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Arab forum on meteorology to begin in Jeddah

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 23:42 JEDDAH: To mark World Meteorological Day, a special conference will on Sunday be opened in Saudi Arabia under the theme “atmospheric phenomena and the role of media in society.” Dr. Khalil bin Musleh Al-Thaqafi, presid
Saudi Arabia

Arab forum on meteorology to begin in Jeddah

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 23:42 JEDDAH: To mark World Meteorological Day, a special conference will on Sunday be opened in Saudi Arabia under the theme “atmospheric phenomena and the role of media in society.” Dr. Khalil bin Musleh Al-Thaqafi, president of the Saudi General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection, will inaugurate the Arab Forum for Meteorology and Media being staged at the Casablanca Grand Hotel in Jeddah. The ceremony will be attended by officials and experts from the Arab League, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the media. The forum will tackle subjects including weather forecasting and warnings, and liaison with media outlets over the distribution of climate information and news.  Saudi Arabia is one of the founder nations of the WMO and a permanent member of its governing council and is a leading international player in the exchange of information and scientific research on meteorological issues. The Kingdom has launched a number of initiatives aimed at developing systems to improve the accuracy of both long- and short-range weather forecasting and is also working on establishing an early warning center for weather and pollution alerts. Other events will be held in regions throughout the Kingdom to mark World Meteorological Day on March 23.     Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: World Meteorological DaySaudi General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental ProtectionWorld Meteorological Organization (WMO) Saudi Meteorology Authority inaugurates its latest weather forecast centersMeteorology office warns of thunder storms and dust across Saudi Arabia

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

Author: Amna KhaishgiID: 1553027602607608000Tue, 2019-03-19 23:32 DUBAI: More and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and now the challenge is finding them employment, said Dr
Saudi Arabia

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

Author: Amna KhaishgiID: 1553027602607608000Tue, 2019-03-19 23:32 DUBAI: More and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and now the challenge is finding them employment, said Dr. Fatima Alakeel, a cybersecurity expert and faculty member at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh. “In the Kingdom, STEM-related jobs are limited at the moment, as the economy is primarily oil-based and there are few technical jobs available,” said Alakeel, who is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability Group (CIAG), which focuses on information security training and research in Riyadh. According to a government report on the labor market situation in the third quarter of 2018, more than 30 percent of Saudi women aged between 15 and 65 are unemployed. Among them, the highest rate of unemployment is among 20-24-year-olds (more than 70 percent) and among 25-29-year-olds (55 percent). According to the report, there are 923,504 Saudi jobseekers, of whom 765,378 are women (82.2 percent). “We have more girls in STEM education compared to Western countries,” said Alakeel, who completed her doctoral degree in computer science in the UK at the University of Southampton in 2017. According to a report prepared by the Saudi Education Ministry, girls accounted for 57 percent of undergraduates for the year 2015-2016 in the Kingdom. That same year, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology (IT), mathematics and statistics, and physics. According to a survey Alakeel recently conducted on social media, “almost 80 percent of (Saudi) girls were keen to study STEM, but securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,” she said. Maha Al-Taleb, 22, graduated earlier this year with a degree in technology from KSU, specializing in IT networks and security. “It’s common for girls in the Kingdom to opt for STEM education,” said Al-Taleb, who now works in a public sector company in Riyadh as a junior information security analyst. “Saudi women are ambitious. We’re acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers. I don’t know why the world assumes that Saudi women are a backward tribal species who have no say in these matters. This entire perception is flawed.” Al-Taleb got a job offer immediately after university, but realizes that not all her peers are as fortunate. Women “are facing problems in securing jobs, not because companies don’t want to hire us, but because employment for Saudi youths is a major challenge,” she said. “In today’s Saudi Arabia, parents are encouraging their daughters to get a degree not just in the Kingdom; they also want them to go to Western universities. It has become a common phenomenon. Things have changed. Women are a crucial part of the nation’s development process.” Not all women graduating in the Kingdom are as lucky, among them Razan Al-Qahtani. “It has been several months since I graduated, yet I haven’t been able to find a job. It has been a struggle so far,” said the 25-year-old IT graduate. “We have more talented and qualified girls, especially in the field of technology, but there are few jobs available. It’s a difficult situation, but we’re hopeful things will change very soon.” Al-Qahtani expressed confidence that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan will bring opportunities for qualified Saudis. As part of Vision 2030, the government has committed to raise employment among Saudi women. Alakeel said the government is working hard to find a solution, and it is only a matter of time until more such jobs are on offer. “As per Vision 2030, there will be more jobs, including technical jobs, available in the country. Once we have more jobs, women will eventually get their due share,” she added. According to Alakeel, female empowerment and promotion to leading roles have made huge progress in Saudi Arabia, and this may affect existing STEM job opportunities. “We’re glad to see Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud becoming the first female ambassador of the country. It only suggests change is on the way,” Alakeel said. Al-Taleb expressed pride in the way her parents have supported her, saying: “My father isn’t educated and my mother has basic literacy, but both provided me with the education I desired. They want their daughters to be as successful as their sons.” Like women in any country, the transition from university to the workplace is not always easy, even for young Saudi women with technology degrees. Yet they are not losing hope. “We realize these are difficult times in terms of employment, especially in technology-related fields, but things will change,” Al-Taleb said. “Saudi women will soon be ruling the fields of STEM all over the country.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Fatima alakeel Saudi Arabia’s social protection system to ensure equitable distribution3 Saudi women become KSA’s first tour guides

Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Tue, 2019-03-19 15:34 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious $23 billion project on Tuesday to create vast open green areas in the capital, Riyadh, including the world’s biggest city park. Construction will begin this year on four schemes — King S
Saudi Arabia

Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Tue, 2019-03-19 15:34 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious $23 billion project on Tuesday to create vast open green areas in the capital, Riyadh, including the world’s biggest city park. Construction will begin this year on four schemes — King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art — which will create sustainable communities, drive action against climate change and provide up to 70,000 new jobs. The aim of the project is to “significantly improve the lives of its citizens, transform the city into an attractive destination and make it one of the world’s most livable cities,” the government said. The four projects - King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art – will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” Program and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to create sustainable cities and communities, while driving urgent action against climate change. Developed with a government investment of $23 billion, the four projects will offer opportunities worth $15bn for the private sector to invest in residential, commercial, recreational and wellness projects. As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the project will also help boost efforts to improve the city’s health and wellbeing with a commitment to wellness, health, sports, culture and the arts, underpinned by a commitment to environmental sustainability. The project will transform the environment and make Riyadh a more sustainable city, Dr. Fatma Alaish, assistant professor of ecology and environmental pollution at Jeddah University’s biology/botany department, told Arab News. “Planting cities reduces air pollution as plants undergo photosynthesis and absorb carbon dioxide gas,” she said. “This will decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, a poisonous gas that negatively affects air quality, mixed with dangerous car emissions, and heavily contributes to global warming.  With more planted green areas, there will be less pollution.  “The more you plant, the better the weather, the cleaner the air and the more sustainable life will be in cities.” Measuring 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be the world’s biggest park, with residential areas, hotels, and will also feature a Royal Arts Complex, theaters, museums, cinemas, sports venues, water features, restaurants and an 18-hole Royal Golf Course. The park will also boast several landmark assets, including the Riyadh Fountains and a Vertical Garden. As an environmentally sustainable urban development, it will offer opportunities for the international community in arts, entertainment and culture. Image: riyadhgreen.sa One of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase Riyadh’s green cover with 7.5 million trees. The massive planting project will help increase the city’s green cover from 1.5 percent of Riyadh’s total area to 9.1 percent – that is approximately 541 square kilometers by 2030. Image: riyadhgreen.sa Salem Alghamdi, a professor at the College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, said the projects would make Riyadh “one of the greatest capital cities in the Middle East.” “I believe now in Riyadh we are really having a new city,” he said, “with the Riyadh metro, the Qiddiya project and now this Green Riyadh project, these will add even more value.” Green space availability will increase to 28 square meters per capita from the current 1.7 square meters per capita, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 9 square meters per capita. Green Riyadh will help reduce average ambient temperature by 2C, and will use more than 1 million cubic meters of treated sewage daily for irrigation, for the sustainability of water resources in the city. Image: riyadhgreen.sa Sports Boulevard  - a health and wellness destination in the heart of the city- will feature a 135 kilometer-long professional cycling track covering the city and the surrounding valleys, the first of its kind in the region. Adding 3.5 million square meters of new open space across the city, this grand project will also feature a sports pavilion, riding stables and athletics tracks. Riyadh Art will be the world’s largest government investment in public art and will establish the city as “a gallery without walls” through a world-class interactive public arts program. With 1,000 artworks curated through 10 separate programs and an annual arts festival, this project will feature large-scale art works with the aim of drawing art lovers and creators from around the world. Construction work is due to start in the second half of 2019. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Road to 2030Saudi Arabia Najm’s new corporate identity in line with Vision 2030UAE and Saudi Arabia emerging as regional ‘tech powerhouses’

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium opens in Riyadh for the first time

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1553019210637037800Tue, 2019-03-19 21:15 RIYADH: The first Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium kicked off in Riyadh on Monday morning in the capital’s Diplomatic Quarter, featuring the works of 23 artists from 18 dif
Saudi Arabia

Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium opens in Riyadh for the first time

Author: Zaynab KhojjiID: 1553019210637037800Tue, 2019-03-19 21:15 RIYADH: The first Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium kicked off in Riyadh on Monday morning in the capital’s Diplomatic Quarter, featuring the works of 23 artists from 18 different countries. Participants of note include South Korean sculptor So Dong Choe, Mexican artist Carlos Monge, and Japan’s Yoshin Ogata. The symposium’s three Saudi participants are Ali Al-Toukhais, his nephew Talal Altukhaes, and Mohammad Althagafi. Altukhaes, an organizer as well as a participant, told Arab News that the goal of the symposium was to create an environment in which artists could share techniques, collaborate with one another, and promote a sense of camaraderie. The sculptors will assist each other in creating their artworks despite the language barriers between them, but Altukhaes told Arab News that words were not as important as demonstrations of technique, given most of the sculptors would wear ear protection to guard against the constant buzz of heavy machinery anyway. Since their arrival, the international artists have enjoyed tours of the city, including to Al-Masmak Fortress, as well as newer landmarks such as Kingdom Tower. “Everyone is happy, you can see it in their smiles as they’re working,” Altukhaes said. New Zealander Anna Korver, covered from head to toe in white dust, grinned as she told Arab News how excited she was to be part of the symposium. Ogata expressed how happy he was to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and that he was enjoying the new experience. “It’s a nice place. The dry climate is a little different to what I’m used to, but the heat is something I’m accustomed to. It’s always a pleasure to work with other sculptors — I usually work alone in my studio back home, so I enjoy seeing everyone here together, and being able to watch them work.” “It’s my first time in Saudi Arabia, and I was always curious about what it would be like. I had no idea what to expect when I first came, but I’ve been having a great time so far. The symposium is perfect. It is great to work with people who really know what we need as artists — we have all the assistance we need. “My work is always sort of a narrative about women, and I often like to use the dress form as a symbol of femininity. I’ve chosen to incorporate the hijab into my design. It should give a feeling of lightness when it’s viewed.” Al-Toukhais, who has had work displayed all over the Arab world, said the secret to becoming an excellent sculptor was patience and commitment. “Sculpting is not for those who are looking for instant gratification, or to become famous overnight. You have to have passion, and drive, but most of all you have to be patient.” Dr. Fahd bin Mushayt, the executive chairman of the General Authority of the Embassies, thanked the minister of culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah, for sponsoring the event. In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, he added that more than 20 masterpieces would be produced by the end of the collaboration. The symposium will run until March 22. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: tuwaiq sculpture symposiumRiyadh Budding authors given writing tips at Riyadh book fairRiyadh Travel Fair 2019 offers special deals, information

KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

Tue, 2019-03-19 22:27 RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 event
Saudi Arabia

KSA’s Eastern Province residents welcome Sharqiah Season visitors from far and wide

Tue, 2019-03-19 22:27 RIYADH: Residents of the Eastern Province are no strangers to foreign visitors — the nation’s oil heartland has been welcoming them for years. But more have been arriving with the opening of Sharqiah Season, featuring over 80 events across the region’s cities. Organized as a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage alongside the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, it is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned across the country in 2019. Faisal Al-Rayisi, an employee at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, told Arab News he was surprised by the number of people arriving for the festival.  “People are not only coming from Saudi Arabia, but from all over the Gulf as well — Kuwait and the UAE in particular,” he said. “I’ve even seen foreigners from Europe and Asia coming through. Time was, we used to go to Dubai for our entertainment, but now people from Dubai are coming to us.” He also mentioned how happy he was to see the festivities coming to the Eastern Province. “Jeddah has this slogan, ‘Jeddah is different,’ but now that we’re seeing the first Sharqiah Season in our region, and all of these amazing activities and concerts are happening here, I think we can safely say ‘Sharqiah is different’ now.” The Sharqiah festival aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom. The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.   He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030. The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari. Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).  The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era. Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana. Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & CultureLifestyleTags: Sharqiah Seasonsaudi festivals Sharqiah Season’s opening weekend electrifies Saudi Arabia’s Eastern ProvinceMotorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

FaceOf: Majid Al-Hogail, Saudi Arabia’s minister of housing

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 23:05 Majid Al-Hogail is Saudi Arabia’s minister of housing, a role he has held since July 2015. He has also been the chairman of the Real Estate General Authority since January 2017, and has served on the boards of the Qiddiy
Saudi Arabia

FaceOf: Majid Al-Hogail, Saudi Arabia’s minister of housing

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 23:05 Majid Al-Hogail is Saudi Arabia’s minister of housing, a role he has held since July 2015. He has also been the chairman of the Real Estate General Authority since January 2017, and has served on the boards of the Qiddiya Investment Co. since April 2017, and NEOM since October 2017.  Al-Hogail gained a master’s in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998, and completed an extended development program in management at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2007. He then became the managing director of the RAFAL Real Estate Development Co. from August 2007, before joining Aljazira Capital in January 2014 as its chairman, leaving both in July 2015. During the same period he was also a board member of budget airline Flynas. Since then, in addition to his roles at Qiddiya, NEOM and in government, he has also been chairman of the Real Estate Development Fund since July 2015, and the chairman of the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company since August 2017. On Sunday, Al-Hogail and Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi launched “Benaa Housing,” a new website which will help construction companies and contractors to contribute to a development program in the Kingdom. The project, estimated to have cost SR3.5 billion ($910 million), aims to speed up the process of building 10,000 units across Saudi Arabia by enabling small and medium construction firms to access and contribute to projects.  “The Ministry of Housing is always keen to provide solutions and services to all families, especially beneficiaries of the Housing Development Program, in all regions of the Kingdom,” said Al-Hugail. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: FaceOf#FaceOfHousing FaceOf: Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi, president of King Abdul Aziz University FaceOf: Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, diplomat at the KSA’s UN Mission in GenevaFaceOf: Princess Sarah Al-Saud, director at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime TransportFaceOf: Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, Saudi Human Rights Commission president

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet calls for global stand against extremism, hate speech

Tue, 2019-03-19 23:21 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reinforced its determination to confront extremism and hate speech in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand, which left 50 people dead. During its weekly meeting, chaire
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet calls for global stand against extremism, hate speech

Tue, 2019-03-19 23:21 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reinforced its determination to confront extremism and hate speech in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand, which left 50 people dead. During its weekly meeting, chaired by King Salman, the Saudi Cabinet called on the international community to take a tough stance against those who tried to spread hate, extremism and violence.  The Council of Ministers expressed its deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the Christchurch attack and also the people and government of New Zealand.  The meeting, held at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh, went on to discuss the Kingdom’s participation in the third Brussels Conference to support the future of Syria and the region, reported the SPA. The Cabinet also reviewed the talks that took place to discuss areas of Saudi-EU cooperation over the security, stability and unity of Syria. Ministers referred to Saudi Arabia’s attendance at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, and stressed the Kingdoms’ determination to continue its efforts in protecting and promoting human rights. In other business, the Cabinet commended US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for pledging continued American backing for the Saudi-led coalition to support the legitimate government of Yemen and for the Kingdom’s efforts to assist the Yemenis against Iranian intervention. The Council of Ministers then authorized the Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan to draft a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with his Russian counterpart for cooperation between the two countries on cultural matters and approved the go ahead for discussions and the signing of a similar MoU with UNESCO. Approval for an MoU on bilateral cooperation in the field of intellectual property between the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property and the US Patent and Trademark Office was agreed along with an MoU for cooperation and exchange of news between the Saudi Press Agency and the Cuban state news agency Prensa Latina.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: hate speechNew Zealand mosque attackextremismviolence Extremism ‘weakening Arab states,’ Arab Parliament forum toldSocial media must clamp down on hate speech, UN rights boss says

Saudi relief center concludes training for Yemeni women

Author: SPAID: 1552946759770826800Tue, 2019-03-19 01:05 LAHIJ: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has completed a pilot project management course for women heads of households in the Yemeni governorate of Lahij. About 10
Saudi Arabia

Saudi relief center concludes training for Yemeni women

Author: SPAID: 1552946759770826800Tue, 2019-03-19 01:05 LAHIJ: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has completed a pilot project management course for women heads of households in the Yemeni governorate of Lahij. About 100 women trainees were taught skills to help manage, market and sell products that will improve the living conditions of family breadwinners as part of the Yemen Livelihood Improvement Project. Courses taken by trainees in past months include sewing, hairdressing and food preparation. The women trainees expressed their gratitude to KSRelief for providing them with training to improve their incomes. Recently, the center distributed 360 food baskets, weighing 46 tons, to displaced people in Dhale governorate in Yemen, helping 3,780 people — and 300 food baskets, weighing 22 tons and 200 kg in a number of districts of Al-Jouf governorate in Yemen, helping 1,800 individuals — as part of a project to distribute 102,170 food baskets targeting nine Yemeni governorates. The center also conducted a training session on how to combat insect threats to agriculture and another in agricultural marketing as part of training programs for the Yemen Livelihood Improvement Project. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief)Yemen KSrelief, WHO officials meet in GenevaWork of KSRelief showcased during Saudi crown prince's visit to Pakistan

Budding authors given writing tips at Riyadh book fair

Author: SPAID: 1552946723280826500Tue, 2019-03-19 01:05 RIYADH: Visitors to a Saudi book fair have been given free chapter-and-verse writing tips on how to produce top content. Abeer Al-Jarbou, Arabic teacher at King Saud University, has been runn
Saudi Arabia

Budding authors given writing tips at Riyadh book fair

Author: SPAID: 1552946723280826500Tue, 2019-03-19 01:05 RIYADH: Visitors to a Saudi book fair have been given free chapter-and-verse writing tips on how to produce top content. Abeer Al-Jarbou, Arabic teacher at King Saud University, has been running interactive workshops on writing strategies as part of the Riyadh International Book Fair’s cultural program. Participants were shown how to generate ideas and put their thoughts into words in a simple and concise way, and Al-Jarbou also highlighted the importance of checking and proofreading content. The popular education and training workshops also pointed to the benefits of gaining feedback on written material and following industry influencers. This year’s event, which runs until March 23, is being staged in the capital under the theme “The Book is the Gate of the Future.” The Literary Club of Riyadh, which is taking part in the book fair, aims to support young talent by putting their written work in print for free. Abdulrahman Al-Jasser, a member of the club’s governing council, said it had printed numerous critically acclaimed literary and cultural publications by young people, 20 by first-time writers, and these included novels, poetry and prose. SPA Riyadh Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Riyadh International Book Fair 2019Culture and Entertainment Bahraini official talks museums at Riyadh book fairSaudi pavilion presents heritage at Paris Book Fair

Misk program gives a boost to young Saudis who mean business

Tue, 2019-03-19 01:38 DUBAI: Young Arabs are taking the region’s offline markets online, from fitness and recruitment to car repairs and chalet hire.  Nineteen start-ups have been chosen so far to take part in the Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Program. An
Saudi Arabia

Misk program gives a boost to young Saudis who mean business

Tue, 2019-03-19 01:38 DUBAI: Young Arabs are taking the region’s offline markets online, from fitness and recruitment to car repairs and chalet hire.  Nineteen start-ups have been chosen so far to take part in the Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Program. Anwaar Alrefae, a 26-year-old Kuwaiti, is one of them, with her Project 5 Miles (P5M) health and fitness app.  Anwaar Alrefae of P5M “We help people get fit and support them in staying fit,” she said.  “What’s important for the community in the region is family, friends and work, and because fitness isn’t an integral part of these pillars in people’s lives, when things get stressful, the first thing to drop is a healthy lifestyle because it’s not an integral part of their lives.”  Launched last year, the app’s name stems from pushing through the hardest first 5 miles.  “In those first 5 miles, it’s a new experience and you’re trying to discover what works for you and what doesn’t,” Alrefae said.  “Once you push through them, you know what works for you and how to fit it into your life, and it’s easier for you to get active.” Her objective is to combine fitness and socializing, as her app allows members to book classes in multiple gyms with friends and family.  “It allows people to be social in an active way, and it’s less likely for them to drop being active because they can be social with friends and family while being active, which brings in the element of entertainment,” she said.  “The practice of anything is finding a routine without boredom, so by being able to find that flexibility in such activities, people won’t get bored.  “It’s human nature, and we want to keep people on their toes and engaged.” Having grown up in Kuwait and studied in Boston, Alrefae hopes to dispel the misconception that the region is generally “lazy,” being extremely active herself.  “By adding this physical component to people’s lives, they’ll really be able to have a sense of independence and confidence, and set a goal and achieve it ... Besides the health aspect, it will also have a huge mental effect.” Mohamed Ibrahim, a Sudanese who was raised in Riyadh, is one of Alrefae’s classmates in the Misk program.  Mohamed Ibrahim of Sabbar He created Sabbar earlier this year as a recruitment solution that focuses on jobs in the retail and service industry.  It provides businesses in Saudi Arabia with a platform that automates their recruitment process, halving their recruitment time and cost.  It also offers potential workers a mobile app that allows them to find nearby jobs. The start-up is timely, with a recent labor law in the Kingdom pushing businesses to hire more Saudis.  “It’s a unique offering where we find jobs in a geographical way,” Ibrahim said.  Sabbar helps Saudis find nearby jobs in the retail and service industry, while also helping automate businesses’ recruitment process. (Supplied photo) “There’s no platform for Saudis to find retail jobs, like baristas or cashiers, so this helps businesses in their challenge today to hire faster and easier.” The platform allows businesses to access quality candidates through a matching algorithm built on jobseekers’ personality and desire, and to ensure that potential hires are retained longer. “There’s a high turnover in Saudi Arabia in this (retail and service) industry — up to 70 percent — compared to the global average of 24 percent,” he said.  “You have businesses today that are struggling to meet the demand of filling vacancies quickly due to the hire turnover, and there’s a struggle to grow because of it, so when the labor law came out I saw retailers go through a lot of challenges, so it’s a niche market I can definitely grow.” Abdullah Shamlan of Speero For Abdullah Shamlan, a 29-year-old Yemeni who was born and raised in Riyadh, the Misk program has provided him with invaluable mentorship to grow his business Speero.  “You learn from the best, and the quality of the network of founders you’re exposed to is great,” he said.  “It’s the largest in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, which definitely helps.” Speero is an online marketplace that helps businesses and individuals find spare parts for cars in a more convenient way.  “We connect spare-parts stores with customers. It helps organize some complicated industries, like spare parts,” Shamlan said. “There’s no single solution that tells you about spare-parts prices and their validation in the market, so we’re doing the tough job for the government on the ground.” With more than 8,000 suppliers in the Kingdom, Speero has started helping 150 of them manage their inventory while providing almost instant quotations to customers on the search, before delivering the parts to their doorstep.  “We serve more than 5,000 people in Saudi Arabia, and we’re taking a totally offline market online,” Shamlan said.  “There’s a need for this because it’s a daily struggle, and we already crossed $1 million in sales in less than 18 months.” Renting chalets in the Kingdom is another practice that has been made easier, thanks to Latifah Altamimi, a 30-year-old Saudi from Riyadh who created GatherN in November 2016.  “It’s a platform that helps people search and book chalets in Saudi Arabia,” she said.  “We also help chalet owners list their properties and manage them, so it’s like a combination of a Saudi Airbnb and Booking.com.” Latifah Altaimi of GatherN The start-up stemmed from Altamimi’s own experience as a regular customer, spending every weekend in a chalet in Riyadh for social and family gatherings.  In one year alone, the app’s customer base grew 500 percent.   “There’s demand for it. We have more than 6.2 million transactions every year in this market, but 99.99 percent are done manually, for walk-in customers or calling the reception of the (chalet),” she said.  “It’s a concept developed in Saudi Arabia, with more than 100,000 resorts in the Kingdom.  “We now have more than 1,000 chalets, with huge room for improvement.”  Altamimi said the Misk program has been extremely beneficial, adding: “We already know a lot, but there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing. It’s a great opportunity to expand, and we’re working on our growth. We already grew 40 percent in the seven weeks we’ve been with them (the program).”  One of the challenges she is working on is converting her leads into bookings.  “We now have more than 15 employees, 8 percent of whom are Saudis, and we’re planning to reach 25 employees,” she said.  “I was an employee for seven years and I’m a proactive person. I like to try different things and experiment. I worked in an international company where I didn’t have the space to be creative and do more than what I was expected to, so having my own company gives me huge space to experiment, be creative and contribute to the country’s economy.” The Misk program began on Jan. 27, 2019. It will conclude with a demo day on May 13 in Riyadh.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Editor’s ChoiceGatherNentrepreneursMisk programsaudi youthSpeeroMisk 500 MENA Accelerator ProgramEye on the VisionVision 2030Saudi 2030 vision2030 visionSaudiVision2030Vision2030

Makkah to host 4-day economic forum starting March 23

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 05:23 JEDDAH: Under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the second Makkah Region Economic Forum (MREF) kicks off on Saturday at Jabal Omar Hotel. The four-day event is organized by the Makkah governorate and th
Saudi Arabia

Makkah to host 4-day economic forum starting March 23

Author: Tue, 2019-03-19 05:23 JEDDAH: Under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the second Makkah Region Economic Forum (MREF) kicks off on Saturday at Jabal Omar Hotel. The four-day event is organized by the Makkah governorate and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Makkah and Taif chambers of commerce and industry. Under the title “The Road to an Urban Future: Invest in Makkah,” this year’s edition will focus on four main topics: Urban development, public services and infrastructure, transport and logistics, and innovation in Hajj and Umrah.  The MREF will also shed light on unique new investment opportunities in the Makkah region. Hisham Al-Falih, head of the forum’s executive committee, said the MREF aims to encourage local and international business investments in the region’s development projects. “The main themes to be discussed at this year’s edition … are designed to integrate with the economic issues that were discussed during the meetings of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, which was held in January,” he said.  Some of this year’s topics will be highlighted at next year’s G20 Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia, he added. The main topics of the MREF’s panel discussions will include housing, hospitality, business development, and development of the Makkah region’s unplanned neighborhoods. Last year’s edition offered investment opportunities worth more than SR280 million ($74.6 million) and attracted nearly 7,500 people, paving the way for major investment projects in the region.  The first MREF saw the participation in panel discussions of eight ministers, a group of economic leaders and VIPs from around the world.     .  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Makkah Makkah all set for its first flower festivalMakkah hosts expo to raise awareness of drug dangers

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Tue, 2019-03-19 06:29 RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday. Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press bri
Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Tue, 2019-03-19 06:29 RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday. Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.” Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday. But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added. He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris. The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias. He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats. He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace. Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws.  He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers. His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war. The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December. The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa. Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015. Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. “The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: HouthisYemenStockholm agreement Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants threaten to target Riyadh and Abu DhabiHouthis committed 41 violations within 24 hours: Arab coalition

FaceOf: Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi, president of King Abdul Aziz University 

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 21:33 Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi has been the president of King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah since 2016, and is also the chairman of the university’s Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation. Recently, Al-Yo
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FaceOf: Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi, president of King Abdul Aziz University 

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 21:33 Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi has been the president of King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah since 2016, and is also the chairman of the university’s Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation. Recently, Al-Youbi signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote a culture of moderation and to combat terrorism, extremism, and racism, with Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. Al-Youbi previously served as KAU’s vice president, as dean of its faculty of science, and as a part-time consultant at the Ministry of Higher Education. Al-Youbi is also involved in committees at several other universities around the Kingdom, including Taibah University, the University of Tabuk, Jazan University and Northern Border University. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from KAU, and received a scholarship to complete his education in the UK, where he gained his doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Essex in 1986. Al-Youbi began working at KAU in 1981. He was made an assistant professor of physical chemistry in 1986, an associate professor in 1992, and became a full professor in 2000.   The memorandum of cooperation includes a number of objectives aimed at mainstreaming the approach of moderation in society, combating extremist and terrorist ideologies, and enhancing intellectual awareness through conducting joint scientific research and applied and field studies on mainstreaming the approach of moderation, developing intellectual awareness and protecting society from extremism. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: FaceOf#FaceOfKing Abdul Aziz University (KAU) FaceOf: Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, diplomat at the KSA’s UN Mission in GenevaFaceOf: Princess Sarah Al-Saud, director at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime TransportFaceOf: Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, Saudi Human Rights Commission presidentFaceOf: Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director-general of the Saudi Border Guards

King Salman meets with grand mufti and senior scholars

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 22:01 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, senior scholars and a group of citizens called on King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday.  The reception began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an. A nu
Saudi Arabia

King Salman meets with grand mufti and senior scholars

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 22:01 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, senior scholars and a group of citizens called on King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday.  The reception began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an. A number of senior ministers and top officials attended the meeting.  On Monday, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to offer condolences to Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on the death of his predecessor Mahmoud Ould Ahmed Louly. The king and the crown prince also sent cables to offer condolences to Indonesia President Joko Widodo on the death of people who were killed due to flooding in the Indonesian province of Papua.    Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King Salmangand muftiMuslim scholars Envoys call on King Salman, present credentialsPakistan’s envoy to KSA presents credentials to King Salman

Sweet victory as rising star wins Jeddah baking contest

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 22:33 JEDDAH: A Saudi woman has won a prestigious home-baking competition after being encouraged to enter the contest by her daughter. Reem Rida Khashoggi beat nine other finalists in the Jeddah-based Golden Whisk competition w
Saudi Arabia

Sweet victory as rising star wins Jeddah baking contest

Author: Mon, 2019-03-18 22:33 JEDDAH: A Saudi woman has won a prestigious home-baking competition after being encouraged to enter the contest by her daughter. Reem Rida Khashoggi beat nine other finalists in the Jeddah-based Golden Whisk competition with one of the simplest desserts of the night — “petit four” biscuits served in a small box that drew unanimous praise from the judges on Sunday. “I got into this competition through my daughter,” Khashoggi told Arab News after accepting the trophy. “She has pushed me to improve and convinced me to be a part of this.”  The Golden Whisk competition was organized by Crate, a Jeddah concept store that encourages local entrepreneurs, along with Mariam Haddad, owner of a bakery in Crate and one of the judges.  More than 120 women submitted a range of bakery creations for judging with 10 finalists chosen for Sunday’s showdown. Khashoggi said she gained her baking experience by “randomly opening recipe books and studying recipes.” “I started baking with petit four biscuits and the reaction I received from the people was amazing,” she said. Her daughter, Heba Bakri, said was “beyond happy” to see her mother win. “I am so proud, she is a great person. Congratulations, mom. You deserve the best,” she added. The competition finale was hosted by Abdulrahman Baaghil, co-creator of Jeddah Attractions, and judges Basma El-Khereiji, chef behind the Social Kitchen, and Raneen Joudah, a home baker, together with Haddad. “I believe that it is an act of giving back to society by getting involved with small bakers, especially people who are just starting their careers,” said El-Khereiji.  Contestants’ offerings were judged on taste, presentation, creativity and originality.  The winner will have the chance to create her own business with the help of recognition from startup Bakery M, design services from Loud, shelf space at Crate, a range of products from Baker’s Choice and a SR1,500 voucher from Chef & Chef.      Main category: Saudi ArabiaFood & HealthLifestyleTags: bakingGolden Whisk competitionJeddah Attractionsentrepreneurship Baking contest to whisk up golden business opportunity in Saudi ArabiaMeet the world-renowned chef who is baking up a treat in the Middle East

Makkah all set for its first flower festival

Mon, 2019-03-18 22:40 MAKKAH: A carpet of flowers featuring 1 million blooms will be one of the main attractions as Makkah hosts its first flower festival. The event, which begins on Tuesday at Muzdalifah, has been organized by the city’s municipality i
Saudi Arabia

Makkah all set for its first flower festival

Mon, 2019-03-18 22:40 MAKKAH: A carpet of flowers featuring 1 million blooms will be one of the main attractions as Makkah hosts its first flower festival. The event, which begins on Tuesday at Muzdalifah, has been organized by the city’s municipality in cooperation with the Arab Urban Development Institute and King Saud University. It will be officially opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal. Raed Samarqandi, the director of the municipality’s department of media and publications, said that the festival is unique and has serious objectives. “It aims to improve the environment, fight pollution and show an image that suits the value of the city and its holy sites,” he explained. “The festival will coincide with the 20th symposium on afforestation, titled “Suitable afforestation for the environmental conditions of Makkah — the central region and holy sites,” on March 19 and 20. The symposium will feature representatives of governmental sectors and scientific bodies and include discussion of papers addressing many the issues in the city, such as the state of afforestation in Makkah, the latest techniques in environmental planning, and the design of green spaces such as parks, gardens and squares. Makkah Mayor Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Quwaihes has invited speakers from the private sector, universities, research centers, and agricultural and afforestation companies to contribute and help raise awareness of these local issues. The flower festival continues until March 23.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaLifestyleTags: Makkahflower festivalsArab Urban Development InstituteKing Saud University. Jubail spruces up for flower festivalMadinah flower festival wows visitors

Saudi-based interfaith center calls for concerted efforts to check intolerance

Author: arab newsID: 1552940085310597300Mon, 2019-03-18 23:14 RIYADH: The world is headed for more extreme forms of terrorism, in the wake of the attacks against Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, and against Jews in Pittsburgh in the US, said the
Saudi Arabia

Saudi-based interfaith center calls for concerted efforts to check intolerance

Author: arab newsID: 1552940085310597300Mon, 2019-03-18 23:14 RIYADH: The world is headed for more extreme forms of terrorism, in the wake of the attacks against Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, and against Jews in Pittsburgh in the US, said the secretary-general of the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID). This type of terrorism is supported by some elected figures from hard-line political parties who support and market extremism through their official channels, taking advantage of the freedoms that govern Western countries, said Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muammar. KAICIID presents religion as part of the solution, not the source of the problem, he added. In the West, separation of religion and state, and rejection of religion as part of the solution, have “resulted in failed treatments no less dangerous than the failure of military attempts to combat terrorism,” he said. “Throughout these attempts and initiatives, which have been accompanied by an escalation of media and political extremist campaigns against Islam and Muslims, as well as other religious and ethnic minorities, Western societies have witnessed growth in populist movements and a rise in the popularity of extreme right-wing parties, which found in the hatred of Islam, Muslims and immigrants fertile ground to gain popular support and realize political interests.” What happened in New Zealand reflects the emergence of a wider phenomenon that KAICIID has long warned against, bin Muammar said. He said this phenomenon will only disappear through the concerted efforts of individuals and organizations to promote dialogue and tolerance. In addition to that, he added, there is a need enact laws to criminalize actions against Muslims and followers of other religions similar to the laws formed to check anti-Semitism. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) KAICIID dedicated to enhancing role of dialogue to combat violence in name of religion

Saudi film forum raises curtain on new-look cinema

Author: Arab NewsID: 1552854572653040900Sun, 2019-03-17 23:29 RIYADH: Saudi entrepreneurs will be shown the latest advances in global cinema design and construction at a major forum in Riyadh next month. The Cinema Build KSA forum on April 14-15 a
Saudi Arabia

Saudi film forum raises curtain on new-look cinema

Author: Arab NewsID: 1552854572653040900Sun, 2019-03-17 23:29 RIYADH: Saudi entrepreneurs will be shown the latest advances in global cinema design and construction at a major forum in Riyadh next month. The Cinema Build KSA forum on April 14-15 at the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh comes as the world eyes Saudi Arabia’s efforts to unlock the massive potential of its cinema market as part of wide-ranging Vision 2030 economic reforms.      The Kingdom is set to have almost 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens creating more than 30,000 jobs. The cinema forum, organized by  Eyes of Cities in collaboration with  Great Minds Event Management, will bring together key stakeholders across the design, construction and technology sectors to discuss the latest techniques of building world-class cinemas. The event will  also highlight new building solutions and equipment used in developing future cinemas, multiplexes and malls.     General Commission of Audiovisual Media (GCAM) CEO Bader Al-Zahrani said: “The cinema sector in Saudi Arabia will see significant growth, especially with the commission’s efforts to promote national and foreign investment in the sector.” GCAM is working toward achieving Quality of Life Program’s goal by opening 45 cinemas by 2020, said Al-Zahrani, who will inaugurate the Cinema Build KSA forum and deliver the opening speech. Cinema Build KSA will gather experts from around the world to be a part of Saudi plans to open more than 2,500 screens in the next five years. With licenses being issued to the first set of exhibitors, authorities are setting up a road map to achieve their goal of becoming leaders in developing world-class cinemas.      Commenting on Cinema Build KSA, Leila Masinaei, managing partner at Great Minds Group, said: “The cinema industry in the MENA region is undergoing a massive expansion. The lifting of the 35-year cinema ban in KSA, rapid population growth and urbanization, and the regional focus on economic diversification and new strategies that focus on the leisure and entertainment sectors are among key factors for this growth.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & CultureTags: Cinema Build KSA forumGeneral Commission of Audiovisual Media (GCAM)Saudi Vision 2030Culture and Entertainment Cast and crew’s delight as Dunya’s Day becomes first Saudi film to premiere in KingdomSaudi film council offers courses to support local filmmakers

MoU signed to promote ‘culture of moderation’ in Saudi Arabia

Author: SPAID: 1552854684013056900Sun, 2019-03-17 23:30 JEDDAH: A memorandum of cooperation was signed on Sunday in Jeddah between the Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation at King Abdul Aziz University and the General Presidency for the Af
Saudi Arabia

MoU signed to promote ‘culture of moderation’ in Saudi Arabia

Author: SPAID: 1552854684013056900Sun, 2019-03-17 23:30 JEDDAH: A memorandum of cooperation was signed on Sunday in Jeddah between the Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation at King Abdul Aziz University and the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques to promote a culture of moderation and the combating of terrorism, extremism, and racism. The document was signed in the presence of Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal. The agreement was co-signed by Dr. Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi, president of KAU and chairman of the center, and Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. Under the agreement, he two parties will cooperate to organize and support awareness-raising media campaigns for promoting a culture of moderation and renouncing extremism, violence, and intolerance of all forms, in addition to through social media campaigns. The memorandum of cooperation includes a number of objectives aimed at mainstreaming the approach of moderation in society, combating extremist and terrorist ideologies, and enhancing intellectual awareness through conducting joint scientific research and applied and field studies on mainstreaming the approach of moderation, developing intellectual awareness and protecting society from extremism. The two parties will cooperate under the memorandum in exchanging experiences and information on conferences and forums for moderation and protecting against extremism, developing cultural and awareness-raising programs and activities, such as panel discussion, lectures, seminars, competitions, forums, festivals and sports activities, and providing joint training workshops and programs in the field of moderation and combating extremism. In addition, the two parties will support and promote moderation programs and activities within their respective spheres of interest, provide technical programs to promote moderate ideologies, and support the implementation of programs and follow up to ensure achievement of their objectives. Dr. Hassan bin Yahya Al-Manakhra, president of the Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for Moderation, said that it is keen to sign agreements with bodies that are active in society, especially in the field of moderate ideologies, such as the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. “The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques is concerned with the holiest places associated with Islam, the religion from which we take our Shariah, teachings and moderate approach and ideology,” he said. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Prince Khalid Al-Faisal Center for ModerationKing Abdul Aziz University (KAU) Makkah governor to launch third special award for moderationSaudi Cultural Ministry to host ‘Cities Destroyed by Terrorism’ exhibition

Bahraini official talks museums at Riyadh book fair

Author: SPAID: 1552854764313068300Sun, 2019-03-17 23:32 RIYADH: Sheikh Khalifa Al-Khalifa, director of the Museums Directorate at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, reviewed the history of his country’s National Museum at the Riya
Saudi Arabia

Bahraini official talks museums at Riyadh book fair

Author: SPAID: 1552854764313068300Sun, 2019-03-17 23:32 RIYADH: Sheikh Khalifa Al-Khalifa, director of the Museums Directorate at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, reviewed the history of his country’s National Museum at the Riyadh International Book Fair. Al-Khalifa highlighted that the museum movement in Bahrain began in the 1950s, and that the government began to take care of historical heritage by loaning items to international institutions until the National Museum opened in 1988. As part of the talk, he presented an old picture of the museum’s construction process. He pointed out that the center included six important halls, including galleries, laboratories and support services, in addition to the administrative department. Al-Khalifa also displayed many other historical images of archaeological sites in Bahrain. He noted the importance of research and educational work museums provided, the need to instill historical value in future generations and raise awareness among society of a nation’s heritage. He said: “Heritage exhibitions are important for the Arab world. Perhaps Saudi Arabia today sets the standard in its interest in cultural heritage. It is a great advantage. The Saudi experience is inspiring to many countries, organizations and institutions interested in history. We try to benefit from the experience of the Kingdom.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Museums Directorate at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and AntiquitiesRiyadh International Book Fair 2019 Saudi pavilion presents heritage at Paris Book FairSaudi Arabia’s megaprojects in spotlight at Riyadh International Book Fair

Saudi Water Forum launched in Riyadh

Author: SPAID: 1552854843023078300Sun, 2019-03-17 23:33 RIYADH: The Saudi Water Forum, organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture under the title “Sustainable Water for Sustainable Development,” was launched on Sunday in Ri
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Water Forum launched in Riyadh

Author: SPAID: 1552854843023078300Sun, 2019-03-17 23:33 RIYADH: The Saudi Water Forum, organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture under the title “Sustainable Water for Sustainable Development,” was launched on Sunday in Riyadh. The event’s first day saw the holding of four workshops attended by a large number of officials in the water sector. The ministry, through this forum, seeks to benefit from international experts and use its outcomes and recommendations to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and the National Water Strategy. The first workshop tackled the issue of water sustainability. It addressed modern technical and technological processes that can be employed to manage water projects, as well as the main challenges facing the water sector globally and in the Kingdom. The second workshop dealt with smart technologies in water distribution management, their role in providing accurate measurements and readings, and their ability to detect malfunctions and leaks. It also presented a new distribution mechanism that could promote water sustainability and help achieve the sector’s goals if adopted. The latest designs and operating methods of membrane desalination plants were discussed in the third workshop. The last workshop was on the contribution of Japan’s water strategy to achieving the goals of Vision 2030. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saud water forum Forum to review Japan’s efforts in Saudi water sectorPrivate funds to expand Saudi water plant investments

Saudi king’s stance on Christchurch attack lauded

Author: SPAID: 1552854809073076500Sun, 2019-03-17 23:33 JEDDAH: Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), praised King Salman for his “strong and firm” response to Friday’s terrorist attack o
Saudi Arabia

Saudi king’s stance on Christchurch attack lauded

Author: SPAID: 1552854809073076500Sun, 2019-03-17 23:33 JEDDAH: Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), praised King Salman for his “strong and firm” response to Friday’s terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed. He also called on the international community to confront terrorism and hate speech in all forms against religion and the values of coexistence. Al-Othaimeen said: “The words of King Salman come as support for the OIC, its committees, institutions and administrations, to control and combat Islamophobia.” He said that the world now had “an opportunity to admit that terrorism has no religion, and that everyone is at risk,” adding that the king had provided leadership around which all Muslims could unite to face hate. “Cooperation is essential to determine responsibilities and commitments, to criminalize hate, and to set controls and legislation to prevent extremists from using social media, spreading their destructive ideas, recruiting the weak and filling their hearts and minds with hatred.” He also expressed profound grief and sorrow at the tragic deaths of many residents in the port city of Beira, Mozambique, as tropical cyclone Idai unleashed widespread damage and destruction on Friday, cutting off communications and electricity. Al-Othaimeen sent his condolences to the people of Mozambique, urging OIC member states to provide immediate support to affected areas, to prevent the situation escalating from a natural disaster into a humanitarian crisis. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) OIC foreign ministers condemn Israeli violations against PalestiniansOIC foreign ministers to map out Islamic road to prosperity

FaceOf: Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, diplomat at the KSA's UN Mission in Geneva

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 21:42 Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi has been the head of the human rights section at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland since July 2016. In February, he was given the additional r
Saudi Arabia

FaceOf: Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, diplomat at the KSA's UN Mission in Geneva

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 21:42 Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi has been the head of the human rights section at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland since July 2016. In February, he was given the additional responsibility to work as a counselor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Al-Mutairi obtained a master’s degree in law from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California in 2008. He earned his Ph.D. in political science and government from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea in 2016. Following the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Al-Mutairi said: “The Kingdom has warned repeatedly of the dangers of racist rhetoric.” Speaking during a discussion panel on the mitigation and countering of rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al-Mutairi expressed his deepest condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in New Zealand.  He expressed concern about some racist speeches and policies in certain countries, including Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Britain, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Al-Mutairi expressed the Kingdom’s deep concern about the leniency and favoritism shown to some of those who support the rhetoric of extremism, hatred and violence. “There are those who welcome these despicable speeches in some parliaments of these countries while welcoming the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression,” he said. “We call on these countries to pass laws that limit racism against Muslims.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: FaceOf#FaceOfFahd Al-Mutairi FaceOf: Princess Sarah Al-Saud, director at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime TransportFaceOf: Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, Saudi Human Rights Commission presidentFaceOf: Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director-general of the Saudi Border GuardsFaceOf: Dr. Waleed Alsalem, CEO of the Saudi health ministry's National Health Laboratory

Envoys call on King Salman, present credentials

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 22:54 RIYADH: A number of ambassadors of brotherly countries called on King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace on Sunday and presented their credentials to the king.  The king welcomed the envoys and conveyed his greetings to their l
Saudi Arabia

Envoys call on King Salman, present credentials

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 22:54 RIYADH: A number of ambassadors of brotherly countries called on King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace on Sunday and presented their credentials to the king.  The king welcomed the envoys and conveyed his greetings to their leaders and wished them success in their endeavors. The ambassadors included Dr. Ibrahim Gallo (Sierra Leone), Vu Viet Dung (Vietnam), Vakhtang Jaoshvili (Georgia), Faisal Fakir Kassem (Mozambique), Georg Postinger (Austria), Raja Ali Ejaz (Pakistan), Abdulazim Mohammed Al-Karuri (Sudan), Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Kuwait), Peter Nicholas (Kenya), Mohamed Amin Ould Cheikh (Mauritania), Zacaria Fadl Ktr (Chad), Marcelo Souza Della Nina (Brazil) and Dimitar Ivanov Abadiev (Bulgaria).  The envoys thanked the king for the hospitality and warm welcome accorded to them. They also conveyed greetings from their respective leaders. The ceremony was attended by Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of State Dr. Musaed Al-Aiban and other top officials.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King SalmanYamamah Palace King Abdul Aziz Palace: A perfect blend of history and architectureSharqiah Season’s opening weekend electrifies Saudi Arabia’s Eastern ProvinceKing Salman patronizes annual Grand Horse Race King Salman patronizes the Grand Horse Race of the Founder’s Cup

Freedom of speech ‘no defense for racism’, KSA says

Sun, 2019-03-17 01:38 GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has urged governments throughout the world to reject racism and intolerance, and to employ balanced rhetoric and policies that contribute to the integration of Muslims into their societies. The Kingdom has warned
Saudi Arabia

Freedom of speech ‘no defense for racism’, KSA says

Sun, 2019-03-17 01:38 GENEVA: Saudi Arabia has urged governments throughout the world to reject racism and intolerance, and to employ balanced rhetoric and policies that contribute to the integration of Muslims into their societies. The Kingdom has warned repeatedly of the dangers of racist rhetoric, said Dr. Fahd Al-Mutairi, head of the human rights section at the permanent Saudi mission to the UN office in Geneva. Speaking during a discussion panel on the mitigation and countering of rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Al-Mutairi expressed his deepest condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in New Zealand. He expressed concern about some racist speeches and policies in certain countries, including Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Britain, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Al-Mutairi expressed the Kingdom’s deep concern about the leniency and favoritism shown to some of those who support the rhetoric of extremism, hatred and violence. “There are those who welcome these despicable speeches in some parliaments of these countries, while welcoming the pretext of freedom of opinion and expression,” he said. “We call on these countries to pass laws that limit racism against Muslims.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Fahd Al-MutairiNew Zealand mosque attacknew zealand terror attacknew zealand mosque shootings ‘Media coverage fuels racism’: Manchester City’s Raheem SterlingBlack Tunisians push for equality, in face of racism

Pain grips family of Saudi who lost life in Christchurch carnage

Sun, 2019-03-17 02:11 RIYADH: “My father lived a full life. It was a good life,” Feras Al-Harbi told Arab News.  Saudi national Mohsin Al-Harbi lived in New Zealand for 25 years. He worked in water desalination.  He was a good man, a devout Muslim
Saudi Arabia

Pain grips family of Saudi who lost life in Christchurch carnage

Sun, 2019-03-17 02:11 RIYADH: “My father lived a full life. It was a good life,” Feras Al-Harbi told Arab News.  Saudi national Mohsin Al-Harbi lived in New Zealand for 25 years. He worked in water desalination.  He was a good man, a devout Muslim who was also a part-time imam at one of the mosques where the terrorist attack took place, said Feras.  He would sometimes give the Friday sermon, but not on the day of the horrific attacks that killed 49 people and injured dozens.  Feras said he had learned of his father’s injuries after the shooting. “Eight hours later he passed away. We accept his destiny and Allah’s will. I’m grateful and thankful to Allah in all situations and circumstances.” A photo of Mohsin on a stretcher circulated on social media after the shooting. He was pictured lying down, with his finger pointing to the sky.  Jordan’s media reported his brother-in-law Bader Dukhan’s comments after the shooting. “The Foreign Ministry called me and informed me that I must come to the hospital to identify my brother-in-law’s remains,” the media reported Dukhan as saying. “I found out then what happened with my sister (Mohsin’s wife). She’s in a critical condition at the moment after her heart attack.” Amid the chaos, Mohsin’s wife Manal had searched for her husband in the mosque where earlier there had been hundreds of worshippers. The carpet was drenched in blood. There were bodies on the floor. It was too much and she collapsed. Bader said that New Zealand authorities had contacted Jordan’s Foreign Ministry to help their mother and brother be by her side. Many witnessed Mohsin’s kindness, including student Moshari Sa’ad. “Last January, I visited the mosque in southern New Zealand. It is considered one of the most important mosques there with the vast social activities it holds,” he wrote on social media. “One day, at 10 a.m. in the middle of the week, I found Uncle Mohsin with his sleeves rolled up and in sweatpants sweeping the mosque himself. He smiled and welcomed me warmly.” Feras expressed his gratitude to the Saudi leadership for embracing them at such a desperate time. “I want to thank King Salman for his support and Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Al-Madina, for his assistance and swiftness in helping us to return our father’s body and bury him in Al-Baqi (a cemetery in Madinah).” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the mosque shooting an unprecedented act of violence, a terrorist attack and “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”  The brutal premeditated massacre claimed the lives of 49 Muslims including “Uncle Mohsin,” who devoted his life to his community, religion and family. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: new zealand terror attackNew Zealand mosque attacknew zealand mosque shootingschristchurch terrorist attack When gunman Brenton Tarrant attacked New Zealand mosque Abdul Aziz ran at himStricken New Zealanders reach out to Muslims after shooting

King Salman patronizes annual Grand Horse Race

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 01:33 RIYADH: King Salman patronized the annual Grand Horse Race of the Founder’s Cup at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Janadriyah on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The king, who is honorary president of the Kin
Saudi Arabia

King Salman patronizes annual Grand Horse Race

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 01:33 RIYADH: King Salman patronized the annual Grand Horse Race of the Founder’s Cup at the King Abdul Aziz Racetrack in Janadriyah on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The king, who is honorary president of the Kingdom’s Equestrian Club, watched displays from different countries. He also awarded prizes at the ceremony, which was attended by a number of princes and officials. Earlier Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the club’s board of directors, said that the support, encouragement and care of Saudi Arabia’s leadership indicated the interest in the future of equestrianism, based on its place and value in society. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King SalmanJanadriyah Nomad Games debut in Saudi Arabia with spectacular opening ceremonyAt Janadriyah, two brothers transport visitors to a nostalgic past

FaceOf: Princess Sarah Al-Saud, director at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 03:06 Princess Sarah Al-Saud has been the director of maritime business development at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport since 2017. Speaking at the Saudi Maritime Congress in Riyadh, Princess Sara
Saudi Arabia

FaceOf: Princess Sarah Al-Saud, director at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport

Author: Sun, 2019-03-17 03:06 Princess Sarah Al-Saud has been the director of maritime business development at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport since 2017. Speaking at the Saudi Maritime Congress in Riyadh, Princess Sarah said that Saudi Arabia’s maritime sector was set to receive a much-needed boost, with the allocation of $8.8 billion to the energy, mining and logistics industries in the 2019 budget. “In fact, the country is on an aggressive diversification path, with substantial government spending expected to (catalyze) Vision 2030 (reform plan) goals and drive sustainable growth and development,” she said. Princess Sarah attained her bachelor’s in maritime transport and technology from the academy in Alexandria. The Arab League operates the academy and runs programs in maritime transport, engineering and business. She has contributed in various areas of cooperation between the Kingdom and maritime industry stakeholders in Arab countries, especially in the field of strategic planning. Princess Sarah was appointed as the first UAE ambassador for the Women in Shipping and Trading Association because of her passion for empowering women in the maritime industry. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: #FaceOfFaceOfArab Academy for ScienceTechnology and Maritime TransportSaudi Maritime Congress FaceOf: Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, Saudi Human Rights Commission presidentFaceOf: Vice Admiral Awwad Eid Al-Balawi, director-general of the Saudi Border GuardsFaceOf: Dr. Waleed Alsalem, CEO of the Saudi health ministry's National Health LaboratoryFaceOf: Cameron Mitchell, CEO Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas

Sharqiah Season’s opening weekend electrifies Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Sun, 2019-03-17 03:41 ALKHOBAR: You could feel the electricity in the air, and not just from the lightning on Thursday night. Visitors at the first Sharqiah Season turned out in their thousands all along the East Coast, despite high winds and the odd sprinkl
Saudi Arabia

Sharqiah Season’s opening weekend electrifies Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Sun, 2019-03-17 03:41 ALKHOBAR: You could feel the electricity in the air, and not just from the lightning on Thursday night. Visitors at the first Sharqiah Season turned out in their thousands all along the East Coast, despite high winds and the odd sprinkling of rain, and were treated to everything from skateboarders and stilt walkers to music, motorbikes, fireworks and concerts on the first weekend of the 17-day festival. Sharqiah Season, featuring more than 80 events in Eastern Province cities, is the first of 11 festivals planned for the Kingdom in 2019, organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, with the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority.  It was impossible to miss the buzz in Alkhobar on the opening night, with searchlights in the sky marking the sites of two large areas set up on the Corniche: One for entertainment, the other for a cultural village.  “What’s happening in Sharqiah is humongous, to tell you the truth, and it’s only the first day,” said Labeed Assidmi, a vendor in the Crystal Market zone near the entrance. “Saudi is changing for the better, and everyone is so excited.” Assidmi said he had watched big events elsewhere in the Kingdom with anticipation. “I’m a huge fan of music, so when the concerts in Riyadh and Jeddah happened, like those at Formula E, I was  jealous. It feels so good to finally have Sharqiah recognized.” Sharqiah festivities drew crowds from far and wide on its opening weekend . (Arab News photo by Essam Al Ghalib/EP Media Center) While international music acts Pitbull, Akon and DJ Tiesto perform next weekend, big-name Arabic singers Mohammed Abdo and Rashed Al-Majed entertained the crowds this weekend.In Dammam’s Life Park, the Montreal troupe Cirque Eloize played to a packed house on opening night. Strong winds put off the fireworks planned the night of the opening, but the crowds were still treated to a light show on the Khobar Water Tower. Hind Mubarak, who had come to the Corniche with her family, said: “It is a little disappointing, especially for the kids, but the light show was fun to watch.” Those who came out to watch the fireworks in Al-Ahsa on Friday night were not disappointed. Ghuneim Abdelatee, 57, was there with his granddaughter. “She has never seen fireworks before,” he said. “In fact, there are many firsts that she is experiencing here now in Saudi. You can say the same for me, too. The music concerts, the cinemas, so much to see and do here now. “People used to go to Bahrain for entertainment. Now I think they will be going less.” Sharqiah festivities drew crowds from far and wide on its opening weekend . (Arab News photo by Essam Al Ghalib/EP Media Center) Also taking place at King Abdullah Adventure Park was the FISE “Battle of the Champions,” bringing together the top 12 skateboarders in the world, all vying for the number one position. “To practice on a ramp like this is a dream come true,” said Moaiyad Al-Salmi, 20. “We need a proper skate park built here, something that would bring the community of Saudi and non-Saudi skaters together. If we had events like this every weekend, and skate parks like this everywhere, we would find a Saudi competing for the World Series.” The Ithra Forum, organized in various cities throughout the month, will provide people with more intellectual pursuits. “Curiosity” was the opening topic at Dhahran’s King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, where speakers included Faisal Al-Saif, founder of TechPills, filmmaker Hakeem Jomah, and “Telfaz11” personalities Faris and Sohayb Godus. While not all the events went as planned — Friday’s Naseer Shamma concert in Al-Ahsa’s Ibrahim Palace was rescheduled at the last minute — one thing is certain. If you were wondering what to do at the weekend, the coming weeks will give you plenty of choice. ***** Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Editor’s ChoiceSharqiah SeasonEastern ProvinceGeneral Entertainment Authority Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroomPitbull, Akon and Deadmau5 to perform in Dammam for Sharqiah Season

Where We Are Going Today: Skin KSA

Author: AMEERA ABIDID: 1552682666356117600Fri, 2019-03-15 23:43 A Saudi company offering creative protection for mobiles and tablets has got it covered when it comes to the latest trend in personalizing phones. Thanks to Skin KSA, mobile phone use
Saudi Arabia

Where We Are Going Today: Skin KSA

Author: AMEERA ABIDID: 1552682666356117600Fri, 2019-03-15 23:43 A Saudi company offering creative protection for mobiles and tablets has got it covered when it comes to the latest trend in personalizing phones. Thanks to Skin KSA, mobile phone users will no longer need to use thick, heavy cases and screen protectors to prevent their devices from being damaged. Using specially designed materials, Skin KSA can apply customized skins to the back of phones with colors, illustrations, wording and writing styles chosen by the customer. The company, which has branches in Jeddah, Makkah and Riyadh, also offers “Utomic bumpies” which protect the edges of phones from damage when dropped or knocked. Skin KSA products, available to purchase online, can be applied to other gadgets such as laptops and AirPod cases. Main category: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia affirms economic role for women

Author: SPAID: 1552682129076059100Fri, 2019-03-15 23:34 NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia affirmed its belief that women are an important component of the power of society and are of paramount importance in the creation of a vibrant economy. Under Vision 203
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia affirms economic role for women

Author: SPAID: 1552682129076059100Fri, 2019-03-15 23:34 NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia affirmed its belief that women are an important component of the power of society and are of paramount importance in the creation of a vibrant economy. Under Vision 2030 the country will continue to invest in women’s energies and develop their talents by offering appropriate opportunities to build their future and contribute to society’s development. This came in a speech delivered by the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Hala Al-Tuwaijri, at a high-level meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN in New York. Al-Tuwaijri said that in the course of discussions that focused on social protection systems, access to public services, sustainable infrastructure and the empowerment of women, the Kingdom’s delegation would highlight its achievements in this field. Vision 2030 and its programs reflect the aspirations of the Kingdom’s leadership to ensure the welfare of future of generations by “upgrading the efficiency of institutions to achieve ... a vibrant society, a prosperous economy and an ambitious homeland.” She highlighted the Kingdom’s initiatives to strengthen the role of women, through 36 strategic goals, supporting women’s empowerment and ensuring their access to services through the building of supportive infrastructure. Al-Tuwaijri explained that the social protection system in the Kingdom includes a number of programs for the labor market, social insurance programs and social safety net programs. Saudi Arabia is keen to provide equal social protection for its citizens, and education and health services that are equally available to all. The Kingdom seeks to promote the economic status of women by working to eliminate barriers facing them in the labor market, and through its endorsement of UN conventions and protocols in supporting of women’s rights. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) HFEA workshops to focus on Saudi women in businessSaudi women dominate at motor racing event in Dirab

Hail governor praised for organizing chess contest

Author: SPAID: 1552689345036573700Sat, 2019-03-16 01:35 HAIL: The first Hail International Rapid Chess Championship, organized by the Saudi Chess Federation and the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, started Friday under the patronage of Hail G
Saudi Arabia

Hail governor praised for organizing chess contest

Author: SPAID: 1552689345036573700Sat, 2019-03-16 01:35 HAIL: The first Hail International Rapid Chess Championship, organized by the Saudi Chess Federation and the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, started Friday under the patronage of Hail Gov. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saad bin Abdul Aziz. More than 200 local and international chess players from 17 countries are participating in the four-day tournament. The governor of Hail said the event was the outcome of government efforts to engage all provinces. “The Kingdom is making great strides in organizing various international events with participation from around the world, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is continuously pushing the country forward to occupy a distinguished position in every international sphere. We aspire for the success of these opportunities and hope that they all contribute to Hail’s success.” The tournament will be played in nine rounds according to the Swiss System, whereby players are never eliminated but are instead paired in every round against someone with the same or similar number of points in the tournament. The winner is the player who earns the most points by the end of the tournament. Abdullah bin Marzouq Al-Adim, vice chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers and chairman of the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the idea for the championship was suggested by a Hail local. He added that more than 14 international champions, including some from Hail, were taking part. “The participation of local champions is in itself a gain for the province. The Hail International Rapid Chess Championship was adopted by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to occupy a place in the international calendar.” He thanked the governor for his support. The tournament is open to men and women, with a total cash prize of $40,000, according to information posted on the World Chess Federation website. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Chess Federation Saudi student awarded for first-aid inventionSaudi student awarded for first-aid invention

Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia's Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

Author: Hala Tashkandi, Essam Al-GhalibID: 1552689668606596100Sat, 2019-03-16 01:39 AL-AHSA: The second day of Sharqiah Season got off with a vroom as hundreds of motorcyclists descended on a Saudi city for a major bike show. Thousands of festival
Saudi Arabia

Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia's Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

Author: Hala Tashkandi, Essam Al-GhalibID: 1552689668606596100Sat, 2019-03-16 01:39 AL-AHSA: The second day of Sharqiah Season got off with a vroom as hundreds of motorcyclists descended on a Saudi city for a major bike show. Thousands of festival-goers on Friday flocked to music, arts and sports events taking place throughout the Kingdom’s Eastern Province. In Dammam, motorcycle fans from all over the region and beyond attended the Saudi Bike Show, which continues on Saturday in Life Park. Biking club members from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines joined families for a day of motorcycle-related events. Among the visitors enjoying stunt performances, displays and trade stands was Mohammed Al-Amari, a 32-year-old Saudi, and his seven-year-old son, Majid, who was wearing full motorcycle gear including a child’s helmet. Elsewhere, at the King Abdullah Adventure Park, in Al-Ahsa, large crowds gathered to watch “Battle of the Champions,” an event organized by the Festival International des Sports Extremes (FISE), which featured some of the world’s top skateboard, BMX, parkour and rollerblade athletes. Spectators watched bikers and boarders perform gravity-defying stunts on ramps and jumps, and local BMX bikers also showcased their skills as they hopped and spun their cycles on a separate stage next to the main event. A training space was also set up for younger visitors to try out a few tricks of their own, with children strapping on rollerblades in padded enclosure, under the eye of trained athletes. Many families at the festival event picnicked in the park, and children were entertained taking part in carnival-style sports games organized by the General Sports Authority. Mishaal Al-Qahtani, from Al-Ahsa, told Arab News: “I’m glad that the beauty of Al-Ahsa is being shared with the rest of Saudi Arabia at last. It’s about time the focus shifted from Riyadh and Jeddah. Saudi Arabia has so much more to share. Sharqiah deserves this time to shine.” Amani Al-Omran had traveled from Alkhobar to witness the FISE event. “We used to be chastised for wasting our time with bikes and skateboards. Now this huge event is happening right in our home town. It’s amazing.” In Jubail, more than 29 internationally renowned artists took part in the Tawiyyah Arts Exhibition as part of Sharqiah Season. The display, staged at Al-Fanateer’s cultural center in Jubail’s industrial city, featured 41 works of art created including paintings, sculptures, photo imaging, Arabic calligraphy and batik. Spectacular 3-D presentations told stories through moving images projected onto the SABIC building in the heart of the industrial city, and there were interactive water shows and visual displays for visitors to enjoy on Al-Fanateer beach. Not all the Sharqiah Season events went to plan, with fireworks on Alkhobar Corniche having to be postponed on Thursday night due high winds. But the cancelation failed to dampen the spirits of visitors. Meshari Daghistani said organizers were doing an “amazing” job. Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned in the Kingdom in 2019. In a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, the project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudi citizens and foreign tourists. The festival will feature more than 80 events across all the major cities in Eastern Province, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with varying entertainment options for each city. There will be festivals concentrating on parts of the year such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Sharqiah Season continues in the Eastern Province until March 30, with sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and Formula 1 H20 boat race, and concerts in Dammam featuring US singer Akon, Canadian DJ Deadmau5, US rapper Pitbull and US-Moroccan rapper French Montana. The Saudi Bike Show is on until Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and is open to all ages, while the FISE “Battle of the Champions” continues on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTravelTags: Sharqiah Seasonsaudi festivals Sharqiah Season kicks off in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern ProvinceKSA’s Sharqiah season cultural events begin on March 14

New helicopter service to satisfy growing demand for luxury tourism in Saudi Arabia

Author: Halah Al-ShathriID: 1552691694466688500Sat, 2019-03-16 02:12 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning tourism industry has taken off in a new direction with the launch of the Kingdom’s first national commercial helicopter operation. The Helic
Saudi Arabia

New helicopter service to satisfy growing demand for luxury tourism in Saudi Arabia

Author: Halah Al-ShathriID: 1552691694466688500Sat, 2019-03-16 02:12 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning tourism industry has taken off in a new direction with the launch of the Kingdom’s first national commercial helicopter operation. The Helicopter Co. will provide private air transportation services within the main cities of Saudi Arabia, along with tourist trips to top attractions throughout the Kingdom. Tourism officials in the country welcomed the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announcement of the launch and said the service would offer an exciting new visitor experience to leisure and business travelers. Backed by the PIF with an initial capital outlay of SR565 million ($151 million), the initiative aims to satisfy an emerging demand for luxury tourism and exploit an untapped market for urban flights, while supporting the development of the wider aviation sector. Omar Al-Rashood, founder of the Travel Expert Agency, said flight operations within cities would help visitors get around more quickly and avoid traffic bottlenecks. “Operating helicopters will enable tourists to experience Saudi Arabia from a whole new angle and in far fewer days than by using road transport,” he said. Al-Rashood said he had taken a helicopter tour during a business trip to Rwanda and found it a “great” way of seeing the country. The Helicopter Co. will be able to provide access to remote parts of the Kingdom, offering a high-end experience on a par with other global destinations. Major tourist sites such as Al-Ula and the Red Sea will now be in easy reach for those wanting to avoid lengthy journeys. Manahil Al-Mohimeed, CEO of family-run travel firm Al-Muayed Co., said the new service would offer another boost to the national tourism economy. “It has the great advantage of reducing travel times for visitors and will cater for a specific target market.” The launch of the new helicopter company is in line with the PIF’s strategy to generate sustainable returns, establish and develop new sectors in Saudi Arabia, and support the realization of the country’s Vision 2030 reform plan by acting as a catalyst for the tourism sector. The PIF has a wide-ranging investment portfolio in numerous sectors of the economy which stood at $300 billion in 2018. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTravelTags: Public Investment Fund (PIF)saudi tourism Major new Saudi tourism project to get underwaySaudi tourism body seeks hotel room boost

Saudi man killed in New Zealand mosque attack

Fri, 2019-03-15 10:55 RIYADH: A Saudi citizen has been killed in the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch. The family of Mohsin Al-Mozaini said that he died in the terrorist attack on Friday, Al Arabiya reported.  More on Ne
Saudi Arabia

Saudi man killed in New Zealand mosque attack

Fri, 2019-03-15 10:55 RIYADH: A Saudi citizen has been killed in the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch. The family of Mohsin Al-Mozaini said that he died in the terrorist attack on Friday, Al Arabiya reported.  More on New Zealand attacks: At least 49 killed as gunman livestreams New Zealand mosque ‘terrorist attacks’ Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s embassy in New Zealand said that two Saudi citizens had been injured in the attack.  The embassy said in a post on its Twitter account that “it expresses its regret and sorrow at the painful terrorist attacks that took place today in the city of Christchurch, and extends its condolences to the families of those who were killed.” It also wished a speedy recovery for the injured.   The embassy added that staff will visit the injured in hospital and offer to help them. The embassy is also in touch with New Zealand’s authorities regarding the latest developments in their condition.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaNew ZealandChristchurch At least 49 killed as gunman livestreams New Zealand mosque ‘terrorist attacks’World reacts at New Zealand terrorist attacks on mosque