Saudi Arabia and Malaysia sign agreements after crown prince meets PM

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. (SPA)
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Updated 10 March 2021

Saudi Arabia and Malaysia sign agreements after crown prince meets PM

Saudi Arabia and Malaysia sign agreements after crown prince meets PM
  • They reviewed bilateral relations and discussed developments in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Riyadh on Tuesday.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations, aspects of cooperation and opportunities for strengthening them in various fields, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Both sides also discussed developments in the region.
After the meeting, the crown prince and the Malaysian prime minister witnessed the signing of three agreements between the two countries.
The agreements were signed by Saudi Foreign Minster Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein.
The first agreement included the minutes of the establishment of the Saudi-Malaysian Coordination Council, the second agreement dealt with the arrival of pilgrims, and the third was a memorandum of understanding in the field of Islamic affairs.
The meeting and signing ceremony were also attended by Minister of Energy Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman and Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih.

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Saudi art, music collide in exhibition

Saudi art, music collide in exhibition
The event will include seminars by expert speakers, performances, presentations on Saudi music and its symbols, and an art exhibition. (Supplied)
Updated 26 sec ago

Saudi art, music collide in exhibition

Saudi art, music collide in exhibition
  • The Jeddah event, which runs until June 28, will also shed light on art and its relationship with music

JEDDAH: Music can transcend boundaries, bridging gaps between different cultures and creating an atmosphere that is appreciated by all.
On World Music Day, the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) celebrated in Jeddah its first Music Forum under the slogan “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
The event was sponsored by the University of Business and Technology (UBT), with the participation of 84 artworks.
The forum, which aims to break music barriers, is proof of how musicians from different backgrounds can learn from each other while forging new artistic collaborations, according to Mohammed Al-Sobieh, the director of the association in Jeddah.
“Music is a universal language that brings people together to express themselves, and collaborate,” Al-Sobieh said.
The forum gathered musicians from Saudi Arabia, the US, France, Syria, Portugal, Egypt and the Philippines.
Music tastes are no longer confined to a single genre, language or even country. People often enjoy songs in languages they do not speak, showing how music can transcend cultural boundaries.
Al-Sobieh said the forum is one of the most prominent activities on SASCA’s annual agenda. “The event provides a platform for musicians from everywhere to compete in offering their inspiring music.” The Jeddah event, which runs until June 28, will also shed light on art and its relationship with music. It will include seminars by expert speakers, discussion groups, performances, presentations by intellectuals on Saudi music and its symbols, and an art exhibition. He added that Saudi music icons will be honored during the 10-day event.

HIGHLIGHTS

• On World Music Day, the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) celebrated in Jeddah its first Music Forum under the slogan ‘Music is the universal language of mankind.’

• The event was sponsored by the University of Business and Technology (UBT), with the participation of 84 artworks.

• The Jeddah event, which runs until June 28, will also shed light on art and its relationship with music.

Al-Sobieh said that Jeddah has always been a cultural hub in the region, proudly adding that the Jeddah Association brought together the pioneers of Saudi music.
A musically inspired art exhibition called the “Whispering Iron” will also be displayed. It was created by renowned artist Mansour Al-Mutairi, a member of the Saudi Plastic Artists Association and owner of Najdeh Colors Art Salon. The exhibition includes around 42 artworks, including  20 models of musical instruments.
Al-Mutairi has recently turned his hand to creating art from musical instruments, both modern and old.
The solo exhibition showcases metal sculptures made from huge piles of scrap metal collected from junkyards. While Al-Mutairi believes that they have been exquisite art forms in their prime, he has given them a new lease of life.
“My exhibition is entirely dedicated to music and it is my personal tribute to some of the Saudi singers, poets, musicians and composers I have listened to in my life and who have made a great impact on the Saudi music. Poets such as Prince Bader bin Abdulmohsen, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, composer Tarek Abdulhakeem and singer Talal Maddah.”
He added: “There are over 40 works on display, each telling their own story about these wonderful machines of music and our relationship with them.”
Al-Mutairi, from Taif, hopes to expand the exhibition to other parts of the Kingdom as part of a bigger national project.
Demonstrating its continued support of art and culture, the UBT has announced its sponsorship of the Music Forum for the next 10 years. UBT Chairman Abdullah Dahlan said at the opening ceremony: “We are proud to be the official sponsor of the Music Forum because we are very keen to merge education with arts and culture.”


Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration

Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration
Updated 53 min 45 sec ago

Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration

Who’s Who: Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel, director general at the Saudi Institute of Public Administration

Dr. Hessah Al-Ageel has been the director general of the women’s branch of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in the Eastern Province since 2015.

As part of the IPA’s role in helping public servants, especially those with disabilities in workplaces, the branch recently delivered a three-day, text-processing training program designed for the region’s female public employees with hearing difficulties.

Al-Ageel received a bachelor’s degree in translation from King Saud University (KSU) in 2003. Seven years later, she obtained a master’s degree in applied linguistics (TESOL) from La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. In 2016, she was granted a doctorate in global, urban and social studies from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

In 2005, Al-Ageel joined the IPA, where she served as a faculty staff member in the English language department at the Riyadh women’s branch for nearly 10 years before she was appointed head of the women’s branch in the Eastern Province.

Al-Ageel’s doctoral thesis focused on the behavior of Saudi women in contemporary Arabic-speaking situations. The research she presented for the degree investigated Saudi pidgin Arabic that has emerged as a result of Saudi people interacting with foreign workers, especially Asians.

In 2018, the IPA published an Arabic version of Jason W. Osborne’s “Best Practices in Logistic Regression” translated by Al-Ageel. She has also translated and reviewed a number of scientific papers in different fields, and has led consultation teams in training needs assessment, human resource and organizational structures.

She is also active in increasing awareness about corporate social responsibility and sustainable development goals.


Saudi air defenses intercept five drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Jazan

Saudi air defenses intercept five drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Jazan
Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi air defenses intercept five drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Jazan

Saudi air defenses intercept five drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Jazan
  • Arab coalition says taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with the imminent threat

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses on Wednesday intercepted and destroyed five explosive-laden drone launched by Yemen’s Houthis toward the Kingdom’s southern region, state TV reported.
The Arab coalition said one of the drones was targeting the province of Jazan, adding that the Iran-backed militia continues its attempts to deliberately target civilians and civilian objects in Saudi Arabia.
A few hours later, the coalition said four more drones were intercepted without specifying their intended target. 
“We are taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with the imminent threat,” the coalition added.
On Tuesday, Saudi air defenses intercepted a booby-trapped drone launched by the Houthis toward the southern city of Khamis Mushait.
And on Saturday, the coalition said the Kingdom’s air force had intercepted and destroyed 17 explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthi militia toward Saudi Arabia’s southern region within 24 hours.
“The interception was successfully carried out in Yemeni airspace, and the hostile attempt was repelled,” Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday, citing the coalition.
The Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks on southern Saudi Arabia since the start of the year with drones and missiles, and sometimes major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, in what the coalition has said are “deliberate and systematic hostile attempts” which constitute war crimes.


Saudi Arabia approves mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses as 12 more deaths recorded

Saudi Arabia approves mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses as 12 more deaths recorded
Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi Arabia approves mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses as 12 more deaths recorded

Saudi Arabia approves mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses as 12 more deaths recorded
  • The Kingdom said 1,253 new cases reported and 920 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • Najran police arrest four for violating quarantine rules after testing positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Infectious Diseases on Wednesday approved the possibility of mixing different COVID-19 vaccines for the first and second doses.
The Ministry of Health said the decision was taken according to international scientific studies that showed it was possible to give two doses of two different vaccines safely, while getting the effectiveness of which the second dose aims to be achieved.
The ministry added more than 16.9 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the Kingdom through 587 centers so far.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 13 new COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,716.
The Ministry of Health reported 1,253 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 478,135 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 11,328 remain active and 1,472 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 363, followed by the Eastern Province with 263, the capital Riyadh with 165, Asir recorded 159, and Jazan confirmed 105 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,043 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 459,091.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Police in Najran said four people have been arrested in the region for violating quarantine instructions after they tested positive for coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia has imposed penalties on those who disregard regulations enforced to prevent the spread of the virus; they are either fined up to SR200,000 ($53,330), face up to two years in prison, or have both sanctions imposed. Legal measures have been taken against those arrested and they will be referred to the Public Prosecution.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened nine mosques in five regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after nine people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,636 within 137 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 180 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.90 million.


Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts
Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts
  • Saudi tech leaders tell roundtable meeting that they have big ambitions for AI industry
  • Upcoming megaprojects such as NEOM will provide testing ground for AI

ROME: Saudi Arabia has committed to become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) during a roundtable discussion with Italian technology experts.

In the discussion on Tuesday, the Kingdom committed to becoming a dominant force in the field within the next eight years, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans, and reaffirmed its interest in cooperating with Italy.

Robotics and AI were the main themes of the virtual roundtable, which was organized by the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, the Italian Embassy in Riyadh and the ICE Agenzia (The Italian Trade Commission), in collaboration with the Association Of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products (UCIMU), the Italian Institute of Technology, and the Polytechnic Institute of Turin.

Saudi Arabia was represented by the Supervisor of the National Center for AI at the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA), Majed Al-Tuwaijri; the CEO of the National Industrial Development & Logistic Program, Suliman Al-Mazroua; the advisor to the Deputy Ministry of Industry and Mining Resources and head of the Industry 4.0 program, Dr. Majed A. Al-Gwaiz.

The Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology Prof. Giorgio Motta, the President of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre Dr. Barbara Colombo, and the director of the Hub for AI at the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, Prof. Barbara Caputo, represented the Italian side.

Saudi speakers said that the Kingdom has a strong foundation for its AI ambitions, based on the country’s assets and its position as an investment powerhouse. They added that the Kingdom also boasts a young population and the desire for large-scale programs.

Upcoming Saudi megaprojects, such as NEOM and smart cities, will provide a testing ground for advanced AI.

The speakers recalled that the SDAIA and Saudi G20 Secretariat organized the Global AI Summit in 2020, which provided the world’s premier platform for dialogue to shape the future of AI.

Saudi Arabia used the occasion to reveal its National Strategy for Data and AI, which aims to attract $20 billion in foreign and local investments by 2030.

Saudi speakers stressed that in relation to Industry 4.0, Saudi Arabia intends to attract expertise and encourage partnerships and investments to achieve the digital transformation of the industrial sector.

The Saudi Embassy in Rome said in a statement that the Kingdom plans to support the industrial revolution by implementing projects through investments of $453 million and allocations of $2.5 billion for the construction of digital infrastructure in the industry, mining, logistics, healthcare and energy sectors.

The main objectives are to increase the number of facilities able to benefit from the Industry 4.0 incentives from 10 in 2021 to 43 in 2025 and the development of four specialized centers for advancing new technology.

The Kingdom will also spend $800 million to convert 100 factories, with support guaranteed by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.