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.
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/72a81b/2008_saudi_arabia

Life goes on….
Abdullah Al Alami

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