As ISIS’ influence and activities continue to spread in Iraq, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defence had stepped up its border defence on the northern side of Aran. The MoD had sent more than 2,000 troops armed with the latest military technology and intelligence-gathering equipment to defend the possible incursion of ISIS militants once the Iraqi conflict is resolved.
Saudi Border Guards Commander General Faleh al-Subai’i said that three helicopter units and lorries mounted with machine guns have mobilised to survey the land and ensure the safety of the border. The border is also guarded by radar and infrared video cameras, which is monitored 24 hours in a control room.
The MoD is reported to have sent more troops, but they and the media have not yet said the exact number of soldiers added.
The border is also guarded by high earth berms and fences. Sandbags have been spread thoroughly all around the border.
In the previous week, a Saudi border guard’s housing complex were hit by three rockets. The military has yet to identify who launched the rockets, but General Faleh al-Subai’I said that these groups are looking to start a conflict between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blames Saudi Arabia and Qatar for indirectly funding the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants as it pushed to aid the rebels in the Syrian civil war. Part of the Syrian rebel forces were al-Qaeda splinter groups aiming to overthrow the Syrian regime and ISIS is one of these groups.
However, Saudi and Qatar had blamed al-Maliki for his “sectarian” policies, leading under a Shiite majority government.
According to local Qatar news agency The Peninsula Qatar, some of the ISIS members had supporters of the deposed dictator Saddam Hussein joining their ranks.
ISIS had overtaken the northern areas of Iraq, including Mosul and Tikrit. They have also invaded nearby towns as they progress further towards Baghdad, Iraq’s capital.
The ISIS had also uploaded photos of executions online, showing the “before and after” appearances of unarmed Iraqi soldiers in mass execution. The UN and the US had condemned the photographs, saying the terrorist group had committed war crimes for killing “in cold blood.”
Meanwhile, the United States had confirmed the deployment of 275 military personnel to grant safe passage to Iraqi US Embassy personnel. The Iraqi government had also stepped up the capital’s security.
The US is also considering a security cooperative with Iran to safeguard the two countries’ interest in Iraq’s stability.
Saudi Arabia Health Authorities report three more had died from MERS, which takes the country’s total death toll to 163 individuals.
In total, Saudi Arabia had recorded 698 cases of MERS in the country. According to Health Authorities, 30% of those infected with the virus survive the symptoms.
Three women, a 48 year old from Riyadh, a 67 year old from Taif and an undisclosed-aged woman from Jeddah had died due to the virus.
More cases of MERS in the King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah had induced public panic, which led to the dismissal of its Health Minister
The World Health Organization had warned governments to stay vigilant and ensure proper health protocol to avoid the spread of the virus to vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. It had come short of considering MERS as a global health issue.
Aside from Saudi Arabia, governments have reported few cases from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, the UAE and the United States.
Health experts and researchers note that MERS is a cousin of the SARS virus from Asia and is a deadlier version of the virus. It appears as a lung infection, with patients coughing, having breathing difficulties and high temperatures. However, MERS could also trigger rapid kidney failure.
The MERS incident and the death toll of 66 people in Saudi Arabia had parents nationwide keep their children off their schools and everybody in the country wearing face –masks. The coronavirus is feared to have spread everywhere, but Makkah Governor Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah and health authorities have made efforts to control and prevent the spread of the disease in the kingdom.
Online rumors in social media had scared Jeddah’s residents and the misconceptions had the Ministry of Health and the governor raise awareness among people in the city, particularly in malls and public spaces.
A ministry that will oversee the prevention of the virus had calmed down the people of Jeddah.
According to Awareness Campaign Supervisor Yusuf Al-Otaibi, the number of people visiting their information stalls surprised them. People were asking about preventative measures against the virus and how to keep it from spreading.
Observers have noticed that the campaigns have been helpful in informing residents. Students said the local authorities had successfully debunked the online myths about MERS, especially those who thought they had symptoms of infection.
After the campaign, pharmaceutical stores had seen a rise in the number of purchases for medical masks.
Yemen had recorded its first death from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus this month.
Saudi Arabia plans to block Qatar from the country because of its links with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi had recently declared as a terrorist organization. Saudi will not block Qatar if it decides to cut its ties with the Egyptian political party, closes al-Jazeera and removes the local branches of the US Brookings Institution and Rand Corporation, both western surveys and research companies.
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah said that any Saudi who fights with any terrorist group abroad can be jailed for 20 to 30 years. The same sentences can be given to individuals who give moral or material support to terrorist or extremist groups.
However, the new anti-terrorist law, which prohibits radical acts and movements in the kingdom and publicity given to such acts, is contradictory to the Jihadi operations in Saudi Arabia.
Even today, Saudi Arabia uses the wealth it gains from its oil to support jihadists. Saudi fell out with the Muslim Brotherhood because it failed to follow Saudi dictation.
Along with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain recently withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar because of its link with the Muslim Brotherhood. Bahrain had recently imposed a law similar to Arabia that condemns support in both moral or material for the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to statistics, a quarter of a billion euro had been paid out to at least 10,560 people by February. Despite the increases, governments had advised insurers not increase premiums on vehicle and household insurance policies. However, authorities are speculating on the increase because of the lack of increase in accidents in the previous year.
Whiplash injuries had been the easiest to fake in claiming injury compensation in many car accident compensation cases. According to sources, some organisations actually “plan” accidents that would help persuade insurance companies to give compensation for their injuries.
The UK supreme court had previously announced that it would be having an independent medical board that would oversee the regulation of whiplash injuries to ensure that those with genuine whiplash injuries receive proper compensation, while those who have fraudulent injuries will have a difficult time making a claim.
Insurers are actually losing £2 billion to fraudulent injury claims. However, this amount is smaller should insurers want to challenge suspicious insurance claims. The UK court had made plans to reduce the legal fees for challenging claims to reduce the strain on insurance companies.
Some officials and observers blame no win no fee accident claims companies for increasing legislative costs by pushing fraudulent and evidence-lacking claims, however it would be absurd to place blame on this sector alone. Without the chance of compensation from no win no fee claims companies, many genuine victims of accident or injury would struggle to get the money that would be owed to them.
Despite the increasing modernisation of Saudis in their home country and all over the world in different industries, western culture still condemns them to derogatory stereotypes as people who ride out in deserts with camels, are very rich or are terrorists. Even foreign expatriates living in the country still view Arabians in this way.
According to Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Bernard Haykel, the image of the Arab is not positive in the United States and other western countries. Their derogatory stereotypes are associated with their excessive wealth, gender inequality, abuse of women and their close-minded approach to faith.
According to him, even if some expatriates or visitors may find some Saudi Arabians as kind and down to earth enough to change their ideas, there will still be media and independent underground groups that are willing to tarnish the image of Saudi Arabia.
According to Niagra College Professor Karen Martin, she loved Riyadh when she first saw it. She said she loved the environment and Arabian students were as diligent and welcoming as western students.
She added that the “closed-door” image of Saudi Arabia that has western countries endow it with negative and extreme imagery. She added that it is possible 9/11 changd the view of the world to Arabians and the Middle East forever.
The Saudi Boeing 767-300ER carrying 315 passengers made an emergency landing in the Holy City of Medina in the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz airport after the pilot told Medina Air Traffic Control that it had a technical glitch in its rear wheels and had problems with its hydraulic system.
The control tower then helped the pilot land the plane while having firefighters and security authorities at the airport. A special foam substance across the runway helped limit the friction of the plane’s landing. The experienced senior captain helped stop the aircraft before the end of the runway, limiting damages except for the runway, which would force all domestic and international flights in the airport cancelled
All the reported plane damages were on the rear end of the aircraft.
The spokesman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation reported that 29 passengers were injured and 11 the authorities transferred to hospitals. At least 18 people had minor injuries and there were no casualties.
Authorities also received a report on human body parts dropping from the sky on the city of Jeddah in the neighbourhood of Mushrefa, but they downplayed its involvement in the crash. However, some observers speculate that the body parts, which may come from a stowaway in passenger jet’s landing gears who may have been crushed to death.
At least 60,000 employees had already been expelled by the Saudi government as its new program struggles to allow Saudi natives priority for local jobs to deal with the high case of male unemployment in the country. According to sources outside Saudi, over 2 million more expatriates in the country could follow.
However, economists are saying that the high rate of deportation can greatly affect the global economy, especially the Southeast and Middle Eastern economies. Saudi’s menial jobs market are dominated by South and Southeast Asians including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Jordan and other developing countries.
Most of the high-skilled jobs in the country are dominated by US and European expatriates. Experts said that it is highly unlikely Saudis will take on tasks for cleaning, agriculture and other domestic services.
Economists fear that the $27.5 billion remittance in 2012 could be severely affected by the deportation. Saudi is the one of the biggest sender of remittances after the United States and Canada in third. With remittances the saviours of most countries with the least advantage in terms of economy, its resilience for the global economy may fail for 2013.
Experts are advising Saudi Arabia to reconsider its labour policies because the high unemployment in the country will not fade even after expelling low-skilled expatriates because not only the home countries of the expelled will be affected, but Saudi’s, as well.
Financial Ombudsman Service Chief Natalie Ceeney had resigned from her position after the FOS receives its one millionth PPI complaint. Chairman of the Ombudsman Nicholas Montagu said that Ceeney felt it was time for her to move on from the Financial Ombudsman Service. Montagu said that Tony Boorman, the deputy ombudsman chief, will be running the office until further notice.
PPI or payment protection insurance is the biggest financial scandal in the United Kingdom’s history. With the total PPI refund bill reaching £20 billion as experts speculate, there are no signs of the financial scandal ever ending in the next two years. If you have been mis-sold PPI, it is strongly advised that you recover your money by using one of the reclaiming guides readily available on the internet or have claims management companies such as PPI ClaimBack Co to help you in making your claim.
Natalie Ceeney has been known to criticize banks for failing to meet customer satisfaction in dealing with their PPI complaints. Most of these rejected complaints come straight from consumers who are unsatisfied with their lenders’ decision, which costs lenders £900 for every PPI complaint against them. This adds to the administrative costs of lenders, which is also added to their PPI compensation total.
In fact, the Financial Ombudsman estimates that 80% of the complaints rejected or insufficiently-reviewed by banks were upheld in favour of consumers.