What We Are Buying Today: Malam

What We Are Buying Today: Malam
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Updated 25 September 2020

What We Are Buying Today: Malam

What We Are Buying Today: Malam

Malam is a Saudi brand providing souvenirs of the Kingdom and the city of Madinah through products such as keychains, pins, cards and bracelets.
Collectors of rare pins might want to add the brand to their wishlist since its offerings feature more than 10 themes on Saudi Arabia.
Malam’s Madinah icons include the ornamented doors and green dome of the Prophet’s Mosque, pigeons, fresh aromatic mint, the city’s famous light pink flowers and the Zamzam water dispenser.
Wearing pins shows individuality and personality — and the items can be worn to represent your country, too.
Designs also include the classic Saudi symbol of two swords and a palm, and the map of the Kingdom.
Pins can be worn on hats and jackets, and can be chosen to suit a variety of occasions.


Vision 2030 puts Saudi women in the driver’s seat

Vision 2030 puts Saudi women in the driver’s seat
Saudi Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar speaks at an event. (Supplied)
Updated 28 min 43 sec ago

Vision 2030 puts Saudi women in the driver’s seat

Vision 2030 puts Saudi women in the driver’s seat
  • The new goals set on the horizon are leadership, direction and making an impact on the future

RIYADH: As we mark Women’s International Day, we see the new highs Saudi women have soared to since the launch of Vision 2030 in the Kingdom.
Reforms have changed the narrative surrounding women’s empowerment from inclusivity and equality to notability and distinction. Women’s accomplishments as part of Vision 2030 have set the stage for the further success and achievement of young female leaders in the Kingdom.
The goals of Saudi women are no longer equality or equal opportunity, but rather surpassing their counterparts in ideology, accomplishments and innovation across all sectors. In doing so, they have paved the way for a young and determined generation of future female leaders. These innovative accomplishments are all due to the stepping stones laid out by Vision 2030’s extensive social reforms for women.
Now, Saudi women are ambassadors, general managers, directors of private entities, government spokespersons and more. Their voices are now heard wide and clear across the world.
As of February 2021, women are earning ranks in the Kingdom’s armed forces and holding positions of leadership, including as sergeants commanding teams of soldiers in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force and Armed Forces Medical Services.
It is simply no longer the aim of Saudi women to hope for inclusivity in society and the workplace. The new goals set on the horizon are leadership, direction and making an impact on the future of the Kingdom, whether through financial growth, social reform, or paving the way for new generations of women to succeed.
Vision 2030’s initiatives and reforms have not only affected the careers of women, but also their social lives — amplifying voices that were not always able to be heard. Legal reforms have been amended by Vision 2030 to ensure the rights of divorced women. An alimony fund was created to support women and their children during court proceedings, and women are now able to enter judicial departments independently without the past restriction of having a guardian present. In the past, judgments meant women had to return back to their homes without any objections, but since Vision 2030, these regulations are a literal thing of the past — a historic blimp in the bright future ahead.
It is no exaggeration to say that when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was appointed in his position in 2017, promises were made and delivered.
Women are involved in the workforce, driving on the roads and are more independent, particularly with the relaxing of the guardianship law last year. Tools such as the sexual harassment law were put in place to ensure their safety, and they found complete support from the government in facilitating their ambitions, including being appointed to high positions.
In July 2020, under a royal decree by King Salman, 13 women were appointed to serve on the Saudi Human Rights Commission, making half of the commission female. This decision gave women a louder voice and a foundation through which to make an impact in the Kingdom.
Women are now a driving force in growing the Kingdom’s alternative economic resources, and over the past decade there has been a surge in the number of female entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Saudi women are now ambassadors, general managers, directors of private entities, government spokespersons and more.

• As of February 2021, women are earning ranks in the Kingdom’s armed forces and holding positions of leadership.

• An alimony fund was created to support women and their children during court proceedings.

• Women are now able to enter judicial departments independently without the past restriction of having a guardian present.

• In July 2020, under a royal decree by King Salman, 13 women were appointed to serve on the Saudi Human Rights Commission.

Dr. Maliha Hashmi, executive director for the health and wellbeing sector of the NEOM megacity project, is a young female health leader in the region. She said that Vision 2030 has created the opportunity for women to build new roles and transform older expectations in a positive way.
“Through Vision 2030, social acceptance, and most of all, the continuous support of the government, we’ll see a balanced leadership, in both the private and public sectors, represented by both men and women. Plus, I’m very optimistic that we’ll witness in the near future more women in ministerial and international representation,” she said.
“Under the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has taken a giant step forward in empowering its women. While the world knows and talks about women drivers on Saudi roads, there’s more to this socio-economic and cultural change than meets the eye,” Hashmi, a Harvard doctorate degree holder, told Arab News.
“More high-tech startups can now be owned by women. There are now female diplomats in the GCC. I am super excited that this started in Saudi Arabia with Princess Reema bint Bandar as the first Saudi female ambassador. I am also honored to represent NEOM as one of its leading female executives. I hope this passion within me for this amazing project is contagious and is an encouragement for other young women to join, and that I can serve as a great role model for them.”
Vision 2030 has changed the dynamic of the Kingdom and not only opened it to the world, but also to many Saudis.
Women from the Kingdom are now seen traveling around the world and exploring new cultures without the obligatory presence of a male guardian, due to a decree allowing women to obtain their own passports and travel over the age of 21 without a male guardian.
Vision 2030 gave women the right to drive, planting the seeds that led to the emergence of the first professional female racing driver, Reema Al-Juffali. The reforms also created equal opportunity in science, and pushed women scientists into the limelight, such as Nouf Al-Numair, a “DNA decoder” who researches the early detection of emerging diseases through gene mutation. This is only a glimpse into the world of achievements female leaders in Saudi Arabia have created as a result of empowerment in the Kingdom.
It is evident that the fast changes led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have also had a global impact. For the second year in a row, the “Women, Business and the Law 2021” report by the World Bank Group listed Saudi Arabia as one of the top countries for economic inclusion and women’s reform.
One woman who has benefited from the changes is Noura Al-Dossary. Orphaned at a young age and divorced with one daughter, Al-Dossary was in a predicament. Her sister and her brother-in-law helped her, but she soon realized she had to support both herself and her daughter financially.
“Vision 2030 opened doors for me that I thought were bolted shut,” she told Arab News. Coming from a conservative background, and with limited education, she ventured into various workplaces, and soon found work at a small college. However, she was unsatisfied with the pay, the work atmosphere and the lack of insurance and benefits. But an opportunity soon presented itself in a laundry department at a five-star hotel.
She was attentive to detail, eager to learn and grateful for the opportunity. “I was exposed to a different world. I met people from diverse nationalities, mixed with the opposite gender and quickly learned English on the job — something I never dreamed of.”
Al-Dossary’s workplace enrolled her in courses to not only further her career, but also her character. “I felt invested in it,” she said, a sentiment that many Saudi women share. “People tell me: ‘Oh, but you work in laundry.’ But let me tell you something: I’m proud of myself.”
There are many women like Al-Dossary who have succeeded in their own right. They may not appear in the headlines, but they are a vital part of Saudi society.
“I’m able to financially support my family, have insurance and benefits, and I bought a home,” said Al-Dossary. “None of this would have been possible without Vision 2030. I am independent and I finally found the support I needed to realize my dreams.”


Saudi women’s sport grows by leaps and bounds

Saudi women’s sport grows by leaps and bounds
Saudi cyclist Maya Jambi rides her bicycle past the Corniche Mosque in Jeddah on Saturday. The event was held to observe International Women’s Day. (AP)
Updated 47 min 35 sec ago

Saudi women’s sport grows by leaps and bounds

Saudi women’s sport grows by leaps and bounds
  • Our programs today are all about diversity and inclusion, says sports minister

DUBAI: With every passing week, more and more Saudi women are taking major strides across sporting arenas in the Kingdom.
Their progress, slow at first, has become a deluge.
It was only in 2017 that women were allowed inside stadiums to watch football. But November of last year saw the launch of the 24-team Women’s Football League, which was won by Challenge Riyadh.
The first Saudi female referee, Sham Al-Ghamdi, is rising through the ranks. There are Saudi fencers and show jumpers stepping up to compete at levels previously reserved only for men. Boxing is starting to attract Saudi women into the ring. In motorsports there are the likes of rally driver Dania Akeel pushing boundaries. And only last week, during the Formula E season opener at Diriyah, the first Saudi motorsports woman driver, Reema Juffali, announced that she had signed for Douglas Motorsport in the BRDC British F3 Championship.
These are not cosmetic, or isolated, changes, but ones opening doors for the next generation of Saudi female athletes. It is encouraging, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, that genuine progress is being made at grass-roots level upward, and will only increase in the coming weeks, months and years.
Just as important is what is taking place at the highest levels of sporting institutions in Saudi Arabia. Female representation at sporting federations and inside boardrooms has blossomed in line with Vision 2030, slowly banishing outdated notions of women’s place in sports.
“Any change will face some resistance, whether it’s women participating in sports or others,” Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdul Aziz Turki Al-Faisal said in a recent interview with Arab News. “Our programs today with the Ministry of Sports are all about diversity and inclusion and we had to make sure that everyone is involved in all of our programs. To shed light about certain things and how this has evolved toward positive things, in 2015 we had zero national female teams. Today, we have 23 national teams that are participating in the name of the country.”
“We had 32 federations in 2017, today we have 64 federations; 38 of them have female board members that represent female sports within these federations,” he said. “There’s a lot of changes that have happened within the ecosystem of sports.”
The minister drew attention to the period of time that has seen these changes and said that this had to go hand-in-hand with societal and cultural awakening.

HIGHLIGHTS

• It was only in 2017 that women were allowed inside stadiums to watch football.

• November of last year saw the launch of the 24-team Women’s Football League, which was won by Challenge Riyadh.

• The first Saudi female referee, Sham Al-Ghamdi, is rising through the ranks.

“These things were unheard of in the past and now they are happening and they are finding support from the players and their families,” Prince Abdul Aziz said.
“Things are changing, and things are changing to the positive, and we have to make sure that they change in the right way with the right momentum to make sure that we put the right steps in and for it to be sustainable for the future. We don’t want to do one thing today and regret doing it in the next two or three years.”
To avoid such potential missteps, measures have been taken to ensure the right female representation has been put in place across the Kingdom in recent years.
One of the most prominent has been the appointment of Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini as the managing director of the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) in March 2019. The work that she oversaw in 2020 has proved monumental.
During the lockdowns of 2020, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spread throughout the world, the SFA played a major part in maintaining physical and mental well-being among the homebound Saudi population.
The digital national health and wellness campaign, Baytak Nadeek (Your Home, Your Gym) saw 3.8 million Saudis join in a matter of weeks, while other initiatives such as the Women’s Fitness Festival attracted thousands of participants through social media channels. The latter was staged as part of the SFA’s focus on increasing health and wellness across all segments of Saudi society through education, events, activations and public awareness campaigns.
Crowning a challenging year was the launch of the Women’s Football League (WFL) across Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
“Empowering women comes through positive and proactive programs like the WFL that have been conceptualized to continue to have a lasting impact on health, fitness and wellbeing,” Al-Husseini said. “The SFA, committed to putting women at the forefront of our mission to grow Saudi Arabia’s healthy and active community, continues to engage public and private-sector stakeholders to realize this aim together.”
Such tangible achievements in the field of women’s empowerment stand in stark contrast to some of the scandals taking place elsewhere.
Recent weeks have seen calls for the resignation of Yoshiro Mori, the head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee, after he made derogatory remarks about women, saying that they talked too much and that meetings with female board directors would “take a lot of time.”
Such words would be unacceptable in Saudi Arabia today.
Acclaim for the fundamental work being undertaken to include women in sports from grass roots level to boardroom level may have been slow in coming from abroad.
Inside Saudi Arabia, however, the role women are playing is there for all to see and appreciate.

 


Saudi Arabia to introduce skills assessment for labor workers

Saudi Arabia to introduce skills assessment for labor workers
The program will examine all skilled workers in their home country before their arrival in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2021

Saudi Arabia to introduce skills assessment for labor workers

Saudi Arabia to introduce skills assessment for labor workers
  • Ministry’s Professional Verification program will start coming into force in July

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s skilled workers are to be assessed to ensure they are qualified for their jobs.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) announced the launch of the “Professional Verification” program on Sunday, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation.
The minister said on his official Twitter account: “Today (Sunday) we launched the Professional Verification program, to ensure the competence of skilled workers in the Saudi labor market.”
The program aims to verify that all skilled workers in Saudi Arabia have the required skills to perform the occupation they were recruited for, and will include practical and theoretical examinations in the workers’ specialized fields. It will target more than 1,000 professions belonging to 23 fields as per the Saudi Standard Classification of Occupations.
The program, which starts in July, seeks to improve the quality of skilled workers in the Saudi labor market, enhance their productivity, improve the services they provide and reduce the influx of unqualified workers.
The program will examine all skilled workers in their home country before their arrival in the Kingdom, in cooperation with selected international examination centers. It will also examine existing skilled workers in the Kingdom.
HRSD is urging all establishments to begin the verification process by registering on the program’s website — https://svp.qiwa.sa/ — for all their skilled workers, as the verification will gradually be enforced this summer.
Centers interested in becoming licensed to conduct the program’s examination are advised to register in the same link.
Work visas for the targeted jobs will be linked to the skilled workers passing the examination in their home country and will be enforced on a gradual basis in accordance with a roll-out plan developed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the countries sending labor to the Kingdom. This falls under the ministry’s “Professional Accreditation” system.
The new program has been widely welcomed.

HIGHLIGHT

HRSD is urging all establishments to begin the verification process by registering on the program’s website — https://svp.qiwa.sa/ — for all their skilled workers, as the verification will gradually be enforced this summer.

Ali M. Alhazmi, a member of the Association of Financial Professional (AFP), said the professional verification decision is a long awaited one and will have a positive impact on the labor market.
The labor visa was one of the most expensive on the black market because anyone who holds this visa can work in any profession. The professional verification program will prevent unskilled workers from entering the country because they have harmed the national economy. The workers benefited from the country’s concessions or privileges but did not add anything to the national economy, he said.
Osama Alshammari, a member of the Human Resources Committee at the Riyadh Chamber, said the decision will allow only professional workers to pass the exam and meet the standards of their professions in the labor market. Only professional workers can receive a national professional license to practice their profession.
He said that the decision might create job opportunities in the private sector because some workers might not pass the professional exam.
“The initiative aims to establish a national committee to support technical professions and also to set standards and regulations for governance. The regulations will cover the requirements for issuing licenses to professional workers after they have passed the professional verification exam so that they can practice their professions. This will apply to trainers as well,” he said.
Alshammari added that the program will give Saudi technical professional workers a chance to find jobs in small and medium enterprises such as auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers and general maintenance.
Mohammed Al-Sudais, CEO of Carsdees car rentals, said that it is likely that work quality and efficiency will increase.
Al-Sudais, with more than 20 years’ experience in the private sector, encouraged young Saudis looking for appropriate job opportunities to prepare themselves by joining the professional centers. “These professional centers help in the development of the skills and endogenous capacity, in order to overcome the difficulties and challenges of work and to properly meet the needs of the labor market,” he said.
“The professional vetting process can ensure the quality of the labor market by empowering those who are experienced and specialized, as well as protecting them,” he added.


Saudi Arabia steps up inspection tours for virus violations

Saudi Arabia steps up inspection tours for virus violations
There are 505 cases in intensive care units, as reported by the Ministry of Health on Sunday, an increase of 11 in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2021

Saudi Arabia steps up inspection tours for virus violations

Saudi Arabia steps up inspection tours for virus violations
  • The highest number of violations was in the Riyadh region with 17,321 breaches, while Jazan had the lowest number of violations with just 191

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities are intensifying their field inspection tours to check for COVID-19 violations following the reopening of commercial establishments, with people being reminded about the importance of sticking to health and safety protocols.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Cl. Talal Al-Shalhoub said on Sunday that special forces from the ministry and other relevant authorities, in cooperation with the private sector, had increased their inspection campaigns across all regions to maintain order and monitor violations by establishments and individuals.
There were 41,590 violations reported in the past week by field inspectors. These varied from not adhering to social distancing measures, to overcrowding and not wearing face masks.
The highest number of violations was in the Riyadh region with 17,321 breaches, while Jazan had the lowest number of violations with just 191.
“Though the number of confirmed (COVID-19) cases has been fluctuating in the past few weeks, this could be an indicator that they might be stabilizing,” Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told the same press conference. “This does not mean we can be careless, these could be the result of the restrictions enforced over the last month.”

FASTFACT

More than 1.33 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people in the Kingdom.

The number of critical care patients continues to rise. There are 505 cases in intensive care units, as reported by the Ministry of Health on Sunday, an increase of 11 in the past 24 hours.
There were also 357 new cases reported, raising the Kingdom’s total number of COVID-19 infections to 379,831.
There are currently 2,689 active COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia and 370,614 people who have recovered from COVID-19, following 314 new recoveries in the past 24 hours.
Saudi Arabia reported four further deaths, bringing the death toll to 6,528.
More than 1.33 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to people in the Kingdom.


Attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy facilities spark global condemnation

Attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy facilities spark global condemnation
Updated 33 min 28 sec ago

Attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy facilities spark global condemnation

Attacks on Saudi Arabia’s energy facilities spark global condemnation
  • GCC chief says ‘terrorist attack’ targeted global energy nerve center
  • US senator blames attacks on and Iran emboldened by Biden’s softer approach

RIYADH: The attacks on oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia drew regional and internal condemnation on Sunday.

The Kingdom said the drone attack on Ras Tanura Port and attempted missile strike on an Aramco residential area had targeted global energy supplies. Ras Tanura is one of the world’s largest oil shipping ports and the Aramco complex in Dhahran houses workers and their families from all over the world. 

GCC Secretary-General Nayef Al-Hajraf  said: “These terrorist attacks do not only target the security and economic capabilities of the Kingdom, but also the nerve center of the global economy and oil supplies, as well as global energy security.”

He said the Gulf states stand with the Kingdom, adding that the bloc supports Saudi Arabia in all necessary measures it takes to protect its national capabilities

Bahrain also strongly condemned the attacks, saying they were a violation of international laws.

In Washington, Bill Hagerty, a Republican senator who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said President Joe Biden’s approach to Iran had emboldened the regime to launch more attacks through it proxies on Saudi Arabia.

“Yet another missile strike against Saudi Arabia today with all the hallmarks of an Iranian-backed attack,” he said. “It seems (President) Biden’s desire to give Tehran sanctions relief is emboldening the mullahs to escalate their aggression against us and our allies.”

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh expressed solidarity with the Kingdom.

He also called on the international community to put an end to this terrorism that threatens international security and stability.