Old Bedouin traditions (Bedouin = Arabic
nomad), such as beautifully woven patterned woolen
fabrics, still leave their mark on the culture of
The influence of Islam on the culture is great, as is
evident in the many mosques.
Latest population statistics of Kuwait, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Among modern buildings that are awe-inspiring are the
Parliament, designed by Danish Jørn Utzon (also the
author of Sydney's famous opera house), and two groups
of Swedish-built water towers.
On the island of Faylaka there are interesting
archaeological remains, including from the Greek city
which one of Alexander the Great's generals had built
there in the 300s. The find area is one of four places
in Kuwait that is on the UN organization's waiting list
to be classified as a World Heritage Site.
In the capital Kuwait City there is a large
collection of Islamic art housed in a private villa as
well as a museum of Bedouin art. Other museums include
one that is devoted to Arabic calligraphy.
Kuwait is the only country in the region with a
theater tradition. Kuwaiti soap operas on TV are popular
throughout the Arab world.
Saud Alsanousi received the Arabic Booker Prize in
2013 for a novel that touches on the conditions of the
guest workers, but there are also active female writers.
In 2014, Mai al Nakib was awarded an award at a book
fair in Edinburgh for a short story collection on
everyday life in the Middle East: "The Hidden Lifght of
Objects". Layla AlAmer's debut novel "The Pact We Made"
is about young women in Kuwait. The fact that books are
often first published in English, by authors who are
abroad, testifies to the conditions of modern authors:
While a regular book fair is held, works that disregard
the regime run the risk of being banned.
Court opens for election election
Two members, the Islamists Jamaan al-Harbash and Walid al-Tabtabai, are
getting rid of their seats in parliament. They have previously been convicted of
taking part in the storming of Parliament in 2011, when protesters demanded the
departure of the Prime Minister. Like other convicts, they have both gone into
exile to avoid serving prison sentences. The Constitutional Court now repeals an
article in the regulations that prevented the invasion of others in their
Peace talks on Yemen in preparation
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström visits Kuwait, which has taken a mediator
role in the war that is raging in Yemen. A rebel delegation from Yemen is ready
for the UN's planned peace talks in Sweden, states Kuwait's deputy foreign
minister. The rebels demand security guarantees for their peace negotiators.
Death Messenger strengthens ties with the United States
Kuwait is paying tribute to the late US President George Bush the elderly,
including a light game in the capital. His efforts to liberate Kuwait after the
Iraqi invasion of 1990 will not be forgotten, the official comment reads. It was
Bush who initiated a US-led war that drove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces away in
Rain exposes land mines
The recent heavy rainfall has led to landmines that have remained since the
Iraqi invasion of 1990. 18 popular campsites in the desert have been closed and
campers are warned. At least 48 mines have been found and damaged. Iraq's army
occupied Kuwait at Saddam Hussein's order. In 1991, the Iraqis were expelled by
US-led forces. Although Kuwait has allowed miners to seek out 1.65 million mines
laid out by the invasion forces, it is believed that there are 350,000 mines
Sports profile pressed by criminal charges
Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah withdraws from the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) until further notice. The reason is that he is suspected of forgery in
Switzerland. He belongs to Kuwait's royal family, has been a minister and held
several top jobs in sports. Last year, he resigned from Fifa, the International
Football Association, as a result of a US bribery investigation. He denies
Flooding a danger in desert land
Rainfall has given Kuwait 96 mm of rain in a few days, the next as much as
normal rainfall throughout the year. At least one person has lost his life
trying to save his family. All air traffic has been canceled, buildings and
roads have been flooded and vehicles have flown away because the drainage
systems have not been able to divert water bodies. Storms have also caused
problems in the autumn. Two senior officials have been dismissed and a minister
has resigned, since the preparedness was considered to be substandard.
Turkey and Kuwait agree on defense plan
Turkey and Kuwait sign a joint defense plan for 2019 with the stated aim of
increasing military coordination. The agreement says nothing about Turkish
forces being placed or practiced in Kuwait, but such opportunities are also not
ruled out. In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the agreement is reported to be
disapproving. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait disagree on two common oil fields. From a
Saudi point of view, it is also claimed that Turkey supports the Islamist
organization the Muslim Brotherhood, which many of the Middle East regimes are
Protests against censorship of books
More than 4,000 books have been blacklisted by the Kuwaiti Ministry of
Information over the past five years, according to local media. The titles
include works by classic writer Victor Hugo and Nobel Laureate Gabriel García
Márquez, who just a few years ago was described as a literary giant in Kuwaiti
press. Several demonstrations have been held ahead of Kuwait's annual book fair
in November. Only works that have been previewed by the authority may appear at
the fair. No one has yet been charged with selling banned books.
Agreements should protect guest workers
Guest workers should be allowed to keep their passports and mobile phones,
says a new agreement between Kuwait and the Philippines on migrant workers'
conditions. According to the news agency AFP, which has read the document, the
employee must, among other things, be guaranteed health insurance. An employment
contract should only be renewable if the Philippines approves it. The agreement
between the countries sets the stage for the diplomatic crisis and the
Philippines allows the country's citizens to apply for employment in Kuwait
again from mid-May.
Permanent stop for Filipino labor
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces that the ban on Filipino
citizens being newly recruited for work in Kuwait should now be considered
permanent. 60 percent of Filipino guest workers who are already in the country
are employed in households, according to the Philippine Foreign Ministry.
Duterte urges his countrymen to return to their home country or apply for a job
Diplomatic crisis following rescue operations
The Philippines apologizes to Kuwait after it emerged that staff at the
Philippine Embassy in Kuwait helped guest workers escape from their employers.
Videos published by the Philippine Foreign Ministry show escapes to waiting
cars. The Philippines admits that such rescue operations have sometimes occurred
without Kuwaiti police being involved or informed. Despite the apology, Kuwait
announces the day after the Philippines ambassador has to leave the country and
Kuwait brings home its own envoy from Manila.
Focus on migrant workers following Philippine ban
A Philippine government delegation is visiting Kuwait to discuss a ban on
Filipino citizens traveling to the country to work. Philippines President
Rodrigo Duterte introduced the ban after a Filipino woman was found dead in a
freezer. Duterte has also offered Filipinos in Kuwait a free return trip. The
woman who was a maid had been missing for more than a year when she was found,
and is believed to have been subjected to torture. Her employers are later
arrested abroad while in Kuwait they are sentenced to death in their absence.
Even before the macabre discovery, Duterte has talked about travel bans and
sharply criticized Kuwait for the unfair working conditions of migrants. The
travel ban has consequences for Filipino families who depend on money from
relatives who work abroad. In Kuwait, companies that rely on labor from abroad
are facing problems. There are around 250,000 Filipino workers in Kuwait.