ThePlace: Wadi Al-Asilah in Makkah

Saudi Press Agency
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Saudi Press Agency
ThePlace: Wadi Al-Asilah in Makkah
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Updated 09 May 2022

ThePlace: Wadi Al-Asilah in Makkah

Saudi Press Agency
  • The total number of inscriptions is about 60, including one in the name of Safiyyah bint Shiba bint Uthman, and another in the name of Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Hashim from the first century

Wadi Al-Asilah contains 60 early Islamic inscriptions — material that is highly important in the study of Arabic calligraphy. The Al-Asilah Valley is one of the valleys to the northeast of Makkah. It borders the Grand Mosque from the Al-Ju’ranah side and is located between El-Baroud and Al-Abtah, to the northwest of the ritual sites. It is 2 kilometers wide and 6 kilometers long, and stretches between Rai’ Al-Nuqra and Rai’ Umm Al-Silm.
Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the History Center of Makkah, said that the Al-Asilah region is known as the neighborhood of the descendants of Abdullah bin Khalid bin Usayd, who ruled Makkah during the caliphate of Caliph Uthman bin Affan.
Wadi Al-Asilah is rich in early Islamic inscriptions, especially on the Al-Wajrah Mountains and on Al-Qimmah rock. The former contains three peaks: Al-Wajrah Al-Kabir (The Grand Wajrah), Al-Wajrah Al-Saghir (Little Wajrah) and Abu Sirrah Mountain.
The total number of inscriptions is about 60, including one in the name of Safiyyah bint Shiba bint Uthman, and another in the name of Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Hashim from the first century.
The neighborhood saw keen interest throughout the ages from Muslim caliphs and sultans, as well as rulers of Makkah. They were keen to provide drinking water for pilgrims. The area was located on the path of Iraqi pilgrimage caravans. Wells became clustered near the location of the inscriptions, with small distances of about 200 meters separating them.


Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief provides aid to Yemenis in flood-hit Al-Mahra 

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief provides aid to Yemenis in flood-hit Al-Mahra 
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief provides aid to Yemenis in flood-hit Al-Mahra 

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief provides aid to Yemenis in flood-hit Al-Mahra 
  • KSrelief’s immediate response was a continuation of the Kingdom’s efforts to provide support to Yemenis across several regions in Yemen

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) provided urgent aid to Yemenis in the Al-Mahra Governorate who were affected by recent torrential rainfall and floods, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday. 

At least 50 tents and 50 shelter bags were distributed to 300 people as part of the center’s emergency relief project, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. 

Al-Mahra, as well as other southern and eastern governorates in Yemen, have witnessed heavy rain this month. 

KSrelief’s immediate response was a continuation of the Kingdom’s efforts to provide support to Yemenis across several regions in the country. 

The center has also launched dozens of projects to support Yemen’s health sector and provide medical aid and services to the public. (SPA)

The center has also launched dozens of projects to support Yemen’s health sector and provide medical aid and services to the public.  

In July 3,606 people received medical services provided by KSrelief in the Hiran District in the Hajjah Governorate, the report added.


Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
Updated 20 August 2022

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
  • Agreement targets boost to security sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030, CEO says

RIYADH: The Saudi Quality of Life Program and the General Directorate of Public Security signed an agreement on Thursday to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all regions.

Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program, told Arab News: "Soon, we are going to open the Unified Security Operations Center in many regions of the Kingdom in accordance with the best international standards and practices (in Quality of Life sector).”

They opened a Unified Security Operations Centers  in Riyadh in 2020.

The agreement comes within the framework of the two initiatives: “Leading Police Station” and “Security Platform Development.” The schemes aim to achieve the security objectives of Vision 2030.

As part of the agreement, the security field will benefit from aspects of modernization, whether through digitization on the “Amn” platform, the establishment of a leading police station in the capital, or the creation of mobile police stations in line with urban expansion in cities across the Kingdom.

The “Amn” portal is a public security electronic gate that provides a bundle of new IT services for relevant authorities, expediting the work of security services.

The agreement was signed in presence of Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program; Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, director of Public Security; and Sultan Al-Mutairi, head of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior.

He praised the ministry’s achievements in security indicators, noting that it reflected positively on quality of life in the Kingdom. Al-Bakr also hailed the success of Unified Security Operations Centers, which he said have led to a “leap in the quality of security services provided to citizens, residents and visitors to the Kingdom.”

Al-Bakr also noted the importance of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior in signing a number of contracts related to the General Directorate of Public Security within the initiatives of the Quality of Life program. The contracts include a number of national private sector companies that will connect security to the quality of life sectors.

“The Saudi Vision 2030 initiatives related to the security sector aim to enhance the capabilities of the sector with a vision that keeps pace with the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in all fields. Within the signed contracts, the ‘Amn’ platform will be developed, a leading police station will be established and mobile police stations will be established to increase the effectiveness of the security sectors,” said Al-Bakr.

“The security sector is a vital sector in the Quality of Life System and Saudi Vision 2030. It is not possible to imagine any improvement and upgrading of the quality of life anywhere in the world without security being stable and the security system keeping pace with developments, and being effective.”


Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
Photos by Jasmine Bager
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
  • It’s hardly been a cakewalk for local ‘Betty Crocker’
  • Some merchants thought she was nutty as a fruitcake

AL-AHSA: When Hanan Al-Anazi was 12, she had an insatiable appetite for creative concoctions in the kitchen. Her favorite pastime was to open up the family pantry and whip up tasty treats using whatever was available.

Her desserts combined “modern” recipes with local ingredients, such as Saudi dates. Her mother dreaded these little experiments because she made such a mess and used up all the sugar and baking powder.

Al-Anazi knew, even then, she wanted to eventually turn that passion into a profession, but like all good dough, this took some patience and time.

Last year, the now 35-year-old, took part in a local date exhibition as a vendor. After working in the business of selling dates for years, she decided to try her luck and asked if she could sell a cake mix she had made, but nobody wanted to bite.

The date merchants who had been in the industry for many decades told her to just leave the dates alone, that her little cake mix wouldn’t likely succeed. Who would buy it, they asked her.

Not easily deterred, she decided to prepare something anyway. She had taken a few culinary courses over the years and learned how to incorporate dates in her sweets. It was her secret ingredient. She thought she’d start with a recipe in the Hasawi date cake style.

Always the innovator, she decided to try handing out free samples. She placed the ingredients in a bag that was designed for coffee and put a sticker on top and wrote “Date Cake.” She made 50 bags herself. When people stopped by her booth at the date exhibition, she handed out her samples to customers and hoped for the best.

At the end of the five-day exhibition, many people came back — they had tried making her mix at home and loved it and asked where they could get more. They were willing to buy it.

She was elated. Hanan ‘Crocker’ — a homage to the fictional character Betty Crocker on the well-known brand — was born. She applied for the necessary work permit, had a logo designed, built a website and got to work.

The dates have always been key.

Born in Riyadh, she moved to Sharqiyah (Eastern Province) when she was six. During those formative years, living with fresh Hasawi dates (from Al-Ahsa) ignited her love for the sweet fruit.

Al-Ahsa was named in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest date palm oasis in the world. In 2021, it broke the Guinness World Record for having the largest date farm.

Al-Anazi tried to take that cultural pride and include it in her products.

The cake mix requires only a few simple ingredients, just like the Betty Crocker products. The difference is, Al-Anazi’s version uses dates in every dish. Even her Cinnamon Rolls recipe uses it in the filling.

“A month after the exhibition date, it was evident that there was a market for my product and I had to get serious. So I decided to build my brand and change the basic packaging — couldn’t continue to use those brown coffee bags forever — and applied for the freelance work certificate and got a permit.

“I used to do everything by hand but now, thank God, I have machines and four people on staff to help me. If it gets overwhelming, I will hire freelancers to assist during the busy season, which is coming up in the winter. It’s still all out of my kitchen in Riyadh,” Al-Anazi told Arab News.

Al-Anazi is working on perfecting several new products and is excited to introduce them into the market soon.

“I started almost exactly one year ago — I remember, it was the Saudi National Day. It was also, coincidentally, the anniversary of the start of my journey, too,” she said.

Al-Anazi’s culinary delights are available in select stores across the Kingdom, as well as on her instagram: @Hanan_Secret222, and can be shipped to anywhere in the country.

 


Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
  • Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center celebrated World Humanitarian Day on Friday.
Since its establishment, the center has aimed to unify government, civil and popular humanitarian and charitable endeavors to help the needy and poor.
In the past seven years, KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries.
Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation.
KSrelief has also formed partnerships and strategic ties with 175 UN-sponsored, global, regional and civil society organizations.
One of its major initiatives, the Masam project, focuses on protecting Yemeni territories from land mines planted by Houthi militias. Since its establishment in 2018, the project has defused more than 353,000 mines.
Meanwhile, as part of its relief work, the center signed an agreement to operate the Specialized Hospital for Ophthalmology in Marib governorate, Yemen, for one year, in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.

 


Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
Updated 19 August 2022

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
  • Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled join gaming festival’s star-studded line-up
  • The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Week six of Gamers8 kicked off with a sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City.
“I was here for Formula E, that was the first time. After that I was here for the PUBG event, and this time I am here for Gamers8,” Walker told Arab News.
“I love traveling and seeing the world, and last time we had a lot more time to go out and explore Riyadh. We had a lot of fun and felt so warmly welcomed that we did not hesitate to come back,” the Norwegian DJ said.
The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom, and he played some of his biggest hits, including “Lily” and “Darkside,” as the audience cheered along.
“Since the first time that I have come here I have always been surprised and didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“When we were here for the first and second time, it was just high energy and great. I just felt the love and passion from the Saudi audience, and I am super happy to be back.”
Walker said that he created a special show for Riyadh. “For today, I have tried to plan more of a different show because I am also preparing for a show I am doing in Norway. I wanted to try out some new stuff and a new way of mixing, keep it high energy.
“I have tried to sneak in some gaming songs and, of course, a lot of my songs are huge within the gaming community, so there are a lot of gaming references.”
Walker highlighted his openness to collaborating with artists from the region to create new music.
“It could be amazing to do a crossover or just, in general, do a collaboration with a Middle Eastern artist because my arms are open to working with anyone and I think it could be incredible,” he said.
Walker ended his interview with some advice for young artists pursuing a career in music.
“What I know and will always say is, find yourself, find what represents you as an artist and not necessarily try to peruse what everybody else is doing. Find your sound, your image and something that will make the fans connect to you,” he said.
Another international artist, Russ, took to the stage in the penultimate performance of the night, singing hits such as “Pull the Trigger,” “What They Want,” and “Entertained.”
Before leaving the stage he thanked the Kingdom for supporting his music.
“Saudi, I just want to say, thank you to all the fans and thank you for all of the love you have shown me.
“You all were really like my first fans seven years ago, you all really changed my life, Saudi Arabia really changed my life, I appreciate all of the love and support.”
He added: “I love you all forever and I am always going to come back to Saudi. Thank you, Riyadh.”
Two 17-year-old friends, Rola Kanafani and Jowelle Al-Salti, attended the concert to see Russ perform.
“We know that he came here before; we want to know why he comes to this country more than other artists,” Al-Salti said.
“I feel like it’s a place of respect,” she added.
This was the first concert the two friends have attended as a part of Gamers8.
“We are here to have fun and, hopefully, it is going to be a great time,” Kanafani told Arab News.
Saudi Arabian rapper Jeed blew away the packed NXT LVL crowd at Gamers8 with favorites including “Everything Different” and “Sweet.” A potential new release, “Private,” ended the powerful set.
The Gamers8 festival is bringing international music artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event. Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants. The seventh week of Gamers8 will kick off on Aug. 25 with performances from the Engineers, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ Snake.