Saudi Arabia, US sign Rohingya aid deal

Saudi Arabia, US sign Rohingya aid deal
Rohingya Muslim refugees children queue for aid suplies at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar on Dec. 4, 2017. (AFP/File)
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Updated 13 November 2020

Saudi Arabia, US sign Rohingya aid deal

Saudi Arabia, US sign Rohingya aid deal
  • The agreement aims to rehabilitate housing with a total value of $2 million
  • The program will target 87,165 people for urgent assistance

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia signed virtually on Thursday an agreement with the US to implement a multi-sector refugee support program in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

The agreement aims to rehabilitate housing with a total value of $2 million, and will be managed by the World Food Program (WFP).

The agreement was signed by Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and US Agency for International Development (USAID) Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa, in the presence of Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi ambassador to the US, and John Abizaid, US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.




The agreement aims to rehabilitate housing with a total value of $2 million, and will be managed by the World Food Program (WFP). (SPA)

The program will target 87,165 people for urgent assistance, including Rohingya refugees and groups affected by natural disasters and conflicts in Ukhiya, Teknaf, Kutubdia and Moheskhali.

Dr. Al-Rabeeah praised the agreement. He said Saudi Arabia has stood by the Rohingya, in their areas of displacement and in the Kingdom, throughout history, and provided them with all the necessary services, care and facilities.

He added that as a result of the eradication and torture faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Kingdom provided urgent relief for disaster-stricken refugees. King Salman directed KSrelief to stand by the affected people and provide them with urgent aid, and the center sent a specialized team to Bangladesh to determine the state of the Rohingya refugees, meet their needs and provide them with emergency relief and humanitarian assistance. The center also implemented a number of diverse projects and programs for refugees in Cox’s Bazar and other areas.

Al-Rabeeah said the agreement comes within the framework of continuous Saudi support to alleviate the suffering of the Rohingya people and to increase their standard of living. He thanked the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for its valuable assistance to affected people and countries around the globe.

John Barsa thanked KSrelief and the WFP for the partnership in Bangladesh and other countries. He said that for more than three years Rohingya refugees have suffered, and that through this agreement they will receive much-needed support.

He expressed his pride in the partnership, which will boost access to basic needs and shelter for the Rohinyga. More than 860,000 of the persecuted minority live in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

The Bangladeshi city is facing major problems, including natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic, and through this agreement USAID and KSrelief hope to meet the needs of residents.

Barsa said that for the past five years, through 300,000 employees and volunteers, KSrelief expanded its relief and humanitarian work, reaching 54 countries and donating more than $4 billion.

At the end of his speech, he expressed hope for the partnership and urged international organizations to support the cause.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud said that KSrelief plays a major role in providing relief to disaster zones and people in need around the world. The center has taken part in more than 1,300 humanitarian operations to date.

She added that the center, along with USAID, will contribute to WFP efforts to assist Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, and said the agreement is a testament to what the continuous Saudi partnership with the US is capable of achieving, in order to achieve peace, security and prosperity in the region and around the world.

The agreement aims to improve the health, safety and standards of living of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, through rehabilitating houses and local shelters and providing disaster protection, she added.

She said that over the last two decades, the Kingdom has donated more than $15 billion to refugees around the world, and that in the past month alone, the Kingdom took part in the UN donor conference for the Rohingya refugee cause. The Kingdom is also hosting more than 270,000 Rohingya refugees, providing them with free health care, educational services and employment opportunities, she added.

Through the agreement, many families in Bangladesh will soon receive shelter, the ambassador said, adding that she looks forward to continued cooperation between KSrelief and USAID.

Abizaid recalled the historic relationship between the Kingdom and the US, which began 75 years ago when King Abdul Aziz and Franklin D. Roosevelt first met. The two countries have worked together ever since to support peace and stability, Abizaid said.

He praised the joint cooperation between KSrelief and USAID, adding that the agreement will also include disaster management training for people in areas with extreme weather conditions.

The US ambassador hailed joint humanitarian work between the Kingdom and the US in a number of countries, including Yemen, where help is provided in a community torn apart by conflict. Both countries also met the needs of around 12 million people who are internally displaced in Syria.

KSrelief is at the forefront of education in Syria, and meets the needs of displaced children through the provision of supplies and services for more than 100,000 students, Abizaid said.

He expressed his country’s pride in cooperating with the Kingdom, and said the project is one part of a broad and lasting partnership between the Kingdom and the US.


Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
Updated 27 September 2021

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
  • The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors

JEDDAH: Under the slogan #Imagine_more, Riyadh Season 2021 begins in less than a month and offers events and activities for all.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority, on Saturday announced the launch of the 2021 Riyadh Season on Oct. 20. It will cover an area of 5.4 million square meters across 14 districts in the capital city.

Al-Sheikh said that after the success of Riyadh Season 2019, this year’s events would be organized by Saudi teams.

The season will host 7,500 events, including 70 Arab concerts, six international concerts, 10 international exhibitions, 350 theater performances, 18 Arab plays and six international plays, in addition to one free-wrestling championship, two international matches, 100 interactive experiences, 200 restaurants and 70 cafes, all catering to a range of tastes and age groups.

Nour Fahed, who visited Riyadh’s last season in 2019, told Arab News how excited she was to be attending this year’s events. “I went to the Riyadh Season twice and I was overwhelmed with the things that I saw,” she said. “I could not believe my eyes and I was proud that my country is making international events like this.” 

Hams Nabeel, who went to Riyadh for a business trip during the season, said: “I tried some of the exotic pop-up restaurants in the season, but my favorite activity was going to the Winter Wonderland theme park. I liked how I saw and met so many foreigners and I am aiming for another adventure this year.”

Another guest, Majid Al Assiri, said that he made the most of the activities on offer during the last Riyadh Season, visiting Winter Wonderland, the boulevard, Diriyah festivals, MDLBEAST. “It will be a fantastic season, especially now that people already have an idea of what to expect from last season,” he said.

“Not to mention the second season of MDLBEAST: 2019 was a blast, it was cold because but the experience itself is unique and the first of its kind,” Assiri said. 

The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors. It will also contribute to achieving national goals such as raising the level of the entertainment-sector industry, creating job opportunities, growing economic returns and attracting foreign investment.

More details will be announced at a press conference on Oct. 4.

Decoder

RIYADH SEASON

Riyadh Season is the biggest part of Saudi Seasons, a series of themed entertainment, artistic, sporting and cultural events held throughout the Kingdom to boost tourism and business opportunities, and providing jobs for Saudi nationals. Riyadh Season 2021 alone will host 7,500 events, according to the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA).


Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services
Updated 27 September 2021

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Loay Mashabi has been the deputy minister for logistic services at the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services since April 2021.

He has also been a board member of Saudia Cargo from August 2021 and a board member of Saudi Exports from June 2021.

Prior to his current position, Mashabi was the deputy governor for planning and development at Saudi Customs from September 2019 to March 2021.

He served as the chief operating officer of the Al-Soudah Development project, later known as Al-Soudah Development Co., at the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, from February 2019 to August 2019.

From January 2017 to December 2018 Mashabi was general manager at LogiPoint Services, previously known as Isnad, the operator of the largest bonded and re-export zone in Saudi Arabia located at Jeddah Islamic Port.

From September of 2013 to December 2016, he worked as general manager at Petroleum and Energy Logistics and Services Co.

His professional career began in September 2006 at Saudi Aramco as a petroleum production engineer, and he continued to work as a senior production engineer at the oil giant until April 2013. This strong foundation in a well-governed giga-company helped to shape his career and he later moved to PETROGISTIX.

Mashabi received his master’s degree in business administration from the London Business School, a constituent college of the University of London, UK (2016-17).

He has a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia (2002-2006).

Mashabi was issued a petroleum engineering certification from the Society of Petroleum Engineers in December 2012.


Diriyah Gate signs deal with Saudi Human Resources Development Fund to train cadres

Diriyah Gate signs deal with Saudi Human Resources Development Fund to train cadres
Updated 28 sec ago

Diriyah Gate signs deal with Saudi Human Resources Development Fund to train cadres

Diriyah Gate signs deal with Saudi Human Resources Development Fund to train cadres

RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Human Resources Development Fund within the framework of enhancing cooperation in the area of human resource development, supporting, training and recruiting Saudi women and men.

It aims to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the job market – as part of DGDA’s plans to nationalize jobs and develop national cadres and competencies.

The MoU includes raising the awareness of Diriyah’s community of skills required for jobs, through organizing workshops and training programs, as well as honing skills and readiness for the job market.

It also includes exchanging data, statistics and studies between both parties and working on enhancing on-the-job training through the Tamheer program.

Hadaf commended DGDA’s plans and strategy in training and developing the national cadres and nationalizing jobs. It noted that one of its main goals is the increasing the roles of Saudis in economic growth, preparing young people to participate in the Kingdom’s development, and promoting and assisting all sectors to implement the ambitious nationalization programs.


Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over
  • The Kingdom registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 44 new cases and 58 recoveries in past 24 hours
  • Ministry of Interior records 19,870 violations against precautionary measures in past week

JEDDAH: People aged 60 and over will get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their immunity against the virus, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced Sunday.
“We are currently preparing to include older adults in the booster dose plan, which will be provided after they complete eight months since they received their second dose of the vaccine,” ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press briefing.
The ministry previously said it had started giving booster shots to high-risk individuals, including those with chronic kidney failure and people with organ transplants.
Over 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. Nearly 18.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
People aged 60 and over will get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their immunity against the virus, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced Sunday.
“We are currently preparing to include older adults in the booster dose plan, which will be provided after they complete eight months since they received their second dose of the vaccine,” ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press briefing.
The ministry previously said it had started giving booster shots to high-risk individuals, including those with chronic kidney failure and people with organ transplants.
Over 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. Nearly 18.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
“We urge everyone to complete both doses at the earliest,” said the spokesman. “Vaccination is the most important factor that will help us through the coming phase in confronting the pandemic which is, hopefully, the final stage with the virus.”
Saudi Arabia confirmed five new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,699.


The Ministry of Health confirmed 44 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 546,926 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 244 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 11, followed by Jeddah with seven, Madinah recorded three, and Makkah and Najran confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 58 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 535,950.
Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the disease.
They recorded 19,870 violations of the regulations in one week, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior.
The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 8,682 violations, followed by the Eastern Province (2,007), Makkah (1,931), Madinah (1,852), Qassim (1,540), Jouf (1,130), Hail (1,021), Jazan (391), the Northern Borders (361), Baha (355), Tabuk (292), Asir (224), and Najran (84).
The ministry called on citizens and residents to abide by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 9,253 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities in one week, identifying 493 violations. 
Field teams closed 14 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
The municipality of Hail also carried out 1,191 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities in one day. The authorities closed 56 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
Municipalities urged all commercial facilities to abide by regulations to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of the disease.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry said that 87,500 monitoring tours had been carried out across the public and private sectors during the past month to ensure compliance with COVID-19 measures.
There were 3,509 violations recorded, 1,948 against private sector institutions and 1,561 against people working in the private sector.
Ministry spokesperson Saad Al-Hammad said 3,784 reports of potential violations were received during the past month, adding that the ministry accepted reports through its app, hotline number 19911, and social media accounts.
Currently, 88 percent of public sector and 85 percent of private sector employees have received both vaccine doses.
“These numbers indicate an increased awareness among the public of the need for health safety in the community to confront the pandemic,” Al-Hammad said.


Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic
Updated 26 September 2021

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic
  • Kingdom’s technological progress contributed to raising level of transparency, efficiency, says Saudi envoy to UN

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s strong digital infrastructure has enabled the public and private sectors to meet the devastating challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Kingdom’s envoy to the UN has said.

“Guided by the national transformation program, the Kingdom’s technological progress has contributed to raising the level of transparency and digital efficiency,” said Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN.

Al-Mouallimi made these remarks during a high-level side event organized by the Digital Cooperation Organization under the theme “Shaping a Comprehensive Digital Age,” a recently established global organization working toward achieving “digital prosperity for all.”

The DCO works with governments, the private sector, international and nongovernmental organizations and civil society to push for an inclusive digital transformation and the growth of digital industries.

The DCO’s seven-member body includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, and Pakistan. It accounts for a population of 480 million, 80 percent of which are under the age of 35. It said it is open to any new member that shares the same goals of “empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs and leapfrogging the digital transformation.”  

In his remarks, Al-Mouallimi highlighted the Kingdom’s digital achievements and the efforts of the DCO during the pandemic. 

“They helped to make it possible to work remotely and adapt to the new conditions imposed by the pandemic,” said the ambassador, adding that the world is undergoing a shift towards digital transformation at a faster pace than ever before. 

“Digitization creates opportunities and challenges that go beyond borders, making digital collaboration an essential element in facilitating digital transformation at the international level, so that our digital future must be more inclusive and global efforts ensure that technology is available to all.”

Al-Mouallimi underlined that multilateral cooperation is necessary to meet digital challenges and opportunities. Countries must harness their full potential to integrate into the digital age, mainly dependent on global collaboration.

Al-Mouallimi said it is clear that the DCO emphasizes promoting digital cooperation to meet the current challenges.

“The core objectives of the DCO are about accelerating the growth of the digital economy, as well as promoting social prosperity to include all,” the envoy said, adding: “The organization also seeks to develop an ambitious model for promoting global digital efforts, making us, as members of the organization’s coordination office, forced to exert all efforts to reach our goals and objectives.”

He said that the Kingdom accelerated the growth of the digital economy in the region and around the world as a member of the DCO, stressing that the Kingdom will continue its commitment to maximizing digital capabilities at the national and international levels.

He added: “The Kingdom has put digitization at the forefront of the technological progress it seeks, and as a result, several outstanding achievements have enabled Saudi Arabia to make significant progress in global indicators, ranking first among the G20 countries in digital competitiveness according to the European Centre for Digital Competitiveness.”