TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has an exciting array of experiences on offer on the first day of the opening of Japan Tourism expo.
At, Tokyo Big Sight, the Saudi booth is providing visitors with a glimpse of its own unique cultural and landscape heritage through hands on experiences.
The expo is held as Japan hopes to revive the tourism industry which has been sluggish since the pandemic and the strict policy of closed doors to all foreigners, and only recently allowing a very limited number to enter.
At the Saudi Arabia booth, visitors are warmly invited to discover the mysterious charms of the country such as the city of Jeddah, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exhibitors in national costume invite visitors to stay for a moment of relaxation with tea served in the traditional way.
Visitors can also take selfies in front of a virtual landscape that they will have previously selected using a QR code available on the stand, and imagine that they are standing in the desert.
The organizers of the show hope to welcome more than 150,000 visitors over three days.
16 qualify for semifinals of international Qur’an recitation, adhan contest
Updated 9 sec ago
RIYADH: Abdullah Al-Dughri from Morocco and Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE were the last two competitors to qualify for the semifinals of the international Qur’an recitation and adhan (call to prayer) competition.
Sixteen participants from 13 countries have now qualified for the competition’s semifinals, aired on the “Otr Elkalam” TV show.
The show, supervised by the General Entertainment Authority, and broadcast on MBC1 and the Shahid digital platform, has a total prize pool of SR12 million ($3.2 million).
The competition is designed to highlight the diversity of cultures in the Islamic world, and the vocal methods of reciting the Qur’an and raising the call to prayer.
Semifinal qualifiers are from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, the UK, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Germany and Spain.
The semifinals in Qur’an recitation kicked off on Saturday with the participation of Mohammed Nour from Ethiopia, Salah Edin Metebid from Germany, Ahmad Alsayyed Ismail from Egypt, Abdulaziz Al-Faqih from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Al-Dughri and Zakariya Al-Zirk from Morocco, Yunis Shahmaradi from Iran, and Mohammad Al-Habti from Spain.
The adan category will see the participation of Mohammed Hafez Al-Rahman and Ibrahim Assad from the UK, Issa Al-Jaadi from Yemen, Mohammed Al-Sharif from Saudi Arabia, Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE, Rahif Al-Hajj from Lebanon, Dialdin from Indonesia, and Riyan Hosawi from Nigeria.
More than 50,000 entrants from 165 countries were whittled down to just 50 for the finals, held in Riyadh.
A jury of five members specialized in the Qur’an, maqams and vocal pitches evaluated contestants during the competition.
The jury consists of Sheikh Ahmed Nahas, the muezzin of the Grand Mosque in Makkah; Sheikh Mishari bin Rashed Al-Afasy, a reciter and imam of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait; Abdul Rahim Nabulsi, secretary-general of Reciters and Teaching Recitation in Morocco; Bahloul Saeed Abu Arqoub, an expert in maqamat and a judge in international Qur’anic competitions from Libya; and Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, leading reciter of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt.
In addition to the main jury, Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani, former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will serve as general supervisor of the competition, and Fahad Al-Andas, an imam and preacher at the King Faisal Air Academy for 27 years, will be the secretary-general of the competition.
Saudi Crown Prince calls UAE’s newly appointed officials
The leaders highlighted the solid bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and UAE
Updated 44 min 49 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held phone calls with the newly appointed senior officials of the UAE on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Earlier this week, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed appointed his eldest son Sheikh Khaled as the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and his brother Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan as vice president of the UAE.
He also named his other brothers Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al-Nahyan the deputy rulers of Abu Dhabi.
The crown prince congratulated the officials on their new leadership roles, sharing hopes that the new appointments would enhance the UAE’s path towards prosperity and progress, and contribute to achieving people’s aspirations.
During the phone calls, the leaders highlighted the solid bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
On Thursday, King Salman and the crown prince sent cables of congratulations to the UAE president upon the new appointments.
Saudi Arabia among top 5 donors for Turkiye quake fund
UN raises quarter of $1 bn Turkey quake funds target
On Feb 6 a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 50,000 in Turkiye and nearly 6,000 in Syria leaving entire cities in ruins
Updated 01 April 2023
RIYADH: The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs on Friday thanked Saudi Arabia and other donor countries who contributed to raising over a quarter of the flash appeal issued by the UN following devastating earthquakes in Turkiye, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The UN said it had raised $268 million in response to the $1 billion humanitarian funding appeal for relief work in Turkiye following the 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6 and its aftershocks that devastated swathes of southeast Turkiye and parts of war-torn Syria.
OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said that 27 percent of the appeal had been funded and the largest donors were Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait, the European Commission, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, while urging countries to provide support and contribute to financing the appeal.
In #Türkiye, last month's earthquakes killed over 50,000 people and damaged over 300,000 buildings. To date, @UN and partners have reached
4M+ people with household items
3M+ with emergency food assistance
1.6M with WASH assistance
He said that the aid comes in support of the response led by the Turkish government, adding that 9 million people were directly affected by the quakes and 3 million people had been displaced.
On Feb. 16, the UN launched the $1 billion appeal to help more than five million people in Turkiye and a twin flash appeal for Syria to help survivors over the first three months. The latter has raised $364 million of the $398 million requested.
The UN and other humanitarian agencies have reached more than 4.1 million people with basic household items and clothes, and 3 million with emergency food aid, while more than 700,000 people have received support to improve their living arrangements, including tents, relief housing units, and tent repair tools, Laerke said.
We have news today on our #Türkiye#earthquake response.@UN & partners have reached 4.1M ppl with relief items for cooking, heating, sleeping.
He added that 1.6 million have received water, hygiene and sanitation assistance and about 1 million liters of drinking water were delivered.
The UN humanitarian agency’s spokesman said that the Turkish Ministry of Health has been supported with 4.6 million vaccine doses, and 16 mobile health clinics, in addition to medicines and medical supplies for reproductive health and treatment of trauma and injuries.
“Now we are involved in the humanitarian emergency phase, where we look at what the survivors need,” Laerke told reporters in Geneva. With AFP
Smile brighter in Ramadan with the magic of miswak
Local sellers note increase in sales of teeth-cleaning twig during the holy month
Updated 01 April 2023
RIYADH: As the holy month of Ramadan begins, Muslims across the world are observing fasts that require abstinence from all food and drink from dawn to dusk.
The blessed month is rooted in faith, history and culture, and few practices emphasize that as much as the use of miswak, a teeth-cleaning twig. Many Muslims use miswak during the day to maintain freshness, oral hygiene and to protect overall dental health. In the Islamic tradition, using miswak is a well-known sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Various ahadith document the elevated status and significance of miswak. Abu Hurairah once narrated that the Prophet said, “Were it not (for the fear) of overburdening my Ummah, I would have ordered them to (brush their teeth with) Siwak at every Salat.” (Sahih Muslim)
Aisha narrated that the Prophet said, “The siwak is a means of purifying the mouth and pleasing the Rabb.” (Nasai)
Abu Hurairah further narrated that the Prophet said once on a Friday, “O Community of Muslims! Allah has made this day an Eid for you, so take a bath and needfully brush your teeth with siwak.” (Tabarani, Majma’uz-Zawaid)
In Saudi Arabia, miswak is typically sourced from the Salvadora persica L. trees, known as arak in Arabic. The variety is also found in Sudan, Egypt and Chad. The bitter-tasting palm or olive trees are also used for miswak. The neem tree is a popular option in South Asia.
• Miswak has even gained recognition beyond the Arab region. The World Health Organization recommended the use of miswak for oral hygiene in 1986 and in 2000.
• There is now increasing scientific evidence that miswak has medicinal properties and helps fight plaque, recession of gums, tooth decay, bleeding gums and deep periodontal pockets.
Miswak can be sourced from various trees except for those known to cause harm, such as pomegranate and myrtle trees.
The arak trees contribute to environmental sustainability and preservation as well. In various parts of the Arab region, the arak trees are indigenous to arid regions and planting them reduces desertification where little else is capable of growing. This also helps local communities across the Middle East to develop a sustainable income while preserving an important part of their cultural and religious heritage.
Miswak has even gained recognition beyond the Arab region. The World Health Organization recommended the use of miswak for oral hygiene in 1986 and in 2000.
There is now increasing scientific evidence that miswak has medicinal properties and helps fight plaque, recession of gums, tooth decay, bleeding gums and deep periodontal pockets.
“The repeated process of chewing sticks releases fresh sap and silica (a hard glossy mineral), which acts as an abrasive material to remove stains,” noted a study conducted by a panel of dentists at King Saud University.
The study identified 19 natural substances found in miswak that benefit dental health. It contains natural antiseptics that kill harmful microorganisms in the mouth, tannic acids that protect gums from disease, and aromatic oils that increase salivation. Researchers also noted that the miswak bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular, therefore it can reach areas that a conventional toothbrush often fails to.
Mohammed bin Zahid, a dentist, said that miswak is a “natural toothbrush” that, among other benefits, also “creates a fragrance in the mouth and sharpens memory.”
Sales of miswak tend to triple in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan as people opt for the traditional hygiene technique. Ahead of Ramadan, every shop ensures that miswak is available for buyers and it is often placed at the prime location of the check-out counter.
Abdullah Al-Otaibi, a miswak seller in Riyadh, said: “I am expecting sales to rise during Ramadan by almost 300 percent.”
Bilal, a miswak vendor near a mosque in Al-Wazarat district in Riyadh, said that his daily profit during Ramadan tends to be anywhere between SR50-SR200.
To use a miswak, simply chew off about one centimeter of the twig at one end and then continue to chew it until it softens and forms bristles. The softening can be sped up by dipping the end in water to separate the fibers. Once bristles are formed, the miswak can be used like a regular toothbrush, without paste.
Saudi transport minister inspects services, operational plans at King Abdulaziz Airport
The minister toured the screening points that were equipped by Jeddah Airports Company to regulate the entry of Umrah buses to the terminal facilities
Updated 31 March 2023
JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, who is also chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, accompanied by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, head of GACA, and number of senior officials, inspected the facilities and services at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Al-Jasser checked the smooth flow of passengers and the progress of work to ensure it was in line with the approved operational plan during the current Umrah season.
The minister toured the screening points that were equipped by Jeddah Airports Company to regulate the entry of Umrah buses to the terminal facilities. He was also briefed on the work and tasks carried out by the team in charge of the control and rapid intervention room.
Al-Jasser also inspected the control center, the passports and security procedures area, and the travel check-in area, and was briefed on the system for receiving pilgrims.
He was given a visual presentation on the operational plans implemented by Jeddah Airports with the participation of more than 27 governmental, security and operational agencies.