Makkah governor leads washing of the Kaaba

On behalf of King Salman, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal attended the ceremony to wash the Holy Kaaba on Monday. (SPA)
On behalf of King Salman, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal attended the ceremony to wash the Holy Kaaba on Monday. (SPA)
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Updated 23 August 2021

Makkah governor leads washing of the Kaaba

On behalf of King Salman, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal attended the ceremony to wash the Holy Kaaba on Monday. (SPA)
  • Prince Khaled washed the inside of the Holy Kaaba with a mixture of Zamzam and rose water, amid high preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19

On behalf of King Salman, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal washed the Holy Kaaba on Monday. Participants in the ceremony included Deputy Makkah Gov. Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Acting Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Issam bin Saad bin Saeed and the head of the Presidency General of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sudais.
Prince Khaled washed the inside of the Holy Kaaba with a mixture of Zamzam and rose water, amid high preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Al-Sudais stressed that the occasion highlights the great attention that the Kingdom’s leadership offers to the Two Holy Mosques.
He pointed out that the Prophet’s biography mentioned taking care of the Holy Kaaba as a sign of respect for its sanctity.
Al-Sudais also highlighted the care offered by the Saudi leadership to the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors since the time of the late King Abdul Aziz to the reign of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
Updated 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
  • Falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color contribute to setting of exorbitant prices at auctions

RIYADH: Some of the world’s most exquisite falcons have been auctioned at the Saudi International Falcons Auction, with prices elevated due to fierce competition between buyers at the 45-day event which began Oct. 1.

One peregrine falcon, not yet a year old, became the most expensive of its type in 2021 when it was auctioned for SR405,000 ($108,000) last week, breaking the previous record price of SR206,000.

Saad Mallouh Aldahmashi, who bought it, and who owns the Sultan Falcon Center in Arar, told Arab News that the peregrine immediately drew his attention. “I said to myself, I will buy come what may,” he added.

“My friend confirmed to me that the falcon was in perfect health and looked stronger than the videos published about it.When the auction began, I did not say anything and waited until the price hit SR280,000. Two more people were bidding on the price until it reached SR480,000,” he said.

He noted that if the price had kept going higher than that, he would still have bid and not stopped until he got it. “I thought the price would stop at SR605,000, but it did not.”

He pointed out that he sold a similar falcon for SR610,000 two years ago at his center. At the time, the falcon, which was also less than a year old, registered the highest price in the auction.

Aldahmashi, who has more than 15 years of experience in the field, hopes to increase the number of auctions in Saudi Arabia’s regions, to increase competition, and to allow residents of the regions to attend auctions up close, stressing that this is an essential requirement for amateur enthusiasts.

Nawaf Mamdouh Alshraim, another falconer, said that the falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color all contribute to setting the price. As someone who has been in the business for 16 years, he said that breeding falcons requires significant experience.

“You have to have the ability and experience to know when the falcon is normal, sick or tired. You should teach him how to get the prey and return to you,” said Alshraim.

“The quality of the falcon is reflected in its ability to hunt prey,” he explained.

The saker and peregrine falcons are the most expensive, especially the youngest birds. He explained that they are small in size, 16 inches wide and another 16 inches tall, adding that the perfect weight would be around 1.1 kg and above.

Alshraim, who lives in northeast Saudi Arabia, believes that the Malhem auction is the go-to place for falconers. “The auction has many attractions for amateur falconers, and it is held during the bird migration, and has attracted many of the experts and amateurs in the last years through the facilities it offers,” he noted.

The Saudi Falcon Club provides medical examinations for falcons and also provides accommodation for owners before the auction is held. The auction is aired on live TV and the club’s social media accounts. There is no fee on sale transactions, and when a falcon is sold, the club issues an export certificate and official documents for the transaction.


With animal welfare increasingly in the spotlight, there’s nowhere for abusers to hide

With animal welfare increasingly in the spotlight, there’s nowhere for abusers to hide
Updated 6 min 29 sec ago

With animal welfare increasingly in the spotlight, there’s nowhere for abusers to hide

With animal welfare increasingly in the spotlight, there’s nowhere for abusers to hide
  • In fact, there are already strict rules governing animal welfare and tough penalties for anyone found guilty of breaking them

JEDDAH: In part because of the reach and power of social media, awareness of issues surrounding animal abuse has never been higher in Saudi Arabia, and there have been calls for greater official efforts to protect animals.

Videos and photographs posted on social media have highlighted examples of abuse such as animals abandoned on the side of the road, and creatures that have been, starved, beaten or burned. There are also concerns about how animals are treated at facilities such as slaughterhouses.

In fact, there are already strict rules governing animal welfare and tough penalties for anyone found guilty of breaking them, including the possibility of imprisonment and hefty fines.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture warns that the penalty for a first offense is a fine of up to SR50,000 ($13,000), and this amount is doubled if there is a second violation within a year.

If there is a third incident, the fine increases to SR200,000 and, if applicable, the facility dealing with the animals can be closed for 90 days. In the event of a fourth case of abuse a fine of SR400,000 can be imposed and the facility’s license can be permanently revoked. Prison terms are also a possibility.

Lawyer Waleed bin Nayef told Arab News that the punishments apply to anyone who causes suffering to animals, whether they expose them to danger, are unnecessarily cruel during slaughter or the preparation of sacrifices, cause them stress or suffering during races, or fail to take into consideration the age or health of animals they are working with.

Other offenses include forcing animals to act in ways that are unnatural to their nature, giving them illegal drugs or growth hormones, catching or transporting them in inhumane ways, failing to treat them when they are sick or injured, sexually abusing them, or disposing of them in an inhumane manner.

“The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has provided, through its website, a way to report any abuse or torture and these reports are dealt with seriously,” bin Nayef told Arab News. He added that a robust animal welfare system is enshrined in the aims of Saudi Vision 2030.

In cases where abuse is suspected, he said, whether it was caught on video, discovered by a surprise inspection or after investigating the death of an animal, the ministry decides whether to refer the suspect to the Criminal Court, which will investigate and decide on an appropriate punishment if required.

For a number of reasons investigations can be difficult. For example, it might be hard to trace the origin of videos or images showing abuse, and it is possible that they might have been faked. However, Saudi authorities have successfully used cybercrime units to identify and catch abusers.

Mohammed Al-Hatershi, director general of slaughterhouses in the General Administration of Makkah Region, told Arab News that while it is better to work to raise awareness of animal abuse issues in an attempt to prevent them happening in the first place, strict laws and tough penalties are also required because the authorities are responsible for ensuring animals are cared for.

“Shariah law is clear about animal care, as it says that we are responsible for our flock and facilities must take these rules seriously,” he added.

Social worker Mona Al-Thiyabi, told Arab News that animal abuse can be an indicator of low psychological stability in an individual, and can be linked to some mental disorders.

“It might also be an indicator of low stability in the family, as the presence of a person’s hostile behavior against an animal might originate from the family,” she said.

Psychological, verbal or physical violence in the home between spouses, for example, causes suffering and psychological pressure, which can cause a person to treat animals in the same way, she added.

“On the other hand, violence in all its forms against children might cause psychological repression in them, which may lead to the practice of hostile behavior against animals,” said Al-Thiyabi.

People who are cruel and violent toward animals sometimes progress to violence against humans, she added.

The Gus Hope shelter is a nonprofit organization that runs a shelter for cats and rescues strays.

“As a community, we need to be more responsible for animals,” its owner, Um Asma told Arab News. “Everyone needs to spay and neuter their pets and stop supporting pet stores that sell animals.”

“The laws are good but they need to be implemented more. Some animal stores treat animals like a product rather than a soul and they need to be stopped.”

The Kingdom’s Ehsan platform, the national charity website, also plays a part in animal welfare by highlighting the need for donations.

One of the campaigns on the platform, for example, states: “Many rescued animals suffer from their inability to continue living on their own, so they need care and attention and the provision of food and water. With your donation, you contribute to feeding them. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: In every wet liver there is a reward.”


Saudi and Honduran foreign ministers discuss relations

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Honduran counterpart Lisandro Rosales in Riyadh on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Honduran counterpart Lisandro Rosales in Riyadh on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (SPA)
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi and Honduran foreign ministers discuss relations

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Honduran counterpart Lisandro Rosales in Riyadh on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks with his Honduran counterpart, Lisandro Rosales, in the capital, Riyadh, on Sunday.
During the meeting, they discussed enhancing joint work and coordination to promote “bilateral relations toward broader horizons” and achieve the common interests of the two countries, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They also spoke about the latest regional and international developments, it added.


Arab leaders, Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrive in Saudi Arabia for Middle East Green Initiative Summit

Arab leaders, Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrive in Saudi Arabia for Middle East Green Initiative Summit
Updated 24 October 2021

Arab leaders, Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrive in Saudi Arabia for Middle East Green Initiative Summit

Arab leaders, Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrive in Saudi Arabia for Middle East Green Initiative Summit
  • Libyan president and Morocco’s prime minister also arrived in Riyadh to attend the regional summit
  • The inaugural summit will see world leaders and representatives gather on Monday to define green policy solutions

RIYADH: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his accompanying delegation arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Sunday, to participate in the Middle East Green Initiative Summit.
Khan was received at King Khalid International Airport by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, acting governor of Riyadh, and other Saudi officials.
The inaugural summit will see world leaders and representatives gather on Monday to examine green policy solutions to climate challenges, as part of a regional initiative launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this year.

Later on Sunday, Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Menfi, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, and Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden also arrived at King Khalid International Airport and were received by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman.
The Middle East Green Initiative aims to apply a number of ambitious programs that will reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in the region and plant 50 billion trees in the world’s biggest afforestation project.


Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections
  • Ministry of Interior records 824 violations against precautionary measures in the past week
  • Municipalities close three businesses and issue fines to 500 others for violating precautionary measures

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,778.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 47 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 548,252 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 79 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 13, followed by Jeddah with nine, Makkah with four, and Madinah recorded three cases.
The health ministry also announced that 36 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 537,282.
Over 45.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 21.1 million people have been fully vaccinated.


Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Interior reported 824 violations in the past week, compared to 22,746 the previous week. The highest number of breaches was recorded in Riyadh with 344, followed by Makkah with 298, Madinah with 59, and the Eastern Province with 56. Al-Jawf recorded the lowest number of violations with three.
The ministry called on citizens and residents to abide by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 8,872 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the past week. Authorities found 475 violations and closed three businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
Rafha Municipality in the Northern Borders Province also carried out 280 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last week and authorities issued fines to 25 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 244 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.96 million.