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
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…

Around The Region
GCC will not employ chronically ill expats: Report

GCC countries will only hire expats who are medically fit, Saudi Arabia’s Arab News has reported. The move will help the countries reduce pressure on their health services, the report added. This follows reports that about 10 per cent of two million workers recruited annually by the GCC members suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. “The member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have jointly decided not to recruit workers suffering from chronic diseases in their bid to reduce pressure on their health facilities,” Arab News cited Tawfik Khoja, director general of the Gulf Health Ministers Council, as saying. However, he added that such foreign workers have not posed any threat to public health in the GCC so far. GCC-approved medical test centres are now open in 18 countries including India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Egypt. These countries send the largest number of workers…

Around The Region
GCC Driving Licence : Oman to take first step

A unified driving licence will come into force from January 1, 2015, Royal Oman Police (ROP) said in a circular. The circular stated that as per the decisions taken by the ministers of interior of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries with regard to the unified driving licence, the ROP has decided that it will start issuing new licences from January 1, 2015. The circular also mentioned that the new licences would carry the GCC logo. A reliable source at the ROP said that there would not be any big changes in the licence except for the GCC logo. A sample of the new driving licence had been approved by the ROP recently, he added. The source also said that those with a licence need not apply for a new one. In 2015, new drivers will be the first to get their unified licence. Observers keeping track of the issues related to the…

Around The Region
Oman considers tax on expats remittance

The proposal for a two per cent levy on the billions of rials that expatriates send home every year has been approved by Oman’s Majlis Al Shura, or the lower house of the council of Oman, to overcome a budget deficit due to drop in oil prices, a media report said. “The approval to tax expatriate remittances is one of the several steps proposed to overcome the budget deficit, which the sultanate will face while adjusting the oil price,” local media quoted Tawfiq Al Lawati, a Shura member, as saying on Sunday. Impact on 1.9 million expats The move would hit 1.9 million expats, the report said, adding that it may drive an increase in black market money transfers. “Every country has right to mobilise income for its development. We cannot say no to their plans. As majority of the expat workers belong to the low-income group, they should be…

Around The Region
India Govt urges Gulf countries to raise wages

India is pressing the Gulf countries to raise the wages of millions of Indians working there, in a drive that could secure it billions of dollars in fresh income but risks pricing some of its citizens out of the market. Over 5 million nationals are believed to be employed in the oil exporting states of the Gulf, the single largest group in a migrant worker population of more than 20 million. Migrants account for nearly half of the roughly 50 million population of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. So India’s campaign for much higher pay could have an impact on economies around the region, especially if it leads to a general increase in wages for workers from other big labour-supplying countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Over the past seven months, diplomats in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have sharply increased the minimum salaries…