Archive | October 3, 2016

Saudi Arabia Abandons Islamic Calendar as Part of Cost-Cutting Measures*

Saudi Arabia Abandons Islamic Calendar as Part of Cost-Cutting Measures*

Saudi government workers will be paid according to the Gregorian calendar instead of the Islamic Hijri calendar, making the working month longer as part of cost-cutting measures, newspapers reported on Monday.

The change, approved by cabinet last week, brings civil service pay in line with the government’s January-December fiscal year, the Arab News and Saudi Gazette reported.

The reports said the latest austerity measure took effect on 1 October.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is cutting government spending and re-orienting its economy after a collapse over the past two years of the global oil price which provided most of its revenue.

The Hijri calender consists of 12 months of 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon, meaning the Islamic year is several days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in the world.

Last week, cabinet also cut by 20% the salaries of ministers and froze the wages of lower-ranked civil servants.

Almost twice as many Saudis are employed in the large public sector – where hours are shorter and leave longer – than in private firms.

In April, the king’s son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced the wide-ranging Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy.

Among its goals, Vision 2030 aims to boost private sector employment, cutting the government payroll to 40 percent of the budget from 45 percent by 2020.


Related Topics:

Behind the Hijri Calendar and the Year 1436 AH/2014 AD*

The Disillusionment of Muharram*

Saudi Arabia Facing Flack from both Sunni and Shia Leaders*

Putin: Illuminati Plans to Use Islam To Spark World War III*

Top Illuminati Grand Wizard: “We Control Islam and We’ll Use It to Destroy the West.” (WW3)*

Putin Suspends Russia-U.S. Deal on Plutonium over Hostile U.S. Actions*

Putin Suspends Russia-U.S. Deal on Plutonium over Hostile U.S. Actions*

Russia has suspended a post-Cold War deal with the U.S. on disposal of plutonium from decommissioned nuclear warheads. The decision was explained by “the hostile actions of the U.S.” against Russia and may be reversed, if such actions are stopped.

A decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin cites

 “the radical change in the environment, a threat to strategic stability posed by the hostile actions of the U.S. against Russia, and the inability of the U.S. to deliver on the obligation to dispose of excessive weapons plutonium under international treaties, as well as the need to take swift action to defend Russian security” as justification for suspending the deal.

While Russia suspended the plutonium reprocessing deal, it stressed that the Russian fissile material, which was subject to it, would not be used for any military purpose, be it production of new weapons or research.

The suspension decree has come into force, but it needs to be approved by the Russian parliament, which may overrule the president’s decision. Leonid Slutsky, who’s slated to be appointed head of the Foreign Relations Committee in the newly-elected parliament, said it would be given a priority.

“It’s a very important issue. It’s about taking swift action to protect Russian national security. We will deal with it as soon as the bill is submitted,” he told TASS.

A bill submitted by the president’s office to the parliament on Monday states that the uranium agreement may be resumed, provided the U.S. takes steps to eliminate the causes of the suspension. In particular, Moscow wants Washington to curb its military presence on the territories of NATO members which have joined the alliance after September 1, 2000, to the number at which they were at the moment of signing the agreement, Russian media report.

The draft bill also mentions repeal of the so-called Magnitsky law and of sanctions against Russian regions, persons and companies introduced by the U.S. over Ukrainian crisis, while also paying compensation for damages caused by them, including the damages caused by the counter-sanctions that Russia was forced to impose.

The Magnitsky Act is a 2012 US law intended to punish a number of Russian citizens believed to be linked to the death in custody of Russian lawyer Sergey Magnitsky.

Moscow also wants Washington to provide a clear plan how it is going to irreversibly reprocess plutonium under the agreement’s conditions.

The development was not entirely surprising, since Russia earlier expressed its dissatisfaction with how the U.S. wants to handle plutonium reprocessing.

Washington decided it would be cheaper to mix nuclear materials with special diluents. Russia insisted that the U.S. was violating the terms of the deal, which required it to use a nuclear reactor to transmute plutonium. Unlike the mixing technology, the latter method makes the process irreversible.

The treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which regulates how the two countries are to dispose of plutonium from nuclear warheads decommissioned as part of the parallel reduction of the two countries’ Cold War arsenals, was signed in 2000. Each country was required to dispose of over 34 tons of fissile material by turning it into so-called MOX fuel and burning it in nuclear reactors.

However, costs for building a facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where the US was supposed to fabricate MOX fuel from its plutonium, spiraled out of control. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. decided that it would instead use the cheaper reversible process, arguing that it was in line with the spirit of the deal with Russia.

Russia expressed its concerns over the unilateral move in April, shortly after a nuclear security summit held in the U.S.

We signed an agreement that the plutonium will be processed in a certain way, for which facilities would be purpose-built,” Putin said at the time.

“We have met our commitments, and constructed the necessary facilities. The U.S. has not.”

The U.S. rejected the criticism from Russia. The “new U.S. method would not require renegotiation of the agreement,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Jennifer Bavisotto said.


Related Topics:

Putin Bans Bill Gates and Microsoft from Russia*

U.S. Legalizes Lethal Weapon Deliveries to Ukraine*

Three Nuclear Disasters Unfolding in U.S.*

US Vaporized and Experimented on the Indigenous of Marshall Islands*

Nuclear Sarcophagus in Marshall Islands is Leaking*

The Russia-Turkey Agreement that is Causing the CIA to Launch Nuclear Weapons against Turkey*

Files linking Britain to Israel’s nuclear weapons go missing from National Archives*

Stolen Iraqi Nuclear Material Story Happened Last Year, so Why Now*