DUBAI, March 13 (Reuters) – The man who led efforts to
diversify Bahrain’s oil-reliant economy has lost his job as head
of the kingdom’s top economic policy-making body, further
clouding the future of reforms which have stalled since
anti-government unrest last year.
The state news agency said on Tuesday that Sheikh Mohammed
bin Essa Al Khalifa had left by royal decree his post as chief
of the Economic Development Board to become a political and
economic adviser to Crown Prince Salman.
DUBAI (Reuters) – An adviser to Bahrain’s King Hamad said the Gulf Arab state would hold a “comprehensive dialogue” soon to end a year-long political crisis and the government said it was dropping charges against most medics in a controversial trial.
The U.S. ally, home to Washington’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since democracy protests erupted last year only to be crushed by force one month later. Manama has faced international pressure to redress abuse suffered by majority Shi’ite Muslims during its crackdown and start political reforms.
DUBAI (Reuters) – An adviser to Bahrain’s King Hamad said the Gulf Arab state would hold a “comprehensive dialogue” soon to end a year-long political crisis but the opposition said it was unaware of such plans.
The comments by Nabeel Al-Hamer, the king’s media advisor, were published by the state news agency late on Friday after a leading Shi’ite cleric led what appeared to be the biggest opposition pro-democracy demonstration since a wave of protests erupted in February last year.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain has imposed restrictions on groups trying to monitor reforms including the Gulf Arab state’s handling of protests and asked the U.N. investigator into torture to postpone a trip, the United Nations and rights groups said on Thursday.
The U.N. human rights office in Geneva said Bahrain formally requested postponing until July the visit by the special rapporteur on torture, which had been scheduled for March 8-17.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain should drop cases against doctors and leaders of last year’s protest movement because of unfair and politically motivated trials, and Western countries should suspend military sales, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.
The New York-based group said the trials in civilian courts were as flawed as they were when they began in military courts last year after the Gulf Arab state imposed martial law to crush pro-democracy protests led by majority Shi’ite Muslims.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahrain said on Sunday almost all the verdicts issued by military courts against people involved in a pro-democracy protest movement crushed by the Gulf Arab state last year were now being handled by civilian courts.
The statement, which also said 11 people jailed by military courts would be freed, appeared designed to show Bahrain had met the recommendations of legal experts commissioned by the country’s king after an international outcry.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Sunni Muslims warned the Bahraini government at a rally against entering a dialogue with Shi’ite-led opposition parties, as pressure mounts for the Sunni-led Gulf Arab state to end unrest now entering its second year.
The tourism and banking hub, dominated by the Sunni Al Khalifa family, has been in turmoil since a protest movement for democratic reforms erupted on February 14 last year and was put down one month later with a period of martial law.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahraini police used water cannon and tear gas to break up a march chanting anti-government slogans after a funeral Monday, while protesters were arrested for approaching a roundabout at the center of an uprising last year.
Bahrain, a U.S. ally and home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since protests erupted on February 14 last year, inspired by demonstrations sweeping the Arab world.
MANAMA, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Bahraini bankers expressed
relief on Sunday that the Feb. 14 anniversary of last year’s
democracy uprising passed without major disruptions but said
lenders needed to see more infrastructure projects in the Gulf
bank and tourism hub.
“Thank God Feb. 14 went fine to a great extent. There is
hope that the political situation will be seen as stabilised to
a great extent and agencies start increasing ratings,”
Abdulkarim Bucheery, chief executive officer of Bank of Bahrain,
said at a meeting with reporters.
MANAMA (Reuters) – Bahraini police detained two Western activists who led a women’s protest on Friday and deployed water cannon and armoured vehicles to crush a separate demonstration of around 500 people from the majority Shi’ite population following a funeral.
The Gulf Arab state has imposed a security clampdown this week in a bid to avert mass protests on the anniversary of the February 14 pro-democracy uprising last year and prevent Shi’ites from reaching the Pearl Roundabout, a junction in capital Manama that became the focal point of protests.