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Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saudi Arabia. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2019

Over 3 Million Illegal Expats Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Over 3 Million Illegal Expats Arrested in Saudi Arabia

Over 3 Million Illegal Expats Arrested in Saudi Arabia


Highlights

At least 19 government departments have been taking part in the joint field campaign that started in November 2017 to flush out all illegal residents from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Interior Ministry's "A Nation Free of Illegals" campaign has succeeded in arresting a total of 3,408,691 expatriates who were living in the Kingdom in violation of residency or labor regulations.




Campaign officials said as many as 846,858 detainees were deported to their respective home countries.

The nationwide campaign was launched in November 2017 with the participation of 19 ministries and government departments including the Passport Police and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

The officials said 2,657,979 expatriates were arrested for violating the system of residency, 525,532 for violating labor regulations and 225,180 for breaching border security.

They said 57,206 people attempted to sneak into the Kingdom across its southern borders. About 49 percent of the infiltrators were Ethiopians, 48 percent Yemenis and remaining 3 percent were people of various other nationalities.

The campaign officials said 2,495 people were caught while attempting to leave the Kingdom illegally.

They said 3,975 people including 1,360 Saudis involved in providing accommodation and transport to illegal residents were arrested.

As many as 13,088 expatriates, including 10,965 men and 2,123 women, are being held in various detention centers in the Kingdom, the officials said.

They said 441,702 illegal expatriates were referred to their respective embassies and consulates to issue them with travel documents while 562,300 others were completing procedures for final exit.

Source





Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Kuwait likely to reconsider visa restrictions on Pakistanis

Kuwait likely to reconsider visa restrictions on Pakistanis

Kuwait likely to reconsider visa restrictions on Pakistanis


  • Emir assures Islamabad of a revision of policies in the matter
  • FM Qureshi apprised him of issues arising from the move

ISLAMABAD: Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabeh assured Pakistan’s Foreign Minister on Sunday that he will make personal efforts to resolve issues faced by Pakistanis due to visa restrictions imposed last month.

Al-Sabeh gave this assurance to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who called on him in Kuwait City on Sunday, after Qureshi apprised him of the difficulties faced by the more than 100,000 Pakistani nationals in Kuwait since the ban took effect.

Last month, Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior had placed restrictions on the issuance of visit or entry visas to nationals from five countries including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran, and Pakistan.

Qureshi also met with Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah where he discussed issues of mutual interest.

FM Al-Sabah, for his part, assured his counterpart that the visa policy would be reviewed and all possible cooperation would be extended to Pakistani nationals.




Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Pakistan, India hope to reap investment from Saudi prince's visit

Pakistan, India hope to reap investment from Saudi prince's visit

Pakistan, India hope to reap investment from Saudi prince's visit


NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to announce investments in energy and infrastructure during a visit to India and Pakistan in coming days as part of his efforts to wean the Saudi economy off oil exports.



He is also expected to visit China, Malaysia and Indonesia during a tour that will be his first through the region since the storm over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Prince Mohammed is expected to sign agreements, mostly linked to a refinery and the power sector, during the trip to Pakistan this weekend, Pakistani officials said.

The memorandums of understanding will include renewable energy projects and investments in petrochemicals and mineral resources, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

The prince is expected in New Delhi next week, along with leading Saudi businessmen, at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was among a handful of leaders who attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October, an event boycotted by many companies and world leaders in protest over Khashoggi’s killing.

India’s Modi met the prince in November, when they were both in Argentina for a Group of 20 summit. Saudi Arabia is India’s top supplier of crude oil but the two countries have expanded ties beyond energy, and their governments have agreed to build a strategic partnership, the foreign ministry said.

In a statement, it cited cooperation in areas including energy security, trade and investment, infrastructure, defense and security.

India is expecting Prince Mohammed to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways, an Indian official said.

Saudi state media said Saudi officials will discuss an investment in NIIF.

Saudi Arabia has also flagged a desire to invest in India’s farm sector, with products to be exported to Saudi, another official at the trade ministry said.

REFINERY HITCH
However, progress on a $44 billion refinery that Indian state-run oil companies agreed to build with Saudi Aramco on India’s west coast has been held up by strong opposition from mango farmers who will lose their land.

Since taking office in 2014, Modi has sought to use India’s fast-growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations.

As a fellow Muslim country, Pakistan has long maintained strong ties with Saudi Arabia. In late October, Riyadh offered Pakistan a $6 billion loan to help keep its ailing economy afloat.

   Saudi Arabia has also announced plans for a $10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex at the coastal city of Gwadar, where China is building a port as part of its vast Belt and Road initiative.

North Korea may have made more nukes: study
    “They’re looking at the energy sector, at some of our privatization plans that they might bid for through our privatization process,” Pakistani investment minister Haroon Sharif told Reuters.

    Sharif, who chairs Pakistan’s Board of Investment, said there was also Saudi interest in Pakistan’s mining sector.

    “Saudi Arabia has huge resources. Their investment fund is over $1 trillion, so we want just a fraction of that,” said a second Pakistani minister, who did not wish to be named.

Saudi state news said Saudi officials will discuss investments with China, South Korea and Indonesia, in sectors including healthcare and telecommunications, without giving further details.

Read on Reuters





Friday, January 18, 2019

Saudi women runaways rebel against system of male control  - via AP

Saudi women runaways rebel against system of male control - via AP

Saudi women runaways rebel against system of male control  - via AP

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Another Saudi woman has turned to social media for protection from her father, just days after Canada granted refuge to Rahaf al-Qunun, the 18-year-old Saudi who fled her family.

Identified only as Nojoud al-Mandeel on Twitter, her case differs from that of al-Qunun. She has not fled the kingdom, has not revealed her face and has only made her pleas for help on Twitter in Arabic.

While their circumstances are different, the claims of abuse by the two women mirror those of other female Saudi runaways who have used social media to publicize their escapes.

There has been speculation that al-Qunun’s successful getaway will inspire others to copy her. However, powerful deterrents remain in place. If caught, runaways face possible death at the hands of relatives for purportedly shaming the family.

Saudi women fleeing their families challenge a system that grants men guardianship over women’s lives. This guardianship system starts in the home, where women must obey fathers, husbands and brothers. Outside the home, it is applied to citizens, often referred to as sons and daughters by Saudi rulers who demand obedience.

Hala Aldosari, a Saudi scholar and activist, said the male guardianship system replicates the ruling family’s model of governance, which demands full obedience to the king, who holds absolute power in decision-making.

“This is why the state is keen to maintain the authority of male citizens over women to ensure their allegiance,” she said, adding that this “hierarchical system of domination” necessitates “keeping women in line.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who’s introduced social reforms loosening restrictions on women, told The Atlantic that doing away with guardianship laws has to be done in a way that does not harm families and the culture. He said abolishing these laws would create problems for families that don’t want to give freedom to their daughters.

The issue of guardianship is extremely sensitive in the kingdom, where conservative families view what they consider the protection of women as a man’s duty.

More than a dozen women’s rights activists have been detained, many since May, after they campaigned against the guardianship system. Some had also wanted to create alternative shelters for women runaways.

Regardless of their age, women in Saudi Arabia must have the consent of a male relative to obtain a passport, travel or marry. In the past, a travel permit was a paper document issued by the Interior Ministry and signed by a male relative.

Today, Saudi men download a government mobile app that notifies them of a woman’s travel. Through the app, men can grant or deny a woman permission to travel. Some young women who have fled the country had managed to access their father’s phone, change the setting and disable its notifications.

In a statement read to reporters in Canada on Tuesday, al-Qunun said she wants to be independent, travel and make her own decisions.

“I am one of the lucky ones,” she said. “I know there are unlucky women who disappeared after trying to escape or who could not change their reality.”

That’s especially true for women from conservative tribal families, like al-Qunun’s.

Al-Qunun, one of 10 children, posted online that her father, Mohammed Mutliq al-Qunun, is the governor of the city of al-Sulaimi in the hilly hinterland of Ha’il — a province where nearly all women cover their face in black veils and wear loose black robes, or abayas, in public. The family belongs to the influential Shammar tribe, which extends to Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Middle East. Her father has considerable clout as a prominent town official and member of a powerful tribe.

Al-Qunun, who barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Thailand last week to avoid deportation, said she was abused by a brother and locked in her room for months for cutting her hair short. She said she would have been killed if sent back to her family.

According to government statistics, at least 577 Saudi women tried to flee their homes inside the country in 2015, though the actual number is likely higher. There are no statistics on attempted or successful escapes abroad.

Shahad al-Mohaimeed, 19, who fled abuse and an ultraconservative family in Saudi Arabia two years ago, said fear is a powerful deterrent.

“When a Saudi girl decides to flee, it means she’s decided to put her life on the line and take a very, very risky step,” said al-Mohaimeed, who now lives in Sweden.

Al-Qunun’s plight on social media drew international attention, helping her short-circuit the typically complex path to asylum. A little more than a week after fleeing Saudi Arabia, she was in Canada, building a new life, posting pictures of wine, bacon and donning a dress above the knees.

Back in Saudi Arabia, the woman identified as Nojoud al-Mandeel posted audio on Twitter on Monday alleging her father had beaten and burnt her “over something trivial”. She posted a video looking onto a neighbor’s gated pool, where she says she jumped from her bedroom window before a friend picked her up and they escaped.

“Don’t tell me to report to police,” she said, explaining that in a previous attempt, police just had her father sign a pledge saying he would not beat her again.

After her story gained some traction online, she was promised attention by a protection hotline in Saudi Arabia for domestic abuse victims. Prosecutors also reportedly began looking into her allegations of abuse, according to Saudi news sites.

She was placed in a domestic abuse shelter, but on Tuesday complained on Twitter about the shelter’s restrictions over her movements.

Al-Mohaimeed said Twitter is where Saudi women can share stories and be heard. She and two other Saudi women took over al-Qunun’s Twitter account, writing messages on her behalf during the height of her pleas last week to avoid deportation.

“I was not born in this world to serve a man,” al-Mohaimeed said. “I was born in this world to fulfill my dreams, achieve my dreams, grow, learn and be independent — to taste life as I hold it in my hands.”




Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Oil price to average $60-65 barrel  in 2019, unlikely to exceed $80: Expert

Oil price to average $60-65 barrel in 2019, unlikely to exceed $80: Expert

Oil price to average $60-65 barrel  in 2019, unlikely to exceed $80: Expert


Oil price is likely to average $60-$65/barrel in 2019, and is unlikely to exceed $80/barrel, Indosuez Wealth Management, the global wealth management arm of Crédit Agricole group, said last Dec. 13 at its 2018 Middle East Conference held in Dubai under the theme “Regional Transformation and its Challenges for Wealth Management and Millennials.”

Dr. Marie Owens Thomsen, Global Head of Investment Intelligence, Indosuez Wealth Management, said “the average WTI price in 2018 to date is $66/barrel. In 2019 we expect an average price between$ 60-65/barrel, barring geopolitical surprises that can of course cause overshooting in either direction.”

Leading the first session of the conference dedicated to the state and outlook of the global economy, Thomsen, commenting on current oil-prices, further said “high oil prices have a dampening effect on growth globally and this notably for oil importing countries. Our forecast was that the WTI oil price was unlikely, and remains unlikely, to exceed $80/barrel this year and next. Indeed, the high year-to-date was the $76.4/barrel reached on October 3. The price on December 7 is $51.2/barrel. That move is generally speaking positive for the global business cycle.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) left unchanged its projection for oil demand growth in 2019 at 1.4 million barrels per day (mbd).

It noted on Thursday however that growth in global demand has accelerated, from modest growth of 0.5 mbd year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, to 1.3 mbd in the third quarter.

The IEA sees it rising to 1.6 mbd in the final three months of this year.

While various measures of China’s economy have pointed to slowing growth, the IEA said the country’s thirst for oil remains unsated.

“China’s apparent oil demand increased strongly” in the third quarter, when it grew by 840,000 barrels per day.

“This trend has continued in October when growth is estimated to have been” 700,000 barrels per day, it added.

The IEA last month lowered its forecast for growth of global oil demand for 2018 and 2019, citing high prices, trade tensions and a less favorable economic outlook.

But oil prices, which struck $86 per barrel in October, then tumbled to $58 last month, prompting the opec oil cartel and Russia to agree on new production cuts to stabilize prices.

Lower oil prices tend to support demand for oil and economic activity.

The drop in oil prices “should help support demand in 2019”, said the IEA.

“The price impact is offset, however, by slightly lower economic growth assumptions and downward revisions to our projections for certain countries impacted by weak currencies, such as Turkey, or countries facing collapse, such as Venezuela,” said the Paris-based agency, which advises major oil-consuming nations.

Thomsen’s colleague Davis Hall, Global Head of Forex and Precious Metals, addresed gold’s relative underperformance over the past year due to a strengthening dollar and to the crisis in Turkey.

He said: “Turkey, which is a significant source of global gold demand, has been selling the yellow metal in response to the weakening lira. This has played a role in dragging down gold prices this past year, along with the stronger dollar which makes the yellow metal more expensive for investors in countries with weaker currencies. Gold remains an inflation hedge for investors holding global equities and our current forecast is that it will reach $1,315/Oz next year.”

Source: Saudi Gazette



Lower sulphur in marine fuel oil rule to cost $1 trillion over 5 years

Lower sulphur in marine fuel oil rule to cost $1 trillion over 5 years

Lower sulphur in marine fuel oil rule to cost $1 trillion over 5 years

(via Gulf News) The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) specification change, which needs lower sulphur content in marine fuel oil, will lead to more demand for US sweet crude (benchmark Western Texas Intermediate) compared to heavy sour crude, resulting in cost increases of $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) over five years, a senior official at S&P Platts told Gulf News.

The new IMO regulations will be implemented from January 1, 2020, under which the body will cap the sulphur content in marine fuels at 0.5 per cent, from 3.5 per cent currently.

Sweet crude is normally found in North America, Western Texas, North Sea of Europe, North Africa and Australia, Indonesia, while sour crude is commonly found in Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, South America and Canada. Crude produced by Opec members, which includes Gulf countries except Qatar and Oman, also tends to be relatively sour, with an average sulphur of 1.77 per cent.

“If you are a European refiner and normally running a dour crude, which is Russian crude in high sulphur fuel oil, you are going to lose your market for high sulphur fuel oil. It would become economic to import US crude and make bunkers from that,” Richard Joswick, managing director oil analytics at S&P Platts told Gulf News on the sidelines of a conference.

“Russian crude can go back to the Unites States or other countries like India, China that are designed for heavy sour crude, and free-up sweet crude for medium conversion refineries that don’t have it,” Joswick said. High sulphur fuel oil is 70 per cent bunker fuel.

The net effect, which is expected to be temporary and may last for only two years, is expected to increase the cost of most light product prices and freight costs, with a net transfer in excess of $1 trillion over five years from consumers to refiners, sweet crude producers, and others.

Giving more details on the arithmetic, Joswick said: the net impact would be that prices of diesel fuel, jet fuel, gasoline, sweet crude will all go up. “When we add all these pieces together — the higher costs of jet, diesel, and support for gasoline and sweet crude and freight cost and all those ramifications and spread that over a couple of years — you end up with a trillion dollars.”

However, the cost increase is expected to wither down in the short-term after the implementation of the new specification.

“This cost impact will not last forever. Ships will get more scrubbers, new refiners will start up, sweet production is increasing. Two years on in 2022, it would be back to a new normal. We would be using low sulphur fuel that won’t be as costly as it would be in 2020,” he added.
Source: Gulf News




Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saudi  Arabia stands firmly with Pakistan in every difficult time: Qaiser

Saudi Arabia stands firmly with Pakistan in every difficult time: Qaiser

Saudi  Arabia stands firmly with Pakistan in every difficult time: Qaiser



ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that Saudi Arabia is selfless friend of Pakistan and has stood firmly with Pakistan in every difficult time and provided assistance generously. 

He expressed these views while talking to Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki who called on him at Parliament House on Friday, says a press release. 

He said that Pakistan is proud of its exemplary friendship with Saudi Arabia. The speaker said that the long-term and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are based on respect and affection of the people of both the countries for each other. 

He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia shared common faith, culture, history and heritage. He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have commonality of views on regional and global issues and both the friends have always supported each other at regional and international forums. 

He said that the Parliament of Pakistan has also remained in the forefront to cement the brotherly relations. 

Qaiser urged the need to further strengthen the existing relations based on brotherhood and fraternity. 

He said that the honour and warm welcome extended by the Saudi Arabia government and people to Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia will prove milestone to further strengthen the bilateral relations. 

He appreciated the relief package given by Saudi government to overcome the financial crises in Pakistan. 

He said that a large number of Pakistani expatriates serving in various fields in Saudi Arabia and earning valuable foreign exchange for their homeland. 

The speaker stressed the need for concession in punishment to Pakistani people who have been convicted in minor offences in Saudi Arabia. He welcomed Saudi’s participation in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

He opined that bilateral relations will be further strengthened by investment of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan. He said that ties between the two parliaments will be cemented by reactivation of friendship groups in National Assembly of Pakistan. 

He said that unity among the Muslim countries was imperative to overcome the challenges confronted by Ummah. The Speaker also invited the Speaker of Saudi Majlis-e-Shoora to visit Pakistan. 

The Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Nawaf bin Saeed Al-Malki termed the relations between the two countries historic and unique. 

He said that Pakistan is the closest friend and ally of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He said that Shah Sulman and Crown Prince have a great respect and affection for Pakistan. He assured his government’s all-out support to Pakistan in diverse fields. 

He was confident that fraternal relations between both the countries would further strengthen by frequent interactions between the parliamentarians of both the countries. R 



Thursday, May 10, 2018

Saudi Arabia vows to develop nuclear weapon if Iran gets the bomb after Donald Trump warned of Middle East arms race

Saudi Arabia vows to develop nuclear weapon if Iran gets the bomb after Donald Trump warned of Middle East arms race

NUKE ARMS RACE Saudi Arabia vows to develop nuclear weapon if Iran gets the bomb after Donald Trump warned of Middle East arms race

Foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir said Riyadh that if Iran developed a nuclear weapons then 'we would do everything we can to do the same' 


SAUDI Arabia has vowed to develop nuclear weapons if Iran becomes an atomic power - a day after Donald Trump warned of a nuclear arms race in the region.

The Gulf state’s foreign minister said Riyadh would "build a bomb itself" if its mortal enemy resumes its nuke programme in light of America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

Speaking on CNN, Adel Al Jubeir said: “If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same."

He added: “We believe that the nuclear deal was flawed.”

In his speech yesterday, US President Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “defective at its core."

The Republican claims that the agreement meant that a “nuclear breakout” in the Islamic Republic could happen in a “short period of time.

Read full report on The Sun



Monday, May 7, 2018

سعودی عرب: 8 لاکھ 11 ہزار ملازمین کی نوکریاں خطرے میں پڑ گئیں، ملک چھوڑ گئے

سعودی عرب: 8 لاکھ 11 ہزار ملازمین کی نوکریاں خطرے میں پڑ گئیں، ملک چھوڑ گئے

سعودی عرب: 8 لاکھ 11 ہزار ملازمین کی نوکریاں خطرے میں پڑ گئیں، ملک چھوڑ گئے

ایکسپریس 7 مئی 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince - RT

Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince - RT


The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the 
Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia's Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

US President Donald Trump holds a chart of military hardware sales as he welcomes Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, March 20, 2018 / Jonathan Ernst3yrs of civilian deaths in Yemen don’t hold US & allies back from selling arms to Saudis – Amnesty

He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying "we have to get it all back." Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based "foundations," rather than from the government.

The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner "in his pocket."

Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump's son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.

He said it would be "really insane" for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner "work together as friends, more than partners." He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.

The crown prince also spoke about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak.

Although the coalition has been accused of a large number of civilian deaths and disregard for civilian lives - an accusation which Riyadh denies - the crown prince said his country has not passed up "any opportunity" to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.

The interview with the crown prince was initially held off the record. However, the Saudi embassy later agreed to led the Washington Post publish specific portions of the meeting.

Read on source: Russia Today




Friday, February 9, 2018

Saudi Arabia allows Indian flights to Israel to use its airspace: Haaretz

Saudi Arabia allows Indian flights to Israel to use its airspace: Haaretz

For the first time, Saudi Arabia has allowed Indian airlines to use its airspace to fly to Israel, marking a first in public recognition of the kingdom’s warming relations with Israel, according to Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’.

This is the first case of Saudi Arabia allowing any flights to Israel to pass through its airspace.

It described that the approved New Delhi-Tel Aviv route is the first concrete evidence of “warm” relations between Israel and Saudi leadership.

Haaretz also saw the move as indicative of the growing influence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Israel last month and is expected to fly to Ramallah and Jordan next week.

The newspaper explained that this will shorten flights by half their length compared to the path currently used, and it will enable less fuel consumption: which equates lower ticket prices for passengers.

Moreover, it noted that aside from diplomatic repercussions, the move will serve as a blow to Israeli airline ‘El Al’, which is not expected to receive similar flight privileges from Saudi Arabia at this stage. 

Instead, India will now be able to operate a journey at least three hours shorter and much cheaper than the Israel’s El Al service to Mumbai, which takes a long route around the Arabian Peninsula.

The newspaper added that Saudi Arabia had closed its airspace to flights en route to Israel not only for Saudi airlines, but to all other countries for almost seven decades.

Over the past two decades, only two flights have departed directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel: Flights taken by former-US President George Bush’s and President Donald Trump.





Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Heavy rain brings pain back to Jeddah  - forces rescued 400 people in Makkah

Heavy rain brings pain back to Jeddah - forces rescued 400 people in Makkah


Heavy rain brings pain back to Jeddah  - forces rescued 400 people in Makkah

JEDDAH: Civil Defense forces rescued 400 people in Makkah region who were trapped due to rainfall, and responded to 250 reports of electrocution, said Makkah Civil Defense spokesman Col. Saeed Sarhan. Two of those electrocuted died, and three are in stable condition.

The Disaster Management Center in Makkah announced the continuation of rainfall in the region, extending to the city of Al-Leith, and warned people against being in valleys.

Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal has been monitoring the situation at the center along with the deputy governor of Makkah for security affairs, and representatives of all relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb on Tuesday issued directives to the head of the Public Prosecution Branch in Makkah region and head of the Department of Jeddah province and all branches and departments in all parts of the Kingdom that the Public Prosecution should be fully ready to proceed with all matters related to any cases associated with the recent flash flooding in Jeddah.

He underlined that all officials should carry out their duty “to the fullest extent with no nepotism, and that they have the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute.”

The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP) said rainfall will continue in the region, and will include Jeddah, Usfan, Dhaban, Bahra, Khulais, Makkah and Taif.

Flooding is expected, accompanied by active surface winds and possible hail showers. Relevant authorities said they have received thousands of calls from citizens and residents.

Sarhan said the rain has caused some damage to public and private properties, and people are urging authorities to investigate the causes of the delay in implementing drainage projects in Jeddah.

He added that coordination rooms have been set up in the Department of Civil Defense for all affected cities and towns. The rain started in Rabigh and continued south through Thuwal, reaching Jeddah. The Civil Defense said the rain has created pools of water that are dangerous to children.

GAMEP said the weather observatory at King Abdul Aziz Airport was struck by lightning, causing damage to the exterior that is being repaired, but the observatory is functioning as normal.

Meanwhile, Border Guards in Makkah activated the Clouds 38 plan, which is designed to support the Civil Defense in case of rain and flooding in the area.

The Search and Rescue Coordination Center for the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is implementing the plan.

Regular reports are being sent to the coordination center, as per the instructions of the commander of the Border Guards in Makkah, Maj. Gen. Talal bin Ali Al-Shamrani. Search-and-rescue teams are supporting Civil Defense operations when needed.

Border Guards spokesman Maj. Fares Al-Malki urged all citizens and residents to follow the instructions and heed the warnings of the Civil Defense.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hajj 2017 comes to a close peacefully - 2.35 Hajis performed Hajj in 2017 - Sudia welcomes and thanks them all

Hajj 2017 comes to a close peacefully - 2.35 Hajis performed Hajj in 2017 - Sudia welcomes and thanks them all



Karachi / MAKKAH (September 5) – More than 2.35 million pilgrims have completed Hajj this year, fulfilling their religious duty in peace and unity at the holiest city in Islam, Makkah.

Saudi Arabia welcomed the world to the five-day pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, with pilgrims from dozens of countries coming together in what many consider the highlight of their spiritual lives.

In all, 2,352,122 pilgrims traveled to Makkah for this year’s Hajj, 1.75 million of whom were from outside the Kingdom. Just over 1 million came from Asia, and nearly 400,000 traveled from non-GCC countries. Close to 200,000 arrived from African countries. Nearly 100,000 pilgrims traveled from European countries, while the United States and Australia together accounted for around 25,000 pilgrims. Almost 33,000 came from GCC countries.

“Welcoming pilgrims from all around the globe is the honor and duty of Saudi Arabia, under the auspices and direct guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. We make every effort and spare no expense in ensuring that pilgrims have a peaceful and fulfilling Hajj” said Dr. Awwad Alawwad, the Minister of Culture and Information.

“Whether it is providing lodging at Mina or staffing health facilities or giving pilgrims helpful information bracelets, we do everything we can to take care of those traveling to Makkah. Our efforts to improve this experience are constant and ongoing” Dr. Alawwad added.

The logistics of Hajj

As always, the creation of a temporary city to accommodate more than two million people meant that Saudi Arabia again had to go to extraordinary lengths to protect the health, safety and well-being of pilgrims.

There were 15 medical centres at Makkah and nearby Holy sites, staffed by more than 30,000 trained medical professionals. During the course of Hajj, doctors performed more than 2,600 free surgical procedures, and nearly 60,000 pilgrims received some form of medical treatment.

Of the foreigners who traveled to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, more than 1.6 million arrived by air, most traveling through Jeddah and Madinah, where airports have special terminals dedicated exclusively to handling Hajj pilgrims. 

These facilities, paid for and constructed by Saudi Arabia, are just one example of the fruits of the tens of billions of dollars Saudi Arabia has invested since the 1950s to improve and enhance access to Makkah, the upkeep of the Grand Mosque, and the Hajj experience itself.

As always, a focal point of Hajj was the vast tent city at Mina, where pilgrims stayed in air- conditioned tents constructed of fire-retardant materials. In the tent city, the pilgrims were grouped by nationality.

Of course, a massive undertaking like Hajj can sometimes be daunting and confusing for pilgrims, which is why 2017 marked the second consecutive year that pilgrims were issued individual electronic identification bracelets.

Each bracelet contained a pilgrim’s personal information and any special medical needs they might have. The devices, which are water-resistant and contain GPS data, also were used to provide pilgrims with up-to-date information on prayer schedules and other details related to Hajj. 

The bracelets could also be used to connect with a multi-lingual help desk in which other, more detailed questions could be asked and answered.

The utility of the wrist bracelet was augmented by regular Hajj updates texted by the Saudi organisers to the pilgrims’ mobile devices. All information was also updated to two websites dedicated to Hajj 2017: SaudiWelcomesTheWorld.org and Hajj2017.org.

The following list is a representative example of the resources that the Saudi Authorities deployed to ensure a safe and smooth Hajj season:

  • 122,252 staff members representing more than 20 governmental entities working around the clock
  • 14,000 staff members from the Makkah Region Development Authority to facilitate pedestrian movement at the holy sites and operate and maintain the ‘Hajj metro’
  • 6,300 staff members from the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque providing cold Zamzam water for pilgrims at prayer sites
  • 4,480 staff members providing municipal services for pilgrims, citizens and residents in Makkah and the Holy sites
  • 4,470 staff members from the General Department of Passports to prepare and equip the entry ports to receive pilgrims
  • 3,706 scouts providing a wide range of services such as directions to lost pilgrims 
  • 2,935 volunteers under the Ministry of Hajj from different nationalities and backgrounds
  • 2,280 Civil Defense staff members for firefighting and emergency rescues, overseeing safety measures and contributing to medical evacuation
  • 1,650 media professionals providing media services and live coverage to more than 104 TV channels and 19 radio stations
  • 1,500 technicians
  • 1,307 staff members and technicians from the National Water Company
  • 279 staff members from the Saudi Food & Drug Authority to ensure food safety
  • 240 inspectors from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development to inspect establishments
  • 130 help desks manned by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance to answer pilgrims’ questions in all languages
  • 67 Civil Defense centers in Makkah, Madina and the Holy sites


The spirit of Hajj

Hajj, of course, is about more than raw numbers; each pilgrim has his own deeply personal experience. And pilgrims bring their own unique perspective to this fulfillment of a religious duty.

One of the oldest pilgrims was 104-year-old Ibu Mariah Marghani Muhammad, from Indonesia, who arrived in Jeddah on August 26 and later in the week said in Makkah that her pilgrimage journey was an “experience that I will never forget”. 

Another young Indonesian pilgrim, Mochammad Kahmim Setiawan, travelled 9,000 km by foot on a yearlong “spiritual adventure” before he arrived for this year's Hajj.

These are just several of thousands upon thousands of personal stories that illustrate the importance of Hajj to Muslims the world over.

The spirit of Hajj was perhaps best captured by senior Saudi cleric Sheikh Saad Al Shathri in a sermon delivered August 31 at Mount Arafat, who said that one of the primary intentions of Hajj is “to cultivate benevolence in people’s hearts. This is no place for partisan slogans or sectarian movements.”

As pilgrims begin to return to their home countries, Saudi Arabia is already beginning to plan for next year’s Hajj. The work of organizing and hosting the world’s largest annual gathering never stops.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

2 million pilgrims arrived in Makkah - performed Hajj 2017 - Pakistani takes lead in numbers

2 million pilgrims arrived in Makkah - performed Hajj 2017 - Pakistani takes lead in numbers



Karachi / Jeddah: With the annual Hajj pilgrimage having officially started, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced the arrival of 2 million pilgrims to the Holy City of Makkah. 

Saudi Arabia shoulders the responsibility of organising and conducting the pilgrimage, under the supervision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, as well as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. 

“Hosting Hajj each year is an honour and a great responsibility for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one we hold dear to our hearts. We spare no effort when it comes to the well-being of pilgrims and our number one priority is to welcome individuals from all over the world as they seek to fulfil their religious and spiritual duty,” said HE Dr. Awwad Alawwad, Minister of Culture and Information. 

Welcoming the world 

This year, pilgrims have come from over dozens of countries. Among other nationalities, Saudi Arabia has to date welcomed:

184,000 pilgrims from Pakistan
170,000 pilgrims from India 
127,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh 
90,000 pilgrims from Turkey
41,200 pilgrims from Malaysia 
23,500 pilgrims from Russia
12,700 pilgrims from China
6,000 pilgrims from the Philippines
3,500 pilgrims from South Africa

Hajj by the numbers

About 94 per cent of pilgrims have arrived by air. In order to reduce congestion and facilitate smooth passenger movement, the airports in Jeddah and Madinah have built dedicated terminals for pilgrims.

Some pilgrims travel by bus, minivan and car. This year, more than 30,000 vehicles have arrived. There are over 17,000 special buses operated by more than 22,000 drivers that transport pilgrims within the venue.  

During Hajj, over 2.64 million meals are distributed daily. More than 2,000 Saudi Red Crescent Authority personnel have been deployed in Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites to provide ambulance services for pilgrims.

According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, more than 2,100 free medical procedures have already been performed on pilgrims.

Humans of Hajj

Beyond the impressive numbers and the logistical endeavour that managing the logistics around Hajj represents, the pilgrimage is both a deeply individual and a communal spiritual moment, as Muslims, regardless of their age and background, come together to observe their faith. 

One of this year’s oldest pilgrims is 104-year-old Mariah Marghani Muhammad from Indonesia. For her, as for others a wide range of services has been made available to ensure their comfort during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Modern technology

Even though Hajj is one of the world’s oldest pilgrimage, it incorporates modern technology to enhance the experience of pilgrims and ensure their safety and well-being.  To this end, every pilgrim has been given an electronic identification bracelet containing personal and medical information to enable the Hajj authorities to identify individuals and provide necessary care. 

The water-resistant and GPS-enabled bracelets that inform the pilgrims about prayer times also feature a multi-lingual help desk for non-Arabic speaking pilgrims.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information has launched two portals - Hajj2017.org and SaudiWelcomesTheWorld.org - to provide further assistance to pilgrims, as well as keep the rest of the world, including global media, informed and updated during this period. 

Hajj concludes on September 4.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More than 2 million pilgrims gather in Makkah for Haj rituals starting tomorrow

More than 2 million pilgrims gather in Makkah for Haj rituals starting tomorrow



Courtesy: Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — More than two million pilgrims from abroad and inside have assembled in Makkah to start their Haj rituals from tomorrow (Wednesday) with the grand ascent to Mina where they will stay for five days during which they will throw pebbles at the three Jamarat (huge pillars symbolizing the devil), slaughter their sacrificial animals and proceed to the Grand Mosque to do Tawaf Al-Ifadah. The pilgrims will early Thursday proceed to Arafat, a valley which is about nine km away from Makkah. They will stay there from morning to sunset at the Haj climax.

From Arafat, the pilgrims will proceed to Muzdalifah where they will pray Maghreb and Isha together and leave for Mina after midnight or early morning Friday, which is the Eid Al-Adha day.

According to health authorities, there are no epidemics or contagious diseases among the guests of God so far.

The authorities said as many as 357 pilgrims from various nationalities have been admitted to hospitals in Makkah.

They said, on improvement and recovery, the pilgrims will be discharged to do their Haj rituals but those who are still sick will be taken by ambulances to the holy sites to complete their pilgrimage.

The Health Ministry said so far 318 heart catheter operations were conducted in addition to 19 open-heart surgeries, 402 various surgeries and 1,155 kidney dialysis.

The ministry has prepared 48 beds in Mina Al-Wadi Hospital for the sunstroke and heat exhaustion. Meanwhile, the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has provided about 15,000 electric cars and wheelchairs for the old and pilgrims with special needs to use free of charge in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

The presidency said the cars could be obtained at the western and eastern plazas of the Grand Mosque. This is in addition to a number of other cars and wheelchairs offered for rent.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced that a total of 865,800 pilgrims have visited Madinah before the Haj to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and pray in his mosque.

All the pilgrims have left Madinah for Makkah for the performance of the pilgrimage.

Many pilgrims prefer to visit Madinah before Haj especially those who arrive early in the Kingdom while others do this after the Haj is over.

According to a statistical report by the branch of the ministry until Sunday, there were 51,277 pilgrims still remaining in Madinah consisting of 16,478 pilgrims from Nigeria.

About 8,000 Saudi boy scouts are volunteering to serve the pilgrims providing them with direction and guidance. They are stationed in Makkah, Madinah, the holy sites, the Haj air terminals and the land and sea inlets.

Education Minister, Ahmed Al-Issa, who is the chairman of the society of the Saudi boy scouts, on Monday inspected their camps in the holy sites. He was accompanied by the chairman of the State Security Abdulaziz Al-Huwarini.



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