More than 100,000 volunteers served pilgrims in this year’s Hajj: Saudi ministry

Volunteers aid pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. (File/SPA)
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Volunteers aid pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. (File/SPA)
Volunteers aid pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. (File/SPA)
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Volunteers aid pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. (File/SPA)
Updated 13 July 2022

More than 100,000 volunteers served pilgrims in this year’s Hajj: Saudi ministry

Volunteers aid pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage. (File/SPA)
  • More than 35, 000 volunteer opportunities were available this year

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on Tuesday announced that 100,570 volunteers had taken part in this year’s Hajj season to serve pilgrims in completing their rituals with ease.
The ministry also said that more than 35, 000 volunteer opportunities were available this year, and the initiatives are meant to contribute to achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
It added that the forms of volunteer work and assistance provided to the pilgrims during the Hajj season varied in a large number of areas, most notably health, organization, services, community, education, and awareness.
The ministry said that young men and women volunteers had been active in helping pilgrims in more than one location from the moment of their arrival, in coordination with the concerned authorities at land and sea ports, airports, grouping and screening points, all the way to the Grand Mosque and the holy sites in Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, and the central area surrounding the mosque.
They also aided in the pilgrims’ housing to provide them with all means of comfort without trouble or hassle.
The ministry is working to attract volunteers according to their experiences and skills to participate in initiatives in the Grand Mosque and the holy sites, to provide the best field, organizational, and hospitality services to pilgrims.
Their volunteer hours are added through the National Volunteer Work Platform and they are issued with a certificate in appreciation of their efforts and dedication.


Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
  • They also discussed opportunities in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held a meeting on Saturday with French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire in the capital, Riyadh, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

The two ministers praised the relations between their two countries and discussed prospects for cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

They also discussed future opportunities in various energy fields, including areas of cooperation in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection.


Sri Lankan foreign minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia yields ‘positive vibes’

Sri Lankan Minister Ali Sabry met with several Saudi officials and ministers during his recent visit to the Kingdom. (AN photo b
Updated 28 January 2023

Sri Lankan foreign minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia yields ‘positive vibes’

Sri Lankan Minister Ali Sabry met with several Saudi officials and ministers during his recent visit to the Kingdom. (AN photo b
  • Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia sign double tax avoidance deal to boost trade, investment
  • Framework agreement with GCC in the works

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry has held talks with ministers and senior officials in Saudi Arabia, as the crisis-hit island nation seeks to boost cooperation with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries.

Sabry met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Secretary-General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, and CEO of the Saudi Fund for Development Sultan Al-Marshad, as well as officials from the Islamic Development Bank.

Sabry said that his visit to the Kingdom was “successful and that it will further cement and strengthen the bilateral relationship between our two countries as we see a lot of positive vibes that have been infused into our relations.”

Talks between the two foreign ministers covered enhancement of bilateral relations, increased investment with Sri Lanka as a gateway to South Asia, and employment for Sri Lankans in the Kingdom.

HIGHLIGHT

Ali Sabry, the Sri Lankan minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the double tax avoidance deal with the Kingdom’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority to boost trade and investment. Sri Lanka is said to be facing the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.

“Saudis have identified Sri Lanka as a very important geographical location, so (there are) investment opportunities in renewable energy, petroleum and hospitality industries,” Sabry said.

“We are interested in getting Saudi investment into the renewable energy sector for development, energy security and making Sri Lanka a regional energy hub.”

Discussions also took place around resuming airline services between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka following their suspension during the global pandemic.

In a bid to enhance trade and investment relations between both countries, the visiting minister “signed a double tax avoidance agreement with the Zakat and Income Tax Authority here” to prevent fiscal evasion on income.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with the government battling a shortage of foreign earnings, runaway inflation and recession.

The Sri Lankan minister thanked the Kingdom for its help with debt restructuring at the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club.

The Paris Club of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s currency crisis.

Sri Lanka is also in discussions with the IMF to secure a $2.9 billion bailout seen as vital to getting its economy back on track.

Sabry highlighted Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka’s long-standing relations and the former’s support in international forums.

“Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia have been traditional friends for a long period of time. To strengthen bilateral relationship, particularly in the multilateral fora — the UN and other agencies — we have to support each other,” he said.  

“They (Saudis) have been supporting us when we have been cornered unfairly by some powers for no reason. They have stood by us time and again. So we need to strengthen that relationship.”

Sabry and Al-Marshad discussed development issues of common interest, and the Sri Lankan minister praised the Kingdom’s efforts in developing infrastructure in Sri Lanka through SFD projects.

The minister’s meeting with Al-Hajraf focused on ties between Sri Lanka and the GCC.

“GCC is very important. We are looking at signing a framework agreement with the GCC, we want to expedite it as soon as possible,” Sabry said.

On his discussions with Taha and OIC observer status, Sabry said: “They are exploring the possibility of observer status, but we haven’t made the decision yet. Traditionally, we have had good relationships.”

Sabry also reassured Taha about the conditions of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

 


Sensational Pakistani singer delights Jeddah audience with hit songs

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Updated 28 January 2023

Sensational Pakistani singer delights Jeddah audience with hit songs

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)
  • Speaking to Arab News, Khalil said: “My excitement hit the roof when I first learned that I will be performing in Saudi Arabia. I cannot describe this moment and the love I have received from the time I stepped into the country”

JEDDAH: Rising Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil captivated audience members at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah.

The singer enjoyed a rapid rise to fame thanks to his mesmerizing vocals and soulful music. During the concert, he performed recent release “Kahani Suno 2.0” — which hit global world charts last year — along with other desi, folk and Sufi songs.

Speaking to Arab News, Khalil said the amount of love and warmth shown from the audience in Jeddah at his first international concert was “spectacular,” adding: “I had promised myself to fill the evening with a rendition of all my songs and tried my best to make sure every single person had a good time.”

Pakistani music star Kaifi Khalil performed at a concert held on Jan. 26 at the WA Hotel in Jeddah. (Supplied)

He said: “My excitement hit the roof when I first learned that I will be performing in Saudi Arabia. I cannot describe this moment and the love I have received from the time I stepped into the country.”

Although he has performed many times back in Pakistan, Khalil was overwhelmed to see the response from an international audience, which has inspired him to return to the Kingdom.

The constant cheering from the crowd was pure magic. When the performance was coming to an end, it dawned on me that everything that I felt was so precious that I will cherish it forever.

Kaifi Khalil

“The constant cheering from the crowd was pure magic. When the performance was coming to an end, it dawned on me that everything that I felt was so precious that I will cherish it forever,” he said.

After Khalil’s music went viral last year, the singer became an inspiration to many, with children, teenagers and adults attending in the Jeddah concert.

One concertgoer described the event as a “magical night,” adding: “I don’t know how many times I have listened to Kaifi Khalil’s songs. To watch him perform live was a dream come true moment. He has such a soulful voice that made the entire hall sing along with him.”

Mohammed Abdullah, another fan, said: “I was so excited to experience the vibe and music of Kaifi Khalil. He is totally a gem in the music industry. Besides, I would like to extend gratitude to the organizers for the very well executed event as we could watch him clearly from our seats.”

Alongside Khalil, the event also included versatile singers Abida Hussain and Saleem Rifiq.

Nosheen Waseem, founder of Nosheen Arts Culture Center, which oversaw the concert, said that the center aim to take the entertainment industry in the Kingdom to the “next level.” The event was organized to mark the successful completion of the first year of NACC, which involved organizing a range of nonprofit events.

Salman Lodhi and Talha Abdul Ghafoor, who organized the event, said: “The turnout was incredible — around 300 people attended the musical night. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone had a great time and the audience was on their feet for the entire performance.”

 

 


Makan hosts Indian music night in Jeddah

AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
Updated 28 January 2023

Makan hosts Indian music night in Jeddah

AN photos by Adnan Salem Mahdaly
  • Speaking to Arab News, The Groove Town band co-founder, bassist Firdous Amir, said: “Makan encourages artists to the extent where they regularly organize events and draw fans to their stage almost every weekend

JEDDAH: Makan Music Center organized an Indian-themed music night for local artists and bands on Friday evening.

Fans of Indian music were treated to well-known Bollywood tunes and other genres of Indian music. The themed night was part of Makan’s cultural events calendar, during which a variety of local bands showcase genres including Arabic and Latin music.

Shaher Karkashan, CEO and co-founder of Makan, said: “We have accomplished a tremendous amount over the last four years in terms of enhancing the local music scene and providing a space for music learners and hobbyists.

“Aside from the themed weekend events, Makan provides various services including music lessons, studio production, events and artist management. We aim to make our music center competitive internationally and spread cross-cultural music diversity.”

Speaking to Arab News, The Groove Town band co-founder, bassist Firdous Amir, said: “Makan encourages artists to the extent where they regularly organize events and draw fans to their stage almost every weekend. Additionally, they offer a music school with a vast lineup of excellent music instructors.”

His fellow co-founder, drummer Razin Rafeek, added: “The Saudi music scene has come a long way in the last four or five years. The acceptance level the Saudi audience has shown is phenomenal and encourages artists to come and showcase their talent in public. The fact that we have international acts visiting and performing in the Kingdom makes it all the more special.”

He continued: “Makan has always been a wonderful space to perform that is ingrained with a cool and groovy vibe, and run by a musically gifted team. It’s one of our favorite places to perform in Jeddah. The Indian music night was lovely and heartfelt. People from different nations came to hear us.”

Makan’s future plans include running workshops for beginners, Karkashan said.

 


Body of Saudi student killed in US to be flown home

Al-Waleed Abdullah Al-Gheraibi
Al-Waleed Abdullah Al-Gheraibi
Updated 28 January 2023

Body of Saudi student killed in US to be flown home

Al-Waleed Abdullah Al-Gheraibi
  • The victim’s uncle, Mohammed Al-Gheraibi, told Saudi media outlet Sabq that the accused lived in the same building as his nephew and fled the scene after the attack

RIYADH: The body of a 25-year-old Saudi student stabbed to death in Philadelphia in the US will be returned home to his family, the Saudi Embassy in Washington has said.

Al-Waleed Al-Gheraibi died after an attack alleged carried out by 19-year-old US citizen Nicole Marie Rodgers on Jan. 23 in a shared property in Germantown, Philadelphia.

Police said that the student’s valuables were stolen along with his mobile phone.

Rodgers faces charges of theft, murder and possession of a weapon, police said.

HIGHLIGHT

Al-Waleed Abdullah Al-Gheraibi died after an attack allegedly carried out by 19-year-old US citizen Nicole Marie Rodgers on Jan. 23 in a shared property in Germantown, Philadelphia.

The victim’s uncle, Mohammed Al-Gheraibi, told Saudi media outlet Sabq that the accused lived in the same building as his nephew and fled the scene after the attack.

Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the US, extended her condolences to Al-Gheraibi’s family and offered “full assistance to them during this painful time.”

In a statement on Friday, the Washington embassy said that it “has followed with great sadness and sorrow, from the first day, in coordination with the Kingdom’s Consulate General in New York, the circumstances of the killing of citizen Al-Waleed Abdullah Al-Gheraibi.”

The embassy said that the accused is under investigation, and expressed its appreciation for US security authorities’ help since the incident.