KSU professor wins highest award for date palm research

(Photo courtesy: King Saud University)
Updated 01 July 2017

KSU professor wins highest award for date palm research

RIYADH: Dr. Binu Antony, assistant professor of date palm research at King Saud University (KSU), won the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation worth 1 million Emirati dirhams ($272,257).
Dr. Antony received the award in recognition of his research work on the red palm weevil, a global palm and date palm tree pest. “It lays eggs in the tree,” says Binu. “When the larvae come out, it feeds on the trunk. As a result, the tree will die within a year (the annual losses run to $8 million in the Kingdom).
Apart from the larvae, when adult weevils attack a tree, they emit a pheromone. “This can attract the other weevils in the area,” says Dr. Antony. “Soon, there will be a mass attack.” Through his research, Binu was able to identify a gene which is used for smelling (olfaction) located in the antennae. Dr. Antony, along with his team, came up with a method to knock it down, so that the insects cannot smell the pheromones. In this way, a mass attack is avoided.
For this five-year research, King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology-National Plan for Science and Technology (KACST-NPST) provided Dr. Antony with a grant (SR2 million) to set up a laboratory, which has become a center of excellence at the university, attracting many students from all over the world.
During his tenure at KSU, Dr. Antony acquired two major research grants worth SR4 million for the study on insect pheromones and olfaction. He has won nine fellowships, with the latest in May, being awarded by the Royal Entomological Society of London. Binu has also published more than 25 papers in scientific publications and regularly takes part in international seminars.
The Khalifa International Award For Date Palm And Agricultural Innovation was established under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE. Dr. Antony received the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation from Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development of the United Arab Emirates.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.