Lankan maid kills herself

Updated 25 December 2014

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.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”