Saudi education venture Noon attends US investment conference

A Saudi youth conducts a demo at the investment in education technology (ed-tech) conference in Salt Lake City in Utah.
Updated 07 July 2017

Saudi education venture Noon attends US investment conference

RIYADH: The Noon Educational Platform, supported by the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), has become the first Saudi or Arab entity to participate in the ASU+GSV conference on investment in education technology, held recently in the US.
Chief Executive Mohammed Al-Dhelaan said that Noon was the only Arab body invited to speak to investors from all over the world at the annual conference.
He praised the role of KACST’s Badir Program in supporting and facilitating the participation of the Noon in this important conference.
The Noon Educational Platform — which specializes in social learning, artificial intelligence and the knowledge revolution — was given the opportunity to showcase its work and business insights to a host of potential investors and technology enthusiasts from Silicon Valley.
“Our participation in this conference comes after we recently concluded a successful investment tour at Noon Educational Platform which was (attended) by several local and regional investors, led by Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem, the cab-booking (service) in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Al-Dhelaan.
With more than 900,000 students enrolled in Noon, the educational platform aims to revolutionize the private-tutoring market and improve the education of millions in the Arab world. Noon aims to reformulate the concept of private tutoring by combining learning with pleasure and artificial intelligence.
Through Noon, a high school student is just a click of a button away from getting a private tutor on his phone, whenever needed, at a cost of about 70 percent less than when booked in person.
Noon is one of the most prominent projects of the Badir Program at KACST.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.