First-ever cards tournament gives Saudi Arabia a winning hand

Updated 17 February 2018
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First-ever cards tournament gives Saudi Arabia a winning hand

JEDDAH: Riyadh will host the first-ever Baloot championship from April 4 to 18, the General Sports Authority (GSA) has announced via Twitter.
The card game, similar to the French version Belote, is popular with Saudi men.
The championships will be held in the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, with the top four players receiving prize money totalling more than SR1 million ($270,000), including SR500,000 for the winner.
Aiman Turkistani from Makkah told Arab News. “The championship is a good idea and will raise spirits. Many will take part from all over the Kingdom and it will be exciting to witness people being competitive. It’s an ancient game that has been passed down from generation to generation, and this championship will gradually spread the culture of baloot to the Arab world, and maybe even further, on an international level.”
Baleegh Abdullah, a veteran Baloot player from Jeddah, expects women to take part in the championships, and also predicts the game’s popularity to grow.
“Baloot will definitely evolve through the championship. It’s a very competitive, clever game that relies on synchronicity between team members,” he said.
“Such prize money for a first-time championship is unprecedented. It was larger than expected, and I’m certain it will encourage people to develop an interest in the game.”


Saudi Arabia’s first ‘smart’ pharmacy inaugurated

Updated 21 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s first ‘smart’ pharmacy inaugurated

TABUK: Prince Fahd bin Sultan, governor of Tabuk region, inaugurated the Kingdom’s first smart pharmacy — operated by a robot — at King Fahd Specialist Hospital on Thursday, following his meeting with the province’s director general of health affairs, Ghurmallah bin Abdullah Al-Ghamdi.
It is hoped that the smart pharmacy — which can dispense 1,500 packages of medicine per hour, store over 20,000 packages of medicine, reject expired drugs, and deal with 240 prescriptions per hour — will save the time of patients and pharmacists, ensure better control of drug stocks, provide the highest safety standards, and reduce medication errors.
The pharmacy has six outlets, one of which is dedicated to serving disabled people.
Prince Fahd congratulated Tabuk Health Affairs on this achievement, which he said would contribute to better health care services.
He stressed that serving citizens was the main objective and praised the role of young men and women in meeting the requirements of the future.
He also thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support for the health care sector in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Ghamdi thanked Prince Fahd for his support for the health care sector in the province.