoon equipped with a flammable product. For now, the local authorities have not yet commented on the incident.




Revealed: 10 cities with highest salaries this year

Analysts at a bank catalogue the salaries of workers around the world and here's what they find out

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Workers in Zurich, Switzerland are the highest paid in the world, while those in Dubai aren’t far behind, ranking among the top ten destinations where residents bring home the most cash, according to the latest analysis.

Deutsche Bank has recently catalogued the cost of goods and services in key cities to highlight how living costs vary from one place to another.

Analysts looked at everything from how much it costs to get a haircut or buy a pair of jeans to the monthly rent of a two-bedroom flat.

Among the indicators that the bank looked into is how much salary consumers pocket each month.

Out of the 48 cities included in the study, Zurich topped the list, with the average person working in Switzerland’s largest city bringing home $5,764 (Dh21,000), net of taxes, every 30 days.

Dubai came in at the ninth place, with an average monthly income of $3,447, or a little over Dh12,000. Current salaries in the emirate have dropped from the previous year’s average of $3,548, but they’re higher than those in a number of popular expatriate destinations, such as the cities in New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and France.

Dubai has been ranked as one of the top cities for expatriates to live and work in.

However, workers in a number of American cities, such San Francisco, New York, Boston and Chicago are slightly better off compared to their peers in Dubai, with average salaries in those destinations averaging more than $3,400 (Dh12,400) a month.

10 cities with highest salaries
(Monthly salary, net of taxes)

1.Zurich, Switzerland: $5,764
2.San Francisco, US: $4,974
3. New York City, US: $4,115
4. Sydney, Australia: $3,914
5. Boston, US: $3,740
6. Oslo, Norway: $3,664
7. Chicago, US: $3,650
8. Copenhagen, Denmark: $3,462
9. Dubai, UAE: $3,447
10. Frankfurt, Germany: $3,389

At the other end of the scale are professionals in Jakarta, Indonesia, where workers earn only $436 (Dh1,600) a month, approximately 12 per cent of the average salary in Dubai.

Salaries are also among the lowest in Manila, Philippines, at $498 a month, as well as in the Indian cities of New Delhi ($666) and Bangalore ($764).

Eight killed in suicide blast near peace gathering of Afghan clerics

KABUL: A suicide bomber on Monday killed at least eight people near Muslim clerics leaving a giant tent in the Afghan capital of Kabul where they had gathered to denounce terrorism and call for peace, security officials said.

Afghanistan suicide blast

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which underlines a worsening security situation ahead of parliamentary and district council elections set for Oct. 20.

A series of bombings in Kabul has killed dozens of people in recent months and shown no sign of easing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

On Wednesday, gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers stormed the heavily fortified headquarters of the interior ministry, battling security forces for more than two hours.

In April, two explosions in Kabul killed at least 26 people, including nine journalists who had arrived to report on an initial blast and were targeted by a suicide bomber.

A week earlier, 60 people were killed and more than 100 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in the city.

Militant group Islamic State has claimed many attacks in Kabul but security officials say several are much more likely to be the work of the Haqqani network, a group affiliated with the Taliban, who are seeking to re-impose strict Islamic rule after their 2001 ouster by U.S.-backed forces.

Provincial cities have also been hit as the Taliban, seeking to reimpose hardline Islamic rule, have stepped up fighting across the country since they announced the beginning of their annual spring offensive in April.

Pakistan benefits from Kuwait’s ban on import of Indian fruits: FPCCI

KARACHI: Pakistan’s fruit exports to Kuwait will likely to be doubled after the Middle East country banned imports of fruits and vegetables from India, due to the Nipah virus outbreak.

The ban on India would have positive effect for Pakistani fruit and vegetable exports to Kuwait, which  will eventually double in the volume, Waheed Ahmed, the vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) said.

As per current situation, it is observed that at present the crops at two Indian states have affected by the Nipah Virus, and the outbreak spreading in southern state of Kerala and other states in India’s south.

Ahmed clarified that as per Kuwaiti Food Safety Review, a warning has been issued since this Nipah virus is a risk for both humans and animals. Kuwait’s trade ministry, has also imposed ban on the imports of fruits and vegetables from India, in an earlier statement.

He also stated that an advisory had been issued to implement precautionary measures considered important by the health authorities in Kuwait.

A committee at the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition — the Kuwaiti food safety and regulatory authority — mentioned Nipah virus outbreak in India’s Kerala is the key point for the latest decision taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

It is pertinent to mention here that last week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also imposed ban on import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala in India, due to the Nipah virus attack.

The Nipah virus has killed around 13 people in Kerala, as per a report published in a UAE newspaper.

The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCaE) also notified other local authorities, including the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and the municipalities of its emirates, to prohibit the entry of fresh fruit produce from Kerala.

As per the ministry it is suspected that fruit bats are the source of spreading the virus. It said it was banning fresh fruits imports, including mangoes, dates, and bananas — the bats’ preferred fruits.

However, Indian health officials are unable to trace the origin of the outbreak and have commenced a fresh round of tests on fruit bats from Perambra, the suspected epicentre of the infection.

Kerala authorities have sent 116 suspected cases of the virus to labs for testing in recent weeks,15 of which have been confirmed with the deadly disease and 13 of these people have died, with two patients still undergoing treatment.

No confirmed cases of the virus have been found outside the state.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), there is no vaccine for the virus, which spreads through body fluids and can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

1st integrated 5G network in Kuwait

Zain launches 1st integrated 5G network in Kuwait

Zain, the largest telecommunications company in Kuwait, has launched the first integrated 5G technology on its network, which will provide high-speed communications with high efficiency. Fifth-generation technology represents a quantum leap in the operational efficiency of its network which will make it one of the first companies in Kuwait and the region to adopt this solution to meet the ever-growing digital needs of its individual and enterprise customers.

Zain extends an invitation to its customers to experience 5G technology during the month and enjoy the high speeds that will be available in several prominent locations, an early initiative for its customers to benefit from the great mobile experience of 5G services. Zain will continue developing and expanding the 5G network gradually across Kuwait until the devices are available, expected during the course of 2019.” Zain Kuwait’s Chief Technology Officer Nawaf Al Gharabally said: “Telecom services are one of the most important sectors in accelerating economic growth and promoting trade. Obviously, existing mobile networks will not be able to satisfy the future needs of the telecommunications sector.

5G technologies will contribute to the digital transformation and prosperity of Kuwait, supporting the leadership’s future vision for the country and its people.” Al Gharabally continued, “The launch of this new technology will help Zain to unleash its full potential in the digital community, enhance ICT cooperation on multiple fronts and stimulate the company’s efforts to become the leading provider of digital lifestyle”

He explained that the practical applications offered by these new technologies will expand the scope of the company’s services in the enterprise sector and B2B companies, who benefit enormously from high speeds, as well as enhancing the customer experience, and the creation of new business. This move will take the company’s customer base to next-generation technology in data transfer and Internet usage. The coverage will start in some areas in succession, with the plan covering the most important places and vital areas in the country soon. “The fifth-generation services will provide a comprehensive change in the use of the Internet and will help introduce and deliver unique products and services in the business, smart cities, and Internet sectors. The technology solutions will also meet the growing demand for data services,” said Al Gharabally.

The technology will provide real value to digital information, as the world telecom community will count on the tremendous potential that will be provided by the fifth generation technology, and the capabilities it will offer to lead the digital conversion, IoT, high-volume data, especially since the design of the fifth generation technology will improve the rapid growth of smart phones, data services and video services over the Internet, and the fifth generation will provide customers with high quality Internet services to allow them to enjoy movies and programs, as well as live and online gaming, online shopping and more. Advanced vehicle technologies will contribute to the introduction of new safety and traffic efficiency systems that will include self-driving vehicles.

Future generations of vehicles will need advanced wireless communication capabilities through the fifth generation to connect with each other, with local traffic center systems and vehicle manufacturers. The fifth-generation technology will enable industries to adopt new models of technologies that can help reduce costs, enhance efficiency and improve public health. At the same time, the fifth generation can provide many commercial services to consumers to track and monitor data wirelessly.

Zain has been one of the first companies interested in acquiring the latest technological applications. It confirms the great interest it attaches to the convenience of the customer in providing its services and its keenness to provide the best products to suit the different needs of its customers to be accessible to all.


Philippines’ Duterte stirs controversy by kissing woman on lips

President dismissed the kiss as just a ‘gimmick’ to entertain supporters at a meet-and-greet event in Seoul

A kiss by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on a Filipino woman’s lips while on an official visit in South Korea sparked anger and jokes on Monday, as feminists denounced what they called his “perverted way” of taunting his female critics.

Many Filipinos, however, thought it was a harmless kiss intended to be fun.

The 73-year-old Duterte, whose critics have labelled him a misogynist and say his comments are derogatory and demeaning towards women, dismissed the kiss as just a “gimmick” to entertain supporters at a meet-and-greet event in Seoul.

Social media was abuzz with photos and videos of Duterte on stage before a crowd of Filipinos on Sunday night, when he asked an unidentified audience member to kiss him in exchange for a book he was handing out.

The woman, who admitted she is married and appeared excited to see Duterte in person, agreed.

Duterte then told the cheering crowd of about 3,000: “Don’t take it seriously. It’s just for fun, a gimmick.” State-run Philippine News Agency identified the woman as Bea Kim and posted a brief video interview with her on its Facebook page.

“There wasn’t malice in it,” she said. “For me, for him, it didn’t mean anything.” Duterte’s controversial remarks about women include numerous jokes about rape and have incensed activists and foreigners, most notably, Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton. But none have dented the hugely popular leader’s domestic support.

Women’s rights advocates in the Philippines recently launched an online #BabaeAko (I Am A Woman) campaign to send a message that they were not taking Duterte’s “sexist” statements sitting down.

“You don’t have to kiss that woman if you want to entertain people,” said Joms Salvador, secretary-general of Gabriela Women’s Party.

“The fact that you thought that kissing the woman would entertain people ... that’s something really sick.” Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said that even though the kiss was consensual, it was a “grave abuse of authority”.

Anna Pinili, a churchgoer who considers herself a devout catholic, said Duterte had good intentions, but could have handled it better.

“He should have kissed her on the cheeks instead,” she said.

Father of two Raymond Pascual said people were making too much of a deal of it, and he thought it was just a “simple kiss”.

Making the rounds also on social media was a spoof photo of the same kiss, but with the woman replaced by superimposed image of China’s President Xi Jinping, in an attempt to poke fun at Duterte’s high regard for his Chinese counterpart.

India flouting global laws by taxing international air tickets: IATA

IATA chief said India was taxing international tickets in contravention of the resolutions of the UN body ICAO

Sydney: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Monday castigated India for taxing international tickets, as it asked governments to facilitate the growth of worldwide connectivity by avoiding creeping re-regulation, maintaining the integrity of global standards and addressing a capacity crisis.

“We must take governments to task. It is unacceptable that global standards are being ignored by the very governments that created them,” IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.

Asserting that India was taxing international tickets in contravention of the resolutions of the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), de Juniac said, “India helped develop ICAO resolutions prohibiting tax on international tickets.”

“Yet it persists in taxing international travel,” he said, apparently referring to the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and enhancement of its rates on international air tickets, especially business class.

The Indian government had announced the implementation of the GST from July 1, 2017. The tax covers airline products and services including tickets, ancillary, change, refund and other products and fees.

De Juniac was presenting a report on the air transport industry at the opening session of the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit, which began here on Monday.

“On aviation’s core mission to deliver safe, secure, accessible and sustainable connectivity, the state of our industry is strong and getting stronger. And with ‘normal’ levels of profitability we are spreading aviation’s benefits even more widely.

“But there are challenges. Smarter regulation needs to counter the trend of creeping re-regulation. Global standards must be maintained by the states that agreed (upon) them. And we need to find efficient solutions to the looming capacity crisis,” he said.


Duterte apologises to Kuwait for ‘harsh’ words

Kuwait expelled Manila’s envoy in April over footage showing embassy staff helping Filipino workers flee

Seoul: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologised to Kuwait on Sunday for his “harsh” words at the height of a months-long diplomatic row over the treatment of domestic workers.

The spat began in February when a murdered Filipina maid was found in her employer’s freezer in the Gulf state, prompting Duterte to lash out at the “inhuman” treatment of migrant workers and ban workers from travelling to Kuwait.

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“For the first time I would say that I was harsh in my language maybe because that was a result of an emotional outburst. But I’d like to apologise now,” Duterte said, addressing Kuwait directly in a speech before expatriate Filipinos living in South Korea.

“I’m sorry for the language that I was using but I’m very satisfied with... how you responded to the problems of my country.”

Authorities in Manila say around 262,000 Filipinos worked in Kuwait before February, with many employed as household maids.

At the height of the diplomatic flap, Duterte alleged Arab employers routinely rape Filipina workers, force them to work 21 hours a day and feed them scraps.

“Is there something wrong with your culture? Is there something wrong with your values?” the Philippine leader said then.

Kuwaiti authorities expelled Manila’s envoy in April over footage showing embassy staff helping Filipino workers flee allegedly abusive bosses in Kuwait.

Tensions cooled last month after the two nations sealed an agreement on workplace safety guarantees for Filipinos working in Kuwait, prompting Duterte to lift the employment ban.

On Sunday, Duterte said he hoped to visit Kuwait to express his gratitude.

“I’d like to thank the Kuwaiti government for understanding us and keeping their faith (in) us and practically (giving in) to all of my demands,” Duterte said.

His demands included giving Filipino workers a day off and seven hours of sleep each night, as well as allowing them to keep their passports and phones - often confiscated by employers, Duterte said.

Nipah virus death toll rises to 16, two new cases found in India’s Kerala

The latest victims were believed to have contracted the virus at a medical college

KOCHI/MUMBAI: Two new cases of the deadly brain-damaging Nipah virus have been confirmed in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where another three people were killed by the virus, a health official said on Thursday.

The two new Nipah cases in Kerala take the total number of confirmed cases to 17, Kozhikode district medical officer V. Jayashree told Reuters. Fifteen of those people have died, she said

The latest victims, identified as Madhusudhanan, 55, and Akhil, 28, were believed to have contracted the virus from a medical college, Jayashree said.

No confirmed cases of the virus have been found yet outside Kerala despite fears it had spread. Several other Indian states have sent samples for testing from people who reported Nipah-like symptoms in the past few days.

Samples taken from bats in Kozhikode district, the suspected epicentre of the infection, have been sent for testing to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, animal husbandry officer A. Mohandas said, as officials continue to try to track the root of the outbreak.

There is no vaccine for the virus, which is spread through bodily fluids and can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, the World Health Organisation says.