Envoy sees Saudi-Lanka ties soaring to greater heights

Updated 12 February 2014
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Envoy sees Saudi-Lanka ties soaring to greater heights

The bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and Sri Lanka would reach new heights in the coming years, observed the island’s senior minister of Urban Development Abdul Hameed Fowzie, who wrapped up a brief visit to the capital on Tuesday.
Fowzie, who came as a special envoy of the island’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, met Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, on Tuesday. He also had discussions on matters of bilateral interests with the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah on Monday. He also handed a letter to the Crown Prince from his country’s president.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Vadivel Krishnamoorthy was also present during the talks with the Saudi officials.
Describing his talks with the Saudi officials as cordial, Fowzie said that he took the opportunity to thank the Saudi leadership for its extensive help to his country to boost several of its development projects.
He said the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has been instrumental in financing several projects in the island. “The recent construction of the longest bridge in Kinniya stands as a symbol of Saudi-Lankan partnership,” he stressed.
“The 396 meter-long bridge, the longest overpass in the island was constructed with the financial aid of SR440 million from the Saudi government. The new facility has triggered the economic and cultural development envisaged by the government following its defeat of terror in the island,” the minister said adding that Trincomalee is one of the main cities in the eastern province. More than 10,000 people cross the Kinniya lagoon daily between Kinniya and Trincomalee.
He also thanked the Saudi government for deploying his country’s workers in the Kingdom. “The Kingdom is home to 550,000 Sri Lankans. They have earned a good reputation for their hard work and perseverance, and they have contributed a great deal to the nation’s development,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia is fair to all nationals living in the country.
Fowzie, who also looks after the Umrah and Haj operations in the island, said that Muslims in Sri Lanka are happy and content with the government and it has not laid any restrictions for Makkah-bound pilgrims.
About 7 percent of the 24 million people in Sri Lanka are Muslims. Fowzie counts more than five decades of service to the community in the political arena.


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 45 min 59 sec ago
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.