Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Entertainer Discount book 15% off until tomorrow

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Coupons to hotels, restaurants and more.....Most are in the format buy one get one free.

You can share coupons with others if not using them. If you eat out or stay in hotels regularly, the savings add up.

Sample restaurants

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Mawalih Petrol Station Caught Fire - Video

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Video How Mawalih Petrol Station Caught Fire - Two nights ago this petrol station caught fire in Mawalih a neighborhood in Muscat; this is how it happened....

you can't make this stuff up.............thankfully, no one was hurt.

Monday, July 21, 2014

American Comedian Jon Stewart on the Gaza-Israeli conflict

From the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.....

As much as I appreciate his humour,  the situation is not a laughing matter..

This video is the third time I had to replace it due to it being taken off youtube...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Etihad Airlines, 'The Residence' & 'First Apartments'

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Etihad, the national airline of the U.A.E., meaning 'union' in English according to their CEO (but also has been translated as 'unity' or 'united')  introduced its new first class section, 'The Residence' and 'First Apartments' a few months ago.

In recap, the design phase took about five years. 'The Residence' is a one-of-a-kind three room suite. The cabins will be available for commercial flight at the end of December 2014 for routes to/from Abu Dhabi/London and early 2015 for routes to/from New York/Sydney. Booking is open from their website. First Apartments to London showed half sold out through reservations. There is no upgrading using loyalty points. They new suites are unique compared to other airlines.

It does look as one may even enjoy a long haul flight in one of the new cabins, and it seems it would be especially appealing for those who crave privacy.  Some people feel they could never justify spending such money on such a short term luxury, but others maintain it's worth it.

The Residence:   
125 sq ft, 3 rooms, private bath, 2 person capacity, private butler and chef
Cost: 21,000 USD / 77,000 UAE -  Abu Dhabi to Heathrow each way

First Apartments: 
39 sq ft, 1 room, full privacy, 24″ TV Screen. ottoman to bed, drink cabinet, vanity, chef
Cost: 4,000 USD /15,000 UAE -  Abu Dhabi to Heathrow each way

Affordability (assuming no one's springing for you):
Route: London/Abu Dhabi
Economy Ticket Price $500, Average Salary - 50,000 USD
First Apartment $4,000 (8 times higher than economy), Equivalent Salary - 400,000 USD
The Residence $21,000 (42 times higher), Equivalent Salary - 2,100,000 USD

The Residence Photos/Video.

Living Area

Bedroom - Double bed, there is also a TV

Private Bath

Wide Aisle

Tour of 'The Residence'. 
It may be best to turn the volumn down as Dannii tends to squeal at the sight of the cabin's features.


Overshot margins in order to make visible
1 X The Resident Suite, 9 X First Apartments

First Apartments

Shared Bathroom - has shower

Friday, July 18, 2014

Oman Law Blog, 'Expatriate Visa Restrictions'

Oman Law Blog, run by the Muscat office of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP law firm has posted an an entry, ''Expatriate Visa Restrictions'. Their information is somewhat helpful, but still clarification is needed from Manpower in regard to some issues. However, the post does 'unravel'  that a company will lose its visa 'spot' if it issues a NOC to an employee before their contract is concluded as many have suggested would be the case. Maybe, Manpower should hire Curtis to write up some guidelines about the reapplication of the two-year visa ban in compliance with the appropriate 'Articles' for the benefit of the people who may be affected by the regulation.

For those who are contemplating coming to Oman for employment, Oman's labour office, recently (as of July 1), decided to reinforce a law which places a two-year employment ban on ex-pats which will make it more difficult to 'job hop'. The details are still being formulated.  You can find the blog entry here:

For rest of post see:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WWW.DONATE.OM - Donations Portal For Charitable Organizations / Oman

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Founded in 2009, is Oman's Donations Portal for Charitable Organizations. The portal is supported by the Ministry of Social Development. The portal is in Arabic and links to an English version. It is possible to give to a specific charity or a cause. Many people during the holy month of Ramadan are inclined to donate in the spirit of helping others and to fulfill a duty of charity. The site has a fresh design and is easy to navigate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Now Sheesha's on the Brink & Manpower Boss Tries to Clarify 2Y Ban Visa Rule

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The Majlis Shura recently has suggested sheesha joints should be moved out of town to curb smoking, "the sheesha restaurants functioning in residential areas and those in the heart of the towns should be shut down and asked to relocate to areas outside the town," and the cost of licenses should be raised.
Read more here:

The people have spoken. The Majlis Shura is an elected council here in Oman. They can make suggestions, question certain Ministers and have been granted minimal legislative powers mostly in social and cultural affairs. The Majlis Shura has been cracking down. So far, they have put the move on restricting alcohol, moving bachelor expats to isolated living complexes away from Omanis, moving sheesha to the outskirts of town and banning musical performers in less than three star hotels.

And in other news, the Oman Observer published an article to help clarify the two year visa ban. See: However, some aspects of the ban still seem hazy despite reading the Minister's interview. The new enforcement procedures of the rule are just not well understood enough in general, and it's too difficult to get clarification on. They should just scrap this new enforcement and implement something more streamlined and simplified. There has been a notable amount of conjecture and rumour over the ban. It's not even clear if their own people understand it.


What seems clear..

  • Start date: July 1, 2014
  • Applies to all professions, no job exempted, "no disparity between jobs"..."as of yet" (does this mean there could be in the future)
  • Applies to all expats no madder how long ones been living in the Sultanate 
  • If you do a 'runner' before the end of service, you will be banned for two years.
  • There is an exception to the ban by 'mutual understanding' between employer/employee of the employee leaving/changing jobs. The employer must issue a NOC (No Objection Certificate). Then, the new employer can ask the old employer for a 'release' which facilitates the transfer of employment and visa.
What is not so clear..
  • There is no mention if the employer issuing the NOC will lose the expat visa allocation in the case of 'mutual understanding'
  • There is no mention of contract periods other than for two years. Oman's labour regulations also provide for an 'indefinite' contract. The employment visa lasts for two years.
  • There is no mention what happens to the employee who finishes his contract but the employer fails to cancel his/her visa upon leaving Oman. 
  • There is no mention of the proceedure for changing jobs when the contract term ends. Does one need an NOC or can the employee leave Oman and then come in under the new visa?
  • There is no mention how the visa ban would apply retroactively before the ban was reapplied, for example, for the person who left Oman a year ago before the contract term ended- are they retroactively banned for two years from that date.
  • The ROP puts out their own announcements regarding the ban separate from Manpower. This is confusing in itself; not to have one body take the lead. 
Manpower Boss - Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri

Here's the full text:

Ministry of Manpower clears doubts on 2-year rule on visas — By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT — Putting all doubts and rumours which have been making rounds since May 10 after the announcement of a 2-year ban on expatriate leaving their sponsor before the end of the contract period to rest, Minister of Manpower Shaikh Abdullah bin Nasser al Bakri in an interview with the Observer said the new rule came into force from July 1 this year.
From July 1, 2014, there is a mandatory 2-year entry ban on any expatriate leaving his/her sponsor during his employment period or if the visa is cancelled before completion of the contract period of two years and the rule has come into force.
Contrary to what some unfound news hitherto said regarding some professionals such as doctors and engineers being exempted from the new law, the minister categorically ruled out any such thing for any job holder.
“There is no such disparity between jobs. This rule is applicable to all expatriate employees in the country and we have not thought about any such exceptions as of now”.
“Any expatriate employee working for a local sponsor suddenly decides to leave and go back home, can do so according to the human rights and the decisions thereof although the work contract between the employer and the employee will be complete only when it covers two years. In this case, he is not allowed to come back and work for another sponsor for the next two years and this is to save the interest of the contractors”, the minister said, adding that we should remember that a labour contract is for two years and a labour card aka resident card is also valid for two years and both parties are at liberty to call it off whenever they find it difficult to get along but due notice has to be given in either case.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has, in congruence with the decision of the Ministry of Manpower earlier announced that no employment visa will be issued after July 1, 2014 to any foreigner who previously worked in the Sultanate and has not completed two years from the date of last departure. The announcement was made on May 10 this year and since then, there have been various reports in diverse angles often contradicting and misleading the public.
This new rule is applicable to any expatriate of any nationality who is under a local sponsorship in Oman. This is equally applicable to an expatriate living in Oman for the last several years or for just some months.
“This rule is applicable to all expatriate workforce in the country irrespective of their nationality and this wouldn’t change whether he or she is working for a sponsor or sponsors for last thirty years or last three months”, Bakri told the Observer on the sidelines of the ‘Ramadhan Nights’ at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).
“However, the only exception is that the employee is leaving the company/sponsorship out of a mutual understanding with his sponsor and that his sponsor has no issue in him joining another company”, Bakri clarified, adding, “Moving from one company to another is allowed only when there is an express consent of the present employer for the employee to join another organisation.”
With an NOC (No Objection Certificate), the sponsor says that he has no issues in his employee joining another organisation whereas a ‘release’ is a case in which the sponsor facilitates his employee’s transfer to another company by signing necessary papers and so on.
The earlier is a general letter issued by the sponsor whereas the latter is a document aimed at a specified local individual/company who is the potential sponsor.
A new company can recruit an expatriate employee who is holding an NOC and through the documentation, they can ask for a release from the ex-sponsor to facilitate his joining their company.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer French Lessons @ Omani French Centre

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Please see flyer below for course timings.


French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts.  Fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.

14 juillet - Happy Bastille Day

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Gailani Art Retreats

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I wanted to write about Gailani Art & Art Retreats. He has been featured in many local papers and has been getting loads of publicity recently, but I am mentioning him because I think he has added something special to the Muscat area which has affected many positively. One might say he has really 'put himself out there'. Gailani has a vibrant persona who feels the human spirit deeply and is always energizing the room. 

He has started 'Art Retreats' which now take place at the Citi Season hotel in Muscat on Saturdays. A self-proclaimed, self-promoted artist with a 'day' job, Gailani's efforts have really brightened up the 'developing' art scene in Oman. A little initiative goes a long way, and it's good to see a nice mix of people given an outlet to explore their creative sides.  

You can find out more at his FB page or his video below:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gambling addict wife of Omani politician blew £2MILLION in one night - and sues casino

This has been trending the last day or so, From the UK's Daily Mirror, July 3, Gambling addict wife of Omani politician blew £2MILLION in one night - and sues casino


The (ex?) wife of the Foreign Minister of Oman, Badr Al Busaidi (the 'Get Real Omanis' Tweeter) has sued the London Ritz Hotels gambling club for allowing her to gamble away two million pounds with out stopping her. Mrs Al Daher is originally Saudi. It seems to be a interesting month with both making headlines.

It's easy to be cynical when reading headlines. But, we don't know all the facts, and from the article the gambling seems to be an on-going issue for her. We wish her well and that she can overcome these challenges at the moment for the better. Generally, the first step in recovery is taking personal responsibility according to National Center for Responsible Gaming. Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos keep an 'exclusion list' which doesn't allow known addicts to gamble and turns them away if they come to play which would be in support of the 'reasoning' of her case. I find it peculiar that she would sue the Ritz in the first place.


But Mrs Al-Daher insisted that it was the club’s fault that she lost the money, not her own, and that staff should have stopped her from playing.
She claimed that workers were aware of her gambling problem yet stood behind her at the table and encouraged her to keep playing, extending her cheque cashing facility as her losses built up.
She told the High Court: “I needed someone that night to tell me to stop playing and bring me to my senses.
"If I had been told to stop, of course I would have done so ­immediately.
“But no one ever told me to stop or to think about my gambling.”