RIYADH: A third plane carrying medical supplies to help combat the spread of COVID-19 arrived in Tunisia on Thursday on an air bridge set up by Saudi Arabia.
The plane, which was flown by a team from the Saudi-based King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), was sent following directives from King Salman after a plea for aid from Tunisian President Kais Saied during a phone call with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday.
Tunisia is struggling to contain the virus with its health system under pressure, and both Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and Parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi have contracted the disease in recent days.
The plane, which landed in the capital, Tunis, was carrying medical supplies and protective equipment.
A Saudi aircraft loaded with medical equipment and supplies arrived at Tunis-Carthage International Airport to help support efforts against the #Covid19 pandemic. #TnPR
— Tunisian Presidency - الرئاسة التونسية (@TnPresidency) July 15, 2021
Saudi ambassador to Tunisia Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al-Saqr, Tunisian Minister of Defense Brahim Bartagi, Minister of Health Dr. Fawzi Al-Mahdi, and the president’s chief of staff Nadia Akacha, received the plane on the tarmac.
Bartagi said that the Kingdom sent high-precision equipment and advanced technology, which would improve the capability of public hospitals to receive patients, adding that the Kingdom “generously offered to send a large number of medical and treatment devices, vaccines and other necessary materials.”
Nissaf Ben Alya, spokeswoman for the Tunisian health ministry, praised the assistance provided by the Kingdom to support Tunisia in this critical situation and to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health to confront the spread of the virus, adding that the Saudi leadership responded quickly and rapidly intervened with the ongoing health crisis in Tunisia.
She said that the Saudi medical aid had begun to make its way to public hospitals in various cities across the country.
This aid comes as an affirmation of the strong brotherly bonds between the leaderships of both countries.
Saudi Arabia and India discuss aspects of cooperation
Prince Faisal also participated in a discussion at the Observer Research Foundation during his visit to New Delhi
Updated 27 sec ago
RIYADH: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in the capital, New Delhi, Monday to discuss various aspects of cooperation.
Prince Faisal conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Modi, the Indian government and its people.
During the meeting, they reviewed the “strong and historical Saudi-Indian relations,” and discussed strengthening them to “achieve the aspirations and hopes of the two peoples for further progress and prosperity,” the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
Pleased to receive the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. Exchanged views on ongoing bilateral cooperation initiatives and the regional situation. Conveyed my regards to His Majesty the King and His Highness the Crown Prince. pic.twitter.com/yCIbQBO2RK
The two sides also discussed regional and international issues and ways to enhance international peace and security.
Modi praised the Kingdom’s leading role in protecting the planet, especially through the crown prince’s Saudi and Middle East green initiatives that were announced in March.
They also held talks on ways to consolidate the economic partnership between the two countries in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and ways in which bilateral cooperation has intensified.
I had an excellent visit to the Republic of India and was honored to convey greetings of the Kingdom's leadership to PM @narendramodi. I also held fruitful discussions with Misnister @DrSJaishankar on bilateral and regional issues. We continue to extend our strategic partnership pic.twitter.com/i2LsnlZoKP
During his visit, Prince Faisal also participated in a discussion session with a group of researchers and thinkers at the Observer Research Foundation, along with its chairman Sunjoy Joshi.
The discussion touched on several topics, including the Kingdom’s green initiatives, Saudi Arabia and India’s leading roles in the G20, and the joint coordination on enhancing international peace and security.
The discussion also dealt with the rapid developments in Saudi Arabia stemming from its Vision 2030, including renewable energy projects and investment in technology.
New procedures to verify COVID-19 immunization of expats coming to Saudi Arabia
Circular to airlines stipulates that they must confirm status of their passengers before boarding
Kingdom on Monday recorded 6 COVID-19 deaths, 63 new infections and 71 recoveries
Updated 42 min 59 sec ago
JEDDAH: The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation has issued a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom’s airports, including private aviation, regarding procedures for verifying the immunization status of expatriates before they board flights to Saudi Arabia.
The circular stipulated two ways for expatriate travelers to verify their eligibility, either by showing their immunization status in the “Tawakkalna” application or by submitting a report proving immunization in the Kingdom through the “Qudoom” platform.
The authority stressed that legal action will be taken against violators.
In an earlier press conference about the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said that the epidemiological indicators in the Kingdom and the world continue to decline.
He noted that the world is close to vaccinating nearly 6 billion people.
As the Kingdom approaches the celebration of its National Day, Al-Abd Al-Aly urged everyone to complete their two doses and continue to adhere to precautionary measures.
Saudi Arabia on Monday reported six more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall toll to 8,667.
There were 63 new cases, meaning that 546,612 people in the country have contracted the disease. A total of 2,343 cases remained active, of which 339 patients were in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 15 were in Makkah region, 13 in Riyadh region, seven in the Eastern Province, and five in Madinah region.
In addition, the ministry said 71 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 535,602.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 28,433,787 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 45,291 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Meanwhile, 40,967,054 people in the country have to date received a COVID-19 vaccination, including 1,639,937 people who are elderly. About 65.42 percent of the population have received the first dose, while 50.58 percent have completed both doses. At this rate, 70 percent of the population is expected to have completed both doses by Nov. 5, 2021.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce carried out 48,273 inspection tours during the past two weeks to ensure that commercial establishments and outlets in all regions of the Kingdom were adhering to precautionary measures. Authorities issued 1,143 fines for immediate violations.
Municipalities in the Kingdom have also shut down multiple commercial outlets as part of their efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures to stop the spread of the disease.
The municipality of Jeddah closed 23 facilities during 3,431 inspection tours carried out on Sunday. Authorities also issued fines to 23 other businesses.
Officials have urged the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened one mosque after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing it in Asir region after one person tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 2,027 within 223 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 229 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.70 million.
Saudi Arabia reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.
The death toll has risen to 8,667 with six more virus-related fatalities.
Saudi Arabia calls for peaceful use of nuclear energy
The minister said the region needs to be free of weapons of mass destruction
Updated 20 September 2021
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia adheres to its policy for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Al-Ekhbariya TV cited Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as saying during a press conference on Monday.
He added that it is important for countries to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“The Kingdom is concerned about Iran’s non-compliance and lack of transparency of its nuclear program,” the minister said.
He further said the region needs to be free of weapons of mass destruction, and Saudi Arabia continues to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to consolidate the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The nuclear watchdog’s General Assembly began its meeting on Monday in Vienna to discuss the challenges that faced the organization a year ago.
Another meeting will be held between the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and the Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami to discuss Tehran’s cooperation with the agency, and to set a new date for Grossi’s visit to the country.
The Flowerman Festival: Sharing Asir’s culture with the world
Flowerman Festival celebrates the rural traditions in the Asir mountains in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia
Updated 20 September 2021
RIYADH: Bright colors, regional flowers and celebrations of heritage are highlights of the second Flowerman Festival, hosted by the Ministry of Culture in the Asir region.
Young and old visitors wear colorful floral garlands and join hands and dance to celebrate this important cultural and historical event.
The Flowerman Festival celebrates the rural traditions in the Asir mountains in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia from Sept 13 to Sept. 27.
One of the missions of the festival is to share the Flowerman heritage and spread awareness of its cultural diversity with local and international visitors through art, dance and storytelling.
The festival is centered around three features, which focus on the preservation of culture under the theme of “nine years of glory.”
The first feature of the festival depicts the stories of the historical roles of the flowermen in a feature called “FlowerMen and Determination,” showing Rijal Almaa’s timeline through dance and chanting.
The second feature of the festival will celebrate women and the important role they play in preserving the heritage of the Asir region through their colorful artwork.
Some of the local women can be seen around the festival grounds carefully weaving the traditional floral crowns made of marigolds, jasmine and basil.
These floral crowns are the staple of the festival, worn not only the locals in Rijal Almaa village but by all visitors in celebration of its rural heritage.
Made of freshly cut flowers, these crowns are a historical symbol of power, health and eternity worn by many locals in the Asir and Jazan region.
The third feature of the festival is “Rijal’s Fort.” This showcases the local architecture — made of colorful stone, delicately stacked — and which also makes use of clay and wood.
Projected on the 60 buildings in the village is a laser show that shares the story of Rijal’s history.
At night these buildings, 14 of which were used as forts, are highlighted with bright colored lights that trace each corner of the structures, creating a bright glow from miles away.
The events are hosted in two locations — the first is the village of Rijal and the second is in Al-Soudah Park.
Al-Soudah Park features a 360-degree main stage where folk performances are held, and where the local colorful thobes and floral crowns have caught the attention of locals and international visitors.
Located 45 km west of Abha, the hub of the festival Rijal Almaa, the location is in the process of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The hub was once the meeting place for merchants and pilgrims traveling to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. Here merchants traded food, grains, household items, spices and jewelry.
This culturally rich region is home to the Rijal Almaa village, also referred to by international tourists as the gingerbread village because of the bright colors of the stone bricks carefully laid to create its century-old architectural structures.
Rijal Almaa holds a deep historical importance for the Kingdom; it is the location where the Asiri tribes claimed independence over the region and defeated the Ottoman forces in 1825.
The Flowerman Festival is a harmonious celebration of the environment and the rich local heritage of the village people. The festival showcases the connected villages that coexist within the environment, where people harvest flowers to create garlands and live in harmony with nature.
Few places in the world are preserved in the way that the Asir region is, with its historic villages hidden in the mountains.
The second edition of the festival offers live music, horseback riding and an open-air heritage market that sells many handmade crafts created by the local village people of the Asir region.
The first festival in 2019 welcomed more than 30,000 visitors with the theme of the local roses.
The Flowerman Festival will continue as an annual event organized by the Ministry of Culture to attract global visitors.
Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists
"I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies"
Fitness myth-busters come out fighting
Updated 19 September 2021
Ameera Abid & Rahaf Jambi
JEDDAH: With interest in sport surging in the Kingdom, Saudis embarking on gym and exercise regimes have been warned to beware of self-appointed “experts” peddling fitness myths that can ruin workouts and even damage health.
Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms.
Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, they warn.
Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, told Arab News that she has had many such experiences at her gym but has finally learned how to deal with them.
“Someone once told me that the more she sweats, the more fat she will lose, and that if she is not sweating heavily, her workout will not work. I said nothing but sympathized with the woman since she was working out wearing a hoodie in the scorching heat of Jeddah.”
Khalid said that people “should just listen to their bodies” to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.
• Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, said that people ‘should just listen to their bodies’ to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.
• Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said ‘the problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. ‘They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.’
• Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, said ‘one of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science.’
“The body has a way of telling you. Do the workout that makes you feel good during and afterwards. If a workout or a diet feels wrong then just don’t do it. Listen to your body and you will be set.”
She added: “But listen to it when it is being reasonable and not at 3 a.m. when you want to eat eight donuts and a tub of ice cream.”
Casey Ho, a YouTuber who has been uploading home workout videos since 2009, was subjected to a wave of hate after announcing that she wanted to lose weight and get in the best shape of her life.
In her video, titled “How I lost 17.5 pounds in 12 weeks — My 90-Day Journey,” she said: “No, I don’t have an eating disorder. No, I don’t have a body image disorder. No, I don’t hate myself and, no, this journey wasn’t for you — it was for me.”
In a podcast called Off the Pills, Ho said that the body positive movement has grown so much over the years that now if someone wants to lose weight and look a certain way, they are labeled “anti-body positive” and kicked out of the community.
Returning to unhealthy habits is not the answer, she said. “It is a commitment of a lifetime.”
Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said: “The problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.”
According to Hamdallah, the best way to deal with such people is to ask: “What is the source of the information?”
She added: “They will think back on what they have said and if they do have a genuine source, you can take their advice.”
The trainer also urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful.
Hamdallah said that a healthy lifestyle is about changing habits little by little, and is not about following a particular diet. “People tend to get the two mixed.
For a healthy life, it’s just a caloric deficit, physical activity and enough sleep. It’s very simple.”
The trainer defined her personal experience as a series of trial and error, and said that still tries new approaches and methods in her diet and during her workouts.
She also said that her schedules are flexible, and she will not force herself to do something that does not feel right.
Depending on body type, results can take up to a year to show, while sometimes it is just three months, Hamdallah added.
I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.
Suliman Abduljawad, Guinness world record holder in fitness
However, according to Khalid, adopting a healthier lifestyle is not as tricky as it sometimes appears.
“I promise you, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just boiled chicken breast and white rice or a sad piece of bread. Now, more than ever, you can find delicious foods on the internet that is so good that you won’t even miss the sugar-filled or fried foods that you crave.”
Khalid said that she was discouraged because people kept telling her that she was eating, drinking and exercising the wrong way, and she was not seeing results in fitness. She later discovered that it takes time to change.
“That is OK. I have my own pace and I am happy with that,” she said.
Adding to the warnings, a Saudi champ has joined the fight against fitness myths
Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, joined social media to campaign for better messaging around fitness and exercise.
“I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies,” he told Arab News.
Abduljawad said that he decided to step in and educate people about the “rights and wrongs” of training.
The fitness champ said that he receives messages every day from followers asking him about information they read online.
Female personal trainers in Saudi Arabia are expensive compared with other countries because of the myths, he said.
“One of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science,” Abduljawad said.
He also rejects the claim that training is bad for children. “I have a son, I cannot wait until he is 3 years old to train him. People say that children should not train, which is wrong. Their training is fun and they will enjoy it.”
Abduljawad said that he read Guinness World Records books as a child and wondered why there were no Saudi record-holders. It was then that he decided to work hard on himself.
He eventually broke two world records after a long journey — one in side jump push-up and one in archer push-up in 2020.
“I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.”
Abduljawad offers online training and dreams of having his own gym one day. “I’m aiming break 10 more world records.”