Gulf in the News – January 23, 2013

UAE Council applauds first female Speaker

Source: The National (Read full story)

At 9am yesterday, Dr Amal Al Qubaisi became the first woman to take the chair as Speaker of the FNC. It was, the member from Abu Dhabi said, a “dream come true”. “I am lucky,” said Dr Al Qubaisi, who has been a deputy speaker since 2011 but has never before had to step into Mohammed Al Murr’s shoes. But yesterday Mr Al Murr was unable to attend and she finally had her chance in what she described as a significant moment for Emirati women.  “With the support that the leaders give, an Emirati woman is now able to reach and prove herself in any field,” Dr Al Qubaisi said.

Battle against human trafficking in top gear

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

The Minister of Justice H E Hassan bin Abdullah Al Ghanim said in his inaugural speech that Qatar continues its efforts to address human trafficking by  building bridges of international and regional cooperation in this area. The latest national initiative in this regard is the establishment of Qatar’s National Alliance against Human Trafficking to achieve partnership between the public and non-governmental sectors to combat human trafficking. The minister pointed to the alarming fact that human trafficking is still on the rise despite all efforts made by the international community, whether countries or organisations, adding that every year around 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders.

Barrak rejects compromise

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

But the decree had to be approved by the new Assembly in order to be legal and effective. The Assembly will start today debating a decree issued by the Amir in October to privatize the loss-making carrier by transforming it into a company operating on a commercial basis. MPs refused to discuss the decree yesterday because the text was given to them late and they had no time to read it. The government agreed to delay the debate until today. The Assembly also approved the 2011/2012 development plan although the plan was supposed to have been issued more than two years ago. The approval was a routine procedure required by the four-year development plan law


 UN appeals to Gulf nations as Yemeni humanitarian crisis deepens

Source: The National (Read full story)

The United Nations needs US$716 million (Dh2.62 billion) to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Yemen this year, and it hopes part of that will come from this region. The budget for this year, to cover basic amenities for the 13 million people in Yemen who do not have access to safe water and 10.5 million who have no secure access to food, was outlined in Dubai yesterday. Representatives of the Yemen office of the UN department  for coordination of humanitarian affairs said the budget was $134m higher than last year.

Joint Arab initiatives launched

Source: The Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

Leaders of Arab countries have agreed to encourage inter-Arab investment, adopt the strategy to develop renewable energy applications and diversify energy sources, implement the Millennium Development Goals, improve the level of health services and disease control and ensure food and water security for the region. These were mentioned in a communique dubbed the Riyadh Declaration issued at the conclusion of the two-day Arab Economic and Social Development Summit here Tuesday. Reading out the communique, Arab League Secretary-General Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi said that the leaders stressed the importance of joint Arab initiatives to serve Arab citizens, raise the standards of their living and provide them with full health care.

New dialogue push

Source: Gulf Daily News (Read full story)

Bahrain’s main political societies have welcomed fresh calls for a national dialogue to end the stalemate. However, opposition groups fear the second round of talks will not tackle the political situation head on, while the country’s biggest pro-government society says it could refrain from taking part until street violence ends. It follows new calls for talks between the government and societies to end the political crisis in Bahrain, which escalated following an outbreak of anti-government demonstrations in 2011. The GDN reported yesterday that representatives of political societies and independent political figures will be invited to resume discussions initiated during the National Dialogue, which took place in June 2011.