Ban on Bangladeshi workers

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Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah issued a decision to stop issuing work visas for Bangladeshis and sent it to Assistant Undersecretary for Nationality and Passports Maj Gen Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, according to a report in Al-Jarida daily yesterday.
A source said the minister’s decision was made after a notable rise in the number of Bangladeshi workers in the country and based on reports from various security departments, which show that after a previous ban on Bangladeshi workers was lifted, they became a target of “iqama traders”, resulting in irregularities and abuses

Terminated contracts of expats in public sector won’t be renewed

The terminated contracts of expatriate employees of the public sector will not be renewed, reports Al-Anba daily quoting governmental sources.

They explained that these employees will not be allowed to work in any other institutions in the public sector. A new batch of Kuwaiti citizens with different educational qualifications will join the labor market to replace these expatriates in accordance with the requests for labor needs sent to Civil Service Commission (CSC) by different state institutions.

There will be no exceptions in terms of appointing expatriates in the public sector. Concerning the specializations that are not covered by Kuwaiti employees, a decision must be made by CSC to ensure these jobs are filled by expatriate employees. However, such positions are limited and their numbers are not big.

 

The sources highlighted the government’s decision, which obligates all state institutions to reduce the number of their expatriate employees per year until the fixed rates for each specialization are reached in 2022 based on the government’s plan launched in September 2017.

They revealed that a list of expatriate employees who will be dismissed in the coming fiscal year, which starts from April 1, is being prepared along with those whose contracts have been terminated.

 

Source: Arab Times

OFWs in KSA and Qatar wooed for jobs elsewhere

Overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are being wooed by the government to return home for a chance to be employed locally or elsewhere abroad.

MB FILE—Jobseekers apply for work at the 2016 Labor Day Job and Career Fair at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. (Ali Vicoy) | mb.com.ph

Ali Vicoy | MANILA BULLETIN File Photo

The Department of Labor and Employment established a Job Fair Task Force that will conduct a special job fair and skills profiling of OFWs based in the two countries.

The group is headed by DOLE Undersecretary Claro Arellano who is in charge of DOLE’s Legal and International Affairs, and is co-chaired by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

\Other members include the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bureau of Local Employment, International Labor Affairs Bureau, and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in KSA and Qatar.

In an administrative order issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the supply-demand profiling and skills-job matching will be jointly conducted by the POEA and BLE.

Concerned POLO in the identified countries will do the preliminary skills profiling of the OFWs in coordination with the ILAB.

Through the joint undertaking, POEA and BLE will conduct employers’ forum and gather the number of vacancies, skills requirement, geographical location (local or overseas), as well as determine the companies interested to join the Job Fair.

Also, POEA and BLE shall process the supply and demand profile and come up with labor market information that will serve as a guide for matching of available skills and employer demand for workers.

“OFWs who require further upgrading of skills requirements of the participating employers will be referred to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for training prior to their deployment whether local or overseas,” the DOLE said in a statement.

OWWA, on the other hand, will provide the welfare assistance during the conduct of job fairs and which may lead to the repatriation of distressed OFWs.

Earlier, the DOLE said 18,000 jobs here in the country will be made available to displaced OFWs in Saudi and Qatar during the job fair.

A number OFWs have been rendered jobless due to the recent diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

BLOGGER FACES 63 YEARS IN JAIL

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Kuwait: The Criminal Court has today sentenced blogger Saqr Al-Hashah to 3 years in prison with immediate effect, The blogger now faces a total of 63 years in jail after he had been convicted in a series of state security cases

Father Emmanuel and the Christians of Kuwait

Father Emmanuel Benjamin Jacob Gharib, the first native priest of the Gulf, stands in the aisle of the National Evangelical Church in Kuwait City on February 20, 2018 [Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP]

Father Emmanuel Benjamin Jacob Gharib, the first native priest of the Gulf, stands in the aisle of the National Evangelical Church in Kuwait City on February 20, 2018 [Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP]

Dressed in a traditional white Gulf headdress and with two red crosses embroidered on his black clerical robe, Kuwait's first homegrown priest cuts a unique figure in the predominantly Muslim country.

In an interview with the AFP news agency in advance of the 20th anniversary of his ordination, he stressed the level of acceptance he has felt from fellow Muslim Kuwaitis.

But as an engineering graduate, he was not always destined for the priesthood. This is his story:

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Assyrian background

  • Assyrian parents: Born in the Qibla district of Kuwait City, Gharib was raised in a devout Christian family.

  • Like many Christian Kuwaitis, his roots lie elsewhere in the Middle East.The priest's father was born to an Assyrian family in southeast Turkey but was forced to flee when the Ottoman Empire targeted the minority Christian groups during WWI.

  • The Red Cross took his father to Iraq, where he would eventually wed Gharib's mother - a fellow Assyrian - in the northern city of Mosul in 1945.

  • With the former Ottoman cities reeling from the upheaval of World War I, the couple decided to build their future in Kuwait.

  • Engineering graduate: He graduated from engineering school with a degree in geology in 1971 and soon found a job at the Kuwaiti oil ministry.

  • They raised four girls and three boys - the eldest Emmanuel - in a religious environment, taking them to Sunday School each week. They always felt close to their Muslim neighbours.

  • Turning point: Ten years into his career, Emmanuel Gharib and his wife took part in a religious conference in Kuwait.

  • "That was the turning point," he said. "That was where the Lord changed my life ... where I was born again and began my journey with Jesus Christ."

  • Priesthood: He quit his job and embarked in 1989 on a theology degree at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo.

  • He was ordained as a priest in 1999 and subsequently elected to head the National Evangelical Church of Kuwait, becoming the first and only Gulf Arab priest.

  • "An Egyptian or Lebanese priest performs the same liturgy but a Kuwaiti priest can communicate the teachings of the Bible in the Kuwaiti dialect," said Abu Nader, a 63-year-old parishioner.

  • For 54-year-old Eyad Noman: "Our relationship with him is very strong... He is one of us."

  • Father Emmanuel also serves as vice president of the Islamic-Christian Relations Council in Kuwait, which he cofounded in 2009.

Kuwait's Christians

  • Arrival: Over the past century, Christians have immigrated from Turkey, Iraq and Palestine during periods of upheaval, gaining citizenship under a 1959 Nationality Law.

  • But the presence of Christians in Kuwait dates back even further, to the arrival of American Evangelical missionaries and the founding of the American Mission Hospital in the early 1900s, he said.

  • Current count: The local Christian population is dwarfed by 900,000 expatriate workers of various Christian denominations and nationalities - from Lebanese to Filipinos.

  • At the last count, according to Father Emmanuel, Kuwait has 264 native Christians from eight extended families, out of a total native population of 1.35 million.

  • Christians of different denominations are "free to practise" in several churches and Kuwait City municipality has provided land to bury their dead, he said.

  • Father Emmanuel's own landmark next year will coincide with the 85th anniversary of the Evangelical Church in Kuwait.

  • "Everyone welcomes me wherever I go," said Father Emmanuel.

Return to Kuwait
 

SOURCE: AFP NEWS AGENCY

Saudi Arabia bans mobile phone use while driving

Decision also bans the use of hands-free devices which has angered many citizens 

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Saudi social media users said they were surprised by a decision to ban all cell phones while driving in the kingdom, including using Bluetooth or any hands-free device.

The reactions surged after a Saudi citizen asked the Traffic Directorate on their Twitter account whether the laws allowed him to drive and use the mobile through a Bluetooth or earpieces.

The citizen said that in either case, his hands would be free and would be holding the steering wheel.

The answer, also posted on the Twitter account, was that traffic violations included holding a mobile phone or not focusing on the road while driving, Saudi news site Al Marsad reported on Wednesday.

The answer that basically barred talking on the phone while driving, hands-free or not, triggered shocked reactions, although some users said they fully agreed with the traffic authorities.

“We understand when the holding of mobiles is banned and we completely agree when drivers engage in texting or in surfing through applications, but there is no sense in not allowing the Bluetooth technology or speakerphones,” one user said.

Another user under the moniker of Saudi said that all new cars were equipped with Bluetooth.

“We are well aware that accidents are caused by texting while driving, not by talking through a speakerphone or Bluetooth,” Saudi posted.

For Omar, the excessive application of some rules could backfire.

“We are not aware of other countries banning Bluetooth calls, and we do look forward to the interior minister reversing this decision,” he posted.

Those who supported the ban said that figures about accidents warranted the decision.

“When you know that there are around 80,000 people who were crippled in accidents in 2017, you will applaud such a decision,” he posted.

 

Source: Gulf News

Why do you have to raise the window shades before landing and what happens if the door opens in the air?

Experts answer the plane questions you've ALWAYS wanted to know

Whether it's loud sounds, unusual plugs and flaps or basic rules, there are things on planes that spark the curiosity of even the most well-versed travellers. 

So to ensure travellers remain calm and enjoy their next flight, a number of experts have answered some of the most common airline travel questions they've been asked over the years. 

Here, FEMAIL rounds up the best responses by Australian experts at Skyscanner, Traveller and Flight Centre. 

Here, FEMAIL rounds up the best responses by Australian experts at Skyscanner, Traveller and Flight Centre

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RAISE THE WINDOW SHADE BEFORE LANDING? 

 

According to Skyscanner, this is entirely for safety reasons. 

'Despite swanky new Boeing 787 Dreamliners replacing clunky window shades with self-tinting windows, most commercial aircraft still have solid blinds that raise and lower manually,' they wrote.   

'In the event of a crash, visibility helps the crew to evaluate hazards if evacuation is required. Is there a fire? Debris? Fuel? Not something you want to think about, we know.  

Not only this, but this also allows passengers' eyes to adjust should there be an emergency and swift movement is required. 

'In the event of a crash, visibility helps the crew to evaluate hazards if evacuation is required. Is there a fire? Debris? Fuel? Not something you want to think about, we know,' Skyscanner wrote

WHAT DO THE FLAPS ON THE WINGS DO? 

According to Skyscanner, the flaps on the wings are 'used to increase lift during takeoff and landing'. 

'When the flaps are engaged they increase the curvature, or camber, of the wing which helps an aircraft generate the required lift,' they wrote.    

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DOOR OPENS MID-FLIGHT?

Mainly due to Hollywood movies, many travellers have fears of being sucked out of the plane if the doors should fly open mid-flight.

Thankfully, this is impossible. 

'It is virtually impossible to open any of the cabin doors while the plane is in the air due to the pressure inside being greater than that outside the plane,' the Flight Centre team wrote. 

'As most plane doors are designed to open inward before pushing out, even the strongest person wouldn't be able to pull the door inward.'

WHY DO PLANES FLY SO HIGH? 

According to Flight Centre, 'most aircraft fly in the 30,000 foot range for efficiency'.

'Ranging between 30 and 40,000 feet is where a plane's engines can operate the best. There is less drag in the thinner air, which doesn't burn up fuel.   

'Of course, the size and weight of a plane are deciding factors in how high it will fly, as are flight directions, weather conditions and turbulence.'

According to Flight Centre, 'most aircraft fly in the 30,000 foot range for efficiency'

WHAT DO PILOTS DO THE WHOLE TIME?

'We're not at the cockpit for 14 hours. We have two crews, so two captains and two first officers,' Emirates A380 pilot Ian Haines told Traveller.   

'The crew that takes off also does the landing. So say I'm the commander of the flight, the captain on board. We'd have a briefing before the flight, which is about an hour and 15 before take-off. We then go to the cockpit and set up the cockpit. 

'The other crew will do the walk around the aircraft and check that for me. We then take off, climb up to top of climb, at which point the other crew will go back and rest. They will have about five hours' rest. We will then fly for about five, five-and-a-half hours, then we change control teams.'

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MEALS IN EACH CLASS? 

According to Skyscanner, economy class meals include cheaper ingredients and are' pre-cooked, pre-packaged and often frozen or blast-chilled as a whole item in the food factory'.

'Main meals in Business Class and First Class are generally not pre-packaged. Instead, each part of the meal, for example, the sauce, vegetables, and fish, are packaged separately, so that they can be reheated - or cooked on board,' they said. 

'This means that flight attendants can reheat or cook each thing perfectly, and serve the meal as it might be served in a restaurant. Ingredients are often prepared much closer to take off time too.'

MOFA OFFICIAL: INTERPOL ARRESTS FILIPINA MAID KILLERS

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Kuwait: The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has successfully apprehended killers of the Filipina maid whose corpse was found in a freezer in Kuwait last month, a foreign ministry official announced Thursday.

The INTERPOL informed the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry about capturing the fugitive killers in cooperation with the Lebanese security bodies, Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Sami Al-Hamad, said in a press statement.
Kuwait security authorities have immediately submitted a request to retrieve the arrested murderers; a Lebanese husband and his Syrian wife who killed Joanna Demafelis and stuffed her body inside a freezer in their rented apartment in Salmiya area, Al-Hamad added.

The arrest action is part of Kuwait’s efforts to bring perpetrators of this crime to justice, he said, noting that the INTERPOL-branch in Kuwait has circulated the arrest order internationally following discovery of the crime and fleeing of the suspects.
The Kuwaiti official expressed his aspiration to a close cooperation with the Lebanese security authorities for this matter, adding that the perpetrators of such a gruesome crime will receive their punishment in accordance with the law.

HUSBAND ASKS PRESIDENT DUTERTE TO FIND HIS MISSING WIFE IN KUWAIT

 

TACURONG CITY, Philippines — An emotional husband is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to help him find his missing wife in Kuwait.

Rogelio Padilla, 48, farmer,  from Barangay Kalanawe, President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat, is asking the help of Duterte to find his wife in Kuwait as they lost contact since 2014.

Padilla  revealed his wife Maricel Agustin Padilla, 43, mother of two, left their town in  2011 to work as domestic helper in Kuwait.

She last contacted her family late  2013. Since then, the family is at lost of her whereabouts.

“Presidente Rodrigo Duterte sana matulungan ninyo ako na mahanap at makabalik dito sa amin ang aking asawa,” the teary-eyed husband pleaded.

Maricel was sent to Kuwait through the Tacurong office of MMML, the recruitment agency which  processed her papers.

Padilla is also asking the help of the recruitment agency.Maricel left the country in the hope of sending her children to school and to augment the family income.

“Pinayagan ko siya na mag-abroad para kahit papaano makapag-ipon kami,” Padilla narrated.

The Demafiles case

When the story of  OFW Joanna Demafiles, a domestic helper who was suspected killed by her Lebanese employer, was found inside a freezer in Kuwait   broke off, Padilla’s fear about his wife’s  status worsen.

“Nang malaman ko ang nangyari sa OFW na si Demafiles, natakot ako baka may nangyari din sa kanya kaya,  hindi na siya nag contak sa amin,”  Padilla said.He recalled, in 2014 he saw the photo of his wife sitting inside her employer’s house in the  Facebook account of her fellow OFW in Kuwait named “Alina Jane Ramos.”

The OWWA document

A check with OWWA Marbel, South Cotabato  showed that Maricel was legally deployed.

Marlyn Jamero, officer-in-charge of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Central Mindanao region, said Padilla’s wife use the family name “Agustin” not Padilla in her documents.

Jamero said when Padilla’s wife left for Kuwait in 2011, Maricel declared she is “single” and her travel was  documented.

Asked whether Agustin is still an active OFW as per list of OWWA, Jamero revealed  “she is an inactive member now.”According to Jamero, Agustin status has been inactive since 2013 because she did not renew her OWWA membership.

Jamero said OWWA has already sent letters, requesting assistance to the Kuwait government and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), regarding the case of Padilla’s wife.

She said they are now establishing contact to the local branch of MMML based in Tacurong City.

Cases of lost OFW’s in Kuwait started to increase when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the repatriation on February 9, when he announced the OFW deployment ban in Kuwait.

Data from OWWA Central Mindanao showed, as of 2017,  a total of 489,989 overseas Filipino workers applied membership to OWWA in the entire Central Mindanao region.

“The data represent both the active and inactive members,” Jamero said.Almost 3,000 overseas Filipino workers from the said region are working in Kuwait, according to Jamero.-Ramil H. Bajo/Newsline.Ph

Padilla said,  he never had issue with his wife, their last communication was  filled with happiness.

 

Both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina held: Lebanon

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The employers of a Filipina maid found dead in a freezer in Kuwait were both arrested in the Syrian capital Damascus, a Lebanese judicial official said on Saturday.

Syrian authorities surrendered Nader Essam Assaf to Beirut on Friday because of his Lebanese citizenship but his Syrian wife Mona remains in custody in Damascus, the official said.

The murder of Joanna Demafelis sparked outrage in the Philippines and prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a departure ban for Filipinos planning to work in Kuwait.

The 29-year-old's body, which allegedly showed signs of torture, was found earlier this month inside a freezer in the abandoned apartment unit of the detained couple.

The couple have been the subject of an Interpol manhunt since Demafelis's body was found more than a year after her family reported her missing.

"The couple were arrested in Damascus. They were the subject of an Interpol red notice and the Syrian authorities handed the husband over to Lebanese custody on Friday morning," the official said.

"Syria kept custody of the wife because she is a Syrian national," he added.

"Lebanon has asked Kuwait to pass on the husband's police record."

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The official said that after leaving Kuwait, the couple had made a very brief stopover in Lebanon before travelling on to neighbouring Syria.

Duterte has vowed to bring justice to Demafelis's family, lashing out at the Gulf state and alleging Arab employers routinely rape Filipina workers, force them to work 21 hours a day and feed them scraps.

Kuwait has said it is investigating reported deaths and abuses, and insisted there were only a small number considering that there are more than 250,000 Filipinos working in the emirate.

Duterte this week sent a team of labour officials to Kuwait to seek greater protection for migrant workers.