RIYADH: Bandar Alkhorayef, Saudi Arabia’s minister of industry and mineral resources, signed a letter of intent with Kemi Badenoch, the UK secretary of state for business and trade, to enhance cooperation in the field of critical minerals.
Critical minerals, such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements, are essential components in many rapidly growing clean energy technologies.
The two sides seek to commit to the joint development of supply chains of minerals essential to the worldwide transition to zero carbon neutrality, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Alkhorayef said that this step comes within the framework of boosting bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and the UK in the industrial and mining sectors, and contributes to supporting global efforts to realize a green future.
The Saudi minister said that the two countries want to ensure the availability of minerals required for the transition to sustainable energy.
The letter of intent will enable both countries to diversify supply chains for critical minerals used in a variety of metal-intensive industries, such as vehicle manufacture, electricity, aviation, defense and renewable energy.
It will also enable them to coordinate through international forums, collaborate with the private sector on mineral supply chains, and explore joint investment opportunities, as well as facilitate knowledge exchange on projects related to critical minerals.
Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music
Local band Immortal Pain fulfills growing appetite for genre among Saudi music lovers
Updated 9 min 16 sec ago
JEDDAH: Saudi metal band Immortal Pain delivered a loud and lively concert at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah, with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them.
Friday night marked the second performance of the band at the convention. They have been in the rock and metal scene since late 2005, starting with two members and later doubling.
In a previous interview with Arab News, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Emad Ashoor said the band started with only him and the lead guitarist Rasheed Attar. Later, drummer Moayad Al-Shammari and bassist Anan Al-Sabban joined the group, and just last year, they signed a contract with Saudi recording company Wall of Sound: Dark Mode.
The Jeddah-based band has been throwing mini-concerts across the Kingdom. They have also released original music and are working on releasing more to their Saudi, Arab, and international audiences.
While they previously spoke to Arab News about their origins, this time the members shared insight into the dynamic of the group and how they work together on making their songs and music videos.
It all begins with inspiration.
“The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt,” said the drummer Al-Shammari. “Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.”
On the unusual places or moments that can inspire, Al-Shammari said: “One day, I was passing by a construction site, and the sounds of wrecking and drilling inspired me somehow and I made a song based on the noise of the construction site.”
Ashoor, gifted with a poetic sense, takes over the next step of writing the lyrics.
So far, they have been writing lyrics in English, but they all agreed they were open to the challenge of writing in Arabic and were eager to experiment and evolve with their music.
The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt. Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.
Moayad Al-Shammari, Immortal Pain drummer
Once the lyrics are in place, they decide upon a melody and arrange the song, deciding which riff goes first and which follows. The lyrics are recorded last.
When asked about the difficult times they have encountered throughout their career, the four agreed that starting was tough as metal music was considered a Western genre and was not popular locally. Although they have supportive families, they said it was hard for them to find an audience at the very beginning.
Their audience gradually increased from a few people to several dozen, and by the time they played at Comic Con last year and this year, they had amassed about 1,000 music fans.
“Rock and metal are both on the rise contrary to what Gene Simmons and the likes of KISS might think. They can go ahead and retire if it’s getting too loud,” bassist Al-Sabban joked when asked about the metal scene in the Kingdom.
“But the local and global scenes are growing,” he said, adding that Metallica would be playing in the Kingdom next week. “As we all know, when Saudi Arabia gets involved, it’s going to be bigger and better.”
When MDLBeast announced that Metallica would be performing in Saudi Arabia, fans from across the Middle East and North Africa bought tickets to see the legendary metal band.
Immortal Pain also told Arab News exclusively that after only releasing singles, they are officially going to record their first full album first thing next year. They also revealed that in 2024, they will hit the road on a tour across the MENA region, throwing concerts in the Kingdom, the UAE, and Egypt.
Al-Shammari proudly added that they have also received an invitation to perform in Germany, and while nothing is yet confirmed, they are hoping things will work and they will hold an international concert.
For updates about the band, follow their Instagram @immortal_pain_official.
US-Saudi Business Council to hold conference in New Orleans
Event will promote business opportunities for US companies in Kingdom
Updated 46 min 31 sec ago
RIYADH: A conference to promote economic opportunities for American firms in Saudi Arabia will be held in New Orleans on Monday.
Organized by the US-Saudi Business Council and Texas-based law firm KN Legal, the event will feature speakers from Saudi Aramco, the US Export Assistance Center in New Orleans and the Lafayette Economic Development Commission, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The presentations will provide valuable information and support to companies interested in entering the Saudi market or expanding their businesses there.
The Kingdom offers opportunities in the oil and gas industry as well as megaprojects linked to the Saudi Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy.
“The conference will highlight the efforts of the Saudi leadership in encouraging international participation in this fast-moving economy, such as economic, trade and regulatory reforms to improve the transparency and predictability of the Saudi business environment,” the report said.
No Christmas tree in Bethlehem as holiday pared down over war
Palestinians were in pain at the “many children, women, the elderly, the people who were martyred in this crazy war,” he said. Gazan authorities put the Palestinian death toll at more than 15,000
Updated 47 min 40 sec ago
BETHLEHEM: There will be no Christmas tree in Bethlehem this year as the traditional site of Jesus’ birth holds pared-down celebrations “without the fanfare and too many lights” in the shadow of the Gaza war.
Bethlehem, which neighbors Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, has been battered by Israeli-Palestinian clashes of years past. But many townspeople have been especially gripped by the current conflict in the Gaza Strip, 50 km away.
Triggered by an Oct. 7 killing and kidnapping spree in southern Israel by gunmen from Hamas, the war has seen much of the impoverished enclave devastated in an Israeli counter-offensive with no end in sight.
In the early days of every December, church leaders convene in Bethlehem to inaugurate the pre-Christmas Advent season, usually a major tourist draw.
We have never seen Bethlehem like this, not even during COVID. The town is empty, sad.
Father Ibrahim Faltas
But this year, the streets and plazas of the hilly town were largely empty and somber under a dry winter sun.
“We have never seen Bethlehem like this, not even during COVID. The town is empty, sad,” Father Ibrahim Faltas, a senior Franciscan friar, told Reuters in front of the Church of the Nativity. “Today was meant to be a joyous day.”
Palestinians were in pain at the “many children, women, the elderly, the people who were martyred in this crazy war,” he said. Gazan authorities put the Palestinian death toll at more than 15,000.
A Nov. 10 statement by church heads in the Holy Land voiced sympathy for people wracked by “the uncertain fate of those dear to them” — a possible reference to families and friends of some 240 people taken hostage by Hamas.
For the first time in many residents’ memories, no Christmas tree had been erected in Nativity Square, where the church prepared to hold religious services shorn of festive events.
“We will celebrate in sobriety,” said Father Francesco Patton of the Custody of the Holy Land church group.
“That means without the fanfare and too many lights, in the most spiritual way and more (among) families than in the square.”
Jiad Modern Motors opens MG showrooms in Jeddah, Riyadh
Updated 53 min 15 sec ago
MG Motor, in collaboration with Jiad Modern Motors, a Mohamed Yousuf Naghi company and the official dealer for MG in Saudi Arabia, has opened its first showroom in Jeddah, followed by a second one in Riyadh. These showrooms are the first of six to open under the newly forged partnership between the British-born automotive brand and Jiad Modern Motors, providing an array of MG’s highly popular automotive offerings and an enhanced customer experience to the people of Saudi Arabia.
The new sales, service and spare parts MG showroom in Jeddah, which opened its doors to the public in early November, is located in the city’s Al-Marwah district. The 1,136-square-meter facility is set to dazzle visitors with its modern and spacious design, showcasing a wide range of MG vehicles that cater to diverse preferences. The Jeddah showroom is equipped with top-of-the-line facilities, including a sales showroom, an after-sales service center with a fast maintenance facility and a genuine MG parts center.
In Riyadh, the MG showroom is situated in the As-Sulimaniyah district. The 833-square-meter facility mirrors its Jeddah counterpart in terms of style, sophistication, and offerings of a comprehensive selection of MG vehicles.
The two showrooms are the first of six to be launched in major Saudi cities by the end of 2023. The third showroom is set to launch in Dammam in the first week of December.
Both showrooms feature MG’s acclaimed range of contemporary models, including the crossover series consisting of the MG ZST, ZS EV, HS and RX5. The brand’s compact sedans — the MG 5, MG 6 and MG GT — are also available for purchase, along with the spacious seven-seater RX8. In addition to these offerings, customers can anticipate the debut of new models such as the MG One, MG HS PHEV and the eagerly awaited MG Whale.
Tom Lee, managing director of MG Motor Middle East, said: “The inauguration of the state-of-the-art showroom in Jeddah and Riyadh, and shortly in Dammam, marks the start of our partnership with Jiad Modern Motors. These facilities are testament to MG Motor’s dedication to providing our Saudi customers with the highest quality products and services. We look forward to continuing to deliver an exceptional customer experience and building lasting relationships with our Saudi customers.”
Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Group Executive Vice President Anees Jamjoom said: “The opening of the new MG Motor showroom in Jeddah and the establishment of the showroom in Riyadh exemplify our commitment to meeting the growing demands of our valued customers in the western and capital regions. These showrooms offer unparalleled sales experiences, an extensive range of high-quality MG vehicles, and exceptional customer service.”
The showroom openings are the latest stage in MG’s remarkable journey in Saudi Arabia, which saw the brand sell more than 30,000 units in 2022 alone. The company plans to continue expanding its presence in the country by not only launching a third showroom in Dammam in the first week of December, but a further three additional showrooms in three more major cities by the end of the year. Coupled with establishing service centers and authorized dealerships in key regions, MG aims to ensure that owners receive better-than-ever service and support.
What We Are Reading Today: Yuan: Chinese Architecture in Mongol Empire
“Yuan” presents the first comprehensive study in English of the architecture of China under Mongol rule
Updated 54 min 12 sec ago
Author: Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt
The Yuan dynasty endured for a century, leaving behind an architectural legacy without equal, from palaces, temples, and pagodas to pavilions, tombs, and stages.
With a history enlivened by the likes of Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, this spectacular empire spanned the breadth of China and far, far beyond, but its rulers were Mongols.
“Yuan” presents the first comprehensive study in English of the architecture of China under Mongol rule.
Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt looks at cities such as the legendary Shangdu as well as the architecture the Mongols encountered on their routes of conquest.
She examines the buildings and monuments of diverse faiths in China during the period, from Buddhist and Daoist to Confucian, Islamic, and Christian, as well as unusual structures. Steinhardt dispels long-standing views of the Mongols as destroyers of cities and architecture across Asia, showing how the khans and their families built more than they tore down.