US praises Saudi role in combating Al-Qaeda in Yemen

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, foreground center, attends a meeting on the conflict in Syria in Paris, on Monday. (AP)
Updated 10 May 2016
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US praises Saudi role in combating Al-Qaeda in Yemen

PARIS: US Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday in Paris with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
They reviewed the strong and enduring relationship between their countries and discussed a broad range of regional issues, including Yemen, Syria, and Iran, said US State Department spokesperson John Kirby.
He said the two ministers exchanged views on the Yemeni peace talks being held in Kuwait, and the Secretary expressed the US government's appreciation for the key role Saudi Arabia continues to play in combating terrorism and AQAP in Yemen, in particular.
Saudi leadership in making available an operations center and contributing the largest number of forces has been indispensable to recent successes, including most recently in Mukallah.
Finally, they exchanged views regarding the fight against Daesh and the restoration of the cessation of hostilities in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution no. 2254. Kerry provided an update on recent discussions and the situation on the ground, and they both stressed the importance of all sides fully respecting the cessation of hostilities.


Jeddah Season displays city’s rich heritage

Updated 3 min 49 sec ago
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Jeddah Season displays city’s rich heritage

  • Al-Balad district plays host to some of the festival’s activities enchanting visitors

JEDDAH: Jeddah’s Al-Balad district has been hosting Jeddah Season since the start of June, enchanting visitors with its journey into the rich heritage, art and culture of the city. The season continues to entertain visitors with exceptional performances, exhibitions and workshops that demonstrate the evolution of the city.

In July, the season brought together a lineup of musicals, street art, athletics, comedy shows and local dance performances, all accompanied by a wide range of retail options and a remarkable choice of cuisine.

Some of the new attractions are bound to keep visitors highly entertained. A new immersive theater will lure visitors into the artistic realm of fantasy and mystery, while the recent charitable auction inspired guests to contribute to worthwhile causes.

Bait Al-Dahaleezi — immersive theater

Visitors have the chance to test their courage and wits in an immersive theater experience called Bait Al-Dahaleezi. Inspired by Al-Balad folklore, this exclusive theater is an original work being supervised by Sidra Events Management, produced by the Jeddah Season team and directed by Todd Albert Nims, a Saudi-born American director who is passionate about cinema and entertainment in the Gulf region.

Taking place in the 200-year-old five-story family home of the Al-Jamjoom family, the play transforms the very concept of theater and creates a world of wonder and mystery.

Nims said: “I’m extremely proud to be involved in this new wave of immersive theater, where there’s an opportunity to boost the creative sector in Saudi Arabia. In line with the Vision 2030 reform plan, it’s an honor to be part of a great initiative, promoting local talent to the world. The immersive theater is a great platform to showcase the history, culture and local folklore of Al-Balad.”

He added: “I believe theater is the best form of expression. When a group of creative minds come together to present the rich heritage of the Kingdom and Arab lifestyles, it creates waves across the globe.”

The theater’s storyline has been developed in conjunction with Al-Balad historian and well-known writer Dr. Lamia Baishen, accompanied by local interior designer Nawaf Al-Nassar. Bait Al-Dahaleezi is also supported by acting coach Dr. Qassim Al-Gudah and costume designs by Arwa Abdulati.

Commenting on his collaboration, Al-Nassar said: “Bait Al-Dahaleezi is a stepping stone for local artists to showcase their talent and skills to a wide audience. This is the beginning of a new era in the field of theater, arts and entertainment in Saudi Arabia. I’m honored to be a part of such a group where creative minds and people work together cohesively to produce spectacular work.”

Visitors are encouraged to play the role of guests at the abandoned house, allowing their curiosity to guide them while trying to unravel its mystery. Guests have to wear masks as part of the play. These masks are made locally by Saudi artists, and the visitors get to keep them after the performance as souvenirs.

Thrust into a world of action and drama, the audience can relive their childhood as their favorite tales from the past are brought to life. The entire atmosphere is filled with a colorful cast of characters who will frighten and delight you simultaneously.

Christie’s auction

The Kingdom hosted Christie’s, a world-renowned auction house, at the Jeddah Season for Saudi Arabia’s first international art auction. Christie’s presented the “Art for Al-Balad” auction in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Hafez Gallery.

Celebrated artists from across the Arab region graciously donated beautiful pieces of art to raise funds for a heritage museum to preserve the culture of Al-Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Proceeds from the auction also went toward the Help Center, a Jeddah-based children’s school that assists pupils with special needs. The auction raised an impressive SR4.8 million ($1.3 million) for both causes.

The auction demonstrated the Kingdom’s artistic talents to the Arab world. These events provide artists with a platform to showcase their works to a global audience whilst supporting international exchange and cultural understanding, as well as elevating art within Saudi Arabia.

The season offers a summer experience like never before. Located in Al-Balad until July 18, event details can be found at https://www.livehjseason.com.