Oman ruler shakes up government after protests

MUSCAT, Oman — Oman's ruler is hoping a cabinet shake-up will halt rare political protests in the strategic Gulf nation.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said replaced six Cabinet ministers and brought in some new advisers after several demonstrations, including hundreds of people blocking traffic Saturday to demand a greater voice in the country's affairs.
Sultan Qaboos retains tight control over the country, which shares authority with Iran over the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of the world's oil tanker traffic passes through the waterway at the mouth of the Gulf.
Qaboos also boosted stipends for students.
Earlier this month, he raised the minimum salary amid concerns about the Arab world's uprisings spilling over to Oman.
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