November 7, 2008

SaudiNews (Nov 1-7, 2008)

My words
Last week I attended a reception at the UNDP in Riyadh on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the United Nations. The new UN Resident Coordinator in Riyadh Dr. Riyad Al-Ahmad and his team did everything possible to make this event a success….and it was.

Heavy rains across the Kingdom last week caused hundreds of accidents in Riyadh, Qassim and Jeddah….More to come (see pictures below).

Khalid Al-Falih has been appointed as the new president of Saudi Aramco. On Jan 1, Al-Falih will take over from Abdallah Jum’ah, who has been holding the position for the last 14 years.
I have worked with Mr. Jum’ah staff back in 1984, his leadership and human skills are superb. I wish Mr. Al-Falih the best of luck.

Warning! Do not employ, transport or accommodate foreigners overstaying Haj or Umrah visas. Passports Office announced that violators would be fined a minimum of SR10,000 and may also be sent to jail.

Jeddah Ghair - A monumental $250 million structure (similar to the London Eye or Millennium Wheel in Britain) is to be built in Jeddah as part of the Jeddah City Center project. The project will include a hotel, a museum, shopping malls and a variety of restaurants and cafes. The central area will also have a park, a beach, a museum, an open arena for festivities and a fountain.
I hope the Jeddah Eye will convey our desire to become one of the leading global economic powers and a peace loving nations.

A court in Madinah acquitted two members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue of their involvement in an accident that caused the death of four Saudis including two women. The two vice cops were accused of tracking the vehicle carrying the four when the accident took place. The two were then accused of misusing their power.
"The two commission officials are innocent and have nothing to do with the accident," the court said. I understand the ruing is being appealed….like everything else.

On Monday the Council of Ministers issued a statement emphasizing the government’s resolve to protect the rights of women and prevent violence against them and called for efforts to increase awareness among women about their rights.
We don’t need more media propaganda. Many Royal and ministerial decrees were issued in the past to protect the rights of women but were not implemented. Our judicial system is still bureaucratic and women’s rights are still being violated.

Innocent Question

Will public hunger strikes draw “foreign” attention to our internal problems? Is this the way we express our anger at the detention (without charge) of political reformists?

Did you know that in 2003 Saudi Arabia had foiled a terror plot by Saudi militants who planned to hijack a plane and blow it up over Los Angeles?
The authorities here indicted 991 suspected militants on charges they participated in over 30 terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia over the last five years. These attacks killed 164 people, including 74 security officials, and wounded hundreds. As you know, 15 of the 19 idiots who have hijacked and attacked the United States on Sept 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia.

Life goes on….

Abdullah Al Alami

Water Water Everywhere...

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