Lankan maid kills herself

Updated 25 December 2014
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Lankan maid kills herself

A Sri Lankan housemaid has committed suicide in her employer’s house in the north eastern town of Khafji in the Eastern Province.
The Sri Lankan Embassy has confirmed the death of Easwary (not her real name), 35, who hailed from Colombo, the capital of the island nation.
The maid’s Saudi employer had to break down the door of the bathroom when she failed to answer repeated calls only to find her dead, according to embassy sources.
The Eastern Province police spokesman, Col. Ziad Al-Rugaiti, said the maid committed suicide and that the police are investigating her motive.
Embassy sources admitted that they receive reports of suicide cases at regular intervals.
The cases are reported to the next-of-kin of the deceased, they said and they do their best to conduct fair investigations on the deaths.
“We are conducting an analysis on the pattern of suicide cases among the housemaids in the Kingdom,” the sources noted.
In an earlier case involving a housemaid, Poshpawalli Selladurai, 36, who had supposedly committed suicide, was actually murdered by her female sponsor. This was revealed in the postmortem report.
The police in Al-Jouf, some 1,200 km from the capital arrested the sponsor who later admitted her guilt and paid the blood money to the maid’s relatives.
Embassy sources said that they were also waiting for Easwary’s postmortem report which would be released by the police shortly.
Head of Sri Lanka’s National Institute of Mental Health Promotion, Dr. Neil Fernando, said that the latest official data shows that Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world with almost 4,000 cases per year. The majority of victims were aged 15-44, he added.
In 1950, Sri Lanka’s annual suicide rate was 6.5 per 100,000. By 2001, it had climbed to 55. In 1996, the island nation had the highest rate in the world, with almost 9,000 suicide deaths that year. Though the rate declined to 16 per 100,000 in 2011, it remains among the worst globally.
According to a recent police report, 3,770 people committed suicide, including 231 women, in 2011. Most were from rural areas and were mainly due to poverty and debt. This impoverishment has been intensified by government cuts to farm subsidies, rising production costs and low prices of agricultural goods.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”