Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

Faizer Mackeen
Updated 31 March 2017

Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

RIYADH: Members of the Sri Lankan community and diplomats mourned the death of Faizer Mackeen, Sri Lankan consul general in Jeddah, who passed away at a city hospital in the western province on Saturday.
His funeral took place after noon prayers in Makkah attended by people from all walks of life including the Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim.
Mackeen’s body was brought from the hospital morgue to Al-Amoudi Mosque, opposite the Sri Lankan Consulate, for the funeral prayer, and for people to pay their last. Later, the body was taken to Makkah for burial.
Mackeen who was 64 suffered a cardiac arrest when he was addressing members of his community at the consulate to mark his country’s National Day on Feb. 4.
He underwent open-heart surgery and was in the intensive care unit at the time of his death.
During his ailment, the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo appointed U.L.M. Niyas, a diplomat from the Riyadh Embassy, to act as consul general in Jeddah.
Niyas said news of the death sent shock waves among the members of the community since Mackeen had earned the goodwill of his compatriots.
Former Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Mohammed told Arab News from Sri Lanka that the country lost a devoted diplomat who had done so much for the community in a short period.
Duty-free allowances
The Sri Lankan government has announced new duty-free concessions for its overseas workers who have spent more than 12 months abroad.
According to a circular issued by Parakrama Basnayake, Customs deputy director, the government has decided to further extend the duty concession granted to Sri Lankan expats on their return to the country.
Basnayake earlier said expats were granted a customs duty concession to purchase goods valued at $1,500. But now expats returning home after a one-year stint would be allowed to bring in several goods without any duty.
The goods include bathroom equipment, bedroom furniture, solar energy panels, computers, laptops, printers, two mobile phones, motorcycles under 350cc engine capacity, scooters and 55-inch TV sets.

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 40 min 59 sec ago

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.