Kingdom’s Haj arrangements impress Taiwan delegation

Updated 06 November 2012
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Kingdom’s Haj arrangements impress Taiwan delegation

JEDDAH: Ibrahim Chao, a Taiwanese adviser to the Chinese Muslim Association, called upon foreign Haj missions to educate their pilgrims about Haj matters before their arrival in the Kingdom.
“About one third of Hajis are not accustomed to modern facilities such as the train system and elevators. We should educate them properly about such facilities so that they can use them without any difficulty,” said Chao.
The adviser came to perform Haj this year, heading a 33-member delegation from Taiwan. He praised Saudi authorities for making excellent arrangements for the nearly four million pilgrims.
Chao noted Muslims’ readiness to pay for the Haj pilgrimage despite global depression. “Many people thought the number of pilgrims would decline this year due to global economic crisis. By the grace of God, a record four million performed Haj this year. This reflects the growing economic strength of the Muslim world,” he added.
Chao urged Muslims all over the world to get united, inspired by King Abdullah’s call. In his keynote address to foreign Haj missions at Mina, the Saudi king urged Muslims to get rid of their differences and work for unity.
According to Chao, about 120,000 Muslims live in Taiwan. He disclosed plans to establish more Islamic centers and mosques in Taiwan to meet the needs of Muslims in different parts of the island state.
Jacques Wu, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Jeddah, said, “Muslims are like one family, despite their racial, language and color differences. They come from different parts of the world to perform Haj, a symbol of Muslim unity.”
He highlighted the growing Saudi-Taiwan business relations. More than 20,000 Saudi tourists visit the country every year. Taiwan intends to launch a marketing campaign to attract more Saudi tourists.


Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

Updated 19 November 2018
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Rake news: Social media ablaze on Trump’s forest remarks for Finland

  • US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors
  • Raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation

HELSINKI: Social media in Finland was ablaze with bemused comments on Monday after US President Donald Trump claimed the forest-covered nation prevents wildfires by raking its forest floors.
Speaking to reporters during the weekend while in California to see the impact of devastating forest fires, the US president again blamed forest management, but said Finland had the answer.
Trump cited the Finnish president as telling him Finns “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things (in the forest), and they don’t have any problem.”
However the Nordic country’s president, Sauli Niinisto, told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper on Sunday that he had no recollection of raking being mentioned when the pair met in Paris a week ago.
“I told him that Finland is a country covered in forests, but we also have a good warning system and network,” the president said.
Finnish social media users were quick to pile in, describing Trump’s comments as “rake news” and posting pictures of themselves brandishing the garden implement.
By late Sunday, raking-related terms were among the most popular Twitter hashtags and Google searches in the Nordic nation which is 72 percent covered by forests, predominantly of pine, birch and fir.
Meanwhile Yrjo Niskanen, head of emergency preparedness at Finland’s national forest center, said the US president may have been referring to the practice of removing branches and loose material left in the forest after logging.
But he pointed out that this is not done with a rake — and the wood is collected for energy production.
“I’ve never thought before that it could be removed because of the fire risk, that’s not mentioned in any forestry manuals. It’s taken away purely for business reasons,” Niskanen told the Iltalehti newspaper.