Crowds welcome King Salman in Indonesia

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday. (SPA
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Saudi King Salman steps out of his plane upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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Saudi King Salman descends from his plane upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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An honor guard welcomes Saudi King Salman upon his arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (centre L) welcomes Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (centre R) at Halim airport in Jakarta on March 1, 2017. King Salman on March 1 began the first visit by a Saudi monarch to Indonesia in almost 50 years, seeking to strengthen economic ties with the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. / AFP / BAY ISMOYO
Updated 01 March 2017
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Crowds welcome King Salman in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia: The first Saudi monarch to visit Indonesia in nearly half a century has arrived to an elaborate official welcome and crowds of thousands.
 
King Salman was met by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as he exited his plane at Halim airport in Jakarta on Wednesday and headed in a convoy to a presidential palace in Bogor, outside of Jakarta, where tens of thousands of people lined the route.
 
 
The king is on the second leg of a tour of Asian countries to drum up business and improve ties. The visit will see the two nations sign a pact to combat terrorism, according to the Saudi envoy to Indonesia.
 
King Salman will hold talks with Widodo and attend a reception. He will also meet religious leaders and visit Southeast Asia’s biggest mosque Istiqlal before heading to the vacation island of Bali for more than a week.
 
Indonesia hopes to attract billions of dollars of investment from Saudi Arabia, though the trip will also focus on building cultural and religious ties and promoting education.
Saudi Arabia aims to open more Islamic schools in Indonesia, which will teach religion using the Arabic language, and step up the number of scholarships for students.
 
The king’s visit to Indonesia also comes as fringe Islamist groups grow in influence and Muslim leaders take an increasingly strict line on Islamic issues, which is at odds with Indonesia’s traditional brand of moderate Islam.
 
Indonesian police killed a militant on Monday after he detonated a small bomb in the West Java city of Bandung. Security officials said they were investigating whether he had links to a radical network sympathetic to Daesh.
 
King Salman started his Asia trip in Malaysia and also plans to visit Brunei, Japan, China, the Maldives and Jordan. 
 
Check our photo gallery for more pictures: A Sea of Love: Indonesians flock to greet Saudi King Salman


Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

Updated 37 min 35 sec ago
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Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

  • High-quality education will make students ‘valuable assets’ in transformation of the region
JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has launched the second phase of its overseas scholarship program, giving students the chance to study at universities in the US, UK, France and Australia.
The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students, creating more rounded graduates with wider experiences of foreign cultures and practices.
The students will also learn the languages of their host countries, which will aid them in later life depending on what path they choose, and encouraging interaction and exchanges between the Al-Ula region and the rest of the world.
Rami Al-Sakran, capabilities development manager for the commission, said the Al-Ula scholarship program was one of four strands in a community development plan.
“We have four different units, sector planning and business licensing so that covers economic development, with community engagement and human capability under the social development plan,” he told Arab News.
The second phase of the scholarship program will run for five years following the positive response to the first phase, which was launched last year. The second phase has been expanded to accommodate 300 students and is open to all genders.
Last September, 165 students were sent to the US, UK and France with Australia to focus on fields such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, archaeology and heritage.
Many residents from the area had migrated to larger cities because of the lack of job opportunities, he said, so it was important to engage and employ locals first.
“We’ll flood the equation. We’ll see people coming in and our priority is the local community and to provide them with jobs. We want these jobs that we’ll create to be filled by the locals first.
“We’ve currently provided jobs, whether directly or indirectly, some of them temporary and others permanent. At Winter in Tantora, we have volunteers, ushers, drivers as this is seasonal but we’ve established a database and some jobs are permanent, whether they’re directly employed by our CEO or some contract.”
Al-Sakran said locals were key to the success of turning Al-Ula into a major tourist destination.
“Locals, locals, locals. Without the locals, we can’t succeed. We have a very transparent relationship, it’s a two-way street with them. We cooperate with them and communicate with them on every basis. We have a strong relationship with the governor of Al-Ula and we listen to the locals.
“Whether it was our social or economical development, as you can see Winter in Tantora has a major socio-economic impact on the area and ... the locals are working everywhere here and that’s what we want. It’s theirs. We’ll unveil it to the Kingdom ... that’s the idea, to make it a strong and significant destination for all.”