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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 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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