The state religion ibadism (an Islamic
orientation) greatly affects the Omani culture. Ibadic
Islam encourages neither singing nor dancing nor
depictions. For generations, however, the Arab Bedouin
people have performed sword dances and the country's
many sailors have their own songs.
Despite Islam's dismissive attitude to images, there
is also a tradition of underground visual art in Oman. Otherwise, the country's art has mainly been
expressed in the design of utensils, not least
imaginatively decorated daggers and ornamented houses
and pots. There is also a prominent gold and silver
Latest population statistics of Oman, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
In recent years, Western mass culture has reached the
country and now exists in parallel with traditional
culture. Modern Omani literature has also emerged,
including a number of younger female writers.
Yemen rebels receive care
50 wounded Hire Belts from Yemen are received in Musqat for care. This is
done after an agreement between the rebel movement and the Yemeni government
side, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries. The
evacuation to Oman is regarded as a confidence-building measure ahead of the
UN's planned peace talks in Sweden to end the war that has raged in Yemen for
almost four years. Oman, like Kuwait, takes on a mediator role in Yemen.
Foreign guest workers are getting fewer
There are just over two million foreign nationals in Oman. That is a decrease
of 43,000 since last year, but they still account for 44 percent of the
country's total population, writes the Oman Times. The newspaper has reported a
few days earlier that 370 guest workers have been arrested. Most of those
arrested come from Asian countries and are said to have violated Oman's visa
Surprising visit to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Oman and meets Sultan Qabus.
The two countries do not have diplomatic relations and it is believed to be over
20 years since they last had high-level contacts. During the year, Netanyahu let
him understand that he envisions that Israel's path to peace with the
Palestinians can go through improved relations with Arab countries. After the
Oman meeting, it is said that the peace issue has been discussed. Palestinian
President Mahmud Abbas is also reported to have visited Oman during the week.
New protection rules for guest workers
12th of August
The Ministry of Labor is introducing a new regulatory framework to protect
migrant workers. Among other things, it should be easier for guest workers to
receive outstanding wages, even if the employer claims that the employees do not
show up at work.
Continued reorganization of the labor market
The stop for new work permits in 87 industries is extended by another six
months. In the first six months of the reorganization policy, 32,000 people have
been offered jobs that would otherwise have gone to foreign nationals, a
Department of Labor official told Gulf News.
New work permits are stopped
A six-month long stop for new work permits is introduced. The ban affects 87
industries, including sales, media jobs and IT services. The intention is to
create more employment for the country's own citizens.