Gulf in the News – January 28, 2014

Interim Syria govt must be free of Assad regime: KSA

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The Cabinet on Monday reiterated the Kingdom’s stance that Bashar Assad and his regime should not have any role in the interim Syrian government. It also denounced the terrorist bombings in Egypt.  The Cabinet, chaired by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, said the Geneva 2 conference should form the interim Syrian government, which should be allowed to work without any external interference.

MP calls to cut expats in public sector to 20% – Govt, assembly agree on naturalizing 4,000 bedoons

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

MP Yacoub Al-Sane yesterday proposed an amendment to the civil service law to cut the percentage of expatriates in government jobs to 20 percent, down from the existing 30 percent, in a move that could lay off at least 40,000 expatriates. Sane proposed that no expatriate should be appointed in government jobs if there is a Kuwaiti who can fill the vacancy and that expatriates”; contracts in government jobs should remain “temporary” and not “permanent”. The lawmaker also proposed that the percentage of expatriates in government jobs should not exceed 20 percent of the total workforce, to create enough vacancies to appoint nationals.

191 Nepalis died in booming Qatar last year, officials say

Source: The National (Read full story)

Nearly 200 Nepali migrant workers died in Qatar last year, many of them from heart failure, officials said on Monday.  Tens of thousands of Nepalis head every year to Qatar, where a construction boom is gathering pace as it prepares to host the 2022 football World Cup.  The Nepal embassy in Doha said it registered 191 Nepali worker deaths last year compared with 169 the year before, with a foreign ministry official describing many of the deaths as “unnatural”.

Bahrain upholds jail for 18, lifts travel ban on opposition leader

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

A Bahraini court upheld on Monday jail sentences of 10-15 years for activists convicted of launching attacks on police and forming a “terror group,” a judicial source said.  In the first case, the appeals court confirmed 15-year prison sentences against each of 10 defendants convicted of attempting to murder four policemen, the source said.  They targeted the policemen in April 2012 in the village of Akr, near the capital Manama, according to the charges.  In the second case, the court upheld 10-year jail terms against each of three activists convicted of attempting to murder policemen in the village of Karzakan in February last year.

UAE telecoms regulator requests Twitter verification for government accounts

Source: The National (Read full story)

The telecoms regulator is in talks with social networking site Twitter over verification for government accounts.  The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) wants all government entities’ accounts on the social media platform to bear the blue and white tick icon, which confirms the legitimacy of an account.  The regulator said the move was to ensure the public got access to authentic and reliable information and news.

OPEC can handle extra oil from Iran, Libya, Iraq

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

OPEC will be able to handle the extra oil expected to come from Iran, Iraq and Libya, OPEC’s secretary general said, insisting the group would collectively head off any oversupply.  Saudi Arabia along with core Gulf producers the UAE and Kuwait have increased supplies to fill the gap left from outages in Libya and Iraq and Western sanctions on Iran.  A resolution of these issues could add at least 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to OPEC oil production, analysts say, potentially driving down oil prices unless the other countries cut back on production.