AI center confirms Saudi Arabia’s drive toward innovative future

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha. (SPA)
Updated 01 September 2019

AI center confirms Saudi Arabia’s drive toward innovative future

RIYADH: The royal decree to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) center will enhance the drive toward innovation and digital transformation in Saudi Arabia, according to Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha.

King Salman issued the decree on Friday, to establish the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and an organization called the National Data Management Office, which will be linked to the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority.

The establishment of the center came in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, and will help develop performance efficiency through the applications of AI and big data, Al-Sawaha said.

He added that the establishment of the center was a clear indication of the Kingdom’s determination to develop its digital capabilities and build a future based on AI and innovation.

Al-Sawaha said that AI would enhance productivity, boost decision-making processes across all sectors, render services provided to Saudi citizens more innovative, and open new horizons to stimulate entrepreneurship and support young people.

The king also issued a number of other decrees including the creation of the new Ministry for Industry and Mineral Resources.  SPA Riyadh

Meanwhile, Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad expressed his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for appointing him as the new chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission. Mazen bin Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Kahmous also expressed his gratitude to the king and the crown prince on his appointment, as chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.