Oman sultan to cede some powers after protests

MUSCAT - Oman's ruler has decided to cede some legislative powers to a partially elected council, the state news agency reported on Sunday, in an apparent effort to quell protests in the Gulf Arab sultanate.
The ONA agency also said Sultan Qaboos bin Said would double monthly welfare payments and increase pension benefits, becoming the latest Gulf ruler to offer handsome incentives to citizens in the wake of unrest that has rocked much of the Arab world.
The normally tranquil Oman, an oil-producing nation at the mouth of the Gulf, was stunned by protests in at least two cities last month that left one person dead.
The sultan, who has ruled Oman for 40 years, sacked a string of ministers in a recent cabinet reshuffle and on Sunday appeared to make his biggest concession yet by announcing that he would offer lawmaking powers to the Oman Council.