Monday, October 31, 2011
Dust Crisis in Salalah
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Eid Al Adha holidays for the public sector start on Saturday November 5th and end on Wednesday the 9th. We get the whole friggin week off!! WOOHOOOO!!!!!!!!!! .... as for those of you in the private sector, you get four days off and work resumes on Wednesday the 9th.
On another note, check out Muscat Muttering's post on the new labor law amendments. Very interesting.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
In Thesiger's Footsteps
from his website:
Footsteps of Thesiger Expedition 2011
It's been an idea for nearly 20 years since I served on secondment to the Sultan of Oman"s Armed Forces in Salalah in the 90s; taken 2 years of detailed planning with infinate challenges; and I'll only believe it's 100% happening when I mount my camel in 3 weeks' time, but the "Footsteps of Thesiger" expedition and project has finally been officially announced. The expedition is a re-inaction of the journeys of late British Explorer Wilfred Thesiger, otherwise known as Mubarak Bin London, who crossed the Arabian Desert (Empty Quarter or Rub Al Khali) twice between 1945 and 1950 with his two Bedu companions, Salim bin Kabina and Salim bin Ghubaisha of the Rawashid tribe. Our expedition will also comprise of one Brit and 2 x bedu - myself together with Saeed Al Mesafry and Ghafan Al Jabri, who were selected from a trawl of nominations in June. We aim to closely follow the route of Thesiger's first crossing of the Empty Quarter,travellig by foot and camels from Salalah in Oman to Abu Dhabi in the UAE, via the Empty Quarter of Oman, Liwa and Al Ain - a distance of over 1500 kms, commencing 30th Oct 2011 and finishing approx 45 days later. The expedition and accompanying TVdocumentary, filmed by award winning documentary makers. TwoFour Productions from the UK, has 3 pillars as follows: * A historical look at Thesiger and his travels * The modern day re-inaction expedition journey and challenges * The culture, heritage and changing lives of the Bedu of the deserts of Oman and the UAE. There are no records, no longest, quickest, highest, furthest attempts on this journey and it's not even a first - Canadians Bruce Kirkby and Jamie and Leigh Clark admirably did this in 1999 with 3 Bedu guides and 12 camels for which I take my hat off for their even managing to even get to the start line! Our objective, not least mirrored in the make-up of the team, is to attempt the journey with a much smaller party and authentic means of travel integral to Thesiger's journey's as much as physically possible. It is a totally different desert and World in 2011 than it was in the 1940s, of course and that is part of the objective of the documentary and book which I am presently writing. And finally, on the subject of integrity, I am not claiming to do this for any charity, the environment or any other cause. It's a commercial historical re-inaction through and through which I both love doing and is part of my job. My quest and work on economic, social and environmental sustainability continues unabated, but this expedition isn't directly part of that cause. Many thanks to Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage and Abu Dhabi Media Company for making this happen and to the Ministires of Tourism and Information Oman for their partnership on the project. More thanks and news to follow shortly
Back in 1999, 3 Canadians attempted the same adventure (and I had the honor of meeting them and their camels!). According to my sources Al Baleed road from Haffa to Dahariz is closed right now because Adrian and his companions are at Al Baleed Museum (official event). I'll update you if I get hold of more information. In the meantime, say a little prayer for them. You can follow their journey on their website 'In Thesiger's Footsteps'.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Onken in Salalah!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
NACA Cancer Walk
Sunday, October 23, 2011
(4) Tackiness: if you're in Muscat, check out Oman's latest movie "Search for the Impossible". Tacky title, tacky PHOTO. Salim Bahwan, you wrote the script, directed the movie, produced it AND get to hold the gun? Jeez. I have no faith in Omani television. Nuff Said. If you have better reviews, post a comment and I'll publish.
(5) Politics: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to our tiny country (according to every single article on the visit). I'd link you to Muscat Confidential's analysis of her visit, but his blog appears to be blocked. (?)
Monday, October 17, 2011
Omani Women's Day
On the occasion of Omani Women's Day, I will renew my determination to make change happen. If you're a woman, belive that you can do anything. Throw a pebble in the water and watch the ripples. Even the smallest person can make a change. I have faith in Oman and I have faith in Omani women. We can do SO MUCH if we just set our minds to it. Anything is possible. Do not give in to society's demands. You are beautiful, you are smart and with a little empowerment you can do anything. Believe in that.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Results of the Elections
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
"His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has issued Royal Decree 95/2011 amending some provisions of the Publications and Publishing Law.
Article one: Article (26) of the said Publications and Publishing Law shall be replaced with the following;
Article (26) "It is prohibited to publish anything which may prejudice the safety of the state or its internal or external security, all that is related to military and security apparatuses, their bylaws and internal regulations, any documents, information, news or official secret communications whether the publication is through visual, audio or print means or through Internet or any of the information technology means unless permission is obtained from the respective authority. It is also prohibited to publish the text of agreements and treaties concluded by the government before they are published in the official gazette.”
Bad new for Al Zaman newspaper trial (see Muscat Confidential's post here) .... and I wonder whether this means we're allowed to continue blogging about Wikileaks concerning the Sultan or the government? At this rate, it looks like everything and anything is illegal. Were the photos of the army arrests during the protests illegal? What about spreading rumors about when Eid holidays will be? Is that considered confidential information? Jeez.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Woohoo! Ban lifted on abalone fishing in Dhofar!
The three-year ban on abalone fishing in the country has been lifted. With the decision, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has once again allowed harvesting, selling and exporting of abalone, a shellfish that commands good prices in the Far East.
Before the ban was enforced, abalone fishing was a strictly regulated activity and permitted only in November and December, when the mollusc was thought to be fully grown. But with the new rules, the fishing season has been restricted to less than a month. “The ban is over, but fishing is allowed only from October 20 to November 15,” said an MoAF official.
With the highest yield per kilo among all Omani fisheries products, abalone was targetted by local fishermen using free diving methods, leading to a sharp decline in catch. Over-exploitation of the species’ habitat was also reported, resulting in an overall decline in population.
To check over-exploitation and streamline fishing activity, the new rules prohibit catching abalone with a shell less than 90mm long. Catching the species from a depth of less than three metres is also not allowed. Other regulations include a prohibition on possessing, selling, purchasing, transporting or exporting abalone during the ban period. Fishermen and companies dealing in abalone need to register their catch with the ministry within 15 days of the end of the season.
Abundant in the Dhofar regi-on, mostly in Mirbat and Sadah, abalone sells for as much as RO60 a kilo when dried and exported to international markets. Most fishermen who depended largely on abalone because of the high returns had to turn to other avenues when the ban was put in place.
“The new regulations allot priority to fishermen from Mirbat, Sadah, Shalim and Halaniyat Islands, where abalone is concentrated. While new licences are available to fishermen from these areas, others interested in fishing abalone should have had a licence issued before the new regulations were passed,” said the official.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
$1 Billion Medical City planned in Salalah
Regional media quoted Dr Aljoaib as stating that the project will be integrated with a 530-bed multispecialty hospital and a state of the art diagnostic centre, healthcare resort and healthcare educational complex. The massive development, which Dr Aljoaib said, has the backing of the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health, will be established on an 800,000 sq metre plot overlooking the Arabian Sea.
According to AMG, Medical City Oman — as the project is dubbed — has the potential to have a major impact on the range and quality of medical and surgical services provided in the Middle East & North Africa. “We firmly believe that the Medical City Project will bring significant benefits not only to the healthcare sector in the region, but also to the economic and social development of GCC countries.
The Medical City Oman promises to be a world-class medical education, research and development facility with internationally recognised strategic partnerships will facilitate academic and service excellence in the Mena region. In addition, The Medical City will also have a Healthcare and Education Complex, Healthcare Resort with Upscale Hotel, Wellness & CAM Center, and several other support services establishments.
With a strong commitment to exceptional healthcare, the project’s AMG Endowment programme will also offer free medical and educational community support services to poor and needy families who would not otherwise be able to afford such services and treatment.
Dr Aljoaib also mentioned that the Academic Medical & Research Centre of this project would be managed and operated by a most renowned North American Hospital Group. Similarly the AMG will collaborate with the world’s best Transplant & Rehabilitation centre operators and managers for the operation of their world-class organ transplant and rehabilitation facility.
Dammam-headquartered Aljoaib Holding Aljoaib has business interests spanning: Oil and Gas, Healthcare, Project Management, Fabrication, Water Treatment and Environmental Services, Electro-Mechanical Components, Agriculture and Irrigation Systems, as well as QC, Geotechnical and Engineering Consultancy Services. The company also has branch and regional offices throughout Saudi Arabia, as well as in Dubai and USA.