Jordan takes its name from the Jordan River which forms much of the country's northwestern border.[17] While several theories for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, it is most plausible that it derives from the Semitic word Yarad, meaning "the descender", reflecting the river's declivity.[18] Much of the area that makes up modern Jordan was historically called Transjordan, meaning "across the Jordan", used to denote the lands east of the river.[18] The Hebrew Bible refers to the area as "the other side of the Jordan".[18] Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as Al-Urdunn, corresponding to the Semitic Yarden.[19] Jund Al-Urdunn was a military district around the river in the early Islamic era.[19] Later, during the Crusades in the beginning of the second millennium, a lordship was established in the area under the name of Oultrejordain.[20]
Day rates for taxis can be negotiated. These are usually through specific taxi drivers that have offered the service to friends or colleagues before. If you are staying at a hotel, the reception desk should be able to find you a reliable driver. It is also quite common in quiet times to be approached (politely) by taxi drivers on the street looking for business. There are plenty of good English speakers so it pays to wait until you find one you like.

One particular stretch, where the road rapidly descends from the highlands of Amman to the valley that leads into Aqaba through a series of steep hairpin curves, is infamous for the number of badly maintained oil trucks that lose their brakes and careen off the road into the ravine, ploughing through all in their path. This stretch of the road has been made into a dual carriageway and is now a little safer - however exercise caution on this stretch of the road.
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The 65 members of the upper Senate are directly appointed by the king, the constitution mandates that they be veteran politicians, judges and generals who previously served in the government or in the House of Representatives.[129] The 130 members of the lower House of Representatives are elected through party-list proportional representation in 23 constituencies for a 4-year term.[130] Minimum quotas exist in the House of Representatives for women (15 seats, though they won 20 seats in the 2016 election), Christians (9 seats) and Circassians and Chechens (3 seats).[131]
The king is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the army. He can declare war and peace, ratify laws and treaties, convene and close legislative sessions, call and postpone elections, dismiss the government and dissolve the parliament.[127] The appointed government can also be dismissed through a majority vote of no confidence by the elected House of Representatives. After a bill is proposed by the government, it must be approved by the House of Representatives then the Senate, and becomes law after being ratified by the king. A royal veto on legislation can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in a joint session of both houses. The parliament also has the right of interpellation.[127]
The Great Recession and the turmoil caused by the Arab Spring have depressed Jordan's GDP growth, damaging trade, industry, construction and tourism.[17] Tourist arrivals have dropped sharply since 2011.[176] Since 2011, the natural gas pipeline in Sinai supplying Jordan from Egypt was attacked 32 times by Islamic State affiliates. Jordan incurred billions of dollars in losses because it had to substitute more expensive heavy-fuel oils to generate electricity.[177] In November 2012, the government cut subsidies on fuel, increasing its price.[178] The decision, which was later revoked, caused large scale protests to break out across the country.[175][176]
There are around 1.2 million illegal, and 500,000 legal, migrant workers in the kingdom.[237] Thousands of foreign women, mostly from the Middle East and Eastern Europe, work in nightclubs, hotels and bars across the kingdom.[238][239][240] American and European expatriate communities are concentrated in the capital, as the city is home to many international organizations and diplomatic missions.[196]
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