Skype may go Viber way

Updated 13 June 2013
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Skype may go Viber way

Saudi Arabia's telecommunications regulatory body, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), said in a statement yesterday that it is placing messaging applications Skype, WhatsApp and Tango under review.
The CITC did not say whether the popular messaging applications would also share the same fate as Viber, which was suspended indefinitely last week.
CITC spokesperson Sultan Al-Malik was quoted yesterday as saying: "There will be an official statement released regarding mobile applications that do not comply with existing regulations of the Kingdom.”
“Appropriate action will be taken against applications or services that do not comply with regulations.”
On Wednesday, the CITC suspended Viber, a popular Internet messenger application used by millions, for failing to comply with unspecified regulations.
According to reports, the suspension was effected because monitoring is difficult for the state and it deprives licensed telecom companies of revenue from international calls.
Cyprus-based Viber was popular among Arab expatriates because it has an Arabic version and works on all operating systems and wireless networks.
Local media reported earlier this year that Saudi Arabia's three main operators Saudi Telecom Co., Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi had been asked to tell the CITC if they were able to monitor or block such applications.
Conventional international calls and texts are a lucrative earner for telecom operators in Saudi Arabia, which hosts around nine million expatriates. These foreign workers are increasingly using Internet-based applications such as Viber to communicate with relatives in other countries, analysts say.


Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

KSRelief distributed assistance to Syrian refugees. (SPA/file)
Updated 36 min 24 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

  • KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications
  • The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Yemen

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) distributed humanitarian aid including birth kits, personal bags and baby blankets to Syrian female refugees staying in Osman Hospital and Central Hospital in Kattermaya, Kharoub province of Lebanon on Friday.

This distribution is within the framework of the assistance provided by the center for displaced Syrians and refugees in neighboring countries. 

KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications through various relief programs. 

Earlier, winter blankets, jackets, jumpers, hats and other items were distributed to meet the basic needs of refugee families.

The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Al-Mukha directorate in Taiz governorate, benefiting 21,000 people.

In addition, 36 trucks with 469,483 kg of relief, shelter and medicines crossed Al-Wadiaa border on Thursday evening as part of the KSRelief plan to help Yemenis.

Of this total, 26 trucks with 500 food baskets, weighing 375 tons, in addition to 43,173 kg of shelter items, will be heading to Maareb province, and ten trucks carrying 42,221 kg of shelter items and 9.89 tons of medications will go to Aden.

On Thursday, the Bahraini Royal Charity Foundation and the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Affairs signed an MoU for the establishment of the Bahrain Health Center in Aden, Yemen, at a cost of $2 million, in the presence of Ahmed bin Ali Al-Bayez, assistant general supervisor of operations and programs at KSRelief, and a number of officials. SPA, Jeddah