24 Feb '11, 1am

Saudi King's $47.6 billion handout to avoid unrest includes interest-free loans to build homes, get married

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah yesterday unveiled a series of benefits for citizens estimated to be worth about 140 billion riyals (S$47.6 billion), as the oil-rich nation warily watches the unrest spreading around the Middle East. The King ordered 40 billion riyals to be pumped into the country's development fund, raising a budget originally set at 47 billion riyals this fiscal year. The fund provides interest-free loans to Saudis who want to build homes, get married or start small businesses. Other measures included a 15 per cent cost of living adjustment for government workers and a year of unemployment assistance for youth. The announcement was made amid signs that the undercurrent of discontent in the kingdom could be bubbling to the surface. A Facebook page calling for a "March 11 Revolution of Longing" in Saudi Arabia has begun attracting hundreds of viewers....

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC110224-0000241/Saudi-...

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