JEDDAH: In the presence of President of Senegal Macky Sall and head of the Islamic Development Bank Dr. Mohammed Al-Jasser, the Dakar Regional Express Train was inaugurated in the capital Dakar on Sunday.
The scheme is a massive project jointly funded by the IDB and the governments of Senegal and France. The IDB, however, is the sole donor to commit to both phases of the project.
Running at a speed of 160 kph, the train will travel from Dakar city center to Diamniadio in 20 minutes, transporting around 115,000 passengers daily.
This project is the first express train in Sub-Saharan Africa and will play a key role in addressing traffic and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the capital.
Dakar, which is home to 3 million people, hosts around 20 percent of Senegal’s population and provides approximately 85 percent of employment opportunities nationwide.
The IDB offered €300 million ($340 million) for the first phase of the project and plans to invest €100 million in the second phase, which will provide a cost-effective, eco-friendly trip on the 55-km road connecting Dakar city center with Blaise Diagne International Airport in less than 50 minutes.
Top Mawhiba students prepare to represent Saudi Arabia at five international scientific olympiads
Members of physics, chemistry and biology teams are in Hungary for a two-week training program; the math and informatics teams already completed their preparations in the Kingdom
The events, some of which are virtual and some in-person, will take place in July and August in Norway, Indonesia, China, Switzerland and Armenia
Updated 30 June 2022
JEDDAH: Top students from the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, also known as Mawhiba, are preparing to participate in five international scientific olympiads that will be held virtually and in person during July and August.
Two teams of students have already completed their training programs in the Kingdom at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology. They will compete in the International Mathematical Olympiad in Oslo, Norway, from July 6 to 16, and the International Olympiad in Informatics in Indonesia from Aug. 7 to 15. The informatics event involves programming and algorithmic problem-solving challenges.
Meanwhile, 38 male and female members of three other teams arrived in Budapest, Hungary, on Monday to begin intensive two-week training programs at some of the country’s most prestigious universities.
They include 14 students hoping to earn a place on the team that will compete at the International Chemistry Olympiad, which will be hosted by China; 12 students nominated for the team at the International Physics Olympiad 2022, hosted by Switzerland; and 12 trying to claim a place on the team at International Biology Olympiad 2022 in Armenia. The first two events will be virtual and the third in-person, and all three take place between July 10 and 18.
The physics team’s training event is being held at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the biology team’s at the Hungarian Society of Biology, and the chemistry team’s at Eotvos Lorand University. They team members will complete an average of about eight hours a day of lectures and tutoring in their specialist subjects, delivered by experienced, qualified international trainers. The lessons will include practical and theoretical elements, along with training on how to find solutions to advanced scientific problems.
According to Mawhiba, at the end of the training camp the best performers on each team will be selected to represent Saudi Arabia at their respective olympiads.
Amal Al-Hazzaa, the acting secretary general of Mawhiba, told Arab News that the talented students had already completed more than 10,000 hours of training before participating in the preparatory camps.
She added that they have all attained high levels of proficiency and experience to reach the point where they can represent the Kingdom at an international competition.
In the past 10 years, Al-Hazzaa revealed, students from Saudi Arabia have won more than 500 medals and other awards at the olympiads.
“We are hopeful that these students will achieve further successes in the coming five olympiads,” she added.
Success of Jeddah Season was diversity and inclusivity
Jeddah Season had events tailored to almost everyone, including Anime Village for fans of the art and Japanese culture, Jeddah Waves for water sports enthusiasts and cultural shows for art, music and theater lovers
Updated 29 June 2022
JEDDAH: With its wide variety of daily shows, experiences, games, exhibitions and concerts, Jeddah Season was a resounding success, receiving over 5 million visitors from around 68 countries.
More than 36 performances and events were held in the Kingdom for the first time.
Jeddah Season had events tailored to almost everyone, including Anime Village for fans of the art and Japanese culture, Jeddah Waves for water sports enthusiasts and cultural shows for art, music and theater lovers.
Inclusivity was a priority for Jeddah Season’s manager Nawaf Qomosani.
“We know that Jeddah’s people love the water and sea activities, and we also know that they love anime, so that’s why one of the main focuses was to provide international-standard events for these two segments,” he told Arab News.
“Besides that, we also wanted to focus on food and traditional events, and I hope that we covered all kinds of events within this season,” he added.
Qomosani said that organizers faced many challenges on a daily basis to maintain the high quality of events for visitors.
“We wanted to give them the best possible option every day, taking into consideration such factors as the weather and timing. With the great team we have, we overcame these challenges daily,” he said.
Qomosani believes that the City Walk, one of the nine zones, was the highlight of Jeddah Season.
“It had different events that appealed to everyone. You could find events for kids, adults, anime lovers, music lovers. I think that’s the perfect kind of zone that everyone wishes for,” he said.
Some zones such as Luna, Jeddah Superdome, Layalina Theatre, the Yacht Club, and Prince Majid Park will continue to operate after the season ends and until the end of the year.
It is currently being discussed whether to extend the operation of zones Jeddah Waves and Jeddah June until the end of the year.
In line with Vision 2030, Jeddah Season provided scores of economic and employment opportunities to more than 74,000 people, of which 80 percent were Saudis, in 14 different professional fields.
City Walk earns reputation as Jeddah Season’s best entertainment zone
Audiences indulged in VR games, anime, costume contests and concerts
Updated 29 June 2022
JEDDAH: City Walk, one of the nine zones of Jeddah Season, concluded its activities today.
Designed with unparalleled imagination, the nine sub-zones of City Walk — Entry Village, Food Hall, Fashion Village, Splash, Horror Village, Jeddah Live, Adventure, X-reality, and Anime Village — gave every visitor a fully integrated experience.
Audiences indulged in a wide array of events, some of which had never before been seen in the Kingdom.
Alex Morgan-George, project manager of the X-reality games zone, said: “The X-reality was one of the most visited areas in City Walk. It is a place where reality meets the imagination.
“We had brought in a little extra dimension of reality to the gaming sector, where the visitors get to feel the impact of the games with body suits. It was open to everyone — whether children, young people or adults — to experience and enjoy VR. Since many people in Saudi Arabia love gaming, we are aiming in future to have lot more attractions and double in size.”
The X-reality zone consisted of four fully-immersive options: “Spree” offering family-friendly virtual reality entertainment, “Hologate Blitz,” consisting of futuristic themed games, “Hologate Arena,” a free roam VR area with different games option, and the “Tesla Suit” experience that used a VR headset to provide a startling simulation of the world through the senses of hearing, seeing and touching.
Ahmed Alattas, the senior rides mechanical engineer of Sela Co., said: “We managed to build a unique ride in Saudi Arabia especially for the City Walk called ‘Big Wave’ which included a huge amount of waves and an experience never felt before.
“There were many challenges due to Jeddah’s weather conditions, but we overcame all trials and created the most amazing rides both in City Walk and Jeddah Pier. Visitors had an opportunity to enjoy the most hair-raising and thrilling rides.”
The last few days of City Walk featured several unique activities and events. Performing for the first time in the Middle East, famous Japanese pop singer and lyricist Aimer enthralled the Saudi audience.
Japanese culture was also appreciated through a 100-person costume contest, and the zone’s Anime Therapy Awards at the Anime Village.
The last day of City Walk witnessed a graduation themed party, where visitors had the opportunity to dress up as university graduates, featuring a parade.
Saudi national Mohammed Ali, 32, said: “I especially loved the X-reality. Wearing the ‘Tesla Suit’ was a life-long experience. There was a moment where I could actually feel the punch in my stomach while playing the game, along with the raindrops and other sensory skills.”
Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Alrebdi, acting chief legal counsel for Diriyah Gate Development Authority
Updated 29 June 2022
Abdulrahman Alrebdi has been acting chief legal counsel for Diriyah Gate Development Authority since February, 2022, overseeing department functions for the construction and real estate, corporate advisory, litigation, and risk and compliance departments.
Previously, Alrebdi was associate legal director for a month and legal manager from 2020 to 2021 at the DGDA. In his role as a legal manager, he was responsible for leading the corporate advisory division, which managed transactions, corporate contracts, corporate advisory and regulatory support.
As a legal and regulation adviser, he led the establishment of the contracts and transactions department by drafting seven contract templates, which included the construction contract, design and build contract and professional services agreement.
Before that, he was the project manager at Saudi Grains Organization in 2018. Alrebdi was part of the consultancy team that developed the organizational structure and the organization’s manual. Alrebdi was also a part-time consultant for the Ministry of Justice in 2017.
He was a law faculty member at the Institute of Public Administration from 2011 to 2018 and led a team that drafted the governance regulations for the Public Pension Agency. These regulations include the board’s charter, delegation policy and investment policy.
Alrebdi took part in public policy consultations and studies for government entities, including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor and Social Services, and Ministry of Civil Service.
Alrebdi completed the leadership in the corporate counsel program at Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2021.
He received a master’s degree in law with a focus on government contracts in 2014 from Ohio State University, Columbus, and gained a bachelor’s degree in law from King Abdulaziz University in 2010.
Saudi Arabia is allowing up to 1 million people to join the Hajj this year
Updated 29 June 2022
RIYADH: Almost 313,000 pilgrims from around the world had arrived Madinah by Wednesday to perform Hajj, according to official figures.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that 252,140 people had landed at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport since the start of the first Hajj flights, while 60,731 pilgrims had arrived in the city by land.
A total of 221,267 pilgrims had already left Madinah and were on their way to the holy sites in Makkah, while 91,689 were still in the city, it said.
Authorities in Madinah are working around the clock to ensure the best experience for visitors, the ministry said.
Saudi Arabia is allowing up to 1 million people to join the Hajj this year, welcoming foreign pilgrims for the first time in two years after COVID-19 restrictions meant the annual pilgrimage was limited to residents of the Kingdom.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques recently launched its operational plan for this year’s Hajj season. It confirmed its readiness to receive pilgrims, saying it had mobilized 10,000 workers to serve them.