Browsing: Around The Region

Selected latest news stories from the GCC – Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. Stories focus on topics concerning Indians across the Gulf.

Around The Region
Saudi-led bloc to continue Qatar boycott after ‘negative’ response to demands

Foreign ministers of the Saudi-led bloc that imposed an embargo on Qatar said Wednesday they regretted Qatar’s “negative” response to a list of demands to end a diplomatic crisis. The ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates “regret the negative response from Qatar,” they said, in a statement read out by Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry, after meeting in Cairo. Speaking to reporters after reading the statement, Shoukry said Qatar’s response to the bloc’s conditions had “no substance”. Qatar calls for dialogue Meanwhile, Qatar’s foreign minister called for “dialogue” to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis, accusing Arab states that have cut ties with Qatar of trying to undermine the nation’s sovereignty. H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani was speaking at the Chatham House think tank in London. “As the 48 hours extension is coming to an end, Qatar continues to call for dialogue despite the…

Around The Region
Kuwait steps up efforts to end Qatar diplomatic crisis

Kuwait has stepped up its efforts to mediate an end to the economic and diplomatic blockade of Qatar. The US president, Donald Trump, also rang the Qatari emir suggesting he come to the US to discuss a resolution to the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the Gulf in 30 years. Kuwait ruler visits Saudi, UAE and Qatar Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah flew to Qatar on Wednesday night and was met at the airport by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement the two held talks on how “restore the normal relations” of the Gulf. Earlier Sheikh Sabah was in UAE, where he had discussions with Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander…

Around The Region
Updated: How the Qatar crisis will affect airline passengers

On Monday morning four major powers in the MENA region — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt –announced their shocking decision to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and close their airspace and seaports to Qatari vessels and planes. Later on, Yemen, Libya and Maldives have also joined the list of countries who have severed ties with Qatar. The diplomatic rift has wreaked havoc with airlines in the region, with major long-haul carriers such as Doha-based Qatar Airways and Dubai’s Emirates suspending flights, leaving many passengers stranded at airports in the Gulf. Here is how the major airlines are reacting to the diplomatic crisis and how it will affect travel: Qatar Airways Qatar’s national carrier – Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until further notice. Qatar Airways has also suspended all flights to the UAE from 00:00 UTC June 6th (03:00 Doha time, June 6th) until further…

Around The Region
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

In a shocking turn of events, four major countries of the MENA region – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – have called off their diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar. The suprising announcement came on Monday as tensions escalate in the region over accusations of Qatar supporting terrorist organisations. The Saudi Arabian government announced that it was severing ties with Qatar and thereby pulled all Qatari troops from the ongoing war in Yemen. The announcement was made early on Monday via the Saudi News Agency, which also stated that the kingdom was taking the action for protection of national security. Saudi also closed the border and halted air and sea traffic with Qatar, urging “all brotherly countries and companies to do the same”, Al Jazeera reported. Saudi Arabia is the only country to have land access to Qatar and the border closure can seriously impact trade…

Around The Region
Ramadan 2017 likely to start on May 27, says experts

The Holy month of Ramdan is set to begin from May 27, 2017 and is expected to end on June 24, based on moon sighting reports. A number of scholars and astronomers from the region have predicted the date based on scientific calculations. However the confirmation will be announced only on Friday May 26. Astronomically the birth of a new moon can be calculated, but the actual visibility of the crescent depends on factors such as atmospheric conditions, cloudiness, and the distance between the sun and the moon on the horizon. Saudi scholar predicts May 27 Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Manie, member of Saudi’s Council of Senior Scholars had earlier said that month of Shaaban, which precedes Ramadan in the Islamic calendar, would have 30 days which means Ramadan will begin on May 27. The Eid Al-Fitr will fall on Sunday, June 25, with the fasting month ending on Saturday,…

Around The Region
Three GCC countries among world’s ‘safest’

Three countries from the GCC region have been ranked among the top 10 in safety according to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). UAE has been ranked as the second safest country in the world behind only Finland, and has a well-developed hospitality and entertainment infrastructure (27th), the report noted. Oman ranks at the 4th position, while Qatar comes at number 10. The world’s 10 safest countries Finland UAE Iceland Oman Hong Kong Singapore Norway Switzerland Rwanda Qatar UAE continues to be the most competitive economy for developing its travel and tourism sector in the Middle East and North Africa and ranks number two globally for tourism safety. The UAE, ranked 29th globally overall, well ahead of its nearest regional challenger Qatar (47th), continued to improve its performance with its score rising 1.4 per cent since 2015, the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2017 said.…

Around The Region
Rupee recovers against dollar, Here are the exchange rates

The rupee on Friday recovered some lost ground by rising 6 paisa to close at 67.01 due to fag-end dollar selling by banks and exporters in view of weakness in the greenback overseas amid persistent rise in equities. The rupee resumed lower at 67.10 as against the Thursday’s closing of 67.07 at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market and dropped further to 67.1525 on initial dollar demand from importers owing to higher crude oil prices in the global market, PTI reported. However, the domestic currency recovered afterwards to 66.9850 on selling of the American currency by banks and exporters due to weakness of dollar in the global market before closing at 67.01, showing a gain of 6 paise, or 0.09 per cent. In the overseas market, the dollar was flat against the yen and euro during range-bound trade on Friday, with its upside weighed down by position adjustment ahead of the…

Around The Region
Rupee drops again, Here are the exchange rates vs GCC currencies

Indian Rupee was trading low at 68.36 against US Dollar on Wednesday after the dollar gained strength overseas. Here are today’s rates against GCC currencies: 1 Qatar Riyal – Rs 18.77 1 UAE Dirham – Rs 18.61 1 Saudi Riyal – Rs  18.23 1 Oman Riyal – Rs 177.51 1 Bahrain Dinar – Rs 181.02 1 Kuwait Dinar – Rs 223.40 NOTE: Bank transfer rates will be slightly lower than this. Increased demand for the US currency from importers and dollar’s gains against other currencies overseas put pressure on the rupee, PTI quoted forex dealers as having said. They said, however, a higher opening in the domestic equity market capped the rupee losses. On Tuesday, the rupee had ended 3 paise higher at 68.18 against the American currency in a range bound trade amid weak dollar overseas. Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex recaptured the 27,000-mark by surging 151.01 points, or 0.56 per…

Around The Region
Three Gulf carriers named among world’s safest airlines

Three GCC-based carriers – Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad have been ranked among the world’s top 10 safest airlines, according to new figures released by the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC). While Qatar Airways is ranked 4th, Emirates is at 7th and Etihad is at 8th position in the JACDEC report. According to JACDEC’s Airline Safety Ranking 2017 study, airlines based in Asia and the Middle East continued to dominate the list of carriers with the best safety track record in 2016. Cathay Pacific, based in Hong Kong, topped the list as the carrier with the best safety record, followed by Air New Zealand as the second, Hainan Airlines, Qatar Airways, KLM, Eva Air. Qantas and Japan Airlines rounded out the top 10. JACDEC is a global source for professional and accurate aviation safety information for the benefit of companies, aviation professionals and individual travellers. The annual report provides insight for…

Around The Region
Money exchanges in Gulf now selling Indian notes at a discount

Exchange houses in some Gulf countries are selling Indian rupees at cheaper prices in a bid to clear up the stocks of Rs500 and Rs1000 notes. Some currency exchange houses in Qatar have reportedly started offering much higher exchange rates for Qatari riyals to dispense with the scrapped Indian currencies with them,  a report on Qatar Tribune says. Uncertain about the fate of scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, one of the exchange houses allegedly offered Rs 32 and Rs 24 for QR 1 on Monday and Tuesday respectively. The normal exchange rate on these days were only Rs18.55 and 18.50. The particular exchange house got rid of Rs6 million on Monday, the report added citing sources. Millions of rupees stuck in exchange houses According to Times of Oman, exchange houses in Oman are stuck with a combined 15 million rupees of scrapped Indian currency. They are now luring…

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