RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Health, represented by Seha Virtual Hospital and the Innovation Empowerment Center, on Wednesday signed a joint cooperation agreement with information technology company Alphaiota to develop work in artificial intelligence and data analysis.
Deputy CEO of Seha Khaled bin Hussein Al-Qamash and Alphaiota CEO Thamir bin Saleh Al-Ballaa signed the agreement.
Seha Virtual Hospital and the Innovation Empowerment Center recently launched a safe environment platform for health innovations that will encourage individual and corporate innovators to provide solutions in digital health and AI.
The platform will offer innovators an experimental environment in partnership with relevant sectors.
Seha Virtual Hospital was launched in February this year as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to digitize its healthcare sector, which forms part of the nation’s Vision 2030 program.
Connected to 152 hospitals and covering more than 34 subspecialties throughout Saudi Arabia, Seha Virtual Hospital claims to be the largest of its kind in the world and the first in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Patients no longer need to travel to different parts of the Kingdom to be seen by specialized physicians, and are not limited to regular clinic hours.
Saudi ministry introduces 3 new fonts to celebrate Kingdom’s culture
The fonts, celebrating the Kingdom’s culture, will be available free of charge
Updated 26 sec ago
RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture on Monday launched an initiative creating three new Saudi fonts.
The fonts, celebrating the Kingdom’s culture, will be available free of charge to individuals and organizations wishing to use them in design, artistic, and creative works, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The Masmak font has been named after the historic Masmak Fortress, characterized by its durability and strong structure. The font has been described as clear and easy to read and was developed without reference to traditional calligraphy methods, the SPA said.
The second new font, Al-Naseeb, resembles handwritten notes, and has been recommended for use in headlines, texts, literary works, poetry, and children’s stories.
Watad, the third font, was inspired by the tent peg with its letters having curved corners. Its suggested use was for text relating to festivals and sporting events.
The Ministry of Culture launched the initiative in celebration of the Arabic language. In a statement, it said: “It is introducing a unique touch that gives a Saudi identity to Arabic fonts and celebrates Saudi heritage and cultural symbols.”
French-speaking Saudis host cultural night in Jeddah
Updated 26 min 53 sec ago
JEDDAH: French-speaking Saudis recently hosted a cultural event for the Francophone community for the first time in Jeddah, at the Quorana campsite.
The French Club of Jeddah hosted the first Saudi Francophone Night to showcase Saudi culture as part of the Francophonie Festival held in March each year.
The honorary guest, French Ambassador to the Kingdom Ludovic Pouille, said: “I am pleased to participate in this Francophone evening organized by the French Club of Jeddah at this new tourist site of Quorana on the occasion of the Francophonie Festival of this year.
“More than 88 countries have joined this community, as there are 321 million French speakers and 51 million people learning French.”
Visitors of various nationalities attended the event, designed by Fahd Al-Safah with recreational facilities that included tents and models of traditional buildings from different regions, such as the Hijazi House, the Southern Stone Fort, the Jizaniya Nest, the Najrani House, the Hail House, and the Heritage Well of Al-Mahala.
“We aimed to offer an immersive experience for visitors by presenting our culture and heritage in an entertaining way,” says Layan Damanhouri, a Saudi graduate of Sciences Po Paris where she studied political science.
While presenting a segment on the empowerment of Saudi women under Vision 2030, she said: “We chose to include a theme on women’s empowerment within the program to showcase the developments and milestones over the years, as well as to highlight important female figures in different fields who have achieved major successes.”
Sumaya Jokhdar, a graduate of English literature from King Abdulaziz University, said: “It was a wonderful experience thus far and an opportunity to present our traditional dress of the Hejaz region to visitors.”
Activities included camel riding in the desert, a visit to a national heritage museum displaying traditional dress, cultural items and materials, in addition to a French poetry recital translated into Arabic.
Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi joined the group after completing his law degree at Bordeaux University last year. He said: “We are here to celebrate Saudi tradition and values, including generosity, hospitality and maintaining strong family ties.”
Saudi pastry chefs Afrah and Mohammed Mashat, graduates of Le Cordon Bleu, the renowned culinary institute in Paris, participated in the event by presenting French sweets with a Saudi taste, such as macarons flavored with Saudi coffee.
A photo exhibition was also offered by photographer and decorator Fahd Al-Safah highlighting the diversity of the Kingdom’s regions.
The Francophonie Festival is held every March to promote the French language and cultural and linguistic diversity.
Saudi Arabia ranks second for world’s happiest people: Ipsos global survey
Of all the countries surveyed, Saudi Arabia came second for residents with the highest proportions of happiness
Updated 20 March 2023
Saudi Arabians are the second happiest group of citizens in the world according to a new survey.
The results of the new Ipsos global survey showed that 86 percent of residents in Saudi Arabia say they are “very or rather happy.”
This put Saudi Arabia second out the 32 countries that were polled.
China came in first with 91 percent, and the Netherlands third with a 85 percent, followed closely by India at 84 percent, and Brazil 83 percent.
Meanwhile respondents from Hungary, South Korea and Poland reported the lowest, ranging from 50 to 60 percent.
The US hovered around the middle of the pack, with 76 percent.
The survey found that on average, nearly three in four adults described themselves as “happy.”
With 73 percent of people on average saying they “happy,” the survey shows that global happiness has gone up by six points since last year.
Globally, people say they are most satisfied with their relationships with their friends and family.
First European Food Festival in Riyadh takes visitors on a culinary tour of Europe
Saudi Arabian Chefs Association hosts contest for Saudi and international cuisine
The participating countries at the festival presented visitors with an assortment of culinary specialities
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: Riyadh’s first European Food Festival brought unique flavors and experiences to visitors who embarked on a culinary journey of Europe in the heart of Saudi Arabia.
Organized by the EU delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the various embassies of EU member states, the Saudi Commission for Culinary Arts, and the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, the festival took place on March 16 and 17.
The festival was kicked off by Jaap Ora, project manager of the EU Embassy in Riyadh. In his speech, Ora expressed his joy at the organization of the event, which brings together several European countries to share their culinary traditions with their Saudi friends.
He mentioned loyal hotel partners, including the Hilton Hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel and others, and expressed his gratitude to all the partners including the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association, the Culinary Arts Commission, and Mayada Badr and her team for their generous support of the initiative and for bringing a Saudi element, namely Saudi coffee, to the event.
Ora told Arab News: “The idea of such a festival was born out of the mutual love shared by Europeans and Saudis for good food as well as our desire to show the diversity and quality of European food and share the richness and refinement of European cuisine available in Saudi Arabia.”
The idea of such a festival was born out of the mutual love shared by Europeans and Saudis for good food as well as our desire to show the diversity and quality of European food and share the richness and refinement of European cuisine available in Saudi Arabia.
Jaap Ora, Deputy head of EU mission to KSA
He added: “Countries share their culture among themselves. Those who come to Saudi Arabia from abroad admire the Saudi culinary traditions and hospitality. Tonight, we invite you to be travelers visiting Europe, experiencing the richness of European cuisine.”
The participating countries at the festival presented visitors with an assortment of culinary specialities.
Belgium delighted visitors with tender, lightly caramelized Liège waffles. The Czech Republic highlighted the best cronuts in Prague from the Oh Deer Bakery, while Denmark brought forth juice and cake with dried fruits. The Netherlands prepared Dutch waffles for festival-goers, a favorite among children.
French restaurant Chez Bruno presented risotto, pasta, and pizza, as well as cool lemonade with cucumbers, and elderflower syrup, which tastes a bit like litchi and is known for its medicinal properties.
Several prominent French bakeries were present at the festival, including La Grenier à Pain, La Vie Claire, Fareen, and Eric Kayser with croissants stuffed with frangipane or pistachio cream, savory croissants, madeleines, quiche, brioche, meringues, and macarons. The Crêpe House was loved by adults and children alike, who patiently stood in line and appreciated and enjoyed the festival atmosphere with its international colors and smells.
Italy was strongly represented with a wide variety at the Eataly stand, from lasagnas, cannelloni, pizza, and unbeatable gelato that brought the flavors and colors of Italy to the Kingdom.
Riyadh’s first European Food Festival brought unique flavors and experiences to visitors who embarked on a culinary journey of Europe in the heart of Saudi Arabia. The festival, which took place on March 16 and 17, was organized by the European Union delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the Embassies of the EU member states, the Saudi Commission for Culinary Arts, and the Diplomatic Quarter.
The Spanish pavilion, Azura Tour de Espana, conquered visitors’ taste buds with its paella. Halal versions of wine and beer also sparked curiosity.
A Flamenco group performed to a lively repertoire of Spanish songs, and the atmosphere of the festival was elevated by the warm singing and the graceful dancing.
The Delta Cafe from Portugal offered a variety of dome-shaped lotus cakes. The famous Portuguese music group Al-Manata, formed by Portuguese expatriates who met in Saudi Arabia, also presented a set of Portuguese songs.
Yasser Jad, president of the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association and a consultant for the culinary hotel industry, explained the association’s competition, held in conjunction with the festival, to Arab News.
“It is a two-day competition sponsored by Tamimi Market and Qasr Al-Awani. There are two categories, one for traditional and modern Saudi cuisine and one for international cuisine since the ingredients for it come from countries in the EU,” he said.
“The chef/candidate must present a starter and a main. They have one hour to finalize and present their dishes.”
He added that a jury of two will give a score based on pre-defined criteria that they had decided upon.
Experiments range from cell science to artificial rain in microgravity
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: The Saudi Space Commission has revealed the tasks and scientific research that will be conducted during the journey of Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni as part of a mission to the International Space Station later this year.
The commission announced that the two astronauts would carry out 11 pioneering experiments in microgravity during the flight, the results of which would help to enhance the Kingdom’s global position within space exploration and service to humanity.
Officials noted that the Saudi tests in space would range from human research and cell science to artificial rain in microgravity.
In the artificial rain experiment, water vapor will be condensed on plankton and salt atoms in microgravity to simulate the cloud seeding process that is used in Saudi Arabia and other countries to increase precipitation rates.
Led by Dr. Ashraf Farahat, the trial is for the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and will help scientists and researchers devise new ways to provide suitable conditions for humans — including the work of artificial rain — to live in space colonies on the surface of the Moon and Mars.
In addition to 11 pioneering experiments, three educational awareness studies will be conducted aboard the International Space Station in real time with students throughout Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Mawhiba, Riyadh Schools, and Misk Schools.
The experiment will also contribute to improving researchers’ understanding of rain-seeding technology, which will contribute to increasing rainfall in many countries.
To better understand the impacts of being in space on human health, Saudi Arabia’s Nebula Research and Development, led by Dr. Bader Shirah, is conducting six experiments aboard the ISS, which will be performed by the astronauts.
The tests will utilize novel neuroscience tools including measuring blood flow to the brain and the brain’s electrical activity, assessing intracranial pressure by non-invasive assessment of the pupil of the eye, and monitoring changes in the optic nerve over time.
Improved monitoring of neurological health may help make spaceflight safer in the future and allow for the development of rapid, non-invasive monitoring, as well as early interventions and the development of countermeasures.
Blood and bio-sample specimens will also be taken to examine multiomic biomarkers related to spaceflight and to map changes in the length, structure, and epigenetics of chromosomes and telomeres.
The cell science experiments led by the world-renowned King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and its team of scientists, Dr. Khalid Abu Khabar, Dr. Wijdan Alahmadi, and Dr. Edward Hitti, will be investigating the inflammatory response of human immune cells in microgravity.
More specifically their research will be focused on changes in messenger ribonucleic acid (needed for protein production) decay, a process that can turn inflammation off. In addition, response to therapy is mimicked by utilizing the same cellular model. The crew will take RNA samples for analysis on ground, where the investigators will monitor RNA expression patterns, and hopefully thousands of mRNA half-lives will be measured.
Results are expected to contribute to a better understanding of space health and uncover biomarkers or potential therapies for inflammatory diseases in both space and on Earth.
In addition to these experiments, three educational awareness studies will be conducted aboard the ISS in real time with students throughout Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Mawhiba, Riyadh Schools, and Misk Schools.
The objectives will be to enhance students’ knowledge of space science and its contribution to improving the quality of life on Earth, by juxtaposing their terrestrial-based experiments to the ones being conducted in real-time by the Saudi crew on the ISS.
Students will be able to see at first-hand how the experiment environment can have a real effect on results. The real-time interaction will ensure that students have access to the Saudi crew live as they perform their experiments together, one on Earth, and one in space simultaneously.
The efforts by the Saudi Space Commission are designed to prepare future astronauts and engineers, through quality education and training programs, participation in scientific experiments, international research, and future space-related missions – all of which will contribute to raising the status of the Kingdom and to achieving the goals of Vision 2030.