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Kuwait makes headlines for plane collision, soccer accident, hunger strike

Saudi has been breaking news on almost a daily basis, ranging from arrests of princes, to Aramco IPO, oil prices and OPEC cuts, mega city development, women drivers, movie entertainment, and others.

With three separate recent events, Kuwait jumped to the headlines, ahead of Saudi.

What happened in the last 72 hours?

Soccer punched

BBC reported that dozens of football fans were injured after a glass barrier collapsed during celebrations following a match, when Omani fans rushed to greet their team after their win in the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup final.

“The barrier went down due to pressure caused by waves of moving fans,” state news agency Kuna reported.

Oman beat the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 5-4 in a penalty shootout at the Jaber al-Ahmad stadium.”

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The Kuwait Football Association (FA) said on Twitter that about 40 people sustained “minor injuries” in last Friday’s incident.

The Kuwaiti Public Authority for Sports (PAS) Director General Homoud Flaiteh said on Saturday that an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Reuters reported last December that Kuwait can return to international football following an absence of more than two years after FIFA lifted a ban on the country’s FA.

“Kuwait was suspended in October 2015 over a government bill which the global soccer body said interfered in the independence of the country’s FA and fell foul of the FIFA statutes,” said Reuters.

FIFA said in a statement “the Kuwait Parliament has adopted a new Sports Law of Kuwait, which replaces all the previous ones and has been amended in order to be fully compliant with the FIFA Statutes and requirements.”

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 Ground collision of aircraft

US network NBC reported that the right wing of a China Southern plane hit the tail of a Kuwait Airways airliner last Saturday, damaging both aircrafts, quoting the New York Port Authority.

“The China Southern flight was being towed when the planes collided shortly after midnight,” the FAA said.

“Both planes are Boeing 777s. No one was injured and all the passengers got off safely, but the collission only added to the (weather-related) mess.”

NBC said that Kuwait Airways published on Twitter that Flight 118 from New York to Kuwait was struck by the Chinese plane as it was parked before takeoff, and was investigating the incident as passengers were taken to hotels until alternative flights were made available.

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Hunger strike

According to the Associated Press, 13 jailed activists in Kuwait are staging a hunger strike starting last Sunday.

According to Reuters, a Kuwaiti court handed several lawmakers jail terms late 2017 for forcing their way into the parliament building in 2011.

(Around 70) Protesters burst into parliament in 2011 after lawmakers had been denied the right to question then Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah about corruption (and bribery) allegations the lawmakers were accused of, according to Reuters.

“Kuwait’s al-Qabas newspaper said the court sentenced current MPs Jamaan al-Harbash and Waleed al-Tabtabai to five years and MP Mohammed al-Mutair to one year,” Reuters reported.

An appeals court in November found them guilty on charges that include protesting illegally and sentencing them to between one and nine years’ imprisonment.

Reuters said that while Kuwait allows more freedom of speech than some other Gulf Arab states, the emir has the last say in state affairs.