Riyadh sandstorm sparks health alert as schools close 

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Updated 10 May 2018
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Riyadh sandstorm sparks health alert as schools close 

  • Motorists were urged to exercise caution in the high winds
  • Swirling wind and dust forced some community schools in Riyadh to close

RIYADH: Sandstorms shrouded the Saudi capital in a blanket of dust on Wednesday, closing schools, sparking a health alert and causing havoc on busy roads.

Motorists were urged to exercise caution in the high winds, with the traffic department’s network of electronic screens warning of danger from poor visibility.

As blinding dust enveloped the city, drivers had to use headlights and early morning traffic on Riyadh’s major roads ground to a halt. 

Swirling wind and dust forced some community schools in Riyadh to close, while others declared a “no activities day” following concerns for pupils’ health.

However, the sandstorm failed to halt air traffic in the capital, with flights taking off as scheduled, officials at the King Khalid International Airport said.

As the storm eased, visibility improved, but dust continued to shroud the city’s skyline throughout the day.

Riyadh’s civil defense department said the city had been fortunate to avoid any serious accidents in the difficult conditions.

Earlier, the department issued a citywide health alert, urging asthma patients and those with breathing problems to take medical precautions and avoid leaving their homes.

The city’s maximum temperature was 42 degrees Celsius with relative humidity of 17 percent. Clear skies and a maximum of 39 degrees Celsius are forecast for Thursday.


Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

Updated 22 April 2019
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Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

  • Al-Issa lauds Russian model of national harmony and coexistence
  • Al-Issa also met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament last month

MOSCOW: The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa held a meeting with the president of the Russian People’s Council, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, and other council members, where they discussed issues of common interest.

They looked into means of boosting cooperation between Russia and the Muslim world, supporting positive national integration programs and countering extremist speeches and Islamophobia.

Al-Issa lauded the Russian model of national harmony and coexistence, while Ordzhonikidze presented Al-Issa with a copy of the council’s yearly report.

At the meeting the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share their experiences in the fight against extremist ideologies, the promotion of interreligious dialogue and coexistence and the implementation of joint projects to achieve shared goals. They also stressed the pure and peaceful values of Islam and rejected all forms of extremism and Islamophobia.

The meeting was attended by the Russian deputy chairman of the Committee for the Development of Agriculture, Aygun Memedov, the chairman of the Committee on the Normalization of Relations Between Nationalities and Religions, Sheikh Albert Karganov, the Mufti of Moscow and the Khanti-Mansisk Region in Siberia Sheikh Tahir Samatov.

Last month, Al-Issa met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament Vyacheslav Volodin. They discussed subjects related to promoting and supporting dialogue among followers of different religions and civilizations, activating cultural contacts and exchanges between the Muslim world and Russia.

Al-Issa signed a cooperation agreement between the MWL and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic Culture, Science and Education. The agreement focused on tackling extremism and promoting tolerance. The agreement stressed the need for cooperation in the fight against extremism, intolerance, aggression and hostility among religions, races and ideologies that could lead to terrorism.

Both parties agreed to exchange information on the activities of scientific centers, cultural forums and websites.