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The inhabitants of the area of Oman have long prospered on Indian Ocean trade. In the late 18th century, a newly established sultanate in Muscat signed the first in a series of friendship treaties with Britain. Over time, Oman's dependence on British political and military advisors increased, but it never became a British colony. In 1970, QABOOS bin Said Al-Said overthrew the restrictive rule of his father; he has ruled as sultan ever since. His extensive modernization program has opened the country to the outside world while preserving the longstanding close ties with the UK. Oman's moderate, independent foreign policy has sought to maintain good relations with all Middle Eastern countries. Inspired by the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in 2010-11, Omanis began staging marches and demonstrations to demand economic benefits, an end to corruption, and greater political rights. In February and March 2011, in response to protester demands, QABOOS pledged to create more government jobs and promised to implement economic and political reforms, such as granting legislative and regulatory powers to the Council of Oman and the introduction of unemployment benefits. Also in March, the Gulf Cooperation Council pledged $20 billion in financial aid to Oman and Bahrain over a 10-year period to assist the two nations in their struggle with Arab protests. Amid concessions made to oppositionists, the government during the summer continued to crack down on protests and demonstrations, and increasingly clamped down on the media. In October 2011, QABOOS issued a royal decree expanding the legislative powers of the Council of Oman to draft, amend, and approve legislation.



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Communications

Telephones - main lines in use World Ranking: 118
283,900 (2009)

Telephones - mobile cellular World Ranking: 105
4.606 million (2009)

Telephone system
General assessment
Modern system consisting of open-wire, microwave, and radiotelephone communication stations; limited coaxial cable; domestic satellite system with 8 earth stations
Domestic
Fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership both increasing with fixed-line phone service gradually being introduced to remote villages using wireless local loop systems
International
Country code - 968; the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat (2008)

Broadcast media
1 state-run TV broadcaster; TV stations transmitting from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen available via satellite TV; state-run radio operates multiple stations; first private radio station began operating in 2007 and 2 additional stations now operating (2007)

Internet country code
.om

Internet hosts World Ranking: 129
13,488 (2010)

Internet users World Ranking: 83
1.465 million (2009)


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  Oman (Muscat):


  GPS points from Oman (Muscat)

Wadi Bid` Mintaqat Al Batinah

Bani Qitab Mintaqat Az Zahirah

Hayl Juwari Mintaqat Al Batinah

Tafif Muhafazat Musandam

Al Hayl Oman (general)

Al `awabi Mintaqat Al Batinah

Wadi Khabbah Oman (general)

Jabal Bani Jabir Al Mintaqah Ash Sharqiyah




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