November 28, 2008

Saudi News (Nov 22-28, 2008)

Three Saudi diplomats were among 11 Saudis safely evacuated from the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai. However, one Saudi man remains missing.

Finally, Saudi Arabia will impose tougher punishments to prevent harassment of women. The new law calls for a maximum fine of SR100,000 and three years jail.
I’m glad the law explicitly states that sexual harassment does not mean only physical contact, but may also take place over the phone or through physical gestures or speech even if no physical contact occurs.

What’s the latest on the Saudi oil tanker? ABC confirmed that an American businesswoman, (Michele Ballarin) with connections to U.S. intelligence, has been talking with the Somali pirates trying to get the ship released.
As you recall, the pirates gave us a deadline until Nov 30. I’m almost certain the deadline will be extended….maybe.

A Saudi-Chinese joint venture is to establish a SR300-million China Mart in Riyadh to showcase Chinese products ranging from furniture to ceramics.
I welcome the venture but I recommend that we keep away from Chinese milk.

King Abdullah University (KAUST) is offering scholarships for those who will graduate in 2009, 2010 and 2011
Apply here:

The Jeddah Chamber for Commerce signed a contract with five well-known beauty centers in Jeddah to employ 46 Saudi females.

Well done. We need to end the employment problem among both Saudi men and women.

Two strong announcements were made on terrorism this week. The Experts Committee in the Council of Ministers is studying a draft law to punish those involved in terrorism. Also, the Ministry of Education ordered the removal of two books from school libraries because of the extremist ideas they contained. The books are ‘The Lies About Sayyid Qutb’ and ‘The Jihad in the Way of God.’
This is great news. Also Interior Minister Prince Naif called this week to eradicate extremism and propagate the moderate teachings of Islam that promotes tolerance. It is about time we also remove a few teachers who spread extremist and confusing ideas to misinform our children.

Saudi Gazette reported that the Summary Court in Jeddah has sentenced a 23-year-old Arab national and an 18-year-old American girl to one year in prison and 100 lashes each after they were convicted of adultery.

The father of the girl reported the relationship to the authorities after his daughter became pregnant….Why did he wait that long?

The Saudi girl rock group “The Accolade” released its first single, "Pinocchio”. Hundreds of young Saudis are downloading the song from the group's Web site. The group consists of Lamia (lead singer), Dina (guitarist and founder), Dareen, (bass), and Jood (keyboard).
The band is looking for a female drummer. I’m not sure this will solve the unemployment crises here, but it will add some fun to our life.

Movie of the Week Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a CIA operative working in Jordan searching for terrorists. Ferris uncovers information on the mastermind Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul) and devises a plan to infiltrate Al-Saleem's terrorist network with the help of his boss Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe). Ferris enlists the help of the Chief of Jordanian Intelligence, Hani Salaam (Mark Strong), but he doesn't know how far he can trust him without putting his life in danger.
This is your chance to listen to DiCaprio speaking Arabic
I give it (A).

Life goes on….
Abdullah Al Alami

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