August 30, 2008

SaudiNews Aug 23-29, 2008

First some good news…..Authorities released a leading reform activist after he had served a six-month prison sentence. Abdullah al-Hamed, a leading intellectual figure among reformists, was freed early on Thursday.

More good news….Gulf News reported that a group of citizens has urged the National Human Rights Association to try to find a solution to the illegal arrest of Saudis, especially those who express their opinions in peaceful and civilized ways. The group which consists of 29 members made its call on a written plea presented to the president of the National Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Labor has fixed working hours for private sector workers during Ramadan at six hours a day and 36 hours weekly.
Why not implement the 36-hour schedule for all people?

The Court of Cassation has upheld the six years’ imprisonment and 1,000 lashes handed down by a Jeddah court against a Saudi citizen (AIDS patient) who held a judge captive at his own home and robbed him of SR300,000 at gunpoint.

The ninth “Magic Carpet” exhibition will be held Ramadan to present handicraft and other works of Saudi women. The 4-day exhibition starting Sept. 15 at Jeddah Hilton will showcase handicraft and other small business products.
I understand more than a hundred companies will take part in the exhibition.

Zain, the mobile operator in 22 countries, is open for business in the Kingdom offering a package of 50% lifetime discount on the billing for the first 500,000 customers.
The good news is that Zain will operate one network system for 16 countries without roaming charges.

A missionary campaign entitled “The Protective Shield” organized by the summer camp in Taif is sparking controversy. Corpses were displayed inside a dark tent and visitors were allowed to enter only after sunset. The religious objective of the episode was “to bring to life dead hearts”.
There is no doubt this type of dawa (missionary work) will terrorize people through a focus on death, punishments and hellfire in the afterlife. This practice should to be stopped.

The Shariah Court in Madina sentenced Toni Nassar, an expatriate, for claiming that he could talk to angels. The fraudster will serve four years in prison. Nassar collected more than SR1 million from one individual, besides defrauding other businessmen in Madina.
Does this tell you something about the level of our intelligence?

Dr. Sami Badawood, Jeddah’s Health Affairs Director, said AIDS cases in Jeddah have increased by 20% compared to last year.

On the positive side, Saudi university teachers are expected to receive a pay hike. The new scales include an increase of 20-30% in the salaries plus perks and incentives. The revised salary scale may extend the retirement age of university teachers to 70 years.
I hope the new scheme will offer the teachers incentives for their research work.

Research and Markets announced the addition of the "2008 Saudi Arabia Industry & Market Outlook" report to their offering. The 2008 Saudi Arabia Industry & Market Outlook report is the leading annual publication that describes over 100 major Saudi Arabia industries and 500+ minor industries.

Life goes on….
Abdullah Al Alami

August 19, 2008

An Olympic Door Opens for Saudi Woman

An Olympic Door Opens for Saudi Woman
By Faiza Saleh Ambah
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, August 18, 2008; Page A06

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- The first female member of a Saudi Olympic delegation is spending her days with the equestrian team in Hong Kong, checking on horses, encouraging riders, planning training schedules and meeting with officials.

Arwa Mutabagani, 38, a professional show jumper, became a member of the Saudi Olympic Committee after her appointment in April to the government body in charge of sports in Saudi Arabia, another first for a woman.

Saudi Arabia has long been criticized for being one of a few countries that ban female athletes at the Olympics, but Mutabagani said her role is a sign that Saudi Arabia is trying to open the way for women in sports.

"The door has been opened. I want to work hard and prove I'm not just a token woman or figurehead," she said.

Some female activists say the government is not moving fast enough.

"We have been asking for years via the media and academics and education experts and officials to be allowed the right to practice sports," said Manal al-Sharif, head of the women's section of al-Madina newspaper. "There is nothing in the religion that bans this. It's only our tradition and culture that are driving this ban until now."

(Picture) - Arwa Mutabagani, with Saudi rider Faisal al-Shaalan in Hong Kong, is the first woman in a Saudi Olympic delegation. (Courtesy Of Arwa Mutabagani)

August 16, 2008

Another Week

My words
Another hot week this wonderful summer…

Nasser Badran, director of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, confirmed that a Saudi mosque imam was arrested in Baha on charges of burglary. The imam is also suspected to have been engaged in some other illegal activities

In Makkah, the suspected killer of a young Saudi woman was arrested within 24 hours of committing the crime early Saturday morning. The man beat the woman to death after differences arose between them. He later dumped her body at an empty courtyard.

How do you handle your finances? In Unaizah, and in order to settle his debts, a Saudi father married his eight-year-old daughter to a man in his 50s, who already has two wives. By the way, a court in Asir is currently considering a similar case in which a man married his 10-year-old daughter to a man in his 70s for SR170,000.

In Qatif, a 26-year old Indonesian housemaid was hospitalized after being burned with an iron by her employer. The employer claimed the maid tortured and beat her young son. Meanwhile, Philippine recruiting agencies said they will stop sending Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia from next month if the new law on employment contracts is not abolished.

On the positive side, there are plans to build four new cities, the six Knowledge Economic Cities are also being developed, and Aramco is in the process of doubling the size of the largest refinery in the U.S.A.

Life goes on….

August 12, 2008

American author envisions herself as a Saudi man

American author envisions herself as a Saudi man in first novel
Zoe Ferraris’ Ukrainian American grandmother thought her so spoiled that she would only marry a sheik.

“When Americans think of Saudi Arabian men, they think they’re abusers and they’re cruel, that they enjoy the gender segregation or enforce it,” Ferraris, 38, said. “And sure, some of them do, but most just have to live with it.”

Ferraris felt drawn to portraying such a man. Ferraris minutely details the "man's" inner thoughts.

When out in public, Ferraris always wore the veil and traveled with a male escort. She still often ended up on the wrong side of the religious police because of her skin color.

Still, she saw enough of Jidda to faithfully render it in “Finding Nouf”: the overbearing public art dotting the city’s roundabouts, the well-air-conditioned modern meeting places where women could forgo veils and a market selling unnecessary jackets to the showy Saudi rich.

Ferraris initially hesitated to write from the perspective of a Saudi man, worried about questions of authenticity. Her first crack at writing a novel was a straightforward mystery, set in Saudi Arabia, told from the perspective of an American woman. It had “car chases and interrogation scenes -- everything but a nuclear bomb.”

August 11, 2008

We need to stop this "Child Marriage"

Child marriage case postponed
Arab News

ABHA: The Wadi Bin-Hasheel court has postponed the trial of a Saudi father who married his 10-year-old daughter to a man in his 70s, as the bride and bridegroom failed to appear in court, Al-Madinah newspaper reported yesterday. The trial is now set for Sept. 10, as only the girl’s father, her divorced mother and her uncle attended the hearing. The judge ordered the police to bring the girl and her husband to the next session. The newspaper said the girl’s uncle, who filed the case against the father, has refused all offers of mediation to drop the case, and said he would continue until justice was done. The father had earlier married two of his young daughters to elderly men. A judge in the Grand Court of Riyadh divorced the first, who was 12, while the second ran away with her mother to a women’s shelter in Riyadh.