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6,000-year-old relic handed to Saudi government

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) honors Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk for giving the relic to the commission. (SPA)

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) received a rare archaeological piece dating to 6,000 years ago from Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk. Prince Sultan handed Al-Balawi a reward and a certificate of honor for giving the relic to the commission.
The body’s Board of Directors at the body’s headquarters in Riyadh received the artifact following the conclusion of a meeting on Tuesday, reported Saudi Press Agency.
SPA did not identify the artifact.
The Saudi law stipulates that archaeological pieces are the property of the state and citizens who find them are required to hand them over to the SCTH.
Prince Sultan said some honest citizens who find archaeological pieces make the common mistake of digging them out and then hand them over to the SCTH. It is a mistake because 50 percent of the relic’s story is in the place it was found, he said. He added that the correct way to leave the piece in its place and notify only the Antiquities Office that will handle it.
He said keeping found archaeological pieces is a crime punishable by law. He said the SCTH will launch an awareness campaign. He said the SCTH receives nearly 20,000 reports of kept or stolen artifacts.

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) received a rare archaeological piece dating to 6,000 years ago from Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk. Prince Sultan handed Al-Balawi a reward and a certificate of honor for giving the relic to the commission.
The body’s Board of Directors at the body’s headquarters in Riyadh received the artifact following the conclusion of a meeting on Tuesday, reported Saudi Press Agency.
SPA did not identify the artifact.
The Saudi law stipulates that archaeological pieces are the property of the state and citizens who find them are required to hand them over to the SCTH.
Prince Sultan said some honest citizens who find archaeological pieces make the common mistake of digging them out and then hand them over to the SCTH. It is a mistake because 50 percent of the relic’s story is in the place it was found, he said. He added that the correct way to leave the piece in its place and notify only the Antiquities Office that will handle it.
He said keeping found archaeological pieces is a crime punishable by law. He said the SCTH will launch an awareness campaign. He said the SCTH receives nearly 20,000 reports of kept or stolen artifacts.

Saudi Arabia, US in search of ‘real’ Mideast peace

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Salman and US presidential adviser Jared Kushner met on Tuesday.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received senior US officials including presidential adviser Jared Kushner in Jeddah on Tuesday and discussed efforts to bring about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The crown prince also discussed ways to combat terrorist financing with Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, as well as US negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, the SPA said.
The two sides talked about seeking ways to reach “a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and ensuring stability in the wider Middle East and beyond, the SPA added.
Both sides also stressed their commitment to bolstering bilateral relations.
They affirmed their joint priorities in cutting off all forms of support to terrorists and extremists, and to coordinate efforts for the development of a global center for combating deviant thought.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman, State Minister Musaid Al-Aiban and Yasir Al-Rimyan, an adviser at the Cabinet secretariat.
The White House announced the trip earlier this month, saying it was part of a regional tour including meetings with leaders from the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The US officials are expected to be in Israel on Wednesday, a White House official said. They are planning to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, according to AP.
Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell have been heavily involved in a behind-the-scenes process to help Trump broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, which the first-year president has called the “ultimate deal.”
The talks this week are aimed at helping forge a path to substantive peace negotiations, but no major breakthroughs are expected.
Trump has not outright endorsed the two-state solution, which has been at the heart of US policy for nearly two decades.
The president has urged Israel to show restraint in settlement construction but not demanded a freeze, disappointing the Palestinians. Trump also pushed back a decision on his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel has welcomed the promise, while the Palestinians have strongly opposed it.
Kushner was charged with helping to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians after Trump took office.
The president visited Saudi Arabia and Israel during his first post-inauguration trip abroad and expressed a personal commitment to reaching a deal that has eluded his Republican and Democratic predecessors, according to Reuters.

August 23 is first day of Dul-Hijjah month: Saudi Supreme Court

JEDDAH: The first day of the Islamic month of Dul-Hijjah this year is August 23, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court declared on Tuesday.
The court issued the announcement after validating the testimony of a number of witnesses who said they have sighted the crescent of the month of Dul-Hijjah.
In accordance with the top court’s declaration, Hajj will begin on August 30, during which millions of pilgrims will gather in Mina, spend a day and night there in worship and meditation.
Arafat Day will be on August 31, when pilgrims will stand in prayer on the mount of Arafat near Makkah at the climax of the annual pilgrimage.
Eid Al-Ahda, or the Feast of Sacrifice, follows September 1, a Friday.
As of Tuesday, August 22, a total of 1,253,759 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom through airports, seaports and land crossings. The figure represents an increase of 269,141 pilgrims (27 percent) compared to last year’s figure, according to the Passports Directorate.

215 convicted of money laundering in one year

JEDDAH: Between 2015-2016, 66 Saudis and 149 residents were convicted of money laundering.
The number convicted included 15 Saudis and 28 residents in Riyadh; 18 Saudis and 41 residents in Makkah; two Saudis and seven residents in Madinah; three residents in Al-Qasim; 25 Saudis and 66 residents in Al Sharkiya; and five Saudis and four residents in Asir.
Lawyer Ahmed Al-Shehri said that money laundering is one of the most common criminal operations in the world, which is why all countries fight against these crimes.
Money laundering practices differ; therefore, educating employees working in the fields of finance, real estate and money exchange is a must. Banks are implementing training programs for their employees to learn to detect money laundering operations and methods of dealing with them, he indicated.
Al-Watan was informed by a knowledgeable source that in the Kingdom, private financial institutions and other commercial companies specialized in real estate and exchange deals are conducting training sessions for their employees to master methods of detecting money laundering. This initiative was taken to prevent the companies and institutions from becoming involved in such operations.