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Kuwaiti ministers resign amid reshuffle reports

All ministers of the Kuwaiti government submitted on Monday their resignations to the prime minister, the country's parliament speaker said, after media reports of an imminent cabinet reshuffle. "I have received an official letter from the government that all ministers have submitted their resignations to the prime minister," Marzouk al-Ghanem told reporters outside parliament. The speaker said the government had also informed him it would not attend a parliament session scheduled for Tuesday, and that the session had been called off.

Rights group slams Kuwait ruling on criticism of ruler

Human Rights Watch Thursday blasted a ruling by Kuwait's top court to uphold a disputed law that sends people to jail for up to five years for criticising the ruler. The New York-based HRW said the ruling "dealt a blow to free speech." Lawyers defending activists had asked the constitutional court to abolish article 25 of the penal code, which stipulates a jail term of up to five years for anyone who publicly "objects to the rights and authorities of the emir or faults him."

Kuwaiti court acquits 70 accused over 2011 storming of parliament

KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwait court on Monday acquitted 70 people, including nine former lawmakers, of storming the parliament in 2011 in an unprecedented protest against the then prime minister, a senior member of the ruling family. Kuwait, a U.S. ally and major oil exporter, has largely weathered the popular uprisings that ousted autocratic rulers elsewhere in the Arab Spring, thanks in part to its generous welfare state.

70 activists, ex-MPs acquitted of storming Kuwait parliament

Kuwait's lower court on Monday acquitted 70 opposition activists including nine former MPs of charges of storming the parliament building in the oil-rich Gulf state two years ago. "All the defendants were found not guilty" of charges of storming a public building, assaulting police, resisting orders and damaging public property, in the ruling by judge Hisham Abdullah.

70 activists, ex-MPs acquitted of storming Kuwait parliament

Kuwait's lower court on Monday acquitted 70 opposition activists including nine former MPs of charges of storming the parliament building in the oil-rich Gulf state two years ago. "All the defendants were found not guilty" of charges of storming a public building, assaulting police, resisting orders and damaging public property, in the ruling by judge Hisham Abdullah.

Kuwait court upholds law penalising criticism of emir

Kuwait's top court on Monday upheld as constitutional a disputed law under which people who "offend" the emir can be jailed for up to five years. The constitutional court rejected challenges by lawyers defending activists to demand the penal code provision be abolished for allegedly suppressing freedom of speech guaranteed under the basic law. Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah is described as "immune and inviolable" in the Kuwaiti constitution.

Death upheld for Kuwaiti royal over killing nephew

Kuwait's supreme court Monday upheld a death sentence for a member of the Gulf state's ruling family convicted of killing his nephew, also a royal, according to the verdict. Sheikh Faisal Abdullah Al-Sabah was convicted of shooting Sheikh Basel Salem Al-Sabah to death at the latter's palace in June 2010, apparently over a dispute on board membership at a sports club. The sentence is final but can be commuted to life in jail by the emir of the Gulf state where executions are carried out by hanging.

Kuwait offers $1 bn in soft loans to African states

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah announced on Tuesday that his country will provide $1 billion in low-interest loans to African countries over a five-year period. "I ordered officials of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to provide soft loans worth $1 billion to Africa over the next five years," Sheikh Sabah said at the opening of the third Africa-Arab summit. oh/lyn/bpz

India, Kuwaiti PMs hold talks on energy, investment

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah held talks in New Delhi on Friday, discussing issues of mutual interest, including petroleum, petrochemicals, investment and infrastructure development.

Kuwait emir says 'old concepts' must change, urges reform

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah called Tuesday for comprehensive reforms in the oil-rich Gulf state, saying it was time to change old concepts. "It is time to launch a new decisive phase and a major qualitative move aimed at achieving comprehensive reforms and complete development" programmes, the ruler said at the opening of the parliament that was elected in July amid a bitter political crisis. The emir's announcement comes a day after the government said it planned to review subsidy policies and charges on public services and commodities.
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