Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

Updated 15 March 2014
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Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

A government decision is expected within a few days stipulating that retail stores and general service shops close by 9 p.m.
The decision follows recommendations made by six government agencies, who had conducted an earlier study on the issue.
Restaurants, drug stores and food stores that have a license to operate on a 24-hour basis will, however, be exempted from the decision.
Many people expect that the decision will have a large impact on social life in Saudi Arabia, as well as huge effects on the national economy and individual income.
Several economists expect the decision to mark a major shift in consumption patterns, not to mention the social and cultural impact such a decision will have on consumers.
“The decision is bound to have a positive impact on power consumption and traffic congestion in a country that is known for its exorbitant consumption rates,” said Rashid Al-Fozan, an economic journalist at Al-Arabiya. “I also believe that more youth will be attracted to working for the private sector when they know that they will have to work less hours. Saudis who want to supplement their monthly incomes can even open their own stores,” he said.
Many analysts believe that the decision will reshape social life in Saudi Arabia and create closer bonds between families. Such a measure, they say, will impose discipline on the lives of ordinary Saudis, who are bound to become more productive in the long run.
Yet many saleswomen have expressed concern at the prospect of having their salaries reduced due to the shorter working hours.
“I am a full-time worker and I earn around SR4,000 for working two shifts at a store,” said Fatima Abdullah, a saleswoman at a Jeddah-based store. “It is very hectic commuting to and from work and transportation costs are eating up a huge chunk of my salary.”
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Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

Updated 1 min 52 sec ago
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Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

  • Talking to Asharq Al Awsat, Mohammad Bin Salman says Kingdom doesn’t seek war but will defend itself against threats 
  • Says killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “painful crime” and that strategic ties with US are key to regional stability 

JEDDAH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said Saudi Arabia does not seek war but will also not shy away from confronting any threats.

He called for a decisive international position against Iran and said the regime in Tehran didn’t even respect the presence of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when it attacked two tankers, one of them carrying the Japanese flag. 

The crown prince’s comments came in an interview with Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al Awsat.

The heir to the Saudi throne said the Kingdom will continue to support Sudan and wishes nothing but good for Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia would never accept having a militia serving the Iranian agenda at its border, he said. 

He also described the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “very painful crime.” He added that the Kingdom seeks to achieve full justice and accountability. 

As for the Aramco IPO, the crown prince says it is expected to occur at some time between 2020 and the beginning of 2021. 

(Full transcript to follow)