RIYADH: Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, Minister of the Saudi National Guard, will officially open the second Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit on Jan 25, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
The two-day event will bring together key local and international figures from the biotechnology research and development and pharmaceutical industries to create the Riyadh Declaration for Biotechnology, which aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global biotech hub.
During the summit, which will take place under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, local, regional and international delegates from academia, industry and the public sector will discuss recent global developments in medical biotechnology, with the goal of building global strategic partnerships in the field.
The summit is one of the key initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 national development and diversification agenda, and part of a series of plans relating to the medical biotechnology industry in the country.
RIYADH: Officials at the Saudi National Museum in Riyadh have unveiled a list of cultural activities lined up for December.
They include an event on Dec. 18 to mark World Arabic Language Day, and a meeting accompanying the “Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet” exhibition, on display since the start of the current Hijri year.
The meeting will tackle the subject of the relationship between language and the elegance of poetry, and the repercussions of Hijrah (Arabic for migration) on the literary genre in the Arabic language.
The exhibition reveals details of the most prominent journey in Islamic history, reflecting its importance in history and human civilization, and consolidating the understanding of the journey and its value for Islamic, Arab, and global history.
On Dec. 22, the museum will host a poetry event titled “Language Weaves a Shining Garment” as part of the Year of Arabic Poetry 2023 initiative. It will be attended by poet and writer Jassim Al-Sahih, and poet and novelist Sarah Al-Zein.
The event will celebrate the art of language, showcasing creativity and originality that exemplifies the distinctive garment woven by the Arabic language.
Through the events, the museum aims to combine the language of the Qur’an with the migration of the Prophet Muhammad, while also celebrating Arabic poetry.
The focus will be on acknowledging the diversity of poetry’s purposes, its cultural significance, pivotal role in Arab culture, and its capacity to articulate a wide range of human emotions.
Gulf states making strides in advancing human rights, says GCC chief
Jassem Albudaiwi renewed his call to the international community to intervene to stop the Israeli assault on Gaza Strip
Updated 11 December 2023
RIYADH: Gulf Cooperation Council countries have made significant strides in advancing human rights and protecting human dignity as a result of directives issued by the organization’s leaders, GCC Secretary-General Jasem Albudaiwi said.
Albudaiwi was speaking on Human Rights Day, observed annually on Dec. 10 to commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. This year marks the 75th anniversary of its adoption, with the theme “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.”
The GCC secretary-general renewed his call to the international community to intervene to stop the Israeli assault on Gaza Strip, saying that Israel’s actions have resulted in killings, displacement, and gross violations of international laws and conventions.
The international community should condemn this aggression and destruction, and take steps to end the crimes against humanity, and provide protection to the Palestinian people, he said.
Albudaiwi said that since the establishment of GCC in 1981, leaders of the GCC countries “have shown great interest and care for human rights issues.”
This interest has resulted in many achievements in all areas “through the enactment of legislation and laws supporting human rights.”
Article 2 of the GCC Human Rights Declaration, adopted on Dec. 9, 2014, emphasizes equality in human dignity, rights, and freedoms, stating that people should be treated equally before the law, without discrimination based on origin, sex, religion, language, color or any other factors.
Albudaiwi said that this statement is in keeping with the theme adopted this year on Human Rights Day.
He highlighted the GCC’s pride in member countries’ progress in civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, saying that they pursue an approach that integrates these rights in constitutions and legislation, supported by measures to ensure they are respected. These rights and freedoms are deeply rooted in Islamic Shariah, he added.
Albudaiwi also underlined the GCC countries’ commitment to expanding and safeguarding human rights in accordance with the directives of the GCC countries’ leaders, and with the principles outlined in the UN Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This commitment aims to achieve inclusive development within a framework of justice and equality.
The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned what it describes as double standards in applying human rights norms globally in light of the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.
The IPHRC voiced its concerns after joining worldwide events to mark Human Rights Day. The commission said that after more than two months of Israeli aggression in Gaza, and more than 17,000 civilian casualties, the international community is failing in its responsibility to act on credible accounts of war crimes being committed by Israeli forces.
The commission voiced concern about human rights violations affecting millions worldwide, and cited the deteriorating conditions for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, persistent violence and discrimination against Muslims in India, and the continued plight of Palestinians and Kashmiris under oppressive regimes.
The IPHRC called for an end to double standards in applying human rights norms globally, and reaffirmed its commitment to promoting good governance, the rule of law, and safeguarding fundamental freedoms.
Saudi project clears 733 Houthi mines in Yemen in a week
424,527 mines cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018
Updated 11 December 2023
RIYADH: Project Masam, a Saudi initiative to clear land mines in Yemen, in the first week of December dismantled 733 mines planted by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.
Overseen by the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, the project’s special teams destroyed 618 unexploded ordnance, 110 anti-tank mines, four anti-personnel mines, and one explosive device.
The devices, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a significant threat to the lives of innocent people, including children, women, and the elderly.
Project Masam is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia on the orders of King Salman to help the Yemeni people, clearing routes for humanitarian aid to reach the country’s citizens.
The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale, and Saada.
A total of 424,527 mines have been cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018, according to Ousama Algosaibi, the project’s managing director.
These include 267,958 items of unexploded ordnance, 142,223 anti-tank mines, 7,921 improvised explosive devices, and 6,425 anti-personnel mines.
The project trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.
Up to 5 million people are estimated to have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by the presence of land mines on their land.
Masam teams are tasked with clearing areas as an immediate humanitarian priority. They clear areas such as villages, roads and schools to facilitate the safe movement of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian goods and services.
The project’s contract was extended for another year in June at a cost of $33.29 million.
Historic Jeddah launches art events to boost culture, tourism
Initiative includes four art exhibitions, music programs, theatrical performances, and specific events for schoolchildren
Updated 11 December 2023
JEDDAH: The Historic Jeddah Program has several new activities that will strengthen the Kingdom’s culture and tourism sectors, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
The activities were launched under an initiative entitled “Balad Al-Fann,” and will run until March 9.
The initiative includes four art exhibitions, music programs, theatrical performances, and specific events for schoolchildren.
Abdulaziz Ibrahim Al-Issa, the general supervisor of the Historic Jeddah Program, said the events would help with artistic skills development and entrepreneurship in the sectors, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan.
French engineering firm Setec Group a key partner in sustainable transport
‘We’re trying to put our green touch and valued engineering expertise to have buildings and assets with lower impact on the environment,’ says official
Updated 10 December 2023
RIYADH: French engineering and consulting firm Setec Group is working on urban air mobility in the Kingdom.
The concept being developed with the company’s European partners and manufacturers aims to provide air mobility for people and goods.
With Dubai expecting to launch its first flying taxi by 2026, and countries considering the service as a way to ease traffic conditions, Saudi Arabia is also joining the race for air mobility.
The French integrated engineering solutions provider is developing new mobility solutions, especially for the Gulf region, with the development of public transport and soft mobility services for smart cities.
“It is like an air taxi. We have developed a preliminary feasibility study for Riyadh, to connect Riyadh with the new centralities that are being developed in the vicinity, namely Diriyah and Qiddiyah, and the service might be implemented in the coming years, to ease the road infrastructure, and for fast transit between the different centralities,” Patrick Bteich, a partner at Setec Group, told Arab News en Francais.
“Air mobility needs special permits from various ministries,and you need to work on corridors to mitigate security issues … from pilot to the implementation, it can take a few years depending on the regulation. But it’s a project that could be developed for Vision 2030,” Bteich added.
• Urban air mobility would serve to ease traffic conditions.
• Dubai expects to launch its first flying taxi by 2026.
• Setec Group is one amongst several French companies working in AlUla.
Development of AlUla in recent years has witnessed significant French-Saudi collaboration through the AfAlUla and RCU intergovernmental agreement. The partnerships demonstrate the Kingdom’s ambition to make AlUla a leading international destination for culture and tourism.
Setec Group is one amongst several French companies working in AlUla.
The engineering firm’s presence in AlUla falls in line with the intergovernmental agreement, as well as the group’s desire to expand its presence in the western parts of the Kingdom.
The French group, which is also working on King Salman Park and the development of metro lines, aims to “help the Kingdom reach its objectives as part of Vision 2030,” Bteich said.
“We’re looking to position ourselves, working on iconic buildings in terms of assets, high-rise tower projects, and we are interested in all the metro and LRT (light rail transit) developments that are happening in the region. In Riyadh, we have line extensions that are going to be floated to the market, including the Qiddiya LRT,” he added.
In its manifesto for low-carbon construction, Setec Group committed to offering low-carbon alternatives on its projects.
Our motto today is resilience and adapting to climate change, which is quite important in the region knowing that heat waves may become stronger and last longer.
Patrick Bteich, Setec Group partner
“We’re also trying to put our green touch and valued engineering expertise to have buildings and assets with lower impact on the environment. Our motto today is resilience and adapting to climate change, which is quite important in the region knowing that heat waves may become stronger and last longer,” he added.
The engineering firm is focused on international expansion, which makes up more than 30 percent of its activity.
With established offices in KSA, the UAE, and Egypt, the group is centering its efforts and business development in Saudi Arabia, in line with the Kingdom’s mega projects, with three offices across the country.
“In the Kingdom, we are now finalizing our work on the King Salman Park, the landscape design with our partners Gerber Architekten (German architects) and Buro Happold (English engineers), and we have submitted the last package at the end of October, and the construction is underway and within budget. The project is expected to open soon,” Bteich said.
Setec is also working on the project management for Diriyah Gate and has worked on project management within the FAST consortium on 3 out of the 6 metro lines of Riyadh.
“The core of our activity is related to transport and infrastructure: Metros, trains, highways, high-speed lines, airports … this is around 60 percent to 65 percent of our activity, and this was the core activity when we started, with complex structures,” he added.
Among its flagship projects, Setec worked on the French section of the underwater Channel Tunnel between France and the UK.
The group also designed the Viaduc de Millau, the world’s tallest cable-stayed bridge, as well as iconic buildings including the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum in France, the Tribunal de Justice in Paris, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
“We assist architects in the design to make the project happen … we had the chance to meet key clients from Saudi Arabia recently and it is going to open good opportunities for collaboration,” Bteich said.
Setec Group includes more than 40 companies. The firm develops feasibility studies leading to detailed design studies, environmental impact assessments, and offers client site supervision and consulting services.