Report: 64,000 Saudis joined labour market within two months

The Saudi Ministry of Labour said more than 64,000 Saudi men and women joined the labour market during the months of September and October, 2017. The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the number of Saudis in the labour market amounted to 1.949 million Saudis by the end of October compared with 1.844 million in September. According to the ministry, 33,000 Saudi women and 31,000 Saudi men joined the labour market during the aforementioned period. The Kingdom aims through its National Transformation plan, the main component in its Vision 2030, to reduce the unemployment rate among its citizens to 9 per cent by 2020 and to 7 per cent by 2030 through. Read: Saudi Arabia deficit reaches $32.4bn […]

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US senators urge Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian villages

Ten US senators have written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to demolish Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The letter, initiated by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., states: “we have long championed a two-state solution as a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. “Yet, your government’s efforts to forcibly evict entire Palestinian communities and expand settlements throughout the West Bank not only directly imperil a two-state solution, but we believe also endanger Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy”. JTA notes that nine of the signatories are Democrats and four of them Jewish. The Israeli authorities have declared their intention of demolishing Susiya, a Palestinian village near Hebron, […]

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Israeli plan to set up new settlement city in West Bank

Israeli occupation authorities are planning to set up new large settlement city on the western borders of the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reports reported on Wednesday. According to Quds Press, the Israeli news website 0404 revealed that a special committee was assigned by the Israeli interior ministry six months ago to prepare for the plan. The committee offered its recommendations on Wednesday, the Israeli site said, noting that the committee recommended bringing a number of settlements together to create a large settlement city applicable for expansion. According to the news website, the settlements in question are Oranit, south of Qalqilia, Sheari Tikva, in the east, Etz Efraim, in the villages of Qalqilia and Elkana in the west of Salfit. […]

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UAE grants $1.9bn in loans and housing support to its citizens

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, yesterday approved AED7 billion ($1.9 billion) worth of loans and ordered the distribution of housing and residential plots among the country’s citizens. “The housing loans will benefit some 6,794 nationals,” Al-Nahyan said on twitter. The Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces noted that the initiative aims at providing a “decent life” for Emiratis as well as “mobilising all energies and possibilities to push forward the process of comprehensive development.” Under the grant, some 1,789 residences, worth AED 2.1 billion ($57 billion), and 2,647 residential plots, worth AED1.3 billion ($35 billion), will be distributed among Abu Dhabi national residents. Read: Half of UAE’s residents in debt The government […]

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New Israeli draft law would jail pro-BDS activists

A new draft bill sponsored by members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition would see activists who promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) campaign face criminal charges and jail time. According to the proposal, reports Haaretz, “the crime in question, which already exists in the penal code, harms ‘Israel’s interests or Israel’s relations with a country, organization or institution’.” The new element, backed by Likud MKs David Bitan (coalition whip), Anat Berko, and David Amsalem, as well as Kulanu lawmakers Yfat Shasha-Biton and Tali Plosko, is “including the promotion of anti-Israel boycotts as one of the acts that can result in indictment on this charge”. The bill’s explanatory notes state that the law “is meant to apply to anyone who takes an active part […]

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European parliament calls for recognition of Palestine

The European parliament stressed on Wednesday that “time has come for the EU members to recognise an independent state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” This call came in a statement for the Chair of the European Parliament’s Standing Delegation for Relations with Palestine, Neoklis Sylikiotis. He made his call to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He also called for the suspension of the EU partnership with Israel until it becomes “seriously committed” to respecting human rights. Sylikiotis added: “This day reminds all of us of our failure to achieve justice for the Palestinians, who have been suffering the loss and theft of their human rights since 1948.” He stressed that […]

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Former Egyptian PM blocked from leaving UAE

Former Egyptian Premier Ahmed Shafiq said on Wednesday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was preventing him from travelling to his country after he announced his plans to run in Egypt’s presidential elections next year. In an exclusive interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, Shafiq — the last prime minister from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak era — said he was satisfied with his residence in the UAE but complained that Emirati authorities were not allowing him to travel to Egypt. “I am surprised that the brother UAE authorities are blocking my journey to Egypt because of reasons I do not know and understand,” he said. Shafiq said he wanted to meet Egyptian workers in the UAE as part of his election campaign […]

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Hamas: Israeli ban on Swiss officials ‘inhuman’

The Palestinian group Hamas said Wednesday that Israel’s barring of Swiss officials from entering the blockaded Gaza Strip from Israeli territory is “inhuman”. Hamas explained in a written statement that the ban was also a “violation” which prevented the Palestinian people from communicating with the world. On Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly banned the officials from entering the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media. Read More: Hamas: PA call for its workers to return to their posts ‘violation’ of Cairo deal The ban was issued over recent meetings between Swiss officials and members of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, Israeli Channel Two reported. According to the channel, Swiss representatives recently held talks with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh and […]

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‘Positive’ signs in Lebanon so Hariri may withdraw resignation

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said today that matters were “positive” and if that continued, he would withdraw his resignation next week, a statement from his press office said. Earlier, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Hariri will “certainly” remain prime minister and Lebanon’s political crisis will be resolved in a few days, Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported. “We have just finished talks with all the political forces, within and outside government. There is a broad agreement,” the daily quoted him as saying during a visit to Italy. Hariri resigned in a televised statement while he was in Saudi Arabia on 4 November, prompting a political crisis in Lebanon and thrusting it back into a regional tussle between Riyadh and […]

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Tunisia: Government ‘trying to control’ independent bodies

Independent bodies which deal with the fight against corruption, journalists’ rights and human rights in Tunisia have today united to condemn the government’s attempts to “marginalise” them by “emptying them of their content and reviewing their regulatory laws in order to control them”. In a joint press conference, member of the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication, Hisham Snoussi, said: “It has become clear to us that the executive authority decided to circumvent the Constitution and to empty the authorities of their content by introducing laws that contradict rights and freedoms. There is a real decline in the authorities’ role.” Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Snoussi added: “All the authorities feel that the retreat implies the government’s power and contempt […]

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