2021 Hajj pilgrimage plans to be announced shortly

2021 Hajj pilgrimage plans to be announced shortly
1 / 2
Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi. (SPA)
2021 Hajj pilgrimage plans to be announced shortly
2 / 2
Saudi Arabia is expected to announce in the coming days details of this year’s Hajj. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 June 2021

2021 Hajj pilgrimage plans to be announced shortly

2021 Hajj pilgrimage plans to be announced shortly
  • The ministers of health and Hajj will clarify what Hajj 2021 will look like in light of the pandemic
  • Last year, only a limited amount of Hajj pilgrims from within the Kingdom were able to perform the pilgrimage

JEDDAH: Announcements about this year’s Hajj could be made in the coming days as the Kingdom completes its assessments of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said the acting Saudi minister of media, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi.

At a press conference held in Riyadh on Sunday, Al-Qasabi said the Saudi authorities are following up on (the pandemic) updates and the ministers of Hajj and Umrah and health will soon announce a decision.

He said that, due to COVID variants, it was important to evaluate the damage from the spread of the virus carefully and correctly: “We don’t want this year’s Hajj to be an epicenter for the spread of the disease in the Kingdom or the Muslim world.”

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has worked hard to improve the services provided in the Hajj and Umrah sector, amid the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic.

Last year’s Hajj and the gradual return of Umrah in October was permitted after a safe model had been developed, focusing on modern technology and digitizing the procedures to provide pilgrims with the services they needed through different options provided by the ministry.

These tech-focused models included the Eatmarna application, which allowed users to request permits (praying permits, Umrah permits and Rawdah praying permits) in Makkah and Madinah’s mosques. More than 20 million people have benefitted from the app and more than 30,000 have used the services provided by Inaya (care) centers in Makkah and Madinah, established to serve pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom.

The ministry of Hajj and Umrah also provided safe transportation services by setting up four sites to transport worshippers and pilgrims to and from the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Due to COVID-19 variants it is important to evaluate the damage from the spread of the virus carefully and correctly.

Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, Acting media minister

The Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Services for Hajj and Umrah performers, Eng. Hesham Abdulmonem Saeed, told the press conference that the safe Umrah model aims to protect people by managing the crowds going to the Grand Mosque through booked time slots and improving the services provided for pilgrims through the application of the most modern techniques to meet their personal needs.

He noted that the Eatmarna app developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) also verifies the health of permit applicants.

He said that the work to serve the pilgrims was a joint operation involving the public, private and voluntary sectors.

He said: “There is continued cooperation between the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques and all relevant authorities to help pilgrims and visitors perform Hajj and Umrah with ease.”

 


Saudi foreign minister, US envoy discuss Iran nuclear deal

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with US envoy to Iran Robert Malley in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with US envoy to Iran Robert Malley in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
Updated 20 October 2021

Saudi foreign minister, US envoy discuss Iran nuclear deal

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with US envoy to Iran Robert Malley in Riyadh on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. (SPA)
  • They also spoke about intensifying joint efforts to address Iranian violations of international agreements and treaties

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday held talks with US envoy to Iran Robert Malley in the capital, Riyadh, on ways to curb Iran’s violations and destabilizing regional activity.
During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom and the US on the Iranian nuclear deal and ongoing international negotiations to revive the agreement.
Tehran has stopped honoring some of its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal and has been holding up negotiations aimed at reviving the landmark accord that scales back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, sparking concern from the UN nuclear watchdog agency.
Prince Faisal and Malley also spoke about intensifying joint efforts to address Iranian violations of international agreements and treaties.
The two sides also discussed the importance of strengthening joint action to stop Iranian support for terrorist militias that threaten security and stability in the Middle East and the world.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malley met with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir.


All eyes on Riyadh as Imagine More season kicks off with night of music

Taking place under the title Imagine More, the event will be staged near to the extended Boulevard zone and broadcast live with more than 2,760 drones capturing every moment. (Supplied)
Taking place under the title Imagine More, the event will be staged near to the extended Boulevard zone and broadcast live with more than 2,760 drones capturing every moment. (Supplied)
Updated 18 min 45 sec ago

All eyes on Riyadh as Imagine More season kicks off with night of music

Taking place under the title Imagine More, the event will be staged near to the extended Boulevard zone and broadcast live with more than 2,760 drones capturing every moment. (Supplied)
  • An estimated 7 million people visited the first Riyadh Season in 2019

RIYADH: The Saudi capital was on Wednesday gearing up for an extraordinary evening of musical entertainment at the opening ceremony of this year’s Riyadh Season.

Taking place under the title Imagine More, the event will be staged near to the extended Boulevard zone and broadcast live with more than 2,760 drones capturing every moment.

Tickets for the ceremony, starting at 7 p.m., were sold out within one hour of going on sale and the lucky holders will be treated to a global parade including more than 1,500 costumed participants performing the traditional folkloric Samri dance.

Shows will include a Harley-Davidson custom bike display, fireworks, and a concert performed by the Cuban-American rapper Pitbull.

An estimated 7 million people visited the first Riyadh Season in 2019 and this year’s festival of activities will offer more than 7,500 events held on an area covering 5.4 million square meters.

Viewers in New York, London, Newcastle, Dubai, Kuwait, and Doha are expected to be among those watching the opening ceremony.

Just before the big event, Reem Abdullah, who works in business development, came with her friends to attend the opening ceremony and expressed her excitement and joy for this year’s season.

“I’m looking forward to the parade, mostly the fireworks. I also heard that there’s going to be Pitbull, really looking forward to that because I know most of his music” she told Arab News.

“My favourite zone in the season is Winter Wonderland. I love winter festivals, I love the weather, the design, and the décor, it’s really magical,” she added.

Ema Muradavic from Montenegro and her husband Yasin Ghali from Syria came together for the evening and were surprised how organized the event was. 

“It looks like the event is going to be spectacular tonight, and everything is going to be just fine and I hope that the event will measure up with our expectations,” Muradavic told Arab News.

She mentioned that this is her first time to visit Riyadh season “It looks like it’s going to be very fun…it looks awesome.”

As for Ghali, he is most excited about the car shows that will take place in Riyadh this year as he considers himself a lover of speed cars.

“I’m excited to see the McLarens, the Audis and Ferraris in one place,” he said.


Saudi border patrols arrest 150 suspected drug smugglers along Yemen border

Saudi border patrols arrest 150 suspected drug smugglers along Yemen border
Updated 20 October 2021

Saudi border patrols arrest 150 suspected drug smugglers along Yemen border

Saudi border patrols arrest 150 suspected drug smugglers along Yemen border

JEDDAH: Saudi border patrols in Jazan, Najran, and Asir on Tuesday thwarted attempts to smuggle more than one ton of cannabis and 66 tons of qat into the Kingdom.

Border Guard spokesman, Col. Misfir Al-Qarni, said 150 people were arrested in connection with the smuggling bid, 47 of them Saudis, and 103 illegal immigrants of which 89 were Ethiopian, 10 Yemenis, three Somalis, and one Eritrean.

Al-Qarni said that the border guards will be not lax in carrying out their duties to confront anyone who tries to endanger the security of the Kingdom or transfer such substances through its borders illegally.

Saudi authorities, in cooperation with their UAE counterparts, recently prevented an attempt to sneak 1.5 million amphetamine pills into the Kingdom through Batha port hidden in a truck carrying grain.

A Saudi citizen, and a resident of Syria were arrested in Riyadh.

In May, Saudi authorities foiled a plot to smuggle almost 1,000 kg of hashish into the Kingdom through its southern borders. Twenty-four people — 18 Ethiopians, four Yemenis and two Saudis. were arrested. AN Jeddah


Rap star Pitbull to launch Riyadh Season with sold-out concert

Rap star Pitbull to launch Riyadh Season with sold-out concert
Updated 20 October 2021

Rap star Pitbull to launch Riyadh Season with sold-out concert

Rap star Pitbull to launch Riyadh Season with sold-out concert
  • Grand parade and fireworks display in opening ceremony of the Middle East’s largest entertainment festival

RIYADH: The Cuban-American rap star Pitbull will launch this year’s Riyadh Season festival with a sold-out concert on Wednesday that will be broadcast live.
The opening ceremony of the Middle East’s largest celebration of music, dining, and entertainment will also feature a parade and fireworks show.
The festival site covers 5.4 million square meters, divided into 14 zones — Boulevard Riyadh City, Al’Athriyah, Oasis, Combat Field, Riyadh Front, Qariat Zaman, Winter Wonderland, the Groves, VIA Riyadh, Riyadh Safari, Nabd Al Riyadh, Alsalam Tree, Almurabaa, and Khaloha.
There will be 16 events this month alone — WWE Crown Jewel on Oct. 21, Rush Gaming Festival from Oct. 22 to 26, the Crystal Maze live experience on Oct. 22, the Global Town Festival on Oct. 27, the Champions of Magic show on Oct. 27, and the Messi 10 Cirque Du Soleil show on Oct. 29.
And that’s just the start, with a total of 7,500 events, programs and activities for all age groups and interests. This year, children and fans of the nursery rhymes show CoComelon will be able to meet the characters while visiting their home, school, and farm in the Winter Wonderland zone.
Most events are free, and those that require tickets will be listed on the Riyadh Season 2021 website. Visitors must link their tickets to the Tawakkalna app, which has a new security feature to prevent tickets being misused or resold.
The entertainment sector will be a key contributor to the growth of the economy as part of Vision 2030. Riyadh Season will support the tourism and leisure sector and provide a unique experience for visitors. It continues until March 2022.


KSA’s Red Sea Film Festival opens in-person accreditation

KSA’s Red Sea Film Festival opens in-person accreditation
Updated 20 October 2021

KSA’s Red Sea Film Festival opens in-person accreditation

KSA’s Red Sea Film Festival opens in-person accreditation

JEDDAH: The 3rd annual Red Sea Film Festival has opened its doors to cinema world enthusiasts to register and receive accreditation for the inaugural in-person edition of the most anticipated cinematic event of the year.

From red carpet premieres  and concerts, an industry program, workshops, interactive community events to acclaimed festival gems and beautifully restored treasures, the festival will be held in Saudi Arabia’s most evocative historical quarter — Jeddah Old Town — from Dec. 6-15.  It is an annual festival, launched in 2019, but the past two editions were held virtually due to the pandemic.

With more than 100 films from around the world to be showcased, including the best cinematic works from the region, the festival will provide industry professionals with an exclusive opportunity to be part of a unique experience.

The festival provide a platform for Arab filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world to connect, host feature and short film competitions, and present a series of events, master classes, and workshops to support emerging talent.