Leaders of some 20 Islamic states have declared that it is an Islamic duty to come to terms with climate change. This includes moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Saudi Gazette reports. The report does not present any sort of action plan or timeline, but only that something must be done.

Islamic leaders take a stance to tackle Global Warming
Saudi Gazette report

Islamic leaders from 20 countries launched a bold Climate Change Declaration to engage the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims on this urgent issue.

Adopted by the 60 participants at the International Islamic Climate Change Symposium held early last week in Istanbul, the Declaration urges governments to deliver a strong, new international climate agreement in Paris this December that will signal the end of the road for polluting fossil fuels. The Declaration can give us a chance to limit global warming levels by 2 or preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Declaration presents the moral case, based on Islamic teachings, for Muslims and people of all faiths worldwide to take urgent climate action. It was drafted by a large, diverse team of international Islamic scholars from around the world following a lengthy consultation period prior to the symposium.

The Declaration calls for a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels and a switch to 100% renewable energy as well as increased support for vulnerable communities who are already suffering from the impact of climate change. People from all walks of life are calling on governments to scale up the transition away from fossil fuels. Wealthy and oil-producing nations are urged to phase out all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. All people, leaders and businesses are invited to commit to 100% renewable energy in order to tackle climate change, reduce poverty, and achieve sustainable development.


August:28:2015 - 08:55 | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The plunge in the Chinese stock market hammered stock markets around the world. Saudi Arabia wasn’t spared. The Saudi market, Tadawal, dropped 5.88% with most of the damage coming to oil futures, Arab News reports. China, now the largest importer of Saudi oil, is seen to be facing a contraction and thus lower demand for oil. This is driving oil prices down around the world. The Gulf, already facing economic pressure from lower oil prices since last year, is going to be squeezed a bit more.

Tadawul slips to 29-month low
Khalil Hanware

JEDDAH: The Saudi stock market (Tadawul) had a steep fall as crude oil futures fell sharply on Monday.

The plunge was a 29-month low, which erased more than SR375 billion ($100 billion) of market value.

The Tadawul All-Share Index dropped 5.88 percent to 7,024.6 points, breaking major technical support on its December low of 7,226 points.

The value of traded shares reached SR7.83 billion on Monday despite big drops in petrochemical, industrial investment and real estate sectors.

The Tadawul index, which plunged 6.9 percent on Sunday, has now lost 23 percent in August, erasing more than $100 billion of market value, Reuters reported.

James Reeve, deputy chief economist and assistant general manager at Samba Financial Group, told Arab News that most global stock markets have been oversold and there will be some bounce back, especially in the United States and Europe.


August:25:2015 - 06:34 | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The slaughter of animals, primarily sheep but also camels, is a part of Eid Al-Adha which marks the end of Haj. This year, due to the presences of MERS in Saudi Arabia, the sacrifice of camels will be banned. While the exact route of transmission of the disease is still not perfectly known, it is known that camels play some role. So, in the interest of safety, they’re not going to be available this year. The ban will have economic consequences for Egypt, Sudan, and Somalia, traditional sources of camels brought into Saudi Arabia. Antibodies to the MERS virus have been found in at least some camels across the Middle East though the disease is more prevalent in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States.

No camel slaughter during this Haj
MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN

RIYADH: In a major step toward preventing the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) among pilgrims, the Kingdom will impose a ban on sacrificing camels as part of the Haj rituals this year.

As part of the pilgrimage, each person must sacrifice or pay for part of the sacrifice of a sheep, goat, cow or camel. The cooked meat is then shared with the poor.

Camels are thought to harbor the virus, and health officials suspect that sporadic zoonotic transmission plays a role in fueling MERS-CoV transmission in the Middle East, especially in the Kingdom, the hardest-hit country.

During the past 48 hours, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported three deaths and 15 new MERS cases.


August:22:2015 - 07:38 | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

After many years’ delay, Saudi women are finally able to vote. Their political franchise was promised years ago, then delayed because Saudi custom required an elaborate piece of theater to ensure that unrelated members of the opposite sex didn’t meet at the polling stations. But now, Saudi Gazette reports, women are finally registering to vote in the municipal elections to be held later this year.

KSA sees first female voter registrations
Saudi Gazette report

MADINAH — They don’t know each other, and are separated by about 450km, but Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat became the first two women to register as voters for the upcoming third municipal elections in Madinah and Makkah respectively.

“The participation of the Saudi women in the municipal elections as voters and candidates was a dream for us,” Saadi said. “The move will enable Saudi women to have a say in the process of the decision-making.”

Voter registration began in the Two Holy Cities on Sunday, a week earlier than the rest of the Kingdom. Both women said they had thoroughly prepared all the documents they would need so that nothing would stop them from participating in elections for the first time.

“I was quite ready for this day,” Saadi said. “I have prepared all the documents needed to obtain a voter’s card. This is a nice experience to go through. We are just at the beginning of the road.”


August:18:2015 - 08:20 | Comments Off | Permalink

After several weeks passing with no reports of new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, 21 cases have appeared in a week, Saudi media report. This Arab News article points to Riyadh as the hot spot. So far, the Kingdom has seen 1092 cases and 475 deaths from the disease. Reports suggest that this outbreak is hitting health care workers harder than the general public. Because initial symptoms are ambiguous, those workers may not be taking the necessary containment steps when they see new patients.

Riyadh hotbed of MERS, reports 20 of 21 cases
MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN

RIYADH: Majority of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus cases last week were from Riyadh, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Health( MoH) for a period of seven days ending Saturday.

Speaking to Arab News, MoH spokesman Dr. Khalid Al-Mirghalani pointed out that 20 of the 21 cases diagnosed positive for the virus during this period were from the capital, while the other was from Abha.

He said that the cases were detected out of 844 samples that were tested in the MoH laboratories in all parts of the Kingdom. He indicated that five of the positive cases are being treated at the MoH hospitals and the other 16 are being attended by government and non-government hospitals in the capital.


August:16:2015 - 17:23 | Comments Off | Permalink

France’s International Institute of Nuclear Energy (I2EN) will be cooperating with Saudi Arabia to train Saudi engineers in the handling of nuclear reactors, Arab News reports. The Saudis see nuclear energy as one of the better means of producing the electricity the country consumes in prodigious quantities.

French scientists to train Saudis in nuclear energy
RASHID HASSAN

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) joined hands with the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (12EN) to train Saudi engineering graduates in nuclear energy programs to achieve its vision 2032, which aims to replace 50 percent of the dependence on traditional fossil fuels with eco-friendly atomic and renewed energy.

“K.A.CARE organized a training program of skill development in the field of nuclear energy for 26 trainees from the engineering faculty of King Abdulaziz University (KAU),” a K.A.CARE spokesman said on Thursday.

The program was organized in collaboration with the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (12EN), AREVA and EDF Center, he added.

Notably, the International Institute of Nuclear Energy (I2EN) is a French government initiative to bring together the leading universities and engineering schools to contribute in helping country partners of France in the responsible development of nuclear energy.


August:15:2015 - 07:02 | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Saudi Gazette reports that the Saudi government is going to be strictly enforcing its permitting process during Haj. The government announced stiff fines and jail sentences for those caught “people-smuggling” individuals lacking Haj permits into Mecca. Expat smugglers will be deported upon release from jail.

Pilgrim smugglers sternly warned

RIYADH — The Ministry of Interior has issued a stern warning to motorists transporting people who intend perform Haj without permit to Makkah and the holy sites.

It said any driver found transporting illegal pilgrims would be arrested, imprisoned for 15 days and his vehicle seized.

The illegal pilgrim, whether he is a Saudi or an expatriate, faces a fine of SR10,000. If the driver repeats the offense, he will be jailed for two months and will have to pay a fine of SR25,000 for every pilgrim he transported.

If the driver repeats the violation again after he was punished for a second time, the prison term will be raised to six months and the amount of fine to SR50,000.

Expatriate violators will be deported upon release from prison and will be barred from entering the Kingdom for a specified period. The ministry said the decision would be enforced during this Haj season.


August:15:2015 - 06:55 | Comments Off | Permalink

Wow! Just wow!

For some reason, Saudi Gazette saw fit to translate one of the more sweeping pieces of idiocy I’ve seen in the Saudi press for quite some time. The article, appearing in the Arabic daily Al-Riyadh falls in the pits of conspiracy theory in a rather breathtaking way. ISIS is the creation of foreign enemies, Zionists, and Free-Masons! Zionists are being embedded in Saudi society to destroy it from within! There’s nothing wrong with Saudi schools or their curriculum and all criticism is foreign-inspired!

Are we the ones exporting terror?
Abdullah Al-Nasser | Al-Riyadh

Are we the ones exporting terrorism to the world? I raise this serious question because the Kingdom’s enemies no longer cause any uproar over this. Neither the Zionists, the American ultra right, the hate groups in the West, nor the Magian Iran does raise this issue any more. However, we discern this when some people in Zionist garbs in our country talk or make their presentations.

Earlier, the fingers were pointed at us from afar. Then they showed their ugly face in the press and on television. Frankly, I am sure there are Zionists who have been planted among us. These are agents who had been given exhaustive training. They were selected with utmost care after studying their psyche, mentality, inclinations, deviations and moral upbringing. Then they were placed among us in suitable jobs so they would gradually rise to key positions in the Arab media, as loyal and efficient agents serving the Zionist scheme and defending it with ferocity and zeal.

I wrote many times about such people and warned against their machinations and the danger they pose to the Muslim nation. I said that they are a disgraceful lot and an evil. When we take them in our fold and trust them, we are keeping evil, treachery and meanness with us. Exposing them is a duty to the nation and the Ummah. There is no more time for civility or shutting our eyes before their mean practices.


August:13:2015 - 07:11 | Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Permalink

Saudi media reports on how social media is pointing fingers at the bad behavior of Saudi tourists in Europe. This Saudi Gazette story notes that self-criticism has been unleashed, with harsh criticism extended toward those who seem to ignore the simplest social niceties while abroad.

Saudi tourists’ behavior stirs social media storm
Saleh Fareed | Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Tourists from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are the target of harsh criticisms on social media after photographs showing them cooking, littering and smoking shisha in public parks in countries they were visiting were posted online.

Social media users in Saudi Arabia have also posted videos and pictures online of Saudis acting strangely abroad.

Last week, there was outrage in the Saudi online community, after a number of local journalists sparked a heated debate about how Saudi tourists are perceived abroad.

The consensus among those online appeared to be that tourists need to respect the local customs and regulations.

Fahad Al-Harbi said: “Our people have done it wrong, I am very sorry and ashamed … we should admit that some of our tourists have crossed the line.”

Meanwhile, Al Arabiya TV reports, people are also keeping track of the behavior of Saudi women with the audacity to attend a Saudi soccer match in London. Saudi women are not permitted to attend matches in the Kingdom.

Saudi female football fans at UK match create social media buzz


August:13:2015 - 07:03 | Comments Off | Permalink

Since at least the days of ancient Rome, the question Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? — who guards (against) the guardians? — has been a tough one to answer.

According to a story in Saudi Gazette, the question hasn’t yet received an adequate answer in Saudi Arabia. The article reports that over the past nine months, over 600 court cases have been filed by Saudi women against their guardians. These cases dealt only with adl, preventing the women from marrying for various illegitimate reasons. I wonder what the number would be if all cases of abuse by guardians were counted?

627 lawsuits against male guardians
Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — As many as 627 Saudi women in various regions of the Kingdom have filed lawsuits against their male guardians accusing them of preventing them from getting married.

The lawsuits were filed between the end of October 2014 and mid July this year, according to local newspapers.

The women are requesting the courts transfer their guardianship to other males in the family, including uncles or brothers.

Makkah saw the highest number of lawsuits, with 229 over the period, while Riyadh had the second highest number at 154 cases.

Preventing a female relative from getting married — a practice known as Adl — is prohibited by Islam, but some male guardians still do so, alleging tribal incompatibility, or out of a desire to keep the woman’s salary, inheritance and properties for themselves.


August:11:2015 - 06:15 | Comments Off | Permalink

Saudi Gazette reports on a rash of car thefts reported to police last December. Nearly 1,7000 cars were reported stolen across the country. The article gives no indication of why the cars were stolen. Joy riding and possible use in terrorist attacks spring to mind as two possibilities, with rather different import, but we’re not provided with that information.

Nearly 1,700 cars stolen in Saudi cities in one month
Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — About 1,700 passenger cars were stolen from various regions of the Kingdom in December 2014, Al-Madinah newspaper reported on Monday, quoting official statistics released by the Ministry of Interior.

According to the ministry, only 348 cars were found and handed back to their owners. As many as 749 cars were stolen in Riyadh but none of them was found so far.

Makkah came second with 420 stolen cars, of which 150 cars were found. In the Eastern Province, 133 cars were stolen during the month, of which only 11 were found.


August:11:2015 - 06:09 | Comments Off | Permalink

Just in time for Haj, a new virus is being identified as a potential threat in Saudi Arabia, Arab News reports. Zika virus, related to Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever, is another mosquito-borne disease. It is milder in its effects than some of its cousins, but is no joy. The article notes that the Ministry of Health will be doing their normal three-phase screening to prevent outbreaks of disease, including pre-departure, arrival, and during Haj.

Ministry takes precautionary measures against new virus

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Health has put in place its precautionary plan and procedures aimed at preventing the entry of the Zika virus during the Haj season this year.

This involves examining those arriving from countries affected by the virus, isolating infected individuals and providing treatment at ministry hospitals when necessary.

According to Dr. Khaled Marghalani, spokesman at the Health Ministry, symptoms fever, skin rashes, redness of the eyes and pain in the joints, all of which may disappear within days or weeks. Cases that need to be admitted to hospitals are rare and the illness is transmitted by mosquitoes, said public health experts at the ministry.

Marghalani said the public health program applied by the ministry annually during the pilgrimage season is an integrated program that covers three phases: pre-arrival of the pilgrims, upon their arrival at ports of entry, and finally during their presence at the Haj sites.


August:09:2015 - 07:29 | Comments Off | Permalink
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