Saudi Pre-Nup

John McCaslin

7/15/2008 10:28:52 AM - John McCaslin

The U.S. government has issued an updated "travel warning" surrounding the security situation in Saudi Arabia, in doing so calling attention to a new prenuptial agreement of sorts surrounding Saudi men who marry foreigners.

"The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to consider carefully the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia," says the new travel warning, calling attention to the "ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al Qaeda."

The department takes the opportunity to remind Americans that under Saudi law "married women need the permission of their husbands to leave Saudi Arabia and their children will require their father's permission to exit the country."

However, a new regulation that went into effect Feb. 20 now requires Saudi men "seeking the mandatory permission from their government to marry a foreign woman to sign a binding document granting irrevocable permission for their foreign-born spouse, and children born to them and that spouse, to travel freely and unhindered in and out of Saudi Arabia," says the department.

"However, this regulation is not retroactive. Under Saudi law, women married to Saudi males prior to the effective date of these new regulations still need the permission of their husbands to leave Saudi Arabia, and their children require the permission of their fathers to leave the country."

TIME TO BAIL

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's official 2008 presidential campaign Web site remains open for business, so to speak.

"Hillary needs your support. Contribute today to help us pay down the debt from one of the hardest-fought primary races in history," the site informs visitors.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton's "Hillary Store" also is up and running, peddling "Hillary Cares About Me" and "I Love Hillary" T-shirts for $15 and $20 respectively. And for a mere $3 one can still get his or her hands on one of those "Got Experience?" bumper stickers, in their heyday aimed at the lack of experience of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.

Of course, there is renewed speculation that Mr. Obama could pick his former opponent as his vice presidential running mate, especially now that a new Newsweek poll released Monday shows the Illinois Democrat's lead over likely Republican nominee John McCain has shrunk to a mere three points, a statistical dead-heat.

'14 WOMEN'

Speaking of women in the U.S. Senate, highlights from the upcoming documentary "14 Women" will be previewed during a special congressional reception Tuesday, sponsored in part by the Creative Coalition.

"When the historic 109th Congress convened the number of women in the Senate increased to an unprecedented 14," notes the arts advocacy organization. "Now, their struggle to balance family and politics is chronicled in '14 Women,' an inspirational story of uplifting perseverance and poise."

Tuesday's participants will include Democratic Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, along with filmmakers Sharon Oreck and Nicole Boxer.

TOO ENGAGED

We got a chuckle reading Sunday's London Observer, which sees fit to report that Barack Obama's upcoming visit to London will unfortunately not include a visit with his father's first wife, Kezia Grace Obama, who lives 30 miles from the city.

Can you blame the U.S. presidential candidate, who has meetings lined up with England's top leaders?

"Barack is so busy, we can't get through to him much these days," Mrs. Obama is quoted as saying. "I haven't got his mobile number, only his home phone and it's always engaged."

The newspaper reveals that Mrs. Obama has lived in England since emigrating from her native Kenya six years ago.

"Kezia married Obama's father in Kenya when she was a teenager, before he went to America and met Barack Junior's mother, Ann Dunham," the paper explains.