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Arabic press review: Saudi firms not paying workers' wages amid pandemic

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities detain an Egyptian dissident, and Yemen's Central Bank warns of potential economic collapse
Health workers prepare to perform nose swab tests during a drive-through coronavirus test campaign held in Diriyah hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh (AFP)

Saudi companies fail to pay salaries

Many companies in Saudi Arabia have been forced to stop work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while other companies have suspended the payment of all or part of the salaries to their employees, Arabi21 reported.

According to information collected by the news site from several sources in Saudi Arabia - speaking on condition of anonymity - dozens of private schools did not pay their teachers' salaries, with others paying partial salaries. This is despite the fact that the schools had received most of the students' registration fees in advance.

One of the teachers working in Riyadh said: "A large number of private school workers are Jordanian and Egyptian teachers who are currently stranded because their salaries were suspended or because they were forced to leave without pay, while they cannot return to their countries due to the travel ban." 

A number of companies forced their employees into unpaid leave.

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One Arab doctor working in Saudi Arabia revealed that the Ministry of Health had not paid the salaries of licenced doctors or those who were travelling abroad and unable to return to the kingdom. Salaries were also not paid for a large number of people working from home.

Amongst the companies that decided to expel employees or reduce salaries was the Almarai company, one of the largest dairy companies in the world with over 40,000 employees.

The Sadara company, a joint venture with The Dow Chemical Company, has more than 3,000 employees and suffered a loss of 14.5bn rials ($3.9bn) last year.

Ukraine arrests Egyptian dissident 

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has arrested an Egyptian political dissident who has been residing in Ukraine for years. The Egyptian community in Ukraine has expressed fears that he may be handed over to Cairo, which could mean putting his life in danger, according to Arabi21.

The detained man, Moataz Abdel-Mawla, 33, has been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in Egypt for what Arabi21 said were political reasons.

Abdel-Mawla was arrested on Thursday while he was leaving his home, despite having permanent residence in Ukraine, studying dentistry, and being married to a Ukrainian woman.

His friends contacted Arabi21 to confirm that he was facing the risk of deportation to Egypt.

Yemen faces collapse

The governor of the Central Bank of Yemen, Ahmed al-Fadhli, has warned that his country will face collapse if the current situation persists and if the Houthi rebels - who control the capital Sanaa - continued to be intransigent amid the recent coronavirus outbreak in Yemen, according to the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.  

Fadhli added that "the Yemeni economy will undergo a critical stage, with the collapse of oil prices in global markets. This will be reflected in the 2021 budget, which will be the worst in the history of Yemen if the situation does not improve in the next few months".

He explained that the International Monetary Fund had postponed debt service payments for the installments due for the next six months, while Yemen has asked the fund to extend the deadline for two years, according to the newspaper.

Fadhli indicated that the Yemeni government was facing major problems, including illegal measures against the national economy practised by the Houthi forces through the seizure of property of many businessmen and imposing royalties on citizens.

Jordanian man kills sister over social media spat

Security services in Jordan arrested a man and referred him to court after he killed his 14-year-old sister, according to the Al Ghad daily newspaper.

The girl died of a knife wound to her back. According to the newspaper, her brother killed her after she "created an account on social media using her brother's personal phone", which angered him.

The public prosecutor charged the young man, 25, with deliberate murder and ordered his immediate detention until the case is heard before a relevant court.

Hussein al-Khuzai, a university professor in sociology, said that the coronavirus lockdown has exacerbated cases of domestic violence.

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

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