Saudi king orders billions of dollars in handouts

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:37 AM
Saudi king orders billions of dollars in handouts

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Friday ordered the handout of billions of dollars in benefits to Saudi citizens and created more domestic security jobs in an attempt to insulate the top oil exporter from regional unrest.

The king made a brief statement congratulating Saudis for their loyalty, national unity and facing the enemies of religion before his decrees were read out live on Saudi television.

The benefits range from monthly payouts for the unemployed to building 500,000 new homes and spending on healthcare.

In addition, the king ordered the creation of 60,000 new security jobs within the interior ministry. As well, the king decreed that media must respect clerics or face penalties.