Muslim World League, Vatican to set up permanent liaison body

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Pope Francis meets Muhammad al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, at the Vatican, Wednesday, on Sept. 20, 2017. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
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Pope Francis greets Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, during a meeting at the Vatican on September 20, 2017. (Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters)
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Pope Francis poses with Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, and members of theirs staff during a meeting at the Vatican on September 20, 2017. (Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 26 September 2017
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Muslim World League, Vatican to set up permanent liaison body

JEDDAH: Following his meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City, Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General Mohammed Al-Issa met with the head of the Pontifical Council of the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Laurent Tauran.
The latter meeting was held in the presence of the secretary of the Council of Archbishops, Miguel Isosu, and Archbishop Khalid Akasha.
The meeting established a permanent liaison committee between the Vatican, represented by the Pontifical Council, and the MWL, to discuss various initiatives.
Tauran welcomed Al-Issa and his accompanying delegation, and said the meeting with the pope opened a new chapter of friendship and cooperation between the Vatican and the Islamic world in the face of global challenges and risks.
Al-Issa thanked the Vatican and Tauran, and expressed appreciation for the work undertaken by the Pontifical Council, which he said enhances coexistence and cooperation.
The MWL chief lauded the historic meeting with the pope, and his rejection of claims that Islam is linked to extremism and terrorism. Al-Issa said no religion espouses extremism, but none is free from extremist elements.
He said the MWL has communicated and cooperated with the Vatican via the Pontifical Council in all areas to achieve common goals, notably the spread of peace and harmony.
The MWL delegation visited the headquarters of the Community of Sant’Egidio, an international Catholic organization based in Rome.
The president and secretary of the dialogue committee briefed Al-Issa on the humanitarian work carried out by the organization inside and outside Italy.
The president expressed pleasure over the MWL’s historic visit, which he said carries a new vision of peace and coexistence.
He said the Community of Sant’Egidio looks forward to opening new horizons with the East in religious and cultural spheres.
Al-Issa said the MWL is fully prepared to cooperate with the organization in all areas that serve cultural communication. In this context, he called for more cooperation between the two organizations.


Transport Ministry to spend SR773m on new road safety projects

Updated 2 min 39 sec ago
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Transport Ministry to spend SR773m on new road safety projects

RIYADH: The Ministry of Transport announced on Sunday that it will implement eight road safety projects at a total cost of SR773 million.
The eight projects will improve the safety of the Kingdom’s road system, which covers more than 68,000 kilometers, said a press release.
The eight projects include the establishment of the National Road Safety Center, three “traffic safety equipment” projects, three “rumble strip” projects — to alert motorists to changing road conditions, and the implementation of recommendations from last year’s Engineering and Consultancy Services Agreement, which identified a number of issues with the country’s road network, including accident black spots; reviewed the ministry’s traffic control centers; analyzed accident reports; and modernized the ministry’s safety department documentation and policies.
According to the press release, it will implement a further 15 projects over the next three years, all aimed at reducing the number of accidents and casualties on the Kingdom’s roads. It is estimated that traffic accidents cause material losses of SR4.4 billion every year. Later projects will include improved safety facilities at animal crossings, the installation of protective barriers for lampposts on some roads, improved intersections and junctions, and improved street lighting around dangerous intersections.
The total cost for all 23 projects will be around SR2.2 billion. They are part of the transport ministry’s contribution to the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030.
RPTN Project
In a plan to tackle Riyadh’s traffic problems, the new Riyadh Metro will carry at least 1.16 million passengers daily, while Riyadh Bus Network will carry about 900,000 passengers every day to feed the metro trains.
They are part of the ambitious Riyadh Public Transit Network Project.
“The system aims to carry 1.16 million passengers per day during its initial phase, with a peak of 3.6 million per day in ultimate capacity,” said Tariq Al-Faris, the chief executive officer of Riyadh Development Authority (RDA). He said the railway and bus networks will address the traffic problems of Riyadh, which has a population of 6.5 million people today.
“Its streets currently witness more than 9 million car trips per day, raising problems of congestion, pollution and reduced mobility that threaten to choke economic growth in Riyadh, making the development of a comprehensive public transportation system paramount,” said Al-Faris. He said that the metro network, with its six lines totaling 176 km and 85 metro stations, will cover most of the densely populated areas and public facilities, as well as governmental, educational, commercial and medical institutions.
Referring to the trains’ passenger capacity, he said the “Riyadh Metro trainset will be 36 meters long and will be able to accommodate up to 260 passengers. The metro trains will be driverless and designed to run on standard gauge tracks, at a top speed of 90 kilometers per hour.” The Riyadh Metro project will have 190 trainsets, and the network is designed to accommodate up to 338 trains when needed, he noted.
Similarly, metro stations are designed according to a unified architectural pattern, giving the project a unique look and feel, said a booklet released by the RDA. Intended to provide passengers with safety and comfort, all stations will be air-conditioned, equipped with passenger information systems and free Internet access. Stations will make use of solar cells technology, to save about 20 percent of the power required for air-conditioning and lighting.
The statement said that to encourage people to use the network, a total of 25 park-and-ride facilities are being built along the lines. “A total of 80 bus routes, which will be feeder routes for Riyadh Metro, will cover the capital city,” said the statement, referring to the building of 3,000 bus terminals and stations. The bus fleet will be made up of 842 vehicles in total.