Government and People
There are many modern public and private hospitals with the latest state-of-the-art medical equipment and experienced medical specialists and staff. Most prescription drugs are widely available.
Many international newspapers and magazines are available in the Kingdom. There are a number of local newspapers in Arabic: Al-Jazeera(Riyadh), Al-Riyadh(Riyadh), Al-Nadwa (Makkah), Al-Madina(Jeddah), Okaz(Jeddah), Al-Bilad(Jeddah) and Al-Yom(Dammam); and in English: Arab News(Jeddah), Riyadh Daily(Riyadh) and Saudi Gazette(Jeddah).
Numerous radio and TV programs in Arabic, English and other languages are available through local radio and TV channels as well as through cable and satellite networks. Many hotels carry the major 24-hour satellite news channels.
Most native Saudi Arabians are descended from the land’s indigenous Arab tribes. Saudi Arabia’s population is estimated at 16.9 million.
The official religion of Saudi Arabia’s is Islam, which also forms the basis of the Kingdom’s legal system. There are two major religious holidays; Eid Al-Fitr, celebrating the breaking of the annual Ramadan fast; and Eid Al-Adha, celebrating the pilgrimage to Makkah.
Friday is the weekly day of rest and worship.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz is the Head of State and Prime Minister, assisted by an appointed Council of Ministers. All Saudi Arabians have the right of direct petition to the monarch, the regional governors or other government officials. These petitions are most often received during the regular public audiences (Majlis).
Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the United Nations, League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and numerous other international organizations.
The Kingdom is a substantial contributor to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Saudi Arabia is a major provider of aid to developing countries. The Kingdom’s ratio of development assistance to gross national product (GNP) is the highest in the world, averaging 5.5 percent, and Saudi Arabia ranks second after the U.S. in overall assistance.