Quarter of Omani firms inspected breach midday work ban

The midday ban is enforced across the Gulf region to protect people whose jobs require them to be outside (Shutterstock)
Updated 02 July 2018

Quarter of Omani firms inspected breach midday work ban

  • Temperatures soar to in excess of 50C during the summer
  • The midday ban runs from June until August

DUBAI: A quarter of companies inspected in Oman have been found in breach of the midday work ban, national daily the Times of Oman reported.

The Ministry of Manpower visited 1,003 companies during June and found 251 were violating the rule that bans any work at outdoor sites between 12.30pm and 3.30pm during the hottest summer months.

The ban came into force on June 1 and violators face fines of up to $1,300 as well as a jail term of no more than one month, while the penalties are doubled for repeat offenders.

The midday ban is effective across the Gulf nations during the summer when temperatures often tip past 50C.

Meanwhile it was reported this week that a small fishing village in Oman experienced the highest nighttime temperature ever recorded.

Quriyat experienced a sweltering 42.6C on June 27, although meteorologists believe that other areas might have been even hotter, but were not recorded.

China’s Xi promotes building initiative amid debt worries

Updated 26 April 2019

China’s Xi promotes building initiative amid debt worries

  • Xi says Beijing wants “open, green and clean cooperation” with “zero tolerance for corruption”
  • High costs have prompted complaints some are falling into a “debt trap”
BEIJING: President Xi Jinping has promised to set high standards for China’s Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative, seeking to dispel complaints the many billion dollars in projects leave developing countries with too much debt.
Xi avoided mentioning debt complaints in a speech opening a forum attended by leaders from some three dozen countries to celebrate his signature foreign initiative. But he said Beijing wants “open, green and clean cooperation” with “zero tolerance for corruption.”
Developing countries welcome the initiative to expand trade by building roads, ports and other facilities across Asia and Africa to Europe. But high costs have prompted complaints some are falling into a “debt trap.”
The United States, Russia, Japan and India also worry Beijing is trying to build a trade and political network centered on China and expand its strategic influence at their expense.
Xi’s government is trying to revive the initiative’s momentum after the number of new projects plunged last year. That came after Chinese officials said state-owned banks would step up scrutiny of borrowers and some governments complained projects do too little for their economies and might give Beijing too much political sway.
Countries including Malaysia and Thailand have canceled or scaled back projects while Ethiopia and others have renegotiated debt repayment.
Xi noted China’s finance ministry on Thursday issued guidelines for assessing debt risks for borrowers. The ministry said those “debt sustainability guidelines” are based on the standards of the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions.
The president tried to allay complaints about lack of economic benefits and political influence, saying Belt and Road is “not an exclusive club” and promotes “common development and prosperity.”
“We need to pursue open, green and clean cooperation,” Xi said. “Everything should be done in a transparent way and we should have zero tolerance for corruption.”
His audience at a Beijing conference center included Prime Ministers Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Lee Hsien-Loong of Singapore and Adiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and leaders or envoys from Greece, Serbia and Malaysia.
Xi said Beijing also wants to expand the scope of its initiative by encouraging cooperation among Belt and Road countries on health, water resources, agriculture and science and technology. He promised to fund scholarships for students from Belt and Road countries.