Oman and Iran Reach Gas Deal MOU for 25 Years

Oman and Iran had sealed a $60 billion gas agreement that would allow Muscat to purchase natural gas from Tehran for 25 years. The two countries are to build gas pipelines in two years. The subsea gas pipeline will guarantee Oman 20 million cubic meters of gas from Iran.

Oman first agreed to purchase natural gas from Iran in 2005, but due to western sanctions regarding Iran’s nuclear activity, Oman was forced to purchase gas from other countries such as Qatar and Pakistan at the US’ prescription.

Omani Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanageh had signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year. Oman has closer ties with Iran than any other Arabian country who perceive Iran’s nuclear activities as a national security threat.

Pakistan’s failure to deliver oil and the increasing prices of oil from Qatar had urged Oman to take advantage of the lifted sanctions the UN had granted to Iran after it agreed to scale down its nuclear activities last year. Oman’s increasing energy needs has led it to close a deal with Iran

Meanwhile, Pakistan also eyes Iran to provide for its natural gas needs and Pakistani and Iranian officials are expected to meet next month to discuss proposals for a natural gas deal between the two countries.

Source

Transportation Projects Will Boost Oman Income

Oman is focusing on developing its dilapidating railways and ports to become globally-competitive and further help increase the country’s income. Omani ports can be linked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and will help integrate the transport system between these countries as an integrated system.

Transport and Communications Minister Doctor Ahmed Mohammed Salim al-Futaisi said that the focus of Oman’s train network will make the transport industry a crucial resource for Oman. Becoming the gateway for the GCC in terms of transporting goods and services, Oman’s profits could increase with better activity in the service industry.

Oman Air may also contribute to the services industry as it opens in the new Omani regional airport at Duqm. The airlines had promised four weekly flights.

Meanwhile, Savannah Resources Plc has acquired interests in the Block 5 and 6 of Oman’s copper projects. The mutli-commodity exploration and development company uses the acquisitions as part of its growth strategy for its own company, and Oman’s enrichment as well.

Copper mining may be the best next industry for Oman as copper supply in the world is increasingly disrupted by mining troubles, decreased investor interest and high costs for major copper-producing countries.

Source

Sultanate of Oman Donates $1.8 Million to Smithsonian Museum

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art announced that the Sultanate of Oman had given a $1.8 million donation in support for the programs intended to celebrate the Omani and East African arts and culture. In its official press release, the museum said that it was the “largest single donation to the museum” that it ever had.

The National Museum of African art is dedicated to the collection of Africa’s traditional and contemporary artworks. The museum’s new programs will begin in 2014.

The programs will highlight the cross-cultural connections of East and Northern Africa and the two’s relation to the Middle East. The programs also highlight the evolution of Oman’s arts and cultures, focusing on the beauty of Omani arts and the connections it has with East Africa.

According to the museum’s director, Johnetta Betsch Cole, the donation from Oman marks a significant milestone for the entire museum. The unique gift, along with an extended collaboration with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Centre in Washington, makes the entire 50th Anniversary of the museum a very special occasion.

She said that they intend to bring the Omani arts, culture and tradition into greater global awareness as it is a very special and unique culture that is not too known in the mainstream.

Source

Oman Vs. Japan: The World Cup Games

Oman’s victory in Jordan in the last month, along with the draw they had playing against Australia and Iraq had Oman team coach Paul le Guen quite confident about the ability of his team. Their next game against Japan for the 2014 World Cup qualifying match will be played Tuesday in the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex Located in Bashaar. Paul le Guen accepts the fact that Japan is a great team, but they will use realistic strategies and their home advantages to win against their opponents.

The SQSC has seen 26,500 audience after its last game and coach le Guen expects the stadium to be filled to capacity.

Japan’s Blue Samurai has received 10 points from its previous games with four consecutive victories for the World Cup qualification match. It has never lost in is seven qualifying matches and intends to make its fifth mark on the 2014 World Cup.

In June, Oman’s Red Warriors were defeated by Japan by a score of 3-0. However, Paul le Guen says that his team is completely ready and capable of pushing back against Japan now after performing very well during its games against Australia, Iraq and Jordan.

However, both teams will take out some players from the field. Oman will have Mohammed Sheeba al Balushi and Saad Suhail al Mukhaini out of the game because of injuries and disciplinary reasons respectively. Japan also has Shinji Kagawa out of the next game.

Oman will progress ahead of Australia by a few points if they win the game and Japan would be adding to its eight point lead to qualify for the world cup should they win the game.

Source: Times of Oman

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Oman’s Annual Cancer Walk Sees Increased Public Participation

The Oman National Association for Cancer Awareness (NACA), an organization focused on helping Omanis fighting cancer and helping the families of victims, have hosted their 9th Annual Walkathon for Cancer Victims and Patients at Midan Al Fateh Wednesday. The purpose of the walks, according to NACA President Yuthar Al Rawahy, was to remember those who lost the fight with cancer, celebrate those who survived and help those who are still fighting.

The event, themed as “Beat Your Feet for Cancer Defeat”, had seen over 4,000 participants. Walkers are treated to entertainment, games, food and drinks that were under the healthy preferences of the NACA. Raffles saw the give-away of prizes to many participants in the 3-km walk.

The guest of honor for the event was H.H. Faisal Turki al-Said. CEO’s of many companies, government and local dignitaries as well as schools and families have joined the walk.

The funds received by the event will be donated to charity groups and hospitals of cancer patients as well as the families of those who lost their loved ones to the aforementioned disease.

The NACA started its first walk in the year 2004, which only had 120 people. Throughout the years, the public attention to the walk increased with the help of the board, staff and volunteers who had raised awareness and the cause of the said walk.

Source:  Times of Oman

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Intellectual Property Rights to Help Innovation in the Country

The Sultanate’s Representative to the UN and International Organizations in Geneva, Abdullah bin Nasser Al Rhabbi, stated that the Oman Sultanate has begun developing the National Strategy for Innovation and Intellectual Property. The project’s aim was to benefit and focus on developing the concepts of innovation and intellectual property in general education curricula. It will also provide adequate protection for the ideas and concepts that would sprout thereof.

The representative stated that he welcomes the support of developing countries to help build the drafting and preparation of the national strategies. He called on the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization to help the cause, especially in training and industrial applications.

Al Rhabbi pointed out that the Sultanate’s government intends to have the cooperation of the WIPO. Their MoU focuses on building capacities in the field of human resources development, added research and education in the field of Intellectual Property. The sultanate also thanks the WIPO and the Arab countries who remain supportive of their efforts to improve innovation and intellectual property in Oman.

The sultanate is scheduled to be represented in the Public Authority for Craft Industries and the World Crafts Council in India scheduled from Oct 7 to 10. Their participation comes with the initiative to protect the traditional craft industries of their country and promoting the mechanisms and education of the crafts. The initiative also comes to promote the skills of craftsmen and increase demand on the local Omani craft industry.

Source: Times of Oman

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Balaji Telefilms To Shoot Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Sequel in Oman

Balaji Telefilms, a renowned Bollywood filmmaking company, will be shooting the sequel to “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai” in the country of Oman. This is the first time a Bollywood movie is to be shot inside the country. The CEO of Balaji Telefilms, Taruj Garg, states that the sceneries and the natural beauty of Oman has compelled him to choose the country among other locations.

Garg states that the retro and contemporary architecture mix delicately and perfectly while the white sand and clean beaches fit the entire script of the sequel perfectly.

Choosing Oman as the location of the new film resulted from the location scouting done by a Balaji team earlier this year. Garg stated that director Milan Luthria and he saw the beauty of Oman that made them consider it the top choice for their shooting location.

The Ministry of Tourism and Oman Air had helped the Balaji Telefilms crew to shoot scenes in the last few weeks in many locations around Muscat. Many locations will be familiar to Omanis as soon as the film is done. While shooting a film inside Oman is the first time for the country, Balaji Telefilms states that the country’s authorities are very responsive and proactive, in which they are very thankful for.

Oman is a location that most filmmakers are not too familiar with. With “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Again”, Oman would be exposed to the world, helping it gain tourism and help it move from an unconventional choice into a perfect, beautiful shooting spot.

Source:  Times of Oman

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New Royal Library Opens Today

The new Hisn Ash’shumookh Library, commissioned by the Sultan Qaboos, opens today to researchers, students and people who wish to make use of the Library as a great knowledge base. The library is expected to serve as a platform for scholars nationwide.

The library, located within the premises of the Hisn Ash’shumookh Castle in Manah Wilayat in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, adorns the Omain Cultural scene. It is also the symbol of the King’s attempts to provide knowledge and support endeavors of cultural communication within the sultanate.

The Hisn Ash’shumookh library will proceed under the care of the Royal Court Affairs (RCA). The RCA will be responsible for establishing the library, managing the details of the Royal order along with providing it all the means to help it achieve its objectives as set by the Sultan Qaboos.

The library is scheduled to open from 9 AM to 4 PM on Saturday to Wednesday and opens around 10 AM to 3 PM on Thursdays.

The library has over 3000 square meters of internal space. Modern information technology, such as the Internet, is available in these libraries. However, traditional book borrowing from the millions of printed books in the library will not be allowed to ensure that all resources are available for all inside the library. The library will open to academic faculty, physicians, judges, lawyers, librarians and scientists.

Source: Oman Observer

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India Becoming Medical Tourism Destination for Omanis

India is slowly turning into a medical hub for central Asia. The number of medical visas applied for by Omanis has gone up 30% compared to last year’s visa applications for India. Most of the visa applications were made for medical treatments and other kinds of medical assistance.

India, having state-of-the-art medical facilities, experienced staff and traditional healthcare centers provide a huge selection for patients outside the country where to have medical help. Statistics show that most Omanis travel to India to have treatment for cardiovascular, orthopaedic, gastroenterology, oncology, dental and opthalmology ailments.

Many Omanis also find that India is a great place to get healthcare because of the closeness of the Omani and Indian culture. Many who have returned from their treatments state that they felt right at home during their treatment and with their medical professional. The prices India also charges are quite affordable and flexible for any patient as well. Many state that India has world-class medical facilities and services, yet they charge at a very friendly price.

People who have traveled to India state that the ease of applying for a visa for India is quite easier compared to having to go to Europe or other countries to receive medical treatment.

Source: Times of Oman

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Omani Writer and Poet Accused of Defamation Charges by Sultan

Hammoud Rashed, a writer and Hamad Al-Kharusi, a poet, are both accused of defaming the Sultan through their recent writing and public material. The sentences they and a few other protesters received can reach up to one year, but they can be freed with a bail and an appeal. The uprising of Rashed, Al-Kharusi and other protesters are a result of the broken promises of Oman’s Sultan, who promised new jobs and opportunities for 2012 the previous year.

The recent protests were inspired by Arab protests last year against corruption and unemployment in Egypt. The recent protests are also by far, the biggest Oman has ever seen.

Hammoud Rashed had been part of the protests. The slogan he carried mentioned a few demeaning words against the Sultanate. After the police crackdown during the peaceful protest, he was caught and charged for defaming the Sultanate. He faces six months in prison for his defamation

Hamad Al-Kharusi posted a poem on his Facebook account against the Sultan. He described the Sultan in an offensive manner as well. For breaking cyber and information technology laws, Hamad Al-Kharusi and a few others would be in jail for a year.

According to authorities, their actions are accounted for. Oman’s public prosecutor warned during the previous month that anybody who uses social media to defame the Sultanate or used slogans that criticized or point out out to corruption.

Source: Arabia Business

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