Kingdom loses 'one of its pillars'

Updated 17 June 2012
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Kingdom loses 'one of its pillars'

A number of senior officers of various security forces have offered their condolences to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and all members of the royal family and Saudi people on the death of Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior.
Director General of Public Security Lt.Gen. Saeed Al-Qahtani said he was shocked to receive the news of the death of the crown prince yesterday. “The crown prince was well-known for his kindness and pleasing nature. He was also a guide and inspiration to all the staff of the security forces,” Al-Qahtani told Arab News.
Director General of Civil Defense Lt. Gen. Saad Al-Tuwaijri said the crown prince was known for his humaneness. However, he was a relentless fighter against terrorism. “The crown prince wanted to lead an ideological warfare against extremists. Many a times he said that the door of repentance is always open to all misguided persons and members of Al-Qaeda,” he said.
Abdul Ilah Al-Shareef, assistant director general for preventive affairs at the Anti Narcotic Department, expressed his deep sorrow at the crown prince’s death. “We have been deprived of a loving and compassionate father. Even if he is dead, his name and kind deeds will never disappear from our hearts,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Zamim Al-Sawat, director general of the Border Guards, said the Kingdom lost one of its pillars that supported its awakening and development in various fields. He served his religion and his country until the last moment of his life, Al-Sawat said.
Director General of Prisons Maj.Gen Ali Al-Harithy said death of the Crown Prince is a great loss to the Kingdom.
“Words cannot express the pain and sadness caused by the death of the crown prince. He was known for his humanity first before anything else. We are unable to do anything in the event of his death except to offer our heartfelt condolences to the king and the members of the royal family and the Saudi people,” Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said in his condolence message.

 


Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

Updated 35 min 53 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia pushes back launch of ‘entertainment city’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it has delayed by three days the launch of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the oil-reliant Kingdom seeks to diversify.
King Salman had been scheduled on Wednesday to launch construction of the 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, touted as the Kingdom’s answer to Disneyland.
“King Salman will inaugurate next Saturday the Qiddiya project, which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, without explaining the delay.
Construction for the first phase of development, which would include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari area, is expected to be completed in 2022, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger has said the project in the entertainment-starved Kingdom is expected to draw foreign investment, but gave no figures.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with plans for three hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but skeptics question their viability.
Aside from Qiddiya, the Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, architect of a sweeping reform program dubbed “Vision 2030.”
The reforms stem partly from a motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority said it would stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.