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Arabic press review: Coronavirus adds to the woes of Jordan's refugees

Meanwhile, Omani shot dead by UAE police, Moroccan politician's son expelled from US, and Saudi Arabia investigates corruption cases
Syrian refugees are seen at the Zaatari camp, which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border (AFP)

Coronavirus worsens plight of refugees in Jordan 

The United Nations has warned that refugees living in Jordan are suffering from extreme poverty, particularly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, London-based newspaper al-Arabi al-Jadeed reports.

"Coronavirus has affected our lives as well as the lives of refugees and Jordanians. It will have a long-term impact for several months," said Dominic Barch, UNHCR representative in Jordan.

In a statement issued by the UN refugee agency's local office, Barch said 79 percent of refugees in the kingdom were already living below the poverty line before the coronavirus outbreak.

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According to recent surveys conducted in the country, this number has increased during the last few months, Barch said. Only 35 percent of refugees in Jordan will return to their jobs after the country opens up all sectors, he added. 

Bach called upon international and national actors to come together to help their plight.

"In addition to the outrageous statistics published in the Global Trends Report, it is obvious that there must be a collaborative effort to address the needs of refugees, as both the international and national communities play an important role in this context," he said.

There are about 747,000 registered refugees from 52 nationalities in Jordan.

In a statement issued last May, UNHCR estimated that approximately 50,000 refugee families in Jordan need emergency cash assistance. 

UAE guards shoot Omani crossing border 

Oman's Abu Dhabi embassy issued a rare statement critical of the United Arab Emirates after an Omani citizen was shot dead by Emirati security forces on the sultanate's border with the UAE, Alkhaleej website reports.

According to the statement, Saif bin Rashid was killed on Tuesday evening. "We are deeply sorry for what the citizen has been exposed to," it said. 

Omani newspapers reported that bin Rashid was shot dead by Abu Dhabi police in the border area of Dibba, where he was trying to cross the boundary between the two countries.

Omani activists said a helicopter belonging to UAE border guards had shot the unarmed citizen without prior warning, and have angrily labelled the killing as "brutal".

US expels Moroccan politician’s son

The United States has expelled the son of the late Moroccan interior minister Driss Basri, according to Assabah newspaper.

The Moroccan daily reported that US authorities detained Khaled al-Basri after he had disagreements with his wife that led to “taunting and starving” her during his stay in the country. 

The couple travelled to the US in May last year with their young son on a tourist visa, on what was to be a short holiday, the newspaper said. 

But Basri surprised his wife, saying that he would seek political asylum in the US, which sparked sharp disagreements between them that reached court.

Basri and his wife are currently in the Netherlands, awaiting the resumption of flights to be deported back to Morocco, according to Assabah.

Driss Basri was one of the most powerful statesmen in Morocco during the reign of King Hassan II, but he was relieved of his duties after King Mohammed VI assumed the throne in 1999. He then went on to live in France in 2003, where he died in 2007.

Saudi Arabia identifies 127 corruption cases in a month

The Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has announced that is has started to investigate 127 cases of corruption involving employees in the public and private sectors, according to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Nazaha said in a statement that 14 suspects have been identified, including the chairman, vice president and CEO of a joint stock company in which the state contributes a portion of its capital. 

“These people were accused of participating in counterfeiting, money laundering, manipulation of the company's financial statements, and the establishment of companies for the purpose of circumventing the companies' system," the statement said. 

Nazaha also said that among the cases was a businessman who was bribed 6m riyals ($1.6m) in return for his help securing a contract with a government organisation.

Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.