Saudi students taking keen interest in US poll

Updated 20 March 2016

Saudi students taking keen interest in US poll

JEDDAH: Although the race to the presidential elections in the US is still in its beginnings, both Saudi male and female students have shown an early interest in the electoral process since the announcement of candidates and the start of the presidential primary elections last February, which will continue until November, a local publication reported.
Social networking sites have witnessed significant interaction of Saudi students in the US, expressing their views and opinions on the American candidates and their parties, and who deserves to be the next American president.
In an opinion survey conducted by one publication which polled Saudi students on their views of the electoral process, it showed that the majority of the students forecast a victory in favor of Democratic candidates.
Others hope that Bernie Sanders, in particular, will win the presidential election because he cares more for the poor and middle-class citizens, and always fights the rich class for what he claims is financial corruption.
Ghasan Jamil, the head of a group calling itself “Saudis in America,” a student group of more than 100,000 followers inside and outside the US, was quoted as saying by the publication: “A large group of Saudis here is interested in the elections and is closely following up on its updates; some students actually attended some of the primary election campaigns for the two parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, out of sheer curiosity.”
He said: “Our interest in particular is to learn whether the candidate would be interested in cooperating with the Middle East, and mainly Saudi Arabia, at political and economic levels.
“Saudis here are very cautious about asking American citizens who their favorite candidate is.”


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 14 min 59 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.