Government paying for deportation of illegals

Government paying for deportation of illegals
Updated 27 November 2013

Government paying for deportation of illegals

Government paying for deportation of illegals

The Saudi government will cover the cost of deporting illegal foreign workers, an official said recently.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines has been entrusted with the task of ensuring flight bookings or, if required, charter additional flights to return illegal workers to their countries,” said Col. Bader Al-Saud, director of media and public relations at the Makkah police department.
Meanwhile, Al-Saud said deportation procedures for illegal expatriates include holding them at the general services center in Al-Shumaisi outside Makkah after their arrest.
He said the center does not admit or deport any foreign worker on its own. The center detains violators arrested by the security agencies. It issues a statement with the details of each detainee received at the facility. The operations are digitized and accurate statistics compiled, Al-Saud said.
“The officials at the center ascertain the nationality of each detainee while officials from foreign consulates keep track of the details of their nationals. The detainees are put up in separate areas according to their nationalities,” he said.
Detainees are given documents showing their biometrics and photographs. These documents are then handed to their consulates, which would then issue exit passes. When travel documents are verified, embarkation permits with air tickets are given to the detainees, Al-Saud said. “If a consulate refuses to issue a travel document to a detainee, he will not be deported. However, there has not been such a case so far,” he said.
The center has provided a special area for consulate representatives to issue travel documents to their citizens. An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also present to coordinate procedures between the consular officials and the security agencies, he said.
In a related development, Brig. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the Kingdom would not permanently ban any deportees from returning to Saudi Arabia.
He said all illegal workers would have the option to return. “The regulations only stipulate a ban of 10 years,” he said.
Al-Turki said eight planes would deport more than 2,000 Ethiopians on a daily basis to their home country. They would leave the country as soon as the Interior Ministry prepares their documents, he said.
Commenting on the news that some illegal Ethiopians had fled the government-run shelter, Brig. Gen Nasser Al-Qahtani, Riyadh police spokesman, said workers were free to move around. “They are not in detention. All the doors are open for everyone to go out and buy necessities.”


Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show
Updated 11 September 2018

Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show
  • More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show
  • About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions

MONTREAL: Cirque du Soleil will stage a show in Saudi Arabia for the first time later this month, the high-flying acrobatic troupe announced Monday.
The show will take place in the Saudi capital on Sept. 23 to coincide with the country's national day, public relations director Marie-Helene Lagace told AFP.
More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show, which will also be shown on Saudi state television. Cirque says it will be one of its biggest one-off productions ever.
About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions and conform to "the artistic standards for which we are known," Lagace said.
The announcement of Cirque du Soleil's appearance in Saudi Arabia was first made in Los Angeles in April, Lagace noted. But it was unclear whether the show would go on given the diplomatic tensions.
At the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has reopened movie theaters and allowed women and men to attend some concerts together.


US-backed Syrian force declare victory over Daesh in Raqqa

US-backed Syrian force declare victory over Daesh in Raqqa
In this Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 photo, fighters from the Women’s Protection Units, or YPJ, hold a celebration in Paradise Square in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Gabriel Chaim)
Updated 20 October 2017

US-backed Syrian force declare victory over Daesh in Raqqa

US-backed Syrian force declare victory over Daesh in Raqqa
BEIRUT: A US-backed Syrian force declared victory over Daesh in its former “capital” of Raqqa on Friday, declaring the northern Syrian city free of any extremist presence.
At a press conference held inside the city Friday, the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces formally handed over administration of the devastated northern city to a council made up of local officials and tribal leaders.
In a highly symbolic move, the press conference was held inside the city’s sports stadium which Daesh militants had turned into an arms depot and a huge prison where they incarcerated and tortured their opponents.
“Our victory is one against terrorism, and the liberation of Raqqa marks the latest chapter in the fight against terrorists in Syria,” said Talal Sillo, a spokesman and senior SDF commander.
Standing before a backdrop of shattered buildings, Sillo urged the international community and aid organizations to assist with the city’s reconstruction.
Associated Press drone footage from Raqqa showed the extent of devastation caused by weeks of fighting between Kurdish-led forces and Daesh and thousands of bombs dropped by the US-led coalition.
Footage from Thursday shows the bombed-out shells of buildings and heaps of concrete slabs lay piled on streets littered with destroyed cars. Entire neighborhoods are seen turned to rubble, with little sign of civilian life.
The video showed entire blocks in the city as uninhabitable with knocked-out walls and blown-out windows and doors, while some buildings had several stories turned to piles of debris. The stadium that was used as an arms depot and prison by the extremists appears to have suffered less damage compared with surrounding buildings.
“We call upon all countries and peace-loving forces and all humanitarian organizations to participate in rebuilding the city and villages around it and help in removing the scars of war that were inflicted by the (Daesh) group,” Sillo said.
Sillo said 655 local and international fighters lost their lives during the four-month battle for Raqqa.
Long before the ground offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces began in Raqqa in early June, warplanes pounded the city for months.
The US-backed Kurdish-led SDF announced Tuesday they have driven Daesh militants out of the city after weeks of fighting.
The fall of Raqqa marks a major defeat for Daesh, which has seen its territories steadily shrink since last year. Daesh took over Raqqa, located on the Euphrates River, in January 2014, and transformed it into the epicenter of its brutal rule.

VW admits 11 mn cars have pollution cheating device

VW admits 11 mn cars have pollution cheating device
Updated 25 September 2015

VW admits 11 mn cars have pollution cheating device

VW admits 11 mn cars have pollution cheating device
FRANKFURT: German auto giant Volkswagen revealed Tuesday that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide are equipped with devices that can cheat pollution tests, a dramatic escalation of the scandal that has wiped a third off the company’s market value and now threatens to topple its chief executive.
Authorities from France to South Korea to the United States announced investigations and threatened legal action, prompting Volkswagen to announce that it was setting aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in provisions for the third quarter to cover the potential costs of the scandal.
VW shares, which dived 17 percent on Monday, plunged by another 23 percent to a low of 101.30 euros during trade on the Frankfurt stock exchange as the automaker’s new revelations, including a warning that it will have to lower its profit outlook, sent investors fleeing.
When the manipulation of pollution tests was first publically revealed on Friday, the US authorities said it concerned nearly half a million diesel vehicles in the United States manufactured by the Volkswagen group.
“Further internal investigations have shown that the software concerned is also installed in other diesel vehicles,” VW said in a statement.
“Anomalies have shown up in around 11 million cars worldwide that are equipped with a specific engine type,” added the car manufacturer, the world’s biggest by sales in the first half of this year.
“In order to cover the necessary service and other measures to win back customer confidence, VW plans to set aside 6.5 billion euros in provisions in the third quarter. The group’s earnings targets for 2015 will be adjusted accordingly.”
The scandal has led to France calling for a Europe-wide probe into the revelations, South Korea summoning Volkswagen officials, and the US Justice Department reportedly launching a criminal investigation.
The impact on the reputation of Volkswagen and other car makers is hard to measure.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the VW to show “full transparency” to clear up the matter. “I hope the facts will come to light as soon as possible,” she told reporters in Berlin.
Industry experts say VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn’s job is on the line.
The regional daily Tagesspiegel said his dismissal had already been decided by the steering committee of car maker’s supervisory board and would be officially sealed at a meeting of the full 20-member board this Friday.
US regulators have ordered Volkswagen to fix the defective vehicles and launched an investigation.
The German firm has halted all diesel vehicle sales in the United States during the US probe, which could lead to fines amounting to a maximum of more than $18 billion.
The shockwave of the scandal has slashed VW’s market capitalization by about 25 billion euros to 51 billion euros in just two days.
Other automobile stocks were also dragged lower with Daimler shares down 7.03 percent and BMW shedding 7.17 percent on Tuesday.
“Our company was dishonest, with the EPA and the California Air Resources board, and with all of you and — in my German words — we have totally screwed up,” the chief executive of Volkswagen America, Michael Horn, said at an event in New York late Monday, according to video posted by CNBC.

Wider probe pushed
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin requested a Europe-wide probe, telling French radio on Tuesday that cars manufactured by other European car makers should be checked so as to reassure the public.
South Korean officials summoned VW representatives for explanations on Tuesday, saying tests would be started by “no later than next month.”
In addition to the environmental probe already under way, the US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, US officials told the Bloomberg news agency. The Justice Department and Volkswagen declined to comment on the report.
According to the US authorities, VW has admitted that it had equipped about 482,000 cars in the United States with sophisticated software that covertly turns off pollution controls when the car is being driven and turns them on only when it detects that the vehicle is undergoing an emissions test.
With the so-called “defeat device” deactivated, the car can spew pollutant gases into the air, including nitrogen oxide in amounts as much as 40 times higher than emissions standards, said the US Environmental Protection Agency, which announced the allegations Friday along with California authorities.

Threat to public health
“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal, and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, enforcement officer at the EPA.
In Germany, the government has already launched an investigation into whether Volkswagen or other car makers are doing anything similar in Germany or Europe.
The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the national supervisory authorities had alerted VW to discrepancies in the emissions data in May 2014 and some cars were even recalled.
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told the Bild daily that he had asked Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority “to immediately have specific and extensive tests conducted on all Volkswagen diesel models by independent experts.”
So far the scandal has been restricted to Volkswagen.
But environment protection groups, particularly in Germany, suspect other car makers may be using similar technology.
The EPA said Monday that it will screen for defeat devices in other manufacturers’ diesel vehicles now on the road, though it declined to identify the automakers whose vehicles will be tested.

Journey of faith: Pilgrims begin moving into Mina

Journey of faith: Pilgrims begin moving into Mina
Updated 25 September 2015

Journey of faith: Pilgrims begin moving into Mina

Journey of faith: Pilgrims begin moving into Mina
MINA: As the night wore on Monday, pilgrims started filling into the tent city of Mina.
They came in ones and twos, some on foot, some in wheelchairs, many in buses and SUVs arranged by the pilgrim establishments.
All roads and highways from Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Dammam, Abha, Jazan and Taif were leading into Makkah and Mina.
The first leg of the five-day Haj begins on Tuesday when all pilgrims will spend the night in Mina before heading to Arafat on Wednesday morning.
Under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal have arranged foolproof safety and security measures for the pilgrims.
Nearly 100,000 men in uniform are at the holy sites to make the journey of a lifetime for nearly 2 million pilgrims safe and secure.
“Haj is where you see near-perfect synchronization among all government agencies, ministries and pilgrim establishments,” said prominent Saudi analyst Sami Al-Nwaiser. “It is gigantic task and the goal is to organize a successful, smooth and hassle-free Haj.”
Traffic moved at a snail's pace on the Jeddah-Makkah Expressway. In addition to the permanent security checkpoint at Al-Shumaisy, there were four new checkpoints to keep undocumented pilgrims away. The 85 km journey from Jeddah to Makkah takes an hour in regular days. On Monday, it took three hours.
At the Al-Shumaisy checkpoint, security personnel were armed with latest high-tech gadgets that looked like iPads. They were screening the permits on those machines.
All alternate routes to Makkah and the holy sites were teeming with security forces in their vehicles, flashing with blue beacons.
Inside Makkah, it was hot and windy. At 7:38 p.m., the mercury was hovering at 40 degrees Celsius. In Mina, it was a different scene. It rained on Monday evening bringing down the temperature considerably. The maximum temperature for Tuesday in Makkah has been forecast to be 46.
The Kingdom has spent billions of riyals improving infrastructural facilities at Makkah, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, including trains, roads, telecom and electricity networks.
“It is a mind-boggling exercise,” said Anwar Khursheed, a first-time pilgrim from Pakistan, who teaches at Punjab University. “Allah has conferred the highest honor of serving the Two Holy Mosques on the Al-Sauds and they have done everything that is humanly possible and doable to make the journey of the guests of Allah comfortable.”

Keeping Hajis safe: Unfit foodstuff seized

Keeping Hajis safe: Unfit foodstuff seized
Updated 25 September 2015

Keeping Hajis safe: Unfit foodstuff seized

Keeping Hajis safe: Unfit foodstuff seized
RIYADH: In a major drive to keep Hajis healthy, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has confiscated 4,211 unfit consumable items and 40,000 non-consumable items from the shops in Makkah and Madinah.
The inspections were carried out intensively to prevent the sale of unhealthy goods that contravene the local regulations to the pilgrims, said the ministry.
The confiscated items included Zamzam water, frozen chicken, frozen meat, potatoes, pickles, cheese, pineapple jam, olive oil, juice, biscuits, dairy products, cake, chips, tea, cookies with dates, croissant, soda, spices and candies.
The seized non-consumable items were found not in compliance with the Saudi Standard Specifications and Consumer Protection Regulation.
They included electric plugs, cell chargers, mobile accessories, chains, cosmetic items, eyeliners, cream, Vaseline, incense, henna, shampoo, soap, washing liquid, handbags and perfumes.
The ministry has also planned to begin intensive inspections of jewelry and precious metal shops to verify calibration and to check the scales used in such stores.
The authorities regularly inspect fuel stations, especially those located on the pilgrims’ routes, to calibrate the fuel pumps. Tire shops are inspected to verify their items’ quality and validity and to confiscate second-hand and expired tires.