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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

$200 million loan agreement for Oman's Sohar Industrial Port Company

By Saleh al-Shaibany

 28 September 2009

Oman's Sohar Industrial Port Company on Monday signed a $200 million loan agreement with local and international banks to finance a port project.

The bank consortium consists of Bank Muscat, National Bank of Oman, Bank Dhofar, Ahli Bank and State Bank of India.

"The money will be used to finance the construction of the jetty at Port of Sohar," Edwin van Espen, Head of Sohar Port Special Projects told Reuters on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

He added that a joint venture between Italy's Saipem and India's Afcons was awarded the contract to build the 600 meter long jetty and a deep water basin. (Reuters)
Published in

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pregnant woman falls pregnant again

A lady in America has discovered she is due to give birth to two babies apparently conceived two-and-a-half weeks apart.

Julia Grovenburg learned of her rare medical condition when she went for an ultrasound scan. It revealed not one but two babies, in different stages of development.

"[When] she said, 'and baby number two has got a healthy little heartbeat,' - I just started gagging," Mrs Grovenburg told broadcaster KFSM-TV in Arkansas. "We feel blessed to have something so rare and as of this point they're perfectly healthy."

"[We were] both in shock," her husband added. "We were trying to put the timelines together and everything. We had known she had had a migraine and been at the hospital and actually had a pregnancy test at the time that one would've been conceived."

Doctors believe Mrs Grovenburg has experienced superfetation: the process of conceiving when already pregnant.

Patrick O'Brien, a consulting obstetrician and spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told Sky News that only one case a year is reported worldwide.

"It's a rare thing because when you conceive, your hormones change dramatically. Those changes stop you ovulating and they stop you conceiving," he said.

"It's hard to be certain sometimes because a woman could be having non-identical twins that are markedly different in size from early in a pregnancy," he added.

Tests will be performed when the babies are born to determine exactly what happened. One baby is due to be born at the end of 2009; the second early in 2010.

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Nejad is keen to expand ties with Oman

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met Omani Foreign Minister Yussef Bin Alawi at his residence on Friday.

President Ahmadinejad told Alawi, who headed Omani delegation in the UN General Assembly session, that Iran strives for expansion of relations with Oman in line with mutual interests.

Alawi said in return that his country was thankful of Iran’s warm hospitality during Omani Sultan Qaboos’s recent Iran visit.

Published in

Saturday, September 26, 2009

AIDS Vaccine Shows Some Success

September 25, 2009


Scientists said Thursday that a new AIDS vaccine, the first ever declared to protect a significant minority of humans against the disease, would be studied to answer two fundamental questions: why it worked in some people but not in others, and why those infected despite vaccination got no benefit at all.

The vaccine — known as RV 144, a combination of two genetically engineered vaccines, neither of which had worked before in humans — was declared a qualified success after a six-year clinical trial on more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand. Those who were vaccinated became infected at a rate nearly one-third lower than the others, the sponsors said Thursday morning.

“I don’t want to use a word like ‘breakthrough,’ but I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is a very important result,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is one of the trial’s backers.

“For more than 20 years now, vaccine trials have essentially been failures,” Dr. Fauci said. “Now it’s like we were groping down an unlit path, and a door has been opened. We can start asking some very important questions.”

It will still, however, take years of work before a vaccine that could end the epidemic, which has killed about 25 million people, can even be contemplated.

“We often talk about whether a vaccine is even possible,” said Mitchell Warren, the executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, or AVAC. “This is not the vaccine that ends the epidemic and says, ‘O.K., let’s move on to something else.’ But it’s a fabulous new step that takes us in a new direction.”

In which direction is still unknown. No one — including the researchers from the United States Army, the National Institutes of Health, the Thai Ministry of Public Health and two vaccine companies that tested the vaccine — knows why the vaccine gave even its weak indicator of success.

Experts generally disdain vaccines that do not protect at least 70 to 80 percent of those getting them. And this vaccine did not lower the viral loads of people who were vaccinated but caught the virus anyway, which was baffling because even mismatched vaccines usually do that.

Simply repeating the trial to confirm the results would be pointless, experts agreed.

The trial, the largest AIDS vaccine trial in history, cost $105 million and followed 16,402 Thai volunteers.

The men and women ages 18 to 30 were recruited from two provinces southeast of the capital, Bangkok, from the general population rather than from high-risk groups like drug injectors or sex workers. Half got six doses of two different vaccines; half were given placebos.

For ethical reasons, all were offered condoms, taught how to avoid infection and promised lifelong antiretroviral treatment if they got AIDS. They were then regularly tested for three years; 74 of those who got placebos became infected, but only 51 of those who got the vaccines did.

Although the difference was a mere 23 people, Col. Jerome H. Kim, a physician and the manager of the Army’s H.I.V. vaccine program, said it was statistically significant and meant that the vaccine was 31.2 percent effective.

The results were surprising because both vaccines, one from the French company Sanofi-Aventis and one developed by Genentech but now licensed to Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit health group, had failed when used individually.

“This came out of the blue,” said Chris Viehbacher, Sanofi’s chief executive. Even 31 percent protection “was at least twice as good as our own internal experts were predicting,” he added.

In 2004, there was so much skepticism about the trial just after it began that 22 top AIDS researchers published an editorial in Science magazine suggesting that it was a waste of money.

One conclusion from the surprising result, said Alan Bernstein, head of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of organizations pursuing a vaccine, “is that we’re not doing enough work in humans.”

Instead of going back to mice or monkeys, he said, different new variants on the two vaccines could be tried on a few hundred people in several countries.

This vaccine was designed to combat the most common strain of the virus in Southeast Asia, so it would have to be modified for the strains circulating in Africa and the United States.

Sanofi’s vaccine, Alvac-HIV, is a canarypox virus with three AIDS virus genes grafted onto it. Variations of it were tested in several countries; it was safe but not protective. The other vaccine, Aidsvax, was originally made by Genentech and contains a protein found on the surface of the AIDS virus; it is grown in a broth of hamster ovary cells. It was tested in Thai drug users in 2003 and in gay men in North America and Europe but failed.

In 2007, two trials of a Merck vaccine in about 4,000 people were stopped early; it not only failed to work but for some men also seemed to increase the risk of infection.

Combining Alvac and Aidsvax was simply a hunch: if one was designed to create antibodies and the other to alert white blood cells, might they work together?

One puzzling result — those who became infected had as much virus in their blood whether they got the vaccine or a placebo — suggests that RV 144 does not produce neutralizing antibodies, as most vaccines do, Dr. Fauci said. Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins formed by the body that clump onto invading viruses, blocking the surface spikes with which they attach to cells and flagging them for destruction.

Instead, he theorized, it might produce “binding antibodies,” which latch onto and empower effector cells, a type of white blood cell attacking the virus. Therefore, he said, it might make sense to screen all the stored Thai blood samples for binding antibodies.

“The humbling prospect of this,” he said, “is that we may not even be measuring the critical parameter. It may be something you don’t normally associate with protection.”

Dr. Lawrence Corey, the principal investigator for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, who was not part of the RV 144 trial, said new work on weakened versions of the smallpox vaccine had produced better pox “spines” that could be substituted for the canarypox. New trials, he added, could be faster and smaller if they were done in African countries where AIDS is more common than in Thailand.

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Oman Air wavers on Boeing 787 order

Friday September 25, 2009

by Aaron Karp

Boeing said it has started making the upper wing join area fix on the first flight test 787 and the static test Dreamliner to address the structural weakness identified in June that led to the program's latest delay.

The manufacturer said in August that first flight "is expected by the end of 2009" with first delivery to launch customer ANA pushed back to the 2010 fourth quarter, and insisted that the wing join area modification is relatively simple (ATWOnline, Aug. 28).

"Modifications are indeed underway," Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-Marketing Randy Tinseth wrote on his blog. "We've begun installing the reinforcements on the area within the side-of-body section on [the first flight test 787] and on the static airframe. We're mounting new fittings at stringer attachment locations within the joint where the wing attaches to the fuselage." He said the modifications on ZA001, the first flight test 787, are being done in Boeing's Everett paint hangar. Modifications on the other five flight test aircraft will begin shortly, he added.

Meanwhile, Oman Air CEO Peter Hill said the airline is not certain it will stick with its commitment to lease six 787s from ALAFCO. It signed a contract with the Kuwaiti lessor two years ago. "I think we will take a decision once it has flown. Let's see when it flies," Hill told Reuters.

"There have to be concerns about Boeing's ability to deliver that aircraft as it was originally designed. My predecessors bought it on the basis of a whole load of performance guarantees and delivery dates. So far Boeing haven't demonstrated that the confidence we put in it is going to be met in the near future," he said. "Boeing are playing it very close to their chest. It doesn't help for great dialogue between customers and the company and that is a criticism. We are not being kept informed enough on what's really going on. That begs the question, do they really know how to solve some of these issues?"

Published in

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A hydrographic vessel for the Royal Navy of Oman

September 21, 2009

The Naval Sea Systems Command has issued an RFP (Solicitation No: N0002409R2255) on behalf of PEO Ships, Project Office Foreign Military Sales and Counternarcotics Boats and Craft for a hydrographic survey Vessel for the Royal Navy of Oman. The Government anticipates the Oman HSV will be produced using: (a) Small Business Set-Aside; (b) "build-to-print" requirements; (c) lowest price, technically acceptable source selection process (d) Firm Fixed Price Type Contract; and (e) Contract Award, no split awards. The contract will include one hydrographic survey launch, provisioned items order (PIO) for spare parts, and training. A twelve month period of performance is anticipated.

The Oman HSV would operate within Omani waters performing hydrographic survey operations offshore from a depth of 7 meters to 1000 meters with the capability to collect hydrographic data to International Hydrographic Organization requirements. The U.S. Governmen will provide the offeror with the vessel design.

This design is based on the existing University of Miami R/V Walton Smith Catamaran that was constructed to ABS loadline and 46CFR Subchapter "T" requirements for a vessel under 100 gross tonnage.

Contacts are Thomas Baranowski, Contract Specialist, at, and Maureen Barlow, Contracting Officer, at

Published in

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First coal fired electricity generation plant in Oman

Friday, 18 Sep 2009

Reuters reported that Oman has awarded technical and financial advisory contracts for the 1,000 MW Duqm power station, paving the way for the first coal fired electricity generation plant in the Gulf Arab state.

Mr Jim Liedh a consultant based in Muscat at Worsely Parsons said that "We confirm that we got the technical advisory contract for the Duqm power plant." He added that the deal was worth OMR 324,638.

A KPMG official also confirmed that the company won a financial advisory deal worth OMR 418,511.

An official from the state run Public Authority for Electricity and Water said that "The 2 contracts mean that we are going ahead with Oman's first coal fired power project at Duqum."

Last month, Oman said that it will privatize existing power stations and invest about USD 8 billion in new power projects to diversify away from its oil based economy.

According to Public Authority for Electricity, Oman is developing 5 projects aimed at boosting electricity generation where demands are rising about 15% annually. Total consumption to June 2009 reached 3,600 MW, 16% more than the same period in 2008 YoY.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Published in

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccines are Dangerous

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, September 13, 2009

Vaccines which have been approved by the responsible government authorities for vaccination against the alleged H1N1 Influenza A Swine Flu have been found to contain nano particles. Vaccine makers have been experimenting with nanoparticles as a way to “turbo charge” vaccines for several years. Now it has come out that the vaccines approved for use in Germany and other European countries contain nanoparticles in a form that reportedly attacks healthy cells and can be deadly.

In 2007 researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) announced in an article in the journal, Nature Biotechnology, that they had developed a “nanoparticle that can deliver vaccines more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost of current vaccine technologies.” The article went on to describe the effects of their breakthrough: “At a mere 25 nanometers, these particles are so tiny that once injected, they flow through the skin’s extracellular matrix, making a beeline to the lymph nodes. Within minutes, they’ve reached a concentration of DCs thousands of times greater than in the skin. The immune response can then be extremely strong and effective.” 1

There is only one small problem with vaccines containing nanoparticles—they can be deadly and at the least cause severe irreparable health damage.

Nanoparticles, promoted in the mass media as the new wonder revolution of science, are particles that have been produced vastly smaller than deadly asbestos particles which caused severe lung damage and death before being outlawed. Particles at a nano size, (nm = 0,000000001 Meter) fuse together with the membranes of our body cell membranes and, according to recent studies in China and Japan, continuously destroy cells once introduced into the body. Once they interact with the body’s cellular structure, they cannot be removed. Modern medicine euphemistically terms the phenomenon, a continuing infectious reaction.

Since the asbestos scandal, it has been established that particles in size a millionth of a meter, because of their enormous attractive force, penetrate all cells, destroying all those they come into contact with. Nanoparticles are far smaller than asbestos fibers.

Beijing Tests confirm deadly effects on humans
The fact that WHO, the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, the German Robert Koch Institute and other health bodies today would permit the population to be injected with largely untested novel vaccines containing nanoparticles says more about the powerful pharma lobby in Euiropean politics than it does about the sanity or moral integrity of the civil servants responsible for health of the general public.

The September 2009 issue of the respected European Respiratory Journal, made public on 19 August, and available since 21 August online, contains a peer-reviewed article with the title, “Exposure to nanoparticles is related to pleural effusion, pulmonary fibrosis and granuloma.”
The article describes tests carried out in 2008 at the elite Beijing Chaoyang Hospital on seven young women. All seven, ages 18-47 had been exposed to nanoparticles for 5–13 months in their common workplace. All were admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and pleural effusions, or excessive fluids surrounding the lungs, inhibiting breathing. None of the seven had ever smoked and none were in any special risk group. Doctors carefully tested for every possibility and confirmed that the lung problems had a common origin—regular inhalation of nanoparticles in their factory. They had been exposed to Polyacrylat nanoparticles.

The tests confirmed the nanoparticles had set off a “super-meltdown” reaction in the patients. Despite all heroic efforts of doctors, two of the seven died from the lung complications. 2

In their report, the scientists concluded something so alarming it is necessary to quote at length:

“Immunological tests, examinations of bacteriology, virology and tumour markers, bronchoscopy, internal thoracoscopy and video-assisted thoracic surgery were performed. Surveys of the workplace, clinical observations and examinations of the patients were conducted. Polyacrylate, consisting of nanoparticles, was confirmed in the workplace. Pathological examinations of patients' lung tissue displayed nonspecific pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis and foreign-body granulomas of pleura. Using transmission electron microscopy, nanoparticles were observed to lodge in the cytoplasm and caryoplasm of pulmonary epithelial and mesothelial cells, but are also located in the chest fluid. These cases arouse concern that long-term exposure to some nanoparticles without protective measures may be related to serious damage to human lungs.“3

To date Animal studies and in vitro experiments show that nanoparticles can result in lung damage and other toxicity in animals, but no reports on the clinical toxicity in humans due to nanoparticles prior to the Beijing study had been made.

The Beijing Chaoyang Hospital study has now conclusively confirmed that nanoparticles cause lung damage and other toxicity in humans as well. At this point in time, when two of the approved vaccines planned to be mass distributed in Germany and elsewhere contain nanoparticles, failure of the relevant responsible public health and epidemiology officials to order an immediate emergency freeze on distribution of any vaccine containing nanoparticles can only be considered tantamount to criminal negligence. Hopefully the responsible authorities will react in time to avert a possible human health catastrophe orders of magnitude worse than the worst case of Swine Flu reported to date.

F. William Engdahl is author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. He may be reached via his website,


1 EPFL, Bioengineering researchers from the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed and patented a nanoparticle that can deliver vaccines more effectively, with fewer side effects, and at a fraction of the cost of current vaccine technologies, accessed in
2 Song Y, Li X, Du X, Exposure to nanoparticles is related to pleural effusion, pulmonary fibrosis and granuloma , European Respiratory Journal, 9/2009, 34(3): 559-567.
3 Ibid.
Published in

Oman Air has moved 1 step closer to its fleet expansion

Natalie Cooper September 16th, 2009
It was noted this week that Oman Air has moved one step closer to its fleet expansion target when it took the delivery of its very first Airbus A330-200. This was a very big day for the carrier when it was handed over the aircraft at a ceremony held in Toulouse on September 15. This ceremony was even attended by His Excellency Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, the chairman of Oman Air, among others.

The first A330-200 plane for Oman Air, which is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, flew over from Toulouse and arrived at Seeb International Airport later that day. The plane itself is configured in a comfortable two class layout that provides space for 216 passengers. These seats are made up of 196 economy seats and 20 business class seats.

The official delivery ceremony will be held at Seeb International Airport today, September 16th, to unveil the new aircraft. The chairman of Oman Air said that the delivery of the Airbus is a great milestone in the new transformation of Oman Air. This brand new plane is just the first of seven new long range Airbus aircrafts that will be delivered to Oman Air. All of these aircrafts will be delivered to Oman Air within the next two years. All of these planes are part of the expansion plan for the Oman Air fleet.

The chief executive officer of Oman Air, Peter Hill, went on to add that they are very delighted to be taking on the delivery of this superb new aircraft. They want to insure to all of their passengers that the products that are delivered by Oman Air are second to none.

Published in

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oman luxury holidays

13 September 2009
Oman's image as a peaceful nation with a stable economic and political background continues to receive further boost. The Sultanate often described, as "the custodian of authentic Arabia" undoubtedly is the prime tourist destination of the Gulf, with Oman luxury holidays becoming increasingly popular.

Highlighting Oman's stable business and economic environment, Usama Bin Karim Al Haremi of Oman Air's Corporate Communications and Media stated that Oman has been described as a popular destination for businesses because of the political stability in the country. He brought to attention the recent report released by The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which described Oman as the southeastern state in the AGCC and as a harbour of political stability for businesses.

The economy, which has decided not to copy the business models of its neighbour states the report mentioned, is set to grow in 2009 by 2.6% and 3% respectively. Initiatives to spur real estate and tourism such as real estate project The Wave, or new ferry services to Omani islands in the Indian Ocean are aimed at reducing the contribution of the oil sector to its gross domestic product to 9% by 2020 from 41.5% in 2007. "This, coupled with the stable political environment, would certainly make Oman an attractive destination for prospective investors and businesses," he said.

As well, Al Haremi highlighted a recent international report that placed the Sultanate at the highest rank on the Arab and African level in terms of stability. "global stability index" published by the US-based Foreign Policy Magazine in its July / August issue, cited the Sultanate as the only country in the region to figure in the list of most stable countries in the world, among some of the stable countries in Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Japan, and South Korea. While Norway - the best in terms of stability - came in 177th, the Sultanate was placed 146th. The study, which covered 177 countries, was done in collaboration with the US-based Fund for Peace. The report, Al Haremi stated, is yet another evidence of the excellent international reputation of the Sultanate, also supports the policies of the government, which aim at making the Sultanate one of the major international hubs.

It is worthwhile to mention that the Sultanate was ranked the second most peaceful Arab country and the 21st in the world, according to Global Peace Index 2009, published by the US-based Institute for Economics and Peace. The Sultanate scored 1.52 points in the index that uses 23 separate indicators to calculate the relative peacefulness of 144 countries.

Al Haremi also informed that the UK's Independent under the title "Illness abroad - the 10 best countries to be sick on holiday" highlighted on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 the recent debate on the NHS. The report reads, Many tourists the wonder about healthcare standards at their favourite holiday destination. Travel site investigates the 10 best places to fall ill abroad!

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and director said in the popular website: "Getting ill in your home country is bad enough, but when you're abroad it's even more stressful, though some countries are undoubtedly better than others. In our recent survey Smith said, 11% of people said that illness spoiled their holiday, so we've looked at the countries with the best levels of healthcare where tourists can be assured of receiving high quality treatment should they fall ill whilst abroad." Oman has been named as one of the 10 best places to fall ill abroad, Al Haremi enlightened.

The report says that Oman's small population and numerous private and public medical facilities mean that long waiting lists are almost unheard of. Although some doctors and medical staff in Oman are local, the vast majority are foreign and were trained in their home countries, and visitors can expect a high level of care.

Usama Bin Karim Al Haremi of Oman Air's Corporate Communications and Media furthermore mentioned that Rachel Southwood, editorial director of UK's Wedding Ideas Magazine says in a report published in the Magazine's website: 'People are steering away from the classic beach destinations such as the Maldives and Mauritius, as they are determined to have the trip of their lives.'

'European travel is becoming more popular, particularly among couples with environmental concerns. Dual-centre trips, allowing them to combine two different destinations, are also a popular choice.' Therefore, UK's Daily Mail she pointed out picks out ten alternative destinations for the perfect honeymoon. Reasonably, Al Haremi said, Oman was among the 10 destinations recommended too, as a luxurious beach destination.

Under the title, "Revealed: The top ten alternative honeymoon destinations" the report published on 14 August 2009 reads, Jewel of Arabia: Enjoy luxury at the exclusive Al Bustan Palace in Oman.

If you are looking for luxury and unspoilt beaches but you don't want the crowds of Dubai or the forced romance of the Maldives then Oman could be the honeymoon destination for you. This quiet Middle Eastern country gives a taste of the exotic, mixing stunning beaches with one of the oldest civilisations in the Arabian Peninsula. Best of all, it's an ideal destination for anyone not having a summer wedding - the best time to visit is between October and May.

If beach boredom sets in after a few days, there are four-wheel drive tours through the desert and the mountains, and ancient souks where you can test your haggling skills. The enchanting city of Muscat is well worth a visit and the Al Bustan Palace hotel will provide the perfect escape from city life with its palm-shaded gardens and pools overlooking the beach.


Corporate Communications & Media

Oman Air

© Press Release 2009
from Oman Air
Published in

Measures to contain the spread of swine flu in Oman

Ravindra Nath
14 September 2009, MUSCAT

Private establishments in Oman have been urged to take all measures to contain the spread of swine flu as the count of affected people in the country crossed 1,400 and health authorities braced for a new wave of infection in the winter.

Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) Chairman Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji underlined that the private sector had a big part to play in nationwide efforts to curb the disease. He said companies must adopt all precautionary steps at their offices and labour camps in line with guidelines issued by the authorities.
Khonji also exhorted employees in the private sector to take advantage of the free diagnosis and treatment facilities offered by government hospitals and health complexes and centres. It was vital, he said, that labourers were made fully aware of the disease, how it could be avoided and the treatment procedures if they were infected.

The OCCI chief said the chamber was in the process of drawing up an ‘action plan’’ to promote awareness about H1N1 among private sector employers and employees. He added this would include a series of seminars and workshops at OCCI’s branches across
the country.

The Sultanate has recorded 1,455 cases of swine flu since its outbreak in the country at the end of July. Thirteen people have lost their lives, eight of them in the southern Dhofar governorate.

The Health Ministry is expecting an escalation in number of cases with the advent of the winter season which will coincide with the reopening of state-run schools throughout the country on September 26.

Schools were originally scheduled to resume after the summer vacation on July 29, but the government decided to postpone the date due to the outbreak of the disease. The Sultan Qaboos University, the country’s largest university, and all other higher education institutions in Oman have followed suit and will now recommence on
September 26.

The rapid spread of the virus prompted the government to set up a high-powered ‘Supreme Committee’ to oversee efforts to tackle the disease. The Health Ministry is hopeful that the newly-developed H1N1 vaccine, the first consignment of which is due here by the middle of next month, will help in its drive to check infection.

The Muscat Municipality, meanwhile, has issued a new regulation that makes it compulsory for workers at all barber shops and beauty salons to wear face masks and hand gloves. A spokesman said the move was “part of a preventive plan the municipality currently undertakes in conjunction with other bodies concerned to curb the spread of H1N1 and protect public health.”

He said a circular to this effect had been sent to 1,560 shops obliging all workers to use face masks and hand gloves when at work as well as hand disinfectants and equipment sanitisers. The spokesman added that teams would be sent to make sure that the regulation was adhered to and
book offenders.

In a related development, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saidi, Under-secretary for Health Affairs, attributed the high prevalence of H1N1 in Dhofar compared to the other regions of the country to the cool weather conditions there and large gatherings of people who arrived in the region to enjoy the Khareef season.

He was answering to questions from members of the Majlis Ash’shura after making a presentation in the house on the swine flu situation in the country. He said most people who died from the disease were suffering from chronic diseases, thus reducing their response to medicines.

Saidi said wearing masks was not effective for everyone, adding that it was considered useful mainly for medical personnel. He also said the virus was expected to continue spreading in the northern parts of the country during the winter as the cold weather helped in the spread of the disease.

“This is what happened in the Dhofar governorate. Moreover, chronic diseases make patients less immune to fighting the virus,” he said.

He added some two million doses of the H1N1 vaccine were expected to arrive in Oman by the end of the year or early 2010. A committee, Saidi said, had been formed to supervise distribution of the vaccine, adding that those working in health institutions, pregnant women, children and the elderly who were suffering from chronic diseases, would be given preference.

Published in

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oman Air Cargo will launch its services in October

Oman Air Cargo, freight division of the National Carrier of Oman will launch its range of services at TransOman Expo and Conference, which is set from October 13 to 15, 2009 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre.

TransOman Conference is from 14th to 15th October at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Seeb, Muscat.

Despite the serious downturn in international freight and developing infrastructure constrains, Oman Air Cargo has expanded fleet growth and revenue.

Oman Air Cargo offers 27 destinations within its online network and offers 41 off-line destinations covering Europe, USA and Canada.

A member of TransOman Advisory Committee, Mohamed Sherief, General Manager, Oman Air Cargo, (pictured) said, 'The introduction of our A330 routes have given us an excellent opportunity to sell beyond Muscat and become a network transhipment carrier in our own right. We have successfully opened to US destinations recently with our interline partner Continental Airlines. Oman Air cargo can now sell all US destinations, which is a leap forward in our network development. Customers will gain confidence that Oman Air is always seeking creative solutions to meet their needs'.

Oman Air cargo is featuring high level service abilities by successfully carrying sensitive commodities. 'We carry even the racing car of our own Ahmed Al Harthy', Sherief said.

Oman Air's narrow-bodied aircraft fleet is the back-bone in serving local and regional community with high frequency services offered to a large range of destinations.

'As TransOman is the first of its kind in the Sultanate, it will be the launching pad for Oman Air's activity on a local scale. The event is expected to draw international exporters, importers and logistics players towards Oman Air and its Cargo Services. With TransOman, we expect great interest and serious business opportunities at this very interesting time in our history.

Going forward, Oman Air Cargo will focus on strategic initiatives, capitalising on revenue opportunities through custom-tailored cargo handling solutions at Muscat International Airport.

Published in

Vice-president and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai inspects the al Dara border checkpoint

By Wam on Saturday, September 12, 2009

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has inspected the Al Dara border checkpoint between UAE and Oman in Ras Al Khaimah.
During the visit, he had iftar with staff at the border agency, toured sections of the post and attended a presentation on an automated network project to link all land routes and checkpoints between the UAE and Oman.
This electronic link, scheduled to launch soon, is expected to ease travel between the countries.
Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Lt General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Lt General Saif Abdullah Al Shaafar, Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry; and other senior officials.
They were received by Major General Naser Balewadhi Al Minhali, Director General of Naturalisation and Residency at the Interior Ministry, and other RAK senior officials.
The employees at the checkpoint welcomed Sheikh Mohammed and the accompanying delegation and expressed their happiness at meeting him in the holy month of Ramadan.
Sheikh Mohammed said he was satisfied with the developments, and praised the Interior Ministry's performance.
Sheikh Saif said: "The directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Mohammed have strengthened confidence among the border authorities both in the UAE and Oman."
Published in

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oman Air signed a contract with SITA

Published September 10, 2009

Oman Air has signed a five-year contract worth $4.6 million with aviation specialist SITA to install and maintain a hybrid network system. The national carrier of Oman is currently migrating a legacy system and claims that the new network will both enhance productivity and deliver cost savings across its route map.

Peter Hill, Oman Air CEO, said: “There are several advantages to choosing SITA as our single network provider. We will have improved network performance thanks to a bandwidth upgrade which also enables us to use additional applications. The cost savings will also be significant.”

Hani El Assaad, SITA Regional Vice-President, Middle East and Turkey said: “This project is a perfect illustration of how smartly deployed IT services can enable both savings and improved productivity for an airline in a time of economic difficulty. Oman Air will be well-placed to take advantage of the economic upturn when it happens.”

Published in

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pirfenidone Performs Poorly in Horse Study

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
August 23 2009, Article # 14764
Pirfenidone, a unique experimental drug with anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory properties, afforded no apparent therapeutic benefit in horses with experimentally-induced endotoxemia, leaving Cal Davis researchers rather disappointed.

"Previous studies led us to believe that pirfenidone would minimize the effects of circulating lipopolysaccharide and inhibit the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha in endotoxic horses," explained lead researcher Melinda MacDonald, DVM, PhD, from the departments of surgery and radiology at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Endotoxemia is a leading cause of morbidity and is associated with high mortality rates in horses of all ages.

"Despite decades or intensive research, there is no dependable method of prevention or reliably effective treatment for affected horses," said MacDonald.

MacDonald and colleagues administered pirfenidone intravenously to adult horses after administering a low dose of endotoxin. The drug failed to moderate the development of clinical signs of endotoxemia, or to suppress tumor necrosis factor alpha concentrations in the horses, forcing the researchers to report the apparent failure of the drug in this model of endotoxemia.
They had expected a more profound effect based on the studies performed in other species with endotoxemia.

To add insult to injury, the dose of pirfenidone used in these horses had excitatory effects that, according to the report, occurred too frequently and dramatically to consider use of the same dose in clinical cases.

"There is a strong incentive to identify effective treatment protocols and increase survival rates," added MacDonald. "Further studies using related or more potent drugs and to examine the effect of oral or topical formulations of pirfenidone for the management of other conditions may be warranted."

The study, "Effects of intravenous administration of pirfenidone on horses with experimentally induced endotoxemia," was published in the August 2009 edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research. The abstract is available on PubMed.
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Emad Al Hosani Signs For Belgium's Royal Charleroi

Sep 9, 2009 8:00:55 AM

Oman international Emad Al Hosani has joined Belgium side Royal Charleroi SC. The 25 year-old becomes the second player from the West Asian country to play in Europe, following in the footsteps of Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.The striker has a prolific record with 30 goals in 52 games for his country and found the target 11 times last season for Al Rayyan of Qatar. “I will leave for Belgium on Thursday to join the new club,” the 25-year-old told AFP.Al Hosani also scored 41 goals in 84 games from 2005 to 2008 for Qatar Sports Club.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

عشر وفيات بأنفلونزا الخنازير في سلطنة عمان ومعلومات عامة عن الفيروس

كتب- سعود بن جميل الغنبوصي

أكد سعادة الدكتور احمد بن محمد السعيدي وكيل وزارة الصحة للشؤون الصحية أن الحالات المصابة بانفلونزا الخنازير التي تم تسجيلها في السلطنة بلغت 1056 حالة وأن عدد الوفيات بلغ عشر حالات مشيرا إلى ان وزارة الصحة تبذل كافة الاجراءات الوقائية والعلاجية لمواجهة هذه الجائحة حيث تم توفير الادوية في كافة المراكز والمجمعات والمستشفيات الصحية ويتم التنسيق حاليا مع عدد من الشركات المعتمدة من قبل منظمة الصحة العالمية لتوفير اللقاح اللازم لعلاج انفلونزا الخنازير بعد الانتهاء من فترة التجارب عليه حيث من المتوقع ان تحصل السلطنة على لقاحات تكفي لعلاج 50 ألف شخص قبل نهاية العام الجاري. موضحا انه سيتم التمكن من الحصول على 600 ألف شخص قبل نهاية شهر ابريل من العام القادم وأنه ستتم زيادة انتشار الفيروس كلما تحسن وتلطف الجو وزادت البرودة في المناخ

وقدم سعادة وكيل وزارة الصحة للشؤون الصحية خلال الندوة التي نظمتها جمعية الصحفيين العمانية شرحا عن الامراض المعدية التي تسبب اشكالية صحية بالعالم ككل كمرض السل والايدز ولا تسبب اعاقات فقط وانما تسبب وفيات

وبالنسبة للجائحات وخاصة جائحة الانفلونزا فإنه بمعدل من عشرة إلى خمسين سنة تجتاح العالم جائحة كما حصل في عام 1918 جائحة الانفلونزا الاسبانية التي ولعدة اسباب بما فيها ضعف الخدمات الصحية بالعالم أدت إلى وفاة اعداد كبيرة من البشر تتراوح بين 20 و40 مليون وفاة .

وبالنسبة للجائحة الحالية انفلونزا الخنازير فقد بدأت في المكسيك في شهر ابريل من هذا العام وأعلنت منظمة الصحة العالمية عن ظهور فيروس جديد لم يكن معروفا سابقا بين البشر. وله خصائص متميزة حيث يتكون من بروتينات من فيروس انفلونزا الخنازير وفيروس انفلونزا الطيور وفيروس الانفلونزا الموسمية. واثبت هذا الفيروس سرعة انتشاره على المستوى العالمي مما جعل من منظمة الصحة العالمية إلى رفع درجة التأهب إلى الدرجة السادسة خلال أول 3 أشهر من ظهور أول حالة لظهور المرض. والحالة السادسة بمفهوم منظمة الصحة العالمية لا تعني خطورة المرض من ناحية الحدة وانما سرعة وكثرة الانتشار على المستوى العالمي.

وأوضح سعادة الدكتور احمد بن محمد السعيدي ان اعراض مرض انفلونزا الخنازير مشابهة لاعراض الانفلونزا الموسمية والتفريق بينهما صعب حيث ان هناك بعض الاعراض قليلة جدا كاعراض الجهاز الهضمي والتقيؤ والاسهال وهذه الاعراض تصيب أقل من 30% من المصابين بانفلونزا الخنازير ولم تكن معروفة في الانفلونزا الموسمية وانما هناك اعراض مثل الحمى وهذه أكثر الاعراض شيوعا في حوالي 94% واحتقان البلعوم والرشح والآلام بالعضلات والمفاصل.والحالات الحرجة التي تستوجب الادخال إلى المستشفى حسب الاحصائيات الموجودة على المستوى العالمي هي حوالي 10% من المصابين

وفي بداية ظهور المرض بالسلطنة كانت نسبة الادخال إلى المستشفى اقل مما هو متوقع عالميا. وبالنسبة لحالات الوفاة فقد وصلت إلى عشر حالات ثبتت مخبريا ولم يثبت من الناحية العلمية أي تغير في تصرفات هذا الفيروس فما زال مثلما هو منذ اكتشافه.وبالنسبة إلى الاحترازات الإضافية فهي تتخذ مثلا مع الحوامل حيث اثبت هذا المرض ان ضراوته مع الحوامل والمتقدمين بالعمر فوق 65 سنة وصغار السن أقل من 5 سنوات والمصابين بامراض مزمنة متقدمة وذوي المناعة المنخفضة سواء لاسباب صحية او لتناول ادوية التي تقلل من المناعة

وأضاف سعادته إلى ان نسبة الوفاة في انفلونزا الخنازير من 1 إلى 2% بعكس انفلونزا الطيور حوالي 60% وبالنسبة للأدوية التي تستخدم لانفلونزا الخنازير هي نفسها التي تستخدم لانفلونزا الطيور حيث اثبتت فعالياتها والدواء متوفر في السلطنة بما فيه الكفاية ولا يوجد نقص في الامدادات واذا احتجنا إلى المزيد فهو متوفر في الاسواق وللجميع بما فيهم الوافدون

وحول لقاح انفلونزا الخنازير فمنذ ظهور المرض قبل اربعة أشهر ولحسن الحظ فان المادة الاساسية لصنع اللقاحات ضد الانفلونزا هي متشابهة إلى جانب اضافات محددة حسب نوعية الفيروس وأخذ العلماء فترة من شهر إلى شهر ونصف الشهر حتى تم إيجاد المواد الخاصة بانفلونزا الخنازير.لان المصل يجب ان يصنع للتحورات لهذا المرض وبدأت الشركات في محاولة الإنتاج على المستوى التجاري ولم يتم إنتاج أي لقاح إلى اليوم ولكن هناك 3 شركات معتمدة من قبل منظمة الصحة العالمية والتي صرح لها بإنتاج اللقاح ووزارة الصحة خاطبت الشركات الثلاث وطلبت منهم عروضا ولم نتلق ردا الا من شركة واحدة وتمت الموافقة على كافة الشروط بما فيها الأسعار وتم حجز كمية حسب امكانية الشركة واحدى الشركات ردت لاحقا بعدم الامكانية في توفير اللقاح والشركة الثالثة لم ترد.

وأوضح سعادة وكيل الصحة للشؤون الصحية ان اللقاح ما زال في فترة التجربة وعدد الجرعات التي سيتم انتاجها خلال عام عالميا وليس خلال موسم الانفلونزا فقط حسب التوقعات لن يتجاوز 950 مليون جرعة ومن المتوقع وكما ابلغتنا الشركات ان كل شخص سيحتاج إلى جرعتين من اللقاح لذلك اللقاح سيكون شحيحا على المستوى العالمي وليس على المستوى المحلي فقط وفاعلية كل اللقاحات للانفلونزا لا تتجاوز 80 بالمائة

وحول الميزانية التي رصدتها السلطنة للقاح أشار سعادته إلى أنه لا توجد اي مشكلة في الميزانية التي رصدت للقاح او الادوية او الاجهزة وبخصوص الدواء نحن على استعداد لتوفير الدواء لكل شخص يحتاجه في السلطنة.وسيتم توفير اللقاح بالسلطنة لخمسين ألف شخص قبل نهاية العام الجاري وستحدد حسب اولويات منظمة الصحة العالمية حيث تم بتشكيل فريق عمل خاص بالسلطنة لاعطاء الاولويات للناس الذين سيكون المرض اشد خطورة عليهم من الاخرين كالعاملين في القطاع الطبي والحوامل. ونتوقع ان نحصل قبل نهاية شهر إبريل من العام القادم على لقاحات تكفي لـ600 ألف شخص. ومن المتوقع ان يتم وصول اللقاحات ليتاح للدول استخدامها في منتصف شهر سبتمبر الجاري حيث ما زالت التجارب قائمة للتأكد من فعاليته وسلامته فبعض اللقاحات لها آثار جانبية أكثر من المرض حيث ظهرت بعض الاشكالات في بعض اللقاحات في السبعينات والثمانينات سببت امراض مشابهة للشلل

وقد حجزت السلطنة عددا من اللقاحات وشكلت فريق عمل لتحديد الاولويات للقاحات والتي تتم على أسس علمية ومهمة لمواصلة الحياة الطبيعية في المجتمع. والدواء وليس اللقاح متوفرا في جميع المراكز بمختلف مناطق السلطنة والاشكالية للأسف توجد مع الاطفال حيث لا يوجد شراب للاطفال فالشركات المصنعة لم توفر دواء على شكل شراب للاطفال على المستوى العالمي ونحن في قائمة الانتظار مثل بقية الدول وبالنسبة للاطفال لا بد من الصيدلاني ان يركب الدواء من البودرة المخصصة لدواء الكبار

ونبه وكيل الصحة للشؤون الصحية إلى الفحوصات التي تتأخر في بعض الاحيان فعلى المستوى العالمي فإن المختبرات المخصصة للفيروسات محدودة جدا. والمختبر المركزي الموجود في السلطنة هو أحد المختبرات في المنطقة ونتائج الفحوصات تظهر حسب توفر الكوادر البشرية العاملة في المختبر. وقد اصبحت الفحوصات غير جدوى فأي انسان في العالم لديه اعراض لانفلونزا الخنازير فيتوجه إلى المراكز الصحية.ومنظمة الصحة العالمية اعلنت ان اعداد مرضى انفلونزا الخنازير تجاوزت اعداد مرضى الانفلونزا الموسمية في المناطق التي بدأت فيها. ونحن في السلطنة ما زلنا في بداية المرض حيث ان عدد الحالات التي سجلت مخبريا وصلت إلى 1056 حالة وهي الحالات التي تم التأكد منها والحالات التي يشتبه فيها فهي تتجاوز الرقم المذكور بكثير

بالنسبة لمحافظة ظفار فان الاعداد المؤكدة مخبريا 333 حالة فهي ثلث الاعداد المصابة في السلطنة على الرغم من عدد السكان. واسباب انتشار الفيروس في المحافظة ترجع لسببين وهما تحسن الجو وهذا معروف بالنسبة للفيروسات للانفلونزا حيث ان انتشارها أكثر عندما يبرد الجو وموسم الخريف بالمحافظة كان عاملا اساسيا لذلك. والسبب الآخر هو التجمعات سواء التجمعات السياحية او الاجتماعية كالاعراس والتجمعات خلال التعازي

وأشار سعادته إلى أنه ربما تكون الحالات أكثر من الحالات التي ثبتت مخبريا وعلى المستوى العالمي أكثر من 90% لا تستوجب الادخال إلى المستشفى والحالات في محافظة ظفار أكثر بكثير مما أعلن مخبريا والانتشار في المحافظة أصبح محليا. ففي مثل كل دول العالم الحالات المرضية المستوردة أدت إلى حالات مرضية محلية وأدى ذلك إلى سرعة الانتشار

وحول استعدادات مستشفى السلطان قابوس بصلالة الذي يعتبر المستشفى المرجعي بالمحافظة أشار سعادته إلى أنه تم اعداد جناحين تم اخلاء جناحي العظام والاعصاب واعدت خصيصا لعزل مرضى انفلونزا الخنازير والعنايات المركزة في العالم وفي السلطنة هناك شح في اسرة العنايات المركزة وفي مستشفى السلطان قابوس تم اعداد قسم العناية الفائقة وتم تحويله إلى عناية مركزة وتزويد باجهزة تنفس صناعية وغيرها من المستلزمات.وبالنسبة للكوادر الطبية أصيب بعض الاطباء والطواقم الطبية وعائلاتهم بالمرض وتم شفاؤهم جميعهم كما تم ابتعاث خبراء من الوزراء واطباء من المستشفى السلطاني واعدوا التقارير والتوصيات وما زال بعضهم موجودا في المستشفى لما يجب اتخاذه واجراؤه وتدعيم الطواقم الطبية بما يجب عمله. وتم استدعاء الكوادر الطبية المختصة في العناية المركزة.

وقال سعادة وكيل وزارة الصحة للشؤون الصحية من الناحية الاستيعابية فنحن نتمنى ان لا تزيد الحالات عن 10% كما هو متعارف عليه عالميا. وهناك خطة لحجز الاسرة لمن هم ما زالوا في المرحلة الأولى من المرض.وفي المحافظة وفي موسم الخريف تزداد دائما حالات الامراض الصدرية والمصابين بمرض الربو تزداد حالتهم حدة ففي العام الفائت قبل ظهور مرض انفلونزا الخنازير تم ادخال 104 حالات في مستشفى السلطان قابوس بصلالة وفي هذا العام تم تجاوز هذا الرقم حيث أضاف هذا المرض إلى الحالات حالات جديدة.ولا توجد منطقة تشابه في الحالة المناخية محافظة ظفار ونحن نتوقع زيادة انتشار الفيروس كلما تحسن وتلطف الجو وزادت البرودة.

وآخر الحالات التي ظهرت فيها انفلونزا الخنازير في السلطنة هي محافظة البريمي والسبب ليس لأن محافظة البريمي أكثر استعدادا ولكن لان ارتفاع درجة الحرارة بالبريمي أكثر من المناطق الأخرى مشيرا إلى ان هناك عددا من الحالات في البريمي كانت بسبب وجود المصابين في أماكن تدخين الشيشة المغلقة

منشور في جريدة عمان في 2 سبتمبر 2009م

مجلة الواحة - سبتمبر 2009م

تأجيل بدء الدراسة في جامعة السلطان قابوس

تقرر تأجيل بدء الدراسة في جامعة السلطان قابوس للعام الدراسي 2009/2010 إلى 26 سبتمبر 2009م وذلك استعدادا لمجابهة فيروس انفلونزا الخنازير

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