MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has provided a robot that speaks 11 languages to receive visitors at the King Abdulaziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The robot will also acquaint visitors with services provided at the complex and can recognize basic emotions, faces, and have voice interaction with visitors through touch and hand motion.
The machine weighs around 29 kilograms, has a battery life of up to eight hours, a similar charge time, and a speed of three kilometers per hour. It can be operated non-stop when connected to electricity.
Saudia unveils new logo, brand identity at event in Jeddah
Also introduced developments in guest services system and incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) into its operational processes
Announced refreshed cabin crew uniforms
Updated 8 sec ago
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) unveiled its new brand identity and livery during an event in Jeddah on Saturday, Saudi Press Agency reported.
According to a statement from the airline, the new identity reflects its commitment to modernization and includes colors that hold deep symbolism in the Saudi identity.
SAUDIA also introduced developments in its guest services system and has incorporated artificial intelligence (AI) into its operational processes, and announced refreshed cabin crew uniforms, SPA added.
The official presentation of Saudia's new identity took place at the airlines' headquarters and was attended by dignitaries, government and private sector officials, and experts from the aviation and air transport industry.
The date of the launch, September 30, was chosed to commemorate the anniversary of the late King Abdulaziz's first flight aboard a "Saudi Arabian" DC-3 aircraft from Afif to Taif.
The colors of the new logo were also chosen for their links to the Kingdom.
“Green for pride and honor of the national flag, as well as the generosity, culture, and hospitality of Saudi Arabia represented by the palm tree; blue symbolizes the Kingdom's seas and skies, drawing inspiration from them for future groundbreaking initiatives; and lastly, sandy brown signifies the richness and authenticity of the homeland, highlighting its deep-rooted heritage,” the airline statement said.
Director General of Saudia Group, Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, said the airline was embarking on a new era and entering a distinctive phase.
He highlighted the humble beginnings of the airline with a single aircraft and its subsequent growth to a fleet of over 140 planes, connecting regions within the Kingdom and serving more than 100 destinations across four continents.
Saudi Arabia takes bold steps to safeguard architectural heritage
The Saudi Heritage Commission has initiated process to register 50,000 sites into the Architectural Heritage Register
Experts say each region of the kingdom possesses its own distinct architectural heritage, setting it apart from others
Updated 27 min 14 sec ago
MAKKAH: The preservation of cultural heritage is of the utmost importance in the Kingdom, and the Saudi Heritage Commission is taking significant steps to protect and promote the country’s architectural treasures.
With the recent nomination of 50,000 urban heritage assets for registration, these sites will be added to the Architectural Heritage Register, joining the already registered 3,400 sites.
This collaborative effort, in accordance with the antiquities and urban heritage system, aims to utilize modern technologies to register, categorize, and encode these assets. This initiative not only preserves architectural heritage but also fosters community involvement and paves the way for future development plans.
Salma Hawsawi, a professor of ancient history at King Saud University, said that the Saudi Heritage Commission is currently implementing projects aimed at preserving architectural heritage.
One of these projects is focused on registering urban sites found in all 13 administrative regions of the Kingdom in the Architectural Heritage Register.
Hawsawi said: “This endeavor involves active participation from local communities and encompasses a wide range of structures, including villages, neighborhoods, towers, fortresses, ancient temples, castles, walls, and mosques. These sites possess a rich historical and cultural significance, reflecting the unique aesthetic value created by humanity since ancient times.
“Each region of the Kingdom possesses its own distinct architectural heritage, setting it apart from others. This diversity can be attributed to the varied terrains found throughout the country, which influenced the choice of construction materials. The embellishments adorning the facades, doors, and windows of buildings were inspired by the local environment.
“The coastal communities, for instance, incorporated gypsum and wood into their architecture and decorations. Mountain communities, known for their physical strength, utilized their abilities to carve houses and graves into the mountains. Numerous pieces of evidence support this notion, as caves scattered across the Kingdom are adorned with drawings and inscriptions that depict the rich history of these communities.”
He added: “Due to the significance of architectural heritage and its close connection to culture, heritage, and identity, the Saudi Heritage Commission initiated a project with the objective of gradually registering 50,000 sites into the Architectural Heritage Register.
“The process consists of several stages. First, an extensive search and discovery of sites takes place. This is followed by the nomination phase, where all relevant information about the sites is collected.
"The third stage involves the registration of the sites, during which the data is carefully examined and validated. Subsequently, the fourth stage focuses on classifying the sites according to the standards set by the commission. Finally, in the fifth and final stage, a code is assigned to each site and plaques are installed to validate their authenticity and historical significance.”
Hawsawi highlighted the project’s aim of preserving cultural heritage and having it listed in the national register as a step toward potential inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
He added: “This registration holds political, economic, and social dimensions, as it strengthens international relations, diversifies the national economy, reduces unemployment, and enhances the overall standard of living.”
Saudi leadership keen to ‘promote, protect human rights’
Hala Al-Tuwaijri delivers lecture in the UK, highlights Kingdom’s reforms
Updated 30 September 2023
RIYADH: Hala Al-Tuwaijri, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, praised the Kingdom’s comprehensive reforms and advancements in all areas, particularly in human rights, during a visit to the UK.
She highlighted the significant attention and commitment given to human rights by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al-Tuwaijri emphasized that these developments have further strengthened Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard human rights across various aspects of life.
These remarks were made during her official visit to the UK, where she met with Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK minister for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the UN.
Al-Tuwaijri led a delegation from the Human Rights Commission, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
During the meeting with Lord Ahmad, Al-Tuwaijri discussed the significant legislative reforms and advancements in human rights that have taken place in the Kingdom since the adoption of Saudi Vision 2030.
She also emphasized the leadership’s strong interest and dedication to promoting and protecting human rights in all aspects.
The two sides discussed several topics of common interest and ways to promote cooperation in the field of human rights.
The visit also included discussions with other government officials in the UK and covered bilateral relations in all fields, especially in the field of human rights.
Furthermore, the commission’s delegation reviewed topics of common interest in security, stability and peace. They discussed joint bilateral cooperation and exchange of ideas, in addition to both sides’ experiences in protecting human rights and combating human trafficking.
Al-Tuwaijri also gave a speech at the UK Foreign Office. Officials and specialists from a number of government agencies and local organizations in the UK attended the lecture in which she highlighted the most notable future direction in the Human Rights Commission’s performance.
She noted the objectives the commission is seeking to achieve at the national and international level and highlighted its tools for protecting human rights and the Kingdom’s development in this area.
Saudi Falcons Club’s exhibition launches on Thursday
The exhibition, which is held over 10 days from Oct. 5-14 at the club’s headquarters at Malham, north of Riyadh
Updated 30 September 2023
JEDDAH: The Saudi Falcons Club is preparing to host the fifth Saudi International Falcons and Hunting Exhibition, a cultural and entertainment event showcasing the ancient sport.
The exhibition, which is held over 10 days from Oct. 5-14 at the club’s headquarters at Malham, north of Riyadh, highlights the organization’s dedication to preserving and enriching the traditions of falconry.
It strives to offer the best collection of falcons, hunting equipment and firearms.
The exhibition aims to meet the diverse needs of enthusiasts interested in weapons and ammunition, while pushing the boundaries of development and creativity in the field of falconry.
The Saudi Falcons Club is committed to leading the way, particularly in the breeding and care of birds. It also aims to promote environmental awareness while contributing to the cultural and economic landscape.
The club aims to encourage interest in the culture of falconry at the exhibition while showcasing methods for its preservation, thereby reviving associated hobbies in the Kingdom.
The event also aims to educate visitors about the intricacies of falconry, ensuring the preservation and transmission of its rich heritage to both current and future generations.
Kingdom’s libraries showcase book restoration at Riyadh fair
Updated 30 September 2023
RIYADH: Two national libraries are showing visitors how to restore decades and centuries-old books and manuscripts at Riyadh International Book Fair 2023.
The 10-day book fair — which opened on Sept. 28 and will continue until Oct. 7 — is being held at King Saud University under the slogan “An Inspiring Destination.” Hundreds of publishing companies and libraries from around the world are showcasing their expansive collections of books of all genres.
This year, King Fahd National Library is introducing people to methods to restore old books. Some of the books they have worked on are centuries old.
“Over the years, some manuscripts are subject to poor preservation and storage, as they are exposed to high temperature, acidity, or insect corrosion. When we pick up manuscripts, there are always insects or fungi on them,” said Tahani Al-Saghami, deputy director of the restoration and sterilization laboratory department at King Fahd National Library.
She explained to Arab News how the process of restoring old books is carried out until the desired results are achieved.
She said: “First, we put it in the sterilizer, where it is sterilized for 18 to 24 hours. Then, the restorer receives it. We try to clean the manuscript and treat it chemically so that we neutralize the acidity and stabilize the ink before handing it over to the restorer so that he can carry out the manual restoration process efficiently … the process of covering and removing the cracks and breaks in the manuscript without distortion.”
Al-Saghami also said that natural fibers that are close to the nature of the manuscript’s paper to repair damaged parts of manuscripts are used.
Another national library that is showing visitors how the preservation of manuscripts is done is the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives.
“There is mechanical restoration and manual restoration, and the process goes through stages, the first of which is sterilizing documents and manuscripts with ozone gas, which kills bacteria and insects present in the manuscript,” said Anas Al-Shamlan, document restorer at King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives.
He added: “After that the papers are treated with alkaline and restored manually … the final stage is mechanical restoration.”
He also stressed the importance of preserving manuscripts in suitable environments after the restoration process.
Al-Shamlan said: “The place must be prepared to store manuscripts so that the humidity rate is between 25 and 30 C, in addition to placing them above the ground, away from leaks, sunlight, and air conditioner.”
Al-Shamlan has repaired several manuscripts, some as much as 250 years old. The time spent to restore a manuscript depends on the age of the manuscript itself, he says, but generally speaking, it may take from six months to a year to complete one item.
Riyadh International Book Fair is one of the most prominent exhibitions in Saudi Arabia. Around 1 million people attended the book fair last year, and organizers are hoping to reach a similar total in 2023.