‘Dragon Ball’ characters show off dance moves on Anime Village stage at City Walk in Jeddah

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Updated 17 June 2022

‘Dragon Ball’ characters show off dance moves on Anime Village stage at City Walk in Jeddah

Photo/Supplied
  • Impressed with the Anime Village event space, the performer said: “I thought it was going to be a small pavilion, but when we reached here in the City Walk it turned out to be really big, (it) looks amazing and the buildings are fun”

JEDDAH: Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Master Roshi, Piccolo and other “Dragon Ball” characters showed off their breakdancing moves on stage at the City Walk’s Anime Village on Wednesday.

Team Anime DXB are a group of versatile dancers and performers-turned-cosplayers based in Dubai, UAE.

They performed as different characters from “One Piece”, “Demon Slayer”, “Dragon Ball” and “Naruto” throughout Jeddah Season.

Filipino Carl Dalitan, who performed as Gohan on stage, said performing in Jeddah was delightful because of the character recognition from the audience.

Dalitan was surprised by the roaring reaction of the audience when the group went on stage.

“I didn’t have any idea (there was a huge “Dragon Ball” fanbase in the Kingdom) that’s why we felt surprised and happy that they love ‘Dragon Ball’ and anime,” he told Arab News.

Impressed with the Anime Village event space, the performer said: “I thought it was going to be a small pavilion, but when we reached here in the City Walk it turned out to be really big, (it) looks amazing and the buildings are fun.”

Dalitan highlighted that he enjoyed the audience interaction during their roaming sessions the most. “I liked how they watched our show and especially when we were roaming on the ground,” he said.

“It was very easy for them to catch our attention, they wanted to take photos with us as our characters,” he added.

HIGHLIGHT

Team Anime DXB are a group of versatile dancers and performers-turned-cosplayers based in Dubai, UAE. They performed as different characters from ‘One Piece,’ ‘Demon Slayer.’ ‘Dragon Ball’ and ‘Naruto’ throughout Jeddah Season. The team has previously performed in other Arab and Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt.

British performer Thomas Carre, who played Piccolo, said the Saudi audience was very receptive.  “Which is amazing for us — just to see the love for the characters themselves and us as performers, it’s all we could ask for,” he told Arab News.

“The Saudi audience love all the performances we do, it’s amazing just to see the resonation with them, with us on stage. The more energy you guys give us, the more energy we give back, that’s what we love from all of them,” he added.

Carre said the team was expecting one or two styles of anime events at the City Walk, but were impressed by the wide variety of events.

“Everything that goes on and all the experiences they bring per day — the bands, the artists, the anime creators — it’s amazing what they’ve done to cooperate this for the last three months, it’s amazing,” he said.

Webster Gonzales, from the Philippines, played Master Roshi’s character and said he had fun entertaining the children.

“Performing on stage is really amazing, you can see from the crowd that they are enjoying it, especially the kids screaming,” he said.

“When you enter Anime Village you can feel that you are in Japan, the structure is amazing here,” he added.

Team Anime DXB has previously performed in other Arab and Middle Eastern countries, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt.

Eyad Qasem took his children to attend the event, telling Arab News that this form of entertainment is inclusive for all ages.

“I know ‘Dragon Ball,’ it’s an anime classic. This was so entertaining for me as a grown-up and it is something my kids really enjoyed too; they immediately started jumping and dancing along with the music,” he said.


Pakistan braces for harsh winter as gas shortages loom

Pakistan braces for harsh winter as gas shortages loom
Updated 10 sec ago

Pakistan braces for harsh winter as gas shortages loom

Pakistan braces for harsh winter as gas shortages loom
  • Domestic shortfall predicted as surging LNG prices push Pakistan out of short-term market
  • South Asian nation relies on imports through long-term contracts with Qatar and ENI

KARACHI: Pakistan is bracing for a harsh winter this year amid skyrocketing prices of liquefied natural gas on the global market and record currency depreciation at home.

Analysts are warning of increasing gas outages during peak winter hours as the south Asian country struggles to meet domestic demand.

Pakistan needs 4.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas, with winter demand peaking to around 4.5 bcfd against local production of 3.22 bcfd. The shortfall is bridged through LNG imports.

Pakistan began importing LNG seven years ago. However, the price of the commodity on the international spot, or short-term, market has risen from lows of $2 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in 2020 to highs of $57 in August this year after demand in Europe surged, pushing Islamabad out of the market.

At present, the country relies on imported LNG cargoes through long-term contracts with Qatar and Italian multinational ENI. The agreements allow the country to import about eight cargoes per month, four short of the required 12 to meet the shortfall.

An official from Pakistan LNG Limited, a state-owned entity mandated to import LNG, told Arab News on Tuesday that the country is currently importing long-term cargoes from Qatar and ENI.

With the spot LNG market out of reach, many Pakistani analysts predict shortages will make the coming winter tough for domestic gas consumers.

Pakistan imported its last LNG cargo from Qatar at $17 per mmBtu under a long-term supply agreement.

“Normally the demand in winter increases by around 1 bcfd,” Farhan Mahmood, head of research at Sherman Securities, told Arab News. “As this year Pakistan is unlikely to secure cargoes from the spot market, it is expected that shortfall and load shedding of gas will be higher than last year.”

He added: “With LNG prices currently hovering around $38 per mmBtu and the Pakistani rupee trading at historic lows amid depleting forex reserves, the government may not venture to import costly gas, rather it would prefer to save dollars.”

PLL did not receive any bid in response to a tender floated in July 2022 to import 10 cargoes of LNG.

Pakistan’s woes were compounded after Russia invaded Ukraine early this year, and European countries rushed to secure gas supplies from LNG-producing countries as Moscow slowed gas flows westwards.

The Kremlin has accused the West of triggering the energy crisis by imposing the most severe sanctions in modern history, a step Russian President Vladimir Putin said is akin to a declaration of economic war.

“The Russia-Ukraine war has also disrupted the international market and European countries have rushed to secure cargoes for winter as demand has increased substantially there,” Mahmood added.

However, some experts believe gas outages will be comparatively low this winter, with additional electricity generation compensating for the high demand.

“By December this year, some 1320MW of electricity will be added to the national grid with the commissioning of three coal-fired power plants in Thar, Sindh, that will compensate the gas demand,” Tahir Abbas, head of research at Arif Habib Limited, a Karachi-based brokerage firm, told Arab News.

“There will definitely be a shortfall of gas, but it will not be as severe as last year, keeping in view the additional electricity generation.”

Pakistan’s winter policy of diverting gas supplies from the power sector to domestic consumers also affects industrial production.

This year, the government is expected to encourage consumers to switch to electricity by offering incentives to save gas for industrial and heating purposes.

In another bid to secure long-term supplies of gas, PLL has invited bids for 72 LNG cargoes from international suppliers across a six-year period. The results of the tender will be decided on Oct. 3 when the bids are opened.

Pakistan’s LNG imports fell by 3.37 percent to $629.4 million during July and August compared with the same period last year.

Energy imports increased by 105.3 percent to $23.3 billion during the last fiscal year, including LNG imports, which rose by 90.6 percent to $4.98 billion, according to official data.
 

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British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
Updated 6 min 47 sec ago

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia

British team to retrace steps of epic Philby trek across Saudi Arabia
  • Explorer’s 1,300 km journey a century ago led to lifelong friendship with Ibn Saud, Kingdom’s first ruler
  • The expedition was launched by the UK’s Princess Anne, and the team includes Philby’s granddaughter

LONDON: An Arabian desert expedition aims to retrace the steps of a famous journey by a British explorer who served as an adviser to the first ruler of Saudi Arabia.

The planned 1,300-km Heart of Arabia coast-to-coast trek across the peninsula was launched by Anne, Princess Royal of the UK, on Wednesday. It was her first public engagement since the death this month of her mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The expedition will honor the undertaking and achievement of adventurer, Arabist and intelligence officer Harry St. John Philby, who traveled from the Gulf coast village of Al-Uqair to Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast, on a mission in support of Ibn Saud, the Kingdom’s first ruler.

The Heart of Arabia journey will set off in November, a century after Philby’s crossing. It is led by veteran British explorer Mark Evans and the team, which will travel by foot and on camels, includes Philby’s Saudi granddaughter, Reem.

After reaching Riyadh they will travel west on the final stage to Jeddah, which is likely to present the greatest challenge because of harsh winds and rough terrain, including sand and loose rock.

Philby was sent to Arabia during the First World War to assist T. E. Lawrence as part of the British efforts to foment an Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which at the time stretched across the Red Sea side of the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Yemen.

His journey led to groundbreaking cartographic and natural discoveries, and resulted in significant changes to the political landscape of the Middle East.

Philby, who would later reside in Riyadh, developed a close relationship with Ibn Saud, who at the time was a significant tribal leader. Philby adopted local dress and customs, and converted to Islam, which helped him play a key role in the events that led to the Arab Revolt and the creation of Saudi Arabia.

Evans said of Philby: “He is considered by many as one of the greatest early explorers of Arabia. He not only set out across uncharted land but took time to record everything he saw.”

Reem Philby said that she is drawn to “the stillness and constant movement of the desert at the same time.”

She added: “Just observing how nature controls everything in harmony and how we are the ones that have to adapt, makes one very humble.”

Princess Anne said: “How did people live in the environment that he crossed? What was different about it? And actually, what’s perhaps even more important in modern terms, is to understand how much has changed compared to what existed before.”

The Arabian landscape has long attracted interested intrepid Britons, including explorer and writer Wilfred Thesiger, who commended the tribes he encountered during his crossing of the Kingdom’s Empty Quarter for their loyalty and generosity.
 


Hajj, Umrah e-services app undergoes update, name change

Hajj, Umrah e-services app undergoes update, name change
Updated 23 min 55 sec ago

Hajj, Umrah e-services app undergoes update, name change

Hajj, Umrah e-services app undergoes update, name change

MAKKAH: Hajj and Umrah government officials have alerted pilgrims around the world about an important update and name change to a key services and permits app for the Two Holy Mosques.

Launching the newly named Nusuk app, an update on the Eatmarna platform, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said visitors and worshippers would be able to access a range of e-services including applying for a visa and booking hotels and flights.

Hajj and Umrah services adviser, Ahmed Saleh Halabi, told Arab News: “During the past few years, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has been keen to switch to the e-government system to add ease to the experience of pilgrims and visitors. As such, their experience will be forever remembered as an enriched religious journey.”

He pointed out that the portal allowed users to select from a list of service packages.

“The program will provide the pilgrims with a cultural and religious journey, while reflecting the bright and civilized side of the Kingdom in the Two Holy Mosques,” he added.

The platform has been designed to provide services and information to help worshippers perform rituals with ease and is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives to improve service offerings and the quality of religious experience.

Ahmed Bajaiffer, an investor in Umrah companies, said: “Nusuk is the representation of the strong will of the Kingdom’s leaders and their loyalty toward Muslims, citizens, and residents.”

Nusuk has been launched in cooperation with the Saudi Tourism Authority and is linked to the services provided by the Kingdom’s official tourism website, Visit Saudi Arabia.

Head of the World Hajj and Umrah Convention, Mohsin Tutla, told Arab News: “What Nusuk has developed resonates with the World Hajj and Umrah Care Foundation’s vision toward enhancing the pilgrim’s experience.

“When traveling to a foreign country, visitors may often feel anxiety or even fear; for many, Arabic is not their first language, and trying to make sense of the cultural practices of a new country at times can be difficult.”

Via the nusuk.sa platform, Hajj and Umrah performers can receive visit or Umrah visas with the option to buy a service package and pay electronically.

“The launch of this service sends a strong message with it: We are listening, we are caring, and we will provide the solutions to continually enrich your experience, and we do it with passion, as the Kingdom sees serving pilgrims as a privilege and obligation,” Tutla added.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, more than 21.5 million Umrah and Hajj performers had registered with the Eatmarna app since its launch, and it has issued 6.4 million permits to visit and pray at Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifah at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.


New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials
Updated 28 September 2022

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials
  • Prince Khalid bin Salman said the ministry will continue to follow the path set by his predecessor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new minister of defense, Prince Khalid bin Salman, met senior ministry officials in his office on Wednesday.

Formerly the deputy defense minister, his appointment was announced on Tuesday as part of a cabinet reshuffle. He takes over from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed prime minister.

Prince Khalid gave a speech in which he thanked King Salman and the crown prince for the trust they have placed in him. He said the close attention his predecessor paid to the work of the Ministry of Defense had resulted the launch of its development program, which reflects the crown prince’s belief in efforts to maintain the highest standards of military development.

He stressed that the ministry will continue to follow the path set by the crown prince to become a modern institution staffed by professional and joint military forces capable of protecting homeland security from external threats, and leading alliances with high degrees of competency. 

 

 


Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council
Updated 43 min 16 sec ago

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council
  • Prince Khalid was appointed Minister of Defense by royal decree on Tuesday
  • Minister assured Al-Alimi that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen will continue to support Yemeni people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the head of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al-Alimi on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Prince Khalid and Al-Alimi discussed the latest developments in Yemen, the Kingdom’s appreciation of the council’s efforts, and its wishes for peace, stability, and prosperity in the country.

Prince Khalid assured Al-Alimi that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen will continue to support the Yemeni people and their aspirations for the council to achieve peace, stability, and security in their country.

Prince Khalid was appointed Minister of Defense by royal decree on Tuesday.