Mushrooming shisha cafes on corniche alarm visitors

Updated 05 April 2016
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Mushrooming shisha cafes on corniche alarm visitors

JEDDAH: The municipal council confirmed on Saturday that the regional governorate has received complaints from citizens on the proliferation of shisha cafes along the Jeddah corniche.
A large number of families and young men complained to the governorate about an unhealthy environment that leads to chest illnesses, and demanded that the appropriate authorities intervene and solve this problem, a local publication reported.
“When you pass by the corniche, you are filled with the smell of shisha which emits toxins and poisons in the air. Every individual who runs such cafes must be held accountable and punished,” said Mohammad Al-Johani, a frequent visitor to the corniche.
Another citizen, Fahd Al-Harbi, said the seafront has been transformed into a maze of shisha cafes. Referring to the dangers and hazards of the small gas cylinders that are used to ignite the coals, he said: “If, God forbid, they explode, a great number of people around the place would become victims. This is a source of concern, and is hazardous for picnickers and families who come to have a peaceful moment along the seafront.”
Another citizen, Ibrahim Qara, said that on Thursday and Friday, during the weekends, large numbers of shisha smokers come to the corniche. “I stopped going there with my family on these days,” he said.
A recent medical study found that shisha smoke contains large quantities of toxic materials that cause cancer, and that the blood of shisha smokers contains high levels of carbon monoxide.
Shisha smoking is associated with elevated risks of cancer and chronic serious diseases because of its high content of lead and arsenic. And because shisha smokers take turns using the water pipe, from one mouth to another, this makes them further exposed to the risks of infectious diseases.
The spokesman for the Jeddah Municipal Council, Saeed Al-Zahrani, said there was a decision issued by the Interior Ministry to prevent shisha smoking on the corniche.
Jeddah municipality spokesman Omar Humaidan said the corniche is a public entertainment site and people cannot be banned from enjoying it.
Meanwhile, the municipality denied rumors circulating in the social media that a committee, formed by the municipality and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), has confiscated shishas on the corniche and forced smokers to pay a fine of SR300.
However, it said: "Any individual practices that may cause damage to public facilities are punishable and include fines and other penalties.”


Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

Updated 6 min 41 sec ago
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Cirque du Soleil prepares ground-breaking show in King Fahd Stadium

Arab News JEDDAH: A joint press conference between the MBC Group, the General Entertainment Authority, and Cirque du Soleil was held at King Fahd Stadium on Thursday afternoon to answer media questions and give some details about Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming special performance, part of Saudi Arabia’s 88th National Day celebrations. The show is slated to be one of the biggest performed by the Cirque and their first in Saudi Arabia. It is a one-night-only, exclusive event, designed especially for this occasion.
Daniel Fortin, vice president of Creation at Cirque du Soleil, teased the audience with a few details of the upcoming show. “With a cast and crew of over 300, this is one of the biggest shows we’ve ever done,” he said.
“Without giving too much of the plot away, the story is centered around the sun, and takes place from sunset to sunrise. Everything from the costumes to the stage props was created as a homage to Saudi culture. You’ll see a lot of Bedouin influences in the staging and in the music. We drew inspiration from a variety of sources, such as traditional Bedouin tents, desert scenery, even the stadium itself.”
The show has been in development for six months, and the cast and crew have been preparing for the show at the King Fahd International Stadium since the beginning of August.
The show will contain new technology, and 16 unprecedented acrobatic acts. However, Fortin refused to share too many details. “You’ll just have to see what we have planned at the show.” He said. “But I think you will be impressed. We’re doing things we’ve never done before.”
Tickets to the show sold out in less than 48 hours after their release; an incredible feat as the show has allocated more than 27,000 seats for the performance. Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, spokesperson for the General Entertainment Authority, was pleased— but not entirely surprised— by the public’s reaction to news of the show. “We felt that variety in the types of events we brought to Saudi Arabia was important,” he said, “and we conducted a number of research workshops to determine what sort of events would be well-received by the public. Cirque du Soleil was mentioned frequently in our research, so we’re very happy to have had the opportunity to bring them here.”
MBC head of events Omar Al Radi also expects a big response to the televising of the show, which he estimates will break records. “We’re broadcasting the show live on both our local and international channels, such as those in Europe and in America.” he said.
“We’re expecting over 200 million views. Probably record-breaking numbers. MBC is proud to have been part of bringing this historic event to Saudi Arabia, and we can’t wait for you to see it.”