Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off

Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
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Racer Yazeed Al-Rajhi, right, with co-pilot Dirk Von Zitzewitz. (Dakar Rally)
Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
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Photo credit: (Dakar Rally)
Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
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Photo credit: (Dakar Rally)
Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
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Photo credit: (Dakar Rally)
Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
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Photo credit: (Dakar Rally)
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Updated 03 January 2021

Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off

Drivers, start your engines: 8,000km Dakar Rally kicks off
  • From NEOM to AlUla, drivers setting off in the tenth stage will head to the hills, crossing some of the Kingdom’s most beautiful vistas

JEDDAH: For the second year in a row, Dakar Rally drivers are set to cross 8,000 km of Saudi land in a race not for the faint-hearted.
Saudi Arabia’s cities are set to receive over 300 drivers on bikes, quads, in cars, UTVs, trucks and this year’s newest category, classics vehicles. The race will begin and end at the Red Sea, with the first stage kicking off from Jeddah on Jan. 3 and the final stage from Yanbu to Jeddah on Jan. 15.  
Organized by the Ministry of Sports in coordination with the  Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), drivers will be off for 13 days and will pass through 12 different stages before reaching the finish line.
Among the participants, veteran rally racer Yazeed Al-Rajhi and fourth place finisher in last year’s rally is setting off with co-pilot Dirk Von Zitzewitz, a Dakar legend who has participated in more than 10 Dakar events.  A number of Saudi rally drivers will also be participating, with names including second-time participant Mishal Alghunaim, Abdulmajeed Alkhulaifi and Fawaz Altoaimi. In his second year participating, Yasir Alseaidan will be joining alongside fellow rally drivers Mohammed and Waleed Al-Tuwaijri, Faisal Mohammed Ftyh and Abdul Aziz Al-Yaeesh.




Toyota driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi of Saudi Arabia and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz of Germany compete during the prologue near Jeddah on the eve of the rally. (AFP)


In its first stage, drivers will set out from Jeddah heading due south to Bisha, passing through valleys and rough rocky roads for a distance of 622 km, with a special distance estimated to be 277 km.

The second stage will start from Bisha and head due east towards Wadi Ad-Dawasir through sand dunes, covering a total distance of 685 km, including a special distance of 457 km. Competitors are set to face rough roads before reaching sandy terrain near the valley.
Wadi Ad-Dawasir, the third stage and one considered a “loop” stage (beginning and ending at the same bivouac site) will set the stage for drivers as they face the high sand dunes of the Empty Quarter. Drivers must navigate through what is considered the largest sand sea in the world, covering 630 km, with a special distance of 403 km.
Drivers who make it back to Wadi Ad-Dawasir will head due north in the fourth stage, towards the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, for the longest stage of the Dakar Rally, with a total distance of 813 km and a special distance of 337 km. The variety of routes included in this stage will not allow the participants any time to rest. Moreover, mistakes during this stage may cause major setbacks as these routes are considered a transitional stage.

HIGHLIGHTS

• From NEOM to AlUla, drivers setting off in the tenth stage will head to the hills, crossing some of the Kingdom’s most beautiful vistas.

• From the majestic grounds of AlUla, heading back toward the Red Sea coastline, drivers will set their routes toward Yanbu before heading toward Jeddah in their last and final showdown on Jan. 15.

In the race’s fifth stage, drivers will set out on a long and arduous trip from Riyadh to Al-Qaisumah, in the northeast of the Kingdom, on Jan. 7, with the distance estimated to be 622 km and a special distance of 456 km.  
The sixth stage will set off towards Hail, crossing 618 km, and special distance of 448 km. Drivers will cross an entire sandy path in Hail, testing their driving abilities and skills, in the various categories of the race. At the end of this stage, competitors can enjoy one day of rest in the city.
The seventh stage will kick start again from Hail on Jan. 10 towards Sakaka, one of the northernmost cities of the Kingdom, with a total distance of 737 km and special distance of 471 km.
The eighth stage will see drivers set out from Sakaka towards NEOM on Jan. 11, with a total distance of 709 km and special distance of 375 km.
In the rally’s second “loop” stage, and for one of the most difficult stages due to the terrain’s diversity, drivers will set off from NEOM and go around the various mountainous terrain to the shores of the Rea Sea, with a total distance of 579 km and special distance of 456 km.
From NEOM to AlUla, drivers setting off in the tenth stage will head to the hills, crossing some of the Kingdom’s most beautiful vistas.
From the majestic grounds of AlUla, heading back toward the Red Sea coastline, drivers will set their routes toward Yanbu before heading toward Jeddah in their last and final showdown on Jan. 15.


Al-Rabeeah, EU envoy discuss relief efforts

Al-Rabeeah, EU envoy discuss relief efforts
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah. (SPA)
Updated 30 min 10 sec ago

Al-Rabeeah, EU envoy discuss relief efforts

Al-Rabeeah, EU envoy discuss relief efforts
  • Simonnet praised KSrelief’s professional mechanisms, its preparation and coordination of humanitarian and relief programs, and its support for the needy around the world

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts have been hailed as “professional” in a meeting between the head of KSrelief and the EU’s ambassador to the Kingdom.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), met Patrick Simonnet, head of the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.
During the talks in Riyadh, the two discussed issues of mutual interest related to relief and humanitarian affairs.
Simonnet praised KSrelief’s professional mechanisms, its preparation and coordination of humanitarian and relief programs, and its support for the needy around the world.
KSrelief has implemented 1,536 projects worth almost $5 billion across 59 countries.
According to a recent report, the countries and territories that have benefited the most from the projects include Yemen ($3.47 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($304 million) and Somalia ($202 million).


Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes. (Photos: Instgram/ @mysloppyadventures)
Updated 01 March 2021

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
  • Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country

JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers is relying on the power of social media to showcase the Kingdom’s vast beauty.

Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country — from the sandy beaches of the east and west, to the mountains of the north and south, and the green oases of the deserts — discovering the beauty of each region one picture at a time.

Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden wonders” to a growing tourist market.

“I wanted to be part of the future somehow — that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what has motivated me to go on,” he told Arab News.

Many other photographers who travel the country share the same outlook.

Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I had to work on a few projects and went to places I had never been before. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? I never thought I would find such gems in Saudi Arabia.”

Binzarah said that he looks for dramatic landscapes and tries to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”

He said: “The pictures I take are not unique, the uniqueness comes from the places. I am just the conveyer of the beauty and nothing else.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s ‘hidden wonders’ to a growing tourist market.

• Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“As a photographer, I try to capture the right objects at the right time, but often I feel like the beauty is not represented,” he said.

Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after going through the pictures they know that there is a part of the world that they must explore.”

Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer who now lives in the Kingdom, said that he had traveled widely in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and ease.”

“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Whenever I upload something, I receive questions with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or have I accidentally put the wrong name.

“Unfortunately, people think that it is just a desert and nothing else. So by posting pictures of these places we are educating them about possibilities and attractions they thought never existed,” he said.

Binzarah agreed, saying: “Undiscovered places are of interest for professional photographers, because they are always looking for challenges, and I think this ignites their interests to go to these places and explore.”

he added that “while the desert might be nothing new to a Saudi resident, it will be of interest to people who live in greener countries.”

Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is extremely appealing for archaeologists and tourists interested in history, Binzara said.

Farah described the beauty of nature in different places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and they are rich in history. So, we need to keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas.”

Technology is also having a major influence. Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.

“Being on social media gives us the drive to do better,” Binzarah said. “If there is no community or people to engage with, it gets dull.”

He added: “It is a personal journey and one for everyone to discover Saudi Arabia one picture at a time.”

 


United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia
Updated 26 min 20 sec ago

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia
  • US says these attacks threaten civilians and Yemen peace prospects
  • Washington remains committed to its longstanding partnership with Saudi Arabia

LONDON: The United States strongly condemned the attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militia on population centers in Saudi Arabia, the State Department said on Sunday.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched missile and drone strikes targeting civilian areas in the Kingdom on Saturday, that were intercepted by Arab coalition forces.
“These attacks threaten not only innocent civilians but also prospects for peace and stability in Yemen,” the State Department said in a statement.
The US also called on the Houthi militia to “end these egregious attacks and engage constructively with UN Special Envoy. Martin Griffiths and US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking with the goal of bringing peace, prosperity, and security to the Yemeni people.”
Newly appointed veteran diplomat Lenderking is currently in the region holding talks with Yemeni, Saudi and UN officials to help bring a political solution to the Yemen war.
“The United States remains committed to its longstanding partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” the statement added.
US President Joe Biden reiterated to King Salman during a phone call on Thursday that Washington was committed to defending the Kingdom against any threats.


Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, Osama, Jawaher and Haya, are all now practicing lawyers. (Supplied)
Updated 01 March 2021

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
  • Veteran lawyer Musaad Al-Saleh feels ‘sense of pride’ over children’s path

MAKKAH: Law firms in Saudi Arabia are very much a dime a dozen, but one law firm in Tabuk is showing their power through family unity.

Following one career path, three young lawyers are following their father’s footsteps in the legal profession.

Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be “a family that will be difficult to approach.”

Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, 29-year-old Osama, 25-year-old Jawaher and 23-year-old Haya, are all now practicing lawyers.

“It’s common to find families that inherit the medical, business, trade, carpentry and other professions. Women did not enter the legal profession until recently, and the first license for a woman to practice law was offered about five years ago,” said Al-Saleh.

“My children have followed my line of work. Some of them have specialized in commercial law and the others in criminal law, allowing for diversity in dealing with legal issues in the law firm.”

He said that many families follow older generations into a profession, and that now, through women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, women in the family have been able to play the societal roles assigned to them, adding that he worked in the legal field for more than 25 years until retirement.

HIGHLIGHT

Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be ‘a family that will be difficult to approach.’

Al-Saleh said that his two daughters graduated from the University of Tabuk’s law department, while his son graduated from Al-Jouf University. Years ago, Al-Saleh had graduated from Al-Madinah University. He stressed that he did not force any of his children to enter the field of law. Rather, it was a choice for each of them. “I only introduced them to the new opportunities awaiting Saudi female lawyers in the sector.”

Family or not, Al-Saleh said that it is business as usual, and that every member of their legal team takes their duties seriously by upholding a professional manner inside the workplace, discussing and analyzing cases, and expressing professional opinions regarding each case they receive.

Complacency, laxity or delay is unacceptable, Al-Saleh added, noting that family bonds should not interfere in the work process to ensure a healthy system.

He said that a common sentiment in the legal community is that a law firm will die with its owner. “But I wanted to change the accepted model, and I tried my best to have my children lead this law firm after me, and maintain its momentum and ensure longevity.

“Being from one family will give them the chance to learn from each other and deal with the issues more professionally.”

As a veteran lawyer, Al-Saleh said he is mostly interested in personal interviews when young men and women apply for work or training at his law firm, adding that a personal touch is important to the formation of a lawyer’s approach.

He said that female lawyers must be attentive, able to present a clear case and communicate information without ambiguity. They will face judges and members of the trial committee and disciplinary bodies — some of whom will be tough. “She must be strong, firm, voice loud and clear and make her case without hesitation.”

Al-Saleh said that he retired after 22 years of service following several positions in the Public Prosecution, and after his young children began to show interest in the legal profession.

First-generation lawyers carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, he said, adding that he “feels a sense of pride” as his children follow his path and pave their own way into the world of law.

 


GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
The GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 28 February 2021

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
  • The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Standardization Organization (GSO) is joining national consumer protection bodies and authorities to celebrate “Gulf Consumer Protection Day.”

Celebrated on March 1 every year, GSO Secretary-General Saud bin Nasser Al-Khusaibi stressed the vital role that standardization bodies and their activities play in ensuring consumer safety, which improves the quality of living and welfare of society.

A total of 23,500 GCC standards and technical regulations cover commodities and products.

The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation, regulations and technical procedures that protect people from fraud and commercial misinformation. This ensures that consumers have access to quality products and full information to make the right decisions about the goods and services available on the market.

The GSO, Al-Khusaibi said, contributes to educating consumers about the damage that results from using materials and products that do not conform to standard specifications.

Al-Khusaibi said that the GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. This was reflected in the preparation and development of GCC standard specifications and technical regulations for commodities, products and systems, and relevant legislation in cooperation with the national standardization bodies in the member states.

The goal is to serve the needs of the trade and industry sectors in GCC countries, in addition to serving consumers by ensuring quality and safety requirements.

Celebrating Gulf Consumer Protection Day is at the recommendation of the Consumer Protection Committee of the GCC General Secretariat. The occasion was approved by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee in its 32nd meeting in 2005 and celebrated for the first time on March 1, 2006, under the slogan “Consumer protection is everyone’s responsibility.”