Saudi Arabia’s most ancient pursuits in spotlight

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The falconry festival features local and international falconers. (SPA)
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The falconry festival features local and international falconers. (SPA)
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The falconry festival features local and international falconers. (SPA)
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The falconry festival features local and international falconers. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia is one of the 11 top countries listed by UNESCO as home to various species of falcon. (SPA)
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The falconry festival features local and international falconers. (SPA)
Updated 27 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s most ancient pursuits in spotlight

  • Art of falconry brings enthusiasts to share experience
  • In the course of six days, Saudi falconers will go head-to-head in their stages and 240 winners will be identified

JEDDAH: The Saudi Falcons Club opened the first King Abdul Aziz Festival of Falconry in the town of Malham, north of Riyadh, on Friday.
Covering about 650,000 square meters, the festival aims to bring together falcon fans to share experience and knowledge. Besides falcon races in the main festival arena and a falcon beauty contest, there will be exhibitions, theater entertainment and campaigns to raise awareness of the pastime and its importance to Saudi heritage.
The festival’s photographic competition, open to both amateurs and professionals, is offering big prize money. The winner will take home SR50,000, with SR30,000 and SR20,000 being awarded for second and third places respectively.
Another attraction at the festival is the cultural village, inspired by the city of Riyadh in the 1950s.
Saudi Arabia is one of the 11 top countries listed by UNESCO as home to various species of falcon and lying on the migratory route for other species.
The festival builds on the success of last month’s Saudi Falcon and Hunting Show, which attracted much attention both in the Gulf and internationally. That was also organized by the Saudi Falcons Club, which was established by royal order of King Salman and under the direct supervision of the crown prince.
400-meter races
Falconers competed in its Al-Melwah “Da’ao” 400-meter races for a chance to win prizes worth SR17 million.
Hamoud Zuman won the first race in a time of 20.720 seconds, Barghash Al-Mansouri won the second race with a time of 22.174 seconds, while Ramzan Al-Dosari came first in the third race with a time of 21.252 seconds.
The falconry festival features local and international falconers. And with 1,700 falcons registered to compete, it is the largest falconry competition in the world.
In the course of six days, Saudi falconers will go head-to-head in their stages and 240 winners will be identified. In addition, the international stage will have 120 winners over 12 races.
The “Mazayen” beauty competition, which is open to Saudi and international falconers, will be launched on Feb.1-2 in two categories.


Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

Updated 52 min 5 sec ago

Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

  • Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an 'Iranian attack'
  • Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf. 

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday described strikes on key Saudi oil installations as an “act of war” as he landed in Jeddah to meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an “Iranian attack”.

He said it had not come from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants and that there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq.

"This is an attack of a scale we've just not seen before," he added.

Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.

Pompeo's visit comes as President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after Saudi Arabia's display of remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in the I that was "unquestionably sponsored" by Tehran.

"There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we'll see," Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. "I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in — war."

Trump, who earlier said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran, told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.

Trump's tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday's attack on Aramco facilities and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "test of global will."

Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had spoken with US President Donald Trump about the Aramco attack, and agreed that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Also on Wednesday, Kuwait's army released a statement announcing it was raising its preparedness level for some units, given the tensions in the Middle East region.