Expats guard against coronavirus

Updated 28 April 2014
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Expats guard against coronavirus

Indian and Sri Lankan missions have launched extensive awareness campaigns and alerts among their nationals about the rapidly spreading Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Sri Lanka has alerted its missions in the Middle East to take precautionary measures among its expatriates in the region.
Mangala Randeniya, spokesman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News from Colombo that the bureau has alerted all its overseas missions about the deadly virus.
“Even though not a single Sri Lankan has been affected so far, we, as a government, are tasked with alerting our overseas workers,” Randeniya said.
There are 1.5 million Sri Lankans living in the Middle East and nearly one third of them are in the Kingdom, he said.
“Colombo International Airport has been alerted to take note of any arriving passenger suspected to be infected with the coronavirus,” he said. “Our SLBFE desk at the airport will identify such incoming passengers and provide them with immediate medical treatment.”
Paba Palihawadana, chief epidemiologist at the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit, said the authorities have put in place a mechanism to create awareness among community members. “There are educational programs conducted through the Bureau of Foreign Employment, travel agencies and Sri Lankan embassies to ensure that travelers and workers to the region are aware of the risks,” she said.
The Indian Social Forum in Jeddah (ISFJ) has launched a coronavirus awareness campaign to raise public understanding about the virus among its nationals. The forum organized a series of camps in Jeddah and other parts of Western Province with the support of the Ministry of Health.
Acting Indian Consul General Mohammed Shaikh inaugurated the campaign on Friday.
Muneera Balahmar, director of health education and community medicine consultant at the Health Ministry, gave a detailed overview about the virus and ways to prevent its spread.
Forum President Ashraf Morayur said the campaign would focus on areas of large gatherings in Jeddah, a port of arrival for thousands of pilgrims.


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 44 min 1 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.