Saudi official dismisses Turkish claims Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul consulate

a security delegation consisting of Saudi investigators arrived to Istanbul on Saturday to participate in the investigations. (File/AP)
Updated 08 October 2018

Saudi official dismisses Turkish claims Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul consulate

  • A security delegation consisting of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul to participate in the investigations
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he was awaiting the results of an investigation

DUBAI: An official at Saudi Arabia’s Consulate General in Istanbul has strongly dismissed reports that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed within the consulate, state-news agency SPA reported.

The official strongly denounced the report by Reuters news agency, calling them “baseless allegations”, adding that he has doubts they came from Turkish officials “who are informed of the investigation or are authorized to comment on the issue.”

The official said that a security delegation consisting of Saudi investigators arrived in Istanbul on Saturday to participate in the investigations into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

The source said the relevant authorities in the Kingdom are diligently following up to uncover the complete facts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday he was awaiting the results of an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance and maintains positive expectations on his fate.

“I am following the case and we will inform the world whatever the outcome,” he said. 

“We hope to have results very quickly. I am waiting, with high hopes.”

The president said police were examining CCTV footage of entrances and exits at the consulate and Istanbul airport.

Erdogan described the missing man, who had lived in the US for the past year, as “a journalist and a friend,” and added: “God willing we will not be faced with a situation we do not desire.”

On Monday Turkey asked for permission to search Saudi Arabia’s consulate for Khashoggi.

A Turkish official also said Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Ankara had been summoned to the foreign ministry for a second time on Sunday and had been asked by Turkish diplomats to be “in full coordination” on the matter.


A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

Updated 12 min 51 sec ago

A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

  • Lamsa was launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012
  • It provides an innovative way of motivating children to learn

DUBAI: The most crucial year in a child’s education may be the age of 8, or third grade, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The organization, which focuses on improving the wellbeing of American children, found this to be the developmental phase when children transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

The research also established that third graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times as likely to become high-school dropouts.

The significance of this pivotal point in early childhood development is what drives Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa, to develop innovative ways of motivating kids in the Arab world to read and learn in their language.

“If we don’t encourage reading at that age, we could be taking the risk of them having a life-long issue with catching up,” Ward said.

Since children already spend a considerable amount of their time on connected devices, Ward is convinced that edutainment — media designed to educate through entertainment — is the best way to make screen time “relevant and meaningful.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Lamsa. (Supplied Photo)

Launched in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Lamsa provides an ad-free platform featuring animated literature, rhymes, songs, interactive games and educational videos in Arabic for children aged between 2 and 8.

Ward said: “We have to face reality. Education systems across the world are legacy systems. Whether we like it or not, technology has changed the way we consume information. Children today have access to devices from the moment they are born. So whether it’s reading on paper or e-books or interactive storytelling, we need to look at encouraging them to read, and to love to read and learn.”

Ward explains that much like a favorite teacher impacts a child’s interest in a subject, edutainment has a significant effect on their curiosity about a topic.

He modelled the characters in the edutainment app after his daughter Joory and son Adam, whose lack of interest in reading prompted him to start Lamsa.

Ward sought advice from his friend Leonard Marcus, an author, historian and expert on English language children’s literature. Marcus recommended taking the kids to a comic book store and letting them explore without forcing them to buy anything.

“So I did that,” Ward said. “We went to the comic book store, and I let them roam around. They were fascinated by the images.”

“Arabic is not just a language. It’s so important for children to understand their heritage and culture.”

Badr Ward, CEO of Arabic edutainment app Lamsa

He then asked his kids if they wanted anything, and they asked to have some of the comics. “In the evening, I found my children opening the comic book and just laughing,” he said.

“Because of that start three years ago, they can’t let go of books now.”

Ward said seeing the power of images and illustrations has made him support using pictures to captivate children.

The lack of quality and culturally relevant educational material in Arabic remains a challenge, he said. For this reason, Lamsa’s content library has been developed to celebrate Arabic not just as a language but as a source of heritage, culture, literature, music and food. The app team works in partnership with Arab authors, illustrators and organizations.

“Arabic is not just a language,” Ward said, adding that for Arab children everywhere, understanding cultural context is crucial to their values, beliefs and identity.

“It’s so important in the development of children to have a clear understanding of where they come from. In order to establish understanding of other cultures and learn tolerance, you need to start with your own. It’s fundamental to confidence, identity and heritage.”

 

 The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.