Soft-toy prizes help clever players to stuff their bank accounts

Kids holding stuffed banana toys that they won in Boulevard Riyadh city, Majed Al-Malki with his stuffed animals collection. (Supplied)
Kids holding stuffed banana toys that they won in Boulevard Riyadh city, Majed Al-Malki with his stuffed animals collection. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 January 2022

Soft-toy prizes help clever players to stuff their bank accounts

Kids holding stuffed banana toys that they won in Boulevard Riyadh city, Majed Al-Malki with his stuffed animals collection. (Supplied)
  • Cuddly animals that can be won at stalls during Riyadh Season are proving so popular that some people are making big money selling their prizes online

RIYADH: If you have visited one of Riyadh Season’s zones, such as Boulevard Riyadh City, Winter Wonderland or Combat Field, you might have spotted a lot of young people clutching stuffed animals or banana-shaped soft toys — and it is not only among children that they are proving popular.

The cuddly toys are prizes that can be won by playing games at stalls set up in the zones. You have to pay to play, of course, but some savvy individuals have realized that there is a profit to made by selling their prizes online.

Majed Al-Malki, for example, is 19 years old and has won more than 50 of the toys so far during Riyadh Season.

“When I started winning stuffed toys, I did not expect people to ask me to sell them, and they are offering thousands of Saudi Riyals for them,” he told Arab news.

People love to collect the soft toys for a number of reasons, he said, whether it is to to decorate their homes, show off their skills at the games that award them as prizes, or simply to build a collection.

“When you are carrying a big toy, it is like you are driving an expensive car,” Al-Malki said. “People immediately want to talk to you and want to buy the toy from you.”

He said that someone had offered a friend of his about SR4,000 ($1,066) for his prize but the owner refused to sell it because it was the first toy he had won.

Al-Malki said he got into the business of selling the toys he won after a stall owner asked him to play for free to promote the stall and its game of skill, which involved throwing a ball.

“On the first day, when I played for free, I couldn’t win anything but on the second day I came and paid SR160 and I won a stuffed tiger,” he said. “After that, I knew how to throw the ball in the cones.

“Instantly, someone stopped me and offered me SR800 to sell it — and I did. I continued to come daily and win every day. I had about 50 models of various stuffed toys.

“The supervisors were watching me at Winterland because they believed that I was cheating due to the many times I have won in these games. Still, after they made sure that everything was legal, they encouraged me to continue.”

Some prizes are more valuable than other, Al-Malki said. For example, the banana toys are common prizes and so there is not much profit to be made from them, unlike the large stuffed animals.

“Bananas are easy to win but there is high demand for the panda, the tiger and the dragon,” he explained. “I sold a tiger for SR1,400.”

Not everyone is tempted by the chance to make a quick profit from the prizes. Tala bin Qassim, a 20-year-old college student, said that she was stopped by many people who begged her to sell a stuffed toy she had won but she refused.

“I won a giant red dragon from one of the kiosks in Boulevard Riyadh City last week,” she said. “Five people stopped me that day, wanting me to sell the dragon.

“The game cost me only SR50 and one guy offered me SR500, yet I still refused to sell as I wanted to give it to my 2-year-old nephew.”

Al-Malki sells his prizes online through a bedding website and is turning a tidy profit but does not expect the trend, or his new business, to last long.

“I think this trend of collecting toys is seasonal and will end by the end of Riyadh season,” he said.

Riyadh Season began on Oct. 20 and continues until March under the slogan #Imagine_More.


UK’s King’s College Hospital starts work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts  work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia
Updated 6 sec ago

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia

UK’s King’s College Hospital starts  work on medical facility in Saudi Arabia
  • The Jeddah hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds in its first phase and be staffed by more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from the UK and Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: King’s College Hospital in London announced that construction has begun on a world-class medical facility in Jeddah, in partnership with Ashmore Group and Saudi Bugshan Group.

The new hospital, set to open in 2023, will be the first in Saudi Arabia fully integrated with King’s College facilities in the UK, where it has 178 years of healthcare knowledge, experience and expertise.

“We are delighted that King’s, in partnership with Ashmore, is expanding its footprint to Saudi Arabia, following on from the success of our hospital and clinics in the UAE,” said Hugh Taylor, chairman of the hospital in London.

“King’s College Hospital has a long history of providing outstanding patient care in London, and as part of our strong roots and global reach strategy we remain committed to delivering outstanding care for patients in Saudi Arabia.”

The Jeddah hospital will have a capacity of 150 beds in its first phase and be staffed by more than 1,000 healthcare professionals from the UK and Saudi Arabia. It will benefit from knowledge sharing with King’s research centers in the UK.

Afnan Abdulfattah, who earned a doctorate in orthodontics from King’s College Dental Institute, told Arab News: “This makes me, first of all, excited and proud that one of the top, leading colleges has chosen to base one of its hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

“This will be very beneficial for the future of medical education in Saudi Arabia, where students will have a chance to benefit from the world’s top doctors, top facilities and the competencies of their own country, serving their country, serving nationals of Saudi Arabia and also residents of Saudi Arabia. It will enhance the field of medicine.”

The hospital’s authorities said it will use clinical innovation and smart technologies to provide treatments. More than 40 medical and surgical specialists occupying six specialized clinical floors will focus on women’s health, metabolic disease, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, and heart and vascular conditions.

King’s College in London, which is part of Britain’s National Health Service, has a long history of treating patients with complex conditions. It has more than 13,000 staff and treats more than a million patients each year. It is considered one of the country’s busiest hospitals and is also one of the largest teaching hospitals in London.

Its hospital in Jeddah will be the first in Saudi Arabia to partner with the UK’s NHS. In 2011, King’s College signed a collaboration agreement with King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh to provide education and training for nurses.

It also signed a partnership agreement with the Royal Commission for Riyadh City to open a school in the capital, which welcomed its first students, between the ages of three and eight, in August last year. The agreement includes education from kindergarten level through to high school. Students will benefit from the resources of an institution with 140 years of educational expertise and knowledge.

 


Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations
Updated 4 min 39 sec ago

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations

Quarantine violators to face prison, fines, deportations
  • Saudi Health Ministry reports 4,738 new infections, critical cases reach 825

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced that citizens who breach COVID-19 quarantine rules could face up to two years in prison and fines of SR200,000 ($53,330).

The announcement, made by the Ministry of Interior, added that expatriates violating the rules will be deported from the country and permanently banned from returning to the Kingdom, where approximately 10 million foreigners are living or working.

The strict measures come as part of the Saudi authorities’ policies to curb the spread of the virus.

The announcement also stressed that penalties would be doubled for those who have previously broken the rules.

Saudi Arabia confirmed 4,738 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 670,997.

Of the new cases, 1,559 were recorded in Riyadh, 573 in Jeddah, 189 in Dammam, 172 in Hofuf, 156 in Makkah, and 114 in Jazan.

Several other cities recorded fewer than 100 new cases each.

Health authorities also confirmed two new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,929.

The Ministry of Health said that of the current cases, 825 remain in critical condition.

It added that 4,973 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 622,087.

More than 56.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with more than 23.6 million people fully vaccinated.

The ministry, which has 587 vaccine centers throughout the Kingdom, urged people who have not yet received a jab to register to receive one through its Sehhaty app.

Meanwhile, testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.


Saudi authorities arrest 5 people in Jeddah for smuggling amphetamine, other illegal pills

Saudi authorities arrest 5 people in Jeddah for smuggling amphetamine, other illegal pills
Updated 27 January 2022

Saudi authorities arrest 5 people in Jeddah for smuggling amphetamine, other illegal pills

Saudi authorities arrest 5 people in Jeddah for smuggling amphetamine, other illegal pills

RIYADH: Authorities arrested five people for attempting to distribute a large quantity of amphetamine pills and other tablets in western Saudi Arabia.
Maj. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi, spokesman of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, said the arrests occurred during security monitoring of smuggling and drug promotion networks targeting the security of the Kingdom.
Al-Nujaidi said authorities arrested four citizens and a Somai national violating the border security system, and seized 829 amphetamine tablets, other illegal pills and tablets subject to medical regulation, after they appeared in a video clip riding in vehicles without license plates in a neighborhood in Jeddah.
He add that initial legal measures have been taken against the two citizens, and they have been referred them to the Public Prosecution.


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Iraqi, Cypriot counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Iraqi, Cypriot counterparts
Updated 27 January 2022

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Iraqi, Cypriot counterparts

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses relations with Iraqi, Cypriot counterparts
  • Prince Faisal reviewed ways to develop Saudi-Iraqi ties
  • He congratulated his Cypriot counterpart on assuming his duties as foreign minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan made a phone call to his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein to discuss aspects of Saudi-Iraqi relations, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
During the call, they also discussed ways to support and enhance ties to serve the interests of the two countries, and strengthening joint bilateral coordination to protect regional stability and preserve international peace and security.
They also exchanged views on many regional and international developments, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Prince Faisal received a phone call from his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, where he congratulated him on assuming his duties as foreign minister and said he looked forward to working with him in strengthening relations between the two countries.
Kasoulides said his country condemned the repapeted cross-border attacks carried out by Yemen’s Houthi militia against the Kingdom’s territory.
During the call, the two ministers discussed bilateral relations and efforts to enhance cooperation and coordination in various fields, as well as regional and international issues of common interest. 


King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve gets 100,000 new trees

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve gets 100,000 new trees
Updated 27 January 2022

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve gets 100,000 new trees

King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve gets 100,000 new trees
  • Afforestation project at Rawdat Tinhat oasis is part of a goal to plant 5 million seedlings by 2025
  • Reserve was established in 2018 to preserve vulnerable and endangered plant and animal species

RIYADH: A major afforestation project is underway in Rawdat Tinhat, with 100,000 trees planted in the first phase alone.

The scheme is being handled by the Cooperative Society of Moringa and Desert Plants after being approved by the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification and the King Abdulaziz Royal Reserve.

The reserve’s CEO Maher Al-Gothmi told Arab News that the aim was to plant 5 million trees by 2025.

Rawdat Tinhat is one of the largest green oases in the Arabian Peninsula into which several valleys flow. Located about 180 km north of Riyadh, within the royal reserve, it is home to many tree and plant species, including acacias and daisies.

The afforestation project is one of several agreed by the center with environmental associations to plant trees and shrubs in parks, valleys and other areas in the Riyadh, Qassim and Hail regions.

The projects reflect the center’s efforts to support nonprofit organizations and community partnerships, and align with its aim to increase green areas and reduce desertification, leading to sustainable development and improving quality of life as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

The reserve is working with the Special Forces for Environmental Security and other groups to plant 500,000 seedlings in seven stages that will be irrigated using the water harvesting method. The 100,000 seedlings planted in the first phase included ghaf, talh, al-rimth and al-arfaj.

The royal reserve was established in 2018 to preserve vulnerable and endangered plant and animal species, and provide access to the environment and natural resources. It encompasses Al-Tanhat, Al-Khafs and Noura parks, as well as parts of the Al-Summan plateau and the Al-Dahna desert, and covers about 28,000 sq. km.

Al-Gothmi said the reserve was working to increase vegetation cover and reduce desertification through various initiatives, including the use of drones to disperse 300,000 seeds of the wild sidr plant as part of the “Let’s make it green” campaign.

Ibrahim Arif, an environmental expert and former professor of forest sciences at King Saud University, said that one of the most important factors in the afforestation process was maintenance.

As well as having a specialist team to undertake the planting work it was vital to implement a maintenance program to ensure the success of the afforestation process, he said.

A successful afforestation project was an investment that could provide not only a food source for wild animals, but also opportunities for beekeeping and other activities of economic value, he added.

Arif emphasized the importance of planting seedlings, rather than more developed trees, as they had more time to adapt to their new environment and could cope better with temperature changes.