King Salman inaugurates $22 billion of projects for Riyadh region

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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
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Various projects were inaugurated for the Riyadh region on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 14 February 2019

King Salman inaugurates $22 billion of projects for Riyadh region

  • The developments aim to enhance crucial infrastructure, such as transportation and housing, and improve amenities, the environment and education

RIYADH: King Salman has launched an ambitious program of projects in the Riyadh region worth billions, which will enhance the living standards of residents in a province that he has helped to shape for more than 50 years.

The 1,281 development projects in the Saudi capital and surrounding towns will cost about SR 82 billion ($22 billion). They aim to enhance crucial infrastructure, such as transportation and housing, and improve amenities, the environment and education.

The program includes: 15 housing projects in Riyadh and its governorates, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030 to increase house ownership among citizens; the establishment of the largest Islamic museum in the capital; a huge environmental project for the lakes south of the capital covering an area of 315,000 square meters; sports cities; seven medical cities; 16 educational projects; quality entertainment facilities; the expansion of airports; and the development and upgrading of the road network.

The projects were announced on Feb. 13 by Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh region, during an official inauguration event at Qasr Al-Hukm, in the presence of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other dignitaries. They are part of a wider program of 2,830 projects planned for Riyadh at a total cost of SR 338 billion, which are expected to create tens of thousands of job opportunities for young men and women.

During the inauguration, the king ordered the release of citizens of the region jailed on financial charges who are not involved in criminal cases, whose debts do not exceed SR 1 million riyals and whose insolvency can be proved. He also ordered the payment of their debts.

Considered the “engineer” of the city, King Salman served as governor of Riyadh for almost five decades, during which he oversaw the transformation of the Saudi capital into a modern, thriving metropolis and one of the most important cities in the Middle East.


Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

First prize winners of this year’s tournament came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 32 min 48 sec ago

Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

  • First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW

RIYADH: Baloot, a card game similar to bridge, has developed from a traditional game — usually played at family gatherings — to an online game for your mobile phone.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports launched in Riyadh the third baloot tournament, which has attracted more than 18,000 participants including 40 female teams. The total prize money is SR2 million ($533,234).
The third baloot tournament showed an unprecedented number of players this year, bolstered by the participation of female players.
First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. Second prize winners received cash prizes of SR500,000 and third place players won SR100,000.
The electronic version is now more popular among Saudis than the original, which requires at least four players.
“The main feature that these baloot apps provide is that I can play the game anytime and anywhere, I don’t need to wait until I find three more people to complete the team,” said Saad Al-Amri, an undergrad student from Abha. “I also don’t lose control as I sometimes do when I play it with my relatives,” he added.
However, Al-Amri admits that playing baloot online made him more addicted to the game, saying that some days he spends 3 hours playing.
Baloot apps are not new and the market continues to grow. Apple’s App Store boasts over 30 Baloot apps. In Android’s Google Play store, the number of apps is even higher, ranging from platforms for playing the game, to apps that teaches the rules, to calculators that help users track their scores in the traditional version.
On top of the list of apps are two famous versions called “Kammelna” and “Baloot VIP,” with both reaching over 1 million downloads.
There are other apps that are less popular but also have strong downloads figures. “Tarbeeat Baloot” and “iBaloot” have just over half a million and 100,000 downloads respectively.
According to the website of “Kammelna,” a Saudi app, they started working on it in 2008, and currently have more than 1 million subscribers, with an updated ranking list for the best 100 players published daily.
Baloot apps can charge paid subscriptions, ranging from monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Some apps sell points to customers who can replace them with special features in the game.
Subscriptions start from around SR30 per month, giving users additional features such as access to a special playing room and the ability to start private conversations with other players. Some apps have unique tournaments to encourage users to compete with each other and win points that they can use in future games.