Saudi Arabia’s new visa scheme to allow visa-free travel for GCC residents

News Network
June 16, 2022

Saudi Arabia is set to announce a new visa scheme allowing visa-free travel for GCC residents, according to reliable sources. 

This facility will be applicable to GCC residents with a valid resident and work visa issued by the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qataris immigration authorities.

They are expected be allowed entry into Saudi Arabia for business, tourism, and umrah purposes, with the exception of Hajj.

Sources from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Tourism was quoted as saying by multiple news portals the draft law for the new scheme is ready and will be officially announced within days.

However, according to the report, there might be some exceptions for certain visa categories, such as maid’s visa or construction worker’s visa. Professionals, white-collar workers, and other residents with regular income will likely be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia visa-free.

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb announced during a TV interview that Saudi Arabia will soon introduce a new visa scheme for GCC residents.

Al Khateeb stressed that the tourist visas launched by the Kingdom in 2019 still exist and there were no specific restrictions for those coming for tourism.

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News Network
June 20,2022

New Delhi, June 20: The Indian Army on Monday issued a notification for the Agniveer recruitment rally and registrations for the recruitment will open from July onwards.

The Army on Sunday released terms and conditions and related details for prospective applicants wanting to join the force under the Agnipath military recruitment scheme despite massive protests across the country to roll back the scheme.

The Centre and security forces have firmly defended Agnipath as a means to reinvigorate the army. The personnel to be recruited under the new scheme will be known as 'Agniveers'.
The Army said 'Agniveers' would form a distinct rank in the Indian Army that will be different from any other existing ranks and they can be posted to any regiment and unit.

It said 'Agniveers' will be barred from disclosing classified information gained during the four-year service period to any unauthorised person or source under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

"With the introduction of this scheme, the enrolment of soldiers in the regular cadre of the Indian Army, except technical cadres of medical branch, will be available only to those personnel who have completed their engagement period as Agniveer," the Army said.

It said the release of an Agniveer at own request prior to completion of terms of engagement is not permitted.

"However, in most exceptional cases, personnel enrolled under this scheme may be released, if sanctioned by the competent authority," it said.

The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-half years to 21 for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Later the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

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News Network
June 22,2022

Mumbai, June 22: Amid political crisis in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that talks were underway with rebel party MLAs who are in support of Eknath Shinde adding that “ we might lose power but we'll continue to fight,” reported news agency ANI. 

Speaking to reporters, Raut said, “Talks are underway with MLAs who are with Eknath Shinde, everybody will stay in Shiv Sena. Our party is a fighter, we'll struggle consistently, atmost we might lose power but we'll continue to fight.”

Regarding senior party leader Eknath Shinde who turned against the party, Raut said, “Eknath Shinde is our very old party member, he is our friend, we've worked together for decades. It's neither easy for him nor for us to leave each other. I had a conversation with him for an hour this morning & the party chief was intimated about it.” 

Meanwhile, 40 Maharashtra MLAs — 33 Shiv Sena legislators and 7 Independents — have signed a letter of support to Eknath Shinde, reported news agency ANI quoting its sources. 

The news agency further reported that the rebel legislators may write to Governor Bhagat singh Koshiyari requesting him for a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. 

Eknath Shinde, along with the 40 rebel MLAs arrived in Guwahati on Wednesday. They were received by Assam BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain and BJP MP Pallab Lochan Das amid speculations of Shinde joining the Bharatiya Janata Party along with his supporting MLAs to topple the Maha Vikaas Aghadi (MVA) government. 

Shinde along with Shiv Sena and independent legislatures was staying in a hotel in Gujarat's Surat following the cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls and took flight earlier today to reach Guwahati.

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News Network
June 28,2022

muhammadzubair.jpg

Believe it or not! The reason for journalist Mohammad Zubair’s sudden arrest is a four year old tweet, wherein he had posted a photo of  a Bollywood comedy film from 1983 directed by the legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

In the evening of Monday, June 27, officers with the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit of the Delhi police arrested Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News. He was booked under sections 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders celebrated the arrest as a victory of truth. BJP general secretary C T Ravi went on to call him a ‘jihadi’ and accused him of inciting violence.

The police sources have confirmed that Zubair’s crime was the tweet dated March 24, 2018. The police also claimed that Zubair’s conduct during the investigation was found “questionable”, warranting his custodial interrogation to “unravel the conspiracy in this matter”.

The Twitter handle of a self proclaimed ‘Hanuman bhakt’, which complained to the police against Zubair, has tweeted only once since its apparent inception in October 2021 – the tweet targeting Zubair, published June 19, 2022.  

Ironically, the image of the hotel signboard in the tweet which prompted Delhi Police to arrest Zubair was also used as the lead image in an article in the Indian Express in March 2018, and has received no particular attention from those religiously outraged. 

In fact, the image is actually a screenshot from the 1983 movie – Kissi Se Na Kehna – duly cleared by the censor board at the time and shown innumerable times on television since then. 

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