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2 Tweeters sentenced to jail for insulting Amir

2 Tweeters sentenced to jail for insulting Amir
 
KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday sentenced Tweeter Sager Al-Hashash to two years in jail with immediate effect and handed Nasser Al-Deehani a 20-month term but asked him to pay a bail of KD 200 to suspend the sentence until the court of appeals reviews it.
 
Leading opposition figure and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak described the verdict as political and said on his Twitter account that “it is clear that a series of political verdicts are still going on.” The two opposition activists were tried on charges of publishing Twitter posts deemed offensive to His Highness the Amir. The two verdicts, however, are not final as they can be challenged before the courts of appeals and cassation.
 
On February 13, the criminal court acquitted five Tweeters of the same charges but over the past few weeks, several opposition activists and former MPs were sentenced to various jail terms over similar charges and for taking part in unlicensed demonstrations. Dozens of activists and former MPs are still on trial and face the prospect of spending several years in jail either for allegedly insulting the Amir and undermining his authority, or for taking part in protests.
 
The press watchdog Reporters Without Border yesterday expressed concern over the trial of two announcers working with the pro-opposition Al-Youm television for having read out a statement by the opposition in October.
 
The announcers – Rima Al-Baghdadi and Ahmad Al-Enezi – face up to five years in jail if convicted for insulting the Amir’s authority. The next session is on April 10.
 
- Kuwait Times

Finance minister Al-Shamali denies plans to tax expats

Finance minister Al-Shamali denies plans to tax expats
 
KUWAIT: Following news reports about health ministry planning to increase medical fees for expats, deputy PM and the finance minister, Mustafa Al-Shamali reiterated his earlier denial about any plans to impose such taxes on expatriates or on their money transfers abroad. “Anything related to taxes must go through the ministry of finance and we have no such plans and no intention to do so,” Al-Shamali stressed, noting that the press often reports many unconfirmed stories and not all reports have to be true.
 
Notably, news reports had talked about the Ministry of Health conducting studies to increase the medical fees collected from expats in a bid to increase the ministry’s revenues and reduce pressure on overcrowded public medical facilities.
 
- Al-Rai

MoI suggests more fees on expats

MoI suggests more fees on expats
 
KUWAIT: Even as Ministry of Interior’s assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs, Major General Mustafa Al-Za’abi, conceded that Kuwait was facing a complex traffic problem, the traffic department assistant director, Brigadier Saleh Al-Najem, said that a package of proposed ministerial proposals was prepared and submitted for further discussion. Once approval was granted, it would help achieve the ultimate goal of ending traffic congestion, he said. Al- Najem said the proposals included stricter penalties for those violating traffic norms, cancelling of driver’s licenses, and action against Mandoubs if they cancelled the driver’s residency visa, shift sponsorship or change their profession. He also stressed that they would not receive new licenses before two years from the date of cancellation. He also noted that the new measures included an increase in the fees collected from expats for issuing or renewing car registrations or driver’s licenses.
 
- Kuwait Times

Gulfmart inaugurates third mini-supermarket in Salmiya

Gulfmart inaugurates third mini-supermarket in Salmiya

Gulfmart, the largest supermarket chain in Kuwait, opened their third mini-supermarket in Salmiya on Wednesday, 6th March, 2013 with a colorful ceremony held at the store’s premises in Building 25, Block 10, Al Dhahak Bin Qays Street.

The new branch was inaugurated by Fr. Lionel Braganza SDB, the Principal of Indian English Academy School, in front of a crowd of shoppers, well-wishers and senior Gulfmart officials.

Speaking on the sidelines of the opening, Dr. T.A. Remesh, Country Head for Gulfmart said, “The mini-supermarket format is proving to be extremely popular among shoppers in localities where we have opened, especially among women, as they can easily walk over to buy their immediate kitchen needs.”

Through our retail mix of mini-supermarkets and large format supermarkets we aim to provide customers with the convenience and easy accessibility of our mini-outlets, as well as greater variety and wider selection of our larger branches. We are pleased at the enthusiastic response we keep receiving to both retail formats and thank our patrons for their continued support,” added the country manager.

Gulfmart is well-known for carrying a wide variety of products that cater to the shopping needs of the diverse population in Kuwait, and is especially popular for offering ethnic products that are tailored to meet the population mix of local areas.  

Aggressively opening new stores in different formats across the country, particularly in suburbs underserved by full-service retail supermarkets, is proving to be very successful for Gulfmart. And, the brand’s commitment to full customer satisfaction is evident in the consistent successes of the ever-increasing number of Gulfmart branches across the country.

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Friends.... Please do help to the injured Indian worker as you can....

Friends.... Please do  help to the injured Indian worker as you can....
 

An Indian expatriate is reported to be injured severely while herding sheeps at Jahra Desert yesterday. Pichai Muthu hailing from Villupuram of Tamilnadu is currently admitted at Jahra Hospital ICU. He met with the accident when unknowingly stepped upon the mine and it exploded in the desert. He is reported to have lost both his eyes, legs including severe injuries to the genital organs.

Community organisation, KALA Kuwiat has formed a seperate wing to support Mr Muthu. Those who would extend help to the poor family of Pichai Muthu may contact KALA Kuwait officials at 97522614 or 67765810.

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Kalam to teach students of IIM-Shillong

Kalam to teach students of IIM-Shillong
Shillong: Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will teach students of the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong a course titled 'Societal transformation bio-technology and its application'.

'I am a teacher. As a professor, wherever knowledge takes me, I go. I like meeting young people and I would like to contribute to their knowledge,' Kalam told IANS here.

The 'Missile Man', as Kalam is called for his background in aerospace engineering, was in Shillong, the state capital of Meghalaya, and inaugurated the third international conference 'SUSCON' organised by IIM-Shillong Wednesday.

Kalam will start his lectures to a class of around 110 students from July, IIM-Shillong Director Kaya Sengupta told IANS.

'The students and faculty of IIM-Shillong are elated that Kalam has consented to our invitation to teach in the institute. I am sure his lectures would benefit not only our students, but even faculty members,' Sengupta said.

Kalam will guide the students individually as well as in groups. He had earlier taught at IIM-Ahmedabad.

After the initial lectures, students will be required to submit project proposals for creating scenarios based on multiple options for specific policy and institutional changes.

The faculty would comment on these proposals and project teams would be enabled to consult subject matter specialists through invited lectures and interactions -- the students could even visit the experts.

IIM-Shillong follows a unique concept of winter internships, in which students undertake work in the months of January and February.

Not many outside India's northeast probably know that there is an IIM in the Meghalaya capital named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. This IIM started in 2008 from a makeshift campus and still functions out of an interim facility.

Surrounded by pine trees and lush green lawns with mountains in the backdrop, the institute functions from the Mayurbhanj Complex - the erstwhile summer palace of the kings of Mayurbhanj, Orissa.

The Meghalaya government has allotted a 120-acre plot on which work is under way for a state-of-the-art academic-cum-residential campus.

'Our goal at IIM-Shillong is to constantly nurture and develop the personality of the young and dynamic leaders who could shape the future business landscape and achieve excellence by synergising complementary competencies within the team,' Sengupta said.
 
-Mathrubhumi
==================================

India has all requirements to return to 8 pc growth: Montek

India has all requirements to return to 8 pc growth: Montek
London: India has all the requirements to return to a GDP growth rate of 8 per cent in the coming years, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said, while highlighting that current account deficit is a big problem right now.

'India has averaged 7.5 per cent growth in the last 10 years. It should have done that for 15 years but it is
possible to bring it back to the average performance of the last decade. The target for 2013-14 is 6.5-7 per cent and then
accelerate further. India has all the requirements to return to 8 per cent, even if it is later than expected,' he told a
gathering of students and academics at Oxford University.

'A little over 5 per cent is a slowing down but the whole world is experiencing a slowing of growth. It is a worry because we expect much more but it is not as big a disaster as the media makes it out to be. Growth is important but that growth has to be inclusive and sustainable,' Ahluwalia said last evening.

India's leading economic strategist also stressed that the pace of poverty reduction in the country was within the
target set by the government.

'It is clear that the government knows how to get growth going but there is a perception that we lag behind on
inclusiveness. It is something the government takes very seriously and latest data indicates that the pace of poverty
reduction has increased. The extreme view that the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer, is nonsense. There is a
lot of good news in terms of the pattern of growth being more inclusive,' he said.

The former alumnus of the University of Oxford, who was invited by the Blavatnik School of Government to speak about
'India's Challenges Ahead', was in the UK on his way back from the G-20 Sherpas Meeting in Moscow.

'The state of the world economy is a challenge. The focusof government policy is to re-assure foreign investors that
India is wide open for business. India has the human resources in place and an expanding private sector. The only problem is
the current account deficit. But the global financial system appears to be stabilising and the most important message is
that India is a good bet for foreign investment and that message is getting across,' he said. PTI
 
-The Hindu
==================================

Facebook chat with U.S. Consular Chief on student visas

Facebook chat with U.S. Consular Chief on student visas
Nick Manring will answer questions related to U.S. student visas on March 7 between 2 and 4 p.m. during the first ever joint Facebook chat with The Hindu

Questions about U.S. student visas? Chennai Central @The Hindu and The Hindu, in association with the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, will host the first-ever joint Facebook wall chat on student visas on Thursday, March 7, at 2 p.m. Consular Chief Nick Manring will answer the most ‘Liked’ questions about student visas, including the application and interview process. Can’t join the chat live? You can start asking your questions at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6. Make sure to ‘Like’ us and ‘Share’ the post with your friends through our Facebook pages:

facebook.com/chennai.usconsulate

facebook.com/ChennaiCentral

facebook.com/thehindu

View the video of Consular Chief Nick Manring here - thne.ws/us-studentvisa
 
-The Hindu
==================================

Now, ePost to remind property tax payments in Coimbatore

Now, ePost to remind property tax payments in Coimbatore
About 5,000 mails were sent by the Corporation through ePost last month

For those who have to pay property tax arrears to the Coimbatore Corporation, the local body sent the reminder through the India Post’s ePost service this year.

About 5,000 mails were sent by the Corporation through the ePost last month. An official of the Department of Posts said that the department has tied-up with Coimbatore Corporation to send messages to the public regarding payment of water tax and property tax.

The facility was available at all its computerised post offices.

The sender would have to send a message by e-mail and this would be sent to the respective post office and hand-delivered to the recipient.

In the case of corporate companies, the service can be used to send statements, announcements, etc.

They can enrol their name as an ePost Corporate customer and use the log in identity allotted to book ePost messages from their computer.

The ePost message would be uploaded with it and would reach the respective post office within minutes.

A print out would be taken and delivered by the postman.

The customer can see the number of messages booked, messages printed, and the charges incurred from his log in account.

Though this service was being used by some customers in Coimbatore, the Corporation has used it to reach out to a large number of people.

An official of the Corporation said that the cost of sending the reminders through the ePost was lesser. The status of delivery of the ePost to the recipient is also available for the corporation, hence claims of non-receipt was not possible.

The facility was used for the first time here and only for property tax arrears and depending on the response, it would be continued.
 
-The Hindu
==================================

No change in school timings

No change in school timings
KUWAIT: Senior officials of the Ministry of Education decided not to effect any change in the school timings, a move proposed as a solution to the problem of traffic jams, insisting that it was a “state issue” that required cooperation from different state departments.

The idea was reportedly pitched during a meeting of the directors of the ministry’s six educational directorates on Tuesday, which was chaired by Undersecretary Assistant of Public Education Mohammad Al-Kandari.

It suggested changes in the daily timings of opening and closing of schools. Currently, schools, colleges and public sector offices in Kuwait have working hours that coincide. “Al-Kandari explained that the move will create problems for parents who drop their children at school before going off to work,” said a source privy to the meeting. He added that an agreement was reached to ask the Interior Ministry’s Traffic General Department to conduct a comprehensive review of the problem. — Al-Rai
 
-Kuwait Times
==================================

MoH seeks to increase expats’ medical fees

MoH seeks to increase expats’ medical fees –
Govt believes current charges do not reflect quality of services
KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health is studying the possibility of reconsidering the fees collected from expatriates for medical services as part of its attempts to increase its revenues and reduce pressure on overcrowded public medical facilities, said sources with knowledge of the case.

The study calls for increasing fees collected for services that include medical checkups, surgeries, x-rays and others. “There is a belief within the ministry that the fees are currently inadequate to the quality of services given,” said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They added that a mechanism prepared for this project is set to be sent to Health Minister Mohammad Al-Haifi “before he refers it to the Cabinet to be enforced”. The sources did not provide a timeline for when the referral might happen, or when the study is going to be finished.

In other news, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is set to study a memo to allow domestic workers to transfer their visas to the private sector (Article 18) as long as the same employer is retained. According to sources with knowledge of the case, the memorandum was recently finalized by the labor department in the ministry, which then sent it to the ministry’s council of undersecretaries to study it in its meeting next week. If approved, the decision will go into effect on April 1, the sources added.
 
-Kuwait Times
==================================

Germany, 16 other nations on possible visa-on-arrival list

Germany, 16 other nations on possible visa-on-arrival list
Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi on Wednesday said a proposal to grant visa-on-arrival (VoA) to tourists from Germany, Russia, France and South Africa was under his Ministry’s active consideration.

The Ministry had also asked the Home Ministry to consider grant of VoA for 16 more countries in an attempt to give a big push to arrivals.

Mr. Chiranjeevi was speaking at the inauguration of India pavilion at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin on Wednesday. He said Germany was an important market for India as during 2011, over 240,000 Germans visited India. “Foreign tourist arrivals to India constitute only 0.64 per cent of the world tourist arrivals and foreign exchange earnings account for 1.61 per cent of the world tourism receipts. This is a matter of concern for all of us in the Ministry. Our endeavour is to increase India’s share to 1 per cent of the world tourist arrivals by 2016,” he said.

The Minister is on a five-day visit to Germany.

Mr. Chiranjeevi last week met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and submitted a proposal seeking the extension of VoA for 16 countries.

Consistent with the Look East policy, the Tourism Ministry has included Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei in the proposed VoA list. It has also sought the inclusion of some Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries along with Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The other countries proposed for the extension of the facility are Spain, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago. The VoA facility is now available for tourists from countries such as Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Philippines.
 
-The Hindu
==================================

Al Mulla Exchange Holds Indian Budget Seminar by Homi Ranina

Al Mulla Exchange Holds Indian Budget Seminar by Homi Ranina

Al Mulla Exchange along with the Kuwait Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India hosted on Monday, March 4th, a seminar on the Indian budget 2013-2014.

Eminent tax lawyer and Chartered Accountant, Homi Ranina was the key note speaker at the event presenting details and insights on the latest Indian Budget presented on February 28. With over three decades of experience in matters related to taxation, finance and corporate management, Mr. Ranina was ideally placed to generate further discussion on this crucial topic within the community.

Giving his professional assessment, Mr. Ranina delivered a wealth of information and issues related to the annual budget in terms understandable to both laymen and professionals. According to the expert, India’s Finance Minister Chidambaram has exercised fine balance between the need for fiscal consolidation and promoting growth, and was complimented for having brought down the fiscal deficit to 5.2 percent of GDP for the current fiscal year.

Covering a wide range of topics that fall under the umbrella of the Indian budget, including FDIs, growth, provisions, interest and tax among others, Mr. Ranina praised the finance minister for putting the country back on the path of fiscal consolidation.

Considering the value this event posed for the non resident Indian community in Kuwait, Al Mulla Exchange hosted it as an open walk-in event for everyone irrespective of whether they were their customers or not.

 

Indigo, the Magical Dye

‘Indigo, the Magical Dye’

The Embassy of India, Kuwait, in association with Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait, organized a presentation on ‘Indigo, the magical dye’ by Ms. Anjana Somany, Director, Mango Tree, India.  The event was attended by Kuwaitis, diplomats and Indian community members. The presentation was very informative. Ms. Somany deliberated on Indigo’s history, its usages and impact on society and economy and its importance in different cultures. The presentation was followed by a question-answer session.  A small exhibition of textile material exhibiting different usages of Indigo, which was part of the presentation, also attracted much attention.

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Holiday Notice From Embassy Of India Kuwait

Holiday Notice From Embassy Of India - Kuwait
alt

Soorya India Festival 2013

 Soorya India Festival 2013

SOORYA FEST ON MARCH 14

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In association with UAE Exchange, Soorya Kuwait Chapter shall be staging “Soorya India Festival 2013”, on the evening of Thursday, March 14, 2013, at the American International School Auditorium, Maida-Hawalli, at 7.00 PM.

His Excellency, the Indian Ambassador Satish C. Mehta will inaugurate the festival, aiming to promote International integration through culture.

This time Soorya is coming up with a combination of the oldest dance forms of India – Bharatanatyam by Rama Vaidyanathan and Kathak  by Rani Khanam along with a new item “Speaking Shadows”, by Prahlad Acharya.

Trained under accomplished Guru’s, Rama Vaidyanathan has been noted as one of India’s top young exponents of Bharatanatyam.  In her attempt, Bharatanatyam is to perpetuate world peace.

 Rani Khanam is a highly respected Kathak dancer and choreographer of the country.  She has imbibed the best of contemporary and traditional Kathak, which she has enriched with the stamp of her own personality.

Prahlad Acharya, an international entertainer is among a select few entertainers, who use only their bare hands to produce an unbelievable world of light and shade, using cinematic techniques, songs and music to catapult the experience to the highest standards in entertainment, to enthrall and amaze audiences of all age groups.

As usual, the entry for the show will be restricted with invitations.  For more details, please contact 97977317, 66250037, 99293929, 97278029 or contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Soorya India, led by versatile mastermind Soorya Krishnamurthy, is present in 19 countries.  It has been propagating the art of India’s outside the country for the last 14 years with active support of its Chief Patron Dr. B.R. Shetty, Managing Director, NMC Group of Companies.

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Naval helicopter crashes at sea in Visakhapatnam; 2 missing

Naval helicopter crashes at sea in Visakhapatnam; 2 missing
A Naval helicopter has crashed at sea on Tuesday afternoon.

The Chetak helicopter, with four crew members on board, took off from INS Dega at about 2 p.m. on a routine mission in an area about 10 nautical miles (18 km) seaward of Visakhapatnam.

The Air Traffic Control (ATC) lost control with the helicopter around 3:30 p.m. and the helicopter failed to return to the base at the estimated time.

Search and Rescue operation was initiated and two survivors were picked up from the area and shifted to the Naval hospital INHS Kalyani, according to an official press release.

The Navy has mounted an extensive search in and around the exercise area with ships, helicopters and divers to locate remaining survivors and the wreckage. Assistance of the Port authorities and local fishing community has been sought.

A Board of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident.
 
-The Hindu
==================================

Cold weather forecast

Cold weather forecast
KUWAIT: Weather forecast expert Essa Ramadan predicted that temperature will fall suddenly starting today. Ramadan said noticeable warmth as a result of an increase in temperature was seen in the state during the last two days but will not continue effective today.

There will be more cloudy weather and north western winds may heighten chances of rain with a concomitant drop in mercury. Cold wind speed will increase relatively, accompanied with sand storm and temperature will continue to be low for several days. On Thursday, it will drop to 8-10 degrees. Weather will continue to be cold till Saturday.

Thereafter, temperature will start rising and a warm climate will prevail once again starting beginning of next week. He concluded that this was a rather unstable month as far as weather conditions went.
 
-Kuwait Times
==================================

Kuwait seeks to slash subsidies for expats

Kuwait seeks to slash subsidies for expats
KUWAIT: The government is studying a mechanism to reduce subsidization of products and services available to expatriates before carrying out similar steps for citizens as the state looks to organize expenses in the state’s budget, Al-Jarida daily reported yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of the subject.

Most of the governmental subsidization that foreigners in Kuwait benefit from pertain with electricity and water services, in addition to gasoline. “The mechanism is based on finding new ways to change the pricing of services available to citizens and expatriates so that the government can obtain the fees accordingly,” the sources said. They explained that the state plans to study “similar experiences followed by other Gulf states” to apply them in Kuwait.

The issue is currently being studied by government committees “that are also assigned to set plans for reducing subsidies for Kuwaitis after the end of the first step”, said the sources who did not provide a timetable for when a reduction in subsidization is expected to be approved. The state’s budget for the fiscal year 2012/2013 lists the total government subsidization for consumer services at KD 6.3 billion, KD 3.1 billion of which goes towards electricity and KD 1.1 billion for fuel.
 
-Kuwait Times
==================================

India takes pentavalent vaccine to 5 million children

India takes pentavalent vaccine to 5 million children
Five million Indian children were vaccinated with the five-in-one pentavalent shots in just over a year. Jammu and Kashmir became the sixth State to introduce the vaccines as part of the universal immunisation programme.

The vaccine, with one shot, offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae B (Hib). “This will bring down child mortality and morbidity drastically,” says Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner, Child Health and Immunisation, Ministry of Health.

There are about 27 million children under one year in the country at any given point of time, and the intention is to take the benefits of the pentavalent to all of them, he adds.

The pentavalent vaccine was introduced in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in December of 2011, the two States with high vaccine coverage and solid public health systems.

After an evaluation of the two States in August 2012, the decision to expand was taken.

The pentavalent vaccine was then introduced in phases in Haryana, Puducherry, Goa, and Gujarat, with Jammu and Kashmir being the latest to join the list.

At present, the vaccines are being procured by UNICEF, with funding from GAVI. The operational costs are borne by the government, Dr. Khera points out. “We need to preserve the vaccine in a good cold chain system, use single use auto disable syringes and provide manpower support to the administration of the vaccine,” he explains. The vaccines are provided free of cost under the public health scheme, while in the public sector, between Rs. 400 and Rs. 700 is charged per dose. Infants are given three doses of the pentavalent vaccine at six, ten and 14 weeks of age.

Replying to an RTI application by Kerala-based doctor K.V. Babu, the Ministry indicated that Kerala had a total of 11 deaths in 2012, and Tamil Nadu four, listed under ‘Adverse Effects Following Immunisation’ (AEFI) using the pentavalent vaccine. In 2011, the year of introduction, there was one death in Kerala. “We need to ask whether the vaccine is safe after all, with periodic assessments. The life of every child is precious, and we cannot afford to lose children from vaccination,” Dr. Babu says.

Responding to this, Dr. Khera explains, “The vaccine safety surveillance system enables us to understand whether programmatic errors are happening. That does not mean that whatever AEFIs are reported do not have a direct association with the vaccine administration. Since we are keen on tracking the pentavalent, we allow even deaths occurring a week after the vaccination to be reported.”

He points out that on an average 3,600 children under the age of five years die every day in the country, due to various factors. “The point is that there can be many factors causing the death of children, the vaccine might be incidental. However, we investigate every reported case of death or even other adverse effects.”

In fact, the vaccine has been available in the private sector in India for over a decade now, he said. The vaccine has been demonstrated to be efficacious and effective in numerous studies and is widely supported by global and Indian health communities.  
 
-The Hindu
==================================
 
 
 
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