India-Saudi ties scaling new heights, says India's acting CG

India-Saudi ties scaling new heights, says India's acting CG
A vendor sells Indian national flags at a roadside on the eve of the country's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 25, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 26 January 2021

India-Saudi ties scaling new heights, says India's acting CG

India-Saudi ties scaling new heights, says India's acting CG
  • We express our sincere gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the government of Saudi Arabia for their support and for providing a conducive environment for Indians to live and work in the Kingdom

On the auspicious occasion of India's 72nd Republic Day, I extend my best wishes to all my fellow Indian citizens residing in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia.
India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties. In recent years, bilateral relations have scaled new heights as is evident from frequent high-level visits and exchanges as well as by the establishment of the Indo-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner and bilateral trade between the two countries exceeded $33 billion in 2019-20.
Despite the enormous challenges posed by COVID-19, under the guidance of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, and the support of the Saudi government, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah has worked sincerely and diligently to ensure delivery of the best possible consular and welfare services to the Indian community in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia.
We express our sincere gratitude to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the government of Saudi Arabia for their support and for providing a conducive environment for Indians to live and work in the Kingdom. We thank the Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labor, Interior, the Passport Department (Jawazat) authorities, Tarheel and other agencies which have consistently provided the best possible assistance to the consulate in its efforts to ensure the welfare of all Indians.
I also thank my fellow Indians in Saudi Arabia for their hard-work. They have contributed not only to the growth and development of India and Saudi Arabia but also to strengthening India-Saudi Arabia relations. We look forward to their continued support for the consulate’s activities and endeavors.
Happy Republic Day, Jai Hind!

— Yumkhaibam Sabir is India's acting Consul General in Jeddah.


Saudi Arabia announces eight more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces eight more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 14 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces eight more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces eight more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 385,441
  • A total of 6,781 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced eight deaths from COVID-19 and 929 new infections on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 443 were recorded in Riyadh, 172 in Makkah, 130 in the the Eastern Province, 30 in Madinah, 26 in Asir, 24 in Tabuk, 22 in Jazan, 22 in Hail, 11 in the Northern Borders region,11 in Najran and six in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 385,441 after 806 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,781 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 6.5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Saudi Arabia to date.


King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims
Updated 14 April 2021

King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

RIYADH: King Salman on Tuesday offered his best wishes to the Muslim world on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan. 
The comments came as the king chaired the weekly government meeting virtually. 
He also instructed that pilgrims be given the best possible services during the holy month, which for a second year will be observed under strict protocols to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus. 


Saudi Culture Ministry issues guide to acquiring national artworks

Saudi Culture Ministry issues guide to acquiring national artworks
Updated 14 April 2021

Saudi Culture Ministry issues guide to acquiring national artworks

Saudi Culture Ministry issues guide to acquiring national artworks
  • The guide consists of six main chapters, and also includes methods for maintaining and restoring art

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has published a guide for government agencies and institutions wishing to acquire artworks created by Saudi artists.
The guide falls under the framework of a royal order directing government agencies to acquire national artworks and handicraft products for their headquarters, according to a directory prepared by the culture ministry.
Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said the order, which was based on directives from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, provided the greatest support for the visual arts sector in the Kingdom, and for the nation’s artists.
He said the guide provides basic information, including the processes of procurement, acquisition, art collections, restoration, maintenance and preserving the integrity of artworks, in a way that guarantees the creation of a national art market and fosters relations between the artist and the buyer.
The guide consists of six main chapters, and also includes explanations on the importance of respecting intellectual property rights.


Nazaha oversees 176 arrests in Saudi corruption crackdown

Nazaha oversees 176 arrests in Saudi corruption crackdown
Nazaha has continued to ramp up crackdowns on corruption, fraud and bribery in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 13 April 2021

Nazaha oversees 176 arrests in Saudi corruption crackdown

Nazaha oversees 176 arrests in Saudi corruption crackdown
  • The pair had opened commercial records and bank accounts before handing them to expatriates in return for a monthly fee

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities have arrested 176 citizens and expatriates, including government ministry employees, for alleged involvement in corruption.
In a statement, the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) said those arrested include employees of the defense, interior, national guard, finance, health, justice, municipal, rural affairs and housing, education, transport, information, and human resources and social development ministries, as well as workers from Saudi Customs, the General Authority of the Red Crescent and the National Water Co.
Charges leveled against the employees cover bribery, abuse of power and forgery charges. They were arrested in 971 inspection raids carried out by Nazaha teams in the last month.
Arrests were made following investigations into 700 people suspected of corruption. Nazaha said that legal procedures are being completed before the accused are referred to courts.
The authority called on Saudis to report suspicious activities involving financial or administrative corruption by contacting the toll free number 980, the email @nazaha.gov.sa or the fax number 0114420057.
Nazaha has continued to ramp up crackdowns on corruption, fraud and bribery in the Kingdom over the past year. Recent activities include the arrest of 65 Saudis and expats in February this year, 48 of whom were government employees from seven different ministries. Charges included bribery, abuse of influence and power, as well as fraud and forgery.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Arrests were made following investigations into 700 people suspected of corruption.

• Charges leveled against those arrested include bribery, abuse of power and forgery charges.

“Nazaha is standing up against financial and administrative corruption,” Majed Garoub, a lawyer, told Arab News. “The crackdown on corruption is a reality and we’re witnessing its success every time we hear the good news of these arrests.”
In March, two Saudi citizens were sentenced to 28 years in jail and fined up to $3.47 million after an investigation exposed their roles in an organized crime gang that laundered money overseas.
The pair had opened commercial records and bank accounts before handing them to expatriates in return for a monthly fee. They allowed expats to invest in their commercial unit, use their bank accounts, and deposit money they had obtained illegally and transfer it abroad.
In November last year, Nazaha arrested 22 people after seizing more than SR600 million ($160 million) in what was described as “the largest case of corruption in the Kingdom.”

 


Worshippers flock to Grand Mosque in Makkah as dawn breaks on Ramadan

Worshippers flock to Grand Mosque in Makkah as dawn breaks on Ramadan
Updated 14 April 2021

Worshippers flock to Grand Mosque in Makkah as dawn breaks on Ramadan

Worshippers flock to Grand Mosque in Makkah as dawn breaks on Ramadan
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic fails to dampen the true spirit of the holy month

JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a favorite of Muslims as they focus on their inner well-being, faith and connect with their roots, religion and family.

Around the world, people prepare for the month with great passion. The most common preparation begins with grocery shopping, subtle decorations in homes and quiet corners designated for prayers, among other things.
Muslim residents of Saudi Arabia highlight their joy by sharing meals with friends and family. However, because of coronavirus health restrictions, they will not be able to enjoy its full effect this year.
Taking lessons learned from an isolated Ramadan last year, people in Saudi Arabia are instead focusing on self-care before to achieve the holy month’s main purpose: Growing closer to God through prayer and devotion.
However, people do miss the usual festivities during the month due to the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, this month generally witnesses hustle and bustle not only in markets and eateries but mosques also become full of worshippers who want to utilize this month effectively for their spiritual growth.   

Ramadan makes social distancing a bit harder to bear since it’s the month in which we feel like sharing meals the most.

Hamna Khan

This is the second Ramadan since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to the health precautions, the situation is no longer the same, as people have to be very careful.  
Hamna Khan, a Pakistani expat living in Jeddah, told Arab News: “Ramadan makes social distancing a bit harder to bear since it’s the month in which we feel like sharing meals the most.”
Palestinian student Rahaf Burchalli saw the humor of the situation, saying that her family will be putting hand sanitizer on the dining table as an appropriate addition.
For many Muslims, the month of Ramadan means going back to religious habits, such as praying on time, dedicating a part of the day to reciting the Qur’an and doing as many good deeds as possible.
Although the experience in 2021 will be different, given the nationwide curfew in place this time last year, restrictions still remain to curb the spread of coronavirus, leaving many people with more time on their hands.

It is important to organize oneself, as the routine in Ramadan is different than the rest of the year.

Rahaf Burchalli

People are planning different activities and chores to use this spare time efficiently by engaging in productive activities.
For Khan, the extra time will be spent decluttering her house for Ramadan so that it becomes easier to clean for Eid. “Since the month means a lot of time spent with food, I make sure that preparations are done ahead of time before Ramadan.”
Burchalli, on the other hand, said that her pre-Ramadan preparations are psychological, rather than physical. “The heart begins to get ready and feels reassured for the beginning of my favorite month of the year. The decoration comes after that and I think that it is essential to enter the atmosphere of Ramadan.”
She added that her preparations also involve spiritual practices such as “organizing my sleep, eating and worship times.
“It is important to organize oneself, as the routine in Ramadan is different than the rest of the year,” she said.