Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saudi Kings Changes Cabinet Members, Central Banker

Saudi Arabia Replaces Head of Central Bank

Wall Street Journal — Saudi Arabia named Muhammad al-Jasser as its new central-bank governor on Saturday in a government reshuffle that saw the appointment of the first woman to a cabinet-level position in the kingdom.
Mr. al-Jasser replaces Hamad Al Sayyari, the longest serving central banker in the Gulf, to head the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, an authority that controls monetary policy in the kingdom and oversees its vast foreign assets estimated to be worth in excess of $500 billion.
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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah adds moderates -- including a woman -- to government

LA Times King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia weakened the hold of Islamic hard-liners Saturday by appointing the first woman to a ministerial post and dismissing a leading fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation's powerful religious police.
The surprising government reshuffle indicated that the 84-year-old monarch was frustrated with the pace of reform in a kingdom uneasily balanced between moderates and ultra-conservatives. By broadening the voices of modern Islamic thinkers, King Abdullah apparently is trying to refashion the religious establishment at a time the country faces the global financial crisis and renewed threats from Al Qaeda militants.
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Saudi king shakes up religious establishment

International Herald Tribune The Saudi king on Saturday dismissed the chief of the religious police and a cleric who condoned killing the owners of TV networks that broadcast "immoral" content, signaling an effort to weaken the country's hard-line Sunni establishment.
The shake-up — King Abdullah's first since coming to power in August 2005 — included the appointment of a female deputy minister, the highest government position a Saudi woman has attained.
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