Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

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Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo on Monday. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Pope Tawadros II, pope of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, at the Cathedral of Abbasiya in Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Copts welcome in Saudi Arabia: Egypt’s Tawadros II praises Crown Prince’s reforms

CAIRO: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.
Speaking to Egyptian media after the visit the head of the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.
“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia.  
The two men walked together through St Mark's Cathedral, in what Egypt’s state news agency described as the first tour of its kind.
The visit came on the second day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt – his first foreign visit since he became heir to the throne.
On a busy day, Prince Mohammed also visited Al-Azhar university, toured a section of the Suez Canal and watched a performance at the Cairo Opera House.
The start of the trip was marked by a series of deals and agreements relating to investment funds and projects.
But along with the key economic agreements, the Crown Prince held important and symbolic meetings with Egypt’s spiritual leaders.
He also met Egypt's top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the foremost seat of learning in Sunni Islam.
Earlier, the prince toured some of the infrastructure projects that Egypt has pushed through since El-Sisi came to power after the tumultuous years aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In Ismailia, the two leaders travelled through one of the new tunnels being built under the Suez canal. They then boarded a boat from a red-carpeted dock as an army band played marching music, to view the new section of the Suez Canal, AP reported. 
He later cut the ribbon at a ceremony to inaugurate a nearby army-built resort.
The two countries agreed late on Sunday to set up a joint $10 billion fund to develop areas of Egypt linked to the Neom project, a planned $500 billion mega city, unveiled by Prince Mohammed last year.
The Saudi Press Agency said there was “wide potential … through cooperation opportunities between the Suez Canal economic zone and Saudi Arabia's Neom future-project on the Red Sea coast.”
In the evening, El-Sisi and Prince Mohammed attended a performance of "Salem nafsak" (Surrender Yourself) at the Cairo Opera House. 
The play, which was created by students, sheds light on social problems of the modern era including the impact of social media, incitement of terrorism and violence against women.
Ismail Mokhtar, head of the government’s Artistic Theatre House, said the attendance of El-Sisi and the Crown Prince was an important gesture of support for the young actors and Egyptian theater in general.
As a sign of the importance afforded to the visit, posters of the Egyptian president, Prince Mohammed and Saudi King Salman have been posted across the city.
"Welcome to your second country," said one; another read "Saudi and Egypt are one hand, one nation."

 


King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 14 December 2018
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King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.