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Bahrain (/bɑːˈrn/ (listen) bar-AYN; Arabic: البحرين, romanizedal-Bahrayn, locally [æl baħˈreːn] (listen)), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made up of 50 natural islands and an additional 33 artificial islands, centered on Bahrain Island which makes up around 83 percent of the country's landmass. Bahrain is situated between Qatar and the northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia, to which it is connected by the King Fahd Causeway. According to the 2020 census, the country's population numbers 1,501,635, of which 712,362 are Bahraini nationals. Bahrain spans some 760 square kilometres (290 sq mi), and is the third-smallest nation in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore. The capital and largest city is Manama.

Bahrain is the site of the ancient Dilmun civilization. It has been famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries, which were considered the best in the world into the 19th century. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to be influenced by Islam, during the lifetime of Muhammad in 628 CE. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was ruled by the Portuguese Empire from 1521 until 1602, when they were expelled by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from Nasr Al-Madhkur and it has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain's first hakim.

In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, it declared independence. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared an Islamic constitutional monarchy in 2002. In 2011, the country experienced protests inspired by the regional Arab Spring. Bahrain's ruling Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa royal family has been criticised for violating the human rights of groups including dissidents, political opposition figures, and its majority Shia Muslim population.

Bahrain developed the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, the result of decades of investing in the banking and tourism sectors; many of the world's largest financial institutions have a presence in the country's capital. It consequently ranks 42nd in the Human Development Index and is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Full article...)

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Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa April 2016.jpg

The King of the Kingdom of Bahrain (Arabic: ملك مملكة البحرين) is the monarch and head of state of Bahrain. The House of Khalifa has been the ruling family since 1783. Between 1783 and 1971, the Bahraini monarch held the title of hakim, and, from 1971 until 2002, the title of emir. On 14 February 2002, the emir of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, declared Bahrain a kingdom and proclaimed himself the first king.

The king enjoys wide ranging powers, which include appointing the prime minister and the cabinet, holding supreme command over the Defence Force, chairing the Higher Judicial Council, appointing the parliament's upper house and dissolving its elected lower house. (Full article...)

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Muharraq Island (in the foreground), with Manama in the background

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al-Jamri in July 2011

Mansoor al-Jamri (also Mansour; Arabic: منصور الجمري; born 17 December 1961) is a Bahraini columnist, author, human rights activist and former opposition leader. He is the editor-in-chief of Al-Wasat, an Arabic language independent daily newspaper. He is also the second son of the Shia spiritual leader Sheikh Abdul-Amir al-Jamri, who died in 2006.

A few months after he was born in the village of Bani Jamra, al-Jamri moved with his family to Iraq where his father continued his religious studies. To his delight, al-Jamri returned to Bahrain in 1973 and five years later graduated from high school. In 1979 he moved to the United Kingdom (UK) to continue his higher education. Between 1987 and 2001, al-Jamri lived in self-imposed exile in UK where he became the spokesman of a UK-based opposition group. Following a series of reforms of which he was initially skeptical of, al-Jamri returned to Bahrain in December 2001. He co-founded Al-Wasat in September 2002 and became its editor-in-chief since then. The newspaper, said to be the only one offering independent and non-sectarian coverage in Bahrain was a success, becoming the country's most popular and profitable. Al-Jamri writes daily columns described to be moderate and non-sectarian. (Full article...)

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  • ... that Bahraini businesswoman Yara Salman founded a beauty salon, a medical center, an entertainment complex, and a restaurant in the past decade?
  • ... that infectious diseases specialist Jameela Al Salman has supported the development of medical robots and called their use in Bahrain a "pioneering experiment"?




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