KSA toughens stance on illegals

Updated 16 April 2014
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KSA toughens stance on illegals

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced tough punishment for expats violating the country’s residency, labor and business regulations. Punishment includes fines up to SR100,000, a jail term for up to two years, a recruitment ban and deportation.
The move targets foreigners who have come to the Kingdom on work, visit, Haj and Umrah visas, and have overstayed their visas, the Interior Ministry said.
“Punishment will be increased depending on the number of violations and individuals involved, while violating expats will be deported and prevented from entering the Kingdom for a specific period,” the ministry said in a statement. “Those arrested for violations will not be released, even on bail.”
Administrative panels at the Passport Department will determine the violations.
“People will have the right to appeal against the panel’s decision to the interior minister within 30 working days following the issuance of the decision,” the statement said. A special legal panel at the ministry will look into such appeals and provide the minister with their proposals.
Expats working independently will be fined SR10,000 and deported if the violation is committed for the first time, while second-time offenders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for one month and deported and third-time offenders will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail and deportation, the statement said.
Expats overstaying their visas after they have expired for the first time will be fined SR15,000 and deported, while second-time offenders will be liable to pay SR25,000, spend three months in jail and face deportation.
Third-time overstayers, meanwhile, will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail term and deportation.
Saudis and expats have welcomed the ministry’s statement, saying it would strengthen the Kingdom’s security and stability.
“The Interior Ministry’s decision compliments the Labor Ministry’s efforts to flush out illegals and regulate the labor market,” said Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives.
“The punishments issued by the ministry show that they are very serious on the issue. The punishment covers not only expats, but also companies and individual employers,” he said. “Now, employers will think twice before hiring or sheltering an illegal expat,” Badawood said.
He said the government’s move would also address the “tasattur” (cover-up businesses) phenomenon and other illegal activities.
“Some sponsors have recruited many expats and they don’t know what their workers are doing. This is a serious issue and the new punishments will definitely reduce such illegal operations,” he said.
The ministry said intruders held outside the border will be fined SR15,000 and deported after serving a one-month jail sentence. Second time violators will be fined SR25,000, jailed three months and deported, while third-time or more offenders will have to pay SR100,000 fine and serve six months in jail before deportation.

Those who transport, employ and shelter intruders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for six months and deported if expats.
Their vehicles will be seized if the violation is committed for the first time. Second-time violators will be fined SR50,000, jailed for one year, deported, shamed and have their vehicle confiscated, while third-time offenders will be liable to pay a SR100,000 fine, face a two-year jail and be deported.
The ministry said all those who transport, shelter or employ violators of the Kingdom’s laws will be fined SR15,000 and deported (if expat); second-time violators will be fined SR30,000, deported and jailed for 3 months. Third-time offenders, meanwhile, will pay a SR100,000 fine and serve a six-month jail sentence before being deported.
An individual employer who allows his workers to work for others or for their personal accounts will be fined SR15,000 and deported (if expat) and prevented from recruitment for one year. For the second-time violators, the punishments are: a SR30,000 fine, deportation, three-month jail and ban on recruitment for two years; third time and more: SR100,000 fine, deportation, six-month jail and ban on recruitment for five years.
Expats who fail to report delays in the departure of overstaying employees will be fined SR15,000 and face deportation (if expat) for the first time, SR25,000, jail for three months and deportation the second time, and SR50,000, a six-month jail term and deportation the third time.
The ministry said that companies and organizations that fail to inform authorities about Haj or Umrah overstayers would be fined SR25,000 the first time round, SR50,000 the second time and SR100,000 the third time round or any time after that.
Meanwhile, institutions that employ intruders will be fined SR50,000 the first time such an offense is committed, in addition to being banned from recruiting employees for an entire year. The manager will be jailed for six months and deported if he is an expat.
Second time offenders will incur a SR75,000 fine and a recruitment ban for two years, in addition to the manager being jailed for one year and deported. Third time offenders will be liable to pay SR100,000 fine, face a recruitment ban for five years and face a two-year jail term and deportation.
Institutions that employ violators of residency and labor laws or allow their workers to work for other employers, independently or employ employees from other companies will be fined SR25,000, banned from recruitment for a year and have the expat manager deported; second time SR50,000 fine, recruitment ban for two years with shaming, and the manager will be jailed for six months and deported; and third time and more: SR100,000 fine, recruitment ban for five years with shaming and the manager will be jailed for a year and deported.


90-year anniversary: How the Arab world came to know Tintin and Popeye

Updated 18 January 2019
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90-year anniversary: How the Arab world came to know Tintin and Popeye

  • Middle Eastern fans fondly look back at two comic icons who share a birthday this year, although they’re not without controversy
  • An Egyptian publisher printed Tintin in Arabic, while Popeye was broadcast on Saudi Channel 2 and Spacetoon

Popeye, the scruffy sailor who remains one of the most loveable characters of all time, has been a popular fixture in Middle Eastern pop culture since the early 1980s. In addition to mountains of merchandise, particularly stuffed toys, being available in local shops, the cartoons were broadcast on Saudi Channel 2 (in their original English) and on Spacetoon (with Arabic dubbing). 
“I remember the first time I watched Popeye,” Zainab Basrawi, a 36-year-old insurance lawyer and self-professed Popeye enthusiast, told Arab News. “I learned to love spinach just from watching him save Olive every time. I believed him. I think he was a great influence on children to subtly ease them into eating their greens.”
Just one week after Tintin first appeared in “Le Petit Vingtieme,” Popeye made his debut on Jan. 17, 1929 as a side character in the daily King Features comic strip “Thimble Theatre.”
Created by the American cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar, the one-eyed sailor with bulging forearms quickly grew in popularity, becoming the star of his own strip, an animated TV cartoon and a 1980 movie starring
Robin Williams. The theme song from the cartoon, “I’m Popeye the Sailorman,” is one of the most recognized pieces of music in pop culture history.
Compared to boyish, clean-cut, good- natured Tintin, Popeye is his polar opposite.
The sailor is rough, gruff and extremely tough, famous for the super-strength he gets from eating canned spinach, and his never-ending love triangle with his girlfriend Olive Oyl and rival Bluto.
Like Tintin, as a relic from another era, Popeye has also been criticized for racial stereotypes. In “Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves,” he is shown beating up poorly made caricatures of Arab men. In “You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap,” the Japanese characters in the cartoon get the same treatment.
However, literary critic Sophie Cline said the comic strip is reflective of the time it was created in, almost a century ago. “I think it’s important not to ignore these pieces of our history, or hide them away, but rather to own up to our mistakes and learn from them,” she told Arab News.
She alluded to the new disclaimer that now precedes old Looney Tunes cartoons, informing viewers that their outdated “racial prejudices” no longer reflect Warner Bros. values but are “products of their time.”
“Popeye cartoons reflect the common view of the era,” she said. “A disclaimer should be enough.”

Tintin, one of the world’s most famous fictional journalists, traveled the world seeking stories and adventure, so he naturally spent a good amount of time in the Middle East.
Created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, better known by his pseudonym Herge (say his initials in reverse out loud in a French accent), Tintin travels the region in four of his books: “Cigars of the Pharaoh,” “The Crab with the Golden Claws,” “Land of Black Gold” and “The Red Sea Sharks.”
Tintin gained more of a foothold in the region when Egyptian publisher Dar Al-Maarif began printing the comics in Arabic in 1971. Renaming him “Tantan,” Dar Al-Maarif continued to publish the comics weekly
until 1980.
“Tintin has been one of my idols for as long as I can remember,” said Haytham Faisal, a journalist from Cairo. “I literally became a journalist because I wanted to be him. My dad used to take me to buy the comics from the local bookstore. I remember them being so expensive, so they were a rare treat. I’d always think twice before buying them, but I couldn’t always wait for the next comic to see what new story they have next. I still have some of them, they were that precious to me.”
Before appearing in book format, Tintin and his constant companion, the dog Snowy, were first introduced to audiences in “Le Petit Vingtieme,” or “The Little Twentieth,” a supplement to the Belgian newspaper “Le Vingtieme Siecle” (The Twentieth Century) on Jan. 4, 1929. Herge, however, maintained that Tintin was actually “born” on Jan. 10, when “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets” began its serialization in the paper.
Despite the fact that he never seems to hand in any stories, the loveable and quirky Tintin is portrayed as talented at his profession, so much so that he is shown to be in high demand, with many press agencies offering him bribes for his dispatches.
Over the years, Tintin’s face has been used to advertise quintessentially French items such as Citroen cars and La Vache Qui Rit cheese. Enthusiasts of Tintin lore, known as Tintinolo- gists, have written entire books devoted to him.
Since 1929, more than 250 million copies of the Tintin comic books have been sold. His adventures have been translated in more than 110 languages, and the books are sold in almost every country in the world.
Tintin continues to grow in popularity, even 90 years on. He was the star of a full-length feature film, directed by Steven Spielberg, in 2011 and of an animated television series. The latter was broadcast on Saudi Channel 2 between 1991 and 1992 and a dubbed version has been on MBC 3 since 2003.
However, the history of Tintin has not been without its hiccups. Over the years, critics have argued that, like many of the comics of the era, it should undergo censorship or even outright banning from bookstores and libraries. One of the more troublesome ones is his second adventure, “Tintin in the Congo.”
The natives Tintin visits are crude stereo- types of African people, who are portrayed as ignorant and uneducated, and the references to slavery, such as when the natives refer to Tintin as “master,” make the comics hard to stomach.
Similarly, “Land of Black Gold,” which takes place in a fictional Red Sea state named Khemed, is also banned in several Middle Eastern countries today for its stereotypical portrayal of Arabs.
While some argue the comics are simply byproducts of their era, they are nonetheless somewhat difficult to revisit in the modern era. Attempts have been made to soften some of the references, with edits being made to “Tintin in the Congo” in 1975, but is that enough?
Not according to the London-based human rights lawyer David Enright, who wrote in the Guardian newspaper that “Tintin in the Congo” shouldn’t be sold to children. “Books are precious, but so are the minds of young children. It is vital that our children learn and explore the grotesque history of slavery, racism and anti-Semitism, but in the proper context of the school curriculum.”