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Saudi King Boosts Spending, Returns to Country


Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks to Saudi media upon his arrival at Riyadh airport. King Abdullah unveiled a series of benefits for Saudis estimated to be worth $35 billion on his return home after three months abroad for medical treatment, February 23

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah speaks to Saudi media upon his arrival at Riyadh airport. King Abdullah unveiled a series of benefits for Saudis estimated to be worth $35 billion on his return home after three months abroad for medical treatment, February 23

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has increased spending on a range of social programs, as he returned to his country amid a wave of popular protests across the Arab world.

The benefits unveiled Wednesday include nearly $11 billion in new funding for housing loans, and billions of dollars for social services like utility bills, housing repairs and education.

King Abdullah also ordered a 15 percent pay raise for state employees.

King Abdullah arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after spending three months abroad for medical treatment.

The Saudi king is in his mid-80s. In November, he underwent surgery in New York for a herniated disc complicated by a blood clot. He had a second procedure in New York in December.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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