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Saudi royal handouts to cost about $13 billion: minister

RIYADH: A package of handouts to Saudi Arabian citizens to compensate them for cost of living increases will cost the government about 50 billion riyals ($13.3 billion) this year, the information minister was quoted as saying on Sunday. “The allocation of 50 billion riyals for this decree indicates the leadership’s concern for the people’s comfort and quality of living,” Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad told the Saudi-owned Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper. On Saturday, King Salman ordered a…

Govt tackles ‘child slavery’ with cash handouts

ISLAMABAD: A government cash-incentive scheme has helped place almost 90,000 underage Pakistani brick kiln workers into school, officials said Friday, an initiative aimed at easing the long-standing problem of indentured labour. Campaigners estimate there are more than two million Pakistanis trapped in a vicious cycle of debt bondage to factory owners that continues for generations, a practice often referred to as modern slavery. Pakistan has the third highest population of such labourers, behind India and China,…