Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

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Biking club members from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines joined families for a day of motorcycle-related events. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Many families at the festival event picnicked in the park, and children were entertained taking part in various activities organized by the General Sports Authority. (SPA)
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In Dammam, motorcycle fans from all over the region and beyond attended the Saudi Bike Show. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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The festival will feature more than 80 events across all the major cities in Eastern Province, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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The Saudi Bike Show is on until Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Spectators watched bikers and boarders perform gravity-defying stunts on ramps and jumps. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Local BMX bikers also showcased their skills as they hopped and spun their cycles. (Arab News/Essam Al-Ghalib)
Updated 17 March 2019
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Motorbikes and boards kick Saudi Arabia’s Sharqiah Season off with a vroom

  • Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned in the Kingdom in 2019
  • Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with varying entertainment options for each city

AL-AHSA: The second day of Sharqiah Season got off with a vroom as hundreds of motorcyclists descended on a Saudi city for a major bike show.
Thousands of festival-goers on Friday flocked to music, arts and sports events taking place throughout the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.
In Dammam, motorcycle fans from all over the region and beyond attended the Saudi Bike Show, which continues on Saturday in Life Park. Biking club members from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines joined families for a day of motorcycle-related events.
Among the visitors enjoying stunt performances, displays and trade stands was Mohammed Al-Amari, a 32-year-old Saudi, and his seven-year-old son, Majid, who was wearing full motorcycle gear including a child’s helmet.
Elsewhere, at the King Abdullah Adventure Park, in Al-Ahsa, large crowds gathered to watch “Battle of the Champions,” an event organized by the Festival International des Sports Extremes (FISE), which featured some of the world’s top skateboard, BMX, parkour and rollerblade athletes.

See more photos from Sharqiah Season’s opening weekend here

Spectators watched bikers and boarders perform gravity-defying stunts on ramps and jumps, and local BMX bikers also showcased their skills as they hopped and spun their cycles on a separate stage next to the main event.
A training space was also set up for younger visitors to try out a few tricks of their own, with children strapping on rollerblades in padded enclosure, under the eye of trained athletes.
Many families at the festival event picnicked in the park, and children were entertained taking part in carnival-style sports games organized by the General Sports Authority.
Mishaal Al-Qahtani, from Al-Ahsa, told Arab News: “I’m glad that the beauty of Al-Ahsa is being shared with the rest of Saudi Arabia at last. It’s about time the focus shifted from Riyadh and Jeddah. Saudi Arabia has so much more to share. Sharqiah deserves this time to shine.”
Amani Al-Omran had traveled from Alkhobar to witness the FISE event. “We used to be chastised for wasting our time with bikes and skateboards. Now this huge event is happening right in our home town. It’s amazing.”
In Jubail, more than 29 internationally renowned artists took part in the Tawiyyah Arts Exhibition as part of Sharqiah Season. The display, staged at Al-Fanateer’s cultural center in Jubail’s industrial city, featured 41 works of art created including paintings, sculptures, photo imaging, Arabic calligraphy and batik.
Spectacular 3-D presentations told stories through moving images projected onto the SABIC building in the heart of the industrial city, and there were interactive water shows and visual displays for visitors to enjoy on Al-Fanateer beach. Not all the Sharqiah Season events went to plan, with fireworks on Alkhobar Corniche having to be postponed on Thursday night due high winds. But the cancelation failed to dampen the spirits of visitors. Meshari Daghistani said organizers were doing an “amazing” job.
Sharqiah Season is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned in the Kingdom in 2019.
In a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority, the project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudi citizens and foreign tourists.
The festival will feature more than 80 events across all the major cities in Eastern Province, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail.
Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with varying entertainment options for each city. There will be festivals concentrating on parts of the year such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.
Sharqiah Season continues in the Eastern Province until March 30, with sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and Formula 1 H20 boat race, and concerts in Dammam featuring US singer Akon, Canadian DJ Deadmau5, US rapper Pitbull and US-Moroccan rapper French Montana.
The Saudi Bike Show is on until Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and is open to all ages, while the FISE “Battle of the Champions” continues on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.


KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Updated 25 April 2019
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KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

  • Al-Rabeeah: We have no hidden agenda in Syria and we work through international organizations

BEIRUT: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, signed on Wednesday seven agreements with Beirut and international and civil organizations operating in Lebanon to implement relief projects targeting Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as the most affected host communities in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who participated in the symposium at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut to sign the agreements, praised the strong Saudi-Lebanese relations, which have existed for decades, and stressed Lebanon’s keenness to ensure their permanence and development.

He said: “The meetings Al-Rabeeah has held with different Lebanese political and religious authorities over the past two days during his visit to Lebanon, under the guidance of King Salman, indicate the Saudi leadership’s true desire to deepen the fraternal ties with the Lebanese, support Lebanon’s unity, independence, sovereignty and coexistence formula, and protect its existence from the repercussions of all the fires, crises and interventions that plague many countries.”

During the symposium, which was attended by a large group of political, religious and social figures, Al-Rabeeah called on the international donor community to shoulder more responsibility.

Addressing the implementing bodies, he said: “It is time to reconsider your working mechanisms in order to develop them and improve procedures to avoid negative impacts.”

“What I mean by reconsidering working processes is that there is a need to work professionally and skillfully because there are not many resources, and we must eliminate bureaucracy and speedily make the most of resources,” Al-Rabeeah told Arab News.

He stressed the importance of developing a close partnership between the donor and the implementer of projects, highlighting that KSRelief’s work is subject to international and regional oversight mechanisms as well as its own internal control mechanisms.

“We have two strategic partners, and when agreements are signed with the recipients of assistance, this means accepting oversight terms,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia supports the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and so is the case for Yemen.”

“Saudi Arabia has supported peaceful dialogues, which restore security and stability,” he said. “In order for this to happen in Syria, we support the efforts of the United Nations and implement (as KSRelief) relief programs inside Syria. We also have major programs and we count on the UN to ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees.”

On the Syrian regions in which KSRelief is implementing its programs and the difficulties faced, Al-Rabeeah told Arab News: “We have nothing to do with military or religious matters, and wherever there is security, we work. We also work through the UN and the international organizations inside Syria, and we do not have any hidden agenda in this field.”

He stressed that “participating in rebuilding Syria requires security and stability, and the Saudi leadership hopes for a peaceful solution as soon as possible. Until this is achieved, the relief work will continue and won’t cease.”

Al-Rabeeah announced that KSRelief is implementing a quality program to rehabilitate recruited children in Yemen alongside its education, protection, health and environment projects.

“There are those who recruit children to fight in Yemen, violating all humanitarian laws. Our center rehabilitates them so that they are not used as terrorist tools in the future,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 has given relief work its share, especially in terms of volunteering programs. “We have great examples involved in the field,” he said.

Among the signed agreements was one with the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) to carry out a project to cover the food needs of Lebanese families.

Chairman of Lebanon’s High Relief Commission Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair told Arab News that the agreement targets distributing 10,000 food rations to orphans, widows and destitute families in the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in Lebanon. “This project is encouraging and gives hope to people,” he said.

Khair said that there are 100,000 people in need in Bab Al-Tabbaneh district alone, pledging to commit to transparency during the implementation of the project. “It is not a question of sectarian balance; we are focused on those who are most in need,” he said.

The signed agreements include one for repairing, equipping, and operating the Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Center for Dialysis at the Makassed General Hospital, an agreement with the UNHCR worth $5 million to implement a project for assisting the most affected Syrian families for six months, an agreement to support Souboul Assalam Association in Akkar (northern Lebanon), an agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to implement a project worth $3.8 million to cover the needs of Syrian families that are below the poverty line for a year, and an agreement with UNRWA to cover the medical needs and treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said: “The challenge facing UNRWA after the reduction of its budget is maintaining the operation of its 715 schools in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner for us, and owing to its help, we will be able to help cancer and multiple sclerosis patients,” he said.