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Saudi tourism body launches instant tourism licensing system

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:24 RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has launched a new series of electronic services for the online licensing of a number of tourism activities. The launch of the system, in tandem with
Saudi Arabia

Saudi tourism body launches instant tourism licensing system

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:24 RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has launched a new series of electronic services for the online licensing of a number of tourism activities. The launch of the system, in tandem with the General Administration of Licensing, is in order to ease the growth in the tourism sector and facilitate the fast-tracking of licensing. It will raise the quality of tourism in the Kingdom, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to implement the adoption of electronic advancements. Investors can visit the TLG.scth.gov.sa online portal dedicated to issuing licenses for the list of activities covered by the system, including accommodation booking and trip organization. This comes in the context of the SCTH’s efforts aiming to create an attractive environment for investment in the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia, and keep pace with the increasing demand for tourism in the Kingdom after the launch of the new tourist visa for visitors from all over the world. This is all in line with Riyadh’s goal to make tourism a sustainable economic sector, capable of competing internationally, that contributes to supporting the economy.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabiasaudi tourism As Saudi tourism becomes more accessible, tour guides share their pride in assisting pilgrimsOne million people needed in Saudi tourism workforce to achieve Vision 2030 goal, says Red Sea Development Co. CEO

Saudi Electricity Company denies price increase rumors

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:28 JEDDAH: The Saudi Electricity Company has denied an increase of tariff readings and prices after rumors circulated about a hike. The rumors claimed that electricity pricing was increasing from SR0.11/kWh ($0.029/kWh) to S
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Electricity Company denies price increase rumors

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:28 JEDDAH: The Saudi Electricity Company has denied an increase of tariff readings and prices after rumors circulated about a hike. The rumors claimed that electricity pricing was increasing from SR0.11/kWh ($0.029/kWh) to SR0.33/kWh. People flooded the company’s Twitter feed with questions about the accuracy of the rumors. “What is being reported about an increase in tariffs and service prices is not true,” the company said in a statement. “These rumors have no basis,” a Saudi Electricity Company representative told Arab News. “The Saudi Electricity Company only strives to deliver the best services to our customers. That includes making sure they get enough power and that it reaches them on time.” Such rumors were mostly started by anonymous accounts, he added. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Electricity Company Saudi Electricity Company celebrates new graduatesSaudi Electricity Company services resume after bad weather

Saudi intellectual property authority inaugurates 21 network centers

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:30 RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), today launched the first phase of the National Network of Intellectual Property Suppo
Saudi Arabia

Saudi intellectual property authority inaugurates 21 network centers

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:30 RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), today launched the first phase of the National Network of Intellectual Property Support Centers.  The launch officially established 21 centers in five regions of the Kingdom: Makkah, Madinah, the Eastern Province, Al-Qassim and the capital, Riyadh. Each intellectual property (IP) center is designed to better serve the Kingdom’s inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs with direct access to scientific and technological information from national databases. IP support centers can also provide related services needed to accelerate the growth of ideas, and to protect them when they have taken form. During the launch, six agreements of cooperation were signed. From the public sector, King Abdulaziz University, Taibah University, King Fahad Medical City and the Saudi Health Council joined the National Network.  From the private sector, Effat University and the I-be Company also joined, in the presence of the SAIP CEO Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad Al-Swailem and WIPO representative Mossadak Hussain. Public awareness about the importance of IP is on the rise, and the potential to transorm it into intellectual capital. The Kingdom’s best and brightest people can use the IP support centers to assist them in generating and utilizing their intellectual property rights, in accordance with global best practices.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabia Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property uncovers IPR violations during Inspection CampaignSaudi Arabia launches campaign to promote intellectual property rights

First phase of ’Riyadh Green Program’ launched

Mon, 2020-02-24 22:34 RIYADH: Riyadh city has launched afforestation projects under the “Riyadh Green Program” to improve the quality of life in the capital. It is one of the four major projects for the city announced by King Salman last year at the ini
Saudi Arabia

First phase of ’Riyadh Green Program’ launched

Mon, 2020-02-24 22:34 RIYADH: Riyadh city has launched afforestation projects under the “Riyadh Green Program” to improve the quality of life in the capital. It is one of the four major projects for the city announced by King Salman last year at the initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The first phase includes planting of about 31,000 trees along 144 km of main roads, including King Salman Road, King Khalid Road, King Fahd Road, Airport Road, Makkah Al-Mukarramah Road, North Ring Road, and Eastern Ring Road. Also, 100,000 shrubs will be planted, bringing the total green areas on these roads around 1.4 million sq. meters. The Riyadh Green Program includes the establishment of 48 major parks in the capital and 3,250 parks within residential neighborhoods.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: RIYADH GREEN Saudi Crown Prince orders road development project in Riyadh Three industry dedicated expos held in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah hosts Classic Car Festival 2020

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:37 The General Supervisor of the Organizing Committee for the Diriyah Festival for Classic Cars 2020, Dr. Nasser bin Abdullah al-Masaari, stressed on the importance of the Classic Car Festival held at the Diriyah Governorate f
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah hosts Classic Car Festival 2020

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 22:37 The General Supervisor of the Organizing Committee for the Diriyah Festival for Classic Cars 2020, Dr. Nasser bin Abdullah al-Masaari, stressed on the importance of the Classic Car Festival held at the Diriyah Governorate from February 27 to 29, under the direct support of Prince Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman, Governor of Diriyah, and the auspices of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), organized by the Diriyah Archaeological Foundation. This was announced at a press conference held by the organizing committee in the diplomatic district in Riyadh. The conference was attended by Thamer al-Sudairy, official spokesman of Ad-Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and the spokesperson for the Quality of Life Program, Mazroa al-Mazroo, the executive director of the Diriyah Classic Car Festival, Sattam Al-Khuzami, and a number of Saudi and Gulf media representatives. Dr. Masaari revealed that the Diriyah Car Festival, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, will witness the participation of about 500 classic and rare cars owned by individuals from Saudi Arabia, GCC countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy and other countries, all of whom came from their countries to participate in this festival and show off their passion. The event will be attended by the most prominent owners of classic and collection cars in the world. On the sidelines of the festival, an auction on classic and collection cars will be organized, in addition to entertainment activities for adults and children, including an exhibition of plastic art, souvenir bazaar, family and children competitions, and various entertainment activities.   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaDiriyahDiriyah Festival for Classic Cars Qassim governor: Classic cars festival distinguished, to be held annuallySaudi Arabia’s Qassim’s classic car festival wows visitors

Saudi aviation authority obliges airlines to pay indemnities to passengers

Mon, 2020-02-24 05:07 RIYADH: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has obligated airlines operating in Saudi Arabia to pay indemnities worth more than SR65 million ($14.95 million) to passengers for not abiding by the terms and conditions of air tr
Saudi Arabia

Saudi aviation authority obliges airlines to pay indemnities to passengers

Mon, 2020-02-24 05:07 RIYADH: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has obligated airlines operating in Saudi Arabia to pay indemnities worth more than SR65 million ($14.95 million) to passengers for not abiding by the terms and conditions of air transport contracts with their customers. This comes in line with regulations on protecting customers’ rights, and GACA’s strategy to enhance services provided to passengers and improve their experience in accordance with the highest international standards. Among the reasons for paying indemnities are loss, damage or delay of luggage, flight delays and flight cancellations. All air carriers operating in Saudi Arabia are subject to paying the indemnities. GACA urges passengers to review the regulations on protecting customers’ rights on its website www.gaca.gov.sa. Passengers wishing to file complaints against air carriers can also contact the 24-hour call center.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: GACAGeneral Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) Passengers report 75% satisfaction rate at Saudi airports: aviation authorityGACA launches initiatives to improve services

Dr. Jalal Alowais, supervisor general at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:35 Dr. Jalal Alowais has been the supervisor general of the General Directorate of Emergency and Disaster and Ambulance Services at the Ministry of Health since May 2017. He has been a trauma surgeon and an assistant professor at Al-Ima
Saudi Arabia

Dr. Jalal Alowais, supervisor general at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:35 Dr. Jalal Alowais has been the supervisor general of the General Directorate of Emergency and Disaster and Ambulance Services at the Ministry of Health since May 2017. He has been a trauma surgeon and an assistant professor at Al-Imam Mohammad bin Saud Islamic University since 2011, and vice president of the Saudi Trauma Society since May 2016. From January 2010 to October 2011 he was the senior registrar at Prince Sultan Military Hospital in Riyadh. He was also an assistant consultant at the National Guard Hospital from June 2008 until December 2009. Alowais received his bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery in 2002 from King Saud University in Riyadh. He completed a fellowship in trauma and acute care surgery in 2014 from McGill University and Montreal General Hospital. He received a master’s in health leadership from the same university in 2015. Recently, Alowais said that the ministry’s Health Crises and Disaster Management Center was working around the clock through a Saudi team of 50. “They are distributed according to a schedule in order to monitor incidents and reports and ensure readiness by assessing the extent to which health care facilities are ready to deal with crises and disasters through a daily report that includes the number of beds in each of the Kingdom’s hospitals, the number of available blood units, the available staff for that day and their specialization, the number of ambulances and the available stock of essential medical supplies,” he said. He said that these measures included all the Kingdom’s hospitals, including those affiliated with the ministry, the military, universities or the private sector. His Twitter handle is: @alowaisjalal.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Who's WhoSaudi Trauma Society Masoud Al-Qahtani, assistant professor at King Abdul Aziz University in JeddahDr. Badr Al-Shibani, founder and CEO of Kai Holding

Saudi Crown Prince orders road development project in Riyadh 

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 00:36 RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the development of main roads in the heart of Riyadh in order to upgrade the city’s transportation system.  The project aims to transform Riyadh to be a major
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince orders road development project in Riyadh 

Author: Mon, 2020-02-24 00:36 RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the development of main roads in the heart of Riyadh in order to upgrade the city’s transportation system.  The project aims to transform Riyadh to be a major hub in providing sustainable transportation services as well as logistics services in the Middle East, the Saudi Press Agency said. The program will work on developing junctions between Riyadh’s ring roads and main routes. It will develop 400 kilometers of road network, by adding new roads and upgrading existing junctions. Among the main projects will be: *Improving the First Ring Road with an additional length of 80 kilometers and continued work on the Second Ring Road.  *Developing the main junctions of the King Fahd Road to increase its capacity.  *Increasing the capacity of the Imam Saud bin Faisal Road from King Khalid Road until its junction with the second eastern ring road, with a length of 23 kilometers. *Improving the Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz I road and its extension to the south until its meeting point with the second southern ring road, with a length of 45 kilometers. *Developing the extension of the Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Road to the south from Makkah Al-Mukarramah Road to the Eastern Ring Road, and its extension south to the Dhahran Street to the Southern Ring Road with a length of 17 kilometers. *Developing the Othman Bin Affan Road from King Salman Road to Al-Urouba Road, and from Makkah Al-Mukarramah Road to the the Southern Ring Road with a length of 16 kilometers.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaroadsRiyadh Ministry appoints two new firms to run gas stations on Saudi regional roads

Saudi officials meet with visiting European Parliament delegation

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:38 The Kingdom’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh met the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula in Riyadh on Sunday. The delegation was headed by Hannah
Saudi Arabia

Saudi officials meet with visiting European Parliament delegation

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:38 The Kingdom’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh met the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula in Riyadh on Sunday. The delegation was headed by Hannah Neuman, and also comprised other members of the parliament who are currently visiting Saudi Arabia. The two sides discussed topics of mutual interest. The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, also met the delegation at the center’s headquarters in Riyadh. The meeting was attended by the Kingdom’s ambassador to the EU, Saad bin Mohammed Al-Arifi. The parties discussed matters related to relief and humanitarian affairs as well as the possibility of cooperation in these areas. Al-Rabeeah gave an overview of the humanitarian and relief efforts provided by the Kingdom in 47 countries around the world in cooperation with local, regional and international partners, saying that Yemen had the largest share of these projects. The delegation praised the ties between the Kingdom and the European Parliament, remarking on the center’s work in the relief and humanitarian arena.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: European ParliamentSheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh Saudi Crown Prince orders road development project in Riyadh Saudi and Egyptian firms sign $450 million hotel deal

Saudi officials meet with European delegation

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:53 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met with the head of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Arab Peninsula (DARP), led by Hannah Neuman, head of the department. They discusse
Saudi Arabia

Saudi officials meet with European delegation

Mon, 2020-02-24 00:53 RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met with the head of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Arab Peninsula (DARP), led by Hannah Neuman, head of the department. They discussed cooperation between the Kingdom and the European Union and regional and international developments of mutual concern. Meanwhile, Mufleh bin Rabiean Al-Qahtani, chairman of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), received a European parliamentary delegation on Sunday. During the meeting, the chairman briefed the European delegation on the activities of the society, its contribution to spreading legal culture, its operational mechanisms, the type of issues that it handles and the efforts the society offers in the field of human rights. The head of the European delegation appreciated the development that the Kingdom was witnessing, especially women’s rights and the measures taken to empower women. Issues related to prisoners in the Kingdom were also discussed. The NSHR chairman said that other countries’ interference in these issues was considered foreign interference in Saudi internal affairs, which may hinder amnesty for these prisoners. Al-Qahtani said that the NSHR is keen that prisoners receive a fair trial and full care, which is evident during NSHR’s visits to prisons. He added that the society continuously follows these cases. The delegation said that the EU was a strategic partner in cases related to human rights, and that it did not intend to interfere in Saudi internal affairs.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: NSHRsaudi human rights commission Saudi human rights chief: Electronic link project to help fight human traffickingSaudi human rights delegation joins UN Geneva training program

Saudi-Japanese training programs completed

Mon, 2020-02-24 03:23 JEDDAH: Saudi engineers have completed the fourth training program in a series of programs set up by the Kingdom and Japan as part of a long-term strategic partnership between the two countries. The program, Six Sigma, was attended by
Saudi Arabia

Saudi-Japanese training programs completed

Mon, 2020-02-24 03:23 JEDDAH: Saudi engineers have completed the fourth training program in a series of programs set up by the Kingdom and Japan as part of a long-term strategic partnership between the two countries. The program, Six Sigma, was attended by 27 engineers at the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (Modon) in Jeddah on Feb. 16-20. It was organized by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, together with organizations including Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance and the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East. The closing ceremony was attended by Japan’s consul general, Masayuki Miyamoto, and the deputy minister of industrial services at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, Mazen M. Johar. A total of 102 Saudi engineers attended the four training programs, where they acquired knowledge and skills to realize more productivity at their companies.   Modon has been developing integrated industrial areas since its inception in 2001. It oversees industrial cities under development, in addition to supervising private industrial parks and cities.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi business sigma A Saudi-Japanese couple embody Kingdom’s new spirit of opennessSaudi-Japanese Business Council opens door wide for trade

G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

Sun, 2020-02-23 17:44 RIYADH: The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ended in Saudi Arabia with a determination to tackle pressing global concerns such as geopolitical and trade confrontations, as well as the challenge of the coronav
Saudi Arabia

G20 ready to limit effects of coronavirus on global economy, Saudi finance minister

Sun, 2020-02-23 17:44 RIYADH: The meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ended in Saudi Arabia with a determination to tackle pressing global concerns such as geopolitical and trade confrontations, as well as the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak. The official communique — hammered out among the G20 policy-makers gathered in Riyadh over two days of discussions — said that global economic growth was expected to pick up “modestly” this year and next, on signs of improving financial conditions and some signs of easing trade tensions. “However, global economic growth remains slow, and downside risks to the outlook persist, inching those arising from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions, and policy uncertainty. We will enhance global risk monitoring, including the recent outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We stand ready to take further action to address those risks,” the communique said. On so-called “trade wars” between the US and China — which was not represented at the Riyadh meeting because of the outbreak — the communiqué said: “We will continue to take joint action to strengthen international co-operation and frameworks, and also reaffirm our commitments on exchange rates.” There was general agreement by the ministers on measures on infrastructure investment, technology development, and plans to boost domestic capital markets across the world, especially in emerging and developing countries. But a note of caution was also sounded in several areas.The G20 finance ministers said that “we are facing a global landscape that is being rapidly transformed by economic, social, environmental, technological and demographic changes.” Apart from that mention of the environment, there was little attention given to the contentious issue of climate change. Towards the end of the communique, the ministers and governors said: “The financial stability board (of the G20) is examining the financial stability implications of climate change.” The finance ministers’ gathering is the first formal event in preparation for the summit of world leaders that will take place in Saudi Arabia in November, with the three key aims of empowering people, safeguarding the planet and shaping new frontiers in technology and innovation. The international taxation system was an area of focus at the finance ministers meeting, with some countries threatening a controversial digital tax. The communique said that “we continue to support tax capacity building in developing countries,” and called on all countries to sign multilateral agreements on tax matters. “We remain committed to the full, timely and consistent implementation of the agreed financial reforms,” it added. Other big themes of the financial G20 meeting included inclusion of youth and women in the financial process. “We support the emphasis on digital financial inclusion of under-served groups, especially youth, women and small businesses,” the communique said. There was also strong support for the work of the global Financial Action Task Force in combating money laundering and terrorism finance. “We reiterate our strong commitment to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of these threats,” the G20 ministers said, also backing measures to tackle the financing of nuclear proliferation. “We ask the FATF to remain vigilant with respect to emerging financial technologies that may allow for new methods of illicit financing,” it added. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: G20 Saudi Arabia 2020G20Mohammed Al-JadaanSteven MnuchinAhmed Al-Kholifey G20 agrees final communique with reference to climate changeTaxation dominates G20 gathering in Riyadh

$110 billion Jafurah project to make Saudi Arabia a gas exporter

Sun, 2020-02-23 02:20 LONDON: A $110 billion project to develop a gas field in eastern Saudi Arabia will turn the global market on its head and make the Kingdom a gas exporter, industry analysts told Arab News on Saturday. The Jafurah field — which lies
Saudi Arabia

$110 billion Jafurah project to make Saudi Arabia a gas exporter

Sun, 2020-02-23 02:20 LONDON: A $110 billion project to develop a gas field in eastern Saudi Arabia will turn the global market on its head and make the Kingdom a gas exporter, industry analysts told Arab News on Saturday. The Jafurah field — which lies southeast of Ghawar, the world’s largest conventional oil field — holds an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of wet gas, and is capable of producing 130,000 barrels per day of ethane and 500,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates. Over 22 years, Jafurah could generate $8.6 billion a year in income and contribute $20 billion a year to the Kingdom’s GDP.  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered that the gas produced at the field should be prioritized for domestic industry, but analysts believe there will be a surplus available for export. The development of the Jafurah field will have ramifications not just for Saudi Arabia and its drive toward a cleaner energy mix, but also for the global gas market, with recent discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean rapidly reshaping economies from Cairo to Ankara and fueling fierce rivalries in the process. Opinion This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)  “The startup of Saudi Arabian exports could mark a major change to the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) balance in the second half of the decade given the size of the country’s conventional and unconventional gas resources,” James Waddell, senior global analyst at Energy Aspects in London, told Arab News. Gas is now likely to become both an export product and a source of domestic power generation — a necessary stepping stone toward a cleaner energy mix that will also include more solar and wind power. “Despite plans to meet Saudi Arabia’s growing power demand through gas and renewable energy generation, the country also has a high potential to have excess gas produced in the coming years that can be exported,” GlobalData power analyst Somayeh Davodi told Arab News. ALSO READ:  Who flares, wins: Saudi Arabia bets big on gas again “Saudi Aramco has already completed a number of gas processing projects and has been able to successfully meet its growing domestic gas demand during past decades. “The company is adding more than 2.5 billion cubic feet per day to its existing gas plants capacity in few years time, increasing the country’s gas processing capacity to 18.9 billion cubic feet per day by 2022.” This massive increase in the Kingdom’s capacity comes at a time of upheaval in the global gas market. New players such as Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon threaten the dominance of Russia, which has long been the main supplier to Europe, and Qatar, the world’s biggest supplier of LNG.     Main category: Business & EconomySaudi ArabiaTags: Vision 2030Jafurah field Who flares, wins: Saudi Arabia bets big on gas againSaudi Aramco announces regulatory approval of Al-Jafurah gas field

Saudi Arabia’s reform drive empowering women, US diplomat says

Sun, 2020-02-23 03:19 RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News. “I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s reform drive empowering women, US diplomat says

Sun, 2020-02-23 03:19 RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News. “I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy and proud of the reforms,” said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. “She made the excellent point that Saudi women have been strong, capable and educated for a long time.” The woman told Ortagus that Saudi women wanted their peers in the US to understand them, not feel pity for them. “Saudi women are not in need of being rescued,” Ortagus said, READ FULL INTERVIEW: Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokesperson Ortagus lived in Saudi Arabia for almost two years after she was appointed deputy US Treasury attache in 2010, and has been revisiting for the first time since then. “It doesn’t even seem like the same country,” she said. “I didn’t recognize it. I couldn’t believe that it was the same diplomatic quarter that I used to live in 10 years ago — it is totally transformed.” Opinion This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field) Washington would always welcome Saudi input on Middle East issues, she said. “We’d love the Kingdom’s help on things like the peace plan and vision that Jared Kushner has laid out. It may not be a perfect plan, but if we’re ever going to have peace in this region, it’s going to come from Saudi Arabia getting in and being involved.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi womenMorgan Ortagus Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokespersonUS ambassador John Abizaid attends 75th anniversary of Saudi-US ties celebration in Riyadh

Saudi cleric blasts Erdogan

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 00:39 JEDDAH: Prominent Saudi cleric Ayed Al-Qarni posted a video on social media in which he condemned Turkey’s regional policy and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I was deceived by him like other Muslims,” Al-Qarni
Saudi Arabia

Saudi cleric blasts Erdogan

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 00:39 JEDDAH: Prominent Saudi cleric Ayed Al-Qarni posted a video on social media in which he condemned Turkey’s regional policy and its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I was deceived by him like other Muslims,” Al-Qarni said in the six-minute video posted on Twitter, where his name was trending regionally. “The man showed his true colors through his shameful stances, including hostility toward the Kingdom.” Al-Qarni expressed regret for having praised Erdogan in a video posted in 2013, saying the president is now stirring up “sedition in the Muslim world.” The cleric added: “He sold Islamic issues with mere talk. He sold the Syrians and abandoned them. He meddled in every issue in the region. He participated in the killing of Libyans, Yemenis and Syrians.” Al-Qarni also criticized the closeness of Ankara’s relationships with Israel and Iran. He said current Turkish policy aims to “tear apart the Islamic world.” A preacher, scholar, author and poet, Al-Qarni has more than 19 million followers on Twitter and is popular among Muslims worldwide. His books have been translated into various languages. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: AYED AL-QARNI Who flares, wins: Saudi Arabia bets big on gas againJeddah Dome restoration project complete

Saudi cultural events inaugurated in Australia

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 00:47 CANBERRA: Saudi Ambassador to Australia Musaed bin Ibrahim Al-Saleem and Australian Minister for Multicultural Affairs Chris Steele inaugurated Saudi cultural events at the Australian Cultural Diversity Festival. The even
Saudi Arabia

Saudi cultural events inaugurated in Australia

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 00:47 CANBERRA: Saudi Ambassador to Australia Musaed bin Ibrahim Al-Saleem and Australian Minister for Multicultural Affairs Chris Steele inaugurated Saudi cultural events at the Australian Cultural Diversity Festival. The event saw the attendance of nearly 500,000 visitors, with more than 44 participating countries. Al-Saleem and Steele toured the Kingdom’s pavilion at the festival. The ambassador stressed the importance of participating in international cultural events to introduce and promote Saudi culture. This year’s edition included several exhibitions on heritage and culture, including folkloric and popular shows that inaugurated the festival, a traditional Saudi tent — in which Arabic coffee, dates and popular dishes were presented — and documentary films about the Kingdom in English. Introductory pamphlets on this year’s G20 Summit, which will be held in Riyadh, were also distributed along with tourism offers in Saudi Arabia. The rapid development in the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia is the first of its kind in the history of the Kingdom. The sector is witnessing a strategic transformation, as the Kingdom is developing tourism and transport infrastructures. The recently announced visa system was introduced in a bid to create 1 million jobs within the Kingdom, as well as targeting 100 million tourists by 2030 as part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: CanberraAustralia Excellent Saudi-Australian bilateral ties underscoredNew envoy to boost Saudi-Australian ties

Locust swarms under control in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahsa

Sun, 2020-02-23 00:55 AL-AHSA: Locust swarms in Al-Ahsa are under control after teams from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture tracked their arrival and exterminated them, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday. The insects arrived from
Saudi Arabia

Locust swarms under control in Saudi Arabia's Al-Ahsa

Sun, 2020-02-23 00:55 AL-AHSA: Locust swarms in Al-Ahsa are under control after teams from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture tracked their arrival and exterminated them, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday. The insects arrived from nearby countries, which have struggled to limit the spread of the vast swarms. The director general of the ministry’s office in Al-Ahsa, Ibrahim Al-Khalil, said the teams were ready to deal with the locusts and had secured all the equipment, pesticides and means to exterminate them in all their phases. He added that the farms in Al-Ahsa did not experience any significant damage. Locust swarms were monitored since they first entered Al-Ahsa, tracked until they settled and later exterminated. Control operations continue in the eastern city. Al-Khalil called on Al-Ahsa residents to notify authorities as soon as they saw locust swarms. The Kingdom has been plagued by locusts this year, with the insects arriving from nearby countries. Saudi authorities have doubled the daily aerial sprayings to combat the swarms. Red locusts can be ferocious and eat crops. Locusts tend to multiply during rains and erratic weather, especially in desert and high-humidity areas. There are seven countries that are infamous for having large swarms of locusts: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: locustsLocust Swarms of locusts attack crops across Saudi Arabia

$110 billion gas project to make Saudi Arabia a gas exporter

Sun, 2020-02-23 02:20 LONDON: A $110 billion project to develop a gas field in eastern Saudi Arabia will turn the global market on its head and make the Kingdom a gas exporter, industry analysts told Arab News on Saturday. The Jafurah field — which lies
Saudi Arabia

$110 billion gas project to make Saudi Arabia a gas exporter

Sun, 2020-02-23 02:20 LONDON: A $110 billion project to develop a gas field in eastern Saudi Arabia will turn the global market on its head and make the Kingdom a gas exporter, industry analysts told Arab News on Saturday. The Jafurah field — which lies southeast of Ghawar, the world’s largest conventional oil field — holds an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of wet gas, and is capable of producing 130,000 barrels per day of ethane and 500,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates. Over 22 years, Jafurah could generate $8.6 billion a year in income and contribute $20 billion a year to the Kingdom’s GDP.  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered that the gas produced at the field should be prioritized for domestic industry, but analysts believe there will be a surplus available for export. The development of the Jafurah field will have ramifications not just for Saudi Arabia and its drive toward a cleaner energy mix, but also for the global gas market, with recent discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean rapidly reshaping economies from Cairo to Ankara and fueling fierce rivalries in the process. Opinion This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)  “The startup of Saudi Arabian exports could mark a major change to the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) balance in the second half of the decade given the size of the country’s conventional and unconventional gas resources,” James Waddell, senior global analyst at Energy Aspects in London, told Arab News. Gas is now likely to become both an export product and a source of domestic power generation — a necessary stepping stone toward a cleaner energy mix that will also include more solar and wind power. “Despite plans to meet Saudi Arabia’s growing power demand through gas and renewable energy generation, the country also has a high potential to have excess gas produced in the coming years that can be exported,” GlobalData power analyst Somayeh Davodi told Arab News. ALSO READ:  Who flares, wins: Saudi Arabia bets big on gas again “Saudi Aramco has already completed a number of gas processing projects and has been able to successfully meet its growing domestic gas demand during past decades. “The company is adding more than 2.5 billion cubic feet per day to its existing gas plants capacity in few years time, increasing the country’s gas processing capacity to 18.9 billion cubic feet per day by 2022.” This massive increase in the Kingdom’s capacity comes at a time of upheaval in the global gas market. New players such as Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon threaten the dominance of Russia, which has long been the main supplier to Europe, and Qatar, the world’s biggest supplier of LNG.     Main category: Business & EconomySaudi ArabiaTags: Vision 2030Jafurah field Who flares, wins: Saudi Arabia bets big on gas againSaudi Aramco announces regulatory approval of Al-Jafurah gas field

Saudi women ‘are in no need of being rescued’

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 03:19 RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News. “I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman,
Saudi Arabia

Saudi women ‘are in no need of being rescued’

Author: Sun, 2020-02-23 03:19 RIYADH: Few people outside Saudi Arabia grasp the scale of the Kingdom’s reform drive, especially in empowering women, a leading US diplomat has told Arab News. “I was reminded of this … by a prominent Saudi woman, who is happy and proud of the reforms,” said US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. “She made the excellent point that Saudi women have been strong, capable and educated for a long time.” The woman told Ortagus that Saudi women wanted their peers in the US to understand them, not feel pity for them. “Saudi women are not in need of being rescued,” Ortagus said, Ortagus lived in Saudi Arabia for almost two years after she was appointed deputy US Treasury attache in 2010, and has been revisiting for the first time since then. “It doesn’t even seem like the same country,” she said. “I didn’t recognize it. I couldn’t believe that it was the same diplomatic quarter that I used to live in 10 years ago — it is totally transformed.” Washington would always welcome Saudi input on Middle East issues, she said. “We’d love the Kingdom’s help on things like the peace plan and vision that Jared Kushner has laid out. It may not be a perfect plan, but if we’re ever going to have peace in this region, it’s going to come from Saudi Arabia getting in and being involved.” READ FULL INTERVIEW: Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokesperson   Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi womenMorgan Ortagus Saudi-US bond will last another 75 years, says US State Department spokespersonUS ambassador John Abizaid attends 75th anniversary of Saudi-US ties celebration in Riyadh

Russia, Saudi-funded UN project to combat illicit arms’ trade launched

Author: Sat, 2020-02-22 21:43 NEW YORK: The UN on Friday launched a project funded by the Kingdom and Russia aimed at tackling terrorism, organized crime and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Central Asian region, the Saud
Saudi Arabia

Russia, Saudi-funded UN project to combat illicit arms’ trade launched

Author: Sat, 2020-02-22 21:43 NEW YORK: The UN on Friday launched a project funded by the Kingdom and Russia aimed at tackling terrorism, organized crime and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Central Asian region, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The project seeks to strengthen criminal justice responses to prevent and combat the illicit trade in SALW and to disrupt the illicit supply of these weapons to terrorist groups. The undersecretary-general of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Vladimir Voronkov, said that SALW had increasingly become the preferred weapon of many terrorist groups worldwide for their cheapness, accessibility, transfer, concealment and use. He said that the relationship between terrorism and organized crime, including the illicit trade in SALW, was a serious threat to international peace and security. It also represented an obstacle to sustainable development and a threat to the rule of law. “According to statistics, there were 100 million uncontrolled small arms and light weapons on the African continent alone, concentrated in crisis areas and environments facing security challenges," Voronkov said. Ghada Wali, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the relationship between terrorism and crime was a global challenge. “Any regional gaps in the face of these threats have far-reaching consequences for all. The new project looks forward to addressing a whole range of obstacles to progress, through which we seek to establish legal frameworks, strengthen law enforcement capacity and criminal justice, improve data and address gaps in cooperation.” A member of Saudi Arabia’s permanent mission to the UN, Abdul Majeed Al-Babtain, said the problem of the illicit trade in SALW and transferring them to terrorist groups was a global concern. He said that the complexity in dealing with the relationship between weapons, organized crime and terrorism was reflected in the multidimensional nature of the threat, pointing out that the Kingdom called for taking many measures in order to establish preventive mechanisms and a successful response. “While this project is focused on the Central Asian region, it can offer lessons to and be implemented in other parts of the world, and this could serve as a good model for future phases,” Al-Babtain said, expressing Saudi Arabia's pride in funding the project. The project supports the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, UN Security Council Resolution 2370, the Madrid Guidelines and the Firearms Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Crime, among other international legal instruments. It will be implemented in 2020-2021 by the UNOCT and the UNODC, through the Global Firearms Programme, in close cooperation with the executive directorate of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The project will contribute to the enhancement of national legislative, strategic and operational capacities of countries in Central Asia countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, whose permanent UN representatives attended the event. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: RussiaSaudi ArabiaUnited Nations Oil industry brings Russia, Saudi Arabia togetherSaudi, Russian officials sign MoU to confront crime, protect human rights

Saudi Border Guards rescue family from drowning

Sat, 2020-02-22 21:50 ALKHOBAR: Saudi Border Guards rescued a citizen and his two daughters from drowning in Alkhobar on Friday. Omar Al-Aklabi, media spokesman for Border Guards in the Eastern Province, said the Command and Control Center received a call
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Border Guards rescue family from drowning

Sat, 2020-02-22 21:50 ALKHOBAR: Saudi Border Guards rescued a citizen and his two daughters from drowning in Alkhobar on Friday. Omar Al-Aklabi, media spokesman for Border Guards in the Eastern Province, said the Command and Control Center received a call from a woman saying her husband and two daughters, aged 2 and 8, were out swimming and had not returned to the beach. Search and rescue teams, along with ambulances, were allocated to spot and save the man and his daughters. All three are now in good condition. Al-Aklabi stressed the importance of following safety measures listed on the beaches, which include swimming only in designated places. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Border GuardsAlkhobar Saudi border guards rescue British sailor off Jazan port Saudi border guards rescue sick Indian sailor

What We Are Buying Today: Min Maadan Alensan

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:33 Min Maadan Alensan is a product line developed by Shababuna, a Saudi company established by Lama Al-Ghalib in 2017, and led by a team of young, creative and socially aware members. The brand promotes high ethical standards, self-improv
Saudi Arabia

What We Are Buying Today: Min Maadan Alensan

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:33 Min Maadan Alensan is a product line developed by Shababuna, a Saudi company established by Lama Al-Ghalib in 2017, and led by a team of young, creative and socially aware members. The brand promotes high ethical standards, self-improvement and a life aligned with Islamic teachings. A wide range of products includes accessories, stationery, apparel and bags, each sharing a message that offers a reminder of Islamic values embedded in customers’ daily lives. Top-selling items include “Subhas” (prayer beads) made with semi-precious stones, gold-plated ring sets, names of Allah keychains and bracelets. Min Maadan Alensan also encourages gifting collections through designs and packaging that help the customer choose gifts for loved ones. The brand’s products can be found at its main store in Jeddah, Ana Ghair Mall, and at many Al-Musbah outlets across Saudi Arabia and exclusively online on Hnak.com. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: What We Are Buying Today What We Are Buying Today: Atelier CologneWhat We Are Buying Today: Makkah brand Duraibah

Saudi project clears 4,911 mines in one week

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:37 RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (Masam) in Yemen dismantled five anti-personnel mines, 161 anti-tank mines, six explosive devices and 4,739 unexploded ordnance — totaling 4,911 mines — during the second week of Febr
Saudi Arabia

Saudi project clears 4,911 mines in one week

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:37 RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (Masam) in Yemen dismantled five anti-personnel mines, 161 anti-tank mines, six explosive devices and 4,739 unexploded ordnance — totaling 4,911 mines — during the second week of February. A total of 134,259 mines have been extracted since the beginning of the project. An estimated 1.1 million mines have been planted by Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen over the past three years, claiming hundreds of civilian lives. Masam aims to dismantle mines in Yemen to protect civilians and ensure that urgent humanitarian supplies are delivered safely. The vast number of land mines continues to pose a threat to Yemeni people.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: YemenKing Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) Saudi Arabia calls on UN to take action on Houthi landminesHouthi fire, land mines killed 70 civilians in January

Al-Shanana Tower, located in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:49 Al-Shanana Tower is located 7 km away from Rass and is considered one of the most significant archaeological monuments in the province of Qassim. It is seen as a symbol of the heroic role that Rass residents played in the unity of Saud
Saudi Arabia

Al-Shanana Tower, located in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim region

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:49 Al-Shanana Tower is located 7 km away from Rass and is considered one of the most significant archaeological monuments in the province of Qassim. It is seen as a symbol of the heroic role that Rass residents played in the unity of Saudi Arabia by King Abdul Aziz at the historic Al-Shanana battle. The multi-story building, mainly built of mud, is 6 meters in diameter at its base and gradually tapers to 1.5 meters at its top. The total height of the tower, believed to have been built in 1699, is 30 meters. This photograph was taken by Dhafer Al-Shehri as part of the Colors of Saudi competition. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: ThePlaceAl-Shanana Tower ThePlace: Centuries-old Ibrahim Palace in Hofuf an Islamic architectural gemThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s historic Uqair seaport

Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 23:54 MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year through destruction and tree logging. Trees help stop desertification because they are a stabilizer of soil. In the Arabian Peninsula, land threatened by dese
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 23:54 MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year through destruction and tree logging. Trees help stop desertification because they are a stabilizer of soil. In the Arabian Peninsula, land threatened by desertification ranges from 70 to 90 percent. A national afforestation campaign was launched in Saudi Arabia last October, and there is a national plan set to run until this April. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that although natural vegetation across the country had suffered in the past four decades, modern technologies such as satellites and drones could be used to track down individuals or businesses harming the Kingdom’s vegetation. “Harsh penalties should be imposed on violators such as the seizure or confiscation of transport and hefty fines,” Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sugair, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, told Arab News. These were long-term solutions and they needed coordination with authorities to ensure warehouses and markets did not stock logs or firewood, he said. Another solution was sourcing an alternative product from overseas that was of high quality and at a reasonable price. A third was to provide support to firewood and coal suppliers. “The general public needs to be more aware of the importance of trees and should have a strong sense of responsibility toward these trees,” Al-Sugair added. “They should also stop buying firewood in the market. We can also encourage investment in wood production through agricultural holdings as well as implement huge afforestation projects and irrigate them from treated sewage water.” The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000. These fines could not be implemented as they should be because there were no available staff to monitor and catch violators and, to make matters worse said Al-Sugair, there was a weak level of coordination between authorities. Most of the Kingdom’s regions have suffered in some way from tree felling, and some places no longer have trees. These violations are rampant in the south and Madinah regions, as well as in Hail and Al-Nafud Desert. Riyadh is the most active and the largest market for firewood. Many people in Al-Qassim use firewood as do restaurants in some parts of Saudi Arabia. Omar Al-Nefaee, a microbiology professor at the Ministry of Education in Taif, said the reason behind the widescale destruction of the environment could be attributed to a supply shortage of imported firewood. “Tree logging causes an environmental disequilibrium,” he told Arab News. “The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water has launched an initiative raising public awareness on the issue and is asking people not to use local firewood. Several awareness campaigns have been launched for the same purpose to educate people about the importance of using imported wood instead of the local wood in order to protect the Kingdom’s vegetation.” Official reports warn that the Kingdom has lost 80 percent of its vegetation and that the drop will have a detrimental effect on its biodiversity, as well as causing great damage to the environment. The general public should use other heating options during the winter and stop using firewood, Al-Nefaee said. Some local studies have called for farms that can produce wood from plants that do not consume too much water and do not affect vegetation, while at the same time reducing the pressure on other regions in the Kingdom that are rich in animal resources. Falih Aljuhani, who runs a business that imports wood from Georgia, encouraged Saudi firms to import wood from the Balkans because it was a competitive market and the trees had low carbon percentages. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Trees 50,000 trees planted as Saudi Arabia launches forest campaign3,000 trees planted at Al-Ahsa Safari Festival

Young Saudi’s opera singing journey leads him to Italy

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:58 JEDDAH: Mohammed Al-Zahrani has faced down many challenges while pursuing his dream to be an opera singer and represent Saudi Arabia on the world stage, and his journey has led him to Italy, where he is living in Rome and learning the l
Saudi Arabia

Young Saudi’s opera singing journey leads him to Italy

Fri, 2020-02-21 23:58 JEDDAH: Mohammed Al-Zahrani has faced down many challenges while pursuing his dream to be an opera singer and represent Saudi Arabia on the world stage, and his journey has led him to Italy, where he is living in Rome and learning the language. “I have encountered many social and traditional barriers but I luckily managed to overcome those obstacles,” the 23-year-old performing artist told Arab News. “The objection of my family, relatives and friends was a result of their unawareness about other cultures. They are very strict and conservative people who adhere to customs and traditions.” But their stance has softened since he landed in Europe. “At such a young age, I am living far away from my own country and family just to represent my country the best way I can.” His adventure started in school, where a classmate heard him sing and encouraged him to refine his talent. It was then that he believed he could be an international opera singer. “That was a dream and I am now working on that dream.” The Italians were friendly and welcoming, he said, and his cultural and religious background has never proved to be an issue. They were polite and nice, regarding him as an ambitious and talented person who shared their love of art. “I want to help spread this beautiful art in Saudi Arabia and change our people’s perception about all kinds of Western arts. Also, I would like to open an opera house in my country and lend a hand to those willing to learn classical arts.” Al-Zahrani has joined the Coro Polifonico Musica Creator choir. He said that the story began when he was waiting for a train in Rome and saw a man playing piano at the station. I have encountered many social and traditional barriers but I luckily managed to overcome those obstacles. Mohammed Al-Zahrani, Performer “I noticed that the music he was playing was familiar. I approached him and began to sing. I was just trying to pass time until the train arrived. It turned out that one of the passengers was a member of the choir. She asked for my phone number and arranged a meeting with the director of the choir.” The director listened to Al-Zahrani sing a few days later and expressed her interest in his voice. “She immediately chose me as a solo singer in the choir and insisted I take part in an upcoming concert. I remember I was playing an assisting role to the famous singer Francesco Sartori.” Al-Zahrani is a fan of famous opera singers and wants to become as great as they are one day, listing Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli as his favorites. But some Saudis have disagreed with Al-Zahrani’s decision to drop out of college — he spent one year at King Abdul Aziz University — saying he has put his future at risk. “Wherever you go, there are always people with you and those who are against you. Personally, I will do what I am convinced with no matter what their opinions are,” he said. Al-Zahrani performed at Riyadh Season and has been invited to perform in other Saudi festivals, including the coming Jeddah Season. “No matter what support I receive or individual successes I make, I will always be in need of my country’s encouragement and support.” Saudi Arabia’s first opera house is set to open in Jeddah, the General Entertainment Authority announced last February. It is scheduled for completion in 2022. Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & CultureTags: Pavarottiopera Spotify unveils Saudi Arabia’s favorite songs of 201915-year-old Saudi female pianist reflects on her musical journey

Saudi Arabia’s Ithra reveals 2020 events calendar

Fri, 2020-02-21 18:58 DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Thursday launched its plan for 2020, highlighting new programs as well as old favorites getting an encore. Ithra was inaugurated by King Salman on Dec. 1, 2017, and was
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Ithra reveals 2020 events calendar

Fri, 2020-02-21 18:58 DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Thursday launched its plan for 2020, highlighting new programs as well as old favorites getting an encore. Ithra was inaugurated by King Salman on Dec. 1, 2017, and was developed by Saudi Aramco. The striking building was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, which also designed the award-winning Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Oslo Opera House. Its mission is to make an impact on human development by inspiring a passion for knowledge, creativity, and cross-cultural engagement. “The start of this decade is particularly exciting for Ithra as we gear up to deliver a great slate of new programs and events in 2020 for our audiences,” said Ithra director Hussain Hanbazazah. “We are pleased to bring back favorites like our annual Tanween festival, in addition to new enriching programming as well as our other popular seasonal events.”  He said the team was ready to face the year with optimism, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. They were working to deliver the best possible offerings, including cutting-edge theater, insightful exhibitions, culturally significant events and plenty of creative activities, he added. “Impact has consistently been at the forefront of everything we deliver at Ithra, as we continue on our dedication to broaden horizons, share knowledge and nurture potential.” The launch of a new Twitter account, @VisitIthra, was also announced at the launch. It will document everything related to the center’s ongoing and upcoming activities. Ithra also shared visitor numbers from the previous year. More than a million people visited the center in 2019 from more than 100 cities around the world, and 3,000 people contributed 250,000 hours of volunteer work. The center provided two million hours of teaching and education. This year there will be over 40 plays from 13 different countries staged at Ithra. The center also aims to support local cinema with 23 films next year. As Saudi Arabia diversifies its economy under the Vision 2030 reform plan, Ithra has reinforced its offerings with five key pillars: Creativity, culture, knowledge, art and community.  Last month saw the inauguration of the Ithra Content Commissioning Program, an opportunity for local creatives, freelancers and small businesses to develop new content, as well as the first Ithra Cultural Days festival that celebrated Vietnamese culture. Vietnam Cultural Days was a huge success, with over 45,000 visitors enjoying the festivities and experiencing authentic food, art, activities and performances. From March onward, the schedule features programs, events, and activities that combine entertainment and education. The Saudi Film Festival will also celebrate its sixth edition in partnership with Ithra. The year will culminate with Ithra’s flagship creativity season Tanween, which is in its third edition. It will have a new theme, workshops and international guests. Last year Tanween featured 232 cultural, artistic and scientific events that ranged from art exhibitions, theatrical performances, workshops and seminars about the concept of playing as a tool that brings together education and recreation. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)Saudi AramcoVision 2030 Highlights from Ithra’s ‘Mara’ina’ exhibitionSaudi Arabia’s Ithra launches 'Being Saudi' exhibition

MoU signed to facilitate investment in Saudi Arabia

Fri, 2020-02-21 04:57 RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to step up cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday. Under t
Saudi Arabia

MoU signed to facilitate investment in Saudi Arabia

Fri, 2020-02-21 04:57 RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to step up cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday. Under the MoU, the two authorities will establish a joint working group to boost cooperation in several areas including facilitation provided to investors, conducting economic studies of the market, building partnerships with commercial and industrial bodies and local companies, launching businesses, promoting the ease of doing business, providing logistic support, participating in local and international exhibitions, forums and special visits and exchanging knowledge and information. All this will predominantly be in aid of attracting local and foreign investors.  “SAGIA believes in the importance of such cooperation that can unify and multiply the efforts in a way that sets the world’s attention on the Kingdom’s cultural and heritage treasures and investment opportunities,” said SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar. “This is done through close cooperation with DGDA to highlight these opportunities and market them internationally and locally. This MoU is a step in the right direction to achieve the objectives and directives of both bodies.” Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the DGDA, said: “Cooperating with SAGIA is one of the most important international investment motors to attract local and international investments to the Kingdom. This comes at a time where developing the Kingdom’s investment infrastructure is found within the objectives of its Vision 2030. “At DGDA, we aim at attracting the best technologies and regional and international investments to the Kingdom. This will contribute to the improvement of the local economy and promote our objectives seeking to turn Diriyah into the Kingdom’s gem and an international economic tourist destination,” he added.     Main category: Saudi ArabiaBusiness & EconomyTags: Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) SAGIA chief to lead delegation to WEF meeting in Davos as number of overseas firms starting business in Saudi Arabia breaks recordSAGIA announces new JV in renewable energy sector

Emperor Naruhito’s birthday celebrated in Saudi Arabia

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 10:18 A celebration marking the 60th birthday of the Emperor of Japan Naruhito was held in Riyadh Thursday by the Japanese Embassy in Saudi Arabia with a large attendance by government officials and diplomats including Vice Gover
Saudi Arabia

Emperor Naruhito’s birthday celebrated in Saudi Arabia

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 10:18 A celebration marking the 60th birthday of the Emperor of Japan Naruhito was held in Riyadh Thursday by the Japanese Embassy in Saudi Arabia with a large attendance by government officials and diplomats including Vice Governor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz.  The Ambassador of Japan to Saudi Arabia Uemura Tsukasa welcomed guests by delivering the opening speech in perfect Arabic lauding “the bilateral ties between Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are absolutely privileged” especially with the recent visit by Japanese PM Abe which “gave fresh momentum to this promising relationship” and that “Japan will continue to spare no effort in making Saudi G20 successful.” The ceremony was opened by the Vice Governor of Riyadh Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz and Ambassador Uemura cutting a cake with both countries emblems followed by a performance of traditional Japanese dance.  Emphasizing culture and history, Ambassador Uemura spoke about the many unique characteristics which Japan possesses including resilience “to rise from the ashes and achieve development, philosophy to integrate modern technology with long standing traditions and ways to bring about reconciliation among various factions and embrace every part of the society” while recognizing “Saudi history of modernization and nation building also has a lot of unique wisdoms” with hopes to “learn more about each other’s experience and wisdoms so as to create new ideas of model for development together” with Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 being a hallmark of this with his continuous encouragement of Japanese people to come experience SaudI Arabia firsthand.  With regards to the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics to be held in Tokyo this summer, Ambassador Uemura suggested to all present to visit, explore and discover Japan, as it is a “good excuse to book a flight to Japan”  And concluded in hoping that everyone enjoyed “the evening with the atmosphere of beautiful Harmony” while savoring Japanese cuisine such as Tempura, Yakisoba and sushi and Maki prepared live by the Ambassadors personal chef and a Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador Chef Sato from Yokari restaurant.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: JapanEmperor Naruhito China reports drop in new coronavirus cases, two Japan cruise ship passengers dieJapan joins Malaysia in Olympics race to train 1,000 halal chefs for 2020 summer Games

French engineer returns ancient coins to AlUla

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 01:28 RIYADH/PARIS: When French geological engineer Jean-Claude Lefevre visited AlUla in 1966, a young child gave him five old bronze coins, which he took back to France with him. Last Friday, Lefevre donated those coins to the
Saudi Arabia

French engineer returns ancient coins to AlUla

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 01:28 RIYADH/PARIS: When French geological engineer Jean-Claude Lefevre visited AlUla in 1966, a young child gave him five old bronze coins, which he took back to France with him. Last Friday, Lefevre donated those coins to the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU). Lefevre said he was inspired to return the items after visiting the “AlUla — Wonder of Arabia” exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris. Lefevre was working with the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources when he visited AlUla more than 60 years ago. At the time, there were no laws protecting heritage sites in Saudi Arabia, so there is no suggestion that the French engineer did anything illegal. Today, however, the removal of artifacts from such sites is forbidden. Lefevre contacted the RCU and met Abdulrahman Alsuhaibaini, the commission’s acting museum and exhibitions director, at the IMA on Feb. 14, when he handed over the coins. They will now be studied by RCU archaeologists to determine their origin and hopefully reveal new details of the ancient commercial crossroads at Hegra. “We are very grateful to M. Lefevre for his contribution to the protection and preservation of our heritage,” Alshuhaibaini said. “It’s wonderful to know that the IMA exhibition — where we launched our cultural manifesto last October — has inspired such positive behavior and a growing recognition of the Royal Commission’s commitment to preserving and protecting heritage. The coins will now be cleaned and conserved before they can be read and studied.” Hegra became Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Archaeological excavations at Hegra have discovered evidence of daily Nabataean life and rituals since regular excavations by a Saudi-French mission began in 2008. The excavations have also demonstrated that the Romans built an outpost at Hegra — the most southerly Roman settlement yet discovered. “Most of the finds are pieces of pottery and sandstone sculptures. Even the smallest find can yield valuable information that sheds new light on ancient life,” said Alsuhaibaini. “Since these coins have been removed from their original context at Hegra, their scientific value (has been diminished), but once cleaned up they may yield important information about the Nabateans or the Romans.” Saad Al-Matrafi, a spokesperson for the RCU, denied recent rumors about the discovery of gold in AlUla. “The video that has been circulating on social media is an old video that misrepresents the finding of small fragmented Lihyanite pottery statues in Um Al-Daraj, AlUla,” he said. “There is no gold in AlUla.” The “AlUla — Wonders of Arabia” exhibition at the IMA runs until March 7. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: AlUlaLifestyleRoyal Commission for AlUlaJean-Claude LefevreInstitut du Monde Arabe (IMA)AlUla — Wonders of Arabia The French agency helping Saudi Arabia realize AlUla’s potential Saudi Arabia's AlUla to be developed into world’s largest living museum

TheFace: Fatmah Al-Rashed, Saudi architect

Fri, 2020-02-21 01:55 Early on in life I learned that there is no one way to happiness, no one stereotype for accomplishment or self-satisfaction. This belief has been a drive for me to achieve more. I was born and raised in Alkhobar city; my father was a bu
Saudi Arabia

TheFace: Fatmah Al-Rashed, Saudi architect

Fri, 2020-02-21 01:55 Early on in life I learned that there is no one way to happiness, no one stereotype for accomplishment or self-satisfaction. This belief has been a drive for me to achieve more. I was born and raised in Alkhobar city; my father was a businessman and my mother was a housewife. My life is rich with love provided by my family, my siblings, nieces and nephews and I’m enjoying motherhood and my family through nonconventional means. My parents raised us as equals, they supported us, thought very highly of us and believed that we could excel in anything that we did. Our opinions were highly respected, but there were high expectations to be upheld. My father once told me after finishing a novel on Marie Curie, “you know you’re no less than she is, you can be the Marie Curie in your own field. You have all it takes.” I enrolled in the Imam Abdulrahman Al-Faisal University as I’ve always wanted to become a pediatrician. My parents raised my siblings and I with one motto in mind: “It’s not about you, it’s about how you can give back to your community.” My mother was not in favor of my chosen vocation. This is not to say that she went against me; in fact, I was given the freedom to decide my life path and my parents were supportive. In those days, you had to apply to the university by physically providing all the necessary paperwork. As I stood in line to apply for medical school, I saw another queue. Inquisitive by nature, I went to ask what it was for. The administrators told me it was for the department of architecture and planning. Upon hearing that the course was just 5 years, I remembered my mother’s words, and within a minute, I decided to enroll in the department. Two steps is all it took, stepping into the queue to the right and that decision changed my life’s path and helped make me who I am today. After graduating, I was hunting for jobs with no luck. As I am not the type to lay back and do nothing, I volunteered to teach English at a local charity. One day, my father surprised me and said I had a job interview in Aramco. I was shocked since I never applied and because it’s my father, he simply said that I applied for you because it’s time for you to give back. He told me: “The country invested in you, you are smart and you can take whatever job they give you. Who’s going to build the country but you and your generation?” Doors were opened. I worked in my field for a while and that led me to the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra. Twenty-five years later, I’m a still proud employee at Saudi Aramco and one of the first to bring the concept of Ithra to life. My role in Ithra began as an architect and was extended to be part of the creative team responsible for managing the creative program, its concept, and established the first Fablab at the King Fahad University for Petroleum and Minerals — the first in the Eastern Province. Building the concept of Ithra, or as I prefer to call it “the land of dreams,” was a group effort. I joined with a dream and it was fate that we, the dreamers, were able to gather and meet at the right time and place, and most importantly we were given the opportunity to build something amazing. This was a selfless act from our end because we wanted to see it come alive, to ensure that we played our part in giving back to a community that helped us grow to who we are today. Ithra was a wonderful opportunity and a joyful experience that added so much value to my life. What comes next is going to also be part of my journey of growth, to explore our identity. My life has been a whirlwind of opportunities. One lesson I learned was to never underestimate an opportunity no matter how small it was. You never know what you’ll get out of it. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: ITHRAImam Abdulrahman Al-Faisal UniversityTheFace#TheFace TheFace: Dalal Al-Afaliq, Saudi designer and entrepreneurTheFace: Latifa Al-Ajaji, Saudi pathologist

Gem of history, Diriyah is ‘gateway’ to future of Saudi Arabia

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 02:35 One of Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects and most beloved sites is the home of the founding fathers, Diriyah.  In one year, it has played host to Russian President Vladimir Putin, numerous delegates and was the prime locati
Saudi Arabia

Gem of history, Diriyah is ‘gateway’ to future of Saudi Arabia

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 02:35 One of Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects and most beloved sites is the home of the founding fathers, Diriyah.  In one year, it has played host to Russian President Vladimir Putin, numerous delegates and was the prime location for Formula E, but behind all the glitz and glamour, a team of Saudis are working hard to make it a major tourist destination. Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), is going local with its employees — 278 out of 355 are Saudi, with 45 from Diriyah. The employees feel a sense of pride, nurturing their county and showcasing its history. Established in July 2017, the DGDA aims to preserve the culture of Diriyah, celebrate its community, and make it a landmark that celebrates Saudi Arabia.    FASTFACTS Diriyah Gate Development Authority was established in July 2017 to preserve Diriyah’s culture, celebrate its community and make Diriyah known globally as a landmark that celebrates Saudi culture and history. Diriyah highlights the architectural, diplomatic and artistic legacy of Saudi Arabia. Diriyah is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif, a mud-brick city that stands as the birthplace of the first Saudi state. Considered one of the Kingdom’s most important historical sites and the capital of the first Saudi state, Diriyah is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif, a mud-brick city that stands as the birthplace of the first Saudi state.  “Diriyah has a special place in my heart because it’s the home of my forefathers. It’s an honor for me to add to their legacy and to improve upon this cartel of history that is so full of meaning,” said Princess Al-Johara Al-Saud, the DGDA’s branded content and collaboration officer, to Arab News. “I am privileged to be part of a team that’s sole focus is to give Diriyah its proper place as the jewel of the Kingdom.”  Merging past, present, and future, “Diriyah is the gateway of the future of Saudi Arabia,” said Danielle Atkins, chief of marketing and communications officer at the DGDA. She said that the team were all young and Saudi, and “if you want to see vision 2030 in 2020 just come to my office. The DGDA really does embody Vision 2030 in 2020.” Al-Johara was one of Atkins’ first hires. “I feel empowered and supported, working alongside so many prominent women in the marketing team,” she said. “We all feel so proud to be contributing to the preservation and promotion of Diriyah, under the umbrella of Vision 2030 and the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His mission to enable women in Saudi Arabia has driven us to push forward and to play an instrumental role in making the vision a reality in 2020.” Behind the Scenes: the ladies taking a commemorative photo in Diriyah. (AN photo)  The marketing team at DGDA, headed by Atkins, is composed of 31 employees, 18 of whom are women. Atkins’ goal is to empower Saudi women and to have them as confident leaders taking the reins.  One of the DGDA’s initiatives is its graduate program. Launched in November 2019, 19 people enrolled, 79 percent of whom were females. The students are expected to complete the program by November 2020, with the possibility of joining the DGDA as full-time team members.  Haifa Al-Ruwaished is currently in the graduate program, and being from Diriyah, she says it was an honor to be able to work alongside passionate and enthusiastic members serving both her county and country.  Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the DGDA, said: “This is such an inspiring time for Saudi youth, especially women, and we are proud to play our part. We are passionate about giving back to the communities of Diriyah and knew that we needed to start with the talent of tomorrow. The graduates from Diriyah that have become part of the DGDA are already stars and I’m confident they will take important roles in shaping the future of the Kingdom. We are especially proud that a majority of the graduates who have joined are women.”   “As a local from Diriyah, I am honored to join the entity that is tasked with benchmarking my county as the premier culture and lifestyle hub in the heart of Saudi Arabia,” said Munirah Binhalwan, executive assistant to the chief of marketing and communications officer. “Being part of the team that is making history and breaking ground fills my heart with joy, as I am finally honoring my community.”   The positive work atmosphere and teamwork amongst the members of the DGDA is setting an example and providing a platform for growth to many of the members.  “It’s an honor to be a part of the change that’s developing Diriyah as a county. To work hand in hand with everyone. We are learning and experiencing new things that are furthering our knowledge and expertise,” Maram Al-Nemer, media production senior officer at the DGDA, told Arab News.   With a goal set to help change the Kingdom’s perception in the world, a quite ambitious goal, Atkins believes her role is to act as a catalyst to “show what a unique and special place this is and also to see the young women in my team become confident leaders. That’s what success looks like for me.”  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: DiriyahDiriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA)UNESCO World HeritageVision 2030 Diriyah Gate Development Authority appoints chief marketing, communications officerDiplomats visit Diriyah’s Turaif quarter

Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

Fri, 2020-02-21 03:38 RIYADH: Saudi air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles launched by the Iran-backed Houthi «terrorists»  towards civilian areas in the Kingdom, the Coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government said on Friday.
Saudi Arabia

Saudi air defense forces intercept Houthi ballistic missiles 

Fri, 2020-02-21 03:38 RIYADH: Saudi air defense forces shot down ballistic missiles launched by the Iran-backed Houthi «terrorists»  towards civilian areas in the Kingdom, the Coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government said on Friday. The missiles were intercepted at 12:30 a.m. after they were launched toward cities in Saudi Arabia, Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Malki said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).  «The missiles were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of the International Humanitarian Law,» the statement said. It did not mentioned which cities were targeted.  Yemen's capital, Sanaa «has become a Houthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the Kingdom. The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has exercised extreme prudence and self-restraint in dealing with the violations of the Houthi militia through launching ballistic missiles, UAVs and Remote Controlled exploding boats. »The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition will continue to apply and implement all decisive and rigorous measures, in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law, to protect Coalition States’ nationals and expatriates from such barbaric attacks,” the statement said.     Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Houthi militiaIran proxies Dhow raids reveal Iran’s supply line of sophisticated missiles to Yemen’s HouthisEight civilians dead, others missing in Houthi missile attack in Yemen’s Marib

New Jeddah airport soaring above the competition

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 04:27 JEDDAH: The director general of the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific Board, Stefano Baronci, said the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah is expected be a leader in the region.  He said t
Saudi Arabia

New Jeddah airport soaring above the competition

Author: Fri, 2020-02-21 04:27 JEDDAH: The director general of the Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific Board, Stefano Baronci, said the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah is expected be a leader in the region.  He said that the airport is distinguished by its design and setup, and coincides with the big development of the Kingdom’s airports.  His statements followed a visit by Baronci and a delegation from the ACI Asia-Pacific Board to the GACA headquarters in Riyadh.  The delegation listened to brief on the airport’s capacity and services for passengers, its modern technology, and the most notable investment opportunities. SPA Riyadh His statements followed a visit by Baronci and a delegation from the ACI Asia-Pacific Board to the GACA headquarters in Riyadh. They were received by Sulaiman Al-Bassam, GACA’s assistant chief operating officer. The delegation listened to brief on the airport’s capacity and services for passengers, its modern technology, and the most notable investment opportunities. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: King Abdul Aziz International AirportAirports Council InternationalGeneral Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA)Jeddah Gem of history, Diriyah is ‘gateway’ to future of Saudi Arabia‘Lost’ Saudi boy reunited with family two decades after hospital kidnap

King Salman receives US state secretary Pompeo

Thu, 2020-02-20 14:22 RIYADH: King Salman received US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. Both sides discussed relations between the two countries, and regional and international issues. Main category: Saudi Arab
Saudi Arabia

King Salman receives US state secretary Pompeo

Thu, 2020-02-20 14:22 RIYADH: King Salman received US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, state news agency SPA reported on Thursday. Both sides discussed relations between the two countries, and regional and international issues. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: us-saudi relations Saudi Arabia’s King Salman discusses Red Sea, Gulf of Aden security with Eritrean presidentPompeo in Saudi Arabia for talks on Iran