Indian Embassy’s festival delights Urdu lovers in KSA

Indian Embassy’s festival delights Urdu lovers in KSA
Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Indian ambassador to the Kingdom, participates in the two-day virtual Urdu festival.
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Updated 14 March 2021

Indian Embassy’s festival delights Urdu lovers in KSA

Indian Embassy’s festival delights Urdu lovers in KSA

The Indian Embassy in Riyadh and the New Delhi-based National Council for the Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) have announced an international Urdu conference to be held in Saudi Arabia. The Indian ambassador to the Kingdom, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, and the council’s president, Dr. Aqeel Ahmed Sheikh, made the announcement during the two-day virtual Urdu festival, Jashn-e-Urdu, that was broadcast live in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh said that the NCPUL is committed to work for the promotion and development of Urdu wherever possible. It is ready to extend full support and cooperation for any activity promoting Urdu, even in foreign countries. The ambassador said that the grand international Urdu conference would be held in Saudi Arabia in cooperation with the NCPUL after the lifting of restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ambassador said that Urdu had always served to unite people. Many slogans of the freedom struggle such as, “Jai Hind,” “Karo Ya Maro” and “Inquilab Zindabad” instilled a desire for freedom in the hearts of many Indians, regardless of caste or religion. Due to the slogans many people took part in the freedom struggle. “Urdu is the language of unity, brotherhood and secularism which is the best example of unity in diversity. Ganga-Jamuni civilization is the main feature of Urdu, which has eliminated cultural, religious, and linguistic differences among people for thousands of years.”

Well-known storyteller Javed Danish presented “The Story of Migration” in his unique style. The story, based on the plight of immigrants, was well-received and appreciated by all.

Prof. Safdar Imam Qadri presented an essay titled “Storytelling Past and Present,” in which he too dealt with the main features of migration.

Popular columnist K.N. Wasif presented a sketch on the personality of Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, describing him as “Safeer-e-Shahr-e-Dil” (ambassador of the city of heart). Calligrapher Ghouse Arsalan presented an essay on the art of sketch writing.

The editor of Hyderabad-based Gawah Urdu Weekly, Dr. Syed Fazil Hussain Pervez, introduced the Urdu writers, poets, journalists, and literary figures of Saudi Arabia. The Jeddah-based poet, founder and president of Urdu Gulban, Mahtab Qadr, conducted the proceedings in an elegant manner. The program coordinator, second secretary at the Indian Embassy, Asim Anwar, presented the vote of thanks.

On the second day of the festival, an online mushaira (poetic symposium) was organized in which Indian Urdu poets from different countries participated. The mushaira was presided over by Irfan Jafri who delighted the audience with his poetry. 

Other poets who participated were Tareq Ghazi, Mahtab Qadr, Afsar Barabankwi, Shiraz Mahdi Zia, Altaf Shahryar, Masood Hassas, Khursheedul Hasan Nayyer, Rafia Nausheen, Syed Baqar Naqvi, Dr. Raouf Khair, Abu Taher Bilal, Sadiqa Nawab Saher, Tasneem Jawher and Naser Barni. The well-known anchor, Aslam Afghani, served most competently as master of ceremonies.


Lulu anchors its seafood festival in Saudi Arabia 

Lulu anchors its seafood festival in Saudi Arabia 
Updated 02 December 2021

Lulu anchors its seafood festival in Saudi Arabia 

Lulu anchors its seafood festival in Saudi Arabia 

RIYADH: LuLu Group’s flagship Hypermarkets have just anchored in with the most delicious and wholesome marine bounty—the Catch of the Day from around the world.

The “LuLu Fishtival” will run from Dec.1 - 7 at all LuLu stores across the Kingdom. The week-long festival was launched by Dr. Ali Mohammed Alshekhi, director of the General Department of Fisheries at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, and CEO of the National Program for the Development of the Fisheries Sector, and Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Hypermarkets Saudi Arabia, in a ceremony held in LuLu Hypermarket Murabba, Riyadh.

Daily fresh fish as varied as Norwegian Salmon, Nile Perch, shrimp, local Sheri and King Fish, plump farmed Prawns, black Seabream, fresh Crab, Cuttlefish, Tilapia and many varieties are on fare, which the expert fishmongers at LuLu will cut, clean and debone for customers if required.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is well known for its amazing marine life and the traditional dishes in Arabic cuisine using seafood. To highlight the country’s richness in fresh seafood, this festival brings the best of our fish and seafood offerings — which is made possible through the strong network of food sourcing from around the world,” said Mohammed.

“We proudly support our local produce as well, such as being the biggest promoters of SAMAQ-certified products, which highlight the products by the national aquaculture product certification and labeling program of the Saudi Aquaculture Society under the guidance of MEWA,” he added.

Apart from featuring the fresh catch from all over the world, LuLu’s fish counters will also brim with frozen and prepared fish, such as frozen crab-sticks, mussel meat, seafood cocktail, smoked herring fish steaks, light meat tuna, and much more.

Seafood aficionados can also indulge their taste buds with a host of readily-prepared fish delicacies such as spicy fish biryani or fish masala, kadai shrimp, oriental fish manchurian in gravy, light meat tuna in garlic and chilly, or try local expertly prepared favorites such as assorted grilled fishes like “samak sayadiya” or broasted fish strips.


Danube hosts ‘Racing Kitchen’ event with F1 Champion

Danube hosts ‘Racing Kitchen’ event with F1 Champion
Updated 02 December 2021

Danube hosts ‘Racing Kitchen’ event with F1 Champion

Danube hosts ‘Racing Kitchen’ event with F1 Champion

Danube supermarket and hypermarket chain in Saudi Arabia hosted a “Racing Kitchen” event at its Red Sea Mall branch in Jeddah with two-time F1 champion Mika Häkkinen in a drive to create awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet.

The “Racing Kitchen,” hosted on the Danube App during the F1 season, features an array of nourishing recipes that could be part of a nutrient rich diet to inspire an optimized lifestyle. 

The event was held in partnership with Häkkinen’s INZDR app, which aims to redefine the fan experience and give them exclusive content of their favourite driving stars, including the type of diets and exercise programs maintained by an elite athlete like an F1 driver.

The winner of the recent Danube Online F1 competition had a “Meet & Greet” with the F1 legend and was presented with tickets to the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Attendees including Jeddah karting enthusiasts and fitness influencers tasted the recipes from the “Racing Kitchen” and had a chance to meet Häkkinen. 

Majed M. Al Tahan, co-founder & MD of Danube Online said; “Eating well to live well by consuming a fresh, high-quality diet helps everyone to live a healthier, happier life. It’s an honor for us at Danube and Danube Online to partner with a world-class renowned champion and athlete such as Mika Häkkinen to spread the word on the role diet plays in supporting an enhanced lifestyle.

Danube and Danube Online offer a huge range of organic fresh produce and high-quality products and the ‘Racing Kitchen’ aims to support our customers in preparing recipes at home they can follow to make good food decisions.”

Häkkinen, two-time Formula 1 world champion and founder of INZDR app said; “It’s wonderful to be here in Saudi Arabia to introduce the INZDR app so Saudi F1 fans can learn more about the sport and get access to exclusive content from their favorite drivers. Consuming a healthy, nutrient rich diet is key to performing at your peak when you are an athlete and in general for living a radiant life. Introducing the INZDR app through this partnership with Danube to fans in the region is the perfect platform to do this.”


MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 
Updated 30 November 2021

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

MIHAS: A key platform for halal businesses 

The 17th edition of the Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2021, is going virtual till Dec. 31, proving yet again that it remains a key platform for global halal players to converge and trade.

This is reflected in the sales recorded in the first four days of the event by 549 exhibitors participating in the event. The premier halal showcase received over 8,500 virtual visitors comprising local and international companies, generating total sales of RM985.3 million in the first four days.

MIHAS 2021 which is hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation started on Sept. 9.

The products and sectors that were much in demand from the buyers clearly reflected the 12 sectors that MIHAS 2021 is promoting this year, namely halal food, education, pharmaceuticals, services and enablers, franchises, modest fashion, Islamic finance, halal cosmetics, media and recreation, Muslim-friendly tourism, e-commerce and food technology.

According to MATRADE’s Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz, Malaysian exhibitors too did very well during the first 4 days of the virtual showcase. “The creation of market opportunities for domestic halal players is part of MATRADE’s effort in supporting the nation’s economic recovery,” he said.

For the first four days of MIHAS 2021, sectors that recorded the highest total sales were Islamic financial services, beverages, pharmaceutical, toiletries and cosmetics, prepared food, and palm oil products. 

Abdul Aziz highlighted that the total sales generated by MIHAS 2021 thus far amounts to RM1.6 billion after incorporating sales from the ongoing virtual exhibition and the International Sourcing Program sales. The INSP, one of the flagship components of MIHAS, is a demand-driven B2B business-matching program for Malaysian exporters that was organised by MATRADE HQ and its 46 offices worldwide since April this year as a run-up to MIHAS 2021.

MIHAS has clearly made a strong comeback despite two years of absence and being presented for the first time through a virtual format. “Although, there were initial concerns if the industry will react positively to the virtual format, to our pleasant surprise, the response has been overwhelming. For example, apart from the sales that MIHAS 2021 has generated, it also secured 549 virtual booths compared to the target of 500 booths,” he said.

MIHAS 2021 also witnessed an increase in the number of participation from international companies, highlighting the trust among global business community towards the trade fair. Through the virtual platform, the exhibitors from 43 different countries, including first-time participants from Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and Colombia were able to engage with buyers from various different countries throughout different time zones at all hours.

“MIHAS 2021 managed to attract global halal players to visit and transact on the platform as it was developed in a holistic manner incorporating various different components such as the 12 different industry zones and knowledge hub sharing sessions as well as the support from MATRADE’s 46 global offices. We are confident that the 18th edition of MIHAS event next year will be on a bigger scale with commitment for continued synergy between physical and virtual format to reach out more Halal industry players,” he said.

There was also strong interest in the topics promoted under the knowledge hub component of MIHAS 2021 as over 1,000 viewers from around the world congregated virtually in these thought-provoking dialogues.

Sessions that were promoted by the knowledge hub program included those covering Islamic financing, innovation and business sustainability, digital technologies and the role of women entrepreneurs and perspectives from the youth in the halal economy. Prominent speakers featured in the knowledge hub session included Dato' Abdul Latif Haji Abu Seman, Director General of Malaysia Productivity Corporation  and Datuk Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar, Founder and Executive Chairman of Amanie Group and Chairman of Shariah Advisory Council Bank Negara Malaysia.


Aramco: A step ahead in digital transformation 

Aramco: A step ahead in digital transformation 
Updated 30 November 2021

Aramco: A step ahead in digital transformation 

Aramco: A step ahead in digital transformation 

Aramco migrated its largest SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system to SAP’s latest generation technology, S/4HANA. Over 1,200 employees worldwide, from the Kingdom, the US, Europe and Asia participated in this major event. This is a major step that will enable the Company to meet the demand for the latest digital technologies and support its digitalization ambitions. To facilitate this, it is imperative that the ERP systems supporting the Company’s core business are upgraded to the latest technologies.

Saudi Aramco’s strategy to migrate the ERP systems comprises a hybrid of the 3 approaches: System Migration of the main ERP systems to an SAP S/4HANA on-premise digital core; System Consolidation to consolidate specific ERP systems into the Digital Core resulting in a reduction in the number of systems and applications; and System Migration to Cloud for specific applications. The new platform provides technologies in the areas of mobility, machine learning, advanced analytics and Internet-of-Things (IoT) that will facilitate a significant number of digitalization use cases. The first set of business applications transferred to the new ERP system was finance and logistics, which are used by more than 64,000 employees and contractors.

This is the first of 13 ERP systems to be migrated to the new technology under Aramco’s ERP Transformation Project and is due to be completed by December 2023.

Yousef Al-Ulyan, Vice President of Information Technology at Aramco, said: “This is an important milestone in our digital journey. As of today, Aramco is the largest S/4HANA installation in the region and in the Oil & Gas Industry globally. This adoption of a cloud-based ERP platform, demonstrates another instance of how Aramco pursues cutting edge technologies to reinforce Aramco’s excellence in efficient operation. By embracing new yet added value technologies, the company will realize entirely new ways of doing business that will ultimately help strengthen our ability to serve our customers and substantially increase our competitive edge.”

Peter Maier, President Industries and Customer Advisory at SAP, said: “We are very proud that Aramco trusts SAP S/4HANA to run their core business. This new platform will optimize key business processes with intelligent technologies and support the company’s strategy to provide clean and reliable energy and innovative products. I am looking forward to seeing Aramco successfully complete this transformation journey and redefine the next business practices in the industry.”


New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh
Updated 29 November 2021

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

Sala Entertainment, a Vida Holding company, has announced the opening of “Sala Hub,” the largest indoor entertainment city at Riyadh Boulevard, as part of Riyadh Season events. The opening ceremony was attended by Fahad Al-Hokair, Abdul Rahman Al-Hokair and Mohammed Attia, CEO of Sala Entertainment.

Entertainment constitutes a significant part of the services and tourism sectors, which are among the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The opening of Sala Hub comes as part of the great transformation witnessed by the entertainment sector in the Kingdom, which has provided unprecedented opportunities for businesses that are active in the entertainment industry, including both local and international companies.

“The opening of Sala Hub aligns itself with the motto of ‘Imagine More’ that has been coined for this year’s Riyadh Season, as Sala Hub provides an opportunity to soar high into the world of imagination and enjoy fun experiences in an unusual and unforgettable manner,” a statement said.

Visitors to Riyadh Season can enjoy many exciting games and activities that are available for the first time in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, such as Zero Gravity, Air Race, Nebulaz, Drift Race, VR Bumper Car, Sky Race, Wave Up, Double Deck Carousel, Sky Tower, Blenderz, Super Jumper, Skyline Coaster and Roller Glider.

Sala Hub’s indoor entertainment area occupies around 4,500 square meters divided into many sections covering the needs of all family members. There are sections designated for major rides, redemption games, video games, VR games, skills games, sports games, kiddie rides, a party room, as well as a food and beverage area, an Immersive Tunnel and the stage.

Sala CEO Attia said: “Today we are strengthening our presence here in this Riyadh Season, a presence of which we are very proud. Our vision is to raise Sala Hub to the level of a global leader in branding, while we aspire to provide unique and high-quality entertainment replete with diverse experiences in order to meet the needs of our guests in Saudi Arabia, the GCC and around the world in the future.”

“As part of our values, which we consider the principles that guide us in our endeavors to provide everything that enhances the experiences of all family members, we affirm our commitment to providing global standards in terms of health, safety and security, as well as unique experiences for every member of the family,” he added.

The new Sala Hub is part of the plans developed over the past years by the company to expand its business at the national level. The destination aspires to be part of the efforts aimed to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom, support employment, strengthen the economy and contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Bob’s Famous, KidZania Jeddah, Billy Bees, Sala City, Sala Laser Tag, Sala Karting, and eBlue are some of the brands operating under Sala Entertainment, through more than 26 branches across the Kingdom.