DUBAI: Saudi nationals and residents will be eligible for electronic visas to Japan starting March 27.
Mutual interests and official diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan have been present for decades; both countries are mutually essential for each other’s political and economic growth.
The embassy of Japan in Saudi Arabia recently announced that all Saudi nationals and people who reside in Saudi Arabia will be eligible to apply for a visa to Japan electronically; prior to that announcement, applications had to be done in the Japanese embassy or consulate.
Other than speeding up and streamlining the application process, this new decision will further enhance bilateral relations between both countries and facilitates entry and exit for all purposes.
The process includes a form that requires applicants to fill out basic information such as name, contacts, passport details, and travel information.
In 2015 Japan was named the third-largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia; both countries share many common interests that allow them to maximize benefits and enhance bilateral relations.
* This story originally appeared on Arab News Japan, click here to read it.
Mawhiba nurtures 606 gifted students in 16 Arab countries
Mawhiba representatives told the 13th Conference of Arab Ministers of Education in Rabat that its ‘Gifted Arabs’ initiative had identified and was supporting people in 16 Arab countries
Secretary-General Dr. Amal bint Abdullah Al-Hazaa said that the program allows Saudi leadership to share their expertise and discover, nurture, and empower talent around the Arab world
Updated 8 sec ago
RIYADH: More than 600 ‘gifted’ students have been granted support to realize their academic talents under an initiative launched by a Saudi foundation, an education conference has been told.
Leaders from Mawhiba, or the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, Mawhiba, told the 13th Conference of Arab Ministers of Education in Rabat, Morocco, that its ‘Gifted Arabs’ initiative had identified and was supporting people in 16 Arab countries.
Secretary-General Dr. Amal bint Abdullah Al-Hazaa said that the program allows Saudi leadership to share their expertise and discover, nurture, and empower talent around the Arab world.
Dr. Khaled Al-Sharif, director general of Mawhiba’s Center of Excellence, said that 606 students were identified in the first and second rounds of the ‘Gifted Arabs’ initiative’s recruitment.
The initiative has provided the talented students with qualitative enrichment and academic programs to develop their knowledge and capabilities, he added.
Mawhiba said that its efforts were part of its vision to empower talent and creativity to further prosperity.
The conference, “Future of Education in the Arab World in the Digital Transformation Era,” was held on May 29 and 30.
Social Development Bank’s training program helping SMEs to grow
Business owners offered courses in marketing, administration, communication skills
Updated 58 min 11 sec ago
RIYADH: The Social Development Bank has introduced a range of training programs to help small businesses across the Kingdom to grow.
The courses cover key issues like marketing and administration and also provide business owners with the chance to meet and discuss their development plans with local and international experts.
One of the companies that has benefited from the scheme is Maulava, a Riyadh-based, all-women kitchen run by chef Amal Almarzoog.
“The Social Development Bank helped me by providing the courses needed as a business owner, like marketing and business administration,” she said.
“It also helped me with my communication skills.”
Almarzoog said she would recommend SDB to other small-business owners, “because they will get all the necessary support to develop their projects.”
The SDB training program supports Saudi Vision 2030 and its goals to lower the unemployment rate, increase women’s participation in the workforce and expand the contribution of small and medium enterprises’ to 35 percent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade.
Hissein Brahim Taha commends South Asian nation’s support for Rohingya refugees
Two sides discuss ways to boost cooperation
Updated 31 May 2023
RIYADH: The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Hissein Brahim Taha recently held a meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen in Dhaka.
The two men expressed their satisfaction with the level of cooperation between the OIC and Bangladesh and discussed ways and means to enhance it.
Taha commended the leadership of Bangladesh for providing humanitarian assistance and shelter to the 1.2 million Rohingya refugees, while Momen conveyed his country’s appreciation for the important role played by the OIC and for its support for the Rohingya people.
On Tuesday, Taha attended the 35th convocation ceremony of the Islamic University of Technology in Dhaka. He thanked Bangladesh for hosting and supporting the university.
Taha, who is also chancellor of the IUT, commended the university for its outstanding efforts in nurturing intellectual growth, especially in technology.
He also emphasized the crucial role of education in empowering individuals and societies, and encouraged the graduates to use their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on their communities, the Islamic world and the world at large.
Saudi astronauts land safely on Earth after successful space mission
Many proud citizens watched live 12-hour return journey
14 experiments conducted on human health, fluids in microgravity
Updated 57 min 38 sec ago
RIYADH: Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni, and Americans Peggy Whitson and John Schoffner, made a safe splashdown off the coast of Florida early Wednesday morning, after completing a successful eight-day Ax-2 mission on the International Space Station.
The 12-hour journey of the Dragon capsule back to Earth from the ISS was watched live by many Saudi citizens, who expressed pride at the contribution of the two Saudi astronauts to space research.
“I was more nervous watching their return to Earth as I learned it is often difficult for a returning spacecraft to reenter Earth’s atmosphere,” said 15-year-old Reema, a high school student based in Dhahran. “I stayed up all night to watch the live coverage of their arrival, and it was worth it, I felt proud to be Saudi.”
“I feel privileged to be living in a country aiming to empower its citizens with continued support from initiatives, workshops, scholarships, working day and night to mark Saudis’ footsteps in all fields,” said 34-year-old engineer Yasser, a chemical engineer based in Jubail Industrial City.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US, tweeted: “Filled with pride as I watch our astronauts and the Ax-2 team land safely back to Earth after their journey to ISS where they conducted scientific experiments that will further the frontier of scientific innovation and inspired a whole nation to dream and explore.”
Experiments in space
Barnawi and Alqarni successfully completed 14 science experiments in space. Three were part of the education outreach microgravity experiments, which involved over 12,000 students from 47 locations across the Kingdom.
The education outreach experiments, designed for students to think critically, were reportedly focused on demonstrating differences in fluid behavior on Earth and in microgravity, explore the aerodynamic behavior of different kite shapes on the ISS, and showcase the effects of the external environment of space on the available modes of heat transfer.
In the heat transfer experiment, the Saudi astronauts demonstrated how this took place in space by monitoring a wire as it heated and cooled, while students watched and compared how this differed from controlled experiments on Earth.
“The education outreach experiments aim to encourage their curiosity in space science as they are the future Saudi scientists, astronauts and engineers,” said Mishaal Alshemimry, a Saudi aerospace engineer and special adviser to the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, in an interview with Al-Ekhbariya.
Among all the experiments conducted, 11 focused on the nervous system involving tissues, cells and molecules; four on immune cells; and one on cloud seeding in space, involving water-seeding technology. Several of the experiments were designed by Saudi scientists who had their projects taken into space by Barnawi and Alqarni.
Barnawi, the first Arab female astronaut and cancer researcher with a decade of experience in stem cell research, carried out experiments on human immune cells and their inflammatory response in a microgravity environment.
The experiments were affiliated with the country’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, in cooperation with the Saudi Space Commission. The aim was to determine the response of immune cells and the effects of some treatments on inflammatory conditions, understand the biological changes occurring in a microgravity environment, and the activity of genes in immune cells exposed to inflammation over time.
The experiments were conducted under the supervision of the research team led by the head of King Faisal’s Department of Molecules and Research Scientists.
The experiments were conducted in several stages, starting with the preparation of live cells in special vessels, and holding them in a cell incubator for 48 hours to adapt to microgravity conditions.
The second stage involved adding compounds with therapeutic properties to inhibit enzymes that stimulate the production of proteins.
Stage three was completed by adding a catalyst for inflammatory reactions to stimulate biological reactions in the cell. In the final stage, the chemically treated or untreated samples were collected and preserved at different times, to monitor changes in the messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, lifetime.
In conjunction with work carried out by Barnawi in space, King Faisal’s Dr. Wijdan Al-Ahmadi will conduct the same experiments on Earth in collaboration with NASA. Al-Ahmadi will analyze the samples and compare the effects and results in micro- and great-gravity conditions.
The experiments were conducted to better understand human health in space and identify biomarkers or potential biotechnology-based treatments for inflammatory illnesses on Earth and off the planet.
Experiments on the nervous system investigated changes in blood-based biomarkers and measured changes in intracranial pressure, which furthered the understanding of the spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome.
Other conducted experiments concerning the nervous system were conducted to determine the effects of a microgravity environment on the brain’s electrical activity using portable electroencephalogram, or EEG, testing. This was used to measure optic nerve sheath diameter in astronauts and cerebral perfusion and alterations of brain positions in microgravity.
Alqarni also had a busy research program that entailed exploring various cloud-seeding techniques in a microgravity environment. In a reaction chamber, Alqarni combined salt crystals with moist air to see if water droplets would form.
As part of the Kingdom’s continued contribution toward space science, the Ministry of Education has approved the teaching of the book “Earth and Space Science” as part of the school curriculum starting from the next academic year.
The book allows students to develop their abilities in the natural and applied sciences at the secondary level, as the course deals with an introduction to the relationship between Earth, air, space, water and living organisms.