KSrelief chief meets with UNRWA commissioner-general

KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah meets with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
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KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah meets with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah meets with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
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KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah meets with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
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Updated 29 January 2023

KSrelief chief meets with UNRWA commissioner-general

KSrelief chief Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah meets with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)
  • Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and Philippe Lazzarini discussed issues of common interest related to relief and humanitarian efforts

RIYADH: The supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center met with the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in Riyadh on Sunday.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and Philippe Lazzarini discussed issues of common interest related to relief and humanitarian efforts and ways to enhance cooperation between KSrelief and UNRWA.

They also discussed UNRWA’s participation in the third Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum which will take place in February.

On Tuesday, UNRWA appealed for $1.6 billion in funding for schools, healthcare and aid in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, where most Palestinian refugees or their descendants from various Arab-Israeli conflicts live.


1.9m people use Makkah buses in first week of Ramadan

1.9m people use Makkah buses in first week of Ramadan
Updated 01 April 2023

1.9m people use Makkah buses in first week of Ramadan

1.9m people use Makkah buses in first week of Ramadan
  • In the first week of the month, more than 31,000 journeys were made on the 12 routes available to residents and visitors
  • The Makkah bus project operates through 438 stops and 400 buses

RIYADH: More than 1.9 million people used Makkah bus services during the first week of Ramadan, with an average of 271,000 users per day, the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites said.
In the first week of the month, more than 31,000 journeys were made on the 12 routes available to residents and visitors.
The Makkah bus project operates through 438 stops and 400 buses on 12 routes connecting the central area and the Grand Mosque with key sites in the city.
Efforts to improve visitor experience include the “Umbrella of Mu’tamer” initiative launched by the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, which distributes umbrellas to pilgrims to offer protection from the sun.
Khalid bin Fahad Al-Shalawi, undersecretary-general for social, voluntary and humanitarian services at the presidency, said other voluntary efforts, as well as services and facilities, will help worshippers perform their rituals with ease.
The presidency also launched the “explanation and indication” program for the Umrah season.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, Director General Ahmed Al-Dahas said that the program aims to provide field guidance services to pilgrims at the Grand Mosque by the presidency’s employees.
 


KSrelief donation of dates to reach poorest Afghans during Ramadan 

KSrelief donation of dates to reach poorest Afghans during Ramadan 
Updated 01 April 2023

KSrelief donation of dates to reach poorest Afghans during Ramadan 

KSrelief donation of dates to reach poorest Afghans during Ramadan 
  • 100 tons of premium Saudi dates will be distributed by Afghan Red Crescent Society 
  • For many, the Ramadan staple is unaffordable amid skyrocketing prices of food 

KABUL: A Saudi donation of dates for Afghanistan will reach the country’s poorest during Ramadan, a relief coordinator said on Saturday, as most Afghans are currently unable to afford the fasting month staple.  

One hundred tons of premium Saudi dates were donated to Afghanistan by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center on Friday. The donation was received by KSrelief’s local partner, the Afghan Red Crescent Society, at the Saudi Embassy in neighboring Pakistan. 

Irrfanullah Sharfzoi, spokesman of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, told Arab News that the distribution of the donated fruits should start in the next three days, as they reach Afghanistan. 

“This assistance is very important for Afghanistan, as the Afghan Red Crescent Society had already done a survey for it, and it will be distributed to those who are really poor,” he said. 

The holy month of Ramadan is a time of celebration and unity, but with Afghanistan’s economy near collapse, families are resorting to desperate measures to buy food. 

Living costs in the country have skyrocketed and the unemployment rate has soared since major international organizations stopped operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control in 2021. Few can afford dates, a Ramadan staple, as their prices range between $2 per kg for the lowest quality local fruit and $35 — about the current average salary — for higher quality ones. 

Bibi Khalida, a homemaker in Kabul, whose husband works as a driver, has rarely seen the fruit on her table yet during this year’s fasting month. 

“Having dates in the month of Ramadan is very important for us because they give you a lot of energy,” she said. “I’ve been asking my husband every day in the morning since the beginning of this month to bring some dates, but most days he returns home without them.” 

The situation is no different in other households where families mostly break their fast with bread and tea. 

With the Saudi donation, some of the poorest will be able to taste the sweet flavor traditionally associated with the holy month. 

“The dates will be distributed to those who have been not able to buy them in the month of Ramadan due to the high prices,” the Red Crescent Society’s Sharfzoi said. “They will give joy to the poor families.” 


Kingdom arrests 16,407 for violating residency, work, border laws

Kingdom arrests 16,407 for violating residency, work, border laws
Updated 01 April 2023

Kingdom arrests 16,407 for violating residency, work, border laws

Kingdom arrests 16,407 for violating residency, work, border laws

Riyadh: Saudi authorities arrested 16,407 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, according to an official report.

From March 23-29, a total of 9,609 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 4,561 were held over illegal border crossing attempts and a further 2,237 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 1,086 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 22 percent were Yemeni, 74 percent Ethiopian, and 4 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 64 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and five were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), or confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


New business club launched for young Saudi, French entrepreneurs

New business club launched for young Saudi, French entrepreneurs
Updated 01 April 2023

New business club launched for young Saudi, French entrepreneurs

New business club launched for young Saudi, French entrepreneurs
  • The French Saudi Youth Business Club is intended to be a platform for young entrepreneurs from both sides to connect and collaborate

RIYADH: The French Embassy in Riyadh recently organized a sahoor to celebrate the launch of the French Saudi Youth Business Club.

Ludovic Pouille, France’s ambassador to the Kingdom, thanked Mohammed Mourchid, one of the organizers of the business club, for his exceptional efforts in organizing the initiative. He also thanked Riyadh Al-Zamil, a member of the board of directors of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, for his “unconditional support.”

Mourchid told Arab News: “This initiative is the result of a number of observations, notably that relations are excellent between our two countries in various strategic sectors, but that this is not necessarily reflected at the level of youth. More than 70 percent of the Saudi population is under the age of 30, and youth represents the future. Both in France and in Saudi Arabia, our leaders are also young.

“This initiative will make it possible to create a solid bridge between young Saudis and young French people,” Mourchid added.

Al-Zamil told Arab News he was deeply honored to be part of the club. “I am personally committed to supporting all initiatives to ensure a bright future for our children and great-grandchildren,” he said.

Racha Al-Khamis, vice president of the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation and member of the Asian Boxing Federation, stressed that women are able to contribute to the development of Saudi society and are capable of making a difference in all areas.

She said that her success as a woman was primarily due to her father, who always treated her as an equal to her brother. “My father used to mentor us. I used to get the same criticism as my brother,” she said.

The French Saudi Youth Business Club is intended to be a platform for young entrepreneurs from both sides to connect and collaborate with each other. To achieve its goals, the club plans to organize business-related activities focusing on a range of topics, including innovation, technology, sustainability and future trends.

Partnerships have also been established with other organizations to create a broad network of young entrepreneurs and business leaders, according to the club.


16 qualify for semifinals of international Qur’an recitation, adhan contest

16 qualify for semifinals of international Qur’an recitation, adhan contest
Updated 01 April 2023

16 qualify for semifinals of international Qur’an recitation, adhan contest

16 qualify for semifinals of international Qur’an recitation, adhan contest

RIYADH: Abdullah Al-Dughri from Morocco and Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE were the last two competitors to qualify for the semifinals of the international Qur’an recitation and adhan (call to prayer) competition.

Sixteen participants from 13 countries have now qualified for the competition’s semifinals, aired on the “Otr Elkalam” TV show.

The show, supervised by the General Entertainment Authority, and broadcast on MBC1 and the Shahid digital platform, has a total prize pool of SR12 million ($3.2 million).

The competition is designed to highlight the diversity of cultures in the Islamic world, and the vocal methods of reciting the Qur’an and raising the call to prayer.

Semifinal qualifiers are from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, the UK, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Germany and Spain.

The semifinals in Qur’an recitation kicked off on Saturday with the participation of Mohammed Nour from Ethiopia, Salah Edin Metebid from Germany, Ahmad Alsayyed Ismail from Egypt, Abdulaziz Al-Faqih from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Al-Dughri and Zakariya Al-Zirk from Morocco, Yunis Shahmaradi from Iran, and Mohammad Al-Habti from Spain.

The adan category will see the participation of Mohammed Hafez Al-Rahman and Ibrahim Assad from the UK, Issa Al-Jaadi from Yemen, Mohammed Al-Sharif from Saudi Arabia, Hamid Al-Raisi from the UAE, Rahif Al-Hajj from Lebanon, Dialdin from Indonesia, and Riyan Hosawi from Nigeria.

More than 50,000 entrants from 165 countries were whittled down to just 50 for the finals, held in Riyadh.

A jury of five members specialized in the Qur’an, maqams and vocal pitches evaluated contestants during the competition.

The jury consists of Sheikh Ahmed Nahas, the muezzin of the Grand Mosque in Makkah; Sheikh Mishari bin Rashed Al-Afasy, a reciter and imam of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait; Abdul Rahim Nabulsi, secretary-general of Reciters and Teaching Recitation in Morocco; Bahloul Saeed Abu Arqoub, an expert in maqamat and a judge in international Qur’anic competitions from Libya; and Sheikh Ahmed Mansour, leading reciter of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt.

In addition to the main jury, Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani, former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will serve as general supervisor of the competition, and Fahad Al-Andas, an imam and preacher at the King Faisal Air Academy for 27 years, will be the secretary-general of the competition.

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