Gulf in the News – March 11, 2013

UAE rejects extremism: Shaikh Mohammed

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The UAE adopts an open, moderate and tolerant approach as a state and rejects extremism as being religiously and morally unacceptable, stated His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, while chairing a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The UAE Cabinet adopted a draft law for establishing an ‘International Centre for Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism’ or Hidaya with aims to set up a global platform that catalyses discussion and cooperation among countries of the world to confront extremism.

US shows interest in Saudi counter-terrorism program

Source: Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

US Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has shown interest in examining the Saudi Munasaha (Counseling) counter-terrorism program so as to apply it in the United States. “Too many of our young people are disaffected and attracted to violent ideologies and so we want to work with our Saudi allies and examine the program and see how we might apply that in the United States,” he told a press conference at the US Embassy here Sunday.

MPs want expats to pay full charges for services – Court lifts travel ban on three former MPs

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

A parliamentary bloc consisting of eight MPs yesterday called on the government to scrap all subsidies on services and commodities and make expatriates pay full prices in a move that could increase electricity bills to around KD 100 per month. Spokesman of the Independents Bloc MP Nasser Al-Marri said in the proposals submitted to the National Assembly yesterday that they found that between KD 6-12 billion is squandered annually for providing subsidized public services and commodities.

Gulf rights group slams Saudi for jailing activists

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

 A Gulf rights group has strongly condemned heavy jail terms against two prominent Saudi rights activists and called on the authorities in the kingdom to free them immediately.

The criminal court in Riyadh on Saturday sentenced activists Mohammed Al Gahtani and Abdullah Al Hamed to 10-year and five-year jail terms respectively. Gahtani is an official with the independent Saudi Association of Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA). The court also ordered the group’s dissolution for “failing to obtain authorization.”

JOBS FOR 10,000?

Source: Gulf Daily News (Read full story)

A multi-million dinar project could soon be launched to employ 10,000 Bahraini job-seekers. The ambitious employment scheme was yesterday scrutinized as His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting. The session discussed a memo submitted by Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan. A batch of 4,000 university graduates will be hired as part of the employment scheme, estimated to cost BD35 million.

49 held for Oman opera house protest freed

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

Oman released 49 citizens who were arrested last Friday for staging protests outside the Royal Opera House Muscat after obtaining assurances from the defendants that they would not repeat such acts anywhere in the country. All the protest accused were released from the high-security Central Prison in Sumayil late on Sunday afternoon. “We were asked to sign a letter that stated that we agree not to stage any protests anywhere in Oman in future,” Sulaiman Al Hadhramai, a retired Shura Council employee who was part of the group that staged the demonstration, told Gulf News on Monday.