Saudi innovators vie for prize with app that finds homes for animals

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PET ME was created to fill the gap of pet adoption issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Saudi innovators vie for prize with app that finds homes for animals

  • PET ME app is designed to serve pet lovers and help animals find safe homes in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi innovators are among a group of 8 finalists of the Purina BetterwithPets 2020 Prize, which aims at fostering a positive impact through creative solutions for individuals and communities.

In its second edition, more than 150 applicants from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa participated, with the 8 finalists announced on May 14. Among them were Saudi Arabia’s PET ME, an application designed and launched by a group of six students and graduates that aims to serve pet lovers and help animals find safe homes in the Kingdom.
The group of six students and graduates from the College of Business Administration at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University includes Maram Al-Ghamdi, Reem Al-Subait, Jawaher Al-Khalifah, Joud Al-Otaibi, Ebtihal Al-Barjas and Manal Al-Shehri.
Al-Ghamdi pointed out that PET ME was created to fill the gap of pet adoption issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We were very saddened to see how adopted pets were treated in certain homes because there were no rules and regulations applied during the adoption process and beyond.

Maram Al-Ghamdi

“We wanted to spread awareness about pets’ rights through a user-friendly mobile application that we hope will change society’s perception about adoption, and we are looking forward to impacting lives positively.
“We then scheduled a meeting with the Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship, and that’s when the PET ME journey began,” said Al-Ghamdi.
“We were very saddened to see how adopted pets were treated in certain homes because there were no rules and regulations applied during the adoption process and beyond. PET ME was the perfect solution for raising community awareness and making adoption procedures easier, while at the same time ensuring that pets are being raised in a safe and happy environment.”
With time, effort and a mission to raise awareness on the importance of adoption, the group decided that the app should cover all these areas.

FASTFACTS

• The finalists will showcase their initiatives to a jury of five judges during online pitches that will be broadcast live on June 3.

• The finalists that win first prize will receive up to $100,000.

“So many individuals across the Kingdom value pets and would like to own one, however, the buy-culture seems to be the dominant approach mainly due to the lack of trusted entities. PET ME is a user-friendly application that will offer the simplest experience and sets out to change perceptions.”
Al-Ghamdi said that through the PET ME app, their aim was to support pet lovers and offer them the simplest and safest experience when adopting, “The Saudi community is well-educated and very tech-savvy, hence we truly believe that the app would be a good solution for easy and safe adoption.” She said that being among the finalists for the 2020 Purina
BetterwithPets Prize and representing their country was a great achievement. “We can’t wait to continue this inspiring journey.”
The finalists will showcase their initiatives to a jury of five judges during online pitches that will be broadcast live on June 3.
Piloted and implemented innovation prizewinners will be announced by Bernard Meunier, CEO of Nestle Purina PetCare Europe, Middle East, and North Africa. The finalists that win first prize will receive up to $100,000.


US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 26 min 2 sec ago

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 


The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

 

 

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.


The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.


“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.