Top degree of corruption: Saudi university ‘paid $2m bribe to boost ranking’

Updated 17 January 2016
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Top degree of corruption: Saudi university ‘paid $2m bribe to boost ranking’

RIYADH: A Saudi university paid over $2 million to an institute in Australia as bribe to improve its classification and ranking among global universities, Nazaha, the anti-corruption organization, has found.
Nazaha has told the Ministry of Education (MoE) to respond to these excessive financial expenses, which it considers act of corruption and waste of money, a source was quoted as saying by local media on Saturday.
Nazaha had previously found the university’s involvement in other inappropriate and corrupt activities, the source said. “The university is not cooperating with Nazaha by responding to what has been published in the media.”
It is noteworthy that nine Saudi universities were included in the UK’s QS World University Rankings for the year 2014-2015, with King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals leading among Arab universities, followed by King Saud University in the third place and King Abdulaziz University in the fifth spot.
The recent development of alleged corruption comes at a time when the MoE has been focusing on improving its social communication channels and online communication services.
The ministry’s Center for Customer Support “Tawasul” completed 30,000 requests and applications by the end of 2015. Tawasul is one of the ministry’s e-services that provides support to beneficiaries and receives complaints, comments and queries addressed to the minister and other top officials, alongside the “My Results” program for results services and “Safeer” for scholarship students.
Hamad Al-Muhaimeed, media director of the Department of Public Relations and Media at the ministry, was quoted as saying that such procedures are part of the ministry’s keenness to realize better communication measures and unify services provided to the public, as per the vision of education minister Ahmed Al-Eissa.
The new media is in line with plans to improve and establish an integrated media approach to keep pace with developments, bring the ministry closer to beneficiaries, said.
Al-Muhaimeed said the department is planning, as per the instruction and supervisor of Mohammed Al-Haizan, general supervisor of Public Relations and Media, to improve the ministry’s social networking accounts and all other digital media channels.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 18 June 2018
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Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.