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The fight to end child marriage

Sun, 2019-01-20 23:53 RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council voted on Jan. 11 to ban child marriage in the Kingdom, it joined a global movement seeking to end a practice that is harmful not just to girls’ health — child brides are more likely to ex
Saudi Arabia

The fight to end child marriage

Sun, 2019-01-20 23:53 RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council voted on Jan. 11 to ban child marriage in the Kingdom, it joined a global movement seeking to end a practice that is harmful not just to girls’ health — child brides are more likely to experience domestic violence and die in childbirth — but also to their future, as they are less likely to remain in school. According to UNICEF, the term “child marriage” is used to refer to both formal marriages and informal unions in which a girl or boy lives with a partner before the age of 18. An informal union is one in which a couple live together for some time, intending to have a lasting relationship, but do not have a formal civil or religious ceremony. The Shoura Council banned child marriages for both genders with the approval of two-thirds of its members. The law was eight years in the making, and was put before the council at least five times in last year’s council sessions. The members voted to approve regulations limiting marriages of those under 18 years of age and banning marriages involving children under 15 years of age. The law was effective immediately. Shoura Council member Dr. Hoda Al-Helaissi said the law is an important step in protecting children’s rights.  “The idea was to protect girls more than anything, but also young boys,” he said. “You cannot expect a girl of 10 or 12 to understand what marital relations are, or for her body to correctly carry a baby. There are a lot of health issues involved.” Al-Helaissi explained the reason behind the delay in approving the law. “The usual argument was that it took place in the days of the Prophet (Muhammad). But times have changed since the olden days, and we are not just talking about Islam. It was used as a bartering tool for (those in) poverty, where the fathers received dowries.  “Things are completely different now,” he said. “The law gives them the possibility of an education and future.”  Times are certainly changing in Saudi Arabia, which is modernizing under the Vision 2030 reform plan. And while the latest step is one of many taken recently to empower women, the Kingdom is not even among the 20 countries that have the highest absolute numbers of child marriages.  Most child marriages take place in poverty-stricken countries in which families benefit financially from a daughter’s marriage, or in countries that adhere strictly to traditional norms. In many such countries, girls are viewed as a burden on families — in need of safeguarding to protect their honor — while boys are considered breadwinners.  Child marriage is a generations-old custom still practiced today around the world in countries including India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia and Mexico. The custom has often gone unquestioned in such places since it has been part of communities’ lives and identities for a long time. Families marry their daughters in return for dowries, passing the responsibility of their daughter’s care to the husband. This eases the financial strain of impoverished families because they have one less mouth to feed. In conflict areas, many believe marriage is in the daughter’s best interest to protect her from physical or sexual harassment.   India has by far the highest  number of child brides. Even though child marriage is technically illegal there, many are falling victim to the practice. A study published in UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children” report in 2017 estimated that there were more than 15 million women in India who married when they were children.  According to a study carried out by Girls Not Brides — a global partnership of more than 1,000 civil society organizations committed to ending child marriage — 27 percent of Indian girls are married before the age of 18, and 7 percent by the age of 15. India is one of 12 countries selected to be part of the UN Population Fund and UNICEF’s Global Program to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.  Child marriage is not just restricted to the developing world, however. It is legal — taking judicial exceptions into account — in 49 US states.  Child bride Sunita Bishnoi, 5, at her parents’ home near Jodpur in India’s northwest. (AFP) States often make exceptions to their minimum-age ruling if those below the age of 18 have parental consent, the approval of a judge, or are recognized as adults. And 25 states have no statutory minimum age for marriage to begin with, meaning that minors can legally marry other minors or adults. Minors are most likely to get married in places that are rural and poor, said Nicholas Syrett, who combed through historical marriage records while researching his book “American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States.” He wrote: “Almost all the evidence indicates that girls in cities don’t get married young, that girls from middle class or wealthy families don’t get married young. This is a rural phenomenon and it is a phenomenon of poverty.” According to Unchained at Last, an organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in the US, an estimated 248,000 children — some as young as 12 — were married between 2000 and 2015 in America. The new law in Saudi Arabia is in keeping with the country’s existing child protection law, which applies to people under the age of 18, Jeddah-based divorce lawyer Bayan Zahran told Arab News. “Anyone under this age limit is considered to be under the child protection system,” she said.  The new law confirms the view that minors cannot be expected to function as adults in a marriage, Zahran said, and will help prevent divorces that result from these dysfunctional partnerships. Dr. Fawzia Aba Al-Khail, a member of the Shoura Council, emphasized the importance of the matter being debated thoroughly by the council — even if that meant taking a long time to pass the law.  “The fact that a minority of the council’s (Islamic and judicial affairs) committee disagreed with passing the law shows they have a right to their opinion, and that the committee discusses (matters) intelligently, with a focus on human rights.  “Yes, there have been many discussions before, but you need the majority, and the Shoura Council is made up of many different backgrounds … In passing this law, we have agreed to protect all minors.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: child marriageSaudi Shoura Council Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council bans child marriagesChild marriage costs countries billions in lost earnings: World Bank

Date set for launching of Saudi Arabian satellite SGS-1

Author: daniel fountainID: 1548018994908979000Mon, 2019-01-21 00:27RIYADH: The launching of Saudi Communication Satellite KA (SGS-1) from a base in Kourou, an oversees commune in French Guiana, South America, has been set for Feb. 5, according to Sa
Saudi Arabia

Date set for launching of Saudi Arabian satellite SGS-1

Author: daniel fountainID: 1548018994908979000Mon, 2019-01-21 00:27RIYADH: The launching of Saudi Communication Satellite KA (SGS-1) from a base in Kourou, an oversees commune in French Guiana, South America, has been set for Feb. 5, according to Saudi Press Agency.Local reports have said technical preparations for launching the satellite on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 11:55 local time are underway at the King Abdel Aziz City for Science and Technology with the participation of other beneficiaries in the Kingdom. Global defense firm Lockheed Martin has manufactured, tested and operated the satellite with the participation of Saudi engineers and scientists, who had been trained in order to be able to work and contribute to the satellite project. The launching of the satellite comes afterefforts of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, as well as the kingdom’s Minister of Defense, who oversaw the the stages of manufacture during visits to Lockheed Martin’s San Fransisco headquarters in April 2018. During the visit, the crown prince signed the final piece to be placed on the Saudi satellite before its launch with the words “above the clouds.” Main category: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s al-Ula youth being groomed for hospitality sector

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547928869131141800Sat, 2019-01-19 23:14 JEDDAH: A group of 100 young men and women from the historic Al-Ula region will be sent abroad to learn French in the hope of acquiring new skills for the tourism and hospitality sector
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s al-Ula youth being groomed for hospitality sector

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547928869131141800Sat, 2019-01-19 23:14 JEDDAH: A group of 100 young men and women from the historic Al-Ula region will be sent abroad to learn French in the hope of acquiring new skills for the tourism and hospitality sector, according to Mostafa Mihraje, French consul general in Jeddah. The statement came during a meeting that included delegations from the consulate and the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). Hisham Kaaki, MCCI chairman, was also present at the meeting. Mihraje lauded the Kingdom for its efforts in resolving regional issues and fighting terrorism. “Relations between the two countries are going from strength to strength in the political, economic, trade and developmental spheres,” he said. Mihraje called for bolstering cooperation with the MCCI by establishing a joint center with the consulate that would facilitate trade and visas. “Up to 50,000 pilgrims come from France yearly,” he said. “The consulate issues about 62,000 visas every year.” Kaaki said the chamber would ensure facilitating French language learning for anyone wishing to do so.” “The Kingdom can benefit from France in the fields of tourism, transport, hospitality and training, especially since the country welcomes about 80 million tourists a year,” he said. “Organizing the first exhibition for French catalogs in Makkah will shed light on investment opportunities. This would come at a time in which Makkah is witnessing major urban development, which can also provide ample opportunities between us.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTravelTags: Al-UlaMadain SalehMadinahSaudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTHMakkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather tours Saudi Arabia’s Al-UlaProminent Lebanese figures head to Al-Ula show

Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547928832761136800Sat, 2019-01-19 23:13 JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Minist
Saudi Arabia

Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547928832761136800Sat, 2019-01-19 23:13 JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry. There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah. Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea. The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927). The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females. Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government. The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Hajj and UmraMakkahMadinah Saudi Arabia issues 2.78 million Umrah visas so farHajj, Umrah Ministry pavilion showcases projects

Preserving national identity a challenge: Saudi Arabia's Islamic affairs minister

Author: Arab News JeddahID: 1547918833450272500Sun, 2019-01-20 19:43 JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia faces “great challenges” in preserving its national identity as it keeps up with modern society, the minister of Islamic affairs said Saturday. Dr. Abdul
Saudi Arabia

Preserving national identity a challenge: Saudi Arabia's Islamic affairs minister

Author: Arab News JeddahID: 1547918833450272500Sun, 2019-01-20 19:43 JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia faces “great challenges” in preserving its national identity as it keeps up with modern society, the minister of Islamic affairs said Saturday. Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh told delegates at a conference in Cairo that it was a shared duty to preserve religious constants and national identity. “This is especially significant as we face great challenges of building the national character that combines preserving authentic national identity and keeping pace with contemporary civil society,” he said. He was speaking at the 29th International Conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, which was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (religious endowments) under the patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. More than 150 people — including ministers, scientists, intellectuals and professors — took part in the conference. The Saudi minister stressed it was important for people to actively participate in developing their nation and contributing to its progress and prosperity. He explained that the process was hard on a practical level as it demanded loyalty and perseverance, “especially amid the unprecedented openness” of traditional and new forms of media and communication. Al-Asheikh said that Saudi citizens were proud of their identity and protected their nation against any danger because they loved and respected their country and leaders. “It has also made Saudis respect other peoples who love their countries and prevented them from intervening in their affairs,” he added. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaSaudi Minister of Islamic Affairsidentity Saudi Arabia seeks to improve its knowhowSaudi falconry festival launches photo competition

FaceOf: Fahad bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily, Saudi ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania

Author: Sat, 2019-01-19 21:48 Fahad bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily has been Saudi ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania since March 2017.  Al-Ruwaily joined the Foreign Ministry in 1990 as an attache. He served as deputy head of mission at the Saudi Embassy i
Saudi Arabia

FaceOf: Fahad bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily, Saudi ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania

Author: Sat, 2019-01-19 21:48 Fahad bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily has been Saudi ambassador to Denmark and Lithuania since March 2017.  Al-Ruwaily joined the Foreign Ministry in 1990 as an attache. He served as deputy head of mission at the Saudi Embassy in Niger and was head of the Department of Political and Consular Affairs from 1993 to 1996. In 1997, he became the embassy’s charge d’affaires. He also served as head of the consular, citizen affairs and Islamic affairs sections at the Saudi Embassy in Brussels between 1997 and 2001.  Al-Ruwaily was deputy director of the human rights section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2003, and also served as deputy head of the mission to the Netherlands.  He was secretary-general of the Saudi National Commission for the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention. Al-Ruwaily holds a bachelor’s degree in law from King Saud University and a diploma from Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh. He also received a master’s degree in international politics from the University of Brussels. On Friday, Al-Ruwaily attended a reception attended by Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius and senior Lithuanian government officials. He offered Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: #FaceOfFahad bin Maayouf Al-Ruwaily FaceOf: Fayez Al-Shehri, Saudi Shoura Council memberFaceOf: Dr. Tony F. Chan, president of KSA’s KAUSTFaceOf: Dr. Khaled bin Abdulmohsen Al-Muhaisen, president of KSA’s National Anti-Corruption CommissionFaceOf: Dr. Abdullah bin Salim Al-Mutani, deputy chairman of the Saudi Shoura Council

Saudi Arabia, UAE agree on joint program to test supply chain and security systems

Sat, 2019-01-19 21:53 JEDDAH: Supply chains and security systems are to be tested in preparation for a crisis or disaster in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, one of several initiatives agreed on Saturday by a body representing both countries. The Saudi-UAE Coordi
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, UAE agree on joint program to test supply chain and security systems

Sat, 2019-01-19 21:53 JEDDAH: Supply chains and security systems are to be tested in preparation for a crisis or disaster in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, one of several initiatives agreed on Saturday by a body representing both countries. The Saudi-UAE Coordination Council held its first executive committee meeting in Abu Dhabi.  It was chaired by Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed bin Maziad Al-Tuwaijri from the Saudi side, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi from the UAE side. Al-Tuwaijri said the meeting was a continuation of the achievements made in bilateral relations. A joint security cooperation program was signed to test the supply chain and security systems in the major sectors during a crisis or disaster, identify the points for improvement and develop a plan to address them. It was agreed to introduce and market the products of small traders through joint events. A virtual e-currency project was launched, but only on a trial basis. It will be restricted to trading between some banks in the Kingdom and the UAE in order to explore and prepare for future technologies. Al-Tuwaijri also visited the Saudi Arabian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai, heading an official delegation from the Kingdom. The group was received by the minister of state for international cooperation and director general of the expo, Reem bint Ebrahim Al-Hashimy. Saudi Arabia was the first international participant to begin building its pavilion for the event. The Kingdom and the UAE have the two largest economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council and a combined gross domestic product of around $1 trillion. There was a Saudi-UAE Coordination Council meeting last June in Jeddah that was chaired by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.   The two main goals set out at that meeting were to enhance the domestic economy of both nations and counter threats to Gulf and Arab security. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaUAEsupply chainMaziad Al-TuwaijriMohammed bin Abdullah Al-GergawiExpo 2020Dubai Preserving national identity a challenge: Saudi Arabia's Islamic affairs ministerSaudi Arabia’s KSRelief chief meets UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen

Saudi education minister gives teachers 100 days to improve results

Author: Ruba ObaidID: 1547930360261272500Sat, 2019-01-19 23:38 JEDDAH: The Saudi education minister, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, expressed concern at the state of schools in the Kingdom this week, during a speech to teaching staff in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia

Saudi education minister gives teachers 100 days to improve results

Author: Ruba ObaidID: 1547930360261272500Sat, 2019-01-19 23:38 JEDDAH: The Saudi education minister, Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, expressed concern at the state of schools in the Kingdom this week, during a speech to teaching staff in Riyadh. Al-Asheikh said he “longed” for the day “when the Kingdom’s universities stop resorting to the preparatory year” to bring students up to scratch, saying it was essential if they were to ever be considered among top global institutions. During his speech, he stated his belief that the education system should provide qualified professionals and encourage entrepreneurship for the good of the economy and wider society, and warned education leaders he was giving them 100 days to start improving their results. “Universities are valued for their ability to impact society, address problems, and improve the country,” he added. Al-Asheikh conceded the ministry needed to do more to help teachers, who he called the “cornerstones” of learning, but added that staff should still be performing better. Achievement Results published by the Amsterdam-based International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement suggest the Kingdom does not perform well when compared to top nations, such as Japan or Norway. Al-Asheikh said teachers should dedicate more time to reading and writing activities in the classroom, follow textbooks more closely and stay on top of students’ progress in order to improve outcomes. Fouz Al-Jameel, a teacher of fine arts currently training in the US, said she felt teachers needed more opportunities and training. “The ministry is not giving teachers enough attention. We need opportunities, such as the one I have now, to learn directly from other successful educational systems,” she said. She supported the minister on the need for more literacy activities, though she disagreed with the suggestion teachers should teach to textbook specifications, especially in the arts. Creative “I always thought following a single textbook was not right. After I came to the US, I became convinced that students should master general criteria in each subject, and that the application of these criteria should be up to the teacher,” she added. Loza Sawah, an English teacher from Jeddah, also believes teachers should have more freedom to be creative. “I approve of encouraging more reading and writing in class, but these activities should not be limited by a textbook,” she said. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi education ministrySaudi Arabia Saudi education minister sets 100-day deadline for change, seeking better performance, qualitySaudi education industry outlook promising, says study

Muslim World League International forum calls for positive coexistence

Author: Arab NewsID: 1547928685841119700Sat, 2019-01-19 23:10 JEDDAH: The first vice president of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo, has praised his country for overcoming its turbulent past, citing how religious organizations have promoted peace and tolera
Saudi Arabia

Muslim World League International forum calls for positive coexistence

Author: Arab NewsID: 1547928685841119700Sat, 2019-01-19 23:10 JEDDAH: The first vice president of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo, has praised his country for overcoming its turbulent past, citing how religious organizations have promoted peace and tolerance, at the Muslim World League (MWL) forum in the Burundian city of Bujumbura. Sindimwo stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence between people of different faiths, praising the MWL for helping to strengthen ties between groups both in Burundi and the rest of the world. “Muslims in Burundi, along with Islamic foundations, have worked for peace and security following the civil war. This forum will be an opportunity to enhance security, and prevent clashes and war,” he said in his opening address. The MWL’s secretary-general, Mohammed Al-Issa, underscored his eagerness to build bridges with all countries, so as to achieve better global cooperation and communication. “We disagree but we talk and understand each other, love one another and respect each other. When we disagree, then, we must compromise, cooperate, and coexist,” he said. The forum, called “Religious and Ethnic Pluralism and Positive Coexistence,” attracted a wide cross-section of senior clerics, politicians, businessmen and public figures, from all corners of the Islamic world and wider Africa. During the summit, delegates called upon the MWL to cooperate more with public and private bodies in Africa, to support and accelerate development and prosperity, and to pressure various social media platforms to promote positive convergence between cultures. Burundi’s mufti, Sheikh Abdallah Kajandi Sadiki, also addressed the forum, saying that Islam should bring people together irrespective of color or faith. “This is the first foundation of the concept of tolerance. It must prevail among mankind in their dealings and their behavior,” he said. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Muslim World League (MWL) MWL chief receives Islamic scholars from IraqMWL, Uffizi Gallery sign agreement to promote intercultural dialogue

Saudi health ministry provides clarity on female patients’ consent

Author: Noor NugaliID: 1547841470333518900Fri, 2019-01-18 22:57 RIYADH: The confusion surrounding whether women need a male guardian’s permission to undergo vital childbirth procedures, including C-sections, was cleared on Wednesday. In a statem
Saudi Arabia

Saudi health ministry provides clarity on female patients’ consent

Author: Noor NugaliID: 1547841470333518900Fri, 2019-01-18 22:57 RIYADH: The confusion surrounding whether women need a male guardian’s permission to undergo vital childbirth procedures, including C-sections, was cleared on Wednesday. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said it had eased the way for expectant mothers to make their own decisions over medical interventions. Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulaali said patients’ rights were a “top priority” in meeting the Kingdom’s ethical standards in health care. “Female patients’ rights are handled with a great deal of attention and effort,” he added. “Women are provided the right to give their consent for medical care, including surgical procedures, in accordance with the policies and procedures.” He stressed that this is “nothing new,” but part of ongoing “efforts to engage the community and promote positive behavior.” He said it is an “awareness campaign” that could potentially save many lives. Dr. Emad Sagr, chairman of the women’s health unit at the International Medical Center in Jeddah, said the ministry’s announcement has cleared up any confusions. Previously, he said, there had been no firm guidelines in place to inform medical professionals on female rights of consent without first getting a male guardian’s permission. This uncertainty had the potential to put pregnant women at risk, particularly if a C-section was urgently required, he added. “Twenty years ago, we used to go by the fatwa (a ruling on a point of Islamic law),” Sagr told Arab News. “I’ve never waited for the consent of a male guardian, as there’s nothing clear in Shariah law which states that a pregnant woman isn’t allowed to have a say about her own body.” He said the ministry’s statement also covered general surgical interventions on women. “It’s the individual woman’s life that might be at stake, and they should have the right to protect themselves,” Sagr added. He said the only procedure that required both the husband’s and wife’s approval was “sterilization.” In the past, some hospitals adopted their own policies surrounding informed consent for female surgical interventions. If a male guardian refused to give his consent, the matter was referred to an ethics committee. In the future, consent to treatment will only have to be gained from the next of kin, not necessarily a male guardian, if the patient is under the age of 18. “Hospitals are now bound by the consent form signed by a female patient,” said Dr. Yassir Kalakitawi, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital in Jeddah. “If a male guardian disapproves, he is then referred to an ethics committee to discuss the matter further.” Dr. Firas Jameel, a GP, said whenever possible, doctors would still always recommend that families discuss any intervention procedures in advance with medical experts. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi hospitalsSaudi patients Saudi health ministry takes steps to enhance health careSaudi Health Council unifies emergency codes in key sectors

Saudi falconry festival launches photo competition

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841920413552600Fri, 2019-01-18 23:04 JEDDAH: A photographic competition with a prize pot of SR100,000 ($27,000) has been launched as part of a major falconry event. Amateur and professional photographers are eligible to en
Saudi Arabia

Saudi falconry festival launches photo competition

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841920413552600Fri, 2019-01-18 23:04 JEDDAH: A photographic competition with a prize pot of SR100,000 ($27,000) has been launched as part of a major falconry event. Amateur and professional photographers are eligible to enter the contest at the King Abdul Aziz Falconry Festival, which runs from Jan. 25 to Feb. 3 in the town of Malham, near Riyadh. The photo competition will offer a first prize of SR50,000 to the winner, with SR30,000 and SR20,000 for second and third places respectively. Photographers wishing to take part should email one photo only to mediakaff@gmail.com. Competition terms and conditions can be viewed by visiting www.saudifalconsclub.org.sa Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi falconsUAE falcons Saudi falconry festival set to open on Jan. 25Young Saudi falconer woos visitors at Riyadh exhibition

Riyadh library to hold workshop for entrepreneurs

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841950103553300Fri, 2019-01-18 23:05 JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz Public Library (KAPL) announced on Thursday that it will host a workshop called “Don’t Wait to Find a Job” for female entrepreneurs. The workshop will tak
Saudi Arabia

Riyadh library to hold workshop for entrepreneurs

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841950103553300Fri, 2019-01-18 23:05 JEDDAH: King Abdul Aziz Public Library (KAPL) announced on Thursday that it will host a workshop called “Don’t Wait to Find a Job” for female entrepreneurs. The workshop will take place on Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. in the library’s Al-Murabba’ branch. It is part of the Young Women’s Forum 2019. The workshop includes two main sessions: “Create Your Job Instead of Waiting For It” and “Launch a Business From Home.” Manal Khan, a consultant and project manager, will present the first session, which will discuss identifying professional goals, the necessary skills for self-employment, and case studies of successful entrepreneurs. Jeheir Al-Nawirah, a human resource development consultant and life coach, will present the second session, which will cover goal-setting, free business set-up services, and more case studies. Main category: Saudi Arabia

ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s Great Tabuk Mountains

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841783683544000Fri, 2019-01-18 23:02 Great Tabuk Mountains Renowned for its towering peaks and plunging valleys, the Tabuk region is popular among photographers seeking to capture enthralling images of unheralded mountain e
Saudi Arabia

ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s Great Tabuk Mountains

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841783683544000Fri, 2019-01-18 23:02 Great Tabuk Mountains Renowned for its towering peaks and plunging valleys, the Tabuk region is popular among photographers seeking to capture enthralling images of unheralded mountain environments. This image, by Mutlaq Al-Huwaiti, was a winning entry in the nature category at this years’ Colors of Saudi contest, organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. Main category: Saudi Arabia ThePlace: Masjid Al-Rahma, Jeddah’s floating mosqueThePlace: Dummat Al-Jandal, city of ruins in northwest Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia seeks to improve its knowhow

Sat, 2019-01-19 02:32 DUBAI: With Saudi Arabia standing 66th out of 134 countries in the Global Knowledge Index, the Kingdom is hoping that a focus on  innovative education will boost its ranking.  Improving the quality and nature of education to enable
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia seeks to improve its knowhow

Sat, 2019-01-19 02:32 DUBAI: With Saudi Arabia standing 66th out of 134 countries in the Global Knowledge Index, the Kingdom is hoping that a focus on  innovative education will boost its ranking.  Improving the quality and nature of education to enable youth to innovate and be creative will prove key to achieving that goal. The index results were announced in Dubai last month by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to measure the knowledge sector in 134 countries. “With Saudi Arabia, we obtained the information from international organizations which were provided data from the government,” said Dr. Hany Torky, chief technical adviser at the UNDP and project director at the Arab Knowledge Project.  “We rely on international organizations like the World Bank and UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization),” but Arab countries “don’t convey data to international organizations” or they do so “very late,” he added. The aim of the index is to map trends in different areas of knowledge to be able to identify challenges facing countries in the field. Saudi Arabia scored high in sectors such as health and environment, information and communications technology, and features of the labor market.  It also proved strong in research, development and innovation, ranking 38th, and the economy, at 47th.  But in other sectors, the Kingdom scored relatively low. Technical and vocational education and training landed it in the 117th position, followed by 87th in the general enabling environment. Khaled Abdul Shafi, director of the regional bureau for the UNDP, said focusing on education will be paramount for Arab countries.  “Education can give young people this freedom and not consider that it should be based on memorization,” he added.  “All the stages of education are important, and if Arab countries focus on education, we’ll be in a much better position compared to where we stand now.” The knowledge gap between the Arab world and the West is large, with the exception of the UAE and a few other countries.  Abdul Shafi blamed this on the quality of education in the Arab world, which he said is based on spoon-feeding and does not encourage innovation as much as it should.  “It’s also not really related to the marketplace, so students are graduating without really having the skills required for the economy,” he added.  “Education is the main reason, so we need to pay a lot of attention to the education sector in all its different stages to enhance its quality. It’s very important to determine where the problem is to work on dealing with it.” He said research, development and innovation as a whole are lacking in the Arab world compared to other countries, with an absence of youth participation and the unavailability of data and research.  “The importance of the index isn’t the ranking of countries, but to analyze the knowledge status in each country,” he added.  “They’ll be able to put their hands on their weak points and work on further enhancing these indicators to achieve much more progress,” said Abdul Shafi. “We encourage countries and work with them to transfer the practices of developed countries to less-developed ones, so we’re not just producing a report, we’re also collaborating with some of these countries to transfer their experience and knowledge.” As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan, a major focus has been placed on youth and their education.  With a predominantly young population, the Kingdom has identified and developed initiatives to bridge the knowledge gap between the Arab world and the West. Some include the Misk Global Forum, the flagship platform of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s foundation, which held its “Skills for Our Tomorrow” conference in November to focus on youth, knowledge and innovation.  The Misk Foundation has also launched a number of programs to foster talent across the Kingdom, with the aim of developing a knowledge-based economy as the country shifts away from oil. “The report enables us to face reality,” said Aysha Al-Mansouri, a Saudi specialist in youth capabilities development.  “In Saudi, we have a clear vision and a future objective, which we hope to achieve through our Vision 2030. We need to do right by our youth and our country.” But with 30 million illiterate people under the age of 18 in the Arab world, the task at hand is momentous.  “It’s shameful for us as Arabs, and I was surprised to see so many young illiterates,” said Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.  With 30 million illiterate people under the age of 18 in the Arab world, the task at hand is momentous. “Success is going to be the result of those who work continuously and have a clear strategy. In 40 years, illiteracy was completely eliminated in the UAE, so countries like Egypt or Iraq, which used to disseminate knowledge for centuries, should work on this. We all share the same goal, so it’s not impossible.” The challenge remains in changing a mindset in the Arab world, which Torky said still focuses on the number of graduates rather than the quality of education.  “What’s the point in having 100 percent of graduates if they don’t have the skills required for the labor market?” he asked.  “Investment in education is almost the same in all Arab (Gulf) countries, but the process and deliverables of education are problematic. To maintain the status quo is a failure, and we need to keep improving.” The education sector will have to keep up with the pace of technological transformation. “There are impacts of the acceleration in technology, like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain and the Internet of Things, and the related skills that you need to acquire to deal with such developing technologies,” Torky said.  “In the near future, there will be seven countries that will lead the world in knowledge, and the UAE is one of them, having jumped six positions in the index in 2018,” he added. “Arab countries can actually reach such status, like the US, the UK, Singapore, Finland, Sweden and Brazil.” Bin Huwaireb expressed hope that other Arab foundations will eventually collaborate with the UNDP in disseminating knowledge.  “We have a single goal of reinforcing the concept of knowledge in the Arab world,” he said. “Over the years, we can now see that the difference is clear and everybody is speaking about knowledge, the knowledge economy, the industrial revolution and knowledge reports.” Workshops are being held in Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt to create momentum across the region.  “We are beginning to reap the benefits of this project,” bin Huwaireb said. “Many Arab countries have a problem with empowering environments, but they should do their best to bridge this gap between them and other developed countries so their knowledge indicators can climb to higher rankings.” He touched on scientific research, a vital element still lagging in the region. “Scientific research centers are a real obstacle we suffer from in the Arab world, because without such centers there will be no progress and no knowledge generation,” he said. “But there are major plans and strategies to allocate the proper funds for scientific research, and we want it to increase in all Arab countries. It needs some time, but encouragement, motivation and collaboration should continue.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaEducationArab WorldinnovationEditor’s Choice Over 100 Saudi students to take part in Cyber Saber Hackathon Saudi student leads new wave of female Uber driversCultural attaché in Egypt to implement modern techniques to serve Saudi studentsLaunch of 2019 Study UK Alumni Awards highlights key role of Saudi students

Deputy Hajj minister meets officials from Thailand, Turkmenistan

Fri, 2019-01-18 22:15 JEDDAH: Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, received two foreign delegations at his office in Jeddah. One was led by the deputy mufti of Turkmenistan, Rahmonov Gouli, and the other by the representa
Saudi Arabia

Deputy Hajj minister meets officials from Thailand, Turkmenistan

Fri, 2019-01-18 22:15 JEDDAH: Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, received two foreign delegations at his office in Jeddah. One was led by the deputy mufti of Turkmenistan, Rahmonov Gouli, and the other by the representative of the secretary-general of the Committee on the Promotion of Hajj Affairs in Thailand, Sak Shai Ting Hu.  Several topics of common interest in the field of Hajj regarding the services and facilities provided for the pilgrims and supervised by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah were discussed in the two meetings. The deputy Hajj minister noted that all relevant Saudi authorities are continuously working according to an integrated system that offers the best services to pilgrims and visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque, and in line with the directions of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to allow pilgrims to perform their Hajj with ease and peace. Gouli and Ting Hu praised the efforts of the king’s government to ease Hajj for pilgrims and allow them to perform their rituals in a peaceful spiritual atmosphere. Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government. The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: hajjSaudi ArabiaTurkmenistanThailand Hajj, Umrah Ministry pavilion showcases projectsMinister discusses Hajj with officials from Mauritania

Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Author: Essam Al-GhalibID: 1547842812933635900Fri, 2019-01-18 23:19 JEDDAH: Almost seven months since Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on female drivers, women hoping to be granted a license to ride a motorcycle are still waiting. According to Wael Hura
Saudi Arabia

Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Author: Essam Al-GhalibID: 1547842812933635900Fri, 2019-01-18 23:19 JEDDAH: Almost seven months since Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on female drivers, women hoping to be granted a license to ride a motorcycle are still waiting. According to Wael Huraib, founder of Bikers Skills Institute (BSI) — which he claims is the only motorcycle training school for female riders in the Kingdom — no motorbike licenses are currently being issued for women. “For ladies, as of now, they’re not able to get a license yet, and we don’t really know why,” said Huraib. “We heard that women have received tractor-trailer licenses, but we know for a fact that no motorcycle license applications are being processed. We are assuming the traffic police are very focused on cars, but whatever the problem is, we hope it is resolved soon.” The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women. But it appears that is not yet the case, despite assurances from the Saudi Directorate of Traffic a year ago that women would be permitted to drive motorcycles and trucks. Elena Bukaryeva, an instructor at BSI, said she suspects there is some confusion or miscommunication between the traffic police administration and the licensing division. “My husband spoke to one of the highest-ranking traffic police officials in Riyadh,” she told Arab News. “He said that there was nothing at all to stop women being issued motorcycle licenses. “But the following day, one of the ladies who finished our course went to the traffic police and she was told there are no motorcycle licenses for women, only for men. The same thing happened when I applied for my license and when other women did.” The General Directorate of Traffic did not respond to Arab News’ request for comment. Bukaryeva said that she has heard of women with licenses issued abroad riding motorcycles in the Kingdom, although added that they are “semi-disguised as men” when doing so. “When you are wearing loose clothing and a full-face helmet, no one can tell if you are a man or a woman,” she said, adding that she has not tried it herself as her husband told her it was not worth the risk. BSI began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted. The company has graduated 18 women so far, including Reem Al-Megbel, a 30-year-old Saudi financial operations manager. Al-Megbel was at the motorcycle school on Wednesday evening to practice riding, because she cannot, yet, do so on the roads. “My dream is to wake up one day and have a car and a motorcycle in my garage and be free to choose what to drive,” she said. “It would probably be the motorcycle.” Al-Megbel added that her “ultimate” dream, though, would be to take a road trip across the Kingdom with a group of fellow female bikers. “That,” she said, “would be freedom.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi female cycling teamSaudi Women Can DirveSaudiWomenDriving#SaudiWomenCanDrive Saudi Arabian bikers rank first in Global Biking Initiative 2018 Saudi cyclists join Global Biking Initiative for third time

Saudi artists draw inspiration from Islam

Author: Ameera AbidID: 1547843586883693600Fri, 2019-01-18 23:32 JEDDAH: The work of Saudi sculptor Wafa Alqunibit is on display in a Jeddah art gallery. A small glass box holds objects that have the appearance, shape and texture of dates. Only the
Saudi Arabia

Saudi artists draw inspiration from Islam

Author: Ameera AbidID: 1547843586883693600Fri, 2019-01-18 23:32 JEDDAH: The work of Saudi sculptor Wafa Alqunibit is on display in a Jeddah art gallery. A small glass box holds objects that have the appearance, shape and texture of dates. Only they are wrought from metal and glint silver and gold. Alqunibit concedes that art can sometimes be a taboo subject in Saudi society, but says her work has its place. “I do this to promote and represent our culture and religion as I belong to a very religious family. We have our freedom and we have open minds and I just wanted to portray this image to the world,” she told Arab News. Her Instagram feed shows other examples of her art, including sculptures featuring the distinctive ringed and slightly curled horns of the Arabian oryx, and videos of her carving, sanding and sawing using machinery that can be seen in any carpentry or masonry workshop. But her journey toward the arts — specifically sculpture — has not been straightforward. “I went to Portland (in the US) to complete my doctorate in human resources. But I ended up changing my major to arts and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and they accepted me as a painter.” But her professors thought she had different strengths — with one telling her she was born to be a tough person. “At first I thought he was referring to me as an aggressive person, but later when I started sculpting I found out what he meant.” She uses her work to communicate with people, especially those who misunderstand Islam, and recalled living in the US at a difficult time for Muslims. “I took support from the arts, to tell people what we really are and now my artwork is displayed in so many galleries and I have been given the title of religious artist.” Another artist taking inspiration from culture and religion is 26-year-old author Allaa Awad, who has taken the 99 names of Allah and turned them into poetry. Her debut work, “Ninety-Nine: The Higher Power,” includes poems about purity, mercy, blessings and peace. “I have encountered many people in life. They have a negative concept about life and God and I just wanted to turn that around and put my own perceptions of what I think God is, who He really is and how we should perceive Him,” she told Arab News. She also experienced a struggle in her artistic journey, like Alqunibit did, but in a different way. “The difficulties that I faced were getting the names on point, because a lot of them are very similar to each other. The best part was how people reacted to it on a spiritual level and how they were able to relate to what I had to say, rather than what online research had to say.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & CultureTags: Saudi artistsSaudi ArabiaSaudi art gallery Mounira Musalli: The modern Saudi artist’s artistLate Saudi artist Munira Musalli honoredMeet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kingsSaudi artists showcase talent in Egypt

Yemen's Houthis imposed war on Arab coalition: Saudi FM Al-Jubeir

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841516503521500Fri, 2019-01-18 22:57 JEDDAH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government did not want the war in that country, said the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. The coa
Saudi Arabia

Yemen's Houthis imposed war on Arab coalition: Saudi FM Al-Jubeir

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547841516503521500Fri, 2019-01-18 22:57 JEDDAH: The Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government did not want the war in that country, said the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs. The coalition’s priority is Yemen’s security and stability, and the war was imposed on it by the Houthi coup, said Adel Al-Jubeir, who is also a Cabinet member. During a visit to the UAE, he toured the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, where he met with its staff and students, and was briefed on the programs taught there. Al-Jubeir praised Saudi and Emirati efforts to ensure the success of Sweden’s consultations between Yemeni parties and the resulting agreement reached. He said he looks forward to its implementation. He described Saudi-Emirati ties as strong and unique, and stressed both sides’ efforts to promote their relations to an unprecedented level, especially as the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council is working to enhance ties in various fields. In June 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan chaired the first meeting of the council. The council seeks to develop a joint vision to deepen bilateral relations in line with the objectives set by the GCC to strengthen economic integration between the two sides and develop innovative solutions for optimum use of resources. Earlier, KSRelief General Supervisor Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said that humanitarian aspect of the Yemeni conflict is the top priority of Saudi Arabia and other members of the Arab coalition. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Houthi militiasYemenAdenAdel Al-JubeirSaudi ArabiaSaudi-UAEIran Saudi Arabia ‘strongly condemns’ Houthi attack on Yemen UN monitorsYemeni activists accuse Houthis of detaining, torturing women over made-up charges

Healthy living program in Saudi schools launched

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547842018593562500Fri, 2019-01-18 23:06 JEDDAH: A major initiative to promote health in schools has been launched in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry of Education on Thursday announced th
Saudi Arabia

Healthy living program in Saudi schools launched

Author: ARAB NEWSID: 1547842018593562500Fri, 2019-01-18 23:06 JEDDAH: A major initiative to promote health in schools has been launched in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry of Education on Thursday announced the new program, which initially aims to target 50 percent of the Kingdom’s elementary grade students. The project is part of a wider campaign by the Health Ministry to encourage healthy lifestyles and enable the early detection of a range of medical conditions. Students selected to take part in the program will have checks carried out on their medical history and will undergo various health tests. As well as dental examinations, students will receive eye, hearing and weight tests and behavioral experts will check for signs of learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There will also be tests aimed at spotting other conditions, including scoliosis (curvature of the spine). The parents of those students not included in the project, are being urged by the ministry to have their children tested at their local health center. This is the second phase of a health program, launched by the Health Ministry in September last year, to promote student health throughout the Kingdom. It includes a social media campaign to raise awareness about the importance of medical examinations for students in helping to detect symptoms early. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: SAUDI HEALTH MINISTRYSaudi schoolsSaudi students Saudi schools ‘nucleus’ of sporting talent, says sports chiefCritical thinking and philosophy to be taught in Saudi schools

‘How to set an example’ initiatives promote social responsibility among pilgrims

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 23:29 JEDDAH: Jeddah College of Technology has launched four initiatives as part of the Makkah Cultural Forum titled “How to set an example,” intended to help pilgrims performing Hajj and Umrah. “These initiatives includ
Saudi Arabia

‘How to set an example’ initiatives promote social responsibility among pilgrims

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 23:29 JEDDAH: Jeddah College of Technology has launched four initiatives as part of the Makkah Cultural Forum titled “How to set an example,” intended to help pilgrims performing Hajj and Umrah. “These initiatives include a number of goals that serve the Hajj and Umrah sector and contribute to the improvement of the services provided to pilgrims,” Abdulrahman bin Saeed Al-Sarei, dean of the college, said. The initiatives include an interactive workshop on Feb. 12, run by experts from the tourism and hospitality sectors in Makkah. “It will discuss a new approach to training in these sectors and present recommendations including improving vocational training in a manner consistent with voluntary participation in these sectors,” Al-Sarei said.  “These recommendations ultimately aim to encourage innovation and improve the efficiency of the Hajj and Umrah sector by 2030.” The second initiative is a six-month project to paint the roads leading to Makkah’s Grand Mosque in a variety of colors to make it easier for pilgrims to navigate, while the third involves the creation of a map to be handed out to pilgrims on arrival at King Abdul Aziz International Airport during Umrah season.  “The map will include the city’s landmarks and service centers,” Al-Sarei said. “It will help guide pilgrims — especially those who do not speak Arabic — through the pictures it contains.” The fourth and final initiative, the dean explained, will last for 60 days and “aims to improve the services provided to pilgrims by ensuring the cleanliness of mosques is maintained, to send a message to society about vocational and technical training through voluntary participation, and to motivate the trainees’ spirit of social responsibility.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabiasocial responsibilityhajj Hajj, Umrah Ministry pavilion showcases projectsMinister discusses Hajj with officials from Mauritania

Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

Thu, 2019-01-17 23:47 JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has won praise for a series of Vision 2030 megaprojects that “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.” Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, highlighted the Kingd
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia to become ‘a tourism magnet’

Thu, 2019-01-17 23:47 JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has won praise for a series of Vision 2030 megaprojects that “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map.” Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organization, highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to develop its tourism sector during talks with Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). Both sides discussed extending the partnership between the UN organization and Saudi Arabia to further strengthen tourism initiatives in the Kingdom. International tourism projects in line with Vision 2030 include the Al-Qadiya development to build the largest recreational city in Saudi Arabia, and megaprojects such as Al-Ula and Al-Diriyah Gate to restore a UNESCO site. The projects “will put the Kingdom on the world tourism map and help it realize its vision of becoming a major global tourist destination,” Pololikashvili said.  He congratulated Al-Khatib on his appointment as SCTH chairman, and accepted an invitation to view the Kingdom’s latest projects and tourism events. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: saudi tourismVision 2030 Saudi Arabia to start first phase of Neom project Construction at Saudi entertainment megaproject Qiddiya to begin this year

Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

Thu, 2019-01-17 23:46 RIYADH: Award-winning Chinese pianist Lang Lang delighted fans on Wednesday with a short video teaser to promote his upcoming performance at the Winter at Tantora festival.  The musician posted the video online, in which he was seen
Saudi Arabia

Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

Thu, 2019-01-17 23:46 RIYADH: Award-winning Chinese pianist Lang Lang delighted fans on Wednesday with a short video teaser to promote his upcoming performance at the Winter at Tantora festival.  The musician posted the video online, in which he was seen opening a book to reveal the words “stay tuned.”  Winter at Tantora’s Twitter account added to the hype, tweeting to their followers that the concert would “refresh their senses.” Lang will perform alongside the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Al-Ula-based festival. He is famous for his compelling style and talent, as well as his range as a pianist. Claimed that music is his “first language,” he believes that through it he is able to communicate with audiences all over the globe, despite language barriers.  Throughout his career, he has performed classical pieces, including Chopin and Liszt, but also more contemporary work, including songs from The Little Mermaid. The sold-out concert, called Monumental, is scheduled for Friday Jan. 18, and will be Lang’s and the Guangzhou Orchestra’s first performances in Saudi Arabia. Fans took to Twitter to express their excitement. “I can’t wait to see you!” Tweeted one. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you in Saudi Arabia!” The Winter at Tantora festival has proven wildly successful with audiences so far, with names such as Mohammed Abdo, Majida Al-Roumi, and a holographic depiction of legendary songstress Umm Kulthoum all appearing to positive acclaim. The limited seating per concert, capped at 500 apiece, has been popular, with most concerts selling out in record-breaking time. With different packages available to purchase for the festival, ranging from affordable seats to high-end luxury experiences, the chance to spend a weekend in Al-Ula has also been made available to a wide pool of people, despite the small numbers on offer. Main category: Saudi ArabiaArt & CultureLifestyleTags: Lang LangGuangzhou Symphony OrchestraAl-UlaconcertCulture and Entertainment Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah concert kicks off in rainy RiyadhFake news watch: Saudi girl embraces Enrique Iglesias at Ad Diriyah concert

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Fri, 2019-01-18 00:50 JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an art form. During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice o
Saudi Arabia

Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Fri, 2019-01-18 00:50 JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an art form. During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings. And it all began at the age of just 14, when Binjabi painted a portrait of King Faisal and ended up presenting it in person to the late king of Saudi Arabia. Further commissions were to follow, which resulted in Binjabi producing works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. Today he owns two galleries in Jeddah from where he exhibits artwork and sculptures from around the world.  Binjabi revealed his incredible story to Arab News while at work painting on canvas at a recent Jeddah book fair. Hisham Binjabi made works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. (Photos/Supplied) From the age of three, when he painted the walls of his family home in black, Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art. His talent was recognized at school where he was known as the “boy who paints,” and although he chose to major in science, a teacher spotted his artistic skills and taught him the basics of mixing colors. Binjabi said: “After that I started to practice, and whenever I didn’t need to attend a class, I would escape to the painting room. As I became stronger with the use of colors, my teacher suggested I pick a subject to paint and I chose to do a portrait of King Faisal.” After framing his picture, Binjabi was spotted carrying his creation down the street by the then-minister of education, who was so taken by it that he invited the teenager to present it to King Faisal himself.  On the right track The young artist continued to paint in his home and later studied English literature at King Abdul Aziz University, where again his talents were spotted.  The dean of the university asked him to produce a painting to display in a tent, and this time the subject was to be camels. During a visit to the campus, the then-King Khaled saw the painting and asked to meet the artist. “Before I knew it, I was standing in front of King Khaled,” said Binjabi.  “The king asked me why I had painted camels, and I told him that camels were the friends of Bedouin people.” The king invited Binjabi to go to Riyadh and attend the first ever Janadriyah Festival, and from then on his works became highly prized by royalty. The then-Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz asked him to produce a painting of his guests, a French prince and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, watching camels through binoculars.  As a result, Binjabi was invited to stay at Sheikh Zayed’s palace in Abu Dhabi, where he spent four months painting a family portrait for the leader. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to be another of Binjabi’s distinguished clients, and even while studying for a Master’s degree in Lebanon, he painted for the king of Lebanon. He said: “It did get overwhelming. I never asked to be associated with royalty, it just happened. Something in my heart kept pushing me along and telling me I was on the right track.” Today he still represents the Kingdom in many different countries.  “My life is full of stories about art which I find inspirational,” Binjabi added. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaSaudi Art Mounira Musalli: The modern Saudi artist’s artistGharem Studio helping budding but undiscovered artists

90-year anniversary: How the Arab world came to know Tintin and Popeye

Fri, 2019-01-18 02:09 Popeye, the scruffy sailor who remains one of the most loveable characters of all time, has been a popular fixture in Middle Eastern pop culture since the early 1980s. In addition to mountains of merchandise, particularly stuffed toys,
Saudi Arabia

90-year anniversary: How the Arab world came to know Tintin and Popeye

Fri, 2019-01-18 02:09 Popeye, the scruffy sailor who remains one of the most loveable characters of all time, has been a popular fixture in Middle Eastern pop culture since the early 1980s. In addition to mountains of merchandise, particularly stuffed toys, being available in local shops, the cartoons were broadcast on Saudi Channel 2 (in their original English) and on Spacetoon (with Arabic dubbing).  “I remember the first time I watched Popeye,” Zainab Basrawi, a 36-year-old insurance lawyer and self-professed Popeye enthusiast, told Arab News. “I learned to love spinach just from watching him save Olive every time. I believed him. I think he was a great influence on children to subtly ease them into eating their greens.” Just one week after Tintin first appeared in “Le Petit Vingtieme,” Popeye made his debut on Jan. 17, 1929 as a side character in the daily King Features comic strip “Thimble Theatre.” Created by the American cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar, the one-eyed sailor with bulging forearms quickly grew in popularity, becoming the star of his own strip, an animated TV cartoon and a 1980 movie starring Robin Williams. The theme song from the cartoon, “I’m Popeye the Sailorman,” is one of the most recognized pieces of music in pop culture history. Compared to boyish, clean-cut, good- natured Tintin, Popeye is his polar opposite. The sailor is rough, gruff and extremely tough, famous for the super-strength he gets from eating canned spinach, and his never-ending love triangle with his girlfriend Olive Oyl and rival Bluto. Like Tintin, as a relic from another era, Popeye has also been criticized for racial stereotypes. In “Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves,” he is shown beating up poorly made caricatures of Arab men. In “You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap,” the Japanese characters in the cartoon get the same treatment. However, literary critic Sophie Cline said the comic strip is reflective of the time it was created in, almost a century ago. “I think it’s important not to ignore these pieces of our history, or hide them away, but rather to own up to our mistakes and learn from them,” she told Arab News.She alluded to the new disclaimer that now precedes old Looney Tunes cartoons, informing viewers that their outdated “racial prejudices” no longer reflect Warner Bros. values but are “products of their time.” “Popeye cartoons reflect the common view of the era,” she said. “A disclaimer should be enough.” Tintin, one of the world’s most famous fictional journalists, traveled the world seeking stories and adventure, so he naturally spent a good amount of time in the Middle East. Created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, better known by his pseudonym Herge (say his initials in reverse out loud in a French accent), Tintin travels the region in four of his books: “Cigars of the Pharaoh,” “The Crab with the Golden Claws,” “Land of Black Gold” and “The Red Sea Sharks.” Tintin gained more of a foothold in the region when Egyptian publisher Dar Al-Maarif began printing the comics in Arabic in 1971. Renaming him “Tantan,” Dar Al-Maarif continued to publish the comics weekly until 1980. “Tintin has been one of my idols for as long as I can remember,” said Haytham Faisal, a journalist from Cairo. “I literally became a journalist because I wanted to be him. My dad used to take me to buy the comics from the local bookstore. I remember them being so expensive, so they were a rare treat. I’d always think twice before buying them, but I couldn’t always wait for the next comic to see what new story they have next. I still have some of them, they were that precious to me.” Before appearing in book format, Tintin and his constant companion, the dog Snowy, were first introduced to audiences in “Le Petit Vingtieme,” or “The Little Twentieth,” a supplement to the Belgian newspaper “Le Vingtieme Siecle” (The Twentieth Century) on Jan. 4, 1929. Herge, however, maintained that Tintin was actually “born” on Jan. 10, when “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets” began its serialization in the paper. Despite the fact that he never seems to hand in any stories, the loveable and quirky Tintin is portrayed as talented at his profession, so much so that he is shown to be in high demand, with many press agencies offering him bribes for his dispatches. Over the years, Tintin’s face has been used to advertise quintessentially French items such as Citroen cars and La Vache Qui Rit cheese. Enthusiasts of Tintin lore, known as Tintinolo- gists, have written entire books devoted to him. Since 1929, more than 250 million copies of the Tintin comic books have been sold. His adventures have been translated in more than 110 languages, and the books are sold in almost every country in the world. Tintin continues to grow in popularity, even 90 years on. He was the star of a full-length feature film, directed by Steven Spielberg, in 2011 and of an animated television series. The latter was broadcast on Saudi Channel 2 between 1991 and 1992 and a dubbed version has been on MBC 3 since 2003. However, the history of Tintin has not been without its hiccups. Over the years, critics have argued that, like many of the comics of the era, it should undergo censorship or even outright banning from bookstores and libraries. One of the more troublesome ones is his second adventure, “Tintin in the Congo.” The natives Tintin visits are crude stereo- types of African people, who are portrayed as ignorant and uneducated, and the references to slavery, such as when the natives refer to Tintin as “master,” make the comics hard to stomach. Similarly, “Land of Black Gold,” which takes place in a fictional Red Sea state named Khemed, is also banned in several Middle Eastern countries today for its stereotypical portrayal of Arabs. While some argue the comics are simply byproducts of their era, they are nonetheless somewhat difficult to revisit in the modern era. Attempts have been made to soften some of the references, with edits being made to “Tintin in the Congo” in 1975, but is that enough? Not according to the London-based human rights lawyer David Enright, who wrote in the Guardian newspaper that “Tintin in the Congo” shouldn’t be sold to children. “Books are precious, but so are the minds of young children. It is vital that our children learn and explore the grotesque history of slavery, racism and anti-Semitism, but in the proper context of the school curriculum.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaOffbeatTags: PopeyetintincartoonsEditor’s Choice Meet the ‘Egyptian Popeye’: The man with the world’s largest bicepsApple to roll out new Snoopy, Peanuts cartoon series

Saudi Arabia’s KFUPM ranks 5th in world for patents

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 00:31 JEDDAH: King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) ranked fifth among universities worldwide in 2018 in terms of the number of patents registered, according to IFI CLAIMS, which provides international industrie
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s KFUPM ranks 5th in world for patents

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 00:31 JEDDAH: King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) ranked fifth among universities worldwide in 2018 in terms of the number of patents registered, according to IFI CLAIMS, which provides international industries with annual reports on patents. KFUPM registered 237 patents with the US Patent Office in 2018. The university outpaced renowned universities such as the University of Texas, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. The total number of patents registered by KFUPM in the US Patent Office rose to 1,040 by the end of 2018. KFUPM ranked 55th in 2011, 13th in 2015 and seventh in 2016. The vice rector for applied studies and research, Dr. Nasser bin Mohammed Al-Aqili, said the university’s success is not limited to registering patents. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabia

Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Author: Arab NewsID: 1547719671022542400Thu, 2019-01-17 13:07 JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistake
Saudi Arabia

Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Author: Arab NewsID: 1547719671022542400Thu, 2019-01-17 13:07 JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistakes made by coalition forces while carrying out military operations inside Yemen. JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that the team concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition forces were proper and safe, taking into consideration the rules of engagement, international humanitarian law and the coalition’s own rules. Team members visited a number of cities in Yemen, including Aden, Lahj and Khor Maksar, during the investigation and spoke to witnesses, victims and their families to gather evidence and establish the facts. In one of the incidents that was investigated, coalition warship fired on and destroyed a craft in the waters off the Yemeni port of Al-Khokha in September. Al-Mansour said that after examining documents and evidence JIAT had concluded that an alliance ship was escorting and protecting a flotilla of three Saudi merchant ships when, in an area off the port of Al-Khokha, a boat was spotted approaching the convoy at a high speed from the direction of the Yemeni coast. The escort ship followed the accepted rules of engagement by repeatedly warning the unidentified vessel, using loudspeakers, not to come any closer. When these went unheeded, warning shots were fired but the boat continued to approach. “On reaching an area that represented a threat to the convoy, the protection ship tackled the boat according to the rules of engagement and targeted it, resulting in an explosion on the boat,” said Al-Mansour. “The protection ship continued escorting the convoy. After the escort task was completed, the protection ship returned to the site of the targeted boat to carry out a search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the target boat but no one was found.” Main category: Saudi Arabia

Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

Author: Abdulaziz Al-AquilID: 1547652799406777900Wed, 2019-01-16 18:45 JEDDAH: From day one, Serie A president Gaetano Micciche has been a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia playing host to the Italian Super Cup. With the kick-off now mere hours awa
Saudi Arabia

Serie A president Gaetano Micciche praises ‘Saudi hospitality’ ahead of Supercoppa Italiana in Jeddah

Author: Abdulaziz Al-AquilID: 1547652799406777900Wed, 2019-01-16 18:45 JEDDAH: From day one, Serie A president Gaetano Micciche has been a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia playing host to the Italian Super Cup. With the kick-off now mere hours away at King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah, his good faith has been rewarded. “We have had great hospitality,” he said. “I am really glad to experience Saudi Arabia not only for myself, but for all Italian people that have arrived here for the first time. The Saudi public has been full of kindness for the Italian people. It is a great honor for Serie A and myself to be here for such an important event.” In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the Serie A chief discussed his thoughts his impressions on Jeddah and the event. “I am happy because I now have a fair impression of the situation here,” he said. “I will surely be returning to Italy full of satisfaction and with positive ideas to return in the near future with other matches. All of the responses that I have seen have been very positive. Jeddah is a city that is rapidly evolving. It is really interesting for me and I have no doubt that there is a large and great potentiality for Jeddah to grow in the years to come.” Micciche said he was delighted to find such a modern and beautifully built stadium. Serie A president Gaetano Micciche (C) with Arab News' Abdulaziz Al-Aquil (R) and columnist Max Ferrari (L). (AN Photo) King Abdullah Sports City (KASC), also known as “Al Jawhara,” Arabic for “jewel,” is the largest football stadium in Jeddah, with a maximum capacity of more than 62,000. “I was happy to see the complex, which is one of the most beautiful in the world,” he said. “I was especially happy to learn that the stadium has been completely sold out and that more than 15,000 women will be attending. I believe that sport in general, and football in particular, is a special factor of life. Today, two of the best Italian teams will be playing and I am sure they will put on a great match. I repeat: I am happy with all the organization, with the city, with the people, and with the hospitality.” Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: footballSaudi ArabiasoccerSupercoppa ItalianaJuventusSerie AAC MilanJeddah Sports authority sets up Italian-themed village for AC Milan and Juventus fans attending Supercoppa ItalianaItalian delegation covering Supercoppa Italiana tour historic city of Jeddah

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia made SR14m by promising to double victims’ money with ‘magic’

Author: Shounaz MekkyID: 1547666491288037500Wed, 2019-01-16 22:20 JEDDAH: Police in Riyadh have arrested an expatriate who made SR14 million from a scam in which he promised to double people’s money using magic. The Arab national deceived his vi
Saudi Arabia

Expat arrested in Saudi Arabia made SR14m by promising to double victims’ money with ‘magic’

Author: Shounaz MekkyID: 1547666491288037500Wed, 2019-01-16 22:20 JEDDAH: Police in Riyadh have arrested an expatriate who made SR14 million from a scam in which he promised to double people’s money using magic. The Arab national deceived his victims by claiming he could use sorcery to boost their wealth, provincial government spokesman, Aloush bin Fares Al-Sebaei, said. He said the offender was detected by Riyadh’s “central field committee,” which is tasked with catching practicers of exorcism, known as “ruqya,” folk medicine and interpreters of dreams, Saudi Press Agency reported. The man was arrested with the support of security authorities. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaMoneyMagic

Saudi ministry launches E-service for financial cases, court orders

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 00:19 JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior has launched an online tracking service for inquiries about cases and court orders within the Kingdom. The new service will allow users to check if they have any pending financial o
Saudi Arabia

Saudi ministry launches E-service for financial cases, court orders

Author: Thu, 2019-01-17 00:19 JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior has launched an online tracking service for inquiries about cases and court orders within the Kingdom. The new service will allow users to check if they have any pending financial or legal notices against them, which includes blocked services. Users should enter their ID number to access the services, which is available to both Saudis and residents with Abshir e-service accounts. Users will get a code on Abshir-registered mobile numbers via SMS to be able to access the information. The website can also be accessed outside the Kingdom. Since the announcement of Vision 2030, different ministeries and government agencies have introduced online services to streamline government procedures and facilitate the masses.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaSaudi Interior Ministry Top 5 ranking for Saudi e-government by 2030Saudi Justice Ministry introduces new e-service

Italian delegation covering Supercoppa Italiana tour historic city of Jeddah

Wed, 2019-01-16 13:49 An Italian delegation covering the Italian super cup taking place in Saudi Arabia got a tour of the historic city of Jeddah on Wednesday.  Some of world's biggest football stars arrived in Jeddah on Monday evening as the Juventus s
Saudi Arabia

Italian delegation covering Supercoppa Italiana tour historic city of Jeddah

Wed, 2019-01-16 13:49 An Italian delegation covering the Italian super cup taking place in Saudi Arabia got a tour of the historic city of Jeddah on Wednesday.  Some of world's biggest football stars arrived in Jeddah on Monday evening as the Juventus side touched down in Saudi Arabia ahead of their Supercoppa Italiana matchup with AC Milan on Wednesday night at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Supercoppa ItalianaItalian Super CupCulture and Entertainment Juventus superstars including Cristiano Ronaldo land in Jeddah ahead of Supercoppa Italiana clash with Milan

Sports authority sets up Italian-themed village for AC Milan and Juventus fans attending Supercoppa Italiana

Wed, 2019-01-16 16:58 JEDDAH: The Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) has set up an Italian-themed village for AC Milan and Juventus fans attending the Italian Super Cup match on Wednesday at King Abdullah Sports City stadium. The village emulates ancien
Saudi Arabia

Sports authority sets up Italian-themed village for AC Milan and Juventus fans attending Supercoppa Italiana

Wed, 2019-01-16 16:58 JEDDAH: The Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) has set up an Italian-themed village for AC Milan and Juventus fans attending the Italian Super Cup match on Wednesday at King Abdullah Sports City stadium. The village emulates ancient Italian cities, as well as cultural and historical elements of Italy and Saudi Arabia.  Saudi General Sports Authority (@gsaksa_en) has set up an #Italy-themed village for @acmilan and @juventusfcen fans attending the Italian #SupercoppaItaliana match on Wednesday at King Abdullah Sports City stadium #JuveMilanhttps://t.co/ifMQMLaMJ5 pic.twitter.com/22J4RjXWC3 — Arab News (@arabnews) January 16, 2019 Fans will also be served dishes from the cuisines of both countries and enjoy Italian music. The village will host a variety of activities, including two theatrical performances. The first will commence at 6 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. The Italian village is located in front of gate 6. Events will take place between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Juventus stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, landed in Jeddah on Monday, while AC Milan team members arrived on Sunday morning.  The Italian stars received a warm welcome by their fans in the Kingdom.  The GSA announced on Twitter that cameras are not allowed during the Super Cup final. Both AC Milan and Juventus have won the Super Cup title seven times since the annual football competition was launched in 1988. Saudi Arabia will become the fifth foreign nation to host the Super Cup after the US, China, Libya and Qatar. An agreement to host the match was signed in June by Turki Al-Sheikh, the GSA’s then-chairman, and Marco Brunelli, executive director of the Italian Professional Football League.  Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: sportfootballsoccerAC MilanJuventusSerie ASupercoppaSupercoppa ItalianaSaudi ArabiaCulture and Entertainment Italian delegation covering Supercoppa Italiana tour historic city of JeddahGiorgio Chiellini confident Juventus can buck recent trend of Supercoppa defeats

Saudi schools ‘nucleus’ of sporting talent, says sports chief

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:43 JEDDAH: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) and vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SOC), announced that the Olympic Values Education Program would target mo
Saudi Arabia

Saudi schools ‘nucleus’ of sporting talent, says sports chief

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:43 JEDDAH: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) and vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SOC), announced that the Olympic Values Education Program would target more than 60,000 students in the Kingdom, at a press conference in King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah. The program is currently being run in Riyadh and Al-Jouf, and aims to eventually employ over 1,000 teachers. The GSA chairman also praised the government for promoting sports in the Kingdom, which is an integral part of the Vision 2030. He said that schools were the nucleus of sporting talent in Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the need for cooperation between the GAS, the SOC and the Ministry of Education to help young athletes become Olympians. He added that the program would train students with an eye on unearthing Olympic-level athletes, but also to promote respect, tolerance and sportsmanship in schools.    Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi ArabiaSaudi sports Saudi Arabia's young athletes return from Youth Olympics with hope and expectationSaudi Arabia’s youngest gymnast vows that she ‘will win Olympic gold’ one day

Saudi falconry festival set to open on Jan. 25

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:50 JEDDAH: Final preparations are being made for the opening of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest falconry events. Organized by the Saudi Falcons Club, the King Abdul Aziz Falconry Festival will take place in Riyadh from Jan
Saudi Arabia

Saudi falconry festival set to open on Jan. 25

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:50 JEDDAH: Final preparations are being made for the opening of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest falconry events. Organized by the Saudi Falcons Club, the King Abdul Aziz Falconry Festival will take place in Riyadh from Jan. 25 to Feb. 3. Thousands of enthusiasts from throughout the Middle East and around the world are expected to flock to the event, which will include competitions, exhibitions, theater entertainment and residential camps. Falcon races will be held in the main festival arena throughout the gathering and a heritage museum will use interactive displays to explain the history of falconry in Saudi and the Arabian Gulf and traditional training and hunting techniques. A contemporary art exhibition on falconry hunting and breeding through the ages, will also be housed in the museum. A cultural village, inspired by the city of Riyadh in the 1950s, will be one of the other attractions for visitors to the festival.    Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: FalconrySaudi Arabia Registration opens for falconry festival in KSAA birdlover’s dream: the Gulf’s biggest falconry exhibition kicks off in the Saudi capital

Chinese Olympics ‘ambassador’ visits Riyadh

Tue, 2019-01-15 23:47 RIYADH: A Beijing-based volunteer traveled to Riyadh last week as part of his mission to visit every country in the world and promote the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the Chinese capital. Cao Da Fo has visited 1
Saudi Arabia

Chinese Olympics ‘ambassador’ visits Riyadh

Tue, 2019-01-15 23:47 RIYADH: A Beijing-based volunteer traveled to Riyadh last week as part of his mission to visit every country in the world and promote the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the Chinese capital. Cao Da Fo has visited 194 countries, with 39 places left on his itinerary before he heads home to his wife and four children.  He was at the South Pole before coming to Saudi Arabia, where he spent three days in Riyadh.  Cao spoke warmly of the reception he has received on his travels, booking a flight to the Kingdom the day after his visa was confirmed by the embassy in Beijing.  “Many of the people of the countries I have visited so far have been very welcoming and generous to me, offering assistance, food and water,” he told Arab News. The longest period he has been away from home is 150 days, he added. Cao started his round the world tour in 1999 to promote China’s goal of hosting the Winter Olympics in 2002. The bid failed but Cao continued championing China as a host for the event. He sold off properties to finance the tour and has spent around $1.5 million on his mission.  “It will give a good name to my homeland; it’s for the love of my country,” he said, when asked what inspired him to travel the world. “Since I became so involved in the Olympics, I no longer strive for material things.” His trips to other countries show him posing for photos with locals and holding a colorful flag that features the sporting event’s famous five rings. He said the Summer Olympics of 2008 changed Beijing forever.  “When I was little, I didn’t even dream that this could happen, that the subway could run so near my home, that China could attain more worldly knowledge, that we could appear more international,” he has said in previous interviews. Cao also sees himself as a promoter of goodwill and cultural exchange. “I feel like the Olympic torch is more like a spark of hope for the whole world.” Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. It was selected as the host city in July 2015. Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabia2022 Olympic GamesChineseOlympicsRiyadh Sports court confirms Chinese doping at Beijing OlympicsSaudi Arabia’s young athletes looking to shine at Youth Olympics

Government to provide cash incentives for private sector to hire Saudis

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:56 JEDDAH: The government will contribute to the wages of Saudis employed in the private sector, one of several incentives to motivate the hiring of nationals and increase their participation in the labor market. Saudi Mini
Saudi Arabia

Government to provide cash incentives for private sector to hire Saudis

Author: Tue, 2019-01-15 23:56 JEDDAH: The government will contribute to the wages of Saudis employed in the private sector, one of several incentives to motivate the hiring of nationals and increase their participation in the labor market. Saudi Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi announced the initiative in Riyadh on Tuesday. Al-Rajhi, who is also chairman of the Governing Council of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), said the program was aimed at improving skills and readying the Kingdom’s population for the future.  Saudi Arabia has restricted certain jobs to Saudis and pressed companies to employ higher ratios of nationals to foreign workers.  Its Vision 2030 reform plan wants to cut unemployment from 11.6 percent to seven percent and to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent. Under the ministry’s program the minimum monthly wage to be supported is SR4,000 ($1,066) and the maximum is SR10,000.    Main category: Saudi ArabiaTags: Saudi Arabiasaudi jobs Smart Link creates Saudi jobs, invests in KSA skills development with AvayaSaudi Arabia will need an additional 10,000 doctors by 2020, say experts