Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

Updated 15 March 2014

Few takers for decision to close shops by 9 p.m.

A government decision is expected within a few days stipulating that retail stores and general service shops close by 9 p.m.
The decision follows recommendations made by six government agencies, who had conducted an earlier study on the issue.
Restaurants, drug stores and food stores that have a license to operate on a 24-hour basis will, however, be exempted from the decision.
Many people expect that the decision will have a large impact on social life in Saudi Arabia, as well as huge effects on the national economy and individual income.
Several economists expect the decision to mark a major shift in consumption patterns, not to mention the social and cultural impact such a decision will have on consumers.
“The decision is bound to have a positive impact on power consumption and traffic congestion in a country that is known for its exorbitant consumption rates,” said Rashid Al-Fozan, an economic journalist at Al-Arabiya. “I also believe that more youth will be attracted to working for the private sector when they know that they will have to work less hours. Saudis who want to supplement their monthly incomes can even open their own stores,” he said.
Many analysts believe that the decision will reshape social life in Saudi Arabia and create closer bonds between families. Such a measure, they say, will impose discipline on the lives of ordinary Saudis, who are bound to become more productive in the long run.
Yet many saleswomen have expressed concern at the prospect of having their salaries reduced due to the shorter working hours.
“I am a full-time worker and I earn around SR4,000 for working two shifts at a store,” said Fatima Abdullah, a saleswoman at a Jeddah-based store. “It is very hectic commuting to and from work and transportation costs are eating up a huge chunk of my salary.”
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US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 

The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.



“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.

The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.

“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.