View Full Version : Saudi king back home, orders $37B in handouts

02-23-2011, 01:08 PM
The king, who had been convalescing in Morocco after back surgery in New York in November, stood as he descended from the plane in a special lift. He then took to a wheelchair.....Hundreds of men in white robes performed a traditional Bedouin sword dance on carpets laid out at Riyadh airport for the return of the monarch, thought to be 87.

Abdullah left his ailing octogenarian half-brother, Crown Prince Sultan, in charge during his absence....Before Abdullah arrived, state media announced an action plan to help lower- and middle-income people among the 18 million Saudi nationals. It includes pay rises to offset inflation, unemployment benefits and affordable family housing.

Saudi Arabia has so far escaped popular protests against poverty, corruption and oppression that have raged across the Arab world, toppling entrenched leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and even spreading to Bahrain, linked to the kingdom by a causeway.....stly from Bahrain's Shi'ite majority, who demand more say in the Sunni-ruled island....Riyadh would be worried if unrest in Bahrain, where seven people were killed and hundreds wounded last week, spread to its own disgruntled Shi'ite minority in the oil-rich east.


Hundreds of people have backed a Facebook call for a Saudi "day of rage" on March 11 to demand an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and the release of political prisoners.