State of Qatar
CAPITAL : Doha (Ad-Dawhah)
FLAG : Maroon with white serrated border at the hoist.
ANTHEM : Qatar National Anthem.
MONETARY UNIT : The Qatar riyal ( QR ) of 100 dirhams was introduced on 13 May 1973. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 dirhams, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 riyals. QR 1 = $0.2747 (or $1 = QR 3.64) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, although some British measures are still in use.
HOLIDAYS : Emir's Succession Day, 22 February; Independence Day, 3 September. Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', and Milad an-Nabi.
TIME : 3 PM = noon GMT.
The terrain is generally flat and sandy, rising gradually from the east to a central limestone plateau. About 56 km (35 mi) long, the Dukhan anticline rises from the west coast as a chain of hills of up to 100 m (325 ft) in height. Some low cliffs mark the northern end of the east coast. The presence of extensive salt flats at the base of the peninsula supports the theory that Qatar was once an island.
Qatar's summer, from May to October, is extremely hot. Mean temperatures in June are 42° C (108° F ), dropping to 15° C (59° F ) in winter. Humidity is high along the coast. Rainfall is minimal.
In 1993, the number of immigrant workers was about 85,000, including Pakistanis, Indians, and Iranians. In 2000 there were 409,000 non-citizen residents in Qatar, amounting to more than two-thirds of the population. In that year the net migration rate was 3.7 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.
In 1999, Gulf and Palestinian Arabs constituted 40% of the population, Pakistanis 18%, Indians 18%, Iranians 10%, and others 14%. The indigenous population (about 100,000) descends from Bedouin tribes which migrated to Qatar during the 1700s.
Arabic is the national language, but English is widely spoken, and Farsi is used by smaller groups in Doha.
There are no organized political parties. Security measures against dissidents are firm and efficient. There is no serious opposition movement. Citizens with grievances may appeal directly to the emir.
Municipal councils have been established in Doha, Khor, Ash-Shamal, and several other towns. The councils manage their own planning and development programs, but they remain directly accountable to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The Qatar armed forces consists of 8,500 army, 1,800 naval, and 2,100 air force personnel. Military equipment includes 18 combat aircraft, 19 armed helicopters, and 7 missile-equipped coastal patrol boats and 35 main battle tanks. The army includes a Royal Guard regiment. The US army has approximately 100 troops in Qatar. Defense spending was $940 million in 2000–01, or 10% of GDP.
Following independence, Qatar joined both the UN (21 September 1971) and the Arab League. Qatar participates in ESCWA and all the nonregional specialized agencies except IDA and IFC; it is also a member of the WTO. Qatar belongs to OPEC and OAPEC, as well as to G-77 and the GCC.
According to 2001 estimates, Qatar had 150,000 sheep, 140,000 goats, 50,000 camels, 14,500 head of cattle, and four million chickens. Output in 2001 included about 18,000 tons of mutton and 4,000 tons of poultry. Dairy and poultry production meets about 25% of domestic needs. Public, private, and foreign financing have all been used recently to establish or expand dairy and poultry farming.
There are no forests in Qatar. Imports of forestry products totaled $14.6 million in 2000.
Much of Qatar's economy was based on the production of natural gas, petrochemicals, crude oil, and refined petroleum products. Among other exploitable minerals, production in 2000 was: limestone, 900,000 tons; hydraulic cement, 1.05 million tons; ammonia, 1.1 million tons; and urea, 748,100 tons. The country also produced clays, gypsum, and sand and gravel.
In 1999, there were the eleven insurance companies represented in Qatar, seven of which were foreign owned. The Qatar National Insurance Co. has the largest market share and manages the government's insurance business. In 1999, 1.3% of Qatar's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was insurance premiums.
The only tax levied in Qatar (besides customs duties) is an income and profits tax on corporations. The corporate income tax rate ranges from 5% to a maximum of 35% of net profits. There is no other personal or corporate tax liability in Qatar for either foreigners or nationals.
The Qatar National Library in Doha (founded in 1962) has 270,000 volumes. The University of Qatar library has 341,000 volumes. The British Council maintains a collection of 45,000 volumes. The Qatar National Museum in Doha has five major sections: the old Amiri Palace (11 buildings), and a new palace, aquarium, lagoon, and botanical gardens.
The Qatar Chamber of Commerce was founded in Doha in 1963. There were numerous family, social, and sporting clubs, including the Beacon Club and the Doha Sailing Association. National youth organizations include the Qatar Boy Scouts Association and the Qatar Student Association. The Red Crescent Society is active.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani (b.1932) was emir of Qatar from 1972 to 1995. The heir-apparent Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (b.1948) became emir in June 1995 following a bloodless coup that ousted his father.
The State of Qatar has no territories or colonies.
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