US ends laptop ban on Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudi Arabian Airlines has been removed from the US laptop ban, the US Transportation Security Administration announced on Monday. (SPA file photo)
Updated 17 July 2017
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US ends laptop ban on Saudi Arabian Airlines

WASHINGTON: The US Transportation Security Administration said on Monday it has lifted a ban on passengers on Saudi Arabian Airlines carrying large electronics like laptops onboard US-bound flights, the last carrier under the restrictions.
In March, US officials imposed restrictions on passengers carrying laptops and other large electronic gear in cabins on nine airlines, most of which were Middle Eastern carriers, to address the potential threat of hidden explosives.
Last month, US officials announced new security requirements for all airlines rather than an expansion of the laptop ban and have been dropping the restrictions from airlines as they boosted security.
A TSA spokesman said the US government had lifted the restrictions at Saudi Arabian Airlines’ main hub in Jeddah at King Abdulaziz International Airport on Monday. US government officials will visit Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport “later this week to confirm compliance there as well,” spokesman James Gregory said.
On Thursday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a revised directive to airlines around the world in response to requests that it clarify aviation security measures scheduled to begin taking effect later this week.
An airline official briefed on the matter said the directive gave airlines more flexibility and additional time to obtain explosive trace detection equipment. The official was not authorized to discuss sensitive security issues with the media and requested anonymity.
The directive includes technical adjustments, agency officials said, declining to release the text. European airlines have been pushing for changes to meet the new requirements.
DHS has said that it could impose new restrictions on laptops if airlines do not make security upgrades.
European and US officials told Reuters that airlines have until July 19, to put in place increased explosive trace detection screening and other measures and 120 days to comply with other security measures, including enhanced screening of airline passengers.
The new requirements include enhanced passenger screening at foreign airports, increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas and expanded canine screening. They affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
A group of airline groups, including the International Air Transport Association, criticized the new requirements in a July 14 letter to US officials saying it is a “fundamental shift away from the risk-based approach” and said it would be “extremely difficult” to “meet the deadlines because of the lack of availability of screening equipment technology and resources.” The letter was reported earlier by Politico.


Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

Updated 2 min 39 sec ago
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Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

  • Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal receives book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model”
  • Second workshop tackles use of technology in crowd control

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has inaugurated the “mithaq” initiative, the first of its kind to be held at the Holy Mosques, and received the book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model” from the General President of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.

The initiative included three workshops: The first workshop, Creating Initiatives in Moderation and Tolerance, was managed and supervised by the Prince Faisal Center for Moderation. It attracted many scholars and academicians and approved 27 initiatives to enhance moderation and tolerance.

The second workshop was on using technology in crowd control — engineering solutions for better crowd flow and for enhancing security control.

The third workshop was about the media and the global mission of the Holy Mosques. It was attended by many media personalities and university professors, and was characterized by serious discussion before agreement on quality initiatives with tangible results.

During the Makkah cultural days, Prince Khaled inaugurated the pact of the role model, which represents a holistic commitment to quality service from leaders, employees, security personnel and everyone serving at the Holy Mosques. This pact is an interpretation of the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Khaled toured the exhibition and praised the efforts of each department in the service of the pilgrims and visitors of the Holy Mosques.

Al-Sudais held a conference about the impact of the Holy Mosques in enhancing the role model, presided over by Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb, imam of the Holy Mosque. It was attended by Sheikh Saad Al-Shathri, adviser at the royal court, and Sheikh Hassan bin Abdul Hameed Bukhari.