KSRelief signs $10m deals with WHO, UNICEF to prevent spread of measles, polio

KSRelief signs $10m deals with WHO, UNICEF to prevent spread of measles, polio
KSrelief Supervisor-General, WHO Director General, and UNICEF Executive Director at the signing of the agreements. (SPA)
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Updated 19 October 2022

KSRelief signs $10m deals with WHO, UNICEF to prevent spread of measles, polio

KSRelief signs $10m deals with WHO, UNICEF to prevent spread of measles, polio
  • Agreements will secure vaccines, medical and lab equipment in 5 countries

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has signed agreements with the World Health Organization and UNICEF to combat the spread of measles and polio in several countries, the Saudi Press Agency has reported.

KSRelief Supervisor-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell were signatories to the $10 million agreements which were signed on the sidelines of the World Health Summit in Berlin.

The first deal, signed with WHO, aims to prevent the spread of measles and polio in Somalia, Sudan and Iraq, while the second agreement, with UNICEF, looks to combat the diseases in Congo, Central Africa, Guinea, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The agreements also seek to support cooling chains to store vaccinations through the use of electric generators or solar panels, cover operational costs for campaigns, and aid the program by hiring experts from WHO and UNICEF.

Al-Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia has a pivotal role to play in relief and humanitarian fields, and that the Kingdom has always lent its support to countries seeking help out of its belief in the importance of such supportive work.

He noted that the two agreements formed part of international efforts to prevent and limit the outbreak of disease for millions of children, and commended the strategic partnership between Saudi Arabia, WHO and UNICEF.


First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah
Updated 9 sec ago

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah

First Saudi independent cinema set to open in Jeddah
  • Hayy Cinema includes a 168-seat theater, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library, and an educational exhibition space
  • It’s founders said it aims to expand the cinema experience by serving as a meeting point to watch, discover, research and learn about films, and exchange knowledge

JEDDAH: Art Jameel has announced that the first Saudi independent cinema will open on Dec. 6, coinciding with the second Red Sea International Film Festival. It said Hayy Cinema, in Jeddah’s Hayy Jameel, aims to expand the cinema experience by serving as a meeting point to watch, discover, research and learn about films, and exchange knowledge.

Developed in collaboration with RSIFF, it features a 168-seat main theater, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library and an educational exhibition space.

The cinema’s founders said it will celebrate the legends of the golden age of Arab cinema, and early screening highlights include a retrospective of five newly restored versions of groundbreaking films by Egyptian master Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab world’s most internationally acclaimed filmmakers.

It will also present an exhibition highlighting the contribution of renowned photographer Gamal Fahmy to the revolutionary force of filmmaking in the region.

“This is Saudi’s first bespoke independent picture house, developed to nurture the local film scene — not only filmmakers but also the audiences who appreciate them,” said Antonia Carver, the director of Art Jameel.

“Via a year-round program of films from Saudi, the region and the world, as well as talks, exhibitions and film festivals held across its various community spaces, the cinema becomes a convivial site of convening, opening up a whole new world of storytelling and imagination.

“We believe that Hayy Cinema’s focus on presenting and documenting the great breadth of global cinema, and in tracing the history of cinemas and films from the Gulf, complements the blockbusters of Saudi’s fast-growing commercial scene and government-led industry initiatives.”

The founders said that through carefully curated retrospectives and archival exhibitions, the cinema invites audiences to discover important films and learn more about the historical influence the independent film industry has had on social and political trends.

Its opening schedule includes five groundbreaking films by Chahine: “Alexandria… Why?” (“Iskindereya… Leh,” 1978); “Alexandria Again And Forever” (“Iskendereya Kaman we Kaman,” 1989); “Adieu Bonaparte” (“Al-Wedaa Ya Bonaparte,” 1985); “The Sixth Day” (“Al-Yom El-Sades,” 1986); and “Return Of The Prodigal Son” (“Awdet El-Ibn El-Dal,” 1976).

Zohra Ait El-Jamar, senior manager of Hayy Cinema, said: “The opening of Hayy Cinema in Jeddah captures a moment of increasing passion and support for local and global cinema in Saudi.

“The collaboration with RSIFF for the opening program of Hayy Cinema speaks to the ethos of Art Jameel: Our model has long been dynamic and adaptive, working with many partnering institutions to build programming collaborations anchored in the specific context of our creative community’s needs and aspirations.

“I thank the team at RSIFF and look forward to continuing to work with the festival and the Saudi film community to build ever-greater appreciation for cinema across the Kingdom.”

The cinema’s opening day also marks the first anniversary of Hayy Jameel, a dedicated complex for the arts and creativity in Jeddah that is one of two Art Jameel institutions.

Art Jameel works to support artists and nurture creative communities. Founded and supported by the Jameel family philanthropies, it describes its programs, commissions, research, learning initiatives and community buildings as being grounded in a dynamic understanding of the arts as being fundamental to life and accessible to all.

The cinema’s opening program marks the second collaboration between Art Jameel and RSIFF; in December last year, Hayy Jameel hosted “Red Sea: Immersive,” a selection of what it described as significant and era-defining virtual reality projects curated by Liz Rosenthal.

The second RSIFF begins today in Jeddah and continues until Dec. 10. Its program includes 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries, in 41 languages, including seven features and 24 shorts from Saudi Arabia.


Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors
Updated 10 min 30 sec ago

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

Indian craftsman astonishes Boulevard World visitors

RIYADH: An Indian craftsman amazed visitors to Boulevard World, one of the 15 entertainment zones in Riyadh Season, by making ornaments with natural colors and fire.

The craftsman, Shand Mohammed, traveled from India to Boulevard World to present the history of his profession to visitors of Riyadh Season by crafting accessories and prayer beads.

He dazzled visitors to the zone with his skill in mixing natural colors derived from tree resin with fire and preparing them for sale within five minutes.

Mohammed has been practicing his craft, which he learned from his ancestors, for more than 35 years.

His sons also accompanied him to introduce the public to their goods and products, which have been a major attraction for visitors, especially the colorful prayer beads and accessories.

The history behind the art, according to Mohammed, is as old as India itself, as it has constituted one of the most prominent traditions in the country.

As part of the Boulevard World activities, the India subzone, where Mohammed showcased his craft, has attracted much attention from Riyadh Season visitors, with its luxury handmade goods and its buildings and streets modeled after traditional Indian architecture.

Boulevard World receives visitors daily from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. Entry tickets can be booked via the link: https://riyadhseason.sa/event-details-en.html?id=786/en_Boulevard_World.

Visitors to Boulevard World can also learn about different world cultures through subzones inspired by China, Italy, France, Morocco, Spain, America, Japan, Greece and Mexico.

For both families and individuals, Boulevard World is a premier entertainment destination, featuring a host of experiences, including rides in hot air balloons, submarines and boats.

It has the largest man-made lake in the world, where boats can travel between cities through 11 stations. It also offers the Area 15 experience from Las Vegas; The Sphere, the biggest spherical theater in the world; a city for game fans; comic book and anime-themed activities; and plenty of family-friendly entertainment options.

Visitors can enjoy a ride in a Venetian gondola, taste American cuisine, shop for the best Spanish products and watch flamenco shows.


International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition kicks off in Riyadh

International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition kicks off in Riyadh
Updated 17 min 7 sec ago

International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition kicks off in Riyadh

International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition kicks off in Riyadh

RIYADH: The eighth International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition has kicked off at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center with the participation of more than 300 local and international institutions from across the world.

Continuing until Dec. 3, the exhibition aims to attract investors, importers and seekers of new investments in the coffee and chocolate field and provide a platform to launch new products.

The Saudi Barista Championship, accredited with the World Barista Championship, will see the winner travel to Athens to represent Saudi Arabia in the international contest.

The exhibition has also prepared workshops and courses specializing in coffee and chocolate.

It will feature the Coffee Race Zone, a recreational area for adults and kids with virtual reality VR games and a small race-car circuit, and a Coffee Talk area, which will bring together prominent coffee and business experts with the public to talk about topics related to coffee and investment in the field.

Culinary professionals and amateurs will also have an opportunity to compete with the Cooking Platform, which will see four chefs challenged daily to prepare a special dessert.

The exhibition attracts government agencies, entrepreneurs, producers and exhibitors for coffee and chocolate products and equipment, as well as a number of donors.


Music and Web3: an intro to the state of the industry in the metaverse 

Music and Web3: an intro to the state of the industry in the metaverse 
Updated 30 November 2022

Music and Web3: an intro to the state of the industry in the metaverse 

Music and Web3: an intro to the state of the industry in the metaverse 

RIYADH: Artists and industry professionals have an essential role to play in manifesting and entering the new dimension of the metaverse and Web3, a version of the internet based on blockchain. 

From full-fledged concerts and music scenes to audio-visual art, the metaverse is slowly becoming the newest music market to tap into. 

At the XP Music Futures conference, industry leaders and experts explored the various ways musicians, managers and record labels can use the platform to transform the music industry. With Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing immersive and artificial intelligence technologies under Vision 2030, it is slowly becoming one of the fastest-growing markets globally. 

“We have all the new and human resources needed to create the city of the future,” Noor Said, A&R and product manager at MDLBEAST, said. 

“I believe what’s driving this big investment in the metaverse and AI is…the current situation of the country…We are already very connected to online content.”

The AI-driven metaverse provides infinite opportunities for creators to elevate music and create unprecedented immersive experiences through emerging technologies, such as non-fungible token concerts, music videos, brands, marketplaces and fan royalties. 

Sensorium’s Art Director and Deputy CEO Sasha Tityanko said: “The road to (virtual reality) adoption, as you might know, has been notoriously bumpy. Headsets have been clunky, heavy and uncomfortable to use, and entering a virtual reality game, for example, was the sort of thing we could not do. 

Fortunately, the hardware and software are evolving every day, and the concept is becoming more sophisticated and engaging…in particular, innovations in smartphone hardware coupled with state-of-the-art VR-compatible headsets. I expect (it) to be a significant market driver in the next decade.”

There are also massive advancements with 5G networks, with benefits in VR to reduced latency, delivering a smoother, richer and more engrossing user experience. 

Artists are given endless possibilities to manage their digital presence and performances; creators can generate a photorealistic avatar that mimics real-life goals and can adapt to different stages of their creative journey. 

Companies like Sensorium work to help artists and creators realize the most ambitious artist distributions with the help of this emerging technology. 

Since gravity and real-life limitations are nonexistent in the metaverse, designers can experiment with thousands of 3D architectural assets and elements, including virtual infrastructures, colors and lighting effects, to create limitless stages and concert venues.

For fans within cyber-physical distance, fans can have exclusive opportunities to engage in meet-and-greets, create stronger connections with the fandom communities, and experience a performance through the artists’ perspectives. 

While the concept sounds intriguing, the reality can play out very differently. One of the key challenges is that many of the biggest players in Web3 are intermediaries. Power is far from equitable, making ownership over blockchain networks unequally distributed and concentrated in the hands of early adopters and venture capitalists.

While legitimate actionable laws, rules and regulations have not been set around NFT and Web3 usage globally, there are few ways outside of the platform by which musicians can secure their rights.

However, creators and brands can use existing commercial rights and copyrights. For example, Gucci recently designed a virtual Roblox purse, which sold for over 25 percent of the retail price. The same can apply to music artists in terms of album covers, streams and track releases. 

In a more innovative approach, Dutch DJ Don Diablo made history by selling the first feature-length concert NFT film for $1.2 million last year. 

“The metaverse is innovative…Intellectual property in the metaverse world is very deep and has a very clear presence. We just need to unlock it,” Dr. Al-Hanoof Al-Debasi, executive director for copyright at the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, told Arab News. 

“There are no laws in the metaverse…It’s a new technology, and the whole world is still unsure how to deal with it because they need to understand it first, as well as where the boundaries for one country end and where another begins.”

Her advice for aspiring artists looking to venture into the metaverse is to create their innovations in the physical world and file for registration, patents and copyrights, making sure to have physical documentation. 

After establishing concrete rights, they can then take their innovations to an emerging world. 


King Abdulaziz Camel Festival kicks off on Thursday

King Abdulaziz Camel Festival kicks off on Thursday
Updated 30 November 2022

King Abdulaziz Camel Festival kicks off on Thursday

King Abdulaziz Camel Festival kicks off on Thursday
  • The festival will feature entertainment, including cultural and heritage shows, and popular markets such as Al-Dahna Market
  • Several different breeds of camels will participate in around 75 competitions

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Camel Festival will start on Thursday with the participation of thousands of camels that will compete for dozens of prizes worth over SR100 million ($26 million).
The 45-day festival, which is one of the largest camel festivals in the Middle East, has become a cultural, tourist, sports, entertainment and economic destination for citizens and residents of the Kingdom, and Gulf nationals in particular.
Held 130 km north of Riyadh, the festival will feature entertainment, including cultural and heritage shows, and popular markets such as Al-Dahna Market.
Several different breeds of camels will participate in around 75 competitions.
Journalist Ayedh Al-Abdullah told Arab News that the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival is an important part of the national economy as it attracts domestic, regional and foreign tourists, and creates job opportunities for both men and women.
A large number of foreign delegates visit the festival and enjoy its various activities, Al-Abdullah said. Featured at the festival are also a seasonal commercial market and booths and food trucks, where local families can sell their goods.
“The festival is of great importance as it shows Saudi culture and authentic heritage. It’s an invitation to get to know the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia closely,” Al-Abdullah said.
“The camels have cultural and historical value in the economy of the Arabian Peninsula,” he said, describing the festival as “a unique opportunity” to highlight this for younger generations.
Zael Al-Daihani, one of the camel owners who will be present at the festival, told Arab news: “This is an opportunity to keep our heritage alive and highlight the importance of camels in our history.
“Winning is a symbolic matter, just a recognition of your efforts and an indication that your camels are the best. The competition is a regional event full of events and opportunities to meet new people and reunite with old friends,” he added.
Last year’s camel festival featured more than 70 rounds of competition, over a period of 43 days, with prizes amounting to approximately SR250 million.