Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN’s World Happiness Report

Saudi families enjoying national day. The Kingdom has moved up the UN's happiness rankings (AFP file photo)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia jumps 5 places in UN’s World Happiness Report

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has jumped up the rankings of the world's happiest countries, according to a new UN report.

The Kingdom is now 28th out of the 156 countries included in the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network's 2019 World Happiness Report, which was published on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia climbed five places compared to 2018 and is now the third happiest country in the Middle East and Africa, with just Israel and the UAE in front.

Finland topped the rankings for the second year in a row, with other Nordic countries taking the leading spots along with the Netherlands and Switzerland. The United States was ranked in 19th place.

South Sudan came last with Yemen and Syria the Arab countries making up the bottom 10.

The list ranks countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.

*With Reuters

The top countries:

1. Finland

2. Denmark

3. Norway 

4. Iceland

5. Netherlands

6. Switzerland

7. Sweden

8. New Zealand

9. Canada

10. Austria

...

21. UAE

...

28. Saudi Arabia 

Bottom countries

147. Haiti 

148. Botswana

149. Syria

150. Malawi

151. Yemen 

152. Rwanda

153. Tanzania 

154. Afghanistan 

155. Central African Republic

156. South Sudan


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.