Excerpts: Saudi cautions citizens refusing employment. Terrorist group
infiltrates Lebanon. Egypt's protein supply at serious risk May 16, 2012
+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 16 May '12:"
"Saudis who refuse employment to be taken off Hafiz aid list "
SUBJECT: Saudi cautions citizens refusing employment
QUOTE:"The ratio of expatriates to Saudis in the private sector is...9 to 1"
RIYADH – The Ministry of Labor is in the process of issuing a list of all
unemployed Saudis who have turned down offers of employment for no apparent
reason. The list will also detail the privileges which government agencies
had provided to the uncooperative jobseekers in form of training, financial
aid and other incentives, said Ahmad Al-Humaidan, undersecretary for Labor
Affairs at the Ministry.
Following the implementation of a series of programs aimed at accelerating
the Saudization process such as Nitaqat, Hafiz and the Human Resources
Development Fund, the ministry will publish a list of Saudis whom the
ministry finds not interested in gainful employment. This will also allow
the Ministry of Labor to exclude them from the count of the actual number of
unemployed Saudis who have qualifications and are in the hunt for a job.
According to sources at the Ministry of Labor, the total number of the
unemployed Saudis in the Kingdom in the first quarter of the current year
stood at 1.1 million male and female Saudis representing a sizeable
percentage of the total population. The ratio of expatriates to Saudis in
the private sector is a whopping 9 to1 with the total number of foreign
workers in excess of eight million.
The sources also added that the latest statistics for those receiving
government stipends reflects an increase in the number of unemployed female
Saudis pointing out that 78 percent of Saudi female degree holders are
unemployed. The statistics also indicate an increase in the rate of the
unemployment among the Saudi women as is compared to Saudi men.
They constitute 80 percent of the total number of those who receive
Also, the ministry is considering the issuing of a black list for Saudi
females receiving Hafiz benefits and not showing an inclination to work.
The next step would be to drop them from the program following their
unwillingness to seek employment. The employment opportunities are
continuously updated at the Hafiz web site (www.hafiz.gov.sa). – SG
+++SOURCE:Naharnet (Lebanon) 16 May '12:"Report" Terrorist Group Enters
Lebanon to Carry Out Assassinations Against Senior Officials"
SUBJECT: Terrorist group infiltrates Lebanon
QUOTE:"terrorist group -linked to an extremist organization, has infiltrated
the country recently to carry out 'sabotage' operations"
FULL TEXT:International countries warned Lebanese officials that a terrorist
group - linked to an extremist organization, has infiltrated the country
recently to carry out “sabotage” operations, local newspaper reported on
According to As Safir newspaper, the information coincided with similar data
obtained by Lebanese security agencies.
Speaker Nabih Berri and several other senior Lebanese officials might be the
target of a security threat by the terrorist group.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea escaped an assassination attempt on
In January, security agencies urged Berri and Progressive Socialist Party
leader MP Walid Jumblat to take precautions as they might be the target of
an assassination plot.
On Tuesday[15 May], al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that the security
agencies succeeded in the past few days in uncovering a terrorist network
with local, Arab, and European links.
It said that the confessions of one of the detainees led to the arrest of
Sunni Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi, a development which sparked armed clashes
in the northern city of Tripoli over the weekend.
The General Security detained in Tripoli last week Hamza Mahmoud Tarbey
whose confessions led to al-Mawlawi’s arrest, according to the daily.
The six-member network includes three Lebanese individuals and a national
from each of Qatar, Palestine, and Jordan.
Military Tribunal Judge Saqr Saqr had charged on Monday[14 May] al-Mawlawi
and the five other network members with forming an armed terrorist group and
undermining the authority of the state, as well as having links to the
He later issued an arrest warrant against al-Mawlawi.
+++SOURCE:The Atlantic via Egypt Daily News 15 May '12:"Egypt's Real Crisis:
The Dual Epidemics Quietly Ravaging Public Health" by Laurie Garrett and
Steven A. Cook
A combination of avian flu and foot and mouth disease risk destroying the
protein supply, eroding public trust, and further destabilizing the Arab
world's most populous country.
SUBJECT: Egypt's protein supply at serious risk
QUOTE:"Lost in the recent political jockeying . . . is the unfolding healh
disaster there . . .this little-discussed crisis is beginning to resemble
those that occur in failed states."
FULL TEXT:Lost in the recent political jockeying and protest violence
leading up to Egypt's May 23 presidential elections is the unfolding public
health disaster there. Avian flu and foot and mouth disease are running
rampant, killing people and livestock as well as inflating the price of
food. It's a serious health and economic issue, but it has potentially much
larger implications for Egypt, and this little-discussed crisis is beginning
to resemble those that occur in failed states.
The Egyptian state, which was not particularly well-prepared for public
emergencies even before the February 2011 revolution brought it into
near-chaos, has little capacity to cope with the outbreaks threatening not
only Egypt, but also Sudan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jordan.
Egypt's public health infrastructure barely functions. The sort of social
service that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have provided over many
years, it falls far short of what is needed to combat the current crisis.
Cairo does not have the money to throw at the problem, having burned through
more than half of its foreign currency reserves in the 15 months since
Ground zero for Egypt's public health emergency is Libya, where last year,
in the midst of civil war, foot and mouth disease swept through the country,
killing more than 10 percent of its sheep and cattle. Smugglers subsequently
brought infected sheep across the Libyan border, setting off a foot and
mouth disease (FMD) wildfire that Egyptian officials have been unable to
Within four weeks, FMD killed thousands of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats,
camels, and other livestock across Egypt. In March, the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization declared a "catastrophe," warning that the
epidemic in Egypt was threatening human food supplies for all of the Middle
East and North Africa. The particular viral strain responsible for the
epidemic, officially called SAT2, is a new one, against which standard FMD
vaccines are useless. SAT2 was first found in Sudan in 1977, when it was
also thought to have been eliminated. It appears to have resurfaced there in
2010, spread to Libya, then Egypt, and now the Palestinian Territory.
Consequently, public and veterinary health officials in Israel, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan, and elsewhere around the region are on high alert.
For Egypt, which is reeling from the economic repercussions of last year's
revolt against the Mubarak regime and ongoing political instability, the FMD
epidemic is a serious blow. The loss of thousands of cattle, buffalo, and
camels has resulted in a significant spike in the price of meat from Egypt's
remaining livestock, which leaves a relatively poor population with only one
unaffected source of protein: chickens. Yet Egypt is also in the sixth year
of avian influenza H5N1 epidemic. Despite vaccination and control efforts,
the deadly H5N1 virus, which swept into Egypt from Asia, persists. Given the
popularity of home-raised chickens in the country, where many households,
rural and urban, possess flocks, controlling the infection would be a
daunting undertaking for any government. Millions of the animals are
estimated to have either died from infection or been killed off by
veterinary authorities, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organization, in failed control efforts. The World Health Organization now
ranks Egypt second in the world, after Indonesia, in human cases of the
avian flu, which thus far has reportedly killed 60 Egyptians and infected
about 100 more. Recently, a strain of the virus has spread to Egyptian
ducks; this new strain carries mutations that are thought to play a role in
enabling transmission between mammals. This is a particularly worrisome
development because some Egyptians have caught the flu from their animals,
but not yet passed it onto other people. Once the virus begins to spread
between humans, an epidemic becomes far, far more likely.
There are only two well-established methods for controlling these viral
animal diseases: through mass vaccination of more than 90% of all vulnerable
animals, or via quarantine and culling measures that identify and slaughter
all FMD-infected herds and H5N1-contaminated flocks. In either case,
governance is the key. These are big, difficult undertakings, and they
require public trust in the state. Poor farmers are far less likely to
cooperate with such a program, which asks them to risk, their livliehood,
with faith that government will provide adequate compensation for culled
In Egypt, where the military's ability to exert its authority has diminished
over time, the transitional civilian cabinet is ineffective, and a variety
of political forces jockey for advantage as the presidential election draws
near, the government looks increasingly unable to deal with the FMD crisis,
and people are furious about it. When more than 7,000 cattle died in March,
protesters took the streets to demonstrate al Gharbiyya governorate. Unable
to get help from the state or compensation for dead animals, impoverished
famers dumped animal carcasses into water systems and canals, and on the
doorsteps of local officials. By late April, the animal death toll topped
20,000, as the infection spread to the Red Sea and South Sinai governorates
as well as the Palestinian territories. When local veterinary experts tried
to impose quarantines on infected herds, camel drivers threatened to block
Egypt's main highways, insisting on the right to use their beasts regardless
of contamination concerns.
In early April, the Egyptian government announced it would buy $1.8 million
worth of a vaccine manufactured to treat the specific strain of FMD
threatening Egypt's livestock. The first stocks arrived at the end of April.
Though vaccinations have begun, it is unclear when they will become widely
available. Even if a mass vaccination of Egypt's hoofed livestock could be
accomplished, despite the uncertainty of Egypt's politics and limited
capacities of its sprawling bureaucracy, it will -- like all vaccines --
take two weeks before the benefits of immunization take effect. Under the
best-case scenario, control of FMD would not be realized until June or July.
As for bird flu, it's doubtful that Egypt could stop the viral spread of the
disease, portending more human cases and deaths.
Observers have spent a lot of time and effort trying to understand Egypt's
post-Mubarak trajectory, but this path will be much more than just the
twists and turns of Egyptian politics. Public health is a critical factor
for the country's transition and its future. Even if presidential elections
are smooth, if the military hands power to civilians with no problems, and
if Egyptians get down to the hard work of writing a constitution,
uncontrolled foot and mouth disease and avian flu -- along with their
attendant economic and human costs -- could risk everything. If the
international community wants to help guide the Arab world's most populous
country through its post-Mubarak crisis, addressing the country's twin
epidemics would be a particularly high-impact way to do it. Absent a global
response, Egypt will likely experience continued political instability and
violence, and potentially widespread malnutrition that would surely affect
Libya, Sudan, Gaza, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, and beyond. Endless
debates about the Muslim Brotherhood's commitment to democratic change or
the military's intentions are interesting, but not as important as a
coordinated international effort to pull Egypt back from the public health
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA