Stories under this heading cover the Gulf and the Red Sea regions, including the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and the countries bordering the Red Sea.
The UAE emirate of Dubai has announced that it has scrapped the 30% tax on alcohol, and will no longer charge for personal alcohol licences.
Known as the Gulf's "party capital", where expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one, Dubai has historically been more attractive to tourists and wealthy foreign workers than its neighbours, partially because of its tolerance of a more liberal lifestyle.
Despite this, the high alcohol tax had led to residents often driving to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.
On Thursday (15 April), 208 newly elected legislators arrived in Somalia’s capital to be sworn in as members of the 11th Federal Parliament. The venue of the ceremony at the Mogadishu International Airport was heavily secured as Al-Shabaab militants fired mortars in the ceremony’s direction early on Thursday.