RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with US Special Envoy for Iran Affairs Robert Malley on Thursday.
They discussed ways to strengthen Saudi-US cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue, and relevant international negotiations, the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.
Iran’s violations of international conventions and treaties related to the nuclear agreement, and the country’s support of terrorist militias, who destabilize the Middle East, was also discussed.
Saudi Ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar also attended the meeting.
The Saudi foreign minister also met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and discussed issues of mutual interest between Saudi Arabia and the US.
Saudi Arabia reports 5,591 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 584,050
A total of 8,914 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far
Updated 20 January 2022
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 5,591 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 1,476 were recorded in Riyadh, 551 in Jeddah, 295 in Makkah, 249 in Dammam, 213 in Hofuf, 190 in Madinah, and 115 in Abha. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 584,050 after 5,238 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,914 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 54.5 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.
Saudi authority gives details of corruption cases in progress and rulings issued in others
Cases involve crooked land deals, bribery, fake documents, false COVID-19 vaccination certificates and other abuses of power and public office
Updated 20 January 2022
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, known as Nazaha, on Wednesday gave details of a number of criminal cases it is pursuing in which legal proceedings against the accused are underway.
In one of the cases, a notary was arrested for allegedly receiving SR4,461,500 ($1,189,331) in exchange for illegally transferring ownership of two sections of land as a “gift” to a businessman and the businessman’s sister without the knowledge of their father, who owns the land. The notary’s brother was also arrested.
In another, a retired brigadier general who served in the Border Guards is accused of receiving SR10 million to accept requests for compensation from 15 citizens, who have also been arrested, for large areas of land that were owned illegally.
An engineer working in a senior position in a municipality was arrested over claims that he received SR350,000 from a businessman in exchange for issuing fake approval certificates for his commercial enterprise. The certificates are said to have been worth SR435,000 and the related completion certificates for the disbursement of the financial dues had been signed.
A citizen allegedly received SR12,500 of an agreed SR32,000 payment in return for canceling 16 violations by a company that had been registered at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
Nine employees of the Ministry of Health and six foreign mediators of the deals were arrested over allegations that they accepted money in return for modifying the immunization status of a number of citizens to indicate that they had received a COVID-19 vaccine when they had not.
With the cooperation of the Ministry of Interior, an officer and a resident were arrested for forming a criminal gang through which they identified workers in violation of residency laws, arrested them and then demanded money to release them.
A number of cases referred by Nazaha’s Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Unit to the Criminal Court in Riyadh resulted in convictions and the issuance of preliminary court rulings against the suspects.
In one case, a notary was convicted of bribery for receiving SR15.5 million in exchange for illegally issuing a deed of land ownership. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined SR700,000. The person who paid the bribe was jailed for five years and fined SR500,000. A citizen convicted of delivering the bribe was given a five-year sentence and fined SR500,000.
The secretary-general of a national committee affiliated with the Ministry of Interior was convicted of embezzlement, forgery, use of forged documents and money laundering. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined SR1,020,000. A businessman convicted in connection with the case was jailed for seven years, fined SR500,000, ordered to pay back SR3 million that had been embezzled, and banned from traveling for three years after release from prison.
A former ambassador was convicted of bribery and abuse of office for illegally issuing Hajj and Umrah visas in exchange for payments. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fined SR300,000.
A member of the Public Prosecution was convicted of bribery and abuse of office for requesting SR30,000 from a citizen in exchange for dismissing a pending case. He was jailed for three years and fined SR30,000.
The authority said it will continue to pursue anyone suspected of exploiting public office for personal gain or harming the public interest in any way, and that guilty individuals will be held accountable whenever they are identified, even after retirement, as there is no statute of limitations on such cases and a zero-tolerance policy applies in matters involving corruption.
Minister of Saudi National Guard inaugurates air base in Dirab
Updated 20 January 2022
RIYADH: Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Abdullah bin Bandar on Monday inaugurated the National Guard Air Base in Dirab, south of the capital, Riyadh, the ministry said.
He listened to a briefing about the base, and watched a video presentation of the facilities and training services it offers in support of the National Guard units.
President of the Aviation Authority Maj. Gen. Fahd bin Saedan praised the base, which he said was designed to the highest standard modern facilities.
Maj. Gen. Turki Al-Tasan, the commander of the National Guard Air Base, gave a speech on the aviation base, which he said would serve as “an impregnable shield for the country, with protective hawks in its skies, becoming a military force comparable to nations.”
The minister of National Guard also toured the base’s aviation institute and listened to a briefing about the courses it offers to hone and enhance skills in various military actions.
He then toured the aviation simulators, modern simulators and advanced technologies that are used in training National Guard aviation officers and personnel in various aviation specializations for pilots and technicians.
Prince Abdullah also watched an integrated system of National Guard aircraft and their crews, including pilots and technicians, who performed a military salute to him.
Saudi city dwellers get back to nature on Riyadh floriculture tour
‘We decided to design this experience to showcase the beauty of floriculture in the desert of Najd’
Updated 20 January 2022
RIYADH: Saudi city dwellers are being offered the chance to get back to nature by delving into the world of plants.
The opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of life in Riyadh has been made available at a flower plantation just a 40-minute drive from the center of the capital.
Tour agency Maalim — that runs specialist trips to destinations throughout the Kingdom — has been operating trips to a farm in Al-Muzahimiyah where visitors can discover floriculture, learning how to plant and grow all kinds of flowers.
As well as offering cultural, agricultural, and tourist trips, the travel firm plans to introduce factory tours to help promote and support Saudi businesses and products.
The popular floriculture experience has been running every Friday and Saturday since August for groups of 18 to 20 people or private parties and trips will come to a seasonal close at the end of January.
Hessah Alajaji, founder of the Maalim agency, said: “Citizens and visitors of Saudi Arabia have never heard of this huge flower farm in Saudi Arabia. Yet it was established in 1991 and used to export produce internationally. But due to high demand in the Kingdom, it became locally distributed.
“We decided to design this experience to showcase the beauty of floriculture in the desert of Najd.
• The tour is suitable for families, couples, friendship groups, and individuals and starts with an optional short bicycle ride passing by the farm’s glasshouses and wells.
• A guide then leads an indoor plantation walking tour through up to six glasshouses where visitors can watch farmers nurturing crops and learn about watering and growing methods.
“We seek opportunities and design experiences in different locations in the Kingdom for everyone to enjoy. We care about preserving nature and culture and we put a lot of effort into protecting the authenticity of the locations and tailor experiences accordingly.
“If you told me that there would be a place in Riyadh that has unique flower planting, I wouldn’t believe it,” she added.
The tour is suitable for families, couples, friendship groups, and individuals and starts with an optional short bicycle ride passing by the farm’s glasshouses and wells. A guide then leads an indoor plantation walking tour through up to six glasshouses where visitors can watch farmers nurturing crops and learn about watering and growing methods.
Exotic plants are also featured among flower varieties including lilium, chrysanthemum, Casablanca, spray roses, and tulips and visitors are invited to pick and sample fresh vegetables along the way.
In addition, the chance to create a bouquet is available at a flower arranging session, run by Loverda Academy. A floral-themed brunch brings the tour to a climax.