Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park
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A visitor playing with a Parakeet Parrot in the Birds Garden, Riyadh. (Arab News)
Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park
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Three Yellow-Crested Cockatoo parrots in Birds Garden Riyadh. (Arab News)
Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park
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Scarlet Macaw Parrot in the Birds Garden, At AL-Salam Tree zone, in Riyadh. (Arab News)
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Updated 05 December 2021

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

Visitors flocking to rare bird collection in Riyadh’s Salam Park

RIYADH: Visitors are flocking to Salam Park’s bird garden, part of Riyadh Season’s 14 zones, where colorful exotic parrots have found a new home.

The zone, which opened on Nov. 19, has been well received by visitors, with thousands of people marveling at the winged creatures on display.

Visitors can find more than 50 different bird species in the garden, including scarlet macaws, cockatiel, white peacocks, cockatoos, pionus parrots and many more.

The owner of the garden, Ahmed Khoja, has raised and trained birds for 15 years. He told Arab News that he transformed his hobby into a business in 2016.

“We witnessed a great turnout from visitors and everyone was pleased with the efforts that we are putting in. The turnout is now huge as we get about 700 to 1000 visitors per day,” Khoja said.

“The popularity in Riyadh Season is more than expected. We have 80 to 100 visitors every 15 minutes and 100 to 300 people waiting in line to enter the garden, which is very surprising,” he added.

Mohammed Awaji, a 13-year-old parrot trainer, used the opportunity to take part in Riyadh Season and hone the skills he has developed for more than two years.

“A lot of visitors here are passionate about parrots, and I feel like this place is perfect for people with this kind of hobby. We are striving to raise more awareness about animal culture. So far, visitors are conscious and committed to precautions,” Awaj said.

He added that some of the parrot species are exotic and rare and that within Saudi Arabia, Salam Park is the only place where they can be viewed.

“Sitting on my shoulder, we have a cacatua moluccensis, one of the rarest parrots. Its price is estimated between $50,000 and $150,000. This bird is native to Indonesia,” Awaji said, describing the trained salmon-crested cockatoo perched on his shoulder.

When people enter the bird garden, they arrive among a variety of visitors, including locals, foreigners, children and people with disabilities.

Sultan Al-Otaibi, a visitor with down’s syndrome, told Arab News how excited and happy he was to touch and play with birds, and said that people with the condition are particularly fond of animals.

“The birds are so colorful and beautiful, especially the red ones, and the place is amazing. I touched all the birds. Without fear, I placed them on my arm. I want to come every day,” he added.

Manar Mohammed, a Saudi visitor, told Arab News that it was her first time seeing many of the birds within the Kingdom.

“My three-year-old daughter had so much fun here because she loves animals, and this kind of activity was much needed in Riyadh Season. The bird collection is enormous, and most of them look different to what we are used to seeing,” she said.

Mary Jane, a visitor from the Philippines, told Arab News that the Riyadh Season far exceeded her expectations and helped her feel less homesick after she reconnected with some of the native fauna of her homeland.

“I couldn’t imagine how beautiful it is. Riyadh Season met the expectations of their slogan, ‘Imagine More!’ It’s the first time I’ve seen these birds for a long time. It was nice to find this kind of activity in our second home, Saudi Arabia,” Jane said.

The garden is one of the activities included in the Salam Tree zone. Salam Tree, which means the tree of peace, is included among the free zones as part of Riyadh Season in 2021. Visitors can book tickets from Riyadh Season’s website to visit the garden.

 


Kingdom signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research

Kingdom signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research
Updated 7 sec ago

Kingdom signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research

Kingdom signs deal with Sanofi on diabetes research
  • This collaboration will include research and development initiatives in the field of diabetes in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with French healthcare company Sanofi to collaborate on research and development initiatives in the field of diabetes in the Kingdom.

Dr. Suleiman Al-Shehri, director general of Saudi Diabetes Center, which represented the council, said: “This collaboration will serve as a great impetus in offering efficient healthcare initiatives to develop the ecosystem of diabetes management in the country.

“Sanofi and SHC will collaborate on building the nucleus of scientific research and generating local data supported by a comprehensive diabetes research network. 


Coalition not responsible for alleged Yemen airstrike violations: JIAT

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 44 sec ago

Coalition not responsible for alleged Yemen airstrike violations: JIAT

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour. (Supplied)
  • JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that an investigation concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition were “proper and safe”

RIYADH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen found that the Arab military coalition was not responsible for alleged human rights violations in several airstrikes conducted in recent years.

It responded on Wednesday to four claims that were reported by media and rights groups surrounding the coalition’s alleged operational misconduct in the conflict.

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that an investigation concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition were “proper and safe,” and took into consideration the rules of engagement and international humanitarian law.

The first claim surrounded an alleged attack on a sanitation facility in Zabid district that occurred between July 26-28, 2018.

On July 26 that year, coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the Zabid district in Al Hudaydah province, Al-Mansour said, adding that the closest air mission to the location of the attack on that day was on a military target in the Bajil district, 88 kilometers from Zabid.

The JIAT spokesman said that a day later on July 27, coalition forces also did not carry out any air missions in Zabid. The closest air mission to the location of the attack that day was on a military target in Al-Tuhayta district, 15 kilometers from Zabid.

The JIAT specialists found that the airstrikes conducted over those three days — all outside Zabid — had hit their intended targets. As a result, the JIAT concluded that coalition forces did not target the sanitation facility in Zabid on those dates.

The coalition was also accused of targeting a navigation tower at Sanaa Airport on November 14, 2017.

The JIAT examined the incident and reviewed all relevant documents, including procedures and rules of engagement, daily mission schedules, after-mission reports, mission video recordings, satellite images, and provisions and principles of international humanitarian law.

The joint team found the following:

Sanaa airport is divided into a civilian section on the eastern side of the runway and a military part on the western side, where Al-Dailami Airbase is. Coalition forces received intelligence regarding the electronic capabilities of the Houthi militia in several locations, including a radar at Al-Dailami Airbase that was used to track coalition aircraft for the purpose of engaging them with air defense systems.

Reconnaissance reports confirmed the existence of a radar site at the airbase.

At 8:00 a.m. on November 14, 2017, coalition forces carried out an air mission on a legitimate military target — the radar located at Al-Dailami Airbase.

Coalition forces took all feasible precautions to avoid inflicting casualties or incidental damage to civilians and civilian objects during the planning and execution of the military operation. It did so by deploying a single guided bomb proportional to the size of the military target, with a successful direct hit.

Al-Mansour added that the coalition’s actions were in line with the Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law.

The JIAT said that coalition forces did not target the commercial navigation tower in question and validated the measures taken by personnel in dealing with the legitimate military target.

Al-Mansour discussed another case dating back to 2015, where children were allegedly bombed by coalition warplanes in the Ahmadiyya neighborhood in the Khor Maksar district of Aden.

The joint team found that coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the Khor Maksar district, with the closest target being a military site in Lahj, 18.5 kilometers away from the site in question.

The JIAT visited the site to inspect the location of the attack in the Ahmadiyya neighborhood, but found no evidence of damage resulting from an airstrike.

The JIAT also conducted thorough investigations into claims made on Jan. 28, 2021, by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator concerning alleged civilian casualties and damage to homes and farms in Hays and Al-Durayhimi from Jan. 20-27 last year.

Hays and Al-Durayhimi, located in Al-Hudaydah, are 63 kilometers apart.

The joint team found that coalition forces did not carry out any air missions in the entirety of Al-Hudaydah during this period, concluding that it could not be held responsible for civilian casualties and damage to homes and farms in the two districts.


K-pop concert at Riyadh Season canceled, tickets to be refunded

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
Updated 19 January 2022

K-pop concert at Riyadh Season canceled, tickets to be refunded

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety. (SPA/Reuters/File Photos)
  • Riyadh Season added that they are “committed to providing entertainment” and promised to bring the artists back to the Kingdom soon

RIYADH: A K-Pop concert featuring Stray Kids and Chungha in Riyadh has officially been canceled, with tickets for the mega musical event being refunded, Riyadh Season organizers said Wednesday.

In an official statement shared on its Twitter page, the festival said: “The 2021 Riyadh Season Chungha and Stray Kids show on Jan. 14 was regrettably canceled due to a sandstorm and extreme weather conditions. Your safety is always our priority. Tickets from the show will be refunded automatically to your wallet on the ticketing platform.”

Riyadh Season added that they are “committed to providing entertainment” and promised to bring the artists back to the Kingdom soon.

For inquiries, they shared a telephone number, 8002444010, and an email address to contact: [email protected]

The statement added: “K-pop fans, we hear you. We are fully committed and in discussion to bring the best K-pop to Saudi Arabia in the future. Stay tuned for more news!”

Lamar Jameel, a 16-year-old K-pop fan who came all the way from Tabuk to attend the concert, told Arab News: “I was so disappointed that it got postponed and now canceled. I was looking forward to attending as this was going to be my first time at a concert.

“I love Chungha, and it was going to be her first show in the region. If she had performed, she would have been the first K-pop female performer in Saudi Arabia. I hope she will come back as soon as Riyadh Season is in discussion to bring the artists back.”

A sandstorm caused by high-speed winds and heavy rain in Riyadh last Friday caused many outdoor events at Riyadh Season to close for public safety.

Turki Al-Sheikh, CEO of the General Entertainment Authority and chairman of the Riyadh Season, tweeted that due to the weather conditions in Riyadh, events had to be postponed, including the Stray Kids and Chungha concert.

Event organizers asked fans, who had gathered for the mega event, to evacuate the outdoor arena as “quickly as possible,” citing circumstances out of their control, with the high-speed winds preventing the concert from going ahead.

Riyadh Season tweeted shortly after: “For everyone’s safety, the Stray Kids and Chungha concert has been postponed until further notice due to weather conditions.”

The organizers were not able to say whether the concert would be postponed or canceled completely before Wednesday’s official statement.


Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces
Updated 19 January 2022

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces

Saudi students will attend exams in schools, MoE announces
  • The ministry will allow students who have or are suspected of having COVID-19 to attend online through the electronic platform Madrasati (My School)
  • To aid the smooth transition into in-person teaching, the ministry added that morning assembly will be canceled and students will go directly to their classrooms

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Education has announced that students will attend exams at schools. 

The ministry emphasized the importance of “using school facilities to divide classes for optimization, and prioritize elementary classes.”

According to a guide distributed to educational supervisors and school principals, the ministry said that teachers who cannot come to schools might be exempted from attendance. MoE has also decided to exclude classroom or non-classroom activities that do not guarantee social distancing.

The ministry is stepping up its preparations for “the safe return” of elementary and kindergarten students in all the regions of the Kingdom, starting next Sunday, Jan. 23, after postponing it from October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier last week, Ibtisam Al-Shehri, ministry spokeswoman, said it was important for parents to prepare their children for the return to face-to-face classes.

The ministry will ensure the readiness of schools to receive male and female students in the elementary and kindergarten grades, monitor the maintenance and cleaning of schools, and secure all needs and equipment for school buildings.

They will provide schools with sanitizer and face masks, monitor safety systems and alarms, and ensure that school buses are sanitized.

The ministry stated in the guide that it is keen to organize entry and exit from the school to ensure social distancing by applying health precautions and sanitization of classrooms and school facilities before students enter school premises and after they leave.

The ministry will allow students who have or are suspected of having COVID-19 to attend online through the electronic platform Madrasati (My School). 

The platform, which was launched at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and used by more than 5 million students across the Kingdom, has been praised by the UN in a report highlighting the success of innovative educational models during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MoE said physical attendance will be applied first in remote areas because COVID-19 cases are fewer there.

The MoE will determine the level of school attendance for kindergartens and elementary schools. If the classrooms fail to meet precautions and social distancing measures, the ministry will require the school to adopt a different operational model where the school has to reduce the number of students in classrooms to meet their precautions.

To aid the smooth transition into in-person teaching, the ministry added that morning assembly will be canceled and students will go directly to their classrooms.


Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties
Updated 19 January 2022

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties

Japanese, German envoys meet Shoura Council parliamentary friendship committees, review bilateral ties
  • Headed by its chairman, Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee held a meeting with the Japanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Iwai Fumio
  • The Saudi-German Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by its chairman, Hazza bin Bakr Al-Qahtani, also held a meeting with the German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dieter Lamle

RIYADH: The Saudi Shoura Council’s joint Saudi-Japanese and Saudi-German parliamentary friendship committees held separate meetings with the ambassadors of Japan and Germany in Riyadh recently, discussing ways to strengthen bilateral ties, especially at the parliamentary level.

Headed by its chairman, Osama bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah, the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee held a meeting on Sunday with the Japanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Iwai Fumio, who was accompanied by a number of Japanese Embassy officials.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of enhancing joint bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all fields. The meeting affirmed the existence of many areas that strengthen and develop the relations, most notably at the parliamentary level between the two parliamentary chambers in Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Japanese ambassador praised the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in various fields, stressing the keenness of his country’s government to develop and strengthen bilateral relations and activate mutual visits between the two countries to further enhance cooperation.

After the meeting the envoy tweeted: "I had the honor to meet with members of the Saudi-Japanese Parliamentary Friendship Committee in the esteemed Shoura Council and we exchanged views on the existing relations between our two friendly countries in various fields and ways to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.”

On Sunday, the Saudi-German Parliamentary Friendship Committee, headed by its chairman, Hazza bin Bakr Al-Qahtani, held a meeting with German Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dieter Lamle.

The meeting discussed issues of common interest between the two countries in various fields, including parliamentary cooperation.

The two chairmen also highlighted the role and work mechanism of the Shoura Council and presented an overview of the role played by the council’s various parliamentary friendship committees in strengthening ties with friendly countries at the diplomatic level.