S. Korea to build SR7.5bn nuclear reactors in KSA

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Updated 05 March 2015

S. Korea to build SR7.5bn nuclear reactors in KSA

Saudi Arabia and South Korea signed five key accords on Tuesday in Riyadh including a plan to study the feasibility of building nuclear reactors worth SR7.5 billion across the country.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and South Korean President Park Geun-hye also held wide-ranging talks here on economic and security issues. This is the first visit by a South Korean president since 2012.
The two countries, under the provisions of the signed MoU, are set to conduct a three-year preliminary study, to be completed in 2018, on the feasibility of constructing the nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia.
Jungho Lee, a spokesman of the South Korean Embassy, said the framework agreement would include technical cooperation, research and development, and the exchange of personnel.
According to reports, the agreement would be reached between King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) and South Korea’s science, ICT and future planning ministry.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest petroleum exporter and dependent on oil and gas for its electricity production. The late King Abdullah established KACARE in 2010 to develop alternate energy, including atomic power.
Lee said the talks between King Salman and Park looked largely at economic, and science and technology cooperation. It was an “opportunity to take bilateral ties to a new level,” he said.
“The Republic of Korea became the first foreign country with which the Kingdom signed such key accords after King Salman ascended to the throne, and it is a real honor,” said Lee.
King Salman also hosted a lunch for Park, while Crown Prince Muqrin, deputy premier; and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior, called on Park separately on Tuesday.
Lee said the Korean president, who is accompanied by over 100 top businesspeople, would attend a Saudi-Korean business conference here on Wednesday.
He said the two sides also touched on security issues and challenges facing the Middle East. An MoU was also signed between the Korean Ministry of Science and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
The two other draft agreements signed at separate venues include one between the Export and Import Bank of Korea and Saudi Electricity Company, for financing a large project, and another between Kingdom Holdings Company and Korea Investment Corporation on investment collaboration.
Present at the talks and the signing ceremonies were several other members of the royal family and ministers including Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, deputy foreign minister, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, minister of defense. On behalf of Korea, top officials included Yun Byung-se, foreign minister; Choi Yang-hee, minister of science and future planning; Yoon Sang-jick, minister of trade and energy; and Moon Hyung-pyo, minister of health
Park will meet members of the Korean community here on Wednesday. She will also visit the historic Masmak Fort in Riyadh, which was built in 1865. She arrived on Tuesday afternoon in Riyadh on the second leg of her nine-day, four-nation tour of the Middle East, which took her to Kuwait first. She will also visit the UAE and Qatar.


A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

Updated 19 October 2019

A catering firm in Saudi Arabia tackles obesity from school level

  • Rihab Hasanain set up Blooming Bs to provide schoolchildren with healthy meals
  • Blooming Bs strives to raise awareness of the obesity problem in the Kingdom

CAIRO: One Saudi woman was so concerned about her children’s unhealthy school-canteen meals that she decided to improve not only her family’s diet but also the eating habits of the entire nation.

Rihab Hasanain, spurred by the Kingdom’s growing obesity epidemic, set up the catering firm Blooming Bs to provide children with healthy lunch boxes and offer them advice on the importance of eating healthy food and being active.

The company’s name originates from the three Bs: Brain, body and box. The healthy boxes are provided to students and children aged two and above at schools, canteens, childcare centers and indoor playground centers.

Saudi Arabia has the Middle East’s second-highest obesity level after Kuwait with a 35.4 percent rating,  according to the CIA World Factbook.

Hasanain said that she wants to raise awareness of the region’s obesity problem, particularly among children.

“Childhood obesity is one of the greatest challenges facing health care systems worldwide,” she said.

“A number of factors have contributed to the problem, such as lack of childhood physical activities, and a low awareness around the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases.”

Hasanain said that Blooming Bs’ mission is to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries by promoting healthy eating habits.

Rihab Hasanain

This includes educating children and parents about the importance of healthy food and lifestyles, providing youngsters with healthy food choices, and creating a community of future healthy eaters.

In Saudi Arabia, a major contributing factor to the obesity crisis is the widespread availability of unhealthy food in school canteens, she said.

In 2016, the ambitious mother of two took matters into her own hands by establishing her commercial kitchen in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

Using her personal savings, Hasanain hired a team of 10 multidisciplinary women, including public relations and administration staff, social-work specialists, early childhood educators and drivers.

She also leveraged her international connections to help secure support and endorsement from a number of prominent mentors.

“They are extraordinary individuals with an outstanding track record in social entrepreneurship, hospitality and, most importantly, health promotion and healthy school canteens,” Hasanain said.

Blooming Bs has since grown to cater to more than 20 day-care units and schools, as well as hundreds of individual families. The firm has now sold more than 45,000 items and served over 10,000 lunch meals since its launch.

Hasanain said that the company’s contracts and deliveries vary according to customer categories.

“Our products range from morning, lunch and afternoon meals for children to freshly squeezed juices and individual food items that can be sold individually at school canteens,” she said.

“We take the stress away for parents. Our clients are assured that our products are healthy because the meals are created based on the consultation of our in-house nutritionist.”

While Hasanain is well on her way to transforming the diets of children in Riyadh, she has her eye on the bigger picture.

The Blooming Bs entrepreneur also aims to solve childhood obesity in neighboring countries, such as the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

“During Blooming Bs’ expansion, I have tried to develop a holistic viewpoint on children’s nutrition, leading to improved operation processes and ideas,” Hasanain said.

“Blooming Bs also wants to empower Saudi and Arab women by creating more job opportunities,” she added.

“Ultimately, I see my company becoming an upscale international brand, trusted by parents, schools and governments.”

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• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.