Monthly Archives: January 2013
Social life in Kuwait
Via Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff
In this week’s online poll, Arab Times asked readers for their opinion on social life in Kuwait. The responses ranged between the negative and the complacent, with a majority, 40%, stating that there are very few social events organized in the state.
When talking to people on this opinion of voters, most agreed. However, many of them saw it as a blessing in disguise, “because it gives people more time for family, and helps them save money.” Expatriates who have lived in other Gulf states, before coming to Kuwait, said that life in Kuwait may be dull, “but at the end of the year you have more bank balance which enables you to do more productive things in life, such as making good investments.”
Some of the citizens who spoke to the Arab Times had a dimmer take. The poor social and entertainment scene in Kuwait forces people to indulge in the only available entertainment, eating out. “That’s a big reason why there’s growing obesity in the state.”
About 23% of the voters said that different communities in Kuwait organize their own social events in a private fashion. “Since it’s held behind closed doors, it’s not known widely.” People who supported this view said that such parties and functions make sure there’s community bonding; moreover, they are also cost effective as they are organized not for profits, but for entertainment and socializing.
However, people were wary of parties that go overboard, where immoral activities take place. A particular respondent said that in a neighboring flat on New Year’s eve, a bachelor’s party went so wild that other residents had to intervene and warn them to play down or face police action. There are several social groups operating in Kuwait promoting drug abuse and alcoholism.
Another 23% of the voters said they are happy with the way things are in Kuwait. For them it’s just work and family that matter. As long as they are able to balance their professional and family lives, they are happy. They said that countries that promote too much entertainment and social life also open out venues for moral corruption. “It may be fun to live there, but it could also have too many negative consequences, which may bear upon the next generation.”
Twelve percent of the voters find entertainment in shopping malls and restaurants. For them it’s more about an excuse to go out and hang out somewhere, than actually indulging in some particular activity. Cinemas are also good for some emotional catharsis and to relieve stress, a few interviewees noted. A very small minority, 1%, said that there’s a lot happening in Kuwait, and there’s no need for more. They ask people who disagree to scan the newspapers every day, and count the number of social and entertainment events that take place here.
Pic by Aboflan
A fire shut a 54,000 barrel per day heavy oil unit at Kuwait’s Shuaiba refinery on Wednesday but the blaze was quickly put out, a spokesman for Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) said.
Kuwait ‘High Risk’ For Corruption
Rater Issues Report On Defense Sector
Via Kuwait ArabTimes
Kuwait is among countries at high risk of corruption in their defense sectors, according to the report released Tuesday by Transparency International UK — an anti-corruption watchdog.
Besides Kuwait, other countries under the high-risk category include India, Israel, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); while China and Russia, which are leading arm exporters like Israel, are at higher risk.
On the other hand, other GCC countries, such as Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have been categorized as being at ‘very high risk’.
Germany and Australia are the only countries out of 82 surveyed by Transparency International UK with strong anti-corruption mechanisms, according to what the watchdog says is the first index measuring how governments counter corruption in defence.
Fifty-seven of the countries, almost 70 percent, had poor controls against corruption, according to the survey, which rated governments by criteria such as the strength of parliamentary oversight of defence policy and the standards expected of defence firms.
The 82 countries surveyed account for 94 per cent of global military expenditure in 2011, worth $1.6 trillion, while the global cost of corruption in the defence sector is estimated to be at least $20 billion a year, the watchdog said.
Mark Pyman, director of Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme, said he hoped the survey would lead governments to improve anti-corruption policies.
Corruption was dangerous, because troops “may well have equipment that doesn’t work”, and it was wasteful, he said.
“Particularly at times of austerity, the idea that it is somehow acceptable that there should be corruption in defence because it has always been so is just an outrageous suggestion,” he told Reuters.
Countries with poor anti-corruption controls included two -thirds of the largest arms importers assessed in the survey and half of the biggest arms exporters, Transparency International said.
Nine countries — Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen — are at “critical risk” of corruption in their defence sector, lacking basic accountability measures, the survey said.
Countries classed as being at “very high risk” of corruption include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Britain, Sweden and South Korea were among countries judged to be at low risk, while France, Spain, Italy and Poland were in the moderate -risk group.
The survey looked not only at the potential for corruption in defence contracts, but also at the risk of abuse of defence budgets and the risk of corruption in the armed forces.
Governments surveyed were given the chance to review Transparency International’s findings.
Pyman said a “shocking” result of the survey was that in half of the countries surveyed, the defence budget was either not public or it contained no breakdown of defence spending.
Only 12 percent of countries surveyed had “highly effective” parliamentary scrutiny of defence policy and only a handful protected whistleblowers who reported defence corruption.
Europe has been swept by a wave of high-profile cases of alleged corruption in defence deals in recent years.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has been charged with bribery over a now -abandoned 2006 deal to buy armoured vehicles. He has denied wrongdoing.
European aerospace and defence group EADS, facing investigations in Austria, Britain and Germany, has launched an external review of its anti-corruption rules.
EQUAIT MUN is a Model United Nations conference organized by EQUAIT and executive officers from several MUN teams across Kuwait. The topics of the conference will mainly cover political and social issues affecting the Middle East. Delegates will have the chance to debate and discuss these issues and form resolutions based on their discussions. The commissions being represented thus far are the Human Rights commission, General Assembly, the Arab League commission, the Territorial commission, the International Court of Justice, ECOSOC, and the Disarmament commission.
When? February 14th-16th 2013. The schedule for the conference can be found by clicking here.
Where? Gulf University For Science & Technology
Who? You! The age range for delegates is 13-24 years of age for all commissions. Delegation fee is 3.250 KD for all delegates! If you are interested in participating but are not apart of a school team, you are welcome to register as an individual delegate by clicking here.
For more information about EQUAITMUN 2013, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.