• Jeddah, what have they done to you? The most cosmopolitan, diverse, and tolerant of all Saudi cities looks crowded, ruined and torn apart. I miss the days when I drove from Kilo 10 Makkah Road to any spot in my hometown in 15 minutes or less. Today, I need at least 45 minutes from one district to another, and that’s just one way!
• According to the Director of the Science Education Institute Dr. Filma Brawner, the number of Filipino Science Education Institute workers in Saudi Arabia is continuously increasing from 9,000 to more than 16,000. The highest volume in 12 years. What do they do? Mostly employed as nurses, midwives, IT professionals, statisticians, physicists and chemists.
• Saudi Arabian Airlines has received a new Boeing 777 ER300 aircraft as part of its new 20 aircraft fleet. This is good news. Saudia is also about to expand its fleet with dozens of new aircrafts from Boeing and Airbus in order to increase its domestic and international flights. I am really more concerned about the level of service Saudia provides rather than the number of airplanes placed in service.
• A few weeks ago I wrote about “Nitaqat.” I still receive letters from expatriates asking about transfers and visas. Well, the Ministry of Labor’s announcement is clear. Expatriate workers employed by companies that are in the red zone are entitled for re-entry visas as long as their residency permits were valid. As for visas, expatriates with more than six years of service in companies in the yellow zone are entitled to move to those in the green zone even without the consent of their employers.
• Summer is here and the temperature is soaring, so drink lots of water but stay away from the other stuff. I’m talking about avoiding the locally brewed spirit including those who try to convince you they have the inside track on a ready-made supply of beer. Yes you can go blind. “The Emirates” reported that Saudi Arabia’s police arrested a local man on charges of producing home-made liquor and the man is infected with AIDS.
• The sad news this week was the death of a 34-year-old Saudi man who died after a wild chase by members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Baljurashi. His five-month pregnant wife and two children were severely injured as a result of the accident. Commission of Inquiry condemned security and the religious police patrol.
Tweet: “Let a wrong-doing repeat itself at least three times: The first may be an accident, the second a mistake, but the third is likely to be intentional.” African proverb