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Saudi Shoura Council to discuss proposal to amend Anti-bribery Law

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Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Wed, 2017-11-08 20:58

RIYADH: The Shoura Council will next Wednesday discuss a proposal to amend the Anti-bribery Law after the Security Committee recommended it.

The sponsors of the proposal include Dr. Latifa Al-Shaalan and Atta Al Sabaiti, who are current Shoura members, and Dr. Haya Al-Manea, a former member.

Local media reported that sources within the Security Committee, which examined the proposal, said that the proposal had been submitted for the last 14 months.

The proposal includes the amendment of a number of articles, in addition to the proposed new articles on the Anti-bribery Law issued 27 years ago.

One of the most important new articles proposed is that the provisions of the law “apply to employees of private companies and institutions within the Kingdom.”

The proponents justified this by not including private sector employees in the current Anti-bribery Law, despite the considerable damage caused by bribery in the private sector, which indirectly falls on the state, thus weakening the structure and fundamentals of the national economy.

The sponsors added several new articles to the statute including one that states that criminal investigation officers may, in case of suspicion regarding the integrity of the employee, take the necessary action to incriminate him.

Regarding the rationale for the proposal, the sponsors mentioned the need to reduce the growing phenomenon of administrative corruption, favoritism and social relations at the expanse of efficiency, and reduce exploitation of the job for illegal gains.

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Saudi Arabia offers its expertise for training imams and preachers in Belgium

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Wed, 2017-11-08 20:33

RIYADH: The Kingdom has offered its assistance for training imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium, during discussions which took place between the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance and the visiting delegation from Belgium.

The joint meeting between the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi ministry was held on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs Riyadh.

The Saudi team was headed by the special adviser to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Zaid, and the Belgian group was headed by Dirk Achten, vice-minister and secretary-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, who wrapped up his two-day visit to the capital on Tuesday. Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Geert Criel was also present during the discussions.

Belgium has some 700,000 Muslims out of its 11 million population.

During the meeting, discussions focused on the issues of extremism, the fight against extremist ideas, religious fanaticism at various regional and international levels and its motives, methods of containment and treatment, and the conditions of religious institutions in Belgium.

During the meeting, the Islamic Affairs Ministry told the Belgium delegation what the ministry can provide in the field of training and qualifying imams and preachers in mosques and Islamic centers in Belgium.

Al-Zaid stressed the depth of relations between the Kingdom and Belgium in various fields, noting the Kingdom’s appreciation and respect for the Muslims in Belgium, pointing out that the mosque and the Islamic Center in Brussels was established by the Kingdom during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz.

The center, which was opened by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz in 1978, remains as one of the first mosques and Islamic centers established in Europe.

He stressed that this center has been playing a great role in strengthening relations between the Kingdom and Belgium. He described Saudi-Belgian relations in the field of Islamic affairs as “age-old.”

During his brief visit to Riyadh, Achten held talks with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the GCC Secretariat and also visited Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care headquartered in Riyadh.

In an earlier interview with Ambassador Criel, the envoy said the talks of his country’s delegates with Saudi officials focused on countering extremism and they were also interested to learn more from the Kingdom’s experience in combating extremism.

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5 Stocks Set To Soar In The Cybersecurity Boom

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The Equifax breach exposed the credit of nearly 150 million people, almost half of the entire U.S. population. In this day and age, it seems almost impossible to keep up with countless ways in which your personal security can be compromised online. But this is just the beginning. Cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated, more widespread, and affecting more people and businesses. The economic damage from cybercrime could exceed $6 trillion by 2021, making it a much larger illicit business than the entire worldwide illegal drug trade. That figure…

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Saudi Corruption Crackdown Topples Oil Kingpins

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s unexpected crackdown has shattered the tranquility of the kingdom. After Saturday’s news emerged that a long list of high-profile Saudi royals, military leaders and multi-billionaires were arrested or confined to their quarters, all seemed to be only an implementation of the crown prince’s open threat that “no-one is above the law, whether it is a prince or a minister.” The current list of arrests include names like Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the most…

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Can We Expect An Oil Price Correction Soon?

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Oil prices touched a more than two-and-a-half-year high this week, but have faltered mid-week. Market sentiment is more bullish than it has been in a long time, but the risk of falling back is still very much alive. There has been a series of market forces that have come together, all at just the right time, to push Brent up into the mid-$60s per barrel. Falling inventories, near-unanimity from OPEC to extend the production cuts, a slowdown in U.S. shale, bullish positioning from oil traders and some unexpected unrest in the Middle East. Taken…

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Trudeau, Where Is Your Back Up Plan For The Arctic Ban?

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When Canada’s federal government issued a five-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic at the end of last year, the environmentalist community rejoiced, just as it did in the United States, when the Obama administration did the same. Everyone seemed sure the move would bring benefits to everyone. Or perhaps they just didn’t really care that there are communities heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry for their livelihood. Now, the premier of Canada’s Northwestert Territories has slammed Ottawa for its…

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White House: Iran ‘prolonging Yemen war’

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Thu, 2009-11-12 03:00

JEDDAH: Iran is prolonging the war in Yemen in pursuit of regional domination and is undermining UN efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, the White House said on Wednesday.
The US accused Iran of supplying Yemen’s Houthi militias with advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles used to attack Makkah and Riyadh, echoing allegations made by Saudi Arabia.
A White House statement condemned Iran’s actions and pledged US support to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf partners against Tehran’s “blatant” violations of international law.
“Houthi missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, enabled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, threaten regional security,” the White House said. “These missile systems were not present in Yemen before the conflict, and we call upon the UN to conduct a thorough examination of evidence that the Iranian regime is perpetuating the war in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday the missile attack on Riyadh on Saturday was a “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime.”
The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saudi Arabia would “achieve nothing by threatening the might of Iran.”
James F. Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Iraq and Turkey and a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “It is symptomatic of what we have seen for 35 years: Iran expands and threatens and strikes via surrogates and refuses to admit responsibility.”
Countries affected by Iran’s policies over the years have had difficulty deterring Tehran from its destabilizing policies, Jeffrey said. “Until countries are willing to hit Iranian interests directly and bear the risks, this will just continue. US and Saudis should warn Iran: Another such attack and they will jointly strike a target in Iran. Nothing else will cause Iran to pause.”
Ellen Laipson, a Distinguished Fellow and President Emeritus of the Stimson Center in Washington, told Arab News: “Neither Tehran nor Riyadh appears ready to back down or find a path to a compromise and negotiated settlement of the crisis, and Iran would not necessarily be at the negotiating table. The stakes are higher for Saudi Arabia than for Iran, which sees Yemen as a target of opportunity rather than a vital national interest.”
Reports that Saudi Arabia had prevented the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi from returning to Yemen were “lies,” the president’s office said on Wednesday.
The reports were part of a “systematic campaign targeting Saudi Arabia, which leads a battle to stop Iranian interference in Yemen and the region,” a spokesman said.

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UK aid minister Patel resigns over secret Israel meetings

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Thu, 2009-11-12 06:00

LONDON: Britain’s International Development Secretary Priti Patel quit on Wednesday over unauthorized meetings in Israel, becoming the latest Cabinet member caught up in a whirlwind of scandals rocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
The issue has raised fresh questions about the UK government’s impartiality in mediating conflict in the Middle East, according to the Palestinian ambassador in London.
A total of 14 previously undisclosed engagements between Patel and Israeli representatives, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cast doubt on the UK’s integrity as a peace broker, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian told Arab News.
“The consequences of (Patel’s) act will definitely now make the Palestinians question the intentions of the British government,” he told Arab News.
Aside from Patel failing to disclose to the public her contact with Israeli officials, Hassassian said the unevenness of her trip spoke volumes about the British government’s priorities.
“She did not even meet with any of the Palestinian authorities,” he said, accusing Downing Street of “not playing a fair hand” in its approach to the two sides.
“I question the sincerity of this government (when it comes to) a two-state solution,” he added.
The scandal came to a head on Wednesday when it was revealed that Patel had visited a field hospital run by the Israeli Army in the occupied Golan Heights.
While Israel seized the region from Syria in the 1967 War, the British government does not recognize the Jewish state’s claim to the territory, which has been condemned as illegal by the UN. British diplomats are not normally permitted to travel there under official Israeli auspices.
Following her visit to the disputed territory, Patel suggested that British aid money be allocated to a humanitarian project there managed by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Number 10 was forced to deny knowledge of the plan.
Prime Minister Theresa May summoned Patel back from Kenya to answer questions about the unofficial trip.
By the time Patel’s flight landed on Wednesday afternoon, analysts and pundits were already debating her most likely replacements.
Revelations about Patel’s meetings, 12 of which took place during a family trip to Israel, raise serious questions about May’s ability to maintain discipline in her Cabinet, said Yossi Mekelberg, a professor of international relations at Regent’s University, London.
“There probably should have been someone from the embassy involved … If you’re talking about serious matters with implications for the foreign policy of the United Kingdom, you can’t have (these meetings) on the side,” he said.
The incident comes just a week after the resignation of Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who had been mired in allegations of sexual harassment. Fallon was known as a staunch ally of Prime Minister May.
Mekelberg joined a chorus of voices who questioned whether May’s government would be able to survive another resignation. “The balance within the government is so delicate right now,” he added. “The prime minister is in dire straits.”
The diplomatic debacle comes as the British government is already under fire for hosting Netanyahu as guest of honor at an event marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration last week.
Hassassian has said that the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which Britain officially lent its support to the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was the first step in dispossessing the Palestinian people of their land.

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Working group could help solve Rohingya refugee crisis

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Shehab Sumon
Thu, 2017-11-09 03:00

DHAKA: The formation of a joint working group will be an important step in managing the Rohingya refugee crisis, hopes Asaduzzaman Khan, home affairs minister of Bangladesh.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in their home territory of Rakhine state in Myanmar.
Khan met his counterpart Lt. General Kyaw Swe and the state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar at the end of October. He said in an exclusive interview with Arab News that the repatriation process of Rohingya refugees will be governed by a working group comprising an equal number of representatives from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A. H. Mahmud Ali is also scheduled to visit Myanmar on November 20 where he will discuss the group. Both sides have agreed to finalize the terms of reference by Nov. 30 to proceed with the proposed repatriation plan, Khan said.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that around 625,000 Rohingya Refugees have entered Bangladesh since the violence escalated in Rakhine State on August 25.
The violence targeting Rohingyas, which the UN describes as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” has put the Myanmar government under pressure from the international community.
Khan urged that international community play its due role in addressing the issue. “I think that if the international community shifts eyes from the Rohingya issue, they [Myanmar] will not take any steps on repatriation of the Rohingyas. The international community needs to keep up the pressure in this regard.”
Several news reports published recently suggest that Myanmar will accept only 150 Rohingyas per day after due scrutiny; however, Khan could not verify that, saying no such proposal was formally shared with Bangladesh.
Khan said Dhaka’s stance on refugee repatriation was made clear during his meeting with Myanmar officials.
“Repatriation will have to be based on the decision by the Joint Working Group, the Annan Commission Report (which recommended scrapping restrictions on movement by the Rohingya), and the five points mentioned by our Prime Minister,” he said.
Both countries agreed on “ten points regarding the repatriation process which included the full implementation of the Annan Commission’s report and taking initiatives to stop the Rohingya exodus toward Bangladesh,” claimed Khan, while adding that Myanmar later issued a separate statement and excluded the “agreed” points.
“As they excluded full implementation of Annan Commission issue, I asked the Bangladeshi ambassador not to sign the joint statement.”
Khan expressed hope that the issue of joint statement will be resolved soon. “We are still working on it,” he said.
Bangladesh has been affected by the Rohingya refugee issue for the past four decades. Rohingyas are confined to Rakhine State and have very little scope of trade and livelihood, which makes their life very difficult. The minister said he also discussed this aspect with Suu Kyi and found her “very positive in this regard.”
“At one point Suu Kyi said she was thinking of making some villages for the Rohingyas which would include all the living facilities for rehabilitation.”
Khan added: “I told Suu Kyi that if the Rohingyas stay in Bangladesh for longer, it will be a problem for both Bangladesh and Myanmar. Suu Kyi assured me that she has started working on the implementation of Annan Commission report which recommended the repatriation of Rohingyas.”

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