Royal order to govt agencies aims to reduce caseload on courts: Justice Ministry

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RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has issued a supreme order to all government entities to coordinate with the Ministry of Justice to enumerate all their needs for settlement certifications.

The ministry explained that the order called for the establishment of a mechanism, which is expected to be implemented within 90 days, instead of filing settlement applications.

“The supreme order stipulated that the new methodology for settlement certifications should be applied to stem the influx of cases and disputes coming to courts. A study prepared by a special committee revealed the large number of settlement applications received by courts from government entities for reasons that had become unnecessary with the technical development and digital connectivity between departments,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry pointed out that the order strove to realize the initiative of “stemming lawsuit influx,” in line with the National Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030. The initiative included recommendations on the influx of settlement applications from government departments, aiming to establish a methodology for addressing the matter and achieving the objectives.

Dr. Waleed Al-Sama’ani, justice minister and chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, appreciated the supreme order, stressing that it would help in solving the issue where governmental entities filed settlement applications to courts whose original jurisdiction was rather handling disputes.

“Some settlements can be determined out of courts in an easy manner to realize the goals of the government departments,” he added.

The ministry noted that courts received over 20 types of settlement applications from nearly 30 government entities without prior coordination with the ministry.

It stressed that the order to government departments aimed at reconsidering the judicial decisions regarding settlements and improving the performance of such departments so that they verified facts and made appropriate decisions.

In addition, it aims to stop such entities from filing settlement applications before coordinating first with the ministry, so that it could study the application and have the necessary meetings to explore the issues, develop solutions, and formulate memorandums of understanding in this regard, the statement said. — SG


Source :  Saudi Gazette

Most Saudi women marry in their early 20s

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Saudi women who were married for the first time before the age of 20 amounted to 46 percent. — Courtesy photo

By Mohammed Jarrah

DATA from the Saudi General Authority for statistics revealed important figures that reflect a number of demographic, social and economic characteristics in the Kingdom.

One of the interesting results of the survey was the fact that majority of Saudi men prefer to get married at the age of 25.3 years, while the average age of Saudi women marrying for the first time was 20.4 years old.

The results showed that Saudi women who were married at an early age (currently married, divorcees or widows) – and those who were married for the first time before the age of 20 – amounted to 46 percent.

According to statistics, out of every 100 Saudi women who were married, there were 46 women who married before the age of 20 years.

On the other hand, the survey brought to light that by the time a Saudi woman turned 32, her chances of marriage became very slim. This category of Saudi women who were aged 32 and unmarried, amounted to 2.95 percent.

In light of this figure, according to statistics, the proportion of those who were unmarried amounted to 10.3 percent.

This means that out of 10 females aged 15 and more who had never married, there was one girl who reached the age of 32 years and was unmarried.

According to previous data, there are 230, 512 Saudi women who are not married out of 2,237,983 Saudi women (2.24 million) aged 15 and over who have never married. — Al Arabiya English


Source :  Saudi Gazette

Saudi female athletes in Arab Women Sports

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69 clubs from 17 Arab countries to compete in 11-day Sharjah event

Saudi Gazette report

SAUDI ARABIA is participating in five events with five clubs, namely United Basketball, the Green Jeddah Table Tennis, Saudi Arabia Fencing Federation Academy, Prince Nora University’s Athletics Club and one other, yet to be named, which will take part in the karate competition.

Sixty-nine clubs from 17 Arab countries have so far registered to compete in the fourth edition of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST), with more expected to sign up before the 11-day event begins on Feb. 2 at 10 venues across Sharjah, according to organziers.The Supreme Organizing Committee (SOC) of AWST 2018 has confirmed that the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti will all be participating.

Themed ‘The World is Your Court, Together Victorious’, the tournament, organized by the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation (SWSF), will be held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawahar Bint Mohammed Al Qasmi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) and chairperson of SWSF.

The clubs will compete in AWST’s nine sports: basketball, volleyball, table tennis, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, show jumping, and karate – which will be held for the first time – flying the flags for their countries in world class international arenas across the emirate.

Nada Askar Al Naqbi, deputy head of AWST’s SOC, head of its Executive Committee and director General of SWSF, said: “We are extremely pleased with the response to AWST 2018, which has demonstrated the tournament’s leading status as a pan-Arab sporting event for women, attracting not just the highest number of athletes and clubs from the Arab world, but the highest quality. And we are expecting even more entries, which will add further to AWST’s presence on a worldwide sporting platform.”

Al Naqbi pointed out that the increasing number of participants also reflects the success of promotional tours and media campaigns carried out by AWST’s SOC in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Jordan under the directives of Sheikha Jawaher.

With the most comprehensive field of athletes, the UAE is taking part in each of the tournament’s nine disciplines represented by Sharjah Sports Club.

Bahrain and Algeria each have eight clubs across eight disciplines. Bahraini clubs include Bahrain Shooting, Alhala Fencing, Bahrain Karate Academy, Bahrain Archery, Al Basateen Athletics, Al Muharraq Volleyball, Bahrain Table Tennis, Ministry of Youth and Sports Mawaheb Basketball Club, and one other in show-jumping.

Jordan will participate in four disciplines with clubs Fuheis Volleyball, Women’s Sports Table Tennis Association, Women’s Athletics Association and Women’s Karate Association.

Egypt will compete with four clubs in four sports: Alexandria Sporting Basketball Club, Mo’tah Volleyball, Al Jawad Equestrian Club and Nepocan Karate Club. Somalia will also have four clubs in four disciplines – Mogadishu Basketball Club, Al Qanah Shooting Club, Al Masry Equestrian Club and Al Ahli Bank Karate Club.

Yemen will be represented in the tournament with the Girls Sports Club, which will take part in shooting, karate and archery, while Palestine will participate with two clubs, Al Wasl Volleyball Club and Al Wusta Archery Club.

Libya will be represented by Al Quds Equestrian Club, Al Istiqlal Athletics Club and Bait Al Magdis Karate Club, while Oman will field Sahar Volleyball Club, Qurayyat Shooting Club and Reyadhat Athletics.

Kuwait is participating in volleyball, basketball, table tennis, athletics and karate, represented by Al Fatah Sporting Club. Iraq’s Beshmarka Sports Club will compete in karate, athletics and archery.

Lebanon, Morocco and Djibouti are each represented by one club in the volleyball competition; Lebanon’s Al Qamatia Volleyball Club, Djibouti’s Telcom Volleyball Club and Morocco’s Zanata Al Shallalat Volleyball Club.

In 2016, Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, issued an Emiri decree establishing SWSF as a corporate body enjoying financial independence with full capacity to carry out the necessary legation transactions to achieve its goals. Sheikha Jawaher is the chairperson of the SWSF, assisted by an advisory committee consisting of highly qualified members with vast experience in the foundation’s areas of work.

Source :  Saudi Gazette

Melted nuclear fuel seen inside Fukushima No. 2 reactor

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The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Friday that a long telescopic probe successfully captured images of what is most likely melted fuel inside one of its three damaged reactors, providing limited but crucial information for its cleanup.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said the fishing rod-like device carrying a camera went deep into the plant’s No. 2 reactor primary containment vessel. The images indicated that at least part of the fuel had breached the core, falling to the vessel’s floor, TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said.

“There is so much that we still haven’t seen,” Kimoto told reporters. “But we were able to obtain important information that we need in order to determine the right method for removing the melted fuel debris.”

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 caused three reactors at the Fukushima plant to melt. The plant’s decommissioning is expected to take decades.

Melted fuel has previously only been documented inside Unit 3, where an underwater probe captured images of large amounts of melted fuel debris that looked like molten lava mixed with broken parts of equipment and structures on the concrete floor.

During Friday’s investigation, the device — developed by Toshiba Corp and the International Research Institute for Decommissioning, a government-funded organization of nuclear companies — found deposits in the shape of pebbles, clay and other forms, Kimoto said.

Determining the location of the melted fuel is crucial in planning for its removal, the hardest process in the plant’s decommissioning.

The government and TEPCO plan to determine the methods and start removing melted fuel from one of the three reactors in 2021. But experts say a lack of data is delaying the development of the precise type of technology and robots.

The images from Friday’s probe show was what is believed to be a stainless steel handle of a case containing bundles of fuel rods sitting on a pile of pebble-shaped and clayish substances, in a sign the rods melted and breached the bottom of the core. The deposits seemed to be scattered in a wide area around the pedestal, the main structure that sits underneath the core.

Experts say they believe part of the fuel still remains inside the core of the Unit 2 reactor, while almost all of the fuel rods in Unit 1 and 3 melted and fell to the bottom of the primary containment chambers.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source :  Japan Today

Craving carbs? Blame your brain, Japanese study finds

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By Miwa Suzuki


Under pressure and gobbling pizza or chocolate? It may not be your fault, according to Japanese researchers who have isolated the neurons that drive a craving for carbs.

The team at Japan’s National Institute for Physiological Sciences found that activating neurons known to respond to social stress increased the appetite in mice for carbohydrates.

Rodents with the neurons activated ate high-carbohydrate food at a rate of three times the mice under normal conditions.

They also roughly halved their intake of high-fat food, the study found.

The research is the first to demonstrate the way that the brain plays a role in the preference for carbohydrates or fats, said Yasuhiko Minokoshi, a scientist at the institute, who led the study.

The teams said the study could help find a way to shift people away from gorging on sugary treats or unhealthy junk food.

Humans generally select what to eat based on taste, as well as the nutritional state of the body, but the exact mechanism involved in the selection has remained largely a mystery.

“Many people who eat sweets too much when stressed tend to blame themselves for being unable to control their impulses,” Minokoshi told AFP.

“But if they know it’s because of the neurons”, they might not be so hard on themselves, he said.

Minokoshi cautioned that it would be difficult to immediately apply the findings to improving human diets.

Simply suppressing the neurons could trigger side effects, as they have many other important roles, he said.

“However, if we could find a particular molecule in the neurons and target it specifically to suppress part of its activities, it could curb excessive eating of carbohydrate-heavy food,” he said.

On the other hand, a substance to activate it could be used to treat people who consume excessive fat.

The study is to be published in the online edition of the U.S. journal Cell Reports soon.

Many researchers suspect a certain mechanism could be responsible for prompting some animals to choose high-protein food, but a definitive process has not yet been discovered.

© 2018 AFP

Source :  Japan Today

Top court orders state to disclose secret funds papers, without names

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The Supreme Court ordered the state on Friday to disclose some administrative documents related to the government’s so-called secret funds but limited the disclosure to those that do not carry information on how and for whom the funds were used.

It marks the top court’s first ruling on information disclosure on secret funds, which are state outlays for intelligence gathering and other activities in the national interest and disbursed under the authority of the chief Cabinet secretary.

How the funds have actually been spent remains little known to the public, although the government has released the sizes of such expenditures upon request.

In the lawsuit, members of a civic group sought the disclosure on the use of a total of 2.71 billion yen ($24.5 million) in secret funds spent under three chief Cabinet secretaries — 1.1 billion yen in 2005 and 2006 under Shinzo Abe, 250 million yen in September 2009 under Takeo Kawamura and 1.36 billion yen in 2013 under Yoshihide Suga.

The information disclosure law allows the state to keep certain information secret as an exceptional measure. The state does not need to reveal information if its disclosure is deemed to cause harm to state operations or damage diplomatic relationships with other countries.

The contention of the lawsuit was whether the use of confidential funds is subject to the exceptional measure.

The Supreme Court ruling is largely in line with those by lower courts, which ordered the disclosure of three types of documents that do not carry the names of individuals for whom the government had used the discretionary funds.

“The government takes the ruling seriously. We intend to deal with it appropriately after thoroughly studying its contents,” Suga, the current top government spokesman, said at a press conference following the top court decision.

Originally, the civic group members filed three lawsuits with the Osaka District Court to demand information disclosure regarding the expenditures under the three chief Cabinet secretaries of the government led by the Liberal Democratic Party. Each lawsuit pertains to outlays by one of the three.

The district court ordered the state to disclose the documents that carried only figures and dates and not the names of individuals or how the money had been used, in all of the three lawsuits.

The Osaka High Court upheld the lower court rulings on the secret funds spent at the time of Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe and Kawamura.

However, the high court overturned the lower court ruling regarding the funds spent in 2013 under Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga and allowed the state not to disclose almost all of the documents at the time.

The secret funds, formally known as Cabinet Secretariat compensation expense, are budgeted as an expense that can be used flexibly to carry out national operations, such as for gaining cooperation from someone related to important national policies or paying for intelligence provision.

In the past, there were reports that secret funds were used for political maneuvering to counter opposition parties or for overseas trips by lawmakers.

Japan budgets some 1.4 billion yen as secret funds, including expenses spent at the Cabinet Secretariat’s intelligence investigation office, every year.


Source :  Japan Today

More women join field of research

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20 Jan 2018 – 1:19

By Sachin Kumar / The Peninsula

DOHA: The number of women in the field of research and development in Qatar has shown more than double increase during 2012 to 2015, proving the fact that more women in the country are joining the area of research.
The number of female researchers in the field of research and development stood at 377 in 2012. This number surged to 894 in 2015, showing a rise 137 percent, according to the second edition of the Research & Development Survey of Qatar released last week.
Women have also increased their share in the total number of researchers in the country. The number of female researchers as a percentage of total R&D researchers was 21.86 percent in 2012 which jumped to 31.40 percent in 2015. Their share increased by around 44 percent during the period.
Interestingly, the growth in the number of female researchers was more than the rise in the number of male researchers. The number of male researchers grew up by around 45 percent during the period. There were 1,348 male researchers in the R&D in 2012 which increased to 1,953 in 2015.
Apart from the female researchers, the number of female workers in R&D has also seen a sharp increase.
The number of female workers in R&D jumped by 136 percent to 1,895 in 2015 from 802 in 2012.  The percentage of researchers among total R&D personnel rose to 60 percent in 2015, up from 57 percent in 2012.
The R&D Survey of Qatar 2015 was implemented through collaboration between MDPS and Qatar Foundation Research and Development, which is the custodian of the Qatar National Research Strategy.
Experts believe that the number of female researchers in the field of research and development will increase in the coming years as women’s presences in all the sectors is rapidly increasing.
“The comprehensive and wide-ranging nature of this survey, and the extent of participation across the nation’s research and development community, has made it the first true baseline analysis of Qatar’s R&D inputs – from investment levels to workforce numbers and demographics,” said Nada Al Olaqi, Business Planning and Performance Manager, Qatar Foundation Research and Development.
“It enhances understanding, visibility, and our capacity to further develop a research and development ecosystem that generates impact for Qatar. The findings will be essential to assessing our nation’s R&D performance and supporting our leaders and policy-makers in identifying areas that require strategic focus and action, while also enabling Qatar’s R&D efforts to be benchmarked against those of other nations,” she added.
The R&D Survey of Qatar 2015 is the second of its kind, after the previous edition collated in 2012.

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