Annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia on June 21

Annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia on June 21
The total solar eclipse seen from Svalbard, Norway Friday March 20, 2015. (AP)
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Updated 13 June 2020

Annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia on June 21

Annular solar eclipse in Saudi Arabia on June 21
  • The eclipse will be visible in the Makkah region for 2 hours and 27 minutes

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will sight an annular solar eclipse on June 21. The rare natural phenomenon will be most visible in the Sharurah governorate between 6:59 a.m. and 8:13 a.m. before ending at 9:41 a.m.

According to the National Astronomy Center at King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, the eclipse will be visible in the Makkah region for 2 hours and 27 minutes. In Riyadh, it will be sighted from 7:10 a.m. to 8:23 a.m.
In the Eastern Province, the eclipse will begin at 7:14 a.m. and reach its peak at 8:30 a.m. before ending at 9:59 a.m. 


Summer vacations: Insurance providers step up to cover travel risks

Summer vacations: Insurance providers step up to cover travel risks
Saudis will not be allowed to enter airports or board aircraft without showing their health status through the Tawakkalna app. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 3 min 2 sec ago

Summer vacations: Insurance providers step up to cover travel risks

Summer vacations: Insurance providers step up to cover travel risks
  • Countries are demanding travelers have travel insurance in order to lift the financial burden of medical bills in case of emergencies
  • ‘A traveler is exposed to losses such as quarantine and treatment costs of COVID-19, cancellation of a flight or shortening its duration or missing flights, or loss of luggage or delay of luggage. The policy includes coverage of emergency medical expenses

RIYADH: With summer vacations underway and more countries easing restrictions on international travelers, health risks from COVID-19 remain a source of concern.
Citizens are being encouraged to follow health precautions before departure to ensure a safe trip, while health insurance is also an entry requirement for some countries.
Pre-flight tests are required and more countries are demanding travelers to their countries have travel insurance in order to lift the financial burden of medical bills in case of emergencies. Others require visitors to buy healthcare policies from their destination’s government.
For travelers under 18, health insurance that covers COVID-19 infection is mandatory. The 12 accredited health insurance service providers are following the guidelines.
In a joint press conference with the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation last month, Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) spokesman Othman Al-Qasabi said that a new insurance policy in conjunction with the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) will include benefits that cover the risks of COVID-19 infection.
The policy is mandatory for those under 18 planning to travel.
Talal Albotty, regional director of the Central Region at Salama Insurance Co, told Arab News that the central bank initiative in collaboration with the CCHI aims to distribute risks and losses if these occur.
Comprehensive coverage is included for travelers on international flights against all risks related to travel outside Saudi Arabia, he said.
“A traveler is exposed to losses such as quarantine and treatment costs of COVID-19, cancellation of a flight or shortening its duration or missing flights, or loss of luggage or delay of luggage. The policy includes coverage of emergency medical expenses, personal accidents, or transportation of a deceased from or to Saudi Arabia and liability toward others as per the conditions and exceptions delineated in the unified insurance policy,” he said.
Albotty said the cost of an insurance policy does not exceed SR375 ($100) a month. However, if more services are added, these will be calculated proportionately as per the duration of the policy.
The policy is for people vaccinated against COVID-19 and is required for anyone under 18 traveling outside Saudi Arabia since they are not required to take a vaccine under global protocols, he said.
Husain Quhal, a senior executive with a leading insurance company, told Arab News: “The Saudi Central Bank has launched a campaign to educate people on the importance of travel insurance covering COVID-19 risks as well as reducing costs of traveling abroad.”
Feroz Khan, vice president of sales in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for Webbeds, a leading accommodation supplier to the travel industry, told Arab News: “Resumption of flights in May, opening of borders, and relaxation in travel and quarantine protocols have all resulted in positive travel sentiments.”
Webbeds is in touch with its partner company in the Kingdom and will make this travel insurance available for travel agents to book online shortly, he said.
Saudis travelers will not be allowed to enter airports or board aircraft without showing their health status through the government-approved health app, Tawakkalna.
Travelers who have received two vaccine doses, those who have completed two weeks since receiving the first jab, those who are immune by recovery no more than six months since infection and children under the age of 18 who have travel insurance obtained in cooperation with the Saudi Central Bank will be the only groups allowed to cross international borders.


Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts

Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts
Updated 22 June 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts

Who’s Who: Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya, director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts

Dr. Suzan Mohammed Al-Yahya has been appointed director general of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts.

Al-Yahya will be responsible for managing the institute, implementing its strategic directions and developing traditional arts in line with the institute’s vision.

She is one of the top academics in the field of art and design, having worked as a faculty member at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University.

She also worked as a consultant, and was a member of advisory committees at the university and other organizations.

Al-Yahya obtained a master’s degree in art education and a Ph.D. in educational technology, as well as a Ph.D. in educational policies and leadership at the University of Northern Colorado, US.

She has authored research papers in various fields and participated in several scientific conferences.

The institute will launch its first training courses in September aimed at enriching traditional arts, training specialized national cadres, raising the level of public awareness, and preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

The Royal Institute of Traditional Arts is one the initiatives of the Quality of Life Program, part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

The Ministry of Culture aims to develop the local cultural sector through education and knowledge. The institute will provide advanced educational programs to prepare young Saudis to help the Kingdom develop its cultural sector along modern lines.


Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia’s NEOM and KAUST partner to create the world’s largest coral garden in the Red Sea
  • The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs
  • NEOM will use a technique incorporating Maritechture technology on the beach reefs first and then the coral gardens surrounding the island

JEDDAH: Officials in Saudi Arabia have announced a joint project to establish the largest coral garden in the world at NEOM, the futuristic mega-city being built in the Kingdom’s northwest.
NEOM and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) said that the project that will cover 100 hectares on Shusha Island on the shores of the Red Sea.
The Shusha Island Coral Park will become a global center to showcase innovations to protect and restore coral reefs and accelerate conservation solutions, helping to reduce the effects of climate change, a statement issued by Saudi Press Agency said.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025, making NEOM a world leader in restoring and developing coral reefs.
“We work within an integrated system to preserve the environment and all its components, and we seek to preserve coral reefs, in particular, and marine life, in general. This is one of the environmental goals that we are working to achieve, and our cooperation with KAUST shows the important dimension of these efforts,” NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said.
He added that the agreement with KAUST also aims to advance technologies and joint experiences, work to enhance the scientific community’s understanding of the way coral reefs adapt to climate change, and search for innovative solutions to preserve coral reefs in the Red Sea.
KAUST President Tony Chan said that the university is pioneering research in the Red Sea, and the promising project with NEOM is one of the largest technology transfer deals in the KAUST’s history, using innovations originating from the university.
“We look forward to working alongside NEOM to improve our lives through science and technology,” Chan said.
Shusha Island is home to more than 300 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish, and the coral garden will provide a unique opportunity for research and development, attracting scientists, researchers and tourism lovers who are interested in the environment, he added.
NEOM will use a technique incorporating Maritechture technology — developed by scientists from the Red Sea Research Center and the Coastal and Marine Resources Laboratory at KAUST — on the beach reefs first and then the coral gardens surrounding the island.
The project will enable NEOM to be a new tourism icon and a futuristic destination with a global character, as Shusha island reflects NEOM’s bold ambition toward developing marine tourism based on innovation to protect and grow marine organisms in the Red Sea.
In February, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a luxury Red Sea resort project called the “Coral Bloom” development, which has been designed by world-renowned British architectural firm Foster + Partners.
It will be built on Shourayrah Island, the main island of the Red Sea Project off the Kingdom’s west coast.
On Monday, the Kingdom’s Red Sea Development Company signed a research agreement with KAUST that will see the two organizations cooperate in fields such as marine environment sustainability, food security and energy conservation.


Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

Saudi foreign minister receives written message from his Egyptian counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, received a written message from his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The message was received on behalf of Prince Faisal by Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji during his meeting with Ambassador Ehab Fawzy, deputy executive director of the Women Development Organization, affiliated to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in the capital, Riyadh.
During the meeting, they discussed topics of common interest.


Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
  • The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted and destroyed a booby-trapped drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward southern Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.
The drone was targeting the city of Khamis Mushait.
The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets.
“We are taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with imminent militia threats,” the coalition added.
Saudi defenses intercepted another Houthi drone launched toward Khamis Mushait on Sunday, and 17 armed drones launched toward the Kingdom on Saturday.
The Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks since the beginning of the year and launched a brutal offensive on the Yemeni province of Marib, sparking international condemnation.
On Monday, France joined Arab countries and regional organizations in denouncing the recent Houthi attacks on the Kingdom, saying that they defy international law, and calling on the group to halt their attacks and work toward achieving peace in Yemen.