RIYADH: Saudi public prosecutors have called for a tougher sentence to be imposed on a female health worker given five years in prison and a SR100,000 ($27,000) fine for assaulting infants.
The court that handed down the sentence had been told that the children were in the woman’s care at a neonatal custody department in the Kingdom when the attacks took place.
An official source from the Saudi Public Prosecution service, which has appealed the sentencing, revealed that the woman had been caught on CCTV footage using “grave force and violence on the body of an infant without regard for the prescribed medical controls and standards … as well as the three-fold assault on the face of a newborn.”
Nadia Alsaif, former president of the Scientific Society for Child Welfare, told Arab News: “The health and psychological effects on abused infants are painful and unfortunately long term.
“Exposing an infant to violence at a time when it is most necessary for them to feel physically and psychologically safe is an offense against the victim as they need safety, intensive care, and attention that helps him or her develop properly.
“Neglect and violence inhibit growth and may cause hidden biological injuries that do not appear externally, and may appear later,” she said.
Alsaif, a member of the National Family Safety Program board, noted that the program aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of shaking infants which could cause brain damage, adding that the highest standards of health and safety needed to be applied when dealing with very young children.
The Saudi Human Rights Commission recently implemented a training program to highlight the basic rights of children.
Saudi foreign minister, UN chief discuss situation in Gaza
Updated 07 December 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan discussed on Wednesday the situation in Gaza with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry said.
Guterres called Prince Faisal and they discussed the importance of making more effort to reach an immediate ceasefire.
Israel is waging a ground and air offensive against Hamas in all parts of Gaza, resulting in mass civilian deaths and causing a humanitarian catastrophe.
Three-month cultural calendar is full of surprises that will take you through Kingdom’s culture and heritage
Updated 06 December 2023
RIYADH: The 2023-2024 Diriyah Season is set to begin on Dec. 12 with a curated three-month calendar of events that combines arts and culture, and live performances and experiences that showcase nearly 600 years of history and heritage.
The season is off to a musically spectacular start with an exceptional lineup of cultural concerts. Tickets for the first cultural concept, featuring the Saudi music legends Rabeh Saqr and Ayed performing in Mayadeen theater, will go on sale on Dec. 10.
This year’s theme honors Diriyah’s story and celebrates Al-Awja in a rallying call for all Saudis to unite and celebrate their shared culture and identity.
The season will be set in five distinct Diriyah locations: Wadi Safar, which will feature a Diriyah cultural basecamp; the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif; Bujairi Terrace; the Mayadeen theater; and Diriyah district.
• Diriyah Season is set to begin on Dec. 12 and will conclude in March.
• The theater will also host a theatrical equestrian show and cultural concerts.
• For the first time, Bujairi Terrace will feature a themed escape room called ‘Journey to the Future.’
• For more information, check diriyah.sa/season.
The season “blends the old with the new and takes us on a journey of self-discovery as we reconnect with our authentic selves. This is not just entertainment; it’s entertainment with meaning,” said Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
“We want people from all over the world to see 300 years of our music, our food, our tents, our costuming, our storytelling, our poetry, our calligraphy,” Inzerillo said.
The Diriyah E-Prix championship, immersive art installations and exhibitions, live and theatrical performances, plus culinary experiences that celebrate both traditional and contemporary cuisine, are also planned for the season.
The Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture will present Shetana, an outdoor winter-evening Saudi culinary experience, every day for four weeks at the Mayadeen theater. There will be a theatrical equestrian show and cultural concerts at the theater as well.
Bujairi Terrace, the fine dining destination, will include an expanded return of Layali Diriyah, which sees one of Diriyah’s heritage farms transformed into an open-air illuminated wonderland, showcasing the best of local and international contemporary art, design, cuisine, dance, live music, poetry and theatrical performances.
For the first time, Bujairi Terrace will also feature a themed escape room called “Journey to the Future,” which will test players’ escape skills and explore the Kingdom’s historical narratives.
What is special about the Diriyah escape room is that it will carry a cultural aspect and requires reviewing your cultural and historical information to solve the puzzles at hand.
Ahmad Alnuaisri, Diriyah Company assistant manager of media relations
“The themed escape room is a unique experience. It is an activity that requires one to be a quick thinker, and quick at making decisions and solving puzzles,” said Ahmad Alnuaisri, assistant manager of media relations at Diriyah Company.
“What is special about the Diriyah escape room is that it will carry a cultural aspect and requires reviewing your cultural and historical information to solve the puzzles at hand,” he said.
This season’s events planned for the At-Turaif historic district include poetry pop-ups, workshops, a retrospective, an exhibition, Souq Al-Mawsim, and more.
The At-Turaif retrospective explores and embraces the values of At-Turaif’s continuing influence on the Kingdom while bringing Diriyah’s stories and memories together in a multimedia installation. The “Diriyah Doors” exhibition explores the significance and history of the vividly colored, intricately patterned and engraved doors in Diriyah and Najd.
We want people from all over the world to see 300 years of our music, our food, our tents, our costuming, our storytelling, our poetry, our calligraphy.
Jerry Inzerillo, Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO
The season, which ends in March, is predicted to strengthen the Kingdom’s tourism sector by bringing in both local and international visitors and generating 178,000 jobs for young Saudis.
“Even though we’re a 2030 project, we opened assets in 2022 including our UNESCO site … we’ve already had 1 million visits,” Inzerillo said.
“And now the numbers are growing, and we’ll have a million people that will visit us … until Ramadan when this Diriyah season concludes,” he said.
The 2023-2024 Diriyah Season is presented by Diriyah Company in partnership with Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
Saudi wood sculptor creates odes to nature, wildlife, ancient history
Award-winning artist Sultan Al-Mrshood inspired by childhood on Buraidah farm
Work includes ‘snake’ cane, rosaries from coconut wood, pits of olives and dates
Updated 06 December 2023
RIYADH: Award-winning artist Sultan Al-Mrshood — who is currently presenting his work at the Saudi Feast Food Festival — has mastered the art of sculpting hyper-realistic representations of nature from wood, inspired by his childhood living on a farm.
Al-Mrshood has a booth at the festival’s Olive Exhibition — showcasing the fruit’s use as food and cosmetics — where he says his artwork often has admirers gathering for long periods.
The sculptor has an assortment of work on display including an eagle, a wooden cane entwined by a snake, and several handcrafted rosaries made from coconut wood, and the pits of olives and dates.
Al-Mrshood has crafted three snake canes, with each taking about three months to complete. He sold the latest one, facilitated by the Ministry of Culture at the festival, for SR30,000 ($8,000). Seven years ago, Al-Mrshood sold a cane to Prince Sultan bin Salman who gifted it to Bahrain’s foreign minister at the time, Khalid bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa.
“Each of my pieces is mixed with an event or ancient history in Saudi civilization … the snake (cane), which embodies the story of the staff of Moses, is the secret of my fame and was sold to Prince Sultan bin Salman,” he noted.
He has also sold one to a well-known cane collector in Al-Qassim province.
Al-Mrshood previously won third place for his wood sculptures in a Souq Okaz competition. Souq Okaz is a part of Taif Season which showcases Arab culture through food, art and goods from the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
Al-Mrshood says that he has received positive feedback from the community on his snake canes. “It is classified as one of the rarest canes found in Saudi Arabia … The fact that there are not many sculptors in Saudi Arabia makes it very important and relevant. All the visitors’ responses are admiration and amazement.”
He is inspired by images of a farm in Buraidah where he was raised. “I lived part of my life on a simple farm. My childhood at the farm was filled with adventures and I would always play with the wooden sticks and create shapes out of them. I would try to make masterpieces out of whatever was around me even though I didn’t know I would be an artist.”
“I have been an artist since childhood, and I was a painter before I was a sculptor. The art of sculpture is a complex process that relies on geometry, imagination, sculpting skill, and the use of many methods.”
Al-Mrshood says he is inspired when in “a mixture of calm solitude, meditation, and walking.”
He currently works at the Ministry of Culture as an instructor, passing on his knowledge to young Saudis through wood carving classes.
On challenges he faces as a wood sculptor, Al-Mrshood noted the “lack of availability to purchase manual machines to help me work accurately and quickly.”
While he caters for a niche market, which has its difficulties, there is also the appeal of its exclusivity. “If there are many wood carvers in Saudi Arabia, the price would decrease, but since the number of wood carvers in Saudi Arabia is very low, the prices of our handcrafted producers increase. This makes individuals like us very important and valued.”
Saudi Arabia contributes $1.5m toward launch of new regional aviation safety body
Al-Duailj said: “The establishment of the new organization will be a milestone for all its member states and is also a testimony to their commitment to aviation safety, quality, and efficiency
Updated 06 December 2023
RIYADH: A new body to monitor aviation safety in the Middle East and North Africa region was on Wednesday unveiled at an international industry conference being held in Riyadh.
Abdulaziz Al-Duailj, president of the Saudi General Civil Aviation Authority, inaugurated the new MENA Regional Safety Oversight Organization — which will be based in Riyadh — during a ceremony as part of the 15th International Civil Aviation Organization meeting.
A memorandum of agreement was later signed by representatives of MENA-RSOO member states including Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Libya, Mauritania, and Yemen.
The new organization will aim to help develop and implement national training and safety programs, improve the monitoring of air safety, and work with nations to meet aviation safety standards.
In a speech, Al-Duailj said: “The establishment of the new organization will be a milestone for all its member states and is also a testimony to their commitment to aviation safety, quality, and efficiency.
“This step confirms the Kingdom’s keenness and commitment to aviation safety through its continued cooperation with international partners, to ensure the highest standards of air safety are achieved,” he added.
Al-Duailj noted that the ICAO wanted to see unified safety standards and the integration of technology throughout the civil aviation industry, especially regarding the design of aircraft engines, autonomous control, remotely piloted service aircraft, personal transportation via air taxis, and the overall performance of the air traffic network.
On Saudi Arabia’s financial contribution toward the setting up of the MENA-RSOO, he said: “Through this, the Kingdom aims to activate the role of this organization and support it with an amount of $1.5 million for the first two years of its establishment, in order for the organization to carry out its tasks and responsibilities in supporting air safety programs in our region.
“It also aims to assist member states in strengthening and raising the legislative and supervisory capabilities of their national air safety systems, enabling them to achieve higher levels of compliance with international rules and recommendations,” Al-Duailj added.
Salvatore Sciacchitano, president of the ICAO Council, said that the organization’s inauguration was an important step toward enhancing safety in the civil aviation sector.
“It embodies the amount of cooperation exerted to develop civil aviation safety in the Middle East,” he added.
He pointed out that the sector was an essential driver of economic growth and connectivity between countries.
Abdenbi Manar, director general of the Arab Civil Aviation Organization, noted that the transportation sector played an essential role in the progress of nations.
He said: “It contributes to creating wealth and job opportunities, whether at the industrial level or the infrastructure of the transportation system, and air transport is usually an integral part of this system.
“The air transport sector is distinguished from other types of transportation by its speed, efficiency, regularity, and high level of safety.
“Also, it relies on international standards, whether at the institutional level or at the legal, financial, and technical level,” Manar added.
The five-day ICAO conference is being hosted by the GACA until Dec. 7, with the participation of more than 100 countries and international organizations, and at least 700 industry experts.