World leaders congratulate King Salman on accession anniversary

King Salman. (SPA)
Updated 03 January 2017
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World leaders congratulate King Salman on accession anniversary

RIYADH: World leaders, including those from the Gulf, congratulated Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the Kingdom on Sunday celebrated the second anniversary of their accession to power.
Mishaal bin Fahem Al-Silmi, president of the Arab Parliament, said: “All Arab people are proud of this anniversary, as are all the people of Saudi Arabia, in recognition of the prominent status reached by the Kingdom under the leadership of (King Salman) at the world level.”
Al-Silmi expressed the confidence of the Arab people in the Kingdom and its visionary leadership in defending Arab and Muslim issues, particularly Palestine, the fight against terrorism, Arab national security, repelling foreign intervention and achieving the hopes and aspirations of the Saudi and Arab peoples in their progress, prosperity, security and stability.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the Emirati armed forces, described the occasion as “historic.”
He said: “The efforts exerted by the Kingdom to address crucial issues facing the Arab world and the Muslim world enhance hopes of overcoming these issues, thanks to the wisdom and vision of King Salman.”
Sheikh Mohammed cited Saudi-Emirati support for common interests, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) integration and stability and peace in the region and the world.
Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi called King Salman on Sunday to congratulate him and praise his support for the Yemeni people.
The king also received a message from Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s emir, pertaining to means of boosting bilateral relations.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Al-Siniora said: “There is no doubt that the role being played by the Kingdom for a long time is pivotal in supporting and defending Arab and Muslim issues, especially in confronting mounting fierce campaigns being waged by the enemies of Arabs and Muslims.”
Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Samhan, regional director of the Saudi National Campaign to support Syrians, said: “King Salman is one of the Kingdom’s leaders of humanitarian work … and he chaired several relief committees and campaigns for affected people in various parts of the world.”
Sudan’s Information Minister and government spokesman Ahmed Bilal Othman, Minister of the Council of Ministers Ahmed Saad Omar, and former Interior Minister and Secretary of the Arab-Chinese Friendship Council Ahmed Abdulrahman Mohammed, told a Saudi media delegation visiting Sudan that what had been achieved under the able leadership of King Salman was a source of pride.
They added that the Kingdom had advanced to occupy a leading position in the Arab, Muslim and international arenas via its commitment to achieving global security, stability and peace.


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.