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Traditionally reliant on oil revenues, the Gulf country is making tourism a central plank of its economic strategy.
We ask Iran's top diplomat what is really behind the positive shift in his country's position towards the West.
It is not known how many prisoners are due to be freed, but activists say courts had sentenced at least 50 dissidents.
Activists say the poll in the Gulf state is a sign of progress, but take a "wait and see" attitude until results are in.
A court sentences six for comments posted on social media that it says insulted Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos.
Among the 1300 candidates for the 84-seat advisory council are 77 women contenders, an increase from last time.
Thousands take to the streets in southern city in Gulf state to press for better wages, jobs and end to corruption.
Dozens stage sit-in to demand probes into alleged abuses after clashes with security forces left at least one dead.
Gulf Arab states are being challenged to reform their political and social orders by a population high on hope.
Sean Foley
Sultan Qaboos grants legislative powers to two councils, one elected and another appointed in a bid to stem protests.
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Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
 
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