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More Radar on Qatar Roads to Trap Violators

Qatar makes some great laws – like fining those who go through red lights, or who drive near the speed of light. . . but when the violators turn out to be mostly young Qattari men, who pays the fines? Does anyone pay the fines?

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From Doha News:

In an effort to tackle bad driving in Qatar, the Ministry of Interior plans to set up speed radars every two to four kilometers on major roads, Traffic Department Director Brig. Mohamed Saad Al Kharji has said.

Additionally, some 120 radars are being installed to catch drivers who overtake others from the right lane, the Qatar Tribune reports Al Kharji as saying.

He added that the software of speed radars that are already installed on the roads would be updated so that they could also catch such violators.

No timeline for when the cameras would be installed was disclosed. But last fall, the MOI announced it would be rolling out radars to catch queue-jumpers.

Using the “slow” right lane to overtake vehicles in the left lane is a traffic violation punishable by a QR500 ticket, but among one of several rules flouted by motorists here.

Enforcement

In Qatar, traffic violators are rarely pulled over by police officers, despite brief campaigns to step up enforcement. In 2012, plainclothes police officers began ticketing drivers who overtook other vehicles on the right.

And at the end of last year, the traffic department began a three-month campaign to ticket those who violate road rules, including drivers who hadn’t fastened their seat belts, used their phones while driving, and rode without a license.

Both initiatives were lauded by many residents who said enforcement is key to improving safety on the roads, but neither seem to have lasted.

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March 9, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Doha, Education, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Qatar, Safety | Leave a comment

IMF Says Negative Publicity Will Force Qatar to Pay Laborers More

DUBAI: Qatar will likely face higher labor costs as a result of publicity about deaths of migrant construction workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup football tournament, the International Monetary Fund said. The Guardian newspaper reported in September that dozens of Nepali workers had died during the summer in Qatar and that laborers were not given enough food and water.

Qatar, which has denied the Guardian’s findings, has seen an increasing influx of foreigners, now estimated at 1.8 million, with its population rising 10 percent in 2013.

“Working conditions of some construction workers and domestic help have made global headlines and could affect the availability and cost of hiring new workers in the future,” the Fund said after completing annual consultations with Qatar.

“This would hinder growth since the success of Qatar’s current development model depends importantly on the ability to rapidly hire expatriate workers,” it said.

The gas-rich nation has planned to spend some $140 billion in the run-up to the World Cup on new infrastructure projects, including a metro, port and airport.

Such large public investments entail a possibility of overheating in the near term and low return and overcapacity in the medium term, the IMF warned. “In particular, the extent to which public investment will durably boost private sector productivity remains uncertainty,” it said.

Certain big-ticket projects such as the metro, port and airport have been scaled down or divided into phases to reduce the overcapacity risk, and the authorities are preparing a shortlist of critical projects, the IMF said without details.

However, the large-scale nature of the program has led to implementation delays and cost overruns and Qatar will continue facing the risk of cost escalation given its commitment to a compressed timetable ahead of the World Cup, it also said.

Increasing government spending may push the fiscal balance into a deficit over the medium term when combined with flat production of liquefied natural gas, falling crude oil output from mature fields and lower hydrocarbon prices.

“The public debt ratio is expected to fall, but the headline budget balance could … turn into deficit over the medium term, while the current account surplus could drop to 5 percent of GDP,” the IMF said.

The country’s fiscal surplus could shrink to 6.8 percent of GDP this year from an estimated 11.0 percent in 2013, and further to 4.2 percent in 2015, the IMF said, cutting its October forecasts of 8.4 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

The government intends to reduce public debt over time from an estimated 33.1 percent of GDP in 2013 by trimming foreign borrowings and domestic loans. It would continue issuing government securities to support bond market development.

The IMF also raised its forecast for economic growth to 5.9 percent this year and 7.1 percent in 2015, from 5.0 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, in its October regional outlook.

Inflation should remain benign at 3.3 percent this year and 3.5 percent in 2015, the IMF said, less than 4.0 percent forecast for both years in October, as a decline in commodity prices will help reduce pressure from strong economic activity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 10, 2014, on page 5.

(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

March 9, 2014 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar, Safety, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | | 2 Comments

The Last True Detective

Every now and then AdventureMan and I find a series we really like, and True Detective, Sunday nights on HBO, is one of those. From the first notes of the melancholy theme song playing over shots of rural Louisiana sights, cane processing plants, bayous, angst-ridden detectives, and shots of the crime scenes, you know this is not going to be your typical detective series.

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It is pure HBO, not-suitable-for-children kind of stuff. The two detectives investigating the murder in episode one are damaged, flawed men, each haunted by different but equally destructive demons. These are the good guys, trying to get the job done in spite of all the barriers thrown up to prevent them digging too deeply where it might inconvenience the bad guy(s).

Tonight is episode 8, the last episode. We have been waiting all week, hoping they will tie all the dangling, intriguing threads together. Hoping that neither of these two detectives, whom we have grown to like and maybe even admire, are involved with the crime.

It’s HBO. You never know.

March 9, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Crime, Cultural, Entertainment, Living Conditions, Local Lore | , , | Leave a comment