Saudi crown prince and Egyptian president discuss bilateral relations

Saudi crown prince and Egyptian president discuss bilateral relations
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Friday. (Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)
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Updated 11 June 2021

Saudi crown prince and Egyptian president discuss bilateral relations

Saudi crown prince and Egyptian president discuss bilateral relations
  • President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that he discussed the development of bilateral relations with Prince Mohammed

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed bilateral relations with Egypt’s president in Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that he discussed the development of bilateral relations with Prince Mohammed on his Twitter account. 
El-Sisi added that there was consensus among the two leaders on regional and international issues.


Saudi gaming developers level up in growing market

The team behind Hakawati, a studio focused on developing games for children. (Supplied)
The team behind Hakawati, a studio focused on developing games for children. (Supplied)
Updated 4 min 38 sec ago

Saudi gaming developers level up in growing market

The team behind Hakawati, a studio focused on developing games for children. (Supplied)
  • Saudi Arabia home to 21.2 million gamers, has seen its gaming industry jump 4.1 percent this year, making it the world’s 19th-largest market

JEDDAH: Out of the many growing industries in Saudi Arabia, the gaming industry is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, with developers taking standards to the next level in an exciting new territory.
In 2020, the Saudi gaming market was estimated to be worth SR2.6 billion ($690 million), with various platforms being launched to give confidence to developers, entrepreneurs and investors so they can continue building the industry.
The Kingdom, home to 21.2 million gamers, has seen its gaming industry jump 4.1 percent this year, making it the world’s 19th-largest market.
Mohammad Waleed Hashim, a 30-year-old indie game developer, is currently producing a game the revolves around a player who needs to find his way through the deserts of Saudi Arabia, training herds of camels, befriending desert folk, fighting off predators and navigating the mysteries of the desert, just like his grandfather once did.
“The Shepherd” is set to be released soon on the Steam platform for $10 with no additional in-game purchases, a plan he says will allow gamers to enjoy it more.
Indie games are made by a small group of people, or in Hashim’s case, a single developer.
Apart from occasionally hiring freelancers for the art and design, Hashim said: “The game focuses more on the mechanics and the story and less on the graphical aspects.”
The developer said that the game was meant to be a small hobby, but it rolled into a bigger project and became the detailed product it is today. “The Arab touches were very important to me because I wanted something the players could relate to,” he said, adding: “I found a picture of my grandfather wearing traditional clothes and that’s where the inspiration for the character design started.”
Abdullah Bamashmoos, founder of Jeddah-based game development studio Hakawati, said games that allow children to build their own in-game worlds — such as Minecraft and Roblox — can influence young children to jump on the bandwagon.
“That opens the possibility of one day creating their own games in Saudi Arabia, the generation that grew up playing the games that enhanced their creativity are now learning to develop actual games,” said Bamashmoos.
The 31-year-old developer said that there were a small number of gaming studios a few years ago, so he could not pursue his passion for developing games right away. He faced opposition from his community when he started investing his time and money into development.
“What kept me going is that all crazy ideas start somewhere and although things like augmented reality were once believed to be science fiction stories, it became a profitable reality years later. So, I figured that the technology here in Saudi Arabia will advance far enough and I was able to foresee a future in what I was investing in.”
Bamashmoos said that his journey was one of trial and error: “I would create files, scavenge the internet for solutions to some of the software issues, delete files, and start from scratch.”
According to the developers, it is not just the software skills that aspiring developers need to work on, Bamashmoos said that they also need to work on their team-building abilities and finding efficient developers who are willing to work hard throughout the development stage of their games.
“Another thing that Saudi developers need to do is keep practising and learning additional talents so they can gradually progress in the industry.”
When the two developers started on their journeys over 10 years ago, the internet was not as rich with information as it is now, which has been a game-changer for developers.
They can now find a treasure trove of information for free or very low prices, which Bamashmoos said could ease the production pipeline.
“Developers in the country are also helpful since the community is small, the ones who are interested can get help from the professionals easily.”
Despite Hashim’s struggle with the industry, he is hoping to build a small gaming studio.
“I have so many ideas for more games after this one, seven to be precise. I look forward to hiring people who can work with me.”


Saudi Arabia and France discuss digital transformation, space cooperation

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia and France discuss digital transformation, space cooperation

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier. (SPA)
  • Al-Swaha met COO of French National Center for Space Studies to discuss potential for partnerships in the research and scientific fields

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha met the French Ambassador for Digital Affairs Henri Verdier in Paris on Monday.
Acting CEO of the Saudi Space Commission Dr. Mohammed Al-Tamimi and President of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) Dr. Munir bin Mahmoud El-Desouki also attended the meeting, along with a number of Saudi and French officials.
The two parties spoke about enhancing bilateral cooperation between the Kingdom and France in technical and digital transformation, space and innovation.
The meeting outlined stimulating the growth of the digital economy and the innovation system. It discussed accelerating the adoption of modern technologies in the Middle East and North Africa by relying on the digital and logistical platform provided by the Kingdom as a hub connecting continents, in addition to the Saudi Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which was recently inaugurated in Riyadh.
Al-Swaha, also the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Commission, met Lionel Suchet, the chief operating officer of the French National Center for Space Studies, in Paris.
They discussed cooperation in the space sector and its technologies, including the potential for partnerships in the research and scientific fields.
They also talked about technical cooperation and ways to stimulate innovation and investment in the space sector, which is experiencing significant growth globally, along with the development of human capital and capacity building.
This meeting took place during a tour by Al-Swaha that includes visits to institutions and companies involved in the space sector in the UK and France. It aims to enhance the work of the Saudi Space Authority and its cooperation with international bodies specializing in space and its technologies.


Saudi foreign minister congratulates Algerian counterpart on assuming his post

Saudi foreign minister congratulates Algerian counterpart on assuming his post
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi foreign minister congratulates Algerian counterpart on assuming his post

Saudi foreign minister congratulates Algerian counterpart on assuming his post

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan made a phone call on Monday to the his Algerian counterpart Ramdane Lamamra, during which he congratulated him on assuming his post.
Prince Faisal said he looked forward to working with him in strengthening relations between the two countries, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
During the call, they reviewed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them to achieve the interests of both countries, in addition to discussing regional and international developments of common concern.


4 Saudis arrested for distributing drugs in Qassim, Tabuk

4 Saudis arrested for distributing drugs in Qassim, Tabuk
Updated 02 August 2021

4 Saudis arrested for distributing drugs in Qassim, Tabuk

4 Saudis arrested for distributing drugs in Qassim, Tabuk
  • Initial legal measures have been taken against them and they have been referred to the Public Prosecution

RIYADH: Saudi authorities on Monday arrested four nationals for trying to distribute a large quantity of drugs.
“Security monitoring of the activities of criminal networks that promote narcotics resulted in the arrest of four citizens in the Qassim and Tabuk regions for promoting narcotic substances,” said Maj. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi, spokesman for the General Directorate of Narcotics Control.
He added that officials seized 75,855 amphetamine tablets, 38 kg of hashish, 9,160 pills subject to the regulation of medical circulation, 74 grams of shabu (methamphetamine), a firearm, ammunition and cash.
Al-Nujaidi said the initial legal measures have been taken against the four nationals, and they have been referred to the Public Prosecution.


Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths, 27.3m vaccines given to date

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 508,994 after 1,620 more patients recovered from the virus. (SPA/File Photo)
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 508,994 after 1,620 more patients recovered from the virus. (SPA/File Photo)
Updated 02 August 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 10 more COVID-19 deaths, 27.3m vaccines given to date

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 508,994 after 1,620 more patients recovered from the virus. (SPA/File Photo)
  • A total of 8,259 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far
  • 5 mosques reopened in 3 regions after being sterilized after some people tested positive for COVID-19

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 10 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,063 new infections on Monday.

Of the new cases, 244 were recorded in Makkah, 217 in Riyadh, 152 in the Eastern Province, 108 in Asir, 88 in Jazan, 70  in Madinah, 45 in Najran, 44 in Hail, 20 in the Northern Borders region, 18 in Tabuk, 17 in Al-Baha, and five in Al-Jouf.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,063 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 527, people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 10,624 remain active and 1,3434 in critical condition.

Of the new cases, 244 were recorded in Makkah, 217 in Riyadh, 152 in the Eastern Province, 108 in Asir, 88 in Jazan, 70  in Madinah, 45 in Najran, 44 in Hail, 20 in the Northern Borders region, 18 in Tabuk, 17 in Al-Baha, and five in Al-Jouf.

The health ministry also announced that 1,620 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 527,877.
Over 27.3 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

The ministry urged all students to quickly take the first dose of the vaccine so they may take the second dose before the start of the academic year.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened five mosques in three regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after some people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,928 within 177 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 199 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.24 million.