Oman lifts internal travel restrictions, reduces curfew

Oman will on Saturday lift a domestic ban on travel between governorates. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Oman lifts internal travel restrictions, reduces curfew

  • From Saturday it will also reduce its curfew for a week to the period between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., instead of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • A full lockdown of the Dhofar governorate in the south will be maintained until further notice

DUBAI: Oman will on Saturday lift a domestic ban on travel between provinces, imposed on July 25 to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus during the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday, the state news agency ONA said on Wednesday.
From Saturday it will also reduce its curfew for a week to between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (1700-0100 GMT), instead of 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. (1500 to 0200 GMT). A full lockdown of the Dhofar province in the south will be maintained until further notice.
Oman, a country of 4.7 million people, has recorded almost 80,000 coronavirus infections and 421 deaths.
It introduced lockdowns in March in some regions such as Muscat, Dhofar, Duqm and some tourist towns. Since April, it has gradually allowed commercial centres to reopen and lifted some lockdowns.
But it tightened measures for the long Eid holiday after infection numbers rose through June.
 

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Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinet

Updated 19 September 2020

Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinet

  • The proposal, put forward on Saturday, involved handing major ministries to smaller sectarian groups in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians
  • A Sept. 15 deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet has passed

BEIRUT: A party founded by Lebanon’s Christian president made a proposal to end a dispute that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet and threatened a French drive to lift the country out of its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The proposal, put forward on Saturday, involved handing major ministries to smaller sectarian groups in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians.
There was no immediate comment from Shiite Muslim groups, which have insisted they choose who fills several posts. But a political source familiar with the thinking of dominant Shiite groups said the idea was unlikely to work.
Lebanon’s efforts to swiftly form a new government have run into the sand over how to pick ministers in a country where political loyalties mostly follow sectarian religious lines.
A Sept. 15 deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet has passed. Paris, which is leading an international push to haul Lebanon back from economic collapse, has voiced exasperation and told Beirut to act “without delay.”
The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the party founded by President Michel Aoun and allied to Hezbollah, proposed “undertaking an experiment to distribute the so-called sovereign ministries to smaller sects, specifically to the Druze, Alawites, Armenians and Christian minorities.”
The statement was issued after Gebran Bassil, FPM head and son-in-law of the president, chaired a meeting of the party’s political leadership. Bassil is a Maronite, Lebanon’s largest Christian community.
Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon’s sectarian system of power sharing, wants to shake up the leadership of ministries, some of which have been controlled by the same factions for years.
Lebanon’s main Shiite groups — the Amal Movement and the heavily armed, Iranian-backed Hezbollah — want to select the figures to fill a number of positions, including the finance minister, a top position often called a “sovereign” ministry.
An FPM official said the party had not discussed the idea about distributing ministries with Hezbollah or Amal. “We are proposing an exit strategy for those who are stuck up a tree without a ladder,” the official told Reuters.
With the nation buried under a mountain of debt and with its banks paralyzed, the finance minister will play a crucial role as Lebanon seeks to restart stalled talks with the International Monetary Fund, one of the first steps on France’s roadmap.