RIYADH: The Ministry of Social Affairs is to soon pay out SR858 million for 5,721 people with disabilities to buy special cars. The amount would allow for the purchase of 6,300 cars, according to Abdullah Al-Muaiqil, the undersecretary for social and family affairs, a local publication reported. Each person who applied between 2007 and 2014 would get SR150,000 to buy a car. Al-Muaiqil said all checks will paid within a month at rehabilitation centers across the Kingdom. He said the second phase of the car program includes people with disabilities who had registered this year. He said a committee had been formed to oversee the payments, as stipulated in a royal decree. Al-Muaiqil said there would likely be 10,700 beneficiaries once everyone registers. The ministry was committed to ensuring the payments take place smoothly. He said the ministry has 13 programs to serve the disabled including 30 rehabilitation centers housing more than 8,000 beneficiaries. There is also programs with day care, discounts on goods, home care, and monthly aid of SR1,666. In addition, the government pays the training fees of 8,000 individuals at private centers. He said the government also pays the visa fees for nurses, maids and drivers needed by people with disabilities. Further support includes diagnosing students to see whether they qualify for financial aid, and distributing medical equipment and aid for those who wish to start their own vocational projects. He said the ministry has been meeting officials from the Human Resources Development Fund to tackle cases where companies are involved in the bogus employment of people with disabilities to boost their Saudization figures. Al-Muaiqil said the ministry would soon set up three autism centers to unify services. The Ministry of Housing is assisting the ministry to meet the needs of families, he said.
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
Updated 20 July 2019
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.
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.
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.
“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.