Health tourism: A week in the Bahrain Parliament

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16 – 22 Apr 2015

After several weeks when much parliamentary debate concerned one or two issues, MPs on 21 April covered a very broad range of matters affecting the lives of constituents.

For example, MPs agreed a proposal for making Bahrain a centre for health tourism. We will cite just some of the decisions taken by Parliament this week below:

Health Minister interrogation

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Most successful Formula One ever

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For all of us who got seats to watch the 19 April race, we got to see a dramatic and unforgettable event. Louis Hamilton winning, despite his breaks failing in the final lap. The same misfortune happened to Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, forcing him into third place. Despite Rosberg waging a brave and energetic race, his brake troubles allowed Kimi Raikkonen to swoop in and gain second place.

Once again, the night race formula created a stunning atmosphere for the racing and the Bahrain International Circuit triumphed in putting on a flawless and spectacular event. The entertainment in the days leading up to the event added a whole new dimension to the Formula One festivities and there was plenty to do and see for families and other race-goers.

Maybe the best thing about the 2015 Grand Prix was that nobody was distracted from the events themselves by the antics of the opposition. A few militants were out in their villages on Friday burning tyres, but the opposition were all but invisible, in what has previously been their most important week of the year for spreading their propaganda. Even the usual suspects from the international media completely ignored them – confirming the opposition’s complete irrelevance, having withdrawn themselves completely from the political process.

Crown Prince Salman Bin-Hamad Al Khalifa was on hand to pass out the trophies to the winners and he stressed the economic and cultural benefits that the Formula One brings to our nation.

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Addressing corruption: A week in the Bahrain Parliament

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9 – 15 Apr 2015

The 14 April parliamentary session was mainly devoted to the annual Financial Audit Bureau report. The Parliament’s Financial Committee headed by Isa al-Kooheji spent several weeks discussing this document and eventually recognized 51 violations across a number of government departments which appeared to be of a “criminal nature”.

There were also a number of cases where the Committee recommended interrogating ministers and setting up committees for conducting further investigations. At the end of the debate, a strong majority of 33 MPs voted in favour of the Finance Committees recommendations.

Over the past months MPs have been signaling a shift in attitude to the abuse of public funds. Deputies have stressed the need for harsh action to be taken, demonstrating a more severe position in comparison with previous parliaments, which were criticized by the public for failing to convincingly address allegations of corruption.

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Quotes from the Formula One teams about Bahrain

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Felipe Massa (Pirelli)

"Bahrain is the first night race of the season and is a spectacular place to watch a race. I always have fond memories of tracks where I have won before and I have managed to step onto the top step of the podium twice in Bahrain. I hope our car can show its true pace and utilize its straight line speed on the long straights. The track and facilities are always excellent in Bahrain, which is an added bonus when going to any race."

Jenson Button (McLaren)

“Bahrain is always a really great event for the fans and it's a fun track to race on - I won there in 2009 and I enjoy driving there. Although our car isn't suited so well to this track layout, we'll still be pushing to continue our development as we look forward to the start of the European season and hopefully more gains in performance."

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