Sunday, May 18, 2008

Assorted Gulf News

Saudi time to replace GMT?

The entire world should ditch GMT as the universal time standard and instead use Saudi time - the true centre of the Earth, according to Muslim scholars.

Speaking at a conference in Qatar, Muslim scientists and clerics called for Saudi time should be adopted as the new standard, stating reasons such as Mecca being the direction all Muslims face to pray.

One delegate said that unlike other longitudes Mecca was in perfect alignment to magnetic north.

Others labelled GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) a colonial relic imposed by the British and said it was high time for it to be replaced.

The conference, 'Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice', is geared around looking for and discussing Koranic precedents for modern science.

UAE: Maid-swapping in UAE

Sponsors of domestic workers will be able to release staff on a three-month temporary transfer under new rules designed to reduce the number of illegal workers in the UAE.

Under the new rules, sponsorship of housemaids can be transferred for a one-off period of three months, at a cost of 500 dirhams to the second sponsor.
If the sponsor of a maid agrees or wishes to transfer the maid to the sponsorship of another eligible person this can be done by entering into a new temporary work contract between the maid at the second (temporary) sponsor.

Bahrain: Sponsorship system to be scrapped by year-end

Bahrain plans to scrap its sponsorship system by the end of this year as part of measures to liberalise the kingdom’s labour market.

Bahrain government wanted to promote the free movement of labour as well as stamp out human rights abuses and human trafficking.

The plan was submitted for approval at the GCC summit in December, but a final decision has been deferred until the next summit at the end of this year in Muscat.
Lawmakers formally call for expat residency cap

Lawmakers have called for the controversial plan to cap how long expatriates can live in the Gulf be brought into force in the UAE.

A new legislation limiting unskilled workers, which make up a large percentage of the UAE's population of over four million, to six year, after which they will have to leave the country.

Under the legislation, labourers, housemaids, farmers and herders would be banned from renewing their work visas after six years and would only be able to return to the UAE by going through the entire visa application process again..

The recommendation has been submitted to the government for consideration.

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