Washington hosts Saudi Arabian & Middle East Legal Forum

The forum was organized by the Georgetown Arab Lawyers Organization (GALO) and the Saudi Law Training Center (SLTC), under the supervision of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC).
Updated 03 April 2018
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Washington hosts Saudi Arabian & Middle East Legal Forum

WASHINGTON: The Saudi Arabian & Middle East Legal Forum took place in the US capital on Tuesday and Wednesday.
It was organized by the Georgetown Arab Lawyers Organization (GALO) and the Saudi Law Training Center (SLTC), under the supervision of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC).
Attendees and participants included more than 350 prominent Saudi and American figures from various fields, including education, law, economics, business and media.
The forum discussed ways to attract international investment and develop the Saudi economy in the fields of energy, transport, financial services, trade, sports and entertainment.
The event also discussed doing business within the Saudi legal system, and the impact of legal reform and transparency on privatization projects and partnerships between the public and private sectors in the fields of trade, health care and entertainment.
The forum discussed Saudi and Middle Eastern arbitration and judicial systems, and outlined new challenges and opportunities in the fields of health care, energy and transport.
The conference was opened by GALO President Ahmed Medhat Karoub, who praised the Kingdom’s opening of its economy and society, and the international community’s embrace of this.
He said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan is derived from his appreciation of, and support for, innovation and science.
The Kingdom has made great strides in many areas, reflecting decision-makers’ efforts to establish a legal system and working environment that will help create a prosperous and sustainable economy, Karoub added.
Andrew Patterson, a board member of the International Environmental Business Organization, said during a panel discussion that the Kingdom is investing in its youth via Vision 2030.
Andrea Sherman, professor of law at Georgetown University, said: “I am very pleased to participate in the conference, which brought back wonderful memories of my time in Saudi Arabia as legal adviser to a number of elite companies.”
He praised the organization of the conference, and the ambition of young Saudi men and women to improve their society and country.
Stephen Hammond, a lawyer and partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, said the forum exceeded all expectations in addressing all issues relating to the Kingdom’s future and Vision 2030.
Such events are important in correctly presenting Saudi society, especially from a legal perspective, he added.
Saudi Justice Ministry Judge Sheikh Saleh Al-Saawi said laws and regulations enacted by the Kingdom’s leadership guarantee the judiciary’s independence and social justice for all its citizens.
Dr. Nouf Al-Ghamdi, a legal adviser and member of several accredited legal committees, praised the aims of Vision 2030 to strengthen the fields of entertainment, sports and tourism, and to encourage women’s participation in the workforce and in decision-making.
Attorney Majed Karoub, head of the SLTC, expressed pride in the conference’s success.
The Kingdom’s future lies in its youths’ determination to enable it to compete with developed countries in all sectors, he said.
SAPRAC’s vice president of media, Reem Daffa, said the forum successfully merged Saudi and American cultures.
It was a unique opportunity to link Saudi law students with a network of experts in various legal disciplines that are necessary in the Kingdom in light of Vision 2030, she added.


Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary

Mexican President-elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 min 54 sec ago
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Mexican president-elect slashes his own salary

  • Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption
  • Lopez Obrador said he’d like to reduce his salary even further

MEXICO CITY: Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday he plans to earn less than half of what his predecessor makes when he takes office in December as part of an austerity push in government.
“What we want is for the budget to reach everybody,” he told reporters in front of his campaign headquarters.
Glancing at a piece of paper with numbers on it, Lopez Obrador said he will take home 108,000 pesos a month, which is $5,707 at current exchange rates, and that no public official will be able to earn more than the president during his six-year term. The transition team calculates that current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto makes 270,000 pesos a month.
Lopez Obrador said he’d like to reduce his salary even further, but that he doesn’t want to cause resentment among future Cabinet members who are in some cases leaving private sector positions and academic posts that pay more than the new ceiling for public officials.
He reiterated campaign promises to cut back on taxpayer funded perks for high-level government officials, such as chauffeurs, bodyguards and private medical insurance. The official presidential residence will become a cultural center and ex-presidents will no longer receive pensions, he said.
At the same time, he doubled down on pledges to stem corruption. Mexico ranks 135 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index, with higher numbers indicating higher levels of corruption.
Public officials will have to disclose their assets, he said, and corruption will be considered a serious offense.
Supporters gathered beyond the gates cheered the proposals.
“This is what we need,” said Josefina Arciniega, 57, who earns 12,000 pesos a month as an administrative assistant. “We are fed up.”
Arciniega said she’s tired of low-level public servants asking for bribes and of watching high-ranking officials living in luxury while people like her struggle to pay the bills.
Orlando Alvarado, a chemical engineer standing next to Arciniega, called Lopez Obrador’s proposed presidential salary a dignified wage.
“A lot of Mexican professionals don’t even make 6,000 pesos a month. I’m talking about accountants and doctors,” he said.