Riyadh condemns Assad strikes on aid convoys

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490044344257282800

RIYADH: The Cabinet, in its weekly meeting Monday, renewed Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of Syrian air attacks on UN humanitarian aid convoys, which led to the suspension of assistance in the war-wracked country.
The meeting, chaired by King Salman, also expressed concern over the findings of an international commission on Syria — discussed by Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — citing war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the regime, its allies and militias against Syrian people, especially in Aleppo, causing deaths of innocent civilians and destruction of schools, hospitals, water supplies, farms and food stores.
The EU imposed sanctions on Monday against four senior Syrian military officials accused of using chemical weapons on civilians, after Russia and China blocked similar measures at the UN.
The move marks the first time the EU has blacklisted Syrian officials for the regime’s alleged use of chlorine gas during the six-year conflict, although it previously accused one commander, Maj. Gen. Tahir Hamid Khalil, of deploying chemical weapons as part of repressive tactics in 2013.
It has also targeted Syrian companies accused of manufacturing chemical weapons.
The four military officials, who the EU will name on Tuesday, will be banned from traveling to the EU and will be unable to access any assets in the bloc or its banks, according to a statement by the EU.
The EU measures take the number of people under its Syrian sanctions to 239, as well as 67 companies.
EU sanctions also include an oil embargo, restrictions on investments, a freeze of Syrian central bank assets held in the EU and a ban on exports of equipment and technology that could be used against civilians.
Meanwhile, heavy airstrikes hammered opposition-held neighborhoods of Damascus on Monday after regime forces pushed back a surprise assault that saw opposition fighters try to fight their way into the city center.
The Levant Liberation Committee, a coalition of several militant groups led by Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, and the independent Failaq Al-Rahman faction spearheaded the blitz, which caught the Syrian military off guard.

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King Salman center opens two new projects in Yemen

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490042598607010400

ADEN: King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid on Sunday inaugurated two projects. One program tackles malnutrition among children, and pregnant and nursing mothers. The other will supply water.
Abdul Ilah bin Othman, president of the Khair Coalition for Humanitarian Relief, said that the project tackling malnutrition would cover eight provinces, and targets 348,468 children, nursing and pregnant women.
Water supply projects would be implemented in 15 governorates and entail delivering water to the houses, distributing tanks and other water containers.
The water project will benefit 1.35 million children, 796,011 men and 762,917 women, according to Othman.
Yemen Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Nasser Ba’oom said in a press statement after the inauguration the Kingdom is giving massive support to Yemen that include relief and humanitarian aid through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid. He said the ministry would implement of support projects in all governorates.
The head of King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid in Aden said that the center provides uninterrupted support to the Yemeni people as a part of the Kingdom’s humanitarian position toward the Yemeni people, adding that the center implemented more than 121 projects across the Yemeni governorates, including the two just inaugurated.

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King Salman lauds Asian leaders’ keenness to bolster bilateral relations

Author: 
Arab News
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490042598617010700

RIYADH: King Salman has briefed the Cabinet on the outcome of his visit to a number of Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan and China.
Presiding over the Cabinet session Monday at Yamamah Palace, King Salman appreciated the keenness expressed by leaders of these countries in bolstering bilateral relations and the viewpoints over regional and global issues serving international peace and security.
The Cabinet expressed pride over the progress of relations between the Kingdom and the Asian countries. The Cabinet touched on the king’s historic visit to Japan and China, and his talks with their leaders, as well as his receiving the Japanese Medal of Daisy Flower and his awarding of an honorary doctorate from Beijing University in China.
The Cabinet affirmed that bilateral talks and the signing of a series of agreements between the Kingdom and Japan and China during the king’s visit will cement strategic ties between the Kingdom and the two countries and develop them to new horizons.
The Cabinet praised King Salman’s address at the opening session of an international conference organized by the Muslim World League. At the conference he stressed the Kingdom’s keenness to serve as an example for the protection of human rights, freedom and comprehensive development in the community in line with Islamic values.
The Cabinet appreciated the launch by Prince Mohammed bin Naif, crown prince, deputy premier and interior minister, of a campaign aimed to correct the positions of work and residency violators.
On the security front, the Cabinet expressed thanks to the Border Guards in the southern region for their role in thwarting attempts to plant land mines, smuggle weapons and drugs, and arresting the infiltrators and those involved the crimes.
The Cabinet touched on the outcome of a visit made by Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the US and his talks with its officials. The Cabinet stressed the talks will strengthen aspects of joint cooperation for the best interests of the two countries.
At the regional and global levels, the Cabinet also expressed the Kingdom’s condemnation of the targeting by Syrian regime air forces of the convoys of UN humanitarian aid, which led to the suspension of aid convoys in Syria. The Cabinet expressed the Kingdom’s concern over the results of a UN report reporting humanitarian and war crimes committed by the Syrian regime and its allies against the Syrian people, especially in Aleppo, which caused damage to schools, hospitals, water supplies and food.
Later, the Cabinet approved a series of decisions including: The Cabinet approved a general agreement for cooperation between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Burkina Faso.
The Cabinet authorized the health minister to discuss with the US a memo of understanding between the Saudi Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for medical research related to infectious diseases.
The Cabinet also authorized the health minister to discuss with Jordan a memo of understanding between the Saudi Ministry of Health and its Jordanian counterpart for cooperation in the health fields.
The Cabinet authorized the minister of culture and information to discuss with Jordan and Cuba two memos of understating for cooperation and exchange of news between the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and news agencies of the two countries.
The Cabinet authorized the minister of communications and information technology and board chairman of Saudi Post to discuss with Jordan a memo of understanding between the Saudi Post and the Jordanian Post for cooperation in postal services provided to Hajis and Umrah performers.
The Cabinet also authorized the minister of transport and board chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to sign two draft agreements between the Saudi government and the Qatar and Chad governments for cooperation in air transport services.

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Saudi Shoura asks TVTC to build technology incubators

Author: 
Arab News
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490042598557009500

RIYADH: The Shoura Council called on the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) to build technology incubators in its training facilities.
The council’s call came following comments by Shoura members on a report issued by the Committee of Education and Scientific Research.
The members asked the TVTC to coordinate with the Ministry of Education to expand the technical and vocational qualification project for general education students.
Later, council members listened to a report by the Committee of Islamic and Judiciary Affairs based on the annual report by the Bureau of Grievances (BG).
In its recommendations, the committee asked the Bureau of Grievances to lay down a plan to provide sufficient numbers of judges, and a timetable for the training and qualification of judges in coordination with specialized academies.
Council members also listened to a report by the Committee of Economy and Energy based on the annual report by the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organ (SASO).
In its recommendations, the committee urged government agencies to abide by Saudi specifications and standards in their purchases and activities. The committee also asked SASO to prepare a plan for provision of specialized personnel based on a specific training program.
One member asked for upgrading the role of SASO in regulatory and controlling areas, while another asked other government agencies to cooperate with SASO in fighting imitation and fake items. Another member called for finding a quality indicator for the quality of products sold in local markets.
The council listened to a report by the Committee of Water, Agriculture and Environment based on the annual report by the Ministry of Water and Electricity. The committee asked the ministry to reserve more locations for water supplies and protect them from random exploitation of underground water.
It also asked the ministry to address the unbalanced distribution of water and sewage services in the Kingdom. It further asked the ministry to include in its upcoming reports performance indicators related to electric generation, transmission and customer services.

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Saudi Labor Ministry to deploy 300,000 volunteers under NTP 2020

Author: 
MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490042598547009200

RIYADH: The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) plans to deploy 300,000 volunteers by 2020 in the non-profit sector.
The ministry announced its program through the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 to establish volunteer departments in 200 non-profit entities by institutionalizing voluntary work, which will generate 200 job opportunities for project managers.
The move affects charitable entities, foundations, neighborhood centers and cooperative offices.
The NTP is considered a step toward realizing Saudi Vision 2030 as it formulates the roadmap for the Saudi economy and growth.
The ministry recently unveiled initiatives, which is conducted in partnership with the Council of Economic Affairs and Development and another 18 government entities. A total of 755 initiatives focus on economic and social development issues among others. They are expected to take the Kingdom into the digital age, enhancing public-private partnership (PPP), creating job opportunities and expanding local content.
The ministry is planning to increase the number of volunteers from 24,500 in 2015 to 300,000 by 2020. They will be trained and supervised to spread awareness of philanthropic work, and expand the social and economic impact on society.
The ministry is working on unifying volunteering regulations and instructions. The ministry will also develop the “Haroon program” that combines professional volunteers and experts from specialized organizations to carry out projects with the aim of meeting the specific needs of volunteering.

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Health minister launches Saudi Center for Patient Safety

Author: 
MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490042598587010100

RIYADH: Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Sunday launched the Saudi Center for Patient Safety in Riyadh, whose aims are to ensure patient safety and detect medical errors.
Inaugurating the center, Al-Rabiah thanked King Salman for his support for the sector, which will benefit all those living in the Kingdom.
“This center is an initiative to improve health care, and a practical application of mobilizing the services carried out by the ministry,” said Al-Rabiah.
“It will establish a national registry of medical errors in coordination with relevant authorities, and develop a national reporting system for serious medical errors, disseminating the results to the medical community among the concerned group.”
It will also develop national initiatives to improve patient safety, disseminate best practices in patient safety, circulate them to all health institutions in the Kingdom, publish specialized journals and scientific journals, and analyze the results of studies and research on patient safety.
The center will exchange expertise with local, regional and international organizations to achieve its aspirations and enhance cooperation between the Kingdom and other countries.

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90-day amnesty period allows illegal workers to return to Saudi Arabia

Author: 
LULWA SHALHOUB & NADA HAMEED
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490041105376866200

JEDDAH: Undocumented expat workers seeking to correct their status during the new 90-day-amnesty will be able to return to the Kingdom by adhering to legal procedures, the General Directorate of Passports (GDP) announced Monday on their official Twitter account @AlJawazatKSA.
By approaching the Passport Departments to solve their status starting March 29, illegal workers “will be exempt from the consequences associated with the “deportee fingerprint system” and will be able to return to the Kingdom on the condition of pursuing legal methods to gain entry.
The statement also added that illegal immigrants working on correcting their status during the 90-day grace period under the Interior Ministry’s “Nation without Violations” campaign would be cleared of any fines or penalties linked to violating the Saudi residency law, labor system and boarder security in the Kingdom.
Those affected by the campaign are over-stayers, who came to the Kingdom for a Haj or Umrah visit or transit.
Other individuals that will benefit from the amnesty are workers who came to the Kingdom with a work permit but did not obtain an Iqama identity card within 90 days after arrival; infiltrators crossing the Saudi border; residents with expired Iqamas; pilgrims who performed Haj without getting a Haj permit; and workers who escaped from their employers.
Previously, illegal workers and over-stayers who have their fingerprints taken prior to deportation under the “deportee fingerprint system” were not allowed to re-enter the country.
In 2013, a similar campaign took place to legalize the status of undocumented workers in the Kingdom. Back then, a three-month amnesty was announced in April 2013 before late King Abdullah extended the grace period to November 2013.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said that over 2.5 million violators left the country under that campaign.

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Nitaqat program seeks to lower unemployment rate to 9% by 2020

Author: 
MOHAMMED AL-SULAMI
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490041105446866500

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) said the Nitaqat nationalization program aims to provide job opportunities for Saudi nationals and reduce the unemployment rate from 12.1 to 9 percent and boost the percentage of women in the Saudi workforce to 28 percent by 2020.
The Nitaqat program seeks to increase the number of Saudis in the labor market through changing the Saudization percentage required to achieve in specific sector, according to the program.
The realization of these quotas should be higher than 65 percent of establishments falling in safe zones and less than 35 percent of establishments in non-safe zones.
The program also aims to enhance jobs for Saudi nationals through aligning the quality of nationalization with a range of incentives given by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).
Establishments that offer good packages for Saudis would be eligible to a group of HRDF support programs based on their accomplishment of the required points that are calculated under the “guided support program,” This includes the nationalization rate, average wage of Saudis, percentage of Saudi female staff, job stability and percentage of Saudis with high salaries.
The ministry said the new version of the Nitaqat program encourages establishments to provide employment to the Saudis as it classifies companies into four groups depending on their nationalization percentage.
The ministry emphasized that the initiative would improve the performance of the labor market and raise quality of employment, generate decent work for sons and daughters of the Kingdom, create attractive and safe work environment and curb unproductive nationalization.
Additionally, the program would provide training and rehabilitation programs for Saudi nationals with the aim of meeting the needs of the Saudi labor market and achieving job stability.

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6,000-year-old relic handed to Saudi government

Author: 
Arab News
Tue, 2017-03-21
ID: 
1490041105526867100

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) received a rare archaeological piece dating to 6,000 years ago from Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk. Prince Sultan handed Al-Balawi a reward and a certificate of honor for giving the relic to the commission.
The body’s Board of Directors at the body’s headquarters in Riyadh received the artifact following the conclusion of a meeting on Tuesday, reported Saudi Press Agency.
SPA did not identify the artifact.
The Saudi law stipulates that archaeological pieces are the property of the state and citizens who find them are required to hand them over the CTNH.
Prince Sultan said some honest citizens who find archaeological pieces make the common mistake of digging them out and then hand them over to the SCTH. It is a mistake because 50 percent of the relic’s story is in the place it was found, he said. He added that the correct way to leave the piece in its place and notify only the Antiquities Office that will handle it.
He said keeping found archaeological pieces is a crime punishable by law. He said the SCTH will launch an awareness campaign. He said the SCTH receives nearly 20,000 reports of kept or stolen artifacts.

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