DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University started the first phase of clinical trials for a local coronavirus vaccine, daily Asharq Al-Awsat said.
The vaccine has proven its efficacy against COVID-19 in laboratory trials, and the Ministry of Education supports the move to first phase clinical trials, the report added.
The university has previously worked with other companies such as AstraZeneca in the production of vaccines and medicines, particularly ensuring sufficient quantities for use in the first phase of clinical trials.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday confirmed 353 new coronavirus cases, 249 more recoveries and four deaths, bringing total numbers to 370,987 infections, 362,062 recovered patients and 6,410 deaths.
The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
Exploring the traditional flavors of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia
Decorations are also becoming an integral part of preparations for the holy month in Saudi Arabia
Updated 4 min 35 sec ago
JEDDAH: Ramadan is a special time for Muslims to get together with family and loved ones. These gatherings in Saudi culture result in a diverse menu of delicious dishes, with many being made exclusively during the holy month.
Muslims worldwide fast from dawn to sunset. Therefore, among all the aspects of local culture, food-related traditions are the most significant, distinguished and diverse. However, there are also shared meals and components of the Saudi iftar table featured in the holy month across the Kingdom.
Dates are an essential dish that Muslims use to break their fasts, following in the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). For Saudis, an assortment of dates is normally consumed, along with Arabic coffee, soup, and fried or baked stuffed pastry (samboosa and other dishes). For sugar-hungry people, the soft drink Vimto is often the go-to liquid to quench thirst.
To top it off, Arabian deserts most commonly found on Saudi tables include kunafa (a sugar-soaked pastry stuffed with cheese or cream) and logaimat (small round balls of fried dough covered in sweet syrup), while qatayef, pancakes filled with cream or nuts, are the cherry on top.
Despite these common foods, each region in the Kingdom favors specific dishes. In the central region, hanini is what many Najdis place on their tables when breaking their fasts. The porridge-like dish is made of dates, wheat flour, ghee and sugar. You will also find jarish, another famous savory dish made from ground wheat, lamb stew and vegetables, with a side of whole-wheat mini pancake-like discs known as matazeez and margoog.
In the western region of the Kingdom, there is the signature dish of foul and tamees, which is a combination of fava bean stew and tamees bread, a soft, tender creation baked in traditional open ovens believed to have originated in Afghanistan. The region’s signature drink is sobia, a thirst-quenching Ramadan brew made from wheat and malt flours.
In the Eastern Province, you will most likely break your fast with a meat and vegetable stew known as saloona. It is served with a side of balaleet, made either sweet or savory from flavored vermicelli noodles and topped with a layer of eggs. The province’s desert of choice is sago, which is made from a form of starch taken from the pith of the sago palm.
• Dates are an essential dish that Muslims use to break their fasts.
• Arabian deserts most commonly found on Saudi tables include kunafa and logaimat, while qatayef, pancakes filled with cream or nuts, are the cherry on top.
• Despite these common foods, each region in the Kingdom favors specific dishes.
Though it might seem that food is the focus of Ramadan, many special traditions significant to the holy month are also celebrated across the Kingdom.
“Although we have a very diverse cuisine, I think the components of our Ramadan table are similar, as most popular dishes in this month are rich in carbs, protein, and fat, but they’re also easy to eat with little effort,” traditional food enthusiast Lujain Ahmad told Arab News.
She added: “Our Ramadan table also welcomes new dishes and drinks every year thanks to the influence of social media, which always brings us trends with new meals and dessert recipes, as well as presentation ideas”
Ramadan fashion and decorations are also another way to celebrate the holy month, and are becoming an integral part of preparations for families in Saudi Arabia.
Popular Ramadan lanterns and accessories painted with colorful traditional red-themed patterns also provide an oriental theme to celebrations in the Kingdom.
Ramadan attire is traditionally modest. It is a month in which many women opt for long dresses, such as the jallabiya, which has evolved in recent years through designs inspired by patterns from across the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Old and new traditions are beautiful, and give a special taste to the holy month.
The growing popularity of these dresses has created a lucrative market for local fashion designers, markets and social media platforms.
“Although I’m not that old, I can say for sure that these are newly adopted Ramadan traditions, which were not as popular 10 years ago,” Manal Saleh from Jeddah told Arab News.
She added that social media has had a major influence on people’s behaviors and Saudi culture, even in relation to religious events and practices. “New practices adopted through social media trends are increasingly becoming more important and even powerful enough to replace inherited traditions.”
However, she said that both old and new traditions are “beautiful, and give a special taste to the holy month.”
Modern life means that regional differences are in decline, while people increasingly live similar lives and become more interested in following trends and imitating one another.
“We are acting alike, and we like it. There is no problem with that. It gives a beautiful sense of unity on the national and regional level,” Lama Sharif told Arab News.
This year’s Ramadan will not include many popular traditions due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Saudi mosques used to hold daily iftar gatherings for expat workers and the poor, usually paid for by local residents or wealthy donors. The same used to happen at the Two Holy Mosques. But this tradition stopped in 2020 and has not returned this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
Other charitable activities have also been halted. Some Saudis used to prepare small iftar meals and cold water for free distribution around sunset, when people stop at traffic lights and may miss out on breaking their fast on time. These activities were carried out by young men and women, families, or volunteering groups on the main roads of the Kingdom’s cities, but have since stopped.
Saudi families also used to exchange and share dishes with neighbors, a well-known practice across Saudi Arabia. No dishes ever returned empty, but the pandemic has halted this tradition, too.
“As young kids, we used to prepare iftar meals as a family and distribute them among pilgrims in the mosque yards. That was a beautiful experience I’ll always cherish,” said Sharif.
“The pandemic has deprived us of many beautiful social traditions, not to mention prayers and warm gatherings at mosques. I’m glad we are having a real Ramadan this year, but we miss so many things, and I’m afraid they may never come back,” she added.
Saudi Arabia confirms 11 COVID-19 deaths, 970 new cases
The Kingdom said 896 patients recovered in past 24 hours
The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 438
Updated 19 April 2021
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 11 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 6,834.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 970 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 405,940 people have now contracted the disease.
Of the total number of cases, 9,508 remain active and 1,087 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 438, followed by Makkah with 227, the Eastern Province with 131, Madinah recorded 37, and Asir confirmed 28 cases.
#الصحة تعلن عن تسجيل (970) حالة إصابة جديدة بفيروس كورونا (كوفيد-19)، وتسجيل (11) حالات وفيات رحمهم الله، وتسجيل (896) حالة تعافي ليصبح إجمالي عدد الحالات المتعافية (389,598) حالة ولله الحمد. pic.twitter.com/1sZtcoV9w7
The ministry also announced that 896 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 389,598.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 141 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.01 million.
Saudi Arabia’s ancient site declares a series of projects dedicated to the future
Updated 19 April 2021
Rebecca Anne Proctor
AlUla, the ancient valley in Saudi Arabia’s Madinah region, home to 200,000 years of still largely unexplored human history, continues to play a central role in the Kingdom’s tourism strategy.
In a bid to pave the way for the area’s future growth, the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU) has announced that it will embark on its future projects by adhering to sustainable practices.
“At the RCU, we are constantly looking for new ways to engage and work with our expert partners, stakeholders, and the AlUla community,” Amr Almadani, CEO of RCU, told Arab News. “Our success is driven by these ever- deepening collaborations. These local and global perspectives continually push us as we work to deliver on our objectives towards the goal of sustainable development in AlUla, and more broadly, contributing to the diversification efforts outlined in Vision 2030.”
RCU is pursuing a carbon-neutral strategy, supported by the basic principles of a circular economy. It also announced that it will build infrastructure that will help create tens of thousands of jobs, and will empower the local community by providing training and opportunities for new career paths.
AlUla’s new sustainable approach to its future will be discussed during a panel, the first in a series titled “At the crossroads: people and planet: can AlUla unlock a sustainable future?” on April 2 with panelists dialing in from AlUla and virtually. It will focus on integrated, 360-degree approaches to sustainability, where experts will discuss the complex layers, synergies, and conflicts of social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Panelists include businessman and entrepreneur Alejandro Agag, former prime minister of Italy Matteo Renzi; architect and leader in sustainable design, William McDonough; James Hardcastle, the director of IUCN’s Green List ; Carlos Duarte, a leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography; Gérard Mestrallet, the Executive Chairman of Afalula, the French agency for Alula Development. Both Renzi and Mestrallet are members of the RCU advisory board.
“When we think of sustainability, we look to the civilizations of the past for inspiration,” added Almadani. “We seek to apply innovative approaches to ancient wisdom to come up with new ways to protect AlUla’s natural landscape and its people and secure its legacy in the years to come. This is the core inspiration of Crossroads, using the past to chart the best path into the future.”
Through Crossroads, RCU aims to bring together global experts across all sectors to challenge and fine tune its ideas regarding sustainability, pertaining to the ancient region’s future growth.
Proposed by RCU as “solution-driven” discussions, the panels will touch on key elements of its “Journey Through Time” masterplan, outlining the first and most important phase of AlUla’s development.
“The topic of integrated sustainability is being discussed at the forefront of all development projects currently underway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Dr Maliha Hashimi, executive director of health, wellbeing and biotech at NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s planned cross-border city in the Tabuk province, as well as the first Crossroads panel’s moderator, told Arab News.
“As we work towards a better, more sustainable future for our people, our environment, and our economic systems, we must embrace new technologies and solutions, but also understand the lessons and traditions of the past.”
Saudi Arabia's National Cultural Awards winners to be announced at closing ceremony
Updated 19 April 2021
RIYADH: Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal Bin Bandar will patronize on Monday the closing ceremony of the National Cultural Awards Initiative.
The ceremony, organized by the Ministry of Culture, will take place at the Culture Palace in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.
Winners of the initiative awards will be announced in the various categories of cultural activities.
The initiative includes 14 cultural awards: the Cultural Personality of the Year Award, Youth Cultural Award, Cultural Institutions Award, as well as Film Award, Fashion Award, Music Award, National Heritage Award, Literature Award, Theater and Performing Arts Award, Visual Arts Award, Architecture and Design Award, Culinary Arts Award, Publishing Award, and Translation Award.
The Ministry of Culture organized the National Cultural Awards initiative as part of the initiatives of the Quality of Life Program, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 programs.
Yemeni conjoined twins ‘Yousuf and Yassin’ to fly to Riyadh under King Salman’s orders for medical examination
King Salman ordered a speedy transfer
The conjoined twins are expected to arrive within the next few days
Updated 19 April 2021
DUBAI: Yemeni conjoined twins “Yousuf and Yassin” will finally get the necessary medical examinations they need after King Salman ordered for their direct transfer from Yemen to Riyadh for the possibility of a separation surgery.
King Salman ordered a speedy transfer for the twins and their parents, the General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and renowned pediatric surgeon Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rabiah said.
The conjoined twins are expected to arrive within the next few days, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday.
King Salman has previously ordered the transfer of conjoined twins from Mauritania to travel to Saudi Arabia to separate them. Their father, who accompanied them, said the procedures for transferring the twins to Riyadh were carried out easily.