Saudi Press Roundup

Saudi Press Roundup

The threat posed by drugs
The recent press conference conducted by Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, not only highlighted the ministry’s efforts in foiling attempts to smuggle drugs into Saudi Arabia but also indicated the huge volume of drugs being sold among its youth. We understand that the drug barons target the Kingdom’s young men and women. The official said drug enforcement agencies are able to prevent only 20 percent of narcotics brought to the Kingdom. This means a huge volume of drugs enters the country every year.
In the first four months of this Hijrah year alone, security agencies were able to arrest 849 suspected smugglers including 278 Saudis and 571 foreigners belonged to 31 countries for trying to smuggle drugs worth more than SR2 billion into the Kingdom.
Why drug smugglers and traffickers target Saudi Arabia? The enemies want to destroy the Kingdom’s security and stability. Moreover, many people are jealous of the Kingdom’s wealth and natural resources and its position as the heartland of Islam.
Gen. Al-Turki disclosed plans to launch a nationwide awareness campaign with the Education Ministry’s support. The campaign, which is expected to continue for three years, will certainly help protect our children from drugs.
Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Al-Zahrani, direct of Al-Amal Hospital in Dammam, has done a lot to combat drug addiction. He says: “Children start taking drugs at the age of 11. Drug smugglers and traders are targeting children aged between 11 and 18. So parents should keep a close watch on their children, especially when they reach this age and provide them with necessary advice and guidance in order to prevent them from falling into the getters of drugs. We should know the friends of our children and with whom they are going, sitting and spending time.”
— By Dr. Essam Al-Khorasani

World Water Day
March 22 is observed as the World Water Day on the basis of a UN resolution to encourage countries to take effective steps for the protection and preservation of water resources. This year’s theme is “Water & Energy,” which are two important factors of life.
Water is required to produce electricity while energy is required to operate desalination plants and purify water. Consumption of electricity in the Kingdom has increased since 1990 due to fast economic development. It rose from 24,000 megawatt in 2001 to 38,000 megawatt in 2008 and 60,000 megawatt in 2013.
The use of oil and gas for desalination and electricity generation has increased considerably to the extent that it could threaten the national economy if proper action was not taken to use alternative energy sources like solar and nuclear energy. Studies show that Saudi Arabia consumes 25 percent of its oil and gas output for generating electricity and producing desalinated water.
The formation of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is a good start and we hope it would speed up efforts to develop alternative energy sources. Efforts are underway to establish a desalination plant in Al-Khafji, which will use solar energy to produce 30,000 cubic meters of saline water. Efforts are underway to establish more solar-powered desal plants to supply 300,000 cubic meters of water on the Red Sea.
— By Dr. Ali bin Saad Al-Takhis

Rights of working women
The Kingdom’s labor laws have provided a number of rights for working women. There is a separate section for working women. But many of our female workers in the private sector do not know about these rights and because of their ignorance they may lose them.
We cannot always expect the employer to provide us all our rights without demanding them. It is important that workingwomen should be aware of their rights to protect them, if the employer fails to grant them their rights without asking.
The Labor Law has banned employment of women in dangerous places or harmful industries. It insists that a pregnant female worker is entitled for a vacation of four weeks before the date of delivery and six weeks after delivery. Women shall not be asked to work during the six weeks after delivery.
The law instructs the employer to pay workingwoman half the salary during the delivery vacation, if she had worked for one year with the same employer, and full salary if her service had exceeded three years. After returning from delivery, such workers should also be given resting times to breastfeed their children, but without exceeding an hour per day. This is in addition to the resting period provided to all other workers.
— By Dr. Qaiser Hamid Mutawae

Misleading statements
We have read three statements last week on the national economy and they came from officials who work in different fields with varying experiences.
The first came from Saleh Kamil, a prominent Saudi businessman. He said: “Unemployment in the Saudi society is qualitative and not quantitative. The economic boom has brought about a new generation who does not accept certain types of jobs. There are 600,000 jobs for Saudis in the retail sector, which are currently occupied by expats. This sector will serve 75 percent of jobseekers having secondary school education.
The second statement came from Dr. Fahd Al-Mubarak, governor of Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) who said: “The International Monetary Fund’s expectation of 4.4 percent economic growth rate for Saudi Arabia this year is reasonable and could be achieved. IMF’s projection of three percent inflation for Saudi Arabia is also reasonable and that rate is better than any other developing country.”
He also pointed out that the private sector would remain a major driving force for growth this year.
The last statement came from the head of IMF mission in Saudi Arabia: “Most jobs created during the past five years went to expats, instead of Saudis, and that there is nothing new with related to housing and unemployment issues. He also pointed out that creating jobs for young Saudis was one of the major challenges facing the Kingdom’s economy.”
If we follow up the statements made by different individuals on the Kingdom’s economy during the past one month, we can find them contradictory. We can see so many mistakes in these statements and if authorities take any decision based on these statements it would be catastrophic.
— By Abdul Hameed Al-Amri

It’s Erdogan vs. Twitter
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said recently to his opponents over his decision to block Twitter, “I don’t care what the international community would say.”
No leader has done it since former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak blocked the Internet in the last days of his rule when millions of demonstrators filled Tahrir Square demanding his ouster. Even Syrian dictator Bashar Assad hasn’t done this.
Even his friend and comrade in the same party, Turkish President Abdullah Gul had to declare that he had nothing to do with the blocking of social media.
But Erdogan did it. Just one week before the municipal elections in Turkey he blocked the site, depriving 10 million Twitter users in the hope of covering up scandals against him and his party.
But why Twitter? The answer is this: Erdogan is currently controlling more than half of the public and private mass media, TV, radio and newspapers.
Even if Erdogan succeeds with the news blackout on his citizens and wins the municipal elections, he still has to face the upcoming presidential elections and his situation would become more and more difficult. I don’t believe that Erdogan fears losing his position, glamor and popularity, or even his potentially brutal descent, as much as he fears being brought to trial if the evidence proves his personal involvement in his son’s illegal trade with the Iranians.
In fact, blocking Twitter is an indicator of Erdogan’s confusion.
— By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view