Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Honored Guest

In every country where I have lived, we have felt like honored guests. This week, I have been truly honored, my blogging friend Hilaliya has asked me to be an occasional guest blogger on his revamped blog, now featuring a Kuwait Blogging Diwaniya. Pretty cool, huh? I have to admit it, I have a smile from ear to ear.

The revered blogger Don Veto led the way with an article yesterday, and I jumped in today.

In honor of my ear-to-ear smile, it’s called Smile for me Baby – Let Me See Your Grill but fair warning – it’s political polemic, about parliamentary gridlock, so you will see a grittier side of Intlxpatr.

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March 11, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Blogroll, Character, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Leadership, Political Issues, Social Issues | 8 Comments

Housing Prices Fall 30 – 40% in Kuwait

From today’s Arab Times

Price of residential homes falls as ‘meltdown’ digs in

KUWAIT CITY, March 10, (KUNA): Prices of residential homes in Kuwait have fallen between 30 and 40 percent since February, the Manazel Holding Company chairman said here Tuesday. The drop differs from one area to another, dipping by 60 percent at some areas and 15-20 percent at others, Adnan al-Nesf told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The prices have been on the wane since Laws 8 and 9 for 2008 were put in place. Both laws bar companies from selling or buying houses, he said.

The global financial crisis is to blame for the decline in house rates, al-Nesf added. The laws were adopted after the prices had reached record levels, but the situation could have been solved in a way that would not lead to a ban on home activities by mortgage companies, he said. Several rules and controls could be imposed on dealing in homes that directly concern citizens; including allowing landlords to sell their houses only after five years of buying, he suggested.

However, he voiced optimism that the crisis would be resolved soon, especially following a recent court ruling allowing the Kuwait Finance House (KFH) to deal in houses. An improvement in the real estate sector would surely push the economic wheel forward, he argued, pointing out that the property market was waiting for an in-the-offing rescue plan to be put in place soon. Just like other companies, real estate dealers have been negatively affected by the current world financial meltdown, he affirmed. But, he recognized that most property dealers were trying to retrench their expenses, lay off workers or cut workers’ salaries.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues | 13 Comments

Wild Blue Yonder

Today was the Kuwait show of military might. No sandstorm, thanks be to God. Somehow, I had thought yesterday was Wednesday and thought how sad it was it would have had to be cancelled. When I woke up today and realized it was Wednesday, I could hardly wait.

Just the sound of the roaring jets gives me a grin. I once lived near a huge airbase, and we lived with the sound day and night. It never bothered me. I always knew these were men and women who sacrificed their lives to serve their country in a profession that looks a lot more glamorous than it is. Flying can be exciting, but it can also be very tedious. You are away from your family for long hours. It gets old. They persevere.

The young men and women chosen to fly these fighter planes have to have superior physical condition and reflexes. Think about you and the car your daddy gave you – it may be expensive, but it didn’t cost billions. These planes do. It’s an amazing responsibility, a privilege and an honor to be selected.

Bu Yousef, tell your friend he was supposed to waggle his wings when he flew by so I would know which one he was! 😉

Macaholic, it was a little hazy, but the attack helicopters are for you. 🙂

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00wavingtobuyousefsfriend

00waggleyourwings

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Photos | 10 Comments

‘Kuwait could deport 11,000 expats’

From today’s Arab Times

‘Kuwait could deport 11,000 expats’

KUWAIT CITY, March 10: Kuwait will deport 11,000 expatriate workers after the issuance of a decision to close files of sponsors involved in human trafficking and establishment of illusory companies, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting a reliable source from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. According to the source, the ministry has prepared a comprehensive report about the human trafficking cases in Kuwait, ahead of the US State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which will be released by the middle of this year.

The report states that Kuwait is bent on clearing its name over human trafficking accusations. It highlighted negative comments about Kuwait, which include the absence of a law to incriminate those involved in human trafficking and incompetence of personnel in charge of human trafficking victims. This has prompted the ministry to coordinate with its justice counterpart and other relevant government authorities to lay down a draft bill to curb human trafficking and people smuggling. The draft bill has been finalized and referred to the Cabinet, which will pave the way for its submission to the National Assembly for voting. Both ministries are also exerting efforts to establish a higher authority to support the expatriate workers.

Despite claims that Kuwait has taken positive steps to remove its name from the TIP watch list, Kuwait received a letter from the charge d’ affaires of the American Embassy in Kuwait mid-last year, warning that the country might retain its ranking in the watch list if it fails to take the necessary measures to curb human trafficking, and provide training to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor employees on how to deal with the victims of human trafficking.

The reports also mentioned the establishment of a shelter in Kheitan for expatriates who run away from their sponsors, indicating several international and Arab delegations visited and praised the center, but they all demanded for more procedures. In response to such demands, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor asked its education counterpart to provide more schools as temporary shelters for the expatriate workers, as well as its finance counterpart to allocate the required budget for the construction of shelters in various governorates.

Meanwhile, the report has also underscored the fact that the employees assigned at the shelter have undergone various training courses at Johns Hopkins University in the US, in addition to a workshop conducted under the supervision of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which was held in Bahrain several months ago. The report has also confirmed that the human trafficking victims have been provided with the necessary services, such as psychological and medical services, through an integrated team, consisting of representatives from the concerned ministries.

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues | 9 Comments