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Atypically heavy rains in the United Arab Emirates on Monday and Tuesday caused flooding, flight cancellations and school closures. Vehicles were abandoned on highways like this one in Dubai. Francois Nel/Getty Images hide caption

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Francois Nel/Getty Images

Tropical cyclone Shaheen reached Oman's coast in the early hours of Sunday morning. State officials have encouraged coastal residents to evacuate and all flights to and from the country's capitol, Muscat, have been suspended. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command hide caption

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Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command

Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said, seen during a 2010 ceremony in Muscat, died at the age of 79 after suffering for years from an undisclosed illness. After a half-century reign, he has been succeeded by Haitham bin Tariq Al Said. Chris Jackson/Getty Images hide caption

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Salalah, Oman. The country has emerged as a quiet facilitator of dialogue, including between Iran and the U.S. Sam McNeil/AP hide caption

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Sam McNeil/AP

How Oman Has Become A Key Diplomatic Player In The Middle East

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Mim Akter Tania, 22, thought she was getting a job as a hospital custodian in Saudi Arabia. Instead, she says, she ended up as a domestic servant with an abusive boss. Jason Beaubien/NPR hide caption

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Jason Beaubien/NPR

They Pump $15 Billion A Year Into Bangladesh's Economy — But At What Cost?

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Zanzibari biryanai, a dish involving spiced poached chicken, fried onions, a rich gravy and rosewater- and saffron-scented rice. Zanzibar was part of Oman until 1965. Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel hide caption

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Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel

In this June 27, 2006, file photo U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. The U.S. announced the transfer of four detainees from Guantanamo to Oman; one will go to Estonia. Brennan Linsley/AP hide caption

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Brennan Linsley/AP

The Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth century Omani trading ship, sails into the harbor of Galle, Sri Lanka, in 2010. The ship was built in a traditional manner that uses coconut fibers (but no nails) to hold the ship together. The ship followed old routes used by Arab traders. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

With Hand-Sewn Ships, Oman Revives A Glorious Maritime Past

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Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 73, salutes during a military parade in the capital Muscat on Oman's national day in November 2013. Qaboos, who has ruled for 44 years, has maintained friendly relations with everyone from the U.S. to Iran. However, he has been abroad for months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness. Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty hide caption

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Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty