Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 38 new infections

The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 241 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.91 million. (File/SPA)
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 241 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.91 million. (File/SPA)
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Updated 18 October 2021

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 38 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 38 new infections
  • The health ministry says 52 patients have recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours
  • Municipalities close 35 businesses and issue fines to 72 others for violating precautionary measures

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,765.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 38 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 547,969 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 100 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 14, followed by Jeddah with six, Makkah with three, and Buraidah and Dammam confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 52 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 536,999.
Over 44.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 20.6 million people have been fully vaccinated.


Meanwhile, Saudi municipalities have ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 1,222 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities on Sunday, and found 72 businesses in violation of the precautionary measures.
Hail Municipality also carried out 635 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the past week and authorities closed 35 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 241 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.91 million.


British Embassy launches ninth year of Study UK Alumni Awards

British Embassy launches ninth year of Study UK Alumni Awards
Updated 9 sec ago

British Embassy launches ninth year of Study UK Alumni Awards

British Embassy launches ninth year of Study UK Alumni Awards

RIYADH: The British Embassy along with the British Council in Riyadh launched the ninth year of its Study UK Alumni Awards program, now open for applications.

The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of UK alumni in Saudi Arabia as well as across the world.

The awards are open to alumni currently residing in Saudi Arabia who have either studied in the UK, at an officially recognized provider of UK university-degree level programs for a minimum of a term or semester, or who have been awarded a full UK degree-level qualification (or higher) by a UK university through a local institution overseas within the last 15 years.

The call for applications is now open and closes on Oct. 28.

UK university alumni residing in Saudi Arabia can apply for the awards using this link: https://saudiarabia.britishcouncil.org/en/study-uk/alumni-awards-2022-23

Alumni can apply for the Study UK Alumni Awards 2022-23 in four categories that encompass a wide range of experiences and careers and reflect priority international themes: the Science and Sustainability Award, Culture and Creativity Award, Social Action Award, and Business and Innovation Award.

All eligible applicants will be put forward for the national alumni awards in Saudi Arabia and the global alumni awards.

Launching the awards in Saudi Arabia, British Chargé d’Affaires Anna Walters said: “Education is a powerful driver of development and success. I am delighted that Saudi alumni are using their UK university education to deliver economic success and social impact through their work in Saudi Arabia.

“The UK’s Alumni Awards recognize their outstanding talent and contribution. Today, I am pleased to launch the 2022/23 Study UK Alumni Awards. We encourage applications from any Saudis — women and men — who are UK university alumni and have made a notable contribution in their field.

“Each year, we receive an excellent field of applications. We are excited to see who will come forward this year, and look forward to celebrating their outstanding achievements.”

Eilidh Kennedy McLean, country director of the British Council in Saudi Arabia, said: “The awards winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, industries and countries.”

The finalists and winners of the global alumni awards will be announced in 2022 and celebrated in a digital campaign that will raise the profile of their stories and successes.


Saudi National Housing Company signs agreements worth $533M

Saudi National Housing Company signs agreements worth $533M
Updated 27 min 30 sec ago

Saudi National Housing Company signs agreements worth $533M

Saudi National Housing Company signs agreements worth $533M
  • NHC’s work in line with Vision 2030’s objective of increasing Saudi family residential ownership to 70%

RIYADH: The National Housing Company signed nine agreements totalling SR2 billion ($533 million) with a number of national strategic partners on the sidelines of the Distinguished Cities Projects Exhibition in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The agreements with national partners aim to provide project management services, engineering supervision, design work implementation, housing unit construction, and evaluation services.

Furthermore, the agreements make it easier to manage the printing environment and control consumption, as well as ensure the quality of infrastructure, improve operational sustainability and develop projects.

Earlier this month, the National Housing Company signed an agreement to finance and develop a portfolio of projects worth more than SR40 billion ($10 billion), which will result in the construction of more than 150,000 housing units in 11 cities across Saudi Arabia.

The company, founded in 2016, is the investment arm of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing’s initiatives and programs in the real estate, residential, and commercial sectors.

It aims to increase real estate supply with a variety of housing options, in line with Vision 2030’s objective of increasing Saudi family residential ownership to 70 percent.

 


Saudi minister of culture meets with Mexican counterpart

Saudi minister of culture meets with Mexican counterpart
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi minister of culture meets with Mexican counterpart

Saudi minister of culture meets with Mexican counterpart
  • Meeting saw signing of memorandum of understanding between two sides to strengthen cooperation in cultural fields

RIYADH: Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan met with his Mexican counterpart Alejandra Frausto Guerrero during the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or Mondiacult, in Mexico City, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was also attended by the Saudi ambassador to Mexico, Haytham bin Hassan Al-Malki, the General Supervisor of Cultural Affairs and International Relations Rakan bin Ibrahim Al-Touq, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture for International Cultural Relations Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Kanaan.

During the meeting, Prince Badr thanked Guerrero for hosting the conference.

The meeting saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi and Mexican ministries of culture to strengthen cooperation in a variety of cultural fields, including heritage, museums, visual arts, libraries, performing arts, theater, books and publishing, translation, fashion, and culinary arts.

The MoU also included the exchange of participation in festivals and cultural events, visits between official delegations and experts in various cultural fields, and artistic residency programs between government and private institutions in the two countries, as well as facilitating the process of communication between their respective cultural authorities and intellectuals.

The memorandum included the exchange of participation in festivals and cultural events, visits between official delegations and experts, and artistic residency programs between government and private institutions in the two countries.

The two states will also work together to implement training programs, work sessions, capacity development, and seminars for specialists, intellectuals, and artists.

In addition to exchanging experiences on cultural systems, regulations, and policies, the pair will collaborate on joint strategic projects in a variety of cultural fields.

Looking forwards, Prince Badr and Guerrero discussed areas of cultural cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Mexico, as well as capacity-building in the field of heritage preservation and learning from Mexico’s experiences in this regard.


Taste of home: Coffee is now Saudis’ cup of tea

Taste of home: Coffee is now Saudis’ cup of tea
Updated 29 September 2022

Taste of home: Coffee is now Saudis’ cup of tea

Taste of home: Coffee is now Saudis’ cup of tea
  • Brew brings families and friends together in times of joy and grief

RIYADH: Roasted cardamom, cloves and saffron brewed together with lightly roasted coffee, served in a dallah (traditional coffee pot) and poured into finjals (small round cups). That is the coffee table setting of many families, bringing together generations throughout the Kingdom.

From the near-intoxicating aroma of the spices to the traditional serveware, Saudi coffee goes beyond a drink — it is a celebration of the Kingdom’s culture and heritage.

“Saudi coffee is not just a drink; it’s a part of our family traditions and values,” Noura bin Mohammed told Arab News.

“A family gathering is not a true gathering without two things: Saudi coffee and dates.”

Bin Mohammed, 22, is studying in the US, and says that, being away from home, the beverage is even more special.

“When I make Saudi coffee, the entire room smells like home, like my mom’s kitchen — the feeling is not the same with tea or espresso,” she said.

“It’s a part of our family memories.”

Saudi coffee is a celebration of the Kingdom’s culture and heritage. (Supplied)


Every Friday, her family would gather to share coffee, sweets and laughter — a ritual she misses while she is away from home.

Bin Mohammed is not alone, however, with several other Saudi students at her university yearning for the same familiar comfort.

So she established a weekly gathering with her fellow Saudi students who share a cup — or dallah — of Saudi coffee and sweets.

“I invite some of the girls over and we make coffee; everyone brings a sweet, and we just laugh and talk about the week we have had,” she said.

“It’s a nice feeling knowing I’m in Houston and my family is in Riyadh, but every Friday we’re both drinking Saudi coffee, and talking and laughing.”

Would the feeling be different if the group gathered over tea or American coffee? The gathering simply would not be complete without Saudi coffee, bin Mohammed said.

“If the ladies sat down to find American coffee in front of them, they would have jokingly asked me if I had run out of saffron or cardamom for the coffee,” she said.

Saudi coffee is customary at weddings and family celebrations in the Kingdom. (Supplied)


A small cup of coffee carries decades of history laced with love, hospitality and generosity, uniting and comforting family and friends in times of celebration and grief.

Renad Khashoggi who lives in Jeddah with her family, has Saudi coffee whenever she visits a friend’s home “because it is a traditional way of hospitality in Saudi Arabia.”

Although the drink is customary at weddings and family gatherings, it is also served at funerals, Khashoggi said.

Unlike regular tea or coffee, Saudi coffee is tied to family rituals that represent the cultural identity of the Kingdom. It is common in Saudi culture for families and friends to visit each other’s homes frequently and spend time chatting.

Over time, these gatherings have been characterized by the presence of Saudi coffee, which itself has become symbolic of the hospitality and generosity synonymous with Saudi culture.

However, while Saudi coffee’s presence is pervasive across the Kingdom, its taste is not.

“What makes it a unique experience is when we have various types of Saudi coffee from different regions,” said Jeddah resident Momena Alamoudi.

Saudi coffee is a celebration of the Kingdom’s culture and heritage. (Supplied)


Variations in beans and brewing methods have allowed Alamoudi and her friends to explore different methods and flavors.

“Actually, I’m not a coffeeholic or addicted to drinking coffee,” said Alamoudi, who only has Saudi coffee during weekend gatherings with friends and family.

That shows the drink’s purpose is not simply to deliver a “caffeine hit,” but rather allow the drinker to savor the taste, sip by sip, while spending time with their loved ones.

As Alamoudi puts it: “Saudi coffee must be there on all occasions and parties.”

The sentiment also rings true for Jeddah resident Noor Alnahdi, who associates iftars in Ramadan with the heady aroma and taste of Saudi coffee.

“We must have Saudi coffee with dates to break our fast,” she said.

Unlike any other kind of coffee or beverage, Saudi coffee comes with a sense of heritage.

A Cup of Gahwa
The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee
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Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee
Updated 29 September 2022

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

Arab News celebrates International Coffee Day with deep dive into tastes and traditions of Saudi Coffee

A Cup of Gahwa
The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee
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LONDON: Arab News launched its latest deep dive, “A cup of Gahwa: The taste and traditions of Saudi coffee,” celebrating the Year of Saudi Coffee ahead of International Coffee Day this Saturday.

The long-form, interactive feature delves into the culture and heritage of Saudi coffee as it explores the home of Jazan’s green gold — the Khawlani bean.

Arab News partnered with Jabaliyah, the first coffee brand to originate exclusively in the Kingdom, on the deep dive and a limited edition coffee box.

“As Arab News celebrates the Year of Saudi Coffee, it’s our pleasure to partner with Jabaliyah, a speciality Saudi coffee company. Always supporting talented local business, Jabaliyah has produced delightful smooth Saudi coffee, which we are proud to partner with,” Arab News Assistant Editor-in-Chief Noor Nugali said.

Reporters traveled to Jabaliyah’s headquarters in Jazan to speak to the company’s co-founder and learn how the Khawlani bean goes from the tree to the brew.

“Arab News has been a key supporter of local authentic innovation and local startups from the get-go. We have been privileged at Jabaliyah to have had this support from them since the early days of our launch three years ago, and they continue to celebrate our endeavor as a true local content venture,” Ali Al-Sheneamer, co-founder of Jabaliyah, said.

For centuries, coffee has played a central role in the social life of Saudis. It is nothing less than a national symbol of identity, hospitality and generosity, and the focus of gatherings formal and informal, from the tents of the Bedouin of old in the deserts of Najd, to the stylish new cafes in the Kingdom’s cities.

But what some might not appreciate, even as 2022 is celebrated in the Kingdom as the Year of Saudi Coffee, is that when it comes to the planet’s most popular drink, the whole world owes a debt of gratitude to Saudi Arabia — the Khawlani bean.

Today, coffee is most closely associated with countries such as Brazil and Colombia.

But the potential of the coffee tree, which grows wild only in Ethiopia, was first recognized and developed by Arabs, as far back as the 14th century.

As William Ukers, editor of the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal in New York, wrote in “All About Coffee,” his exhaustive 1922 study: “The Arabians must be given the credit for discovering and promoting the use of the beverage, and also for promoting the propagation of the plant, even if they found it in Abyssinia (Ethiopia).”

Hundreds of years ago, discovering that the plant Coffea arabica thrived in the climate of the lush mountains of the land that would become Saudi Arabia, they brought it across the Red Sea to the Arabian Peninsula.

There, they successfully cultivated it on terraces cut into the flanks of the Sarawat Mountains, perfecting the art of roasting and brewing the seeds of its fruit to make the drink the world would come to know and love.

Not for nothing is the Khawlani coffee bean known in Saudi Arabia as “the green gold of Jazan.”

The bean, and the knowledge and practices related to cultivating it, occupies such a central role in the heritage and traditional social rituals of Saudi Arabia that it is now being considered for inclusion on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to the document submitted to UNESCO by the Ministry of Culture, the Khawlani bean is named for Khawlan bin Amir, a common ancestor of the coffee-growing tribes that live in the mountains of Jazan province

“During the harvest season,” the document says, “farmers break the monotony of the work by singing poem verses. One person sings and the group repeats after to create a harmonic rhythm as they pick coffee beans.

“Men and women both roast then grind the beans used to prepare coffee.”

Importantly, the skills are handed down from generation to generation: “Families encourage youngsters to work in the lands, starting with minor tasks, until they develop the skills and know-how needed to cultivate coffee trees and the processing of the coffee beans.”

Coffee, adds the UNESCO document, “is a symbol of generosity in Saudi Arabia,” and the tribes of Khawlani personify this “through their dedication and their passion for this practice.”

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