Poll preparations complete

Updated 27 July 2015
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Poll preparations complete

RIYADH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has banned the display of photos of candidates during campaigning for the upcoming municipal elections.

The ministry said it would not allow any display of photo to canvass votes, an online publication said.
The ban was announced as the general committee for municipal elections said preparations for the first phase of the poll on Aug. 22 were complete.
The municipal elections’ executive committee will implement various plans on final preparations for the launch of the electoral process during the next phase.
In a meeting chaired by Agdia Qahtani, the executive committee discussed several reports from local committees. Particularly discussed was the completion of the formation of election commissions in electoral centers, provision of cadres and processing centers, furniture and office supplies in preparation for the reception of voters and candidates.
The executive committee also discussed the implementation of the different team plans in accordance with timetables.
The executive committee will receive reports periodically on the preparations from electoral commissions and centers.
Its membership includes the heads of media and organizational teams who will meet weekly to study reports from local committees on various aspects of the electoral process and report to the General Election Commission.
Media group president Hamad Al-Omar will continue the media awareness campaign during the next phase which precedes the launch of the electoral process.
He said the campaign would resume during the next few days after a pause for Eid.
Referring to the information awareness campaign during the next phase, he said this would mobilize citizens who are encouraged to register so they can participate in the electoral process and be active in municipal decision-making by choosing their representatives.
Nasser bin Abdullah Al-Fehaid, head of the technical team, said he had finished most of the work needed in preparation for the third session.
The number of women intending to nominate themselves for the elections has increased to 70. They include businesswomen and others involved in social and community services in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Tabuk, in addition to more than 80 who registered themselves as campaign managers.
According to Naila Attar, an activist and coordinator of the Baladi Initiative in Jeddah, the initiative will hold awareness seminars and workshops for female voters this month.
“The seminars will focus on urging all Saudi women to participate and exercise their right as citizens and voters in the election.”
Attar said the awareness program initiatives will include a training course to boost the capabilities of candidates and train them about selecting the electoral message, and convincing the public about the electoral platform of the candidates, the role expected from them as members of the municipal council and how to grab the largest proportion of votes.


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.