Kuwait’s public works minister resigns amid severe flooding

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Kuwait’s Minister of Public Works, Hussam Al-Roumi, resigned following heavy rainfall that caused damaging flooding across the country. (KUNA)
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Kuwait’s Minister of Public Works, Hussam Al-Roumi, resigned following heavy rainfall that caused damaging flooding across the country. (KUNA)
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Kuwait’s Minister of Public Works, Hussam Al-Roumi, resigned following heavy rainfall that caused damaging flooding across the country. (KUNA)
Updated 10 November 2018

Kuwait’s public works minister resigns amid severe flooding

JEDDAH: Kuwait’s Minster of Public Works Hussam Al-Roumi resigned on Friday after flooding across the country.
Al-Roumi expressed his “deep regret” over the severe damage to private property caused by the latest heavy rains.
Rain lashed Kuwait on Thursday and Friday. Footage posted on social media from across Kuwait showed torrents sweeping away cars as sewage systems failed to drain the heavy downpour.
“Based on my moral responsibility and in support of the approach taken by His Highness the Prime Minister to bear the consequences of the government’s heavy responsibility, I submitted my resignation to the National Assembly Speaker,” he added.
The army and national guard were mobilized to help clear water from critical facilities and roadways and the Kuwait Oil Company announced a state of emergency, state news agency KUNA reported.
The national guard announced on Friday that it was upgrading the weather conditions to “extreme” due to bad weather and ordered units to be on a heightened state of alert.
The meteorological department of Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation reported that the country has received almost 30 millimeters since Thursday evening, a significantly high amount for Kuwait in a 24-hour span. It forecast unstable weather conditions and moderate to heavy scattered thunderous rains, expected to run until Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Kuwait University announced it will close its campus and cancel exams scheduled for Saturday.
Following instructions from the Dean of the University Dr. Hussein Al-Ansari, and Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Hamed Al-­Azmi, the campus will be closed due to weather conditions engulfing the country, the university’s spokesman Dr. Muthana Al­-Refaie said in a press statement.
Exams scheduled on Saturday were canceled and will be held later on after the weather conditions improve, he added.
The Ministry of Interior urged both citizens and expatriates to be extra cautious over the next couple of days.
The national guard announced earlier on Friday the formation of six technical emergency teams to follow up efforts to support the relevant government agencies to address the effects of rainfall and water floods to ensure smooth traffic on the roads and to respond to any emergencies in accordance with the objectives of the country’s 2020 strategic vision, which stresses security first.
The prime minister confirmed that the government is following the situation closely in all regions and all ministers have been asked to take the necessary measures in order to maintain safety and minimize damage. He also stressed that those who fail to perform their duties will be held accountable.
Kuwait, along with several other countries in the region, has experienced unstable weather conditions with several areas flooded due to the heavy rainfall over the last week.


Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Updated 34 min 21 sec ago

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

  • Altan and the others deny the charges against them
  • On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

Before his release last Monday, the 69-year-old had been in jail since his arrest in 2016, two months after an attempted coup which Ankara says was orchestrated by the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The journalist’s case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies. They are concerned by the scale of a post-coup crackdown against suspected Gulen supporters under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Altan smiled and waved as he was driven away by counter-terror squad police officers after being taken from his home in Istanbul, video and photos published by Turkish media showed.

He was taken to Istanbul police headquarters after a hospital check-up, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Altan, his brother and other journalists were previously sentenced to life in jail for aiding Gulen’s network. Last week he was convicted again in a retrial, but released from jail given the time served.

Altan and the others deny the charges against them.

On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing, Anadolu reported.

Under last week’s verdict, Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months in jail. Turkey’s high court had overruled the previous life sentences against him in July, sending the file back for re-trial.

Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the failed putsch. Widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers deny any involvement in the coup. Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite the cleric.