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BAHRAIN

Education
Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Education is free for Bahraini citizens in public schools, with
the Bahraini Ministry of Education providing free textbooks. Coeducation is not used in public schools, with boys and girls
segregated into separate schools.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Qur'anic schools (Kuttab) were the only form of education in Bahrain. They were traditional
schools aimed at teaching children and youth the reading of the Qur'an. After World War I, Bahrain became open to western
influences, and a demand for modern educational institutions appeared. 1919 marked the beginning of modern public school
system in Bahrain when the Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia School for boys opened in Muharraq. In 1926, the Education Committee
opened the second public school for boys in Manama, and in 1928 the first public school for girls was opened in Muharraq. As of
2011, there are a total of 126,981 students studying in public schools.
In 2004, King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa introduced the "King Hamad Schools of Future" project that uses Information
Communication Technology to support K12 education in Bahrain. The project's objective is to connect all schools within the
kingdom with the Internet. In addition to British intermediate schools, the island is served by the Bahrain School (BS). The BS is a
United States Department of Defense school that provides a K-12 curriculum including International Baccalaureate offerings.
There are also private schools that offer either the IB Diploma Programme or United Kingdom's A-Levels.
Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrain nationals
returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain was established for standard undergraduate and graduate
study, and the King Abdulaziz University College of Health Sciences, operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health,
trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics. The 2001 National Action Charter paved the way for the formation of
private universities such as the Ahlia University in Manama and University College of Bahrain in Saar. The Royal University for
Women (RUW), established in 2005, was the first private, purpose-built, international University in Bahrain dedicated solely to
educating women. The University of London External has appointed MCG (Management Consultancy Group) as the regional
representative office in Bahrain for distance learning programmes. MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country.
Institutes have also opened which educate South Asian students, such as the Pakistan Urdu School, Bahrain and the Indian School,
Bahrain. A few prominent institutions are DePaul University, Bentley University, the Ernst & Young Training Institute, NYIT and
the Birla Institute of Technology International Centre. In 2004, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) set up a
constituent medical university in the country. In addition to the Arabian Gulf University, AMA International University and the
College of Health Sciences, these are the only medical schools in Bahrain.
Culture
Bahrain is sometimes described as "Middle East lite" due to its combination of modern infrastructure with a Persian Gulf identity.
While Islam is the main religion, Bahrainis are known for their tolerance towards the practice of other faiths. [266]
Rules regarding female attire are generally relaxed compared to regional neighbours; the traditional attire of women usually
include the hijab or the abaya. Although the traditional male attire is the thobe which also includes traditional headdresses such as
the Keffiyeh, Ghutra and Agal, Western clothing is common in the country.
Although Bahrain legalized homosexuality in 1976, including same-sex sodomy, many homosexuals have since been arrested .
Another facet of Bahrain's openness is the country's status as the most prolific book publisher in the Arab world, with 132 books
published in 2005 for a population of 700,000. In comparison, the 2005 average for the entire Arab world was seven books
published per one million people, according to the United Nations Development Programme.
Languages
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain, though English is widely used. Bahrani Arabic is the most widely spoken dialect of the
Arabic language, though this differs slightly from standard Arabic. Arabic plays an important role in political life, as, according to
article 57 (c) of Bahrain's constitution, an MP must be fluent in Arabic to stand for parliament. Among the Bahraini and nonBahraini population, many people speak Farsi, the official language of Iran, or Urdu, the official language of Pakistan. Malayalam

and Nepali are also widely spoken in the Nepalese workers and Gurkha Soldiers community. Hindi is spoken among significant
Indian communities.[246] Many commercial institutions and road signs are bilingual, displaying both English and Arabic.[247]
Economy
According to a January 2006 report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Bahrain has the
fastest growing economy in the Arab world. [189] Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East and is twelfth freest overall
in the world based on the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal.
In 2008, Bahrain was named the world's fastest growing financial center by the City of London's Global Financial Centres Index.
[191][192]
Bahrain's banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, have benefited from the regional boom driven
by demand for oil.[193] Petroleum production and processing account is Bahrain's most exported product, accounting for 60% of
export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP.[1] Aluminium production is the second most exported product,
followed by finance and construction materials.[1]
Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing price of oil since 1985, for example during and following the Persian Gulf
crisis of 199091. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to a number of multinational
firms and construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. A large share of exports consist of petroleum products made
from imported crude oil, which accounted for 51% of the country's imports in 2007. [194] Bahrain depends heavily on food imports
to feed its growing population; it relies heavily on meat imports from Australia and also imports 75% of its total fruit consumption
needs.[195][196] Since only 2.9% of the country's land is arable, agriculture contributes to 0.5% of Bahrain's GDP.[196] In 2004, Bahrain
signed the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which will reduce certain trade barriers between the two nations. [191] Due to the
combination of the global financial crisis and the recent unrest, the growth rate decreased to 2.2% which is the lowest growth rate
since 1994.[197]
Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term
economic problems. In 2008, the jobless figure was at 4%, [198] with women over represented at 85% of the total. [199] In 2007
Bahrain became the first Arab country to institute unemployment benefits as part of a series of labour reforms instigated under
Minister of Labour, Dr. Majeed Al Alawi.[200]

CYPRUS
Education
Cyprus has a highly developed system of primary and secondary education offering both public and private education. The high
quality of instruction can be attributed to a large extent to the above-average competence of the teachers but also to the fact that
nearly 7% of the GDP is spent on education which makes Cyprus one of the top three spenders of education in the EU along with
Denmark and Sweden.[151]
State schools are generally seen as equivalent in quality of education to private-sector institutions. However, the value of a state
high-school diploma is limited by the fact that the grades obtained account for only around 25% of the final grade for each topic,
with the remaining 75% assigned by the teacher during the semester, in a minimally transparent way. Cypriot universities (like
universities in Greece) ignore high school grades almost entirely for admissions purposes. While a high-school diploma is
mandatory for university attendance, admissions are decided almost exclusively on the basis of scores at centrally administered
university entrance examinations that all university candidates are required to take.
The majority of Cypriots receive their higher education at Greek, British, Turkish, other European and North American
universities. It is noteworthy that Cyprus currently has the highest percentage of citizens of working age who have higher-level
education in the EU at 30% which is ahead of Finland's 29.5%. In addition 47% of its population aged 2534 have tertiary
education, which is the highest in the EU. The body of Cypriot students is highly mobile, with 78.7% studying in a university
outside Cyprus.

Culture
The culture of Cyprus is divided between the two distinct cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Each community maintains its
own culture, linked to the cultures of Greece and Turkey, and there is little cultural interchange between the two groups. The Greek
culture first has been present on the island since antiquity.[46] The Turkish culture arrived with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire
in 1570. British rule left the island still divided with no unified culture.[152]
Language
Cyprus has two official languages, Greek and Turkish.[144] Armenian and Cypriot Maronite Arabic are recognized as minority
languages.[145][146] Although without official status, English is widely spoken. English features on road signs, public notices, and in
advertisements, etc.[147] English was the sole official language during British colonial rule and lingua franca (until 1960) and
continued to be used (de facto) in courts of law until 1989 and in legislature until 1996. [148] A reported 80.4% of Greek Cypriots
have command of the English language as second language (L2).[149] Russian is widely spoken among the country's minorities,
residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries, as well as Pontic Greeks. It is used and spoken by approximately 100,000 people,
including Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Armenians, Pontic Greeks, Georgians and Bulgarians. [citation needed] Russian, after
English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos. In
addition to these languages, 12% speak French and 5% speak German.[150]
The everyday spoken language of Greek Cypriots is Cypriot Greek and that of Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish. These both
differ from their respective standard register quite significantly.
Economy
The Cypriot economy has diversified and become prosperous in recent years. [97] However, in 2012 it became affected by the
Eurozone financial and banking crisis. In June 2012, the Cypriot government announced it would need 1.8 billion of foreign aid
to support the Cyprus Popular Bank, and this was followed by Fitch downgrading Cyprus's credit rating to junk status.[98] Fitch said
Cyprus would need an additional 4 billion to support its banks and the downgrade was mainly due to the exposure of Bank of
Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank, Cyprus's three largest banks, to the Greek financial crisis.[98]
The 20122013 Cypriot financial crisis led to an agreement with the Eurogroup in March 2013 to split the country's second largest
bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), into a "bad" bank which would be wound down over time and a
"good" bank which would be absorbed by the Bank of Cyprus. In return for a 10 billion bailout from the European Commission,
the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Cypriot government would be required to impose a
significant haircut on uninsured deposits, a large proportion of which were held by wealthy Russians who used Cyprus as a tax
haven. Insured deposits of 100,000 or less would not be affected.[99][100][101]
According to the latest International Monetary Fund estimates, its per capita GDP (adjusted for purchasing power) at $28,381 is
just above the average of the European Union. [102] Cyprus has been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its low tax
rates. Tourism, financial services and shipping are significant parts of the economy. Economic policy of the Cyprus government
has focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the European Union. The Cypriot government adopted the euro as the national
currency on 1 January 2008.[97]
In recent years significant quantities of offshore natural gas have been discovered in the area known as Aphrodite in Cyprus'
exclusive economic zone (EEZ),[103] about 175 kilometres (109 miles) south of Limassol at 33540N and 32590E. [104] However,
Turkey's offshore drilling companies have accessed both natural gas and oil resources since 2013.[105] Cyprus demarcated its
maritime border with Egypt in 2003, and with Lebanon in 2007.[106] Cyprus and Israel demarcated their maritime border in 2010,
[107]
and in August 2011, the US-based firm Noble Energy entered into a production-sharing agreement with the Cypriot
government regarding the block's commercial development.[108]
Turkey, which does not recognize the border agreements of Cyprus with its neighbours, [109] threatened to mobilize its naval forces
in the event that Cyprus would proceed with plans to begin drilling at Block 12. [110] Cyprus' drilling efforts have the support of the
US, EU, and UN, and on 19 September 2011 drilling in Block 12 began without any incidents being reported. [111]
The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the years and as such the property rental market in Cyprus has grown.
Added to this is the capital growth in property that has been created from the demand of incoming investors and property buyers to

the island.[112] In late 2013, the Cyprus Town Planning Department announced a series of incentives to help ignite the property
market and further drive growth in new-built property developments in town centres across the country. [113] This followed earlier
measures for new and faster immigration permits to third country nationals investing in Cyprus property.

IRAN
Education
Education in Iran is highly centralized. K-12 education is supervised by the Ministry of Education and higher education is under
supervision of Ministry of Science and Technology. The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 85.0%, up from 36.5% in 1976.[185]
Higher education is sanctioned by different levels of diplomas: Fogh-e-Diplom or Krdni after 2 years of higher education,
Krshensi (also known under the name licence) is delivered after 4 years of higher education (Bachelor's degree). Krshensiye Arshad is delivered after 2 more years of study (Master's degree). After which, another exam allows the candidate to pursue a
doctoral program (PhD).[186]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of
Tehran (468th worldwide), the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (612th) and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (815th).[187]
Iran has increased its publication output nearly tenfold from 1996 through 2004, and has been ranked first in terms of output
growth rate followed by China.[188] According to SCImago, Iran could rank fourth in the world in terms of research output by 2018,
if the current trend persists.[189]
In 2009, a SUSE Linux-based HPC system made by the Aerospace Research Institute of Iran (ARI) was launched with 32 cores
and now runs 96 cores. Its performance was pegged at 192 GFLOPS.[190] Sorena 2 Robot, which was designed by engineers at
University of Tehran, was unveiled in 2010. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has placed the name of
Surena among the five prominent robots of the world after analyzing its performance. [191]
In the biomedical sciences, Iran's Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics is a UNESCO chair in biology.[192] In late 2006, Iranian
scientists successfully cloned a sheep by somatic cell nuclear transfer, at the Rouyan research centre in Tehran.[193] According to a
study by David Morrison and Ali Khademhosseini (Harvard-MIT and Cambridge), stem cell research in Iran is amongst the top 10
in the world.[194] Iran ranks 15th in the world in nanotechnologies.[195][196][197]
Iran placed its domestically built satellite, Omid into orbit on the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, on 2 February 2009,
[198]
through Safir rocket, becoming the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space
from a domestically made launcher.[199]
The Iranian nuclear program was launched in the 1950s. Iran is the seventh country to produce uranium hexafluoride and controls
the entire nuclear fuel cycle.[200][201]
In August 2014, Maryam Mirzakhani became the first-ever woman, as well as the first-ever Iranian, to receive the Fields Medal,
the highest prize in mathematics. Mirzakhani was awarded for her "dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli
spaces".
Culture
Persian culture has long been a predominant culture of the region, with Persian considered the language of intellectuals during
much of the 2nd millennium, and the language of religion and the populace before that.[citation needed]
The Sassanid era was an important and influential historical period in Iran as Iranian culture influenced China, India and Roman
civilization considerably,[228] and so influenced as far as Western Europe and Africa.[229]
This influence played a prominent role in the formation of both Asiatic and European medieval art.[230] This influence carried
forward to the Islamic world. Much of what later became known as Islamic learning, such as philology, literature, jurisprudence,
philosophy, medicine, architecture and the sciences were based on some of the practises taken from the Sassanid Persians

Language
The majority of the population speaks the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country, as well as other
Iranian languages or dialects. Turkic languages and dialects, most importantly Azerbaijani language, are spoken in different areas
in Iran. In southwestern and southern Iran, the Luri language and Lari language are spoken. In Kurdistan Province and nearby
area's Kurdish is widely spoken. In Khuzestan, many distinct Persian dialects are spoken. Arabic is also spoken in Khuzestan.
Notable minority languages in Iran include Armenian, Georgian, and Neo-Aramaic. Circassian was also once widely used by the
large Circassian minority, but due to assimilation over the many years no sizable number of Circassians speak the language
anymore.
Economy
Iran's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and smallscale private trading and service ventures. [154] In 2011 GDP was $482.4 billion ($1.003 trillion at PPP), or $13,200 at PPP per
capita.[29] Iran is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank.[155] In the early 21st century the service sector
contributed the largest percentage of the GDP, followed by industry (mining and manufacturing) and agriculture.[156] The Central
Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for developing and maintaining the Iranian rial, which serves as the country's
currency. The government doesn't recognize trade unions other than the Islamic Labour Councils, which are subject to the approval
of employers and the security services. [157] The minimum wage in June 2013 was 487 million rials a month ($134). [158]
Unemployment has remained above 10% since 1997, and the unemployment rate for women is almost double that of the men. [158]
In 2006, about 45% of the government's budget came from oil and natural gas revenues, and 31% came from taxes and fees. [159] As
of 2007, Iran had earned $70 billion in foreign exchange reserves mostly (80%) from crude oil exports.[160] Iranian budget deficits
have been a chronic problem, mostly due to large-scale state subsidies, that include foodstuffs and especially gasoline, totaling
more than $84 billion in 2008 for the energy sector alone. [161][162] In 2010, the economic reform plan was approved by parliament to
cut subsidies gradually and replace them with targeted social assistance. The objective is to move towards free market prices in a
5-year period and increase productivity and social justice.[163]
The administration continues to follow the market reform plans of the previous one and indicated that it will diversify Iran's oilreliant economy. Iran has also developed a biotechnology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceuticals industry.[164] However,
nationalized industries such as the bonyads have often been managed badly, making them ineffective and uncompetitive with
years. Currently, the government is trying to privatize these industries, and, despite successes, there are still several problems to be
overcome, such as the lagging corruption in the public sector and lack of competitiveness. In 2010, Iran was ranked 69, out of 139
nations, in the Global Competitiveness Report.[165]
Iran has leading manufacturing industries in the fields of car-manufacture and transportation, construction materials, home
appliances, food and agricultural goods, armaments, pharmaceuticals, information technology, power and petrochemicals in the
Middle East.[166]
Economic sanctions against Iran, such as the embargo against Iranian crude oil, have affected the economy. [167] Sanctions have led
to a steep fall in the value of the rial, and as of April 2013 one US dollar is worth 36,000 rial, compared with 16,000 in early 2012.

IRAQ
Education
The CIA World Factbook estimates that in 2000 the adult literacy rate was 84% for males and 64% for females, with UN figures
suggesting a small fall in literacy of Iraqis aged 1524 between 2000 and 2008, from 84.8% to 82.4%. [180] The Coalition
Provisional Authority undertook a complete reform of Iraqs education system: Baathist ideology was removed from curricula and
there were substantial increases in teacher salaries and training programs, which the Hussein regime neglected in the 1990s.[citation
needed]
In 2003 an estimated 80% of Iraqs 15,000 school buildings needed rehabilitation and lacked basic sanitary facilities, and
most schools lacked libraries and laboratories.[citation needed]

Education is mandatory only through the sixth grade, after which a national examination determines the possibility of continuing
into the upper grades.[citation needed] Although a vocational track is available to those who do not pass the exam, few students elect that
option because of its poor quality.[citation needed] Boys and girls generally attend separate schools beginning with seventh grade. [citation
needed]
In 2005 obstacles to further reform were poor security conditions in many areas, a centralized system that lacked
accountability for teachers and administrators, and the isolation in which the system functioned for the previous 30 years. [citation needed]
Few private schools exist.[citation needed] Prior to the invasion of 2003, some 240,000 persons were enrolled in institutions of higher
education.[citation needed]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of
Dohuk (1717th worldwide), the University of Baghdad (3160th) and Babylon University (3946th).
Culture
Public holidays in Iraq include Republic Day on July 14 and the National Day on October 3.
Music
Iraq is known primarily for its rich maqam heritage which has been passed down orally by the masters of the maqam in an
unbroken chain of transmission leading up to the present. The maqam al-Iraqi is considered to be the most noble and perfect form
of maqam. Al-maqam al-Iraqi is the collection of sung poems written either in one of the sixteen meters of classical Arabic or in
Iraqi dialect (Zuhayri).[166] This form of art is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity.[167]
Early in the 20th century, many of the most prominent musicians in Iraq were Jewish.[168] In 1936, Iraq Radio was established with
an ensemble made up entirely of Jews, with the exception of the percussion player. At the nightclubs of Baghdad, ensembles
consisted of oud, qanun and two percussionists, while the same format with a ney and cello were used on the radio.[168]
The most famous singer of the 1930s1940s was perhaps the Jew Salima Pasha (later Salima Murad).[168][169] The respect and
adoration for Pasha were unusual at the time since public performance by women was considered shameful, and most female
singers were recruited from brothels.[168]
The most famous early composer from Iraq was Ezra Aharon, an oud player, while the most prominent instrumentalist was Daoud
Al-Kuwaiti.[citation needed] Daoud and his brother Saleh formed the official ensemble for the Iraqi radio station and were responsible for
introducing the cello and ney into the traditional ensemble
Language
Arabic is the majority language, Kurdish is spoken by approximately 1015% of the population, Turkmen,[104] the Neo-Aramaic
language of the Assyrians and others by 5%. [2] Other smaller minority languages include Mandaic, Shabaki, Armenian, and
Persian. Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and South Azeri are written with versions of the Arabic script, the Neo-Aramaic languages in the
Syriac script and Armenian is written in the Armenian script.[citation needed]
Prior to the invasion in 2003, Arabic was the sole official language. Since the new Constitution of Iraq approved in June 2004,
both Arabic and Kurdish are official languages,[150] while Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Turkmen language (referred to as respectively
"Syriac" and "Turkmen" in the constitution) are recognized regional languages. [151] In addition, any region or province may declare
other languages official if a majority of the population approves in a general referendum.[152]
According to the Iraqi constitution: "The Arabic language and the Kurdish language are the two official languages of Iraq. The
right of Iraqis to educate their children in their mother tongue, such as Turkmen, Syriac/Assyrian, and Armenian shall be
guaranteed in government educational institutions in accordance with educational guidelines, or in any other language in private
educational institutions".
Economy
Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. The lack
of development in other sectors has resulted in 18%30% unemployed and a depressed per capita GDP of $4,000. [2] Public sector

employment accounted for nearly 60% of full-time employment in 2011. [108] The oil export industry, which dominates the Iraqi
economy, generates very little employment. [108] Currently only a modest percentage of women (the highest estimate for 2011 was
22%) participate in the labour force.[108]
Prior to US occupation, Iraq's centrally planned economy prohibited foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses, ran most large
industries as state-owned enterprises, and imposed large tariffs to keep out foreign goods. [109] After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the
Coalition Provisional Authority quickly began issuing many binding orders privatizing Iraq's economy and opening it up to foreign
investment.
On November 20, 2004, the Paris Club of creditor nations agreed to write off 80% ($33 billion) of Iraq's $42 billion debt to Club
members. Iraq's total external debt was around $120 billion at the time of the 2003 invasion, and had grown another $5 billion by
2004. The debt relief will be implemented in three stages: two of 30% each and one of 20%.[110]
In February 2011, Citigroup included Iraq in a group of countries which it described as 'Global Growth Generators', that it argued
will enjoy significant economic growth in the future.[111]
The official currency in Iraq is the Iraqi dinar. The Coalition Provisional Authority issued new dinar coins and notes, with the notes
printed by De La Rue using modern anti-forgery techniques.[112] Jim Cramer's October 20, 2009 endorsement of the Iraqi Dinar on
CNBC has further piqued interest in the investment.[113]
Five years after the invasion, an estimated 2.4 million people were internally displaced (with a further two million refugees outside
Iraq), four million Iraqis were considered food-insecure (a quarter of children were chronically malnourished) and only a third of
Iraqi children had access to safe drinking water.[114]
According to the Overseas Development Institute, international NGOs face challenges in carrying out their mission, leaving their
assistance "piecemeal and largely conducted undercover, hindered by insecurity, a lack of coordinated funding, limited operational
capacity and patchy information".[114] International NGOs have been targeted and during the first 5 years, 94 aid workers were
killed, 248 injured, 24 arrested or detained and 89 kidnapped or abducted.

ISRAEL
Education
Israel has a school life expectancy of 15.5 years [427] and a literacy rate of 97.1% according to the United Nations. [428] The State
Education Law, passed in 1953, established five types of schools: state secular, state religious, ultra orthodox, communal
settlement schools, and Arab schools. The public secular is the largest school group, and is attended by the majority of Jewish and
non-Arab pupils in Israel. Most Arabs send their children to schools where Arabic is the language of instruction. [429]
Education is compulsory in Israel for children between the ages of three and eighteen. [430][431] Schooling is divided into three tiers
primary school (grades 16), middle school (grades 79), and high school (grades 1012) culminating with Bagrut matriculation
exams. Proficiency in core subjects such as mathematics, the Hebrew language, Hebrew and general literature, the English
language, history, Biblical scripture and civics is necessary to receive a Bagrut certificate. [342] In Arab, Christian and Druze schools,
the exam on Biblical studies is replaced by an exam on Muslim, Christian or Druze heritage. [432] Christian Arabs are one of the
most educated groups in Israel.[433] Maariv have describe the Christian Arabs sectors as "the most successful in education system",
[433]
since Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel. [434]
In 2003, over half of all Israeli twelfth graders earned a matriculation certificate. [435] The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel
Aviv University are ranked among the world's top 100 universities by Times Higher Education magazine.[436] Israel ranks third in
the world in the number of academic degrees per capita (20 percent of the population).
Culture
Israel's diverse culture stems from the diversity of the population: Jews from diaspora communities around the world have brought
their cultural and religious traditions back with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs. [439] Israel is the only

country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish
holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.[440] Israel's substantial Arab minority has also left its imprint
on Israeli culture in such spheres as architecture,[441] music,[442] and cuisine.

Language
Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic.[6] Hebrew is the primary language of the state and is spoken by the majority
of the population, and Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority. Many Israelis communicate reasonably well in English, as many
television programs are broadcast in this language and English is taught from the early grades in elementary school. As a country
of immigrants, many languages can be heard on the streets. Due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia
(some 130,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel),[409][410] Russian and Amharic are widely spoken.[411] Between 1990 and 1994, the
Russian immigration increased Israel's population by twelve percent.[412] More than one million Russian-speaking immigrants
arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union states between 1990 and 2004. [413] French is spoken by around 700,000 Israelis, [414]
mostly originating from France and North Africa.
Economy
Israel is considered one of the most advanced countries in Southwest Asia in economic and industrial development. In 2010, it
joined the OECD.[28][322] The country is ranked 3rd in the region and 38th worldwide on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business
Index[323] as well as in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.[324] It has the second-largest number of startup
companies in the world (after the United States) [325] and the largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside North America.
[326]

In 2010, Israel ranked 17th among the world's most economically developed nations, according to IMD's World Competitiveness
Yearbook. The Israeli economy was ranked as the world's most durable economy in the face of crises, and was also ranked first in
the rate of research and development center investments.[327]
The Bank of Israel was ranked first among central banks for its efficient functioning, up from 8th place in 2009. Israel was also
ranked as the worldwide leader in its supply of skilled manpower. [327] The Bank of Israel holds $78 billion of foreign-exchange
reserves.[328]
Despite limited natural resources, intensive development of the agricultural and industrial sectors over the past decades has made
Israel largely self-sufficient in food production, apart from grains and beef. Imports to Israel, totaling $77.59 billion in 2012,
include raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods. [6] Leading exports
include electronics, software, computerized systems, communications technology, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, fruits,
chemicals, military technology, and cut diamonds;[329] in 2012, Israeli exports reached $64.74 billion.[6]
Israel is a leading country in the development of solar energy.[331][332] Israel is a global leader in water conservation and geothermal
energy,[333] and its development of cutting-edge technologies in software, communications and the life sciences have evoked
comparisons with Silicon Valley.[334][335] According to the OECD, Israel is also ranked 1st in the world in expenditure on Research
and Development (R&D) as a percentage of GDP.[336] Intel[337] and Microsoft[338] built their first overseas research and development
centers in Israel, and other high-tech multi-national corporations, such as IBM, Google, Apple, HP, Cisco Systems, and Motorola,
have opened R&D facilities in the country.
In July 2007, American business magnate and investor Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway bought an Israeli
company, Iscar, its first non-U.S. acquisition, for $4 billion.[339] Since the 1970s, Israel has received military aid from the United
States, as well as economic assistance in the form of loan guarantees, which now account for roughly half of Israel's external debt.
Israel has one of the lowest external debts in the developed world, and is a net lender in terms of net external debt (the total value
of assets vs. liabilities in debt instruments owed abroad), which in June 2012 stood at a surplus of US$60 billion.[340]
Days of working time in Israel are Sunday through Thursday (for a five-day workweek), or Friday (for a six-day workweek). In
observance of Shabbat, in places where Friday is a work day and the majority of population is Jewish, Friday is a "short day",
usually lasting till 14:00 in the winter, or 16:00 in the summer. Several proposals have been raised to adjust the work week with the
majority of the world, and make Sunday a non-working day, while extending working time of other days, and/or replacing Friday
with Sunday as a work day

JORDAN
Esucation
The adult literacy rate in 2013 was 97%. [150] The Jordanian educational system consists of a two-year cycle of pre-school
education, ten years of compulsory basic education, and two years of secondary academic or vocational education, after which the
students sit for the Tawjihi.[151] UNESCO ranked Jordan's education system 18th out of 94 nations for providing gender equality in
education.[152] 20.5% of Jordan's total government expenditures goes to education compared to 2.5% in Turkey and 3.86% in Syria.
[153][154][155]
Secondary school enrollment has increased from 63% to 97% of high school aged students in Jordan and between 79%
and 85% of high school students in Jordan move on to higher education.[156]
There are 2,000 researchers per million people, compared to 5,000 researchers per million for the highest-performing countries. [157]
According to the Global Innovation Index 2011, Jordan is the third-most innovative economy in the Middle East, behind Qatar and
the United Arab Emirates.[158]
Jordan has 10 public universities, 16 private universities and 54 community colleges, of which 14 are public, 24 private and others
affiliated with the Jordanian Armed Forces, the Civil Defence Department, the Ministry of Health and UNRWA. [159] There are over
200,000 Jordanian students enrolled in universities each year. An additional 20,000 Jordanians pursue higher education abroad
primarily in the United States and Great Britain. [160] Jordan is already home to several international universities such as GermanJordanian University, Columbia University, NYIT, DePaul University and the American University of Madaba. George
Washington University is planning to establish a medical university in Jordan.[161]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of
Jordan (1,507th worldwide), Yarmouk University (2,165th) and the Jordan University of Science & Technology (2,335th).[162]
Internet-wise, Jordan contributes more content than any other Arab country: 75% of all Arabic online content.
Culture
Religion and tradition plays an important part in modern-day Jordanian society. Jordanians live in a relatively traditional society
that is increasingly grappling with the effects of globalization. Jordan is considered one of the Arab World's most cosmopolitan
countries.[139]
According to the Center for Strategic Studies, 90% of Jordanian Muslims describe themselves as "religious" or "relatively
religious", with 52% of Jordanians regarding religious practices as "private matters that must be differentiated from social and
political life".
Language
The official language is Modern Standard Arabic, a literary language taught in the schools. The native languages of most
Jordanians are dialects of Jordanian Arabic, a nonstandard version of Arabic with many influences from English, French and
Turkish. Jordanian Sign Language is the language of the deaf community.
English, though without an official status, is widely spoken throughout the country and is the de facto language of commerce and
banking, as well as a co-official status in the education sector; almost all university-level classes are held in English.
Russian, Circassian, Armenian, Tagalog, Tamil, and Chechen are quite popular among their communities and acknowledged
widely in the kingdom.

Most, if not all, public schools in the country teach the English and Standard Arabic. [citation needed] French is elective in many schools,
mainly in the private sector. L'Ecole franaise d'Amman and Lyce franais d'Amman are the most famous French language
schools in the capital. French remains an elite language in Jordan, despite not enjoying the popularity it did in older times.
German is an increasingly popular language among the elite and the educated; it's been most likely introduced at a larger scale
after the dbut of the Deutsche Universitt, or as officially named, the German-Jordanian University. A historic society of German
Protestants of Amman continue to use the German language in their events and daily lives. [129]
The media in Jordan revolves mainly around English, with many British and mostly American programmes and films shown on
local television and cinemas. Egyptian Arabic is very popular, with many Egyptian movies playing in cinemas across the country.
The government-owned Jordan TV shows programmes and newscasts in Arabic (Standard and Jordanian), English and French;
Radio Jordan offers radio services in Standard Arabic, the Jordanian dialects (informally), English and French, as well. When an
English-language film is shown in a cinema, translatations into both French and Standard Arabic are available.
Economy
Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a country of "upper-middle income".[12] The economy has grown at an average rate of
4.3% per annum since 2005.[75] Approximately 13% of the population lives on less than US$3 a day.[75]
The GDP per capita rose by 351% in the 1970s, declined 30% in the 1980s, and rose 36% in the 1990s. [76][not in citation given] Jordan has a
free trade agreement with Turkey.[77] Jordan also enjoys advanced status with the EU.[78]
The Jordanian economy is based by insufficient supplies of water, oil and other natural resources. [4] Other challenges include high
budget deficit, high outstanding public debt, high levels of poverty and unemployment. [75] Unemployment in 2012 is nominally
around 13%, but is thought by many analysts to be as high as a quarter of the working-age population. [79] Youth unemployment is
nearly 30%.[79] Jordan has few natural resources and a small industrial base. [79] Corruption is particularly pronounced and the use of
wasta widespread.[79] Jordan also suffers from a brain drain of its most talented workers. [79] Remittances from Jordanian expatriates
are a major source of foreign exchange.[80]
Due to slow domestic growth, high energy and food subsidies and a bloated public-sector workforce, Jordan usually runs annual
budget deficits. These are partially offset by international aid.[79]
Jordans economy is relatively well diversified.[80] Trade and finance combined account for nearly one-third of GDP; transportation
and communication, public utilities, and construction account for one-fifth, and mining and manufacturing constitute nearly that
proportion.[80] Despite plans to increase the private sector, the state remains the dominant force in Jordans economy. [80] The
government employs between one-third and two-thirds of all workers. [79]
In 2000, Jordan joined the World Trade Organization and signed the JordanUnited States Free Trade Agreement; in 2001, it
signed an association agreement with the European Union.[81]
Net official development assistance to Jordan in 2009 totalled USD 761 million; according to the government, approximately twothirds of this was allocated as grants, of which half was direct budget support.[75]
The Great Recession and the turmoil caused by the Arab Spring have depressed Jordan's GDP growth, impacting export-oriented
sectors, construction, and tourism.[4] Tourist arrivals have dropped sharply since 2011, hitting an important source of revenue and
employment.[82]
In an attempt to quell popular discontent, the government promised in 2011 to keep energy and food prices artificially low while
raising wages and pensions in the public sector.[82] Jordan's finances have also been strained by a series of natural gas pipeline
attacks in Egypt, causing it to substitute more expensive heavy-fuel oils to generate electricity. [4] $500 million was required to
cover the resulting fuel shortage.[82]

In August 2012, the International Monetary Fund agreed to give Jordan a three-year $2-billion loan. As part of the deal, Jordan was
expected to cut spending.[79] In November 2012, the government cut subsidies on fuel, [83] increasing its price. As a result, large
scale protests broke out across the country and the increase was removed.[79]
Jordan's total foreign debt in 2012 was $22 billion, representing 72% of its GDP. Roughly two-thirds of this total had been raised
on the domestic market, with the remaining owed to overseas lenders. [83] In late November 2012, the budgetary shortfall was
estimated at around $3 billion, or about 11% of GDP.[83] Growth was expected to reach 3% by the end of 2012 and the IMF predicts
GDP will increase by 3.5% in 2013, rising to 4.5% by 2017.[83] The inflation rate was forecast at 4.5% by the end of 2012.[83]
The official currency in Jordan is the Jordanian dinar, which is pegged to the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs), equivalent to an
exchange rate of 1 US$ 0.709 dinar, or approximately 1 dinar 1.41044 dollars.[84]
The proportion of skilled workers in Jordan is among the highest in the region. Agriculture in Jordan constituted almost 40% of
GNP in the early 1950s; on the eve of the Six-Day War in June 1967, it was 17%.[85] By the mid-1980s, the agricultural share of
Jordan's GNP was only about 6%.[85] Jordan has hosted the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa six times
and plans to hold it for the seventh time in 2013 at the Dead Sea.

KUWAIT
Education
The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 93.9%. [126] According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking
universities in the country are Kuwait University (2068th worldwide), the College of Technological Studies (2730th) and Gulf
University for Science & Technology (7922nd).
Culture
A distinctive characteristic of Kuwaiti culture is diwaniya, which involves male social gatherings attended by family members and
close friends.[116] "Fijiri" and "Sawt" are the most prominent types of Kuwaiti music.
Seafood has been the mainstay of the Kuwaiti diet for centuries. [117] The Arabs in the Persian Gulf region played a crucial role in
the spice trade between India and Europe, and spices have remained an important ingredient of Kuwaiti cuisine. Traditional
Kuwaiti cuisine borrows heavily from South Asian cuisine and Arab cuisine. Kuwait takes part in the annual tradition of Qarqe'an
during the month of Ramadan.
Before the discovery of oil, pearling formed a crucial part of Kuwait's economy. Pearl fishery, known as ghaus, suffered decline
after the advent of Japanese pearl farming. [118] However, Kuwait's pearl industry laid the foundation of its rich maritime history.
"Dhows", large wooden ships made from teak wood imported from India, [118] became an indistinct part of Kuwait's maritime fleet
and dhow building is still practiced in Kuwait.[119]
The most prominent landmark in country, the Kuwait Towers, were designed by Swedish architect Sune Lindstrm and are a
unique blend of traditional minaret and modern architectural designs. The National Assembly of Kuwait, another famous landmark
building, was designed by the famous Danish architect Jrn Utzon and completed in 1982.
Language
Kuwait's official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Kuwaiti Arabic is Kuwait's colloquial dialect. Kuwaiti Arabic is a mixture
of southern Mesopotamian dialect and Peninsular Arabic,[115] mixed with some Indian and English words. Kuwaiti Sign Language
is used by the deaf community. English is widely understood and often used as a business language.
Economy

Kuwait has a GDP (PPP) of $167.9 billion[2] and a per capita income of US$81,800,[2] making Kuwait the 5th richest country in the
world per capita.[2] Petroleum products and fertilizers are Kuwait's main export commodities. Kuwait's most important trading
partners are Japan, United States, India, South Korea, Singapore, China, the European Union, and Saudi Arabia.[2] Japan is the
largest customer of Kuwaiti oil followed by India, Singapore and South Korea. [93] Kuwait imports a wide range of products ranging
from food products to machinery.
The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued currency unit in the world.[94] According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Kuwait
has the second-most free economy in the Middle East. [95] In March 2007, Kuwait's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$213
billion.[96] The Kuwait Stock Exchange, which has about 200 firms listed, is the second-largest stock exchange in the Arab world
with a total market capitalization of US$235 billion.[97]
The government is keen on decreasing Kuwait's dependence on oil to fuel its economy by transforming it into a regional trading
hub. The planned US$77 billion Madinat al-Hareer (City of Silk) is the largest real estate development project in the Middle East.

LEBANON
Education
Listed by the World Economic Forums 2013 Global Information Technology Report, Lebanon has been ranked globally as the
fourth best country for math and science education, and as the tenth best overall for quality of education. In quality of management
schools, the country was ranked 13th worldwide.[205]
The United Nations assigned Lebanon an education index of 0.871 in 2008. The index, which is determined by the adult literacy
rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio, ranked the country 88th out of the 177 countries
participating.[206]
All Lebanese schools are required to follow a prescribed curriculum designed by the Ministry of Education. Some of the 1400
private schools offer IB programs,[207] and may also add more courses to their curriculum with approval from the Ministry of
Education. The first eight years of education are, by law, compulsory.[10]
Lebanon has forty-one nationally accredited universities, several of which are internationally recognized. [208][209] The American
University of Beirut (AUB) and the Universit Saint-Joseph (USJ) were the first Anglophone and the first Francophone
universities to open in Lebanon, respectively.[210][211] Universities in
Lebanon, both public and private, largely operate in French or English.[212]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities's Excellence Rank, the top-ranking universities in the country are the
American University of Beirut (951st worldwide), Universit Saint Joseph de Beyrouth (2332nd), Lebanese American University
(2630th), and the American University of Science and Technology (5080th).

Culture
The culture of Lebanon is the cross culture of various civilizations over thousands of years. Originally home to the Phoenicians,
and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Fatimids,
the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing
from all of these groups. Lebanon's diverse population, composed of different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed
to the country's festivals, musical styles and literature as well as cuisine.
Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity of the Lebanese, they share an almost common culture. [175]
Lebanese Arabic is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted in wider Mediterranean and Levantine
norms

Language
Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that "Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the
French language is to be used".[167] The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is
mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Lebanese Sign Language is the language of the deaf
community. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% "partial francophone," and 70% of Lebanon's
secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. [168] By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in
30% of Lebanon's secondary schools. [168] The use of French is a legacy of France's historic ties to the region, including its League
of Nations mandate over Lebanon following World War I; as of 2004, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis. [169]
The use of Arabic by Lebanon's educated youth is declining, as they prefer to speak in French and English. [170][171]
English is increasingly used in science and business interactions. [172] As of 2007 the presence of English in Lebanon has increased.
[173]
Lebanese citizens of Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish descent often speak Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish with varying degrees of
fluency. As of 2009, there were around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.

Economy
Lebanons economy follows a laissez-faire model.[110] Most of the economy is dollarized, and the country has no restrictions on the
movement of capital across its borders.[110] The Lebanese governments intervention in foreign trade is minimal. [110]
The Lebanese economy grew 8.5% in 2008 and a revised 9% in 2009 [111] despite a global recession.[112] Real GDP growth is
estimated to have slowed from 7.5% in 2010 to 1.5% in 2011, according to IMF preliminary estimates, with nominal GDP
estimated at $41.5 billion in 2011. [110] The Banque du Liban projects real GDP growth could reach 4% in 2012, with 6% inflation
(versus 4% in 2011).[110] The political and security instability in the Arab world, especially in Syria, is expected to have a negative
impact on the domestic business and economic environment.[110]
Lebanon has a very high level of public debt and large external financing needs. [110] The 2010 public debt exceeded 150.7% of
GDP, ranking fourth highest in the world as a percentage of GDP, though down from 154.8% in 2009. [6] At the end 2008, finance
minister Mohamad Chatah stated that the debt was going to reach $47 billion in that year and would increase to $49 billion if
privatization of two telecoms companies did not occur. [113] The Daily Star wrote that exorbitant debt levels have "slowed down the
economy and reduced the government's spending on essential development projects".[114]
The urban population in Lebanon is noted for its commercial enterprise. [115] Emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial
networks" throughout the world.[116] Remittances from Lebanese abroad total $8.2 billion[117] and account for one fifth of the
country's economy.[118] Lebanon has the largest proportion of skilled labor among Arab States.[119]
The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was established with the aim of promoting investment in Lebanon. In 2001,
Investment Law No.360[120] was enacted to reinforce the organisation's mission.
The agricultural sector employs 12% of the total workforce.[121] Agriculture contributed to 5.9% of the country's GDP in 2011. [122]
Lebanon's proportion of cultivable land is the highest in the Arab world, [123] Major produce includes apples, peaches, oranges, and
lemons.[10]
The commodities market in Lebanon includes substantial gold coin production, however according to International Air Transport
Association (IATA) standards, they must be declared upon exportation to any foreign country.[124]
Oil has recently been discovered inland and in the seabed between Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt and talks are underway
between Cyprus and Egypt to reach an agreement regarding the exploration of these resources. The seabed separating Lebanon and
Cyprus is believed to hold significant quantities of crude oil and natural gas. [125]

Industry in Lebanon is mainly limited to small businesses that reassemble and package imported parts. In 2004, industry ranked
second in workforce, with 26% of the Lebanese working population, [121] and second in GDP contribution, with 21% of Lebanon's
GDP.[10]
Nearly 65% of the Lebanese workforce attain employment in the services sector. [121] The GDP contribution, accordingly, amounts
to roughly 67.3% of the annual Lebanese GDP.[10] However, dependence on the tourism and banking sectors leaves the economy
vulnerable to political instability.[126]
Lebanese banks are high on liquidity and reputed for their security.[127] Lebanon was one of the only seven countries in the world in
which the value of the stock markets increased in 2008.[128]
On May 10, 2013 the Lebanese minister of energy and water clarified that seismic images of the Lebanese's sea bed are
undergoing detailed explanation of their contents and that up till now, approximately 10% have been covered. Preliminary
inspection of the results showed, with more than 50% probability, that 10% of Lebanon's exclusive economic zone contained up to
660 million barrels of oil and up to 301012 cu ft of gas.

OMAN
Education
The adult literacy rate in 2010 was 86.9%. [105] Before 1970, only three formal schools existed in the entire country, with less than
1,000 students. Since Sultan Qaboos' ascension to power in 1970, the government has given high priority to education in order to
develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. Today
there are over 1,000 state schools and about 650,000 students.
Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened in 1986. The University of Nizwa is one of the fastest growing
universities in Oman. Other post-secondary institutions in Oman include the Higher College of Technology and its six branches,
six colleges of applied sciences (including a teacher's training college), a college of banking and financial studies, an institute of
Sharia sciences, and several nursing institutes. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Sultan Qaboos
University (1678th worldwide), the Dhofar University (6011th) and the University of Nizwa (6093rd)
Culture
Outwardly, Oman shares many of the cultural characteristics of its Arab neighbours, particularly those in the Gulf Cooperation
Council.[85] Despite these similarities, important factors make Oman unique in the Middle East. [85] These result as much from
geography and history as from culture and economics.[85]
The relatively recent and artificial nature of the state in Oman makes it difficult to describe a national culture; [85] however,
sufficient cultural heterogeneity exists within its national boundaries to make Oman distinct from other Arab States of the Persian
Gulf.[85] Oman's cultural diversity is much greater than that of its Arab neighbours, given its historical expansion to the Swahili
Coast and the Indian Ocean.[85]

Oman has a long tradition of shipbuilding, as maritime travel played a major role in the Omanis' ability to stay in contact with the
civilisations of the ancient world. Sur was one of the most famous shipbuilding cities of the Indian Ocean. The Al Ghanja ship
takes one whole year to build. Other types of Omani ship include As Sunbouq and Al Badan.
Language
Arabic is the official language of Oman. [67] Balochi is widely spoken.[88] Endangered languages in Oman include Kumzari, Bathari,
Harsusi, Hobyot, Jibbali, Mehri.[89] Omani Sign Language is the language of the deaf community.
Although Arabic is Oman's official language, there are native speakers of different dialects, as well as Balochi (the language of the
Baloch people from Balochistan western-Pakistan, eastern Iran, and southern Afghanistan) or offshoots of Southern Arabian, and
some descendants of Sindhi sailors.[90] Also spoken in Oman are Semitic languages only distantly related to Arabic, but closely
related to Semitic languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Swahili[7] is also widely spoken in the country due to the historical relations
between Oman and Zanzibar, English is also widely spoken in the business community and is taught at school from an early age.
The dominant indigenous language is a dialect of Arabic although Baluchi and Swahili are also widely spoken. Almost all signs
and writings appear in both Arabic and English. [70] A significant number also speak Urdu, due to the influx of Pakistani migrants
during the late 1980s and the 1990s. Oman was the first Persian Gulf state to have German taught as a third language.
Economy
Oman's Basic Statute of the State expresses in Article 11 that the "national economy is based on justice and the principles of a free
economy."[67]
Omani citizens enjoy good living standards, but the future is uncertain with Oman's limited oil reserves. [55] Other sources of
income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and account for less than 1% of the country's exports, but diversification
is seen as a priority by the government. Agriculture, often subsistence in its character, produces dates, limes, grains, and
vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation, Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food.
Since a slump in oil prices in 1998, Oman has made active plans to diversify its economy and is placing a greater emphasis on
other areas of industry, such as tourism. Metkore Alloys is due to build a world-class 1,650,000-tonnes-per-annum capacity ferrochrome smelter in Oman with an envisaged investment of $80 million.[68]
A free-trade agreement with the United States took effect 1 January 2009, eliminating tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial
products, and also providing strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman. [69] Tourism, another source of Oman's
revenue, is on the rise.[70] A popular event is The Khareef Festival held in Salalah, Dhofar, which is 1,200 km from the capital city
of Muscat, during the monsoon season (August) and is similar to Muscat Festival. During this latter event the mountains
surrounding Salalah are popular with tourists as a result of the cool weather and lush greenery, rarely found anywhere else in
Oman.[71]
Oman's foreign workers send an estimated US$30 billion annually to their Asian and African home states, more than half of them
earning a monthly wage of less than US$400. [72] The largest foreign community is from the south Indian states of Kerala, Tamil
Nadu and Karnataka or come from Maharastra, Gujarat and the Punjab,[73] representing more than half of entire workforce in
Oman. Salaries for overseas workers are known to be less than for Omani nationals, though still from two to five times higher than
for the equivalent job in India.[72] The Oman Ferries Company maintains the two diesel-powered, high-speed, car ferries Shinas
and Hormouz. The ferries are used for travel between Muscat and Khasab. Khasab is strategically located in Musandam on the
southern tip of the Strait of Hormuz and is controlled by Oman. Mainland Oman is separated by a small strip of UAE territory
from Musandam.

QATAR
Education

atar has hired RAND to reform its K12 education system. [39] Through the Qatar Foundation, the country has built an "Education
City", hosting local branches of the Weill Cornell Medical College, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service,
Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Texas A&M's School of Engineering, and other Western institutions.[39]
The iliteracy rate in Qatar was 3.1% for males and 4.2% for females in 2012, the lowest in the Arab-speaking world, but 86th in
the world.[143] Citizens are required to attend government-provided education from kindergarten through high school.[144] Qatar
University was founded in 1973.
In 2008, Qatar established the Qatar Science & Technology Park at Education City to link those universities with industry.
Education City is also home to a fully accredited International Baccalaureate school, Qatar Academy. Two Canadian institutions,
the College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary, also operate campuses in Doha. Other for-profit universities have
also established campuses in the city.[145]
In November 2002, the Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani created the Supreme Education Council.[146] The Council directs and
controls education for all ages from the pre-school level through the university level, including the "Education for a New Era" [147]
reform initiative.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Qatar University
(1881st worldwide), Texas A&M University at Qatar (3905th) and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (6855th).[148]
In 2012, Qatar was ranked near the bottom of the OECD countries participating in the PISA test of math, reading and skills for 15
to 16-year olds, comparable to Colombia or Albania, despite having the highest per capita income in the world.
Culture
Qatar's culture is similar to that of other countries in Eastern Arabia. The Qatar National Day hosted every 18 December is the day
Qataris celebrate their national identity and history. On that day, expressions of affection and gratitude are conveyed to the people
of Qatar who cooperated in solidarity and vowed allegiance and obedience to Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani as a leader
in 1878.[124][125]
Most Qataris belong to the strict Wahhabi sect of Islam.[12][13][14] Societal obstacles prevent Qatari women from driving a car
Language
Arabic is the official language of Qatar, with Qatari Arabic the local dialect. Qatari Sign Language is the language of the deaf
community. English is also widely spoken, [120] and is considered to be a rising lingua franca, especially in commerce, to the extent
that steps are being taken to try to preserve Arabic from English's encroachment. [121] English is particularly useful for
communication with Qatar's large expatriate community. In 2012, Qatar joined the international French-speaking organisation of
La Francophonie as a new associate member.[122] Reflecting the multicultural make-up of the country, many other languages are
also spoken, including Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Tamil, Nepali and Tagalog.
Economy
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. Report prepared by local
governors of Ottoman Empire in 1892 states that total income from pearl hunting in year of 1892 is 2,450,000 kran. [25] After the
introduction of the Japanese cultured pearl onto the world market in the 1920s and 1930s, Qatar's pearling industry crashed. Oil
was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field.[91] The discovery transformed the state's economy. Now, the country has a high
standard of living. With no income tax, Qatar (along with Bahrain) is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world.
The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%.[92]
Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world as of 2013, according to the CIA World Factbook [93] and approximately 14% of
households are dollar millionaires. [94] It relies heavily on foreign labour to grow its economy, to the extent that migrant workers
comprise 94% of the workforce.[95] Qatar has been ranked as one of the worst places in the world for workers by the International
Trade Union Confederation.[96] The economic growth of Qatar has been almost exclusively based on its petroleum and natural gas

industries, which began in 1940.[97] Qatar is the leading exporter of liquefied natural gas.[39] In 2012, it was estimated that Qatar
would invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years. [98] The country is a member state of Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), having joined the organisation in 1961.[99]
In 2012, Qatar retained its title of richest country in the world (according to per capita income) for the third time in a row, having
first overtaken Luxembourg in 2010. According to the study published by the Washington based Institute of International Finance,
Qatar's per capita GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) was $106,000 (QR387,000) in 2012, helping the country retain its
ranking as the world's wealthiest nation. Luxembourg came a distant second with nearly $80,000 and Singapore third with per
capita income of about $61,000. The research put Qatar's GDP at $182bn in 2012 and said it had climbed to an all-time high due to
soaring gas exports and high oil prices. Its population stood at 1.8 million in 2012. The same study published that Qatar Investment
Authority (QIA), with assets of $115bn, was ranked 12th among the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world.

SAUDI ARABIA
Education
Education is free at all levels. The school system is composed of elementary, intermediate, and secondary schools. A large part of
the curriculum at all levels is devoted to Islam, and, at the secondary level, students are able to follow either a religious or a
technical track. The rate of literacy, which is 90.4% among males and is about 81.3% among females. [5] Classes are segregated by
gender. Higher education has expanded rapidly, with large numbers of Universities and colleges being founded particularly since
2000. Institutions of higher education include the country's first university, King Saud University founded in 1957, the Islamic
University at Medina founded in 1961, and the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah founded in 1967. Other colleges and
universities emphasize curricula in sciences and technology, military studies, religion, and medicine. Institutes devoted to Islamic
studies, in particular, abound. Women typically receive college instruction in segregated institutions. [74]
The study of Islam dominates the Saudi educational system. In particular, the memorization by rote of large parts of the Qu'ran, its
interpretation and understanding (Tafsir) and the application of Islamic tradition to everyday life is at the core of the curriculum.
Religion taught in this manner is also a compulsory subject for all University students. [296] As a consequence, Saudi youth
"generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs" according to the CIA. [5] Similarly, The Chronicle of
Higher Education wrote in 2010 that "the country needs educated young Saudis with marketable skills and a capacity for
innovation and entrepreneurship. That's not generally what Saudi Arabia's educational system delivers, steeped as it is in rote
learning and religious instruction."[297]
A further criticism of the religious focus of the Saudi education system is the nature of the Wahhabi-controlled curriculum. The
Islamic aspect of the Saudi national curriculum was examined in a 2006 report by Freedom House which concluded that "the Saudi
public school religious curriculum continues to propagate an ideology of hate toward the 'unbeliever', that is, Christians, Jews,
Shiites, Sufis, Sunni Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine, Hindus, atheists and others".[298][299] The Saudi religious studies
curriculum is taught outside the Kingdom via Saudi-linked madrasah, schools, and clubs throughout the world. [300] Critics have
described the education system as "medieval" and that its primary goal "is to maintain the rule of absolute monarchy by casting it
as the ordained protector of the faith, and that Islam is at war with other faiths and cultures". [301]
The approach taken in the Saudi education system has been accused of encouraging Islamic terrorism, leading to reform efforts.[302]
[303]
To tackle the twin problems of encouraging extremism and the inadequacy of the country's university education for a modern
economy, the government is aiming to slowly modernise the education system through the "Tatweer" reform program. [302] The
Tatweer program is reported to have a budget of approximately US$2 billion and focuses on moving teaching away from the
traditional Saudi methods of memorization and rote learning towards encouraging students to analyze and problem-solve. It also
aims to create an education system which will provide a more secular and vocationally based training.
Culture
Saudi Arabia has centuries-old attitudes and traditions, often derived from Arab civilization. This culture has been bolstered by the
austerely puritanical Wahhabi form of Islam, which arose in the eighteenth century and now predominates in the country. The

many limitations on behaviour and dress are strictly enforced both legally and socially. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited, for
example, and there is no theatre or public exhibition of films. However, the Daily Mail and WikiLeaks indicate that the Saudi
Royal family applies a different moral code to itself ("WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex.
Royals flout puritanical laws to throw parties for young elite while religious police are forced to turn a blind eye.") [243] Public
expression of opinion about domestic political or social matters is discouraged. There are no organizations such as political parties
or labour unions to provide public forums.
Daily life is dominated by Islamic observance. Five times each day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques
scattered throughout the country. Because Friday is the holiest day for Muslims, the weekend is Thursday and Friday. [74][244]
Starting on 29 June 2013 the weekend has been shifted to Friday-Saturday to better serve the Saudi economy and its international
commitments.[245] In accordance with Wahhabi doctrine, for many years only two religious holidays were publicly recognized, d
al-Fir and d al-A. Celebration of other (non-Wahhabi) Islamic holidays, such as the Prophet's birthday and shr (an
important holiday for Shites), are tolerated only when celebrated locally and on a small scale. Public observance of non-Islamic
religious holidays is prohibited, but in 2006, the 23 September national holiday (which commemorates the unification of the
kingdom) was reintroduced over the objections of religious clerics.
Language
The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. The three main regional variants spoken by Saudis are Hejazi Arabic (about 6
million speakers[227]), Nejdi Arabic (about 8 million speakers[228]) and Gulf Arabic (about 0.2 million speakers[229]). Saudi Sign
Language is the principal language of the deaf community. The large expatriate communities also speak their own languages, the
most numerous being Tagalog (700,000), Rohingya (400,000), Urdu (380,000), and Egyptian Arabic (300,000).
Economy
Saudi Arabia's command economy is petroleum-based; roughly 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings come from
the oil industry. The oil industry comprises about 45% of Saudi Arabia's nominal gross domestic product, compared with 40%
from the private sector (see below). Saudi Arabia officially has about 260 billion barrels (4.110 10 m3) of oil reserves, comprising
about one-fifth of the world's proven total petroleum reserves.[196]
The government is attempting to promote growth in the private sector by privatizing industries such as power and
telecommunications. Saudi Arabia announced plans to begin privatizing the electricity companies in 1999, which followed the
ongoing privatization of the telecommunications company. Shortages of water and rapid population growth may constrain
government efforts to increase self-sufficiency in agricultural products.
In the 1990s, Saudi Arabia experienced a significant contraction of oil revenues combined with a high rate of population growth.
Per capita income fell from a high of $11,700 at the height of the oil boom in 1981 to $6,300 in 1998. [197] Increases in oil prices
since 2000 have helped boost per capita GDP to $17,000 in 2007 dollars, or about $7,400 adjusted for inflation. [198] Taking into
account the impact of the real oil price changes on the Kingdom's real gross domestic income, the real command-basis GDP was
computed to be 330.381 billion 1999 USD in 2010.[199]
Oil price increases of 20082009 have triggered a second oil boom, pushing Saudi Arabia's budget surplus to $28 billion (110SR
billion) in 2005. Tadawul (the Saudi stock market index) finished 2004 with a massive 76.23% to close at 4437.58 points. Market
capitalization was up 110.14% from a year earlier to stand at $157.3 billion (589.93SR billion), which makes it the biggest stock
market in the Middle East.
OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) limits its members' oil production based on their "proven reserves."
Saudi Arabia's published reserves have shown little change since 1980, with the main exception being an increase of about 100
billion barrels (1.61010 m3) between 1987 and 1988.[200] Matthew Simmons has suggested that Saudi Arabia is greatly
exaggerating its reserves and may soon show production declines (see peak oil).[201]
Saudi Arabia is one of only a few fast-growing countries in the world with a relatively high per capita income of $24,200 (2010).
Saudi Arabia will be launching six "economic cities" (e.g. King Abdullah Economic City) which are planned to be completed by
2020. These six new industrialized cities are intended to diversify the economy of Saudi Arabia, and are expected to increase the
per capita income. The King of Saudi Arabia has announced that the per capita income is forecast to rise from $15,000 in 2006 to

$33,500 in 2020.[202] The cities will be spread around Saudi Arabia to promote diversification for each region and their economy,
and the cities are projected to contribute $150 billion to the GDP.
However the urban areas of Riyadh and Jeddah are expected to contribute $287 billion by the year 2020.[203]
Gold mining is carried out in the Mahd adh Dhahab region (also known as the "Cradle of Gold"). Saudi Arabian stores suffered a
significant decrease in gold sales in 2012.[204]
Reporting of poverty remains a state taboo. In December 2011, days after the Arab Spring uprisings, the Saudi interior ministry
detained reporter Feros Boqna and two colleagues and held them for almost two weeks for questioning after they uploaded a video
on the topic to YouTube. [205] Statistics on the issue are not available through the UN resources because the Saudi government does
not issue poverty figures.[206] Observers researching the issue prefer to stay anonymous [207] because of the risk of being arrested.
Three journalists: Feras Boqna, Hussam al-Drewesh and Khaled al-Rasheed were detained after posting 10-minute film 'Mal3ob
3alena', or 'We are being cheated'[208] on Saudis living in poverty to YouTube.[209] Authors of the video claim that 22% of Saudis are
considered to be poor (2009) and 70% of Saudis do not own their houses.[210]
In recent years, Saudi Arabia sought to join the World Trade Organization. Negotiations have focused on the degree to which Saudi
Arabia is willing to increase market access to foreign goods and services and the timeframe for becoming fully compliant with
World Trade Organization obligations. In April 2000, the government established the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
to encourage foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia maintains a negative list of sectors in which foreign
investment is prohibited, but the government plans to open some closed sectors such as telecommunications, insurance, and power
transmission/distribution over time. As of November 2005, Saudi Arabia was officially approved to enter World Trade
Organization.

SYRIA
Education
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 12. Schooling consists of 6 years of primary education followed by a 3-year
general or vocational training period and a 3-year academic or vocational program. The second 3-year period of academic training
is required for university admission. Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. The literacy rate of Syrians aged
15 and older is 90.7% for males and 82.2% for females.[164][165]
Since 1967, all schools, colleges, and universities have been under close government supervision by the Ba'ath Party.[166]
There are 6 state universities in Syria [167] and 15 private universities.[168] The top two state universities are University of Damascus
(180,000 students)[169] and University of Aleppo.[170] The top private universities in Syria are: Syrian Private University, Arab
International University, University of Kalamoon and International University for Science and Technology. There are also many
higher institutes in Syria, like the Higher Institute of Business Administration, which offer undergraduate and graduate programs in
business.[171]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Damascus University
(3540th worldwide), the University of Aleppo (7176th) and Tishreen University (7968th)
Culture
Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history.[157] Importance is placed on family, religion, education, self-discipline and
respect. The Syrians' taste for the traditional arts is expressed in dances such as the al-Samah, the Dabkeh in all their variations,
and the sword dance. Marriage ceremonies and the birth of children are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs.
Language

Arabic is the official language. Several modern Arabic dialects are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine in the west and
Mesopotamian in the northeast. Kurdish (in its Kurmanji form) is widely spoken in the Kurdish regions of Syria. Armenian and
Turkish (South Azeri dialect) are spoken among the Armenian and Turkmen minorities.
Aramaic was the lingua franca of the region before the advent of Arabic, and is still spoken among Assyrians, and Classical Syriac
is still used as the liturgical language of various Syriac Christian denominations. Most remarkably, Western Neo-Aramaic is still
spoken in the village of Ma'loula as well as two neighboring villages, 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Damascus. Many educated
Syrians also speak English and French.
Economy
Syria is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." [122] Syria remains dependent on the oil and agriculture
sectors.[123] The oil sector provides about 40% of export earnings. [123] In addition, proven offshore expeditions have indicated that
large sums of oil exist on the Mediterranean Sea floor between Syria and Cyprus. [124] The agriculture sector contributes to about
20% of GDP and 20% of employment. Oil reserves are expected to decrease in the coming years and Syria has already become a
net oil importer.[123] Since the civil war began, the economy shrank by 35%, and the Syrian pound has fallen to one-sixth of its
prewar value.[125] The government increasingly relies on credit from Iran, Russia and China.[125]
The economy is highly regulated by the government, which has increased subsidies and tightened trade controls to assuage
protesters and protect foreign currency reserves.[126] Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil
production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in
agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution. [126] The UNDP announced in 2005 that 30% of the
Syrian population lives in poverty and 11.4% live below the subsistence level. [57]
Syria's main exports include crude oil, refined products, raw cotton, clothing, fruits, and grains. The bulk of Syrian imports are raw
materials essential for industry, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery. Earnings from oil exports as well as
remittances from Syrian workers are the government's most important sources of foreign exchange. [57]
Syria's share in global exports has eroded gradually since 2001. [127] The real per capita GDP growth was just 2.5% per year in the
20002008 period.[127] Unemployment is high at above 10%. Poverty rates have increased from 11% in 2004 to 12.3% in 2007.[127]
Political instability poses a significant threat to future economic development. [128] Foreign investment is constrained by violence,
government restrictions, economic sanctions, and international isolation. Syria's economy also remains hobbled by state
bureaucracy, falling oil production, rising budget deficits, and inflation.[128]
Prior to the civil war in 2011, the government hoped to attract new investment in the tourism, natural gas, and service sectors to
diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil and agriculture. The government began to institute economic reforms
aimed at liberalizing most markets, but those reforms were slow and ad hoc, and have been completely reversed since the outbreak
of conflict in 2011.[129]
As of 2012, because of the ongoing Syrian civil war, the value of Syria's overall exports has been slashed by two-thirds, from the
figure of US$12 billion in 2010 to only US$4 billion in 2012. [130] Syria's GDP declined by over 3% in 2011, [131] and is expected to
further decline by 20% in 2012.[132]
As of 2012, Syria's oil and tourism industries in particular have been devastated, with US$5 billion lost to the ongoing conflict of
the civil war.[130] Reconstruction needed because of the ongoing civil war will cost as much as US$10 billion. [130] Sanctions have
sapped the government's finance. US and European Union bans on oil imports, which went into effect in 2012, are estimated to
cost Syria about $400 million a month.[133]
Revenues from tourism have dropped dramatically, with hotel occupancy rates falling from 90% before the war to less than 15% in
May 2012.[134] Around 40% of all employees in the tourism sector have lost their jobs since the beginning of the war.

TURKEY
Education
The Ministry of National Education is responsible for pre-tertiary education. [235] This is compulsory and lasts twelve years: four
years each of primary school, middle school and high school. [236] Less than half of 25-34 year old Turks have completed at least
upper secondary education, compared with an OECD average of over 80%.[237] Basic education in Turkey is considered to lag
behind other OECD countries, with significant differences between high and low performers. [238] Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 34
in the OECD's PISA study.[236] Access to high-quality school heavily depends on the performance in the secondary school entrance
exams, to the point that some students begin taking private tutoring classes when they are 10 years old. [238] The overall adult
literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1%, 97.9% for males and 90.3% for females.[239]
By 2011, there were 166 universities in Turkey.[240] Entry to higher education depends on the Student Selection Examination
(SS).[241] In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared to 1,700,000 who took the SS exam in 2007. [242]
Except for the Open Education Faculty (Turkish: Akretim Fakltesi) at Anadolu University, entrance is regulated by the
national SS examination, after which high school graduates are assigned to universities according to their performance. [243]
According to the 20122013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the top university in Turkey is Middle East
Technical University (in the 201-225 rank range), followed by Bilkent University and Ko University (both in the 226-250 range),
Istanbul Technical University and Boazii University (in the 276-300 bracket).
Culture
Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Ouz Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a
continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernisation
of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture
with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. [251][252] Turkish culture is a
product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.
Economy
Turkey has the world's 15th largest GDP by PPP[145] and 17th largest nominal GDP.[146] The country is among the founding
members of the OECD and the G-20 major economies.[102][108]
The European Union Turkey Customs Union, led to an extensive liberalization of tariff rates,and forms the pillar of Turkey's
trade policy.[147] By 2011 exports were $143.5 bn and in 2012 it was $163 bn (main export partners in 2012: Germany 8.6%, Iraq
7.1%, Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE 5.4%). However larger imports, which amounted to $229 billion in 2012, threatened the balance
of trade (main import partners in 2012: Russia 11.3%, Germany 9%, China 9%, US 6%, Italy 5.6%, ).[2]
Turkey has a large automotive industry, which produced over a million motor vehicles in 2012, ranking as the 16th largest
producer in the world.[148] Turkish shipbuilding exports were worth US$1.2 billion in 2011.[149] The major export markets are Malta,
Marshall Islands, Panama and the United Kingdom. Turkish shipyards have 15 floating docks of different sizes and one dry dock.
[149]
Tuzla, Yalova, and zmit have developed into dynamic shipbuilding centres. [150] In 2011, there were 70 active shipyards in
Turkey, with another 56 being built. [150] Turkish shipyards are highly regarded both for the production of chemical and oil tankers
up to 10,000 dwt and also for their mega yachts.[150]
Turkish brands like Beko and Vestel are among the largest producers of consumer electronics and home appliances in Europe, and
invest a substantial amount of funds for research and development in new technologies related to these fields. [151][152][153]
Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining,
petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry. In 2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9% of
GDP, while the industrial sector accounted for 26% and the services sector 65%. [2] However, agriculture still accounted for a
quarter of employment.[154] In 2004, it was estimated that 46% of total disposable income was received by the top of 20% income
earners, while the lowest 20% received 6%. [155] The rate of female employment in Turkey was 30% in 2012, [156] the lowest among
all OECD countries.[157]

Foreign direct investment (FDI) was $8.3 billion in 2012, a figure expected to rise to $15 billion in 2013. [158] In 2012 Fitch Group
upgraded Turkey's credit rating to investment grade after an 18-year gap;[159] this was followed by a ratings upgrade by Moody's in
May 2013, as the service lifted Turkey's government bond ratings to the lowest investment grade Baa3. [160][161]
In the early years of the 21st century the chronically high inflation was brought under control; this led to the launch of a new
currency, the Turkish new lira in 2005, to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable
economy.[162] In 2009, the new Turkish lira was renamed back to the Turkish lira, with the introduction of new banknotes and coins.
As a result of continuing economic reforms, inflation dropped to 8% in 2005, and the unemployment rate to 10%.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


Education
The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education in all emirates except Abu Dhabi, where
it falls under the authority of the Abu Dhabi Education Council. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and high schools.
[188]
The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's
goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There
are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE,
while the fees for private schools vary.
The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The ministry also is responsible for admitting
students to its undergraduate institutions.[189]
The literacy rate in 2007 was 91%.[190][191] Currently there are thousands of nationals pursuing formal learning at 86 adult education
centres spread across the country.[192]
The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT
Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Institute for Enterprise Development.[193]
According to the QS Rankings, the top-ranking universities in the country are the United Arab Emirates University (421-430th
worldwide), the American University of Sharjah (431-440th) and University of Sharjah (3046th)

Culture
Emirati people are ethnically diverse, with ancestries from the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Baluchistan and East Africa.[140] Arab
descendants of the Bani Yas, Al Nahyan and Al Maktoum families in Abu Dhabi and Dubai represent the Emirati leadership. Al
Qawasim have also played a vital role in the history of the UAE. Most Emiratis in Dubai are of Persian ancestry.[156][157][158]
Emirati culture is based on Arabian culture and has been heavily influenced by Persian culture. Arabian and Persian inspired
architecture is part of the expression of the local Emirati identity.[159] Persian influence on Emirati culture is noticeably visible in
traditional Emirati architecture and folk arts.[160] For example, the "barjeel" has become an identifying mark of traditional Emirati
architecture and is attributed to Persian influence. [160] Certain folk dances, such as "al-habban", are originally Persian. [160] Local
Emirati culture has also been influenced by the cultures of East Africa and India.[160]
The United Arab Emirates has a diverse and multicultural society.[161] Major holidays in Dubai include Eid al Fitr, which marks the
end of Ramadan, and National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates.[162]
Most Emirati males prefer to wear a kandura, an ankle-length white tunic woven from wool or cotton, and most Emirati women
wear an abaya, a black over-garment that covers most parts of the body.[163] The non-governmental campaign UAE Dress Code
aims to educate the expat population on local dressing and its sensitivity to Emirati population. [164] Each of the seven

semiautonomous emirates has its own rules about attire. Dubai is the most liberal in that regard, allowing miniskirts and bikinis,
while Ras al-Khaimah adopted a rule in April 2013 prohibiting bikinis, as well as tight swimsuits for males, on public beaches.[165]
Ancient Emirati poetry was strongly influenced by the 8th-century Arab scholar Al Khalil bin Ahmed. The earliest known poet in
the UAE is Ibn Majid, born between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al-Khaimah. The most famous Emirati writers were Mubarak Al Oqaili
(18801954), Salem bin Ali al Owais (18871959) and Ahmed bin Sulayem (19051976). Three other poets from Sharjah, known
as the Hirah group, are observed to have been heavily influenced by the Apollo and romantic poets.[166] The Sharjah International
Book Fair is the oldest and largest in the country.
The list of museums in the United Arab Emirates includes some of regional repute, most famously Sharjah with its Heritage
District containing 17 museums,[167] which in 1998 was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World.[168] In Dubai, the area of Al Quoz
has attracted a number of art galleries as well as museums such as the Salsali Private Museum.[169] Abu Dhabi has established a
culture district on Saadiyat Island. There, six grand projects are planned, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Louvre
Abu Dhabi.[170] Dubai also plans to build a Kunsthal museum and a district for galleries and artists.[171]
Emirati culture is a part of the culture of Eastern Arabia. Liwa is a type of music and dance performed mainly in communities that
contain descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.[166] The Dubai Desert Rock Festival is also another
major festival consisting of heavy metal and rock artists.[172] The cinema of the United Arab Emirates is minimal but expanding.
The Media of the United Arab Emirates plays an important role in the region. Dubai Media City and twofour54, Abu Dhabi's
media zone, were set up to attract key players. The UAE is home to major pan-Arab broadcasters, including the Middle East
Broadcasting Centre and Orbit Showtime Network. On 25 September 2007 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum decreed
that journalists can no longer be prosecuted or imprisoned for reasons relating to their work. [173] At the same time, the UAE has
made it illegal to disseminate online material that can threaten "public order". Criticism of the Royal family or government
procedures is not allowed. Prison terms have been given to those who "deride or damage" the reputation of the state and "display
contempt" for religion.[174] Very recently, a YouTube user was arrested in Dubai for filming and uploading a video of a UAE local
(who happened to be a Government official) hitting an overseas worker.
Language
Arabic is the national language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people.
[155]
Being ruled by the British until 1971 and being a hub for trade, English is the primary lingua franca, and as such, a knowledge
of the same is a requirement when applying for most of the jobs in the UAE. Other widely used languages are Persian, spoken by
the Iranian diaspora, as well as Hindi-Urdu, Balochi spoken by Baloch , Pashto and Tagalog, spoken by the large Southeast Asian,
Pashtun and Filipino diasporas, respectively. Malayalam, the official language of Kerala (India) is spoken widely by the Malayali
community that forms a huge majority of the Indian diaspora in the UAE. Other small Asian groups do exist, primiarily,
Indonesian, Mainland Chinese and Japanese.
Economy
UAE has the second largest economy in the Arab world (after Saudi Arabia), [110] with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $377
billion (AED1.38 trillion) in 2012.[111] A third of the GDP is from oil revenues. The economy was expected to grow between 4
4.5% in 2013, compared to 2.33.5% over the past five years. Since independence in 1971, UAE's economy has grown by nearly
231 times to AED1.45 trillion in 2013.The non-oil trade has grown to AED1.2 trillion, a growth by around 28 times from 1981 to
2012.[110]
The UAE has a relatively high Human Development Index among the Asian continent, ranking forty-first globally.[112] In 2011,
UAE is ranked as the 14th best nation in the world for doing business based on its economy and regulatory environment, ranked by
the Doing Business 2011 Report published by the World Bank Group[113]
The GDP growth rate for 2010 was 3.20%. [114] CPI inflation in the April 2008 April 2009 year was 1.9%. [115] The national debt
as of June 2009 was $142 billion.[116] In 2009, its GDP, as measured by purchasing power parity, stood at US$ 400.4 billion.[1] With
a population of just under 900,000 Abu Dhabi was labeled "The richest city in the world" by a CNN article.[117]
Petroleum and natural gas exports play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. More than 85% of the UAE's
economy was based on the exports of natural resources in 2009. [1][118] The UAE has tried to reduce its dependency on oil exports by
diversifying the economy, particularly in the financial, tourism and construction sectors. While Abu Dhabi remained relatively
conservative in its approach, Dubai, which has far smaller oil reserves, was bolder in its diversification policy.[10]

UAE law does not allow trade unions to exist.[119] The right to collective bargaining and the right to strike are not recognised, and
the Ministry of Labour has the power to force workers to go back to work. Migrant workers who participate in a strike can have
their work permits cancelled and be deported. [119] Consequently, there are very few anti-discrimination laws in relation to labour
issues, with Emiratis other GCC Arabs getting preference when it comes to employment, even though they show scant regard
for work and learning on the job.[120]
The UAE's economy, particularly that of Dubai, was badly hit by the financial crisis of 20072010.[121] In 2009, the country's
economy shrank by 4.00% and the property sector and construction went into decline. However, tourism, trade and the retail sector
have remained buoyant and the UAE's overseas investments are expected to support its full economic recovery. [114] Concern
remains about the property sector. Property prices in Dubai fell dramatically when Dubai World, the government construction
company, sought to delay a debt payment. The economy is depending on foreign labour force and Emerisation is only showing few
positive effects which was found out in studies from Paul Dyer and Natasha Ridge from Dubai School of Government, Ingo
Forstenlechner from United Arab Emirates University, Kasim Randaree from the British University of Dubai and Paul Knoglinger
from the FHWien.[122]
The UAE has been spending billions of dollars on infrastructure. These developments are particularly evident in the larger emirates
of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The northern emirates are rapidly following suit, providing major incentives for developers of residential
and commercial property.[123]
Dubai International Airport was the Busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic from January to May 2013,
overtaking London Heathrow.[124][125] As roads in the western and southern regions are still relatively undeveloped, residents
prevalently use airplanes as the main or alternative mode of transportation. [126] A 1,200 km (750 mi) country-wide national railway
is under construction which will connect all the major cities and ports. [127] The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the
Arabian Peninsula.[128] The major ports of the United Arab Emirates are Khalifa Port, Mina Zayed, Port Jebel Ali, Port Rashid, Port
Khalid, Port Saeed, and Port Khor Fakkan.[129]
The UAE has signed peaceful nuclear agreements with France, United States, and South Korea, and a memorandum of
understanding with the United Kingdom.[130]
The UAE is presently serviced by two telecommunications operators, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications
Company ("du"). Etisalat operated a monopoly until du launched mobile services in February 2007. [131] Internet subscribers are
expected to increase from 0.904 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2012. [132] The authorities filter websites for religious, political
and sexual content.

YEMEN
Education
The adult literacy rate in 2010 was 64%. [283] The government has committed to reduce illiteracy to less than 10% by 2025. [284]
Although Yemen's government provides for universal, compulsory, free education for children ages six through 15, the U.S.
Department of State reports that compulsory attendance is not enforced. The government developed the National Basic Education
Development Strategy in 2003 that aimed at providing education to 95% of Yemeni children between the ages of six and 14 years
and also at decreasing the gap between males and females in urban and rural areas.[285]
A seven-year project to improve gender equity and the quality and efficiency of secondary education, focusing on girls in rural
areas, was approved by the World Bank in March 2008. Following this, Yemen has increased its education spending from 5% of
GDP in 1995 to 10% in 2005.[191]
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the Yemeni
University of Science & Technology (6532nd worldwide), Al Ahgaff University (8930th) and Sanaa University (11043rd).
Culture
Yemen is a culturally rich country with influence from many civilizations, such as the early civilization of Sheba.

Language
Modern Standard Arabic is the official language of Yemen. Yemeni Arabic is spoken in several regional dialects. In the Mahra area
(the extreme east) and the island Soqotra, several distinct languages are spoken. [277][278] Yemeni Sign Language is used by the deaf
community.
Yemen is one of the main homelands of the South Semitic family of languages. Mehri is the largest South Semitic language spoken
in Yemen, with more than 70,000 speakers. The ethnic group itself is called Mahra. Soqotri is another South Semitic language,
with speakers on the island of Socotra isolated from the pressures of Arabic on the Yemeni mainland. According to the 1990 census
in Yemen, the number of speakers there was 57,000.[citation needed]
Yemen was also home of the Old South Arabian languages. Of these idioms one, Jabal Razih, appears to still be spoken in the far
northwestern corner of the country.
There is a significant number of Russian speakers, originating from Yemeni-Russian cross-marriages occurring mainly in the
1970s and 1980s. A small Cham-speaking community is found in the capital city of Sana'a, originating from refugees expatriated
from Vietnam after the Vietnam War in the 1970s.[citation needed]
A small yet rising number of ethnic Chinese in Sana'a brought the Chinese language to the country, a byproduct of historic Chinese
immigration. Also there are South Asian languages spoken by the small South Asian community, most notably Hindi, Urdu,
Malayalam and Marathi languages.
Economy
According to the CIA, Yemen as of 2013 had a GDP (ppp) of $61.63 billion USD, with an income per capita of $2,500. Its
unemployment rate as of 2003 was 35%. The nation has a high rate of population growth and few natural resources.[244] Yemen's
economy is weak compared to most countries in the Middle East, mainly because Yemen has very small oil reserves. Yemen's
economy depends heavily on the oil it produces, and its government receives the vast majority of its revenue from oil taxes. But
Yemen's oil reserves are expected to be depleted by 2017, possibly bringing on economic collapse. [245] Yemen does have large
proven reserves of natural gas.[246] Yemen's first liquified natural gas (LNG) plant began production in October 2009.
Rampant corruption is a prime obstacle to development in the country, limiting local reinvestments and driving away regional and
international capital. Foreign investments remain largely concentrated around the nation's hydrocarbon industry.
Agriculture here is very diverse, with such crops as sorghum dominating. Cotton and many fruit trees are also grown, with
mangoes being the most valuable. A big problem in Yemen is the cultivation of Qat, a mild narcotic plant that releases a stimulant
when chewed, and accounts for up to 40 percent of the water drawn from the Sanaa Basin each year, and that figure is rising. That
is both because the plant takes a lot of water to farm (much more than coffee, another plant that does well in Yemens fertile soil)
and because cultivation of it increases by around 12 percent each year, according to Yemens Ministry of Agriculture and Water
Resources. Not only is the crop drying the Sanaa Basin, it has displaced a lot of vital cropsfruits, vegetables, and coffeewhich
has sent food prices soaring. According to the World Bank, rising food prices, in turn, pushed an additional six percent of the
country into poverty in 2008 alone.[247] Efforts are being made by the Government and Dawoodi Bohra community at North Yemen
to replace Qat with Coffee plantations.[248]