Gulf in the News – March 25, 2013

GCC on track to become global powerhouse in manufacturing

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The McKinsey report states that over the next 15 years another 1.8 billion people will enter the global consuming class and worldwide consumption will nearly double to $64 trillion. In the GCC region, manufacturing now contributes on average around 10 per cent to 15 per cent of GDP, clearly demonstrating the huge growth potential of the industry. The manufacturing sector’s contribution to the UAE’s overall GDP, in particular, reached Dh141.7 billion in 2011, growing by over 11 per cent from Dh127.6 billion in 2010.

Opposition figures deny any dialogue with govt – MP Duwaisan threatens to grill PM over bedoons

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Two prominent figures of the Opposition Coalition denied yesterday reports indicating the agreement of the coalition to enter into dialogue with the government to resolve the current political dilemma. Former speaker and opposition leader Ahmad Al-Saadoun insisted that the opposition did not support proposals for national dialogue, adding that the opposition did not even discuss the issue during its latest meeting Saturday night.

Bahrain wins Arab Commission for Human Rights membership

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Bahrain has won Arab Commission for Human Rights membership and considers this as a new human rights achievement. Human Rights Minister Dr Salah bin Ali Abdulrahman on Saturday described Bahrain’s success as a move to boost its regional and international role in the human rights field. He pointed out Bahrain’s current efforts to run for the Human Rights Council membership for the term extending from 2015 to 2017.

Karzai to visit Qatar for talks on Taliban office

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to visit Qatar to discuss the proposed opening of a Taliban office there as a prelude to possible peace talks, the foreign ministry said Sunday. Until earlier this year, Karzai rejected the idea of a Taliban office in Qatar because of fears that his government would be frozen out of any deal between the United States and the militants. The Taliban have refused to negotiate directly with Karzai, and the foreign ministry stressed that it would only start negotiations if the militants “break all relations with Al-Qaeda and give up terrorism”.

Kuwait tells 100 Saudis to vacate Al-Zour border area

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Kuwaiti officials have given around 100 Saudis residing in the Al-Zour area on the Kingdom’s borders with Kuwait a stern order to vacate their property before the month is out. A joint committee established between the Saudi Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Finance in Kuwait, headed by the General Authority for State Properties, reached an agreement where the Saudis will be allowed to remain in their properties until the end of the month, Al-Hayat daily reported, quoting a Saudi citizen in the area yesterday.

Dozens of web activists pardoned and released in Oman

Source: BBC News (Read full story)

The sultan of the Gulf country of Oman, Qaboos bin Said, has pardoned and released dozens of online activists. Amnesty International, the human rights campaign group, called the Sultan’s decision a “very welcome step”. The writers, bloggers and activists were arrested during a crackdown in Oman in late May and early June 2012. At the time, the public prosecutor threatened legal action against the publication of “offensive writing” in the media or online.