Crown prince mediates in Russia-Ukraine prisoner release

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held successful mediation sessions to release ten prisoners from various countries from Russia. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held successful mediation sessions to release ten prisoners from various countries from Russia. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held successful mediation sessions to release ten prisoners from various countries from Russia. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held successful mediation sessions to release ten prisoners from various countries from Russia. (SPA)
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Updated 22 September 2022

Crown prince mediates in Russia-Ukraine prisoner release

Crown prince mediates in Russia-Ukraine prisoner release
  • Move based on Crown Prince’s efforts to adopt humanitarian initiatives toward Russian-Ukrainian crisis
  • Prince Mohammed has continuously worked with other countries to mitigate repercussions of the war

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held successful mediation sessions to release ten prisoners from various countries as part of a prisoner exchange process between Russia and Ukraine.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement the move was based on the support of Prince Mohammed and in continuation of his efforts to adopt humanitarian initiatives toward the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

The Saudi crown prince, who has continuously worked with global countries to mitigate the repercussions of the war, held successful mediations in releasing prisoners from Morocco, the US, UK, Sweden, and Croatia, where their release was part of a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, it added.

“The relevant Saudi authorities received and transferred them from Russia to the Kingdom, and are facilitating procedures for their safe return to their respective countries,” the ministry added.

The ministry also expressed thanks and appreciation that the Russian and Ukrainian governments were able to cooperate with the Saudi government in facilitating and responding to the Saudi crown prince’s efforts to release the prisoners.

Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the Crown Prince’s successful mediation efforts demonstrates the Kingdom’s commitment to global peace and security, and its belief in the importance of dialogue.

He said in a tweet that “The Kingdom is grateful for the cooperation and good-will shown by Ukraine and Russia towards the Crown Prince’s mediation efforts to secure the release of POW’s from five nations.”

He added that constructive dialogue is the best path forward to ending this conflict.

 

 

British Prime Minister Liz Truss welcomed the release and transfer to Riyadh of five UK prisoners.

The prime minister, who is in New York, tweeted: “Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families.”

She thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Saudi Arabia for helping free the detainees.

Newly-appointed British foreign minister James Cleverly said he welcomed the safe return of Ukrainian prisoners of war and one civilian, including 5 British nationals, and said: “I'd like to express my gratitude to President Zelensky and HRH Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman for their efforts and assistance.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call with Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who reassured the US offical of the safety of the two American prisoners received from Russia, and stressed the Crown Prince's keenness on preserving their safety.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde also said on Twitter that the Swedish citizen, held in Donetsk, "has now been detained and is well". She, too, thanked Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. 

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic thanked Saudi and Ukrainian authorities for their efforts and cooperation.

He also said on Twitter that he spoke with the released Croatian prisoner, adding that they look forward to his return to Croatia.

British MP Robert Jenrick said Twitter that one of the British detainees, Aiden Aslin, was one of his constituents — Aslin had been sentenced to death in June after being captured by pro-Russian separatists.

Jenrick said the British detainees were “on their way back to the UK” and that Aslin’s family “could finally be at peace.”

 

Bahrain early on Thursday welcomed  the Saudi mediation effort.

Bahrain’s foreign ministry commended the move as “one of the leading diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives of Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud in ensuring the settlement of regional and international conflicts by diplomatic means, and supporting efforts to establish regional and global peace and stability.”

Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive and recaptured land taken by Russia in northeast and southern Ukraine in the past week, including the towns of Izyum and Kupiansk and around Kharkiv.

On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization, with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu saying 300,000 reservists would be called up to protect what the Kremlin claims are its lands.

On Tuesday, Prince Mohammed met with a special envoy of Zelensky, during which he “affirmed the Kingdom’s keenness and support for all international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis politically and its continuation of its efforts to contribute to alleviating the humanitarian effects resulting from it.”


LEAP23 tech conference launches competitions with $1.6 million prize pool

LEAP23 tech conference launches competitions with $1.6 million prize pool
Updated 06 February 2023

LEAP23 tech conference launches competitions with $1.6 million prize pool

LEAP23 tech conference launches competitions with $1.6 million prize pool
  • Cash prizes are on offer in the Rocket Fuel competition and Alibaba Cloud Hackathon
  • Both events aim to support startups and projects in addressing technical challenges 

RIYADH: The LEAP23 conference in Riyadh launched the Rocket Fuel competition and Alibaba Cloud hackathon, with more than SR6 million ($1.6 million) in cash prizes on offer.

Being held at the Front Expo Center until Thursday, both events aim to support startups and projects in addressing technical challenges through innovative solutions.

Supported by the National Technology Development Program and the Misk Foundation, the Rocket Fuel competition will see 90 global startups competing for a chance to be among 15 presented to a jury.

Divided into six categories, the competition offers cash prizes amounting to SR4 million, including the LEAP Award, which offers $250,000 to the strongest and most prominent company.

The Rising Star Award, worth $150,000, will go to the startup with the strongest start.

The Aviatrix Award and the Technology for Humanity Award — worth $150,000 each — will go to the best women-led creative startup company and the startup that best serves humanity, respectively.

Two “Towards new horizons and artificial intelligence” awards, with a value of $300,000, will also be given to winners of the best startup working in the field of metaverse and Web3, as well as the best emerging company that provides artificial intelligence solutions.

The Alibaba Cloud hackathon, sponsored by the Saudi Telecom Company, will enhance cloud technology in the Kingdom through several challenges and SR2 million in prize money.

The event targets amateurs as well as local and international professionals in sectors including education, health technology, government, logistics services, e-commerce and artificial intelligence.


Saudi crown prince offers condolences to Erdogan after Turkiye quake

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (SPA/Reuters)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (SPA/Reuters)
Updated 06 February 2023

Saudi crown prince offers condolences to Erdogan after Turkiye quake

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered his condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (SPA/Reuters)
  • Prince Mohammed also offered his condolences to the families of victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery
  • Major earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 2,600 people on Monday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered his condolences to Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and people after an earthquake rocked the country on Monday.

The major earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 2,600 people and flattening thousands of buildings as rescuers dug frantically for survivors.

Prince Mohammed also offered his condolences to the families of victims and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

He added that the Kingdom stands with and supports Turkiye in the face of the natural disaster.

Erdogan thanked the crown prince and said he appreciates the Kingdom’s support in these difficult circumstances.

Multi-storey apartment buildings full of residents were among the 3,400 structures reduced to rubble in Turkey, while Syria announced dozens of collapses, as well as damage to archaeological sites in Aleppo.


Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman
Updated 59 min 15 sec ago

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman

Royal Commission for AlUla reconstructs face of 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman
  • Leila Chapman, an expert in narrative experiences at the RCU, said that observing Hinat will provide visitors with an immersive historical experience through insights into the history of the Nabataeans and their civilization

JEDDAH: The facial structure of a 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman from the AlUla region has been reconstructed by experts from the Royal Commission for AlUla.

They used the skeleton of the woman, dubbed “Hinat,” who authorities believed died in the first century B.C. The reconstruction will be displayed for the public in the visitor’s center at the Hegra historical site in AlUla from Feb. 6.

The skeleton was discovered inside a tomb in the UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.

Human remains, skin and hair, along with textiles, leather and other substances were also discovered, as was an inscription that said that the tomb belonged to “Hinat, the daughter of Wahbu.”

Studies confirmed the importance of Hinat’s position in the Nabataean community, as she had possessed sufficient wealth to obtain her own tomb in Hegra.

A number of experts on Nabataean civilization issued a biography of Hinat, equipped with pictures of her clothes and jewelry as a background to her facial reconstruction.

They were joined by a production team with experience in anthropology, reconstruction and physical model-making.

The reconstruction aims to give visitors the opportunity to learn about the ancient history of the region.

Helen McGauran, an expert in organizing heritage exhibitions, said: “The process of restoring Hinat’s facial features combined both scientific accuracy and contemporary artistic development to expand our understanding about the Nabataean civilization, which still offers many secrets and stories, and sheds light on the history of AlUla.”

Leila Chapman, an expert in narrative experiences at the RCU, said that observing Hinat will provide visitors with an immersive historical experience through insights into the history of the Nabataeans and their civilization.

Laila Neamah, co-director of the Hegra project, oversaw the selection of appropriate models for the reconstruction.

The RCU seeks to preserve the heritage of the region, as well as attract visitors and residents.

The commission’s “Journey Through Time” plan involves the launch of the “Kingdom’s Institute” in the Dadan area.

The design of the structure will be inspired by the Dadan civilization.

 


Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts
Updated 06 February 2023

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts

Deloitte CEO Mutasem Dajani highlights emerging technology assisting Kingdom’s sustainability efforts
  • Collaboration with giga-projects in Saudi Arabia
  • GreenLight is firm’s decarbonization initiative

RIYADH: Deloitte is participating for the first time as a designated innovation and emerging technology partner at LEAP 2023, and has highlighted an initiative that is assisting the Kingdom’s firms and projects with their sustainability efforts.

The second edition of the event, being held from Feb. 6-9, hosts more than 700 leaders in technology and investment from 50 countries.

During the event, Deloitte’s CEO Mutasem Dajani, told Arab News that one of the tools on display at their booth is “GreenLight, which enables organizations to figure out decarbonization, regardless of where they are on the sustainability spectrum.”

“We are working with the leading project owners and developers in terms of the transformation that’s going on across the giga-projects in the Kingdom. And we’re really proud of that work that we’re doing,” he added.

“We feel it’s not only transforming the society and the communities, but also people’s individual career prospects through the work experiences that we offer.”

Visitors can also learn about drone- and robot-hacking.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with MOZN, a technology company that has created AI solutions for fighting financial crime and bolstering the financial services industry in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, said Dajani.

MOZN announced earlier that it is participating as a Bronze Sponsor in the conference. They are showcasing their myriad AI-powered offerings, including financial intelligence products and solutions to address compliance, natural-language understanding and risk challenges for organizations in various industries.

In a comment earlier, Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, founder and CEO of MOZN, said: “We are thrilled to return to LEAP 2023 and demonstrate our innovative AI-powered products and solutions to a global audience of disruptive tech professionals.”

Dajani said he was proud of the “leap of faith that the Kingdom has taken in terms of positioning itself around technology in … the new digital economy in the Middle East and Africa.”

Deloitte has hired over 3,000 professionals across the region in 18 months to respond to growing market demand.

Some of Deloitte’s speakers during LEAP include Dr. Amira Khattab, a partner for cyber and strategic risk, Saudamini Dubey, lead partner for digital transformation, and Costi Perricos, the firm’s global AI leader.


A cooperation between Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo's tech company, Footlab arrives in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa's Footlab has partnered with Saudi company Confrontation Entertainment. (Supplied/Footlab)
Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa's Footlab has partnered with Saudi company Confrontation Entertainment. (Supplied/Footlab)
Updated 06 February 2023

A cooperation between Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo's tech company, Footlab arrives in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa's Footlab has partnered with Saudi company Confrontation Entertainment. (Supplied/Footlab)
  • Partnership between Portuguese legends is the world’s first indoor football measurements, performance and training park
  • Footlab has signed an agreement with Kingdom’s Confrontation Entertainment company

Saudi entertainment company Confrontation Entertainment has signed an exclusive franchise agreement with Footlab, a partnership by Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa.

Footlab, a cooperation between the Portuguese football legends through Ronaldo’s tech company 7EGEND, started from an idea to bring to life a blend of e-gaming, real-life football and technology. It is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, and opened in 2018.

At the platform, players can train, compete and keep track of their real-time performance data within different stations in the park, which are all connected in a digital ecosystem.

Footlab was designed with the next generation of football players in mind, providing players and trainers with the tools they need to measure and track performance in real time and use that information to create personalized development.

The technology behind it was developed in-house by Sports Scientists, a team of software and hardware engineers, UX designers, AI and data experts, to deliver the world’s leading football data-driven experience.

Luis Parafita, Footlab world CEO, expressed his gratitude for entering the Saudi market through this agreement. “Sports is an integral component of Saudi Arabia’s transformative Vision 2030, and we are thankful for the unconditional support of our partners and the perfect timing to launch Footlab in all (of the) Kingdom, having Cristiano here and world attention for what lies ahead.”

“Footlab aspires to change the game in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he pointed out, “with elite facilities and coaching staff dedicated to the analysis and development of players, empowering teams and groups of friends with challenges, to test and improve their cognitive, physical and technical skills.”

Ahmed Madani, Confrontation Entertainment CEO, said the growth of the sports and entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia made this an ideal time to introduce innovative projects such as Footlab in the market.

He said this partnership was aligned with the Quality of Life Program, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 realization projects “which encourages the private sector to contribute to the development of the entertainment and sports sector, by offering an abundance of new experiences that contribute to raising the quality of life.”