Oman government tells expat tour guides their jobs are safe from the visa ban – for now

Oman government tells expat tour guides their jobs are safe from the visa ban – for now
Oman has placed a visa ban on a number of industries and professions in the country
Updated 28 May 2019

Oman government tells expat tour guides their jobs are safe from the visa ban – for now

Oman government tells expat tour guides their jobs are safe from the visa ban – for now
  • The Oman Ministry of Tourism said that expats in Oman could continue to apply for a tour guide license for global languages
  • The ministry spokesman said the English language guided tours were now 100 percent Omanized and that other languages would follow

DUBAI: Expats working as tour guides in Oman have been told they can continue for now, as long as they are using languages other than English and Arabic, national daily Times of Oman reported.

The Oman Ministry of Tourism said that expats in Oman could continue to apply for a tour guide license for global languages.

But the ministry spokesman said the English language guided tours were now 100 percent Omanized and that other languages would follow.

Oman has placed a visa ban on a number of industries and professions in the country as it works to slash the level of unemployment among its local population.


Attack by unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition

Attack by unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition
Updated 1 min 22 sec ago

Attack by unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition

Attack by unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition
  • The US accuses Iran-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq
BAGHDAD: An attack by an unmanned aerial surveillance system on Saturday targeted Iraq’s Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq which hosts US and other international forces, but it caused no injuries, a coalition spokesman said.
US Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said on Twitter that the attack was being investigated but that an initial report suggests that the attack took place at 0220 local time and caused damage to a hangar.
The United States accuses Iran-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attack.

Philippine troops drive away armed rebels from public market

Philippine troops drive away armed rebels from public market
Updated 08 May 2021

Philippine troops drive away armed rebels from public market

Philippine troops drive away armed rebels from public market
  • The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters did not take any hostage or put up resistance when government troops took positions
  • The rebel group broke off from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim rebel group in the south

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of Muslim militants occupied a public market overnight in the southern Philippines before fleeing after a tense standoff with government forces, officials said Saturday.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters did not take any hostage or put up resistance when army troops and police took positions at dawn Saturday near the public market in the farming town of Datu Paglas, said military spokesman Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar.
“They went into the market and stole food but got stuck inside when they saw that our forces have taken positions to ensure other buildings could not be threatened,” he told reporters.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.
The rebel group broke off from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim rebel group in the south, after it entered into peace talks and later signed a Muslim autonomy deal with the government in 2014. The breakaway guerrillas have continued sporadic attacks and bombings, with some aligning themselves with the Daesh group.
Baldomar said government forces locked down the town center, where the public market is located, and closed a highway at the height of the hours-long rebel occupation of the market. After the gunmen fled in batches following talks with local officials, soldiers found at least four homemade bombs placed by the rebels along the highway. Troops were pursuing the gunmen, he said.
Datu Paglas Vice Mayor Mohammad Paglas, however, gave a different account and told reporters that the mostly young Muslim rebels arrived on board five trucks in the town center Friday to rest and mark the holy fasting month of Ramadan. He added some of the gunmen have relatives in the town in predominantly Muslim Maguindanao province.
“A big number of gunmen arrived and told us they just wanted to take a rest since it’s Ramadan. We allowed them,” Paglas said.
When troops and police, some on board armored personnel carriers, arrived, the rebels were forced to retreat into the public market for cover but allowed people to leave the building, he said.
Paglas said there was an exchange of fire before the rebels fled, as requested by local officials.
Baldomar said some of the gunmen opened fire on civilian motorists, who were trapped along the highway. The motorists later managed to flee with the help of the military, he said.
Government forces have been on alert in the south, homeland of minority Muslims in the largely Roman Catholic nation, after hundreds of mostly local militants with some foreign supporters linked to the Daesh group laid siege on southern Marawi city in 2017.
They took over buildings, including banks, school campuses and a hospital, before troops quelled the insurrection after five months with the help of surveillance aircraft deployed by the US and Australia. The audacious attack at the time reinforced fears that the Daesh was gaining a foothold in the Southeast Asia despite battle setbacks in Iraq and Syria.


Saudi Arabia, Pakistan sign agreement to establish Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan sign agreement to establish Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council
Updated 08 May 2021

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan sign agreement to establish Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan sign agreement to establish Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council
  • Both sides discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations between the two countries
  • Saudi Arabia and Pakistan affirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people

DUBAI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan have signed an agreement to establish the Saudi-Pakistani Supreme Coordination Council.
Both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and chemical precursors, state news agency SPA reported.

“Another MoU for financing eligible projects in the fields of energy, infrastructure, transportation, water, and communications between the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was signed as well,” Al-Arabiya TV reported separately.

The two leaders likewise witnessed the signing of two agreements: Increasing cooperation in the field of people sentenced to penalties depriving freedom, and increasing cooperation in the field of combating crime.

They also discussed ways to strengthen and enhance economic and trade relations between the two countries by exploring areas of investment and opportunities available in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, SPA reported.
They both confirmed their satisfaction with the strength of bilateral military and security relations, and agreed on further cooperation to achieve common goals between the two countries, it added.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan affirmed their full support for all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They also discussed the country’s right for the establishment of its independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
They have also affirmed their support for political solutions in Syria and Libya, and the efforts of the United Nations and its envoys in this regard.
“The two sides stressed the need for concerted efforts of the Islamic world to confront extremism and violence and reject sectarianism, and strive to achieve international peace and security,” SPA said.


Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list
Updated 08 May 2021

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list
  • Omani citizens, diplomats, health workers and their families are excluded from the latest rule

DUBAI: The Philippines and Egypt were the latest inclusion in Oman’s list where travelers from the said countries are banned from entering the Sultanate.

The decision was issued by the Supreme Committee, which takes lead in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and took effect on Friday, May 7.

Travelers from Egypt and the Philippines, and those who transited in any of the said countries during the 14 days, are particularly affected by the travel restriction a report from Times of Oman said.

Omani citizens, diplomats, health workers and their families are excluded from the latest rule but are subject to the procedures adopted upon entering the Sultanate, the report added.

Oman earlier added India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to the travel ban list, joining Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom where their residents have been barred from entering since February 24.


UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours
Updated 08 May 2021

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours
  • The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is now at 532,710 since the pandemic began

DUBAI: UAE health authorities reported 1,766 new coronavirus cases after conducting 211,462 additional COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, as well three deaths fatalities from the contagious disease.

The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is now at 532,710 since the pandemic began, with 1,607 confirmed deaths, a report from state news agency WAM said.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention reiterated its call for residents to adhere coronavirus protocols and maintain social distancing to ensure public health and safety.

Meanwhile, 141,283 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been provided during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of doses provided to residents and citizens to 11,048,547.

The rate of vaccine distribution now stands at 111.71 doses per 100 people.