Probe launched as EP wedding blaze kills 24

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Updated 03 November 2012
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Probe launched as EP wedding blaze kills 24

Saudi authorities launched an investigation yesterday into a fire tragedy at a wedding party in Abqaiq that left at least 24 people dead and 37 injured.

Prince Muhammad bin Fahd, governor of the Eastern Province, ordered the investigation. He visited grieving relatives at Hijrah Jadeedah, 30 km from Abqaiq, an energy industrial center.
The deadly blaze occurred late Tuesday when a live electrical cable fell on a metal door. The metal door served as the only entrance and exit to an open courtyard. The cable also set ablaze a women-only marquee. Gathered in the courtyard in a tent area were women and children to celebrate the wedding, according to Maj. Gen. Abdullah Alkoshiman, director of Civil Defense in the Eastern Province.
The cable electrified the door, and some wedding guests were electrocuted when they touched it as they attempted to flee the fire, said Alkoshiman.
He said celebratory gunfire knocked the cable down. Discharging firearms at weddings was outlawed last month, although shooting firearms is common at weddings in tribal areas.
The Civil Defense official said 33 injured wedding guests were treated and released from Aramco Hospital in Dhahran. Four remain hospitalized.
“Most of the victims were women, though men and children also reportedly died,” said Alkoshiman.
The courtyard yesterday remained as it was Tuesday night with plastic chairs overturned, debris strewn across carpets and a lone wheelchair standing amid the rubble. A pole supporting strings of light bulbs remained standing. Outside the walls was a scorched vehicle parked. The metal door, through which guests attempted to flee, remained open.
One Eastern Province official said the tent area in the courtyard lacked any safety measures or multiple exits. Civil Defense officials have warned private wedding party hosts and wedding hall managers to ensure their facilities have enough exits to avoid panic and overcrowding in the event of an emergency.
While visiting the injured and the relatives of victims, Prince Muhammad conveyed to them the condolences of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah; Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense; and Interior Minister Prince Ahmad.


Qiddiya Investment Company officially established as standalone company

Updated 2 min 11 sec ago
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Qiddiya Investment Company officially established as standalone company

RIYADH: Qiddiya, the entertainment, sport and cultural destination being built 40 kilometers outside Riyadh, has officially been incorporated as a standalone company as the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).
The move cements another key component in its progress toward phase one of completion, scheduled for 2022.
On the heels of the official Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony last month, the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment has officially incorporated and registered the project as a closed joint-stock company, wholly owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and subject to Saudi Arabian law.
The project was announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on April 7, 2017.
The Public Investment Fund has announced Qiddiya as one of three giga-projects and part of Saudi’s Vision 2030 to create “a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.”
Covering 334 square kilometers – 2.5 times the size of Walt Disney World – Qiddiya will shape Saudi Arabia’s multi-sector economy, help secure sustainable growth and improve the quality of services to citizens.
By providing a world-class entertainment option inside the Kingdom, QIC will allow the domestic economy to recapture a market share of the $30 billion spent annually by Saudis on foreign tourism. These funds will remain in the Kingdom to be reinvested for the benefit of citizens.
“Incorporation is a key milestone as we move from planning to performance. As a fully independent entity, we will draft our own budget and re-commit ourselves to our responsibilities, as we move forward with this project that has the potential to enrich the lives of all Saudis,” said Michael Reininger, CEO for Qiddiya.
“This step brings us closer to the day when we can satisfy the demand of a powerful and untapped Saudi market for new and accessible activities. It is for these future visitors – the nearly two thirds of the Kingdom’s population under 35, the more than 7 million people who reside within 40 kilometers of our location on the doorstep of Riyadh – that we at Qiddiya Investment Company aspire to build a better future filled with culture, sports, entertainment, and opportunity,” he said.
The ground-breaking ceremony was on 28th April, 2018, an event attended by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.