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Diabetes is quite

common in the Kingdom

and patients need

glucose meter with the

test strips for daily

checks before using

medicines. Unfortunately

these test strips have

become difficult to find.

Sultan Al-Asiri


Cheating inevitably occurs even in a contest for

animal beauty. It is prevalent in camel pageants

just like any other animal sport such as horse racing

where steroids have found their way.

Fawzan Al-Madi


The heads of

chambers said they

were not against

Saudization but have

some reservations

about the mechanism

adopted by the

ministry. These

mechanisms will

have a negative

impact on the private

sector and cause

many businesses to

close down.

Al-Ghafis: No going

back on Saudization

Saudi Gazette report


Minister of La-

bor and Social Development Dr.

Ali Al-Ghafis has reiterated that

his ministry will enforce the

Saudization programs as planned

and without delay, Makkah news-

paper reported.

The ministry will not renege

on any decision, he said during a

meeting with the heads of cham-

bers of commerce and industry

in the country at the ministry›s

offices in Riyadh.

A number of participants

called upon the ministry to ex-

empt the private sector from 100

percent Saudization, especially

of certain jobs that are difficult

to be filled by Saudis. They asked

the ministry to form a committee

to study any decisions thorough-

ly before they are announced.

Al-Ahsa Chamber of Com-

merce and Industry President

Abdullatif Al-Arfaj said the

ministry would implement all

Saudization decisions on sched-

ule despite the fact that it knows

that some of the decisions would

be tough for some sectors. The

ministry believes that these deci-

sions are healthy for the national


“The heads of chambers said

they were not against Saudiza-

tion but have some reservations

about the mechanism adopted by

the ministry,” Al-Arfaj said.

“These mechanisms will have

a negative impact on the private

Combatting avian flu

Jeddah Municipality in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture conducted inspection tours around Jeddah to

ensure the safety of birds sold in stores. The inspection visits covered bird stores and farms in Souq Al-Ahdal located in south Jeddah, Abu Jala

district, Al-Balad, Al-Alfiyah, Kilo14, Al-Samer, Souq Al-Anaam, Al-Sanabil and Quaiza district.

— SG photos

Over 500 publishing houses to participate in Riyadh book fair

Saudi Gazette report


This year›s Riyadh Interna-

tional Book Fair opens on March 14 with

the participation of more than 500 pub-

lishing houses. Custodian of the Two Holy

Mosques King Salman is expected to inau-

gurate the event at Riyadh Conference and

Exhibitions Center in the presence of Saudi

and foreign dignitaries.

“It is one of the most important fairs

in Saudi Arabia, and is held every year in

the capital city Riyadh, showcasing a large

number of books and publications, includ-

ing e-books, in various languages,” said Dr.

Abdul Rahman Bin Nasser Al-Asim, gen-

eral supervisor of the agency for culture at

the Ministry of Culture and Information,

the main organizer of the book fair.

The theme of the fair this year is

“Books —The Future of Transformation.”

Over 80 cultural events will be orga-

nized during the 11-day event.

The fair welcomes visitors of all ages

and social strata who not only enjoy the

event but also participate in the accom-

panying activities, cultural events, literary

seminars and workshops.

Each year the Riyadh International

Book Fair selects a country as the guest of

honor and will allocate a special pavilion

for it to display its culture and literature,

the official said, adding that this year›s

guest is the United Arab Emirates.

“The fair will have a special section

dedicated to children›s products,” Al-Asim

pointed out.

Seven organizing committees are hold-

ing meetings to make the fair a big success.

Speaking about the guest of honor,

Al-Asim said: “The UAE is selected as the

guest of honor considering the strong rela-

tions between the two GCC countries.”

In a Twitter message on the occasion,

Culture and Information Minister Dr. Aw-

wad Bin Saleh Al-Awwad also highlighted

the strong brotherly and historical rela-

tions between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

He also commended the country›s rich

Arab and Islamic heritage.

Al-Asim said the fair›s theme reflects

the Kingdom›s ongoing efforts for national

transformation and its new phase of de-

velopment. He hoped the fair would boost

the country›s publication industry and

promote cultural and knowledge exchange

between Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Minister Al-Awwad will honor five

initiatives by Saudis to promote reading

during the inaugural ceremony. “These ini-

tiatives give a glittering picture of Saudis›

cultural contributions and their commend-

able efforts to promote the reading habit in

society,” the official said.

Last year, 15 initiatives were presented,

Al-Asim said, adding that they were well

received by the visitors.

The cultural committee will hold a

number of workshops related to publish-

ing, book industry and reading during the

fair. “There will be sittings with authors,

poetry evenings and a marathon for trans-

lation in addition to stage shows, seminars,

conferences and special events for chil-

dren,” the supervisor said.

The fair has allocated a special pavil-

ion for Saudi authors who published books

without the support of any publishing

houses. “We have made this arrangement

to encourage Saudi authors and promote

their intellectual and cultural works,” he


Such authors, however, should have

published their books after obtaining the

ministry›s permission.

Ali Al-Ghafis

Children study in tin buildings as

school project stalled for 10 years

SR400,000 fine for injecting animals with Botox

By Abdullah Al-Samiri

Okaz/Saudi Gazette


Children of a school

in Ruwaidat, a village located 45

km away from Umluj in Tabuk

province, have been attending

classes in prefabricated tin struc-

tures for the last 10 years because

the school building project has

not been completed yet.

Parents have complained the

achievement level of students

have been affected negatively

and have expressed anger over

the failure to complete the proj-

ect. They said students have to

put up with cold weather in win-

ter and hot weather in summer.

Salim Al-Juhani, one of the

village residents, said the prefab-

ricated buildings were made 10

years ago.

“The contractor worked on

the project for a short period.

He stopped the work after laying

the foundations. I hope the Min-

istry of Education will complete

the project so that the students

can study in normal classrooms

and their suffering will end. The

current classrooms become re-

ally hot in summer months and

extremely cold in the winter and

therefore the children cannot fo-

cus on lessons,” he said.

Muhammad Al-Juhani, a resi-

dent, said nobody knows why the

project had not been completed.

The parents feel angry that their

children have to put up with such

dangerous conditions, which

pose great risk to their lives.

Tabuk Educational Adminis-

tration spokesman Ali Al-Qarni

said the ministry was working on

awarding the project to another


Saudi Gazette report


The Ministry of En-

vironment, Water and Agriculture

has warned animal breeders that

it will impose tough fines ranging

from SR50,000 to SR400,000 on

anyone who inject animals with

Botox and other chemical fillers or

adopt any other fraudulent means

to change their features.

“A committee for looking into

violations has warned against

wrong practices and has disquali-

fied camels at the recent beauty

pageant in Riyadh for using Botox

to make them appear extra beauti-

ful,” said Dr. Ali Al-Duwairaj, man-

ager of the department for health

and veterinary control at the min-


At least 14 camels have been

reportedly disqualified from the

month-long King Abdulaziz Camel

Festival that concluded early this

month at Al-Dhahna outside Ri-

yadh. The pageant with a prize

money of up to $57 million sup-

ported by Saudi royals lured breed-

ers from around the Gulf region.

Organizers of the festival —

with 30,000 participating camels

— are cracking down on cosmetic

enhancements, a malpractice that

has thrived amid stiff competition

and despite strong penalties as

some stake millions on acquiring

top breeds.

Dr. Hassan Safar, professor of

The tin buildings where children of Ruwaidat village in Umluj governorate are forced attend classes.

Shortage of glucose

test strips creates

panic among patients

Saudi Gazette report


Many pharmacies

and private hospitals raised the

prices of diabetes test strips by

30 to 40 percent on short notice,

exploiting the crisis resulting

from a shortage in public health

centers and governmental hos-

pitals, Al-Madina newspaper


Patients appealed to offi-

cials in the Ministry of Health

to take urgent action to make

available diabetes analysis tools

in hospitals and health centers.

Officials said that they are

currently working on finding

solutions to the problem.

On the other hand, the Min-

istry of Commerce and Invest-

ment blamed the price increase

on the Saudi Food and Drug Ad-


Abdullah Alsalmy, a father

of several children having dia-

betes, was one of the people

severely affected by the crisis.

“I was shocked when I went to

a private pharmacy to buy the

test strips. I saw that the test

strips were priced more SR150.

Obviously, they were exploiting

the shortage,” he said.

“Diabetes is quite common

in the Kingdom and patients

need glucose meter with the

test strips for daily checks be-

fore using medicines. Unfor-

tunately these test strips have

become difficult to find,” said

Sultan Al-Asiri after visiting

many specialized centers for di-

abetics, which appeared to have

no more test strips in stock.

Diabetes patients created

a hashtag on Twitter to ex-

press their resentment for the

ministry›s lack of concern. One

patient tweeted that the glu-

cose meter and test strips are

important to ensure that the

glucose level is normal and to

Prices in private pharmacies go up 40%

injections on camels to enhance

their beauty and make quick mon-

ey without knowing its dangerous

effects on the animals.

“Camels who were subjected

to such injections could develop

cancer, severe inflammations and

other diseases. People who pur-

chase them will have to treat them

and this is cheating,” he said.

The lure of cash and the pres-

tige of winning propel some to

tweak the natural look of camels,

an offense that could get the ani-

mals banned from the competition

for three to five years.

Days before the festival began,

Saudi authorities caught one veter-

inarian performing plastic surgery

on camels prompting furious calls

for stringent penalties for cheating,

media reports said. Camels were

given Botox injections at his clinic

and some went under the knife to

make their ears more perky, also

considered a winning trait.




curs even in a contest for animal

beauty,” said chief judge Fawzan

Al-Madi. “It is prevalent in camel

pageants just like any other animal

sport such as horse racing where

steroids have found their way.”

Al-Madi said specialized vets

and a team from the Agriculture

Ministry had been deployed to

detect violations, which include

beauty products such as oils, anes-

thetic creams and fillers.

Shariah policy and comparative

laws and judicial systems and legal

proceedings at King Abdulaziz Uni-

versity in Jeddah, said it is not per-

missible to tamper with the look of

animals. “It is an illegal practice,” he

told Al-Watan Arabic daily.

“Such injections make changes

in the creation of God, irrespective

of material or other benefits, and

this practice is a form of cheating

to make money in a wrong way,” he


He highlighted the harmful ef-

fect of such actions on society and

said it leads to the entry of for-

bidden money. “Promoting such

fraudulent practices is forbidden,”

Safar said while advising breeders

to beware of God who is watching

all their actions.

Officials in charge of camel

beauty contests should warn the

public against such wrong practic-

es, he said.

“They should inspect animals

before such competitions. Breed-

ers should ensure the identity of

their camels and other animals. The

camel is considered an important

national symbol and a rich heri-

tage,” Safar said.

Breeder Mubarak Al-Rasheed,

who is a traditional healer, also op-

posed the move to apply modern

methods to change the features of

camels and other animals, especial-

ly rare species.

“Some people inject Botox to

change the size of camels› ears and

features on their faces,” Al-Rasheed

told Al-Watan. “Some apply the in-

jection on camels to have droopy

lips, a winning attribute for camel

pageantry,” he added.



are also involved in this fraudulent

beautification process, he said, add-

ing that many of them do not have


Veterinarian Naeem Al-Jefri

said many camel breeders apply

avoid complications that might

cost the ministry more in case

the patient›s condition precipi-


Another diabetic asked the

Ministry of Health via the same

hashtag to raise funds for the

diabetes awareness campaign

that will start next month.

He urged the ministry to try

to supply the test strips through

governmental hospitals and

health centers because a lot of

patients cannot afford to buy

them from private pharmacies

due to their high prices.

The Ministry of Health, on

the other hand, has been reluc-

tant to disclose the reasons that

led to the shortage of test strips.

When contacted by Al-Ma-

dina, the ministry simply re-

sponded by saying that it was

working to solve the crisis.

to create a job bank for industrial


Al-Arfaj said the presidents of

chambers are worried that some

of the ministry›s measures and

decisions might have a negative

impact on the national economy

and might delay the achievement

of the government›s objectives.

sector and cause many business-

es to close down,” he said.

“Business owners have called

upon the ministry not to Saudize

certain jobs for the time being

because there are no qualified

Saudis to replace expatriates,

especially in the construction

sector. However, the ministry

insisted that it will implement

the decisions as planned,” he ex-


Many businessmen agreed

that the ministry can Saudize the

industrial sector but the sector

will still need the expertise of

foreigners, especially in certain

areas that Saudis are not inter-

ested in. They asked the ministry