JEDDAH: Several guides completed a six-day advanced hiking training course recently in the northwestern city of Tabuk that is aimed at helping to showcase the distinctive natural beauty of the region.
The training program was organized by the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports. The advanced course is a prerequisite for obtaining an SCHF hiking guide license.
Ali Al-Maliki, a hiking coach and lecturer, told Arab News that hiking was becoming an increasingly popular pastime in Saudi Arabia, among retirees and young people who want to remain in good physical condition.
“There are hiking teams in nearly all Saudi cities. There are some three hiking teams in Jeddah, for instance, and the numbers … around the Kingdom are increasing,” Al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said that three days of the course, held at King Khalid Sports City, focused on theory, with the rest of the time devoted to practical instruction.
“The course’s main aim was to refine and develop the skills of the (prospective) hiking guides in accordance with international requirements set by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. The course was also meant to further promote (the) sport,” he added.
Al-Maliki said that Tabuk was selected for its attractive natural terrain and rock formations, which impressed tourists who recently toured the area. “They were astonished to see the amazing rocks, waterfalls and streams. Saudi Arabia in general is rich in these natural features.”
Elaborating on the course, Al-Maliki said the trainees were introduced to licensing requirements, the health benefits of the activity, and personal qualities required of guides. The participants were also taught how to plan, use navigation equipment such as compasses and maps, respect the environmental, make types of hiking knots, and develop risk reduction and emergency skills.
He said the practical training took place in Bajdah, on the northwestern side of Tabuk, which has distinctive red sand dunes and rock formations.
Saudi Arabia among top 5 donors for Turkiye quake fund
UN raises quarter of $1 bn Turkey quake funds target
On Feb 6 a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 50,000 in Turkiye and nearly 6,000 in Syria leaving entire cities in ruins
Updated 01 April 2023
RIYADH: The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs on Friday thanked Saudi Arabia and other donor countries who contributed to raising over a quarter of the flash appeal issued by the UN following devastating earthquakes in Turkiye, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The UN said it had raised $268 million in response to the $1 billion humanitarian funding appeal for relief work in Turkiye following the 7.8-magnitude quake on Feb. 6 and its aftershocks that devastated swathes of southeast Turkiye and parts of war-torn Syria.
OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said that 27 percent of the appeal had been funded and the largest donors were Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait, the European Commission, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, while urging countries to provide support and contribute to financing the appeal.
In #Türkiye, last month's earthquakes killed over 50,000 people and damaged over 300,000 buildings. To date, @UN and partners have reached
4M+ people with household items
3M+ with emergency food assistance
1.6M with WASH assistance
He said that the aid comes in support of the response led by the Turkish government, adding that 9 million people were directly affected by the quakes and 3 million people had been displaced.
On Feb. 16, the UN launched the $1 billion appeal to help more than five million people in Turkiye and a twin flash appeal for Syria to help survivors over the first three months. The latter has raised $364 million of the $398 million requested.
The UN and other humanitarian agencies have reached more than 4.1 million people with basic household items and clothes, and 3 million with emergency food aid, while more than 700,000 people have received support to improve their living arrangements, including tents, relief housing units, and tent repair tools, Laerke said.
We have news today on our #Türkiye#earthquake response.@UN & partners have reached 4.1M ppl with relief items for cooking, heating, sleeping.
He added that 1.6 million have received water, hygiene and sanitation assistance and about 1 million liters of drinking water were delivered.
The UN humanitarian agency’s spokesman said that the Turkish Ministry of Health has been supported with 4.6 million vaccine doses, and 16 mobile health clinics, in addition to medicines and medical supplies for reproductive health and treatment of trauma and injuries.
“Now we are involved in the humanitarian emergency phase, where we look at what the survivors need,” Laerke told reporters in Geneva. With AFP
Smile brighter in Ramadan with the magic of miswak
Local sellers note increase in sales of teeth-cleaning twig during the holy month
Updated 31 March 2023
RIYADH: As the holy month of Ramadan begins, Muslims across the world are observing fasts that require abstinence from all food and drink from dawn to dusk.
The blessed month is rooted in faith, history and culture, and few practices emphasize that as much as the use of miswak, a teeth-cleaning twig. Many Muslims use miswak during the day to maintain freshness, oral hygiene and to protect overall dental health. In the Islamic tradition, using miswak is a well-known sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Various ahadith document the elevated status and significance of miswak. Abu Hurairah once narrated that the Prophet said, “Were it not (for the fear) of overburdening my Ummah, I would have ordered them to (brush their teeth with) Siwak at every Salat.” (Sahih Muslim)
Aisha narrated that the Prophet said, “The siwak is a means of purifying the mouth and pleasing the Rabb.” (Nasai)
Abu Hurairah further narrated that the Prophet said once on a Friday, “O Community of Muslims! Allah has made this day an Eid for you, so take a bath and needfully brush your teeth with siwak.” (Tabarani, Majma’uz-Zawaid)
In Saudi Arabia, miswak is typically sourced from the Salvadora persica L. trees, known as arak in Arabic. The variety is also found in Sudan, Egypt and Chad. The bitter-tasting palm or olive trees are also used for miswak. The neem tree is a popular option in South Asia.
• Miswak has even gained recognition beyond the Arab region. The World Health Organization recommended the use of miswak for oral hygiene in 1986 and in 2000.
• There is now increasing scientific evidence that miswak has medicinal properties and helps fight plaque, recession of gums, tooth decay, bleeding gums and deep periodontal pockets.
Miswak can be sourced from various trees except for those known to cause harm, such as pomegranate and myrtle trees.
The arak trees contribute to environmental sustainability and preservation as well. In various parts of the Arab region, the arak trees are indigenous to arid regions and planting them reduces desertification where little else is capable of growing. This also helps local communities across the Middle East to develop a sustainable income while preserving an important part of their cultural and religious heritage.
Miswak has even gained recognition beyond the Arab region. The World Health Organization recommended the use of miswak for oral hygiene in 1986 and in 2000.
There is now increasing scientific evidence that miswak has medicinal properties and helps fight plaque, recession of gums, tooth decay, bleeding gums and deep periodontal pockets.
“The repeated process of chewing sticks releases fresh sap and silica (a hard glossy mineral), which acts as an abrasive material to remove stains,” noted a study conducted by a panel of dentists at King Saud University.
The study identified 19 natural substances found in miswak that benefit dental health. It contains natural antiseptics that kill harmful microorganisms in the mouth, tannic acids that protect gums from disease, and aromatic oils that increase salivation. Researchers also noted that the miswak bristles are parallel to the handle rather than perpendicular, therefore it can reach areas that a conventional toothbrush often fails to.
Mohammed bin Zahid, a dentist, said that miswak is a “natural toothbrush” that, among other benefits, also “creates a fragrance in the mouth and sharpens memory.”
Sales of miswak tend to triple in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan as people opt for the traditional hygiene technique. Ahead of Ramadan, every shop ensures that miswak is available for buyers and it is often placed at the prime location of the check-out counter.
Abdullah Al-Otaibi, a miswak seller in Riyadh, said: “I am expecting sales to rise during Ramadan by almost 300 percent.”
Bilal, a miswak vendor near a mosque in Al-Wazarat district in Riyadh, said that his daily profit during Ramadan tends to be anywhere between SR50-SR200.
To use a miswak, simply chew off about one centimeter of the twig at one end and then continue to chew it until it softens and forms bristles. The softening can be sped up by dipping the end in water to separate the fibers. Once bristles are formed, the miswak can be used like a regular toothbrush, without paste.
Saudi transport minister inspects services, operational plans at King Abdulaziz Airport
The minister toured the screening points that were equipped by Jeddah Airports Company to regulate the entry of Umrah buses to the terminal facilities
Updated 31 March 2023
JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, who is also chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, accompanied by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, head of GACA, and number of senior officials, inspected the facilities and services at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Al-Jasser checked the smooth flow of passengers and the progress of work to ensure it was in line with the approved operational plan during the current Umrah season.
The minister toured the screening points that were equipped by Jeddah Airports Company to regulate the entry of Umrah buses to the terminal facilities. He was also briefed on the work and tasks carried out by the team in charge of the control and rapid intervention room.
Al-Jasser also inspected the control center, the passports and security procedures area, and the travel check-in area, and was briefed on the system for receiving pilgrims.
He was given a visual presentation on the operational plans implemented by Jeddah Airports with the participation of more than 27 governmental, security and operational agencies.
'The role of travel media has become increasingly important within the Kingdom’s tourism strategy'
Updated 01 April 2023
ABHA: Experts in the travel and media sectors gathered at the Abha Forum to discuss the role the media can play in revitalizing tourism in Asir region.
Abdullah Al-Marei, an associate professor of media at King Khalid University, spoke during the annual event in the city of Abha about ways in which travel journalism can be developed to raise awareness among citizens and help stimulate the tourism industry in villages, cities and resorts across the region.
He said the media can highlight natural, historical, archaeological and other types of tourist attractions using advanced tools and techniques, including films and advertisements, to grab the attention of potential visitors.
Tourism conferences are also important mechanisms for tourism businesses to generate publicity, Al-Marei added, as they introduce delegates, sales teams, tourism agents and affiliated professionals to new programs and initiatives.
The role of travel media has become increasingly important within the Kingdom’s tourism strategy, he said, and is helping to establish the Asir region as a prominent, year-round tourist destination. This requires intensive promotional activity and the development of media products that contribute effectively to introducing and promoting the region and its attractions throughout the year, he added.
12,000 inspection visits conducted in Al-Kharj markets
The campaign is continuously implemented 24 hours a day, and consumers can submit their reports through the consumer service line on 940
Updated 01 April 2023
AL-KHARJ: Authorities in Al-Kharj municipality are conducting 12,000 inspection visits to shops and food markets.
The visits aim to ensure the abundance and quality of products, as well as the compliance with health requirements and operating standards. Other undeclared visits will take place based on reports from the public.
Al-Kharj Mayor Khaled Al-Zaid, said: “The supervisory plan of the campaigns aims to ensure the safety of the products and the compliance of workers with the health and technical requirements.
“The campaign is continuously implemented 24 hours a day, and consumers can submit their reports through the consumer service line on 940, in addition to the municipality’s accounts on social media platforms.”