Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’
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Qassim is rich in archaeological sites with evidence of historical civilizations in the region. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’
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Qassim is rich in archaeological sites with evidence of historical civilizations in the region. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’
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Qassim is rich in archaeological sites with evidence of historical civilizations in the region. (SPA)
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Updated 02 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric ‘crossroads’
  • Sites around ancient valleys and rivers show that human groups gradually spread and discovered new inhabitable areas

RIYADH: Stone tools dating back 200,000 years to the Paleolithic period have been unearthed in Shuaib Al-Adgham in the eastern Qassim region by a Saudi Arabian scientific team.
The tools include large numbers of stone axes “made with high precision,” the Kingdom’s Heritage Authority said.
The site, one of the most important yet found in Saudi Arabia, dates back to the middle Paleolithic age and even further to the so-called Acheulean civilization, estimated to be at least 200,000 years old.
The Acheulean civilization is characterized by the development of stone tools and axes, one of the most important implements of the age.
The abundance of stone tools unearthed at the site reflects the large number of prehistoric humans that lived in the region. It is also a clear indication that climatic conditions in the Arabian Peninsula were highly suitable for these human groups, which benefited from the region’s natural resources.
According to the authority, the stone tools are also evidence of the existence of human societies in Arabia going back hundreds of thousands of years.
Satellite footage showed that the Acheulean sites, including Shuaib Al-Adgham, were located near rivers, which were used by Stone Age people to access the deep interior of Arabia.
Sites around ancient valleys and rivers show that human groups gradually spread and discovered new inhabitable areas. The sites are characterized by an abundance of stone fragments and manufacturing tools.
Surveys concluded that there might be thousands of similar tools buried at the site.

FASTFACT

The tools include large numbers of stone axes ‘made with high precision.’

The authority said that environmental and cultural information gathered at the site showed that conditions in the past have ranged from extremely arid to humid.
Evidence strongly supports the claim that there was a “green Arabia” at several times in the past, the authority said.
Rivers and lakes throughout Arabia led to the expansion of human groups, proving that Arabia was an intersection of major routes between Africa and Asia throughout prehistory and a region of settlement during the Paleolithic age.
Ancient immigrations occurred via two major pathways, Bab Al-Mandab and Sinai.
The authority said that its scientific teams will carry out further research at the site, revealing new evidence that proves Arabia was one of the most important places for human settlement during the Stone Age.  
Based on its location in the middle of Arabia, Qassim is rich in archaeological sites with evidence of historical civilizations in the region.
These include inscriptions and rock drawings that were previously discovered and recorded in the national archaeological register at the Heritage Authority.


Overdue business rents waived by Saudi court

Overdue business rents waived by Saudi court
If a contract obliges one of the parties to carry out a task, which cannot be completed on time due to the pandemic, the court can temporarily suspend the implementation of the obligation. (SPA)
Updated 54 min 1 sec ago

Overdue business rents waived by Saudi court

Overdue business rents waived by Saudi court
  • The new regulations cover construction contracts, supply contracts, and the like, which have been affected by the pandemic

RIYADH: The General Assembly of the Saudi Supreme Court has ordered the waiving of overdue rents on businesses hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and called for a review of such contracts between tenants and owners.

The steps have been taken in view of the circumstances caused by the pandemic, wherein an obligation or contract cannot be implemented without unusual losses.

The president of the Supreme Court, Khalid bin Abdullah bin Muhammad Al-Luhaidan, approved the decisions backed by 32 members of the assembly, Okaz newspaper reported.

Authorities have set conditions that have to be met before a case can be considered for review under the new regulations.

If a contract was concluded before the commencement of the preventive measures announced in the wake of the pandemic, then the impact was direct and unavoidable. If in such a case, an affected party was not compensated or did not reach a deal to mitigate the impact of the health crisis, then it qualifies for a review and the new regulations will then take effect, said legal sources.

The Supreme Court said a competent court will issue its verdict based on facts and circumstantial evidence, and may order amendments to a contract.

It also said the new provisions will be applicable to tenancy contracts and movable properties affected by the pandemic.

It clarified that if, due to the pandemic, a tenant was unable to use the leased property, in whole or in part, the court would reduce the rent as much as the usually intended benefit was reduced.

A lessor, meanwhile, does not have the right to terminate the contract if a tenant is late in paying rent for the period during which it was impossible to fully or partly use the property due to the pandemic.

HIGHLIGHT

The Supreme Court said a competent court will issue its verdict based on facts and circumstantial evidence, and may order amendments to a contract.

The new regulations also cover construction contracts, supply contracts, and the like, which have been affected by the pandemic.

If the pandemic causes an increase to the cost of materials and labor wages, etc., the court shall increase the value of the contract while ensuring the obligor can afford to bear the expense. The obligee, upon increasing the obligation, has the right to request the termination of the contract. If the increase in the cost of materials is temporary, the court reserves the right to temporarily suspend the contract.

If the pandemic causes a shortage of material in the market, the court can reduce the quantity to the extent it deems sufficient to protect the obligor from harm.

Moreover, if the shortage of materials is temporary, the court can temporarily suspend the contract if the person obligated to it is not severely affected by this suspension. If he is harmed, he may request termination of the contract. If the materials were not available at all, leading to the impossibility of implementing the contractual obligations or some of them, the court will terminate the clauses that are impossible to implement upon the request of one of the parties to the contract.

If a contract obliges one of the parties to carry out a task, which cannot be completed on time due to the pandemic, the court can temporarily suspend the implementation of the obligation. If the other party fears unusual damage due to the suspension, he may request termination of the contract.

In addition, the court also stressed the need to carefully assess the damages on a case-to-case basis, and that one or more experts should do the assessment. While assessing damages, it should be made clear what losses were incurred directly due to the pandemic and had nothing do to with seasonal upswing in certain activities.

The Supreme Court explained that a court is bound, when considering cases arising from contracts and obligations affected by the pandemic, not to apply penalty clause or fines in whole or in part — depending on the case.

In the event that a contract includes a clause of exemption from liability for one of the contracting parties when an emergency or force majeure occurs, the condition has no effect, and the party that breaches the obligation must provide evidence that the pandemic was the reason for the breach.

The affected contracts that are not covered by the provisions of this principle shall be subject to the legal and statutory litigation principles, said the court.

Commenting on the decision, Talal Albotty, the regional director of the Central Region, Salama Insurance Co., said there is a type of insurance called “suspension of operations” because of continuous epidemics, and falls under property insurance.

“This type of insurance can be found in European countries and some Asian countries but it is not applicable in Saudi Arabia,” he told Arab News. “The insurance against projects does not exist because when the project stops, insurance stops.”

Regarding the rise in prices of commodities, or the increase in prices because of pandemics and suspension of imports, a condition must be added stating that the value of property or project must increase by 10-25 percent, he added.

“Now most reinsurance companies around the world stopped offering insurance related to pandemics and contagious diseases in most countries, including COVID-19, because their impact was huge and the companies sustained huge losses,” he said.

Saudi lawyer Reem Alajmi said the resolution aims to treat and remedy the losses incurred by parties to the contract in terms of obligations.

“The parties could not fulfil their obligations because of a lack of sufficient resources or suspension of working hours during the pandemic. Fulfilling the obligation fully or partially was difficult because COVID-19 pandemic was a force majeure,” she told Arab News.

According to Alajmi, the effects or damage caused by the pandemic must not be covered by other laws. “Proving the occurrence of damage is the responsibility of the plaintiff and the defendant based on evidence submitted to the court,” she added. “The contracts and obligations are amended accordingly.”