Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all Saudi regions

L-R: Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of Center for Quality of Life program; Lieutenant-General Mohammed Al-Bassami, Director of Public Security; Sultan Al Mutairi, Head of Vision Realization Office at Ministry of Interior. (Supplied)
L-R: Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of Center for Quality of Life program; Lieutenant-General Mohammed Al-Bassami, Director of Public Security; Sultan Al Mutairi, Head of Vision Realization Office at Ministry of Interior. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 August 2022

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all Saudi regions

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all Saudi regions
  • 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.”


Grand Mosque’s gate 100 to be named after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

Grand Mosque’s gate 100 to be named after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
Updated 48 min 12 sec ago

Grand Mosque’s gate 100 to be named after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

Grand Mosque’s gate 100 to be named after King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz
  • Al-Sudais: Saudi kings have always taken great care of the two holy mosques
  • The Grand Mosque in Makkah has 210 gates

JEDDAH: The Grand Mosque’s gate 100 will be named after Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Wednesday.

The presidency’s chief Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais said the naming comes as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to serve the two holy mosques by expanding them and providing a high-quality service that enables pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease.

Al-Sudais added that Saudi kings have always taken great care of the two holy mosques and emphasized the importance of providing the finest services to the mosques and those that visit them.

The Grand Mosque in Makkah has 210 gates.


TLScontact new service provider in Saudi Arabia for Schengen visas to Germany

TLScontact new service provider in Saudi Arabia for Schengen visas to Germany
Updated 06 October 2022

TLScontact new service provider in Saudi Arabia for Schengen visas to Germany

TLScontact new service provider in Saudi Arabia for Schengen visas to Germany
  • German Embassy: Starting from October 2022, applications for Schengen visa to Germany can only be lodged with the new service provider TLScontact
  • TLScontact works with governments worldwide to provide visa and consular services on their behalf to travelers and citizens

RIYADH: Starting from this month, applications for Schengen visas to Germany can only be lodged with the new service provider TLScontact, according to the German Embassy in Riyadh.

Founded in 2007, TLScontact works with governments worldwide to provide visa and consular services on their behalf to travelers and citizens.

Until the end of September 2022, applications for Schengen visas were lodged with VFS Global visa service.

“Starting from October 2022, applications for Schengen visa to Germany can only be lodged with the new service provider TLScontact. TLS Application centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar will be at your service,” the German Embassy tweeted.

The TLScontact application centers commenced operations this week, with the Riyadh center operating from Oct. 4, the Jeddah center from Oct. 5, and Alkhobar center from Oct. 6.

Appointments will initially be available in limited numbers.

“We kindly ask for your understanding. If you are planning a trip to Germany in October or November, please book your visa appointment well in advance,” said the embassy.

All applicants who have lodged their applications with VFS Global until the end of September will receive their passports back through VFS Global, as from October onwards, visa applications for Germany can only be lodged through TLScontact.

The mandatory steps to apply for a Schengen visa include completing the Videx form; registering on the TLS website; preparing supporting documents and making an appointment; submitting an application and providing biometric data at the application center, and returning to the center to collect the passport. The applicant can also use express courier service.

For more information concerning locations, opening hours, and booking of appointments, applicants can see the webpage of TLScontact https://visas-de.tlscontact.com/visa/sa


Red Sea Film Festival audiences get rare chance to see classic Egyptian musicals on big screen

Red Sea Film Festival audiences get rare chance to see classic Egyptian musicals on big screen
Updated 06 October 2022

Red Sea Film Festival audiences get rare chance to see classic Egyptian musicals on big screen

Red Sea Film Festival audiences get rare chance to see classic Egyptian musicals on big screen
  • Organizers have announced restored versions of ‘Watch Out for Zouzou’ and ‘Love in Karnak’ will screen during the 10-day celebration of regional and international cinema

JEDDAH: Movie lovers can look forward to screenings of restored versions two classics of Egyptian musical cinema during the second Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah in December.

In collaboration with the Arab Radio and Television Network, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s investment holding company for cinema, and Media Production City in Egypt, the festival will showcase on the big screen for an international audience 1972’s “Khali Balak min Zouzou” (“Watch Out for Zouzou”) and 1967’s “Gharam fil Karnak” (“Love in Karnak”).

Mohammed Al-Turki, the CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival, told Arab News: “Today, our accomplishment is two gems richer with ‘Watch Out for Zouzou’ and ‘Love in Karnak,’ films that do not only represent major milestones in the history of Egyptian cinema but stand as shining testaments to the brilliance of great artists such as the ‘Cinderella of Egyptian Cinema,’ the late (actress) Soad Hosny, and the multi-talented performer, Mahmoud Reda.”

Reda, who died in 2020, was an iconic Egyptian choreographer and the creative mind behind fantastical dance routines in a number of films, including “Agazet Nus El-Sana” (“Mid-term Vacation”) and “Harami El-Waraqa” (“The Lottery Ticket Thief”).

Antoine Khalife, RSIFF’s director of Arab Programs and Film Classics, told Arab News: “We wanted to pay homage to the great choreographer Mahmoud Reda, who died during the (pandemic) period, and the restoration of ‘Gharam fil Karnak’ is a love letter from the Red Sea for this exceptional artist who made contemporary Egyptian dance shine throughout the world.”

In “Love in Karnak,” Reda’s dance sequences are key to the plot as a group of young dancers try to hit the big time in the entertainment industry while struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, lead dancer Amina and the troupe’s director, Salah, start to develop romantic feelings for each other, which results in a series of misunderstandings that complicates matters for everyone.

The film is widely acclaimed for the position it holds in the history of Arab filmmaking and so its restoration and screening at the festival is intended to serve as a tribute to its creators and performers, an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers, and a demonstration of the vibrancy and prominence of the Arab film industry through the years.

“The preservation of film heritage has been at the heart of the Red Sea Film Festival since its first year,” Kalife said. “We started by restoring the films of (Saudi photographer and cinematographer) Safouh Naamani and then we worked to highlight the work of important filmmakers such as Khairy Beshara, Youssef Chahine and Raafat El-Mehy.”

“Watch out for Zouzou,” which will have a 50th anniversary screening at the festival, is a love story laced with underlying social commentary that stars Hosny, who was one of the most beloved actresses in the Arab world.

She stars as Zouzou, who seems to have it all: The grades, the social popularity and the intelligence. However, her true passion is performing and so she practices her craft in the evenings as she sings and dances for her mother’s friends at private parties.

Considering the scandalous nature of her job in 1970s Egypt, she tries to keep her life as a performer a secret from her peers. This seems to be working out until she falls for a new, and engaged, university lecturer who teaches the theatrical arts. The situation becomes ever-more complicated when his fiance learns of the blossoming romance.

The film became one of the highest-grossing Arab films in history and made stars of its lead pairing, Hosny and Hussein Fahmy, while the music, by Salah Jaheen and Kamal El-Tawil, is sure to spark feelings of nostalgia in audiences who see the restored version of the film, reflecting the timeless love for Arab and Egyptian cinema.

“For this year, we could not miss ‘Khali Balak men Zouzou,’ a film produced just 50 years ago that has left an exceptional impact on generations, and not only because of the magnificent songs and the sublime Soad Hosny but, above all, because of the modernity in which the story was created,” Khalife said.

Al-Turki, who is a film producer in his own right, highlighted the importance of film restoration projects in preserving Arab culture and creativity.

“This initiative was taken by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation to confirm our commitment and sense of responsibility toward preserving this precious cinematic heritage, and in recognition of its importance in shaping the memory and awareness of cinephiles,” he said.

“By resurrecting them and passing them on to new generations of artists and filmmakers, we can all learn from these restored masterpieces, enjoy them anew in light of modern restoration techniques and even rejuvenate our inspiration, evolving our plans for the art of cinema.

“This gesture didn’t solely come with cinematic goals in mind but cultural as well. The arts, cinema included, are mirrors of societies and in their restoration lies the preservation of heritage and the revival of civilizations and the building blocks of their identities.”

The restored Egyptian classics are part of a yet-to-be-announced program of regional and international films that will screen during the festival in Jeddah between Dec. 1 and Dec. 10. Organizers said it will include a retrospective program celebrating leaders in the industry, introduce audiences to local and international emerging voices, and aims to further cultural discourse and exchanges through film competitions, masterclasses and workshops.


Saudi national resort for elderly in Al-Baha completed

Saudi national resort for elderly in Al-Baha completed
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi national resort for elderly in Al-Baha completed

Saudi national resort for elderly in Al-Baha completed
  • The resort was established as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to improve care services provided to the elderly in the country

MAKKAH: The Saudi-based Charitable Society for Honoring the Elderly (Ikram) recently announced the completion of the Ikram National Resort project in Al-Baha (southwest of Saudi Arabia), which is the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

The resort was established as part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to improve care services provided to the elderly in the country. The completion of the resort was announced during the International Day of Older Persons.

“The idea of the project was that of Dr. Saeed bin Saad Al-Martan, the chairman of the board (Ikram) and the godfather of our association and its greatest supporter,” Abdul Rahman Abu Riah, CEO of Ikram, told Arab News.

“It emerged from building an aesthetic resort for those with no first-degree relatives, which was the basis for founding Ikram,” he added.

Abu Riah said that the project will provide permanent services for elderly people with no family members. Temporary services will also be provided for the elderly whose children suffer from poor economic conditions or those who cannot offer their parents proper services due to drug addictions and mental illness, among other issues.

Moreover, temporary services will be provided to the elderly whose children have left the country to study abroad or those who need a temporary home due to the absence of family members.

According to Abu Riah, there is a third category of services concerned with day care, where the elderly receive all types of care and services from morning until evening.

“This resort is keen to achieve life quality, which is a goal listed under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” he added.

To benefit from the services provided, the elderly must be older than 60, free from high-class mental illnesses or infectious diseases, not have a first-class family member, and be able to afford the financial fees.

“The association will be in charge of settling the fees on behalf of the poor and people in need through an elderly sponsorship program with the aid of the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development as well as large supporting companies.

“The association has received great support from Prince Hussam bin Saud, governor of Al-Baha, who has followed up and supported the project in person. The project will be launched next week as it began on the International Day of Older Persons in 2019.”

He added that the project is part of the initial phase of the first Ikram Resort, which will welcome 210 elderly people, including 120 women and 90 men, distributed among 120 rooms and suites comprising two to four beds. The resort has a large pool, a jacuzzi, a steam bath and a theater.

The latter will represent a turning point for the elderly, as it will host talk shows and cultural programs supervised by specialists, in addition to visitors from universities and schools, where the elderly can share their experiences and expertise, as well as social contributions. Multi-purpose halls will also be available, including sports equipment, an outdoor walkway, a library and clinics.

“One of our goals is to transform the Al-Baha region into a healing destination, where Ikram will be a first-class tourist healing hub specialized in physical therapy. We must first start with attracting qualified national cadres of both sexes who are specialized in physical therapy, as the government and private entities, in addition to businessmen and volunteers, have concerted and prioritized their efforts to give this decent aspect to the resort,” he said.

According to Abu Riah, the project started with land granted by the state, with a total surface area of 30,000 square meters, located in an ideal spot.

“We are now heading to the second stage of our project, which is concerned with married couples with no children. We are also working on the Montana tourist resorts, which include hotel villas for those wishing to enjoy the beauty of our nature while granting their families the opportunity to benefit from the available services.”


Praise, gifts and gratitude as Saudi Arabia celebrates World Teachers’ Day

Praise, gifts and gratitude as Saudi Arabia celebrates World Teachers’ Day
Updated 06 October 2022

Praise, gifts and gratitude as Saudi Arabia celebrates World Teachers’ Day

Praise, gifts and gratitude as Saudi Arabia celebrates World Teachers’ Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education is marking World Teachers’ Day, which falls on Oct. 5 each year, with three days of celebrations under the theme “The transformation of education begins with the Teachers.”

The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization tweeted a message about the event, saying: “ICESCO calls for placing teachers at the forefront of efforts aimed at transforming education. It also calls for strongly reconsidering the teaching profession to create creative and innovative minds and build balanced and capable personalities.”

In line with the human capacity development program and achieving the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, Saudi teachers have taken part in training and development projects that have raised the level of professional qualification and the quality of education and learning.

Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan tweeted on his official Twitter account, praising the efforts of all teachers across the Kingdom.

He wrote: “I congratulate my fellow teachers on the occasion of #WorldTeachersDay. Appreciating their efforts, praising their contributions and their educational role in building humans and forming a competitive society that achieves sustainable development goals for the country.”

Al-Benyan added that teachers are partners in the journey of work, effort and development to achieve the aspirations of wise leadership.

He said that teaching stands at the top of the humanitarian professions pyramid, and urged students to respect teachers.

Ghadeer Shaheen, an early childhood teacher from Alkhobar, told Arab News how she and her colleagues were treated on their special day.

She said: “The place was full of joy. We exchanged gifts. Giveaways were also distributed to us by our students as a gratitude gesture from the school principal.”

Mariam Al-Shomrani, a chemistry teacher at the Gifted Secondary School in Jeddah, said: “Congratulations from the bottom of my heart to every teacher. You are the educators of generations and engineers of minds.

“I would like to also thank every teacher who taught me and made an effort to help me reach what I am now.”

The Ministry of Education has contributed to the development of innovation in teaching methods, in particular in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Suliman Mukhtar, an English lecturer from Yanbu, said that being a teacher meant always learning more about the vocation and obtaining more professional development through exposure to different teaching methods.

He added: “We learn from our students and we get to have different perspectives when we face challenges.

“As we interact with different age groups and different backgrounds of students, this helps us to try new strategies and techniques, and it is all fun that we get to experience this and learn more from it.”

The Ministry of Education continues to implement projects and programs for the educational professional, in addition to building a system for professional development in the public education sector.