Top officials at Hajj services company sacked, Saudi ministry announces

Top officials at Hajj services company sacked, Saudi ministry announces
The ministry said the removal was for the failure to provide adequate services to pilgrims. (AFP)
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Updated 07 July 2022

Top officials at Hajj services company sacked, Saudi ministry announces

Top officials at Hajj services company sacked, Saudi ministry announces
  • The ministry said the decision came after coordination with the company’s board of directors and was based on the observations of the ministry’s field teams

RIYADH: A chief executive and a top official at “one of the Hajj companies” operating services for this year’s pilgrimage have been sacked, the Saudi ministry responsible for Hajj has announced.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said the removal was for the failure to provide adequate services to pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency reported early on Thursday.

The ministry said the decision came after coordination with the company’s board of directors and was based on the observations of the ministry’s field teams.

The statement also said that the two officials were “referred to investigation.”

The Hajj, a key pillar of Islam, will begin on Thursday and involve a million pilgrims from across the globe.

The ministry reiterated that it closely monitors all services provided by all agencies and companies operating during the Hajj season to ensure their quality.

It said that it also “monitors all violations and deals with them immediately” as part of its efforts to follow up on the safety and comfort of pilgrims.

The ministry stressed that it will not allow and will not tolerate any shortcoming that affects the service of pilgrims.

“The ministry’s inspection and field teams carry out continuous tours to assess and follow up the quality of services provided to pilgrims, and deal with reports submitted without exception, in an effort to raise the level of quality of services for pilgrims and maintain their safety,” it concluded.


GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China
Updated 22 sec ago

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China

GCC chief stresses importance of enhancing prospects for cooperation with China

RIYADH: The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council stressed the importance on Sunday of enhancing prospects for joint cooperation between the bloc and China to serve common interests.

During a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing in Riyadh, Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf extended his congratulations to the government and people of China on the occasion of its National Day which fell on Saturday.

The two officials discussed topics of common interest including regional and international developments, and reviewed cooperation relations between the GCC and China to achieve interests.

They also reviewed the latest developments in free trade negotiations between the two sides and their interest in strengthening and developing trade and economic relations.


Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record

Saudi festival Outlet 2022 sets new Guinness World Record
  • The festival includes 3 million items manufactured by more than 1,500 international brands

RIYADH: The Outlet 2022 shopping festival, being organized by the General Entertainment Authority, has won Guinness World Records recognition as the largest pop-outlet center.

Covering an area of 146,623 square meters, festival activities started on Saturday in Riyadh. It includes 3 million items, manufactured by more than 1,500 international brands, and discounts of up to 70 percent on fashion, accessories, and cosmetic products designed by international experts.

Farah Ahmed, who lives in Al-Rehab neighborhood where the outlet is located, described it as “impressive,” while Mohammed Al-Bugami, a Saudi private-sector employee, praised the “top organization” he witnessed on the first day.

“I have no words to describe how great and well-organized this festival is. I would like to thank the organizers for their efforts in making this shopping festival a reality,” he said.

Entry to the festival is free and outlet sections include home accessories, leather-made items, bridal gowns, suitcases, and electronics.

The fashion section includes products by names such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, GAP, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Lacoste, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and Mango. Additionally, visitors can choose between various sports shoe brands, including Adidas, Puma, and Nike.

GEA chairman, Turki Al-Asheikh, thanked Kuwaiti actresses Hayat Al-Fahad and Suad Abdullah, and Saudi actor Bashir Al-Ghunaim for taking part in the official festival promo that gained millions of views.

The GEA aims to encourage private-sector organizations to develop entertainment activities in the Kingdom. It was established in line with Saudi Vision 2030 to organize and develop the entertainment sector in the country and provide options and entertainment opportunities for all segments of society.


KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
Updated 02 October 2022

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen

KSRelief provides COVID-19 vaccines, health services in Yemen
  • This comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to support Yemen and its people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) provided health services to displaced people in Yemen, as well as Coronavirus vaccines in the country, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday. 
 
KSRelief has been providing support to Yemen’s national vaccination campaign, implemented by the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population, in 12 governorates. 

KSRelief worked with the ministry from Sept. 24 to 28 as part of efforts to vaccinate a wider group of the population against the virus, according to SPA. 
 
Through the campaign, 446,966 people were vaccinated and 2,242 members of the Yemeni vaccination team were trained.

KSRelief also deployed 320 volunteer teams and 180 mobile teams to vaccinate the targeted population, SPA reported. 

The organization also set up mobile medical centers at Waalan Camp in the Haradh District to provide treatment to displaced people, according to SPA. 

From Sept. 14 to 20, the clinics received 56 beneficiaries with various health conditions in different clinics and departments and provided them with necessary medical services.

The KSRelief clinics also provided 162 individuals with medication.

The vaccination campaign and health services all come within the framework of the Kingdom’s goal to continue to provide support to Yemen and its people, SPA said.


Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 
Updated 02 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief continues humanitarian efforts in flood-hit Pakistan 

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) is continuing its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to flood-hit Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

The team distributed 2,095 food baskets, 40 tents, and 400 mosquito nets in various provinces to 14,665 people on Friday, according to SPA. 

The aid comes within the Saudi Relief Land Bridge, directed by King Salman, to support Pakistan and its people following the disastrous floods that struck the country. 
The torrential rains and flooding, which began in mid-June and lasted for weeks, has killed over 1,600 people and affected nearly 33 million people Pakistan.


Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum
Updated 02 October 2022

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum

Global experts discuss economic, social impact of Saudi coffee in Jazan forum
  • Experts gather to discuss industry’s economic, social and environmental impact
  • Culture Ministry launches grant to support research into coffee sector

JAZAN: Experts from around the world have gathered in Jazan for the Saudi Coffee Sustainability Forum, which got underway on Saturday.

Organized by the Ministry of Culture and held at the Grand Millennium Jazan, the two-day event will discuss the value chain of Saudi coffee and its economic, social and environmental impact.

Among the speakers and guests are Dr. Bandar Al-Rabiah, who heads the development impact department at the Agricultural Development Fund, Dhafer bin Ayedh Al-Fahad, director of the Jazan Mountain Development Authority, and Keren Kellard, a consultant at the National Center for Social Studies in Riyadh.

Al-Rabiah said at the opening session: “The idea isn’t just to increase productivity, we want to help the farmer to benefit from his plantation and to allow tourists to visit the farm and in effect generate a larger income for them.”

One of the highlights of the opening day was the launch by the Ministry of Culture of the Saudi Coffee Research Grant. Organized in partnership with Saudi Coffee Co. and the Public Investment Fund it aims to encourage local researchers to produce scientific papers related to Saudi coffee in three areas.

The first is the history of coffee in the Arabian Peninsula, covering everything from ancient trade routes to the events that led to its spread in Saudi Arabia.

The second relates to coffee culture, including the social practices, rituals and festive traditions within the Kingdom.

The third relates to cultural research into developing Saudi coffee through government procurement in order to promote a sustainable economy and preserve its heritage.

Mayada Badr, CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission, said: “The Ministry of Culture aims to strengthen the position of Saudi coffee. It aims to guide the community to the culture associated with coffee, to be proud of its distinctive identity, and to thank farmers and community members for preserving our culture.”

During the forum’s first session, Al-Fahad highlighted the efforts his team have made in cultivating the coffee industry in the Kingdom over the past 40 years, most notably with the establishment of an experimental facility that seeks to find the best agricultural crops for growing in the mountainous ranges in Jazan. He added that 900,000 coffee seedlings would be distributed for research use in the coming years.

Al-Fahad concluded his speech by saying the Culinary Arts Commission intended to establish the Saudi Coffee Museum in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and that the Kingdom had joined the World Coffee Organization.

The second session of the day discussed investment opportunities in coffee production and looked at sustainable methods of economic growth.

Karl Weinhold, a researcher in rural development and the coffee economy, said: “Most of my work revolves around how these people (farmers) can wrestle around with the institutions that they have been subjected to in order to achieve some sense of prosperity.”

Hassan Hajooj, a professor of economics at the College of Business Administration at King Faisal University, said that the coffee sector accounted for about 0.86 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product in 2020 and that that figure was set to rise to 6.18 percent over the next five years.

The Kingdom, which had 22,000 coffee shops in 2021, produces about 300 tons of high-quality Saudi Khawlani coffee a year, which is consumed locally and exported to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The final session on the first day focused on the history and cultural influence of coffee.