King Abdullah’s Shoura move contributed to women empowerment

Updated 16 March 2014
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King Abdullah’s Shoura move contributed to women empowerment

The United Nations Agency for Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have announced that the number of female parliamentarians in the world has increased to a record 21.8 percent, which is an increase of 8.7 percent since 2000.
Anders Johnsson, secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, pointed out that the increase in the number of female parliamentarians worldwide is due to several factors. Foremost among the factors, Johnson said, is the royal order issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, which allocated 20 percent of the seats in the Shoura Council for Saudi women. Johnson predicted that it would take less than 20 years to achieve equality between men and women in parliaments if the current rate of progress is maintained.
The UN Agency for Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have released for the first time a report titled “Map of Women in Politics” for the year 2014, which indicates that the number of female ministers in the world rose from 14.3 percent in 2005 to 17.2 percent in 2014.
The number of women appointed for the position of secretary of defense increased from 7 to 14 since 2012, while the number of women holding the post of minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation increased to 45 ministers. However, the number of women elected as president and prime minister have declined slightly since 2012 from 19 to 18, the report revealed.
John Hendra, deputy executive director of UN Agency for Women, said that despite the progress, there are still several barriers facing women, including gender prejudices, discrimination and cultural attitudes that perceive women as less able to command than men.


Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

Updated 22 min 43 sec ago
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Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

RIYADH: The Halat Ammar Customs on the Kingdom’s northwestern border prevented two attempts to smuggle a quantity of 184,737 Fenethylline tablets, also known by the brand name of Captagon.
The pills were discovered hidden on two buses that were transporting passengers to the Kingdom’s holy sites.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the first bus was carrying 47 passengers and after the customs procedures were finalized and the passengers were processed, a bag containing 100,000 tablets was found.
“The narcotics were hidden in an artistic way and were placed inside the bag’s lining,” he said.
Qaisi also said the second attempt was thwarted in a similar way. The other bus was transporting 31 passengers, on which a total of 84,737 Captagon pills were seized.
Saudi Arabia usually witnesses a rise of smuggling attempts during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, as they are exploited by smugglers trying to transport narcotics and other contraband. 
Saudi Customs said it is exerting great efforts and working with all its human and technical capabilities to prevent the entry of illegal substances.