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
Ramadan temperatures to be 45-50 C, Fasting time to be above 15 hrs

Temperatures during the fasting month of Ramadan will average as high as 45-50 Celsius in the Gulf, one of the highest temperate levels through the year. According to the Amman-based Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences (AUASS), fasting time will exceed 15 hours and they will increase in late Ramadan. “Maximum temperatures in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries will average 45-50 degrees during Ramadan,” Khalid Al Zuak, an AUASS member said, quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily ‘Ajel’. He said the hottest area in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan will be the Eastern province of Ihsa, which borders the UAE and other Gulf states. He expected Ramadan crescent to be “born” on Sunday night June 5 and Ramadan to start on June 6.

Around The Region
Ramadan to start on June 6

The holy month of Ramadan will start on June 6 and end on July 5 this year, senior astronomers have said. Bahrain Astronomical Society (BAS) Deputy Chairman Waheeb Al Nasser said that the crescent marking the start of the lunar month would be possible on Sunday, June 5, making the start of the fasting the next day. “Muslims in Bahrain will be fasting for 15 hours and 18 minutes on the first day of the holy month, and 15 hours and seven minutes on the last day,” he said in remarks posted by Bahrain News Agency (BNA). In a statement issued by the news agency Wam recently, Ibrahim Al Jarwan, General Supervisor at Sharjah Planetarium, said: “The new moon of Ramadan is to appear on June 5 at around 6.59pm UAE time, but it will disappear at around 7.25pm or 17 minutes after sunset of the same day. He also pointed…

Around The Region
Smart cards to facilitate expatriate travel between GCC nations

Citizens and expatriates in GCC may soon be able travel between the six member countries with just electronic identity cards, instead of passports and visa. They will be able to use smart cards issued by their own countries to pass through electronic gates at GCC airports. Plan to be presented at GCC meeting A senior official in Kuwait has proposed the plan to allow citizens and expatriates residing in GCC countries to travel between the GCC member-nations using a smart card, Arab Times has reported. Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs in the Interior Ministry Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah confirmed the project will be presented in the upcoming meeting of GCC Interior Ministers for deliberation. Linking smart card databases The logic behind the idea is that every GCC country has an e-gate system and countries that has issued smart ID cards to residents can be linked together by sharing the residents’ database. Earlier,…

Around The Region
Kuwait to hike power, water tariff for expatriates

Kuwait’s parliament on Wednesday passed a bill allowing the government to raise power and water charges on foreign residents and on businesses but exempted the Gulf state’s citizens. Thirty-one MPs voted in favour while 17 members opposed it. The second and final round of voting will take place after two weeks. MPs initially rejected the bill but later approved it after Kuwaiti citizens were exempted. If given the final clearance, it will be the first time in 50 years that oil-rich Kuwait raise power charges. Move after dwindle in oil revenues Like other crude exporters, Kuwait’s oil-dependent revenues dwindled since oil prices crashed by over 70 percent from its mid-2014 peak. The bill stipulates to raise power charges in apartment buildings, overwhelmingly used by foreigners, from the current flat rate of two fils per kilowatt gradually to up to 15 fils per kilowatt. For commercial uses, it will be raised from two…

Around The Region
GCC countries may ban use of hands-free headsets while driving : Report

It may soon become illegal in GCC countries to use hands-free headsets while driving, a media report from UAE says. Hands-free calls while driving could soon be banned as UAE’s Ministry of Interior is working on regulations to limit use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets in cars, Gulf News has reported. A top ministry official confirmed to Gulf News on Monday that the new regulations would ban both Bluetooth-enabled calls as well as speaking on phone through earphones while a vehicle is on the move. Changes to be at GCC level Major Khalfan Saeed Al Naqbi, Head of Traffic Planning and Policy at the ministry, informed that the changes are being initiated at the GCC level. “We are dicussing with the traffic authorities of all the regional countries so that there is some uniformity in regulations across the region. All GCC countries are closely connected and vehicles cross borders regularly so it is…

Around The Region
Son sells house to pay father’s debt; creditor forgives million Riyal loan

A Saudi man set example of being a good son by selling his house to pay his father’s loan of SR 1 million. The lender was touched by the son’s act and surprised him by waving off the loan and returning the SR 1 million to him. The story of the father and son has gone viral on social media, Emirates 24|7 has reported. Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Subaihi, a Saudi lawyer, said that this incident took place at a Saudi court and tweeted details. The lawyer added that the lender was so touched by the son’s decision that he decided to return the SR1m as reward for being a good son. Hailed on social media Many on social media wished their children were like this man. Rana, a Saudi woman and mother, said that these days it is very rare to see such behaviour from people. “Both the son and the…

Around The Region
Saudi family bids farewell to housemaid with gold, money and roses

A Saudi family has organized a farewell party for their Ethiopian housemaid who worked with them for four years and had to go back home finally for personal reasons. The family, according to Al-Riyadh newspaper, described their housemaid as a role model of loyalty and dedication. The family members agreed to organize the farewell party in the presence of a number of their relatives and friends who all appreciated her good manners and fine treatment of everyone, Saudi Gazette reported. Um Mufleh Al-Balawi, the housewife, said addressing the housemaid: “You have served our family with sincerity and dedication. We wished so much that you could spend many more years with us.” The housewife said her maid’s personal circumstances back home obliged her to leave though they did not have enough of her. “You have left behind a good impression about expatriate housemaids who are keen to make a honorable living…

Around The Region
Replace expatriates with nationals in oil and gas sector : Oman ministerial committee

Expatriate workers in Oman’s oil and gas sector are worried over the latest statement issued by a committee formed to discuss layoffs in the oil and gas sector. The ministerial committee formed by the Council of Ministers to look into layoffs in oil and gas sector has said that expats can be terminated from contracts that have expired or from contracts that are reduced in scope. Statement after layoff of Omani workers The statement from ministerial committee follows mass termination of around 700 Omani workers by a company this month. Times of Oman reports that at least 1,000 Omani workers have been laid off since 2014, following the slump in global oil prices. Appoint Omanis in place of expats The statement issued by the government committee has urged companies to appoint Omanis in place of expats at any other contracts won by the company, while taking into consideration the matching of experience and efficiencies…

Around The Region
Even with Rs 10 crore in bank, this man continues begging

A foreigner has been arrested by the Kuwait police for allegedly begging although he has 500,000 Kuwaiti Dinar (over Rs 10 crore) in his bank account. The non-Kuwaiti beggar was held near a mosque in Capital Kuwait City and remanded in custody. “Servicemen were patrolling the area when they saw a man begging at a mosque for money, telling worshippers he badly needed cash and that he had no home,” security sources told Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai. “He was immediately arrested as he was breaking the law and was taken to Al Ahmadi police station where an investigation found that his account in a local bank was worth more than 500,000 Kuwaiti Dinar (over Rs 10 crore),” the sources added. GCC has banned begging Kuwait, like fellow members of the GCC – Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – does not allow begging and has pledged zero-tolerance towards…

Around The Region
Mobile roaming charges to be reduced across GCC countries

Telecom roaming charges will be slashed across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations with effect from April 1, 2016, a ministerial committee has announced. The governments of six-nation bloc have agreed to gradually reduce roaming charges when making calls, sending text messages and using data within the respective countries, according to a statement carried by state media. Cuts in charges for calls and text messages would be introduced from April 1, 2016, and would take place over three years, while data charges would be trimmed from the same date but over a five-year period. However, the statement did not disclose new rates or by how much the charges would be reduced. The decision was announced following the GCC Ministerial Committee for Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology meeting in Doha, and was aimed at promoting tourism in the region, according to WAM. The GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi…