SR200m allocated to heal Yemen’s wounds

KSRelief personnel distribute aid packets among the needy in the Al-Jouf town of war-wracked Yemen. (SPA)
Updated 15 October 2016

SR200m allocated to heal Yemen’s wounds

JEDDAH: The King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) has been instructed to allocate the amount of SR200 million for the treatment and transfer of Yemeni victims of last week’s Sanaa funeral hall explosion, according to a statement received by Arab News. 
The statement said that SR150 million would be allocated to cover treatment expenses and the transfer of wounded Yemenis.
It added that the center has been instructed to send urgent aid to the Yemeni governorate of Al Hudaydah.
An additional SR50 million has been earmarked to take care of other needs to end the crisis.
Last week, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman directed KSRelief to coordinate with the Arab coalition, the legitimate Yemeni government, and UN organizations to facilitate the transfer abroad of the injured who need to be treated, following the Great Hall incident in Sanaa.
Meanwhile, a Saudi soldier laid down his life defending the Kingdom’s volatile border, the security spokesman of the Interior Ministry announced on Friday.
He said one of the security patrols at Al-Dair in Jazan came under hostile fire across the border from Houthi elements, which resulted in the martyrdom of Khaled Ali Mohammed Asiri. The Saudi forces responded and exchanged fire with the militias until they brought the situation under control.
Furthermore, joint Saudi forces foiled an attack launched by the Houthis and militants loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the southern border, according to Al-Arabiya.
The Saudi forces hit the attackers before they could reach the border near Dharan Al-Janub in the Asir region.
Saudi special forces undertook military operations and the remaining Houthi attackers withdrew from their location after losing tens of their colleagues, weapons and other armed men who were supporting Houthi backline positions.
In another development, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir held talks with Tobias Ellwood, British MP for Bournemouth East and minister for Middle East, Africa, Counter Terrorism and Consular. Both discussed bilateral ties and regional issues.
Ellwood, on his Twitter account, expressed his appreciation for Al-Jubeir who briefed him on the Sanaa funeral attack. He said that the UK and Saudi Arabia are partners and are able to discuss all issues including Yemen and other regional developments.
The MP said that he had a frank and detailed discussion with Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s president, in Riyadh, adding that the two sides stressed the need for a cessation of hostilities, and finding a political solution to the conflict.
The UK has said that it would present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding an immediate cease-fire in Yemen, British Ambassador to UN Matthew Rycroft said Friday.
“We have decided to put forward a draft Security Council resolution on Yemen, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political process,” he told reporters.
The draft text is expected to be circulated among the council’s 15 members, with a vote expected in the coming days.
Separately, an explosion killed six people and wounded 20 as they attended a funeral service in the Yemeni city of Marib, east of Sanaa, the government-run news agency Saba said on Friday.
The blast occurred as condolences were being paid after the death of Abdulrab Al-Shadady, an army general in Marib who was killed a few days ago in fighting with Houthi militia, local officials told Reuters.
Among those killed in Friday's blast was Salem Al-Shadady, the older brother of the general killed earlier, Saba said.

Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019

Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.