Saudi Kingdom threatens to ban messaging apps
Saudi Arabia, a country with very conservative regulations on communication, has recently banned Viber, a popular messaging application or app on mobile phones and is reportedly scheduled to bar Skype and Whatsapp, much larger messaging services.
According to a report of online news portal The Verge, “companies face a choice: wiretap their users or risk a ban.” This refers to Saudi Arabia’s insistence on ‘monitoring’ messages that are transmitted and received through these applications.
Overseas Filipino Workers [OFWs] will be hit hard since many of them use these apps to connect to family members and friends outside Saudi Arabia. The oil kingdom is the prime destination of more than a million Filipinos looking for overseas jobs.
Saudi Arabia similarly threatened Blackberry makers Research in Motion [RIM] several years ago. RIM complied by allowing Saudi authorities ‘monitor’ messages exchanged through its Blackberry Messenger application, supposedly to deter terrorist plots.
Critics however said that authorities, which implement a very tight segregation of men and women in public, only want to monitor mingling of opposite sex online.
OFWs start coming back to PH
As the economy of the Philippines gets better and better for the recent years, some Filipinos abroad start packing their bags heading back home.
In a report of Philippine daily Business World, returning Overseas Filipino Workers [OFWs] is “a sign of confidence” as the country “is leaving behind its reputation as a regional laggard.”
This is after a series of record-breaking achievements of the Philippine stock market.
Just last week, the Philippines reported a staggering 7.8% growth in the Gross Domestic Product [GDP] besting China as the fastest-growing economy in Asia.
This series of economic feats translated to lower exchanges for OFWs, and made some think of pursuing endeavors back in the country, especially in the field of entertainment, tourism, and information technology.
Bodies of beheaded gangsters hang on a busy street in Saudi Arabia Tuesday. The bodies have bags along with each body. These bags contain each body’s head.
This gruesome scene is reportedly a step for the Saudi government in curbing rising crimes committed by expatriates in Jizan, expressed by Mohammad Alsaaedi, an activist quoted by Policymic.com.
" "the government is also seeking to show how tough it is," says Alsaaedi. "The authorities are seeking to reassure the population and frighten the immigrants coming to the region in large numbers."
According to the report, 47 executions have already been done in the Kingdom, a rise from 29 same period last year.
In recent years, Overseas Filipino Workers [OFWs] were convicted guilty and sentenced to death. Some were saved from death, some were not.
As the world celebrates Mothers’ Day, let us take a peek on a growing concern of Arab mothers with their sons growing in this modern age. Especially in Saudi Arabia’s booming population of youngsters amidst cable televisions and social networking sites, Saudi mothers worry of the generation gap between them and their children.
In this video, Arab Reality TV shows a lampoon skit on an Arab mother’s reaction with a son’s being ‘oversocial’ with the opposite sex.
Saudi Arabia threatened makers of Blackberry couple of years ago over its messenger service, widely used in the Kingdom for socializing with Blackberry Messenger PINs even advertised on men’s cars.
Even now, mingling of opposite sexes is still frowned upon by moral authorities in Saudi Arabia.
"Subsidies… should be smarter and support the low-income people.” This is according to the chief executive of Saudi Electricity Co. [SEC], the power utility giant mostly owned by the Saudi government as it pushes for a revision of subsidies given in the oil kingdom.
Ali al-Barrak, SEC’s chief executive, explained in an event in Riyadh that “subsidies are becoming a big part of the government budget” and moves on updating the subsidy given to people should be done.
In fact, Saudi Arabia comes second to Iran in having the highest subsidy in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.
Currently, electricity costs of homes, of the rich and poor, local and expatriates, across the Saudi peninsula are subsidized by the government.
If subsidies in electricity will exclude expatriates, expenses of Filipino Overseas Workers [OFWs] and other expatriates working in the kingdom will be affected.
I don’t know why the community organizations decided to hold protests.
—Ambassador Ezzedin Tago of the Philippine Embassy on the alleged ‘protest’ by Filipinos in front of its office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “There is no justification,” he said, “to organize any protest.”
Migrante, a non-government organization focusing on plights of Filipino Overseas Workers [OFWs], slammed Tago’s statement. In a report by Arabnews.com, Migrante accused a Philippine Overseas labor Office [POLO] officer bringing Saudi police officers into the scene.
Consequently, three Filipinos were held by Saudi police. These were Lyndon Salonga, Juan Carlos and Jon Jon de Vera.
Saudi Arabia reportedly deports ‘too handsome’ Emiratis
Online reports tell the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent Emirati actor Omar Borkan Al Gala and two others back to United Arab Emirates after finding them “too handsome”.
Arab newspaper Elaph reported the Kingdom’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices “feared female visitors could fall for them” and eventually “forcibly removed” the three from Riyadh’s Jenadrivah Heritage & Culture Festival.
Photo from Borkan Al Gala’s Facebook page.
Last night I looked up into the stars and matched each one with a reason why I love you. I was doing great untill I ran out of stars.
Omar Borkan Al Gala, the native from United Arab Emirates in his Facebook page. He was reportedly deported from Saudi Arabia together with two other Emiratis for being “too handsome”.
“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission [for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices] members feared female visitors could fall for them,” Arabic daily Elaph reported.