Saudi astronauts conduct ‘heat transmission’ experiment with students across the Kingdom

Saudi astronauts conduct ‘heat transmission’ experiment with students across the Kingdom
Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni conducted a third educational experiment live with high school students across the Kingdom. (Twitter: @SPA_sci)
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Updated 29 May 2023
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Saudi astronauts conduct ‘heat transmission’ experiment with students across the Kingdom

Saudi astronauts conduct ‘heat transmission’ experiment with students across the Kingdom
  • The ‘heat transmission’ experiment enabled students to compare results in ISS’ microgravity and earth

RIYADH: Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni on Monday conducted an educational experiment with high school students across the Kingdom live from the International Space Station (ISS).

The ‘heat transmission’ experiment enabled students to interact with astronauts and compare results of the two experiments in ISS’ microgravity and earth.

“Results have shown that heat travels slower in space than it does on earth,” reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

On Sunday, the astronauts, who have earlier made history as the first Saudi nationals to be sent to ISS, conducted a space kite experiment that involved 12,000 11 to 13-year-old middle school students from 47 schools across the Kingdom.

The interactive experiments were organized by the Saudi Space Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, Riyadh Schools and Misk Schools.

They aim to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math and improve their skills, according to a statement on SPA.

The series of experiments also seek to enhance the Kingdom’s role in developing the space sector and boost its position in the global space science research community.

The first experiment that the two Saudi astronauts conducted with students was held on Saturday.

The pair, together with elementary students in the Kingdom, examined the behavior of colored fluids on Earth and in space.

The experiment focused on changes in speed and shape while liquids were stirred in both environments.


Air quality in Kingdom monitored by 240 stations

Air quality in Kingdom monitored by 240 stations
Updated 6 sec ago
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Air quality in Kingdom monitored by 240 stations

Air quality in Kingdom monitored by 240 stations
  • Stations aim to inform the public about the quality of air in their surroundings, allowing them to take necessary precautions when needed
  • National Center for Environmental Compliance takes immediate action as soon as the stations detect high levels of air pollution

RIYADH: The National Center for Environmental Compliance has installed 240 monitoring stations across various regions in the Kingdom in an effort to provide real-time information on air quality. The stations collect data on 22 different air components and update indicators every five minutes.

The stations aim to inform the public about the quality of air in their surroundings, allowing them to take necessary precautions when needed, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Ali Al-Qarni, the project supervisor at the center, said that the distribution of the sites had taken into account population density and the presence of industrial cities and facilities with potential environmental impact.

The center takes immediate action as soon as the stations detect high levels of air pollution, in accordance with the executive regulations of the environmental system, Al-Qarni added.

He said: “We’ve created a website for the public that maps the locations of air monitoring stations in all regions of the Kingdom.

“We will soon launch an application on mobile phones to keep the public updated with the findings of the stations.”

Some of the monitoring stations are mobile and can be relocated to areas with higher demand, Al-Qarni said.

He added that industrial cities will also receive periodic reports to ensure the maintenance of air quality.


Saudi king, crown prince attend Cabinet meeting

Saudi king, crown prince attend Cabinet meeting
Updated 3 min 12 sec ago
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Saudi king, crown prince attend Cabinet meeting

Saudi king, crown prince attend Cabinet meeting

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman and his Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have attended the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.


Saudi Arabia border guards thwart attempt to smuggle 130kg of qat

Saudi Arabia border guards thwart attempt to smuggle 130kg of qat
Updated 03 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia border guards thwart attempt to smuggle 130kg of qat

Saudi Arabia border guards thwart attempt to smuggle 130kg of qat

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s border guards in the Jazan region have foiled an attempt to smuggle 130 kg of the narcotic qat into the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, agents from the General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested two Saudi Arabia nationals in Jazan for attempting to sell hashish, methamphetamine, and pills subject to medical regulations.

They were referred to the Kingdom’s Public Prosecution authority.


Maintaining family traditions and ties plays an important role in Riyadh social life

Maintaining family traditions and ties plays an important role in Riyadh social life
Updated 03 October 2023
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Maintaining family traditions and ties plays an important role in Riyadh social life

Maintaining family traditions and ties plays an important role in Riyadh social life
  • From sports to desert picnics, Saudis have wide choice when it comes to spending quality time with their families
  • Family is a central pillar of residents of Saudi capital, forming the basis of most people’s social circle

RIYADH: Every Friday, Abdullah Al-Sulaiman dresses in his favorite clothes and takes his family to his grandfather’s house to meets all his family members and enjoy the weather in the backyard while drinking tea and mamool (cookies). 

Upholding family traditions and maintaining kinship ties are an integral part of Saudi society and culture that is passed down from one generation to the next.

Residents of Riyadh shared with Arab News how much they value spending quality time with their families.  

“Family is a central pillar of Saudi Arabian society, forming the basis of most people’s social circle. Every Friday is a family day, I usually spend it at my grandfather’s house where all my uncles and aunts come with their children,” Al-Sulaiman said.   

Some families have a designated room, called a majilis, in their house, where important family matters are discussed and guests are welcomed for socializing. 

Mutlaq Al-Jabaa, a resident of Riyadh, enjoys driving his family around the city. “We enjoy cruising around Riyadh, so I drive them around the city, or we rent a recreation center chalet that has a pool and entertainment consoles for the whole family to get together and have fun.” 

In Saudi Arabia, it is common to rent an istiraha, or chalet, a place for a temporary stay that often has a pool, a large living room for families to gather, and a garden with a play area for children.    

In cooler months, Al-Jabaa said that most families in Riyadh also enjoy outdoor activities, such as picnics in the desert around Wadi Hanifa and other locations. “It is called kashta. On cold winter nights, we go to the desert and bring chairs, tea, food, wood and a small carpet to sit and enjoy the weather, and we like to burn firewood for warmth.”   

Other popular family activities include camping, desert safari tours, camel rides, sandboarding, quad biking and stargazing — all offering unique experiences in nature while boosting economic prospects for local businesses.  

“We prefer to gather in a camp in the desert where the guys play the card game baloot, and the women enjoy sitting and sipping tea or Saudi coffee while watching the children run around,” Al-Sulaiman said.   

Taking part in sports, such as soccer, horse racing and falconry, are also an essential part of family tradition in Riyadh. 

Nouf Al-Humaidi likes to rent a farm with a stable to teach children horseback riding.

“Saudis are well connected to horses, and in my family we like to teach children from a young age how to ride horses so when they grow up, they can decide if they want to do it as a sport. Children also are very excited when they see farm animals, and they learn a lot on how to make milk and how to collect eggs.”   

During Ramadan, families, mostly during weekends, host iftar at their homes for friends and families. Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha — two of the most important religious holidays in the Islamic calendar — are joyous occasions for extended families to gather to celebrate, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional food and drink.   

Hanouf Al-Salama said that her father has a farm where family members and their children gather to enjoy nature and collect dates.

“We make Saudi coffee for the family to drink with the dates; we like to hold a competition for the children to see who can collect the most dates. We also have a barbecue, where the men of the family often cook the meat,” Al-Salama said.   


Riyadh emerging as an international cuisine hub

Riyadh emerging as an international cuisine hub
Updated 03 October 2023
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Riyadh emerging as an international cuisine hub

Riyadh emerging as an international cuisine hub
  • “Gastronomic explosion” has accompanied Saudi capital’s transition from administrative capital to vibrant metropolis
  • Experts see immense potential benefits for Riyadh, and the Kingdom as a whole, from global expertise and exposure

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s capital is experiencing what is best described as a “gastronomic explosion.”

International brands have entered the market alongside proliferating homegrown Saudi restaurants and street food, contributing to the growing cultural diversity of Riyadh.

Until recently, Riyadh’s culinary scene was dominated by a few local restaurants offering predominantly Saudi and traditional Najdi cuisine, which hails from the historical region encompassing modern-day Riyadh, Qassim and Hail. This included warm and hearty stews, rich meat dishes, and savory regional specialties that have been a staple in traditional restaurants for decades.

The transformation began with the Saudi Vision 2030 economic and social plan in 2016, which has gained significant momentum since 2021 as the pandemic has waned. Riyadh has seen a surge in international chefs and eateries, accompanied by an increasing influx of tourists and expatriates.

Today, Saudi Arabia boasts a range of restaurants from around the world, catering to diverse tastes and budgets, both in fine dining and street food.

Simultaneously, Riyadh, transitioning from being solely an administrative hub to a vibrant cosmopolitan metropolis, attracts talent from across the globe. This includes restaurants and chefs eager to tap into what could potentially become the Middle East’s largest culinary market.

Vision 2030 aims to boost household spending on cultural and entertainment activities to 6 percent, a significant increase from the initial 2.9 percent when the plan was unveiled in 2016.

Among the latest international arrivals are Spago Riyadh, from the renowned celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, Flamingo Room by Tashas, a concept store and eatery from the celebrated South African chef, and Mr. Chow, the Chinese restaurant specializing in authentic Beijing cuisine, founded by British-Chinese restaurateur Michael Chow, set to open in early October.

Other newcomers include Ferdi Restaurant, famous for its Parisian burgers, and La Petite Maison, offering cuisine from the Cote d’Azur, among others.

Cool Inc, a Saudi lifestyle curator, is behind the launch of La Petite Maison, Ferdi, Spago, and Cut by Wolfgang Puck, with plans announced in late 2022 for openings such as Scott’s, Sexy Fish, Wagyumafia, Gymkhana, and Madeo.

Natasha Sideris, CEO and founder of Tashas Group, expressed her enthusiasm for the evolving culinary scene in Riyadh, noting the city’s transition from a limited dining market to a flourishing landscape with international brands and innovative local concepts.

Riyadh’s newest addition, Flamingo Room by Tashas, is located in the vibrant Diriyah neighborhood, offering a multi-faceted experience that includes Tashas restaurant, Collective Africa (a retail concept store), the African Lounge, and The Stargaze Garden (a rooftop dining space).

In June of this year, Riyadh introduced Via Mercato, a luxury culinary destination housed in the upscale dining complex, Via Riyadh. It features artisanal and specialty foods from around the world, drawing attention on social media with the appearance of actress Sofia Vergara amid its sleek, architecturally striking design.

Matthew Lawson, general manager for Via Mercato, attributed Riyadh’s emergence as a culinary capital to at least three factors: a surge in tourism; heavy investments in the hospitality and food industries; and an increasingly cosmopolitan and sophisticated local population seeking diverse culinary experiences.

Via Mercato’s luxury market offers a wide range of artisanal and specialty food products, including baked goods, cheeses and Japanese delicacies. Additionally, it features a caviar bar, pizzeria, rotisserie and a cheese shop, all with personalized service and expert guidance from knowledgeable staff.

For those seeking more casual and adventurous fare, Riyadh boasts a growing choice of street cuisine, including both local Saudi dishes and international flavors. Despite the city’s reputation for a car-centric lifestyle, there are vibrant outdoor areas where residents and visitors alike explore new culinary experiences.

Options include Thai Soi, Barbar Riyadh (a Lebanese street food restaurant), and various eateries serving local Saudi and Arabic specialties such as baleela, koshari and manto.

Each month sees the opening of several high-end global restaurants and street food joints in Riyadh, underlining the city’s increasing appeal to food enthusiasts locally, regionally and internationally.

As the culinary landscape expands, there is a growing interest among Riyadh residents in making the most of the “gastronomic explosion.”

The establishment of the Culinary Arts Commission under the Saudi Ministry of Culture reflects this trend. The mission of the body includes rating restaurants, dishes and chefs, establishing culinary arts regulations, and promoting both Saudi and international culinary traditions. It also aims to document recipes and share them to introduce Saudi cuisine globally.

Matthew Lawson emphasized the importance of facilitating culinary exchanges and collaborations with chefs and institutions worldwide, highlighting the potential to bring global expertise and exposure to the Kingdom. This local and international exchange is a pivotal factor in Riyadh’s ascent as an international culinary destination.