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Qatar raises 2013 economic growth forecast to 6 per cent
16 December 2013 - Qatar's economy is likely to grow 6.0 per cent this year, slightly faster than previously forecast, partly because of higher gas production, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics said in a report on Monday. Vigorous investment spending, an expansionary fiscal stance, and a continuing influx of workers to Qatar, the host country of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament, will sustain strong domestic demand, the ministry said. Qatar, which pegs its riyal currency to the US dollar, plans to spend some $140 billion on infrastructure, including a new airport, roads, and stadiums in the next decade, partly in preparation to host the World Cup. (more)

Qatar, Kuwait welcome Iran's nuclear deal with world powers
25 November 2013 - Gulf Arab countries Qatar and Kuwait have came out in favour of Iran's agreement with world powers over its nuclear programme, saying they hoped it would help to preserve stability and security in the region. Iran's only two Arab friends -- Iraq and Syria -- were quick to praise the deal on Sunday, as was the Palestinian Authority which welcomed it for putting pressure on Israel. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also spoke out in support. (more)

Qatar to ease Palestinian debt, peace talks intensify - Kerry
21 October 2013 - Qatar has agreed to provide $150 million in debt relief to the Palestinian Authority, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday as he announced that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are intensifying. Speaking after he briefed Arab states about the direct peace negotiations, which resumed on 29 July with a goal of reaching an agreement within nine months, Kerry told reporters that the two sides have increased the pace of their discussions. (more)

Qatar's Emir hands power to son in rare Gulf abdication
25 June 2013 - Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed power to his son, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim, on Tuesday in a rare abdication by a hereditary Gulf Arab ruler to try to ensure a smooth succession. The small US-allied state is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, a global investment powerhouse and a heavy hitter in Middle East diplomacy and international media through its Al Jazeera television network. 'The time has come to turn a new page in the journey of our nation and have a new generation carry out responsibilities ... with their innovative ideas,' Sheikh Hamad said in a seven-minute speech broadcast on state television. (more)

Qatar aims for Afghan peace process by 2014
15 January 2013 - Qatar aims to see a peace process in Afghanistan by the time NATO combat operations end in 2014, Qatar's Prime Minister said on Tuesday as the Afghan Taliban movement prepared to open an office in the Qatari capital. With the focus in Afghanistan shifting from a military push by NATO troops to potential talks on a peaceful settlement, US President Barack Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamed Karzai said last week they supported the opening of a Taliban office in Doha. The planned office is one of a series of gestures, including the possible transfer to Qatar of Taliban detainees from the US military's Guantanamo Bay prison, aimed at injecting momentum into the tentative reconciliation efforts. (more)

UN climate talks in Qatar boost Gulf awareness
10 December 2012 - Holding a high-profile U. climate change conference in Qatar, smack in the middle of the region that produces so much of the fossil fuel blamed for global warming, was a gamble. In the end, it displayed the hosts' drive for a leading place on the world stage and evoked a surprising new regional awareness of the environmental crisis. (more)

Qatar to invest up to $20 billion in solar energy plant
2 December 2012 - OPEC member Qatar will ask firms to tender for a 1,800 megawatt (MW) solar energy plant in 2014 costing between $10-20 billion as the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emitter seeks to increase its renewable energy production. 'We need to diversify our energy mix,' said Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, chairman of the Qatari organizers of climate talks in Doha. The United Nations-led summit is being held among almost 200 nations from 26 November - 7 December. (more)

Qatari First Lady promotes education - AP Interview
21 September 2012 - The First Lady of Qatar will play a leading role in a new campaign to bring education to 61 million children around the world who are not in school, especially the nearly half living in conflict areas. Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, a special envoy for UNESCO and wife of Qatar's ruler Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, said she especially wants over the next few years to draw global attention to an often-forgotten consequence of war: the 28 million children in conflict zones deprived of education. (more)

Qatar says to invest $18 billion in Egyptian economy
7 September 2012 - Qatar said on Thursday it would invest $18 billion dollars in tourism and industry projects along Egypt's Mediterranean coast over the next five years, the latest pledge of support to an economy hammered by a year and a half of political turmoil. Egypt's stock exchange closed at a 14-month high on Thursday on optimism that a new government with a clear popular mandate will secure investments and donor aid to stave off a balance of payments and budget crisis. (more)

Qatar, Albania sign MoU on environment protection
14 May 2012 - Qatar's ministry of Environment and Albania's Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Management, have signed a memorandum of understanding in the field of environment protection. The MoU reflects the two countries' awareness of the responsibility of ensuring environmental integrity of present and future generations and the respect and appreciation of international environmental protocols and agreements signed by the two countries. (more)

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CNN Exclusive: US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis
7 June 2017 - US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US' closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. ... Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region. (more)

Qatar's crisis is impacting business and millions of people
6 June 2017 - The political storm surrounding Qatar is impacting life in one of the world's biggest natural gas producers and travel hubs that relies on food imports. Millions of people have already been affected, with many Arab residents in Qatar unsure of their fate. Years of tensions in Gulf relations burst to the surface on Monday when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt severed ties with Qatar. The four Arab countries shut down land, sea, and air links with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terror groups in the region, interfering in their sovereign affairs, and backing groups that undermine political stability. (more)

US selling $11 billion in arms to Qatar
14 July 2014 - The Pentagon is making an $11 billion sale of Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin air-defence weapons to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Qatari counterpart, Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, met Monday at the Pentagon to sign the deal. Qatar is a key US ally and hosts a major US air operations centre. Qatar was instrumental in completing the deal that gained the May 31 release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for five years by the Taliban, in exchange for the release by the US of five Taliban commanders imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (more)

Kids with technology in the bedroom loose sleep
24 January 2014 - Kids who regularly plugged into social networking sites before bedtime reported sleeping nearly an hour less on school nights than those who rarely connected online, a new study shows. 'Using technology in the bedroom may result in sleep loss, delays in initiating sleep, daytime sleepiness, and more,' the study's lead author, Teresa Arora, told Reuters Health in an email. 'In turn, this may affect daytime performance, particularly at school,' Arora, from Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar, said. The researchers found kids ages 11 to 13 slept significantly less when they frequently communicated on a cell phone, surfed the Internet, played video games, watched television, listened to music, and even if they used a computer to study before hitting the sack. Social networking was associated with the biggest loss of sleep. Those who said they usually connected to friends online before getting into bed reported sleeping the least -- an average of 8 hours and 10 minutes a night -- compared with 9 hours and 2 minutes among those who never connected. (more)

Qatar, Arab Spring sponsor, jails poet for life
29 November 2012 - A court in Qatar, which has supported Arab uprisings abroad, jailed a local poet for life on Thursday for criticising the emir and inciting revolt -- a sentence that drew outrage and cries of hypocrisy from human rights groups. Freedom of expression is tightly controlled in the small Gulf state, home to less than two million people. Self-censorship is prevalent among national newspapers and other media outlets. Qatar has no organised political opposition. Poet Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was not himself allowed in court and the defence was barred from making oral arguments, although it contested the prosecution case that Ajami called for revolution in Qatar -- an offence which carries the death penalty. For Amnesty International, Middle East director Philip Luther said in a statement: 'It is deplorable that Qatar, which likes to paint itself internationally as a country that promotes freedom of expression, is indulging in what appears to be such a flagrant abuse of that right.' (more)

Tutu: Muslim anger not just about cartoons
3 March 2006 - The furore over the Prophet Muhammad drawings is a small part of an expanding divide between Islam and the West, or what international leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as the 'symptom of a more serious disease'. The phenomenon was explored in depth at a UN-sponsored conference in Qatar aimed at healing the deepening rift. (more)


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