President Donald Trump will land in Riyadh this morning on his first foreign trip since taking office. He leaves behind a Washington that is in an uproar. Trump, whatever one may say about him, is a man who speaks his mind. His election rhetoric left many alarmed.
In face-to-face interviews conducted with 3,500 Arab youth aged 18-24 and with a sample split 50:50 male/female, the results that followed were an indication of the mindset of young people in the Arab world today.
Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Transformation Dr. Rashed Al-Kawan has denied the possibility of the privatization of government hospitals and said that they will be transformed into government companies.
The situation is becoming grimmer and grimmer for expatriates as we enter the second month of amnesty. The fee for the renewal of sponsorship has gone up. Heartless sponsors are demanding more and more money and threatening to send their employees to detention centers.
A screaming headline in a local paper said: “Illegal expats: Go home or be blacklisted.” Another paper stated: “Saudi amnesty offers illegals chance to leave.”
“Sponsors will be fined and punished for failure to renew muqeem or resident cards of their employees on time,” according to a recent ruling of Jawazat (General Directorate of Passports).
I must confess that when I first read about the establishment of the General Entertainment Authority, like many others, I was skeptical about what kind of entertainment would be involved, especially as I considered the hardening of social mores over the past three decades.
The French emperor Napoleon defeated at the battle of Waterloo is said to have described Britain as “a nation of shopkeepers.” His remarks were deemed offensive by the English who after his defeat by the Duke of Wellington replied that “the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.”
A report in a local paper focused on the damages inflicted on people by false accusations made to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha). Nazaha Chairman Khalid Al-Muhaisen highlighted some of the points and said that care will be taken to protect those against whom allegations have been made.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is one of the few Arab leaders who calls a spade a spade. He puts forward ideas that are relevant, not only to the present but to the future.
The number of foreign journalists coming to our part of the world is on the rise. However, what is noticeable is the replacement of seasoned journalists by younger and less experienced reporters.
Every day glaring headlines of traffic accidents are splashed across local papers. Over the weekend there were quite a few. Everyone speaks about the abnormal high ratio of deaths in the Kingdom compared to the population. Newspapers highlight deaths on the highways but many tragic accidents go unnoticed.
And finally, it happened! An outsider has occupied the White House. After a bitter election campaign that was a first in several things including verbal duels and mudslinging, Donald Trump finally triumphed over Hillary Clinton and both Democrats and mainstream Republicans.
I have written several times both in English and Arabic about the lack of civility in our approach to daily life. The list of complaints can go on and on. What makes me return to this subject is an incident that I observed yesterday in which a driver parked his car right in the middle of the road.
The year 2016 was a bloody year for the Arabs. Wars, civil strife, economic downturn and a feeling of hopelessness cast long and dark shadows over most part of the Arab world.
Many events have unfolded in the country in the last year and a half, one of the most prominent being Saudi Vision 2030.
It seems inevitable that in every private or public gathering with family or friends, the main focus is on complaints. And mind you, as we moan and groan, and many are quite right in doing so, we do not come up with solutions or remedies for the problems under discussion.
Some of the fears being expressed in the wake of the upset victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election may be exaggerated. But there is enough reason to worry over the rise of the far or hard right in the US and across Europe.
According to a report in a local newspaper, the government will start paying contractors within the next two weeks and up to 80 percent of the money owed will be paid by the end of this year.
Reports of wealthy Gulf Arabs being robbed in Europe are now a common occurrence. Last week masked men stopped a car heading from Le Bourget airport in Paris and robbed the two occupants of about five million euros in cash and other assets. According to reports, the luxury Bentley was ambushed and its occupants were tear-gassed.