Saudi sports federation launches campaigns to keep people active while on coronavirus lockdown

Saudi sports federation launches campaigns to keep people active while on coronavirus lockdown
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Saudi Sports for All Federation President Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal. (SPA)
Saudi sports federation launches campaigns to keep people active while on coronavirus lockdown
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The "Move To Donate" campaign rewards people’s workout activities by delivering food baskets to those most in need.
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Updated 01 May 2020

Saudi sports federation launches campaigns to keep people active while on coronavirus lockdown

Saudi sports federation launches campaigns to keep people active while on coronavirus lockdown
  • ‘It’s amazing to see everyone engaged’, says SFA president Prince Khaled
  • “Move to Donate” initiative also benefit those in need

JEDDAH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has launched several initiatives aimed at keeping people active in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown.

One of the most successful has been the “Move to Donate” initiative — launched in collaboration with Saudi Food Bank (SFB) at the start of Ramadan— which rewards people’s activities by delivering food baskets to those most in need.

“It is a really straightforward and easy thing,” SFA President Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, told Arab News. “You move, we donate. You already work out at home, right? Pledge to continue working out and we donate. You don’t work out yet? Join us and take the pledge, and we donate. The more you move — and it is literally as simple as taking a 15-minute walk in your home — the more you benefit and this benefit helps SFB through donations. We need you all to join and pledge; let’s make ‘Move To Donate’ a record-breaker for the Saudi Food Bank.”

Prince Khaled said the SFA will continue to promote physical activities from home and provide the public with innovative and interactive ideas for as long as social-distancing measures remain in place.

The prince praised the Ministry of Sports and Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee for their “exceptional support” for the “Baytak Nadeek” (Your Home, Your Gym) campaign, launched by SFA in mid-March.

“Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, minister of sports, and his teams at both entities have really driven the ‘Baytak Nadeek’ campaign forward with their participation,” he said, adding, “We’re keen to continue this unified online presence, motivating people across the country to get active and keep one another happy, healthy and filled with pride over Saudi’s response to the current situation.”

The prince has been thrilled with the public’s interaction with the “Baytak Nadeek” campaign, which has attracted around 4 million participants who uploaded videos of themselves exercising at home.

“It felt amazing to see everyone get so active and engaged. This is exactly what the federation was formed to do: activate community level physical activity and sports,” he said. “Visit the hashtags on Instagram and Twitter; you’ll literally find thousands of posts from people all across Saudi, and we’ve seen people from other GCC countries participate too.”

Prince Khaled attributes the noticeable rise in demand for physical and sporting activities in the Kingdom over the past few years to increased opportunity and greater inclusion. “We have activated a few different programs and seen massive interest and participation,” he said. “If those programs weren’t there does that mean there is lack of interest? No, but there (would be) a lack of ways to express and realize that interest.”

The SFA is responsible for delivering three initiatives under the Quality of Life Program: Active People, Active Places and Initiatives for Residents of Saudi (expatriates).

Active People focuses on encouraging physical activity via a community of sports ambassadors and a strong network of delivery partners including federations, community sports groups, volunteers and more.

Active Places is designed to ensure that those who wish to participate in physical activity have the opportunity to do so — ensuring that people across the Kingdom have access to a sufficient number of well-equipped facilities.

The third initiative is about ensuring such opportunities are open to all residents, not just Saudi citizens.

“All three of these segments help to meet the rising demand for physical activity and sports in Saudi,” Prince Khaled said. “We’re making sure that there are ample opportunities, support, facilities, and — in some cases — funding, for programs that help people in Saudi live the dream: being part of a healthy and active community.”

Initiatives including SFA’s Family Activity Days have proven hugely popular in the Kingdom, with around 314,000 people across seven cities participating last year.

“We can’t wait to kick this off again this year; we have had so much strong and positive feedback about family sports experiences; they allow everyone to try something new and spend their time enjoying physical fitness in an entertaining environment,” said Prince Khaled, adding that the SFA is also very focused on encouraging and enabling women to participate in sports.

“All of our activities are structured with inclusion in mind. We do have dedicated women’s programs like the Women’s Football League launched in March, and the Women’s Cycling Race series that concluded earlier this year,” he said. “We have a few things in the pipeline that I am looking forward to discussing soon as well.”

The latest SFA initiative is “Move to Game,” launched on May 1 in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), which — according to Prince Khaled — “unifies gaming and physical activity.”

“Move To Game,” which runs until May 30, is an online tournament that combines gaming with physical activities — such as recording 5,000 steps on a mobile app called “MoveSpring” or competing in the popular dance game “Just Dance.” Reaching certain physical goals will unlock various sports ‘journeys’ on their gaming devices, with the overall target being to unlock the “One Billion Step Challenge,” held from 30 April to 30 May.

Rewards include cash prizes ranging from SR500 to SR3,000, as well as sports challenge vouchers, cell phones and electronics.

“It’s a first in Saudi,” Prince Khaled said of the “Move to Game” initiative. “We were happy to reach this partnership activation with SAFEIS. With both me and Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan (the president of SAFEIS) being avid gamers, it was a pretty smooth process. I look forward to seeing everyone online.”


‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns
A Saudi woman walks on a social distancing marker at a shopping center, as preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 3, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 April 2021

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns

‘We must cooperate’ to curb virus, avoid tough measures, Saudi Ministry of Interior warns
  • Makkah police arrest 13 people for violating isolation, quarantine instructions

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced on Sunday that authorities have detected a surge of “worrying” behaviors in the Kingdom since the beginning of Ramadan, warning citizens to avoid ignoring anti-coronavirus health measures.

At a joint press conference between the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, MoI spokesperson Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub warned that the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom could potentially lead to citywide lockdowns, as well as the banning of certain activities.
“We must cooperate and not trivialize the dangers. We do not want to have to resort to tough measures,” he said.
Al-Shalhoub added that the Kingdom was continuing to crack down on rule-breakers and those who violate safety precautions, including people using social media to spread misinformation about safety measures and ways to circumvent them.
Meanwhile, Makkah’s regional police spokesman said that 13 people were arrested in Jeddah and Taif for violating isolation and quarantine instructions after they tested positive for coronavirus.
Preliminary legal procedures were taken against them and their cases were referred to the Public Prosecution. The MoI previously warned that violators will face up to a two-year prison sentence, a fine of up to SR200,000 ($53,300), or both.
Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly revealed that the Kingdom has seen a slight rise in the percentage of women contracting coronavirus, warning that the number of women coming forward to be vaccinated was lower than expected.
“We have also seen a rise in the number of female cases that become critical and end up needing intensive care. Women also make up 55 percent of the overall number of cases in the Kingdom,” he said.
The MoH announced that 917 new coronavirus cases were reported on Saturday, raising the total number of cases to 404,970.
There are now 9,445 active cases, 1,044 of which are in critical care.

INNUMBERS

404,970 Total cases

388,702 Recoveries

6,823 Deaths

Of the new cases, 402 were in Riyadh, 203 in Makkah and 131 in the Eastern Province. Baha and Jouf reported the lowest cases on Saturday, with just six cases each.
Al-Aly said that appointments for second vaccine doses would be automatically updated, following news that some appointments had been canceled. The Saudi strategy aims to immunize the largest number of people possible with at least the first dose, Al-Aly added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that more than 15 million people have benefited from its Eatmarna app.
The ministry said that only people who have taken at least the first dose of the vaccine will be permitted to perform Umrah, or pray at either the Grand Mosque in Makkah or the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Violators will be prosecuted for attempting to perform the pilgrimage without the proper permissions, officials said, adding that authorities are encouraging safety precautions in order to ensure safe, smooth, and seamless pilgrimages for all visitors.
There were 907 new recoveries reported in the Kingdom, raising the total number of recoveries over the course of the pandemic to 388,702. The Kingdom’s death toll rose to 6,823 after 13 new coronavirus-related deaths were recorded.
Almost 7.1 million coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Saudi Arabia so far.

The Kingdom is now delivering vaccines at a rate of about 1.32 per second, or 114,471 each day. About 20.3 percent of the Saudi population have now been vaccinated.

The last day saw the completion of 51,225 PCR tests, bringing the total number of tests conducted in the Kingdom to 16,174,957.

 


Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authority initiates a number of criminal cases

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authority initiates a number of criminal cases
Updated 19 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authority initiates a number of criminal cases

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authority initiates a number of criminal cases
  • The authority said crimes of financial and administrative corruption do not fall under the statute of limitations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-corruption Authority (Nazaha) said on Sunday it had initiated a number of criminal cases and legal procedures.
Among the most prominent cases, a retired major general and two retired employees from the Ministry of National Guard were arrested for obtaining SR198 million ($52.8 million) from local companies and one foreign company in return for helping them win contracts.
In the second case, the former director general of projects at the Ministry of Higher Education and five businessmen were accused of establishing companies and obtaining ministry projects through them, exaggerating prices, obligating other companies contracted with the ministry to deal with them, and obtaining funds. Work is underway to calculate the amount of money that was embezzled.
In the third case, an employee working for the Foreign Ministry was arrested for having disbursed approximately SR733,000, in an irregular manner, from an account of one of the Kingdom’s embassies.
In the fourth case, an employee of the Ministry of Information was arrested for issuing 328 media licenses and receiving around SR700,000.
Two employees at a regional branch of the Ministry of Finance were suspended after two citizens bribed them with SR126,000 out of a total amount of SR8 million agreed upon, in return for facilitating payment of financial compensation.
In the sixth case, three employees in the Education Department in one of the governorates were suspended for obtaining SR624,000 in cash installments from a businessman in exchange for facilitating access to seven projects amounting to SR3.2 million.
The seventh case was in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, where a notary was arrested in one of the regions for issuing a lost deed in an irregular manner to one of his relatives.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, an officer with the rank of captain working in a regional branch of the General Directorate for Narcotics Control was arrested for obtaining SR35,000 from an expatriate, in exchange for holding a case related to his brother.
A further case involved a bank employee in one of the Kingdom’s governorates who was suspended for obtaining SR21,000 from some of the bank’s clients in exchange for completing their financing procedures.
And the last case involved two employees working in a municipality who were arrested for receiving SR25,000.


Over SR300 million donated through Saudi Ihsan charitable campaign

Over SR300 million donated through Saudi Ihsan charitable campaign
Updated 19 April 2021

Over SR300 million donated through Saudi Ihsan charitable campaign

Over SR300 million donated through Saudi Ihsan charitable campaign
  • Donations from philanthropists inside the Kingdom accounted for 99%

RIYADH: More than SR300 million ($79.9 million) has been donated to the national platform for charitable giving “Ihsan” since Friday, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
Since its inauguration at the end of March, the Ihsan platform has received more than 3 million visitors, and has contributed to serving more than half a million beneficiaries through more than 200 official partners involved in the charitable sector.
Donations from philanthropists inside the Kingdom accounted for 99 percent of the total donations.
Ihsan also provided opportunities to donate outside the Kingdom for projects submitted by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.
“Ihsan works to support opportunities for donations and charitable projects in all regions of the Kingdom, and in various fields of charitable and humanitarian work,” the statement said.
It includes donation opportunities for education, health, housing and other fields by making use of modern technologies, which contribute to quick and easy access and achieving the highest standards of transparency and reliability, it added.
The national platform for charitable giving said it is continuing to receive donations from philanthropists during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework
Updated 19 April 2021

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework

Saudi Arabia co-chairs meeting on Chad debt under new G20 framework
  • Chad is the first country to ask for debt overhaul under G20 common framework
  • It is expected to be a model for dealing with similar issues in the future

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has co-chaired the first creditor committee meeting to help Chad restructure its debts under a new G20 framework.
Chad requested the restructuring in January as it struggles with a high debt burden exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chad is the first country to request the restructuring under the new Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). The framework was agreed in November by the G20 under Saudi Arabia’s presidency.
The meeting was also co-chaired by France and attended by the secretariat of the Paris Club and representatives from China, India, the IMF and the World Bank.
Saudi Arabia, which was represented by the finance ministry, affirmed its support for the successful implementation of the common framework and the important role of the IMF and international banks during this process.
The Kingdom said the meeting was important as it is the first test of the common framework for debt treatment, which is expected to be a model for dealing with similar issues in the future.


KSrelief chief meets Swedish envoy for Yemen

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
Updated 19 April 2021

KSrelief chief meets Swedish envoy for Yemen

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center meets Swedish special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby. (SPA) 
  • KSrelief also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets to Lebanon and Pakistan

RIYADH: The General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah met with Sweden’s special envoy for Yemen Peter Semneby in Riyadh.
During the meeting, Al-Rabeeah, who is also adviser at the Royal Court, reviewed the 590 humanitarian and relief projects that the Kingdom has carried out through the center in Yemen.
Both sides also discussed matters of common interest related to humanitarian and relief affairs in Yemen and the efforts made to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Semneby praised the pioneering role provided by the Kingdom through KSrelief in support of countries in need, and the special attention given to the Yemeni people.
Meanwhile, KSrelief distributed more than 27 tons of food baskets to displaced families in Yemen’s Marib governorate, benefiting 1,554 individuals. 
The center also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets to Syrian and Palestinian refugees and Lebanese families in Lebanon.
About 1,000 Ramadan food baskets were distributed in the Katarmaya area in Mount Lebanon, benefiting 5,000 people.
The center also distributed 1,713 Ramadan food baskets in Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon, Arsal in northern Bekaa and Jiyeh in Mount Lebanon, benefiting 8,500 individuals.
KSrelief also continued distributing Ramadan food baskets in Pakistan. Nearly 1,200 Ramadan food baskets were distributed in the Sibi and Qalat districts of Balochistan region, benefiting 7,056 individuals.
KSrelief has implemented 1,556 projects worth more than $5 billion in 59 countries. The initiatives have been carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.
According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.53 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($305 million) and Somalia ($203 million).