Noor Riyadh festival lights up Saudi capital

Rhizome by Tom and Lien Dekyvere, pictured here in Knokke, Belgium, is among the installations. (Valéry Bellengier)
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Rhizome by Tom and Lien Dekyvere, pictured here in Knokke, Belgium, is among the installations. (Valéry Bellengier)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
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The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
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The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
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The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
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The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
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Updated 31 March 2021

Noor Riyadh festival lights up Saudi capital

The Noor Riyadh festival will see the Saudi capital light up for 17 days with international artworks. (Supplied)
  • The festival will attract international and local artists to display their creativity throughout the capital
  • Noor Riyadh festival will continue for 17 days

RIYADH: The Noor Riyadh festival kicked off on Thursday, illuminating the Saudi capital with dazzling interactive light shows.
The festival, which was launched for the first time, will be an annual celebration, attracting international and local artists to display their creativity throughout the capital, said Khalid Al-Zamil, director of the Riyadh Art Project.
“Riyadh will become a destination to display the latest creations by international artists,” he said, adding that the exhibition targets all segments of society, and strict anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures have been applied.
“The Noor Riyadh festival will continue for 17 days, and the art work from the ‘Noor ala Noor’ (light on light) exhibition will be displayed for three months to ensure people are able to see it and enjoy the international artworks,” Al-Zamil added.
Hosam Alqurashi, adviser with the Royal Commission of Riyadh City, said the festival is celebrating light in different ways and organizers said they were very proud of the this year’s theme of “Under One Sky,” which is happening at a time when social distancing is keeping everyone apart.

It is the first program to be launched by the Riyadh Art project, which is one of the four megaprojects inaugurated by King Salman in 2019 as an initiative by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Riyadh Art aims to turn the city into a gallery without walls by infusing art with the social fabric of the capital,” Alqurashi told Arab News.
Riyadh Art has more than 12 programs that are going to be launched over the next couple of years, including erecting more than one thousand artworks in different parts of the city, “ranging from artworks as big as mountains and as small as little symbolic pieces of art that you’ll see in public places.”
One of the main objectives of Riyadh Art is to discover, nurture, and promote local Saudi talent so they can eventually export Saudi art to the world, Alqurashi said.
He added that the project will benefit the city on so many different fronts, including building a creative economy that is going to attract companies, investments, and sponsors that are interested in investing in the art sector.
“This is going to generate thousands of jobs and many volunteering opportunities for young Saudis to participate in events like this,” he said, adding that they are also going to spend a lot of time and effort on citizen engagement programs.
“There is nothing more than art to really bring the world together,” Alqurashi said.
Susan Davidson, curator of the festival’s “Light Upon Light: Light Art since the 1960s” exhibition, said the Noor Riyadh festival is both a citywide festival with more than 33 installations, but an exhibition that brings together 30 international and Saudi artists.

She said this is the very first time that this is happening in Saudi Arabia so it is “really a premiere moment for the Kingdom.”
Davidson said the Light upon Light exhibition will feature light art since the 1960s and is organized into four sections, bringing together artists from around the world.
“A number of young Saudi artists have been commissioned to make pieces for the exhibition and they are seen in relation to international artists,” she said.
“I am really pleased with the way the exhibition has turned out … you have a moment to move from one work to another and to begin to understand the relationships between various artists, as well as the differences in how they handle the medium of light.”
Meanwhile, Belgian artist Koert Vermeulen’s Star in Motion illuminated the Riyadh skies as it shined bright from atop the Kingdom Tower in the heart of the capital, “while subconsciously underscoring the festival’s theme, Under One Sky,” Riyadh Art said.
Vermeulen said the artwork is a body weighing over five tons suspended at a height of 265 meters, and represented the connection between man and the sky in a specific way.

He also said the star moves at the strike of every hour for one minute, representing the birth and death of the star — its life cycle — which begins with a big explosion, then goes through many changes and transformations, and eventually burns out.
Vermeulen said there were a few technical and engineering challenges involved in getting the art piece into place, but with a large team they were able to position it in the middle of the gap in the tower.
“The artwork establishes a powerful link between the city, lit up by light installations, the night sky above it, and the whole world, standing out as a brilliant beacon of hope and celebration for Noor Riyadh 2021,” Riyadh Art added.
Vermeulen, who said he has visited the Kingdom several times but the first time he participates in an art exhibition, praised the effectiveness, organization and high quality of the festival that attracted many international artists.


Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
  • Inspectors found modifications of data and expiry dates of the shrimps repackaged in new containers

JAZAN: Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) inspectors seized 412 tons of shrimp stocks after detecting fake food labels and product packages inside an illegal warehouse in Jazan region.

SFDA said that during the inspection and investigation operations, inspectors detected modifications of the data and the expiry dates of the product, which was repackaged in new containers.

The shrimp products, and packages and data labels were seized, in addition to another 500,000 labels bearing food data and cartons ready for packing.

As a result of the inspection, the authority closed the unlicensed warehouse and summoned those responsible for the facility to hear statements and complete the application of penalties and regulations against them.

According to food law and its executive regulations, the penalty for such violations can reach up to SR10 million ($2.6 million), in addition to a ban on the violator from practicing any food business for up to 180 days, as well as license suspensions and/or cancellations.

Violations of establishments under the supervision of the SFDA can be reported by calling the unified number (19999), or through its “Tameni” application available on the iOS and Android operating systems.

 

 


35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
Updated 29 July 2021

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
  • Kingdom's Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership to 70 percent

RIYADH: A total of 34,891 families benefited from subsidized mortgage loans through the Sakani self-construction program during the first half of this year.

Run by the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF), Sakani offers Saudis access to land and residential housing via financing solutions to help first-time homebuyers.

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership in the Kingdom to 70 percent.

Sakani provided various residential products and financial solutions for 111,568 families in the first six months of the year, including 87,896 families that have already moved into new homes and its website and app are designed to simplify and speed up the purchasing process for readymade, off-plan, self-construction, and land products.

To qualify for a subsidized loan for self-construction, applicants must be entitled to residential support, own a residential land plot and have a valid building permit, have a fixed income, and must not have previously claimed housing support. Details are available at https://sakani.housing.sa/product/SC.

The scheme also provides an engineering design service with a range of high-quality, competitively priced options in partnership with experienced engineering offices. More than 36 distinctive and modern self-construction designs are available along with an approved contractor service.

The REDF offers more than 43 e-services for citizens as well as a real-estate adviser app and its online team provides around-the-clock support for those seeking subsidized funding.

Beneficiaries can call 199088 or contact the REDF on social media for information on housing and financial solutions, programs, and initiatives.


Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 

Saudi aviation authority issues update for citizens’ travel procedures abroad 
  • New procedures will come into effect on Aug. 9

RIYADH: The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has issued a new circular to all airlines, both public and private, operating from the Kingdom’s airports updating the procedures for citizens’ travel outside Saudi Arabia.

The circular stipulates that airlines can carry citizens on international flights, provided that they have received all doses of one of the anti-coronavirus vaccines approved in the Kingdom, with the exception of passengers under the age of 12.

Travelers under the age of 12 are required to present an insurance document approved by the Saudi Central Bank that covers the risks of COVID-19 infection outside the Kingdom.

In addition, citizens who recovered from the virus less than 6 months ago and those who contracted corona more than 6 months ago and received a single dose of one of the approved vaccines in the Kingdom can travel abroad.

GACA said that these procedures will come into effect on Aug. 9.

The GACA continues to apply all preventive measures at the Kingdom’s airports, with the aim of providing an integrated health environment for travelers at Saudi airports.

The procedures also include obliging all concerned authorities and air transport companies operating at the Kingdom’s airports to comply with health safety requirements and preventive measures.


DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green
Updated 29 July 2021

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green

DGDA, Saudi Botanical Society sign MoU to turn historic Diriyah green
  • Partnership between Diriyah Gate Development Authority and Saudi Botanical Society reflects both sides’ concern to protect and preserve local plants
  • First phase of the development project covers the restoration of more than 2 square kilometers of Wadi Hanifa and old farms in the region

RIYADH: The historic city of Diriyah is about to get greener.

The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Botanical Society (SBS) to cooperate in private projects in the area of plants and trees in Diriyah.

The MoU also includes spreading awareness about the importance of plants and green spaces and developing the first national garden for local plants in Diriyah, within the projects implemented by the DGDA.

The first phase of the development project covers the restoration of more than two square kilometers of Wadi Hanifa and old farms in the region. It will also establish new hiking trails and parks to make the valley an open space so tourists and visitors can enjoy natural sceneries and outdoor space.

Developing the plants and green space in Diriyah was also addressed in the MoU, along with providing scientific and technical research in the field. The project is in line with the Diriyah Gate Project, Wadi Hanifa Project, and Wadi Safar Project as all associated parties will exchange expertise, information, data, and knowledge sources.

The partnership between DGDA and SBS reflects both sides’ concern to protect and preserve local plants in Diriyah.

SBS, the first nonprofit organization specialized in the protection of wild and local plants in the Middle East, was established after Saudi leadership launched a number of initiatives, such as Green Saudi Arabia, Green Middle East, and a scheme to plant 50 billion trees in the Kingdom.


Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public
Updated 29 July 2021

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public

Ignore false COVID-19 claims and get vaccinated, Saudi health authorities urge public
  • Health Ministry reports 1,334 new cases, 1,079 recoveries, 11 deaths

JEDDAH: The Saudi Health Ministry has warned residents against false claims about COVID-19 persistently circulating on social media and for the unvaccinated to get out and get inoculated from the disease.

Dr. Abdullah Asiri, Assistant Deputy Minister for Preventive Medicine, also urged the public to continue following health safety protocols to avoid getting hit by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.

In a recent message posted on Twitter, he  said that all medications must be taken in accordance with instructions, including antibiotics, but that most do not interfere with COVID-19 vaccinations.

The timing of vaccinations might need to be adjusted for people taking immunosuppressive drugs, such as rheumatism and cancer medications, to ensure the best response to the vaccines, he explained.

As of Wednesday, more than 25.7 million doses of vaccines have been administered in the Kingdom, at a current rate of 326,727 a day. More than 18.4 million people have received at least one dose and more than 7 million have received two, meaning more than 73.8 percent of the population has had at least one jab.

INNUMBERS

522,108 - Total number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom

502,528 - Number of recoveries 8,200 Deaths

8,200 - Number of COVID-related deaths

The Ministry of Health repeated its call for all eligible citizens and residents to register for the vaccine given the continuing spread of variants, and reiterated that people who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to become infected, or to suffer severe symptoms if they are.

Authorities reported 1,334 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total in the country to 522,108. The number of active cases has risen to 11,380, and 1,409 patients are receiving critical care, 13 fewer than 24 hours earlier.

The Eastern Province recorded the highest number of new cases, with 271, followed by Riyadh with 260, Makkah with 239, Asir with 127, and Jouf with 12.

An additional 1,079 people have recovered from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 502,528, a recovery rate in the Kingdom of 96.2 percent.

An additional 11 people died as a result of conditions related to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 8,200.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) announced that fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from quarantine requirements upon arrival in the Kingdom. Expatriates returning to the Saudi Arabia are also exempt if their health status is recorded as “recovered” on the Ministry of Health’s approved app, Tawakkalna.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said it conducted 1,689 field inspections in Tabuk, during which it identified 83 violations of precautionary health measures in workplaces.