Cabinet: Views of women should be made use of

Updated 16 January 2013
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Cabinet: Views of women should be made use of

The Council of Ministers yesterday emphasized the importance of the Arab economic summit that opens in Riyadh on Jan. 21 and hoped summit leaders would adopt effective resolutions to strengthen Arab economies and boost inter-Arab trade relations.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense who chaired the Cabinet, welcomed Arab heads of state to the two-day summit, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet wished the newly appointed members of the Shoura Council success. The Cabinet described the appointment of women to the Shoura as an important step taken by the king, saying it would strengthen the consultative body.
“The views of women should be made use of while taking national decisions,” the meeting said. The Cabinet also expressed its appreciation of the contributions made by the outgoing Shoura members.
Referring to the Kingdom's attractive economic environment, growing investment projects and the new SR820 billion national budget that focuses on spending, the Cabinet said it would boost economic progress and create more jobs for young Saudi men and women. “It also reflects the Kingdom's security and stability and its economic strength.”
Speaking about the Syrian crisis, the Cabinet stressed the importance of supporting international efforts to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people to end the bloodbath, maintain security and stability and ensure the country’s unity, independence and sovereignty.
The Cabinet called for concerted efforts to assist displaced Syrian people and refugees and end their suffering as they have been hit by a wave of snowfall and hailstorm. King Abdullah has ordered emergency relief worth $10 million for the Syrians in Jordan. This is in addition to $100 million Saudi aid announced at the Marrakech conference.
The Cabinet approved the reconstitution of the Board of Directors of Jeddah Development Company for a period of three years: They are Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras, chairman of the board, Abdul Rahman Al-Dahmash of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Abdul Aziz Al-Khudairi, deputy governor of Makkah, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi of the Ministry of Finance, Fahd Al-Jalajel of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Riad bin Kamal Najm of the Ministry of Culture and Information, Ibrahim Al-Eissa, Mohamed bin Hassan Abu Dawood, Amr bin Hassan Anani, Abdullah bin Hassan Qanzal, Emad bin Abdul Qader Al-Muhaidib from the private sector as members.
The Cabinet approved the United Nations Convention to Combat Corruption, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2003.


Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

Updated 40 min 6 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant Kingdom seeks to diversify.
King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the Kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.
“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.
Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger has said the project in the entertainment-starved Kingdom is expected to draw foreign investment, but gave no figures.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with plans for three hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but skeptics question their viability.
Aside from Qiddiya, the Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of a sweeping reform program dubbed “Vision 2030.”
The reforms stem partly from a motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.