Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (right) accepting his appointment as "Ambassador of the Saudi Tech Hub" from Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
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Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani (left), head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Wozniak's wife Janet Hill Wozniak at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
Updated 04 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

  • Wozniak is considered as one of the most important minds that have changed the history of the world
  • Wozniak said there is a great chance that Saudi Arabia will be an important player in the evolving and changing technology community

JEDDAH:  The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) has named Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as an ambassador for the creation of a “Saudi Tech Hub.” 

Saud Bin Abdulla Al-Qahtani, the head of the federation and an adviser to the Royal Court, presented Wozniak with a special certificate marking the occasion on Friday, during the finale of the three-day Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah.

Al-Qahtani said the appointment of Wozniak reflects the federation’s desire to work with the best minds in the sector to help the Kingdom become the region’s technology hub.

“Perhaps the greatest evidence of the scale of these technical transformations in today’s world is that a company such as Apple has become the first public company in the world with a market value of one trillion dollars,” he added. “We are happy that its co-founder has agreed to be an ambassador to the Saudi Technical Hub.

“The huge interest in the technical and technological sectors is reflected in the general plans of the state, as it is one of the main objectives pursued by the Kingdom in its Vision 2030 under the supervision, follow-up and direct support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Al-Qahtani thanked Wozniak for accepting the role of ambassador and his enthusiasm for it, describing him as one of the most important modern minds, who has helped to change the history of the world.

Wozniak said he was happy to accept the SAFCSP offer, explaining that he had been persuaded to do so by the remarkable development he has seen in Saudi Arabia’s approach to technology, which strengthens the nation’s vision for the sector. He said the success of this week’s Hajj Hackathon reflected the great interest among Saudis in programming and emerging technologies. There is every chance, he added, that Saudi Arabia will play an important role in the evolving and changing global technology community, and that that the country could soon be the main tech hub in the region.

Vision 2030 is fascinating, Wozniak said, adding that he is a fan and follower of the NEOM “city of the future” project in particular, which he described as an amazing idea.

“This is a remarkable success story in Saudi Arabia that can be written in the near future and will be an example to be followed internationally,” he said, adding that he is happy to support this by becoming a tech ambassador.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 35 min 3 sec ago
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.