JEDDAH: K-pop fans in the Kingdom were treated to a spectacular concert by the wildly popular Korean girl group BLACKPINK on Friday at BLVD International Festival Site in Riyadh.
BLACKPINK are just one of the international bands participating in Riyadh Season 2022. The sold-out show — the group’s first in the Middle East — attracted visitors from across the Kingdom and overseas.
Many of the Saudi capital’s prominent landmarks such as Kingdom Tower, King Abdullah Financial District, Al-Faisaliah Tower, Digital City, and Boulevard World, were lit up in pink to celebrate the concert, which was part of the band’s BORN PINK World Tour, which will also include performances in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, and Bangkok, among other major cities.
The four band members — Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa — took to the stage and thanked their fans for their ongoing love, admiration, and support. The venue was filled with fans singing along and waving pink light sticks.
Due to the great demand for tickets, the concert was moved from Mrsool Park to the BLVD International Festival Site. The show was divided into four parts and climaxed with each member of the band putting on a solo performance. Following the farewells from the band, the venue was illuminated by a spectacular fireworks display.
Rose thanked the audience, saying, “Riyadh wins with the crowd. You guys are absolutely crazy.”
Sayeda Fatima, a 25-year-old fan, said: “My wish was to watch BLACKPINK perform live and it came true. Even though it was cold, there was a lot of good energy in the crowd and we couldn’t stop chanting and cheering for them.”
Another BLINK — as the band’s fans are known, Mona, shed tears while listening to her favorite band perform. “Their performance was amazing,” she said. “I really wish them the best and hope they shine even brighter in the future.”
Saudi project clears 733 Houthi mines in Yemen in a week
424,527 mines cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018
Updated 6 sec ago
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.
International Olympic Committee chief visits Diriyah
During his official meeting with Prince Abdulaziz, they discussed the major role played by the Kingdom on the global sporting stage
Updated 10 December 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal on Sunday accompanied Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, on a tour of the historic Turaif neighborhood in Diriyah, Riyadh. The CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority Jerry Inzerillo was also present.
Bach arrived in the Kingdom on Saturday and was also was given a tour of the facilities hosting the ongoing Saudi Games 2023.
During his official meeting with Prince Abdulaziz, they discussed the major role played by the Kingdom on the global sporting stage.
Saudi students shine in international science contest
“The organization aims to push them toward success in inspiring scientific and technological paths, prioritizing national interests”
Updated 10 December 2023
JEDDAH: Saudi students competing against contestants from 55 countries scooped three awards at the 2023 International Junior Science Olympiad.
The competitions, held in Thailand’s capital Bangkok, took place from Dec. 1 to 10.
Representing Saudi Arabia were the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), and the Ministry of Education.
Hussein Habib Al-Saleh clinched a silver medal, while Suha Suleiman Al-Salama and Reda Emad Al-Khalaf were both awarded a bronze, adding to the Saudi science team’s medal tally total of 30 – one gold, six silver, and 23 bronze.
In a post on X, Mawhiba said: “The Saudi team secured three international awards at the International Junior Science Olympiad #IJSO2023, which took place in Thailand and attracted 304 students, representing 55 countries. Congratulations to our Kingdom, our students, and our strategic partner @moe_gov_sa.”
Each member of the Kingdom’s team underwent intensive training at Mawhiba, conducted by a group of expert Saudi and foreign trainers.
Praising the students’ efforts, Amal Al-Hazzaa, Mawhiba’s secretary-general, thanked the ministry, the families of the students, and their schools and teachers for their support.
She said: “Mawhiba strives in all its initiatives to inspire and motivate talented Saudi students with exceptional minds and abilities, enabling them to compete globally in scientific, technological, and applied fields.
“The organization aims to push them toward success in inspiring scientific and technological paths, prioritizing national interests.”