RIYADH: The second edition of the “Otr Elkalam” TV show, featuring international Qur’an recitation and call to prayer (adhan) competitions, started on Thursday.
Coinciding with the first day of Ramadan, the contest has a total prize pool of SR12 million ($3.2 million).
An initiative of the General Entertainment Authority, the popular show is broadcast on MBC1 and Shahid digital platform during the holy month.
The first episode featured the 32 contestants from around the world and revisited last year’s winners of the Qur’an recitation and adhan competitions, Younes Gharbi from Morocco, and Mohsen Kara of Turkiye, respectively.
Applications to take part in this year’s contest began rolling in from Jan. 4 and contestants then went through several online stages of evaluation by 120 jury members.
More than 50,000 entrants from 165 countries were whittled down to 50 for the final stage, which is held in Riyadh. Another selection process by the main jury left 32 contestants, 16 for each competition.
Viewers were introduced to this year’s panel of judges which includes the competition’s secretary-general, Dr. Fahd Al-Andas, general supervisor, Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani, and Moroccan president, Dr. Abdel Rahim Nabulsi.
Bahloul Abu Arqoub from Libya, Meshary Al-Afasy from Kuwait, Ahmed Mansour from Egypt, and Ahmed Nahhas from Saudi Arabia were also present.
“Otr Elkalam” is the first competition to combine Qur’an recitation and adhan and the largest contest of its kind in the world.
King Abdulaziz Foundation, Boutique Group sign deal to preserve Saudi heritage and history
Focus on research, holding summits, exhibitions, workshops
‘Aim to boost Kingdom as global tourist, culture destination’
Updated 30 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Boutique Group, owned by the Public Investment Fund, have signed a memorandum of understanding to preserve the Kingdom’s “captivating history and legacy,” the group announced on Monday.
The agreement will cover research and the holding of various events, including on culture, literature and geography, at Tuwaiq Palace in the Diplomatic Quarter, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The memorandum was signed by CEO Turki Al-Showair on behalf of the foundation, also known as Darah, and CEO Mark DeCocinis, for the Boutique Group.
It includes collaboration on “scientific studies and research on the history of palaces and the essence of royal hospitality,” the Boutique Group said in a statement.
The deal includes holding summits, exhibitions and workshops, and spreading awareness through advertising, media campaigns and artworks.
Al-Showair said: “The Kingdom is proceeding on the path of rapid and deliberate development and progress, in accordance with the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 and its inspiring programs.”
The agreement “aims to support the Boutique Group by providing reliable and steady historical content, in a way that contributes to preserving the Kingdom’s heritage.”
He said the pact was part of the Darah foundation’s commitment to fulfill its mission of serving the Kingdom through the preservation and publication of all relevant documentation.
Al-Showair said it would serve to introduce the country’s “glorious history and heritage rooted in the national identity that everyone cherishes.”
DeCocinis said the Kingdom has a rich, largely unexplored cultural history, which the deal would now make more widely available to the world.
The Boutique Group was set up to provide an authentic Saudi experience that contributes to supporting the local economy. Its mandate is to further enhance the Kingdom’s position as a global tourist destination by developing “historic and cultural palaces, and royal residences, into ultra-luxury boutique hotels.”
KSrelief continues providing healthcare services to Syrian refugees in Lebanon
KSrelief’s Arsal Medical Center in Baalbek delivered 9,456 services to 4,186 patients in April
Updated 30 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s aid agency has continued providing healthcare services to Syrian refugees and the host community in Lebanon.
The Arsal Medical Center in Baalbek, operating under King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), delivered 9,456 services to 4,186 patients in April.
“This initiative reflects Saudi Arabia’s commitment, represented by KSrelief, to provide humanitarian aid to those in need, particularly Syrian refugees, to alleviate their suffering in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis they are facing,” state news agency SPA reported.
The aid agency continued its surgical voluntary program in Cameroon’s Maroua where 22 volunteer doctors have so far examined 605 cases and performed 303 operations.
The program, held in collaboration with Al-Balsam International Organization, will run until June 2.
In Yemen, KSrelief concluded its voluntary medical project for specialized clinics in family medicine, preventive medicine, and dermatology.
As part of the project, which took place in Mukalla from May 21 to May 28, KSrelief’s volunteer medical team served 1,794 individuals in the family medicine and preventive medicine clinics, and 1,079 individuals in the dermatology clinics.
Saudi project dismantles 875 Houthi mines in Yemen within one week
Updated 30 May 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Masam project dismantled 875 mines, planted by the Houthi militia across Yemen, in the last week of May.
Overseen by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), a specialist team removed 11 anti-personnel mines, 165 anti-tank mines, 686 unexploded ammunition, and 13 explosive devices, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
In Aden, the team dismantled three anti-personnel mines, 11 anti-tank mines, 519 unexploded ammunition, and seven explosive devices.
The ongoing project aims to clear Yemeni lands of mines and save people’s lives, said the SPA statement.
Saudi Armed Forces launch ‘Eagle Resolve 23’ with GCC, US troops
Updated 30 May 2023
RIYADH: The Saudi Armed Forces launched a joint exercise on Sunday with the participation of forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the US, the Kingdom’s defense ministry announced on Monday.
The “Eagle Resolve 23” drill, which was launched at the Air Warfare Center in the Eastern Province, aims to enhance military cooperation, exchange expertise in the field of missile air defense and unify planning and implementation of procedures.
It will also consolidate the principles and foundations of coordination for joint action to reach a required operational compatibility and integration, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Brig. Gen. Uqab bin Awad Al-Mutairi, the commander of the duty force in the joint exercise, said the forces participating in the exercise will implement a number of theoretical and practical exercises, including air and missile operations with live ammunition, defensive counter-air operations, air-to-air refueling operations, and surface-to-naval warfare operations, electronic warfare, naval incursions, defense against weapons of mass destruction and mass casualties.
He added that the exercise is being implemented for the first time in the Kingdom, where preparatory meetings and academic lectures for the exercise began last week.
Prior to that, eight conferences were also held, seven of which were in Riyadh and another in Tampa, Florida in the US.
Teruzushi — with 50 years of history across three generations of sushi chefs — is located in the small-town ward of Tobata in Northern Kyushu’s countryside
Updated 57 min 7 sec ago
RIYADH: Famous Japanese sushi restaurant Teruzushi, based in the Northern Kyushu prefecture, has opened its first overseas branch in Riyadh.
Located in the luxury VIA Riyadh precinct, the restaurant held a pre-launch event on May 11.
The restaurant was already the subject of attention after VIA Riyadh released a commercial starring famous Colombian-US model and “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara, who at one point during the clip had a huge knife pointed at her by famous Japanese chef Takayoshi Watanabe, who later serves the actress sushi.
Arab News Japan spoke to Junpei Moriya, a chef at Teruzushi. He began his career aged 18 close to Tokyo in Gunma prefecture, an area famous for its countryside hot spring resort (Kusatsu Onsen) and which boasts the largest flowing hot water volume in Japan.
Moriya, who will turn 30 this year, later moved to Tokyo to learn how to prepare kaiseki-ryori, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that requires fine technique and preparation.
He continued on that path for 10 years but one day sent an Instagram message to Watanabe to ask for an opportunity to work at Teruzushi. He worked for two years under the celebrity chef in Japan before being offered a position at the restaurant’s new outlet in the Kingdom.
“It all started when I helped my mother cook by making a little omelet. I was incredibly happy when I saw my mom’s happy face when I made her that omelet,” Moriya told Arab News Japan.
Teruzushi — with 50 years of history across three generations of sushi chefs — is located in the small-town ward of Tobata in Northern Kyushu’s countryside.
Moriya said that the lack of sushi culture in Saudi Arabia offers an opportunity for the Japanese chefs to showcase their work, adding that he looks forward to the day when the raw fish dishes are accepted in the Kingdom.
“The most liked sushi is salmon, and tuna is extremely popular as well. As most Saudis like spicy food, yuzu pepper is popular, too,’’ he said.
“At Teruzushi, the food is divided into four seasons resembling the beautiful four seasons in Japan, and I feel that the seasons are one of the best things about Japan,” he added.
The restaurant changes its menu and ingredients with each passing season, with the exception of Watanabe’s favorite dish, kuru (grouper fish), which is a mainstay of the celebrity chef’s videos on TikTok and Instagram.
“By having more Japanese food spreading, people understand how simple and delicious it tastes. That way Saudi people would want to come sightseeing in Japan,” Moriya said.