Saudi customs seize multimillion-dollar Captagon haul in Batha port

Saudi customs seize multimillion-dollar Captagon haul in Batha port
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Updated 08 September 2023
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Saudi customs seize multimillion-dollar Captagon haul in Batha port

Saudi customs seize multimillion-dollar Captagon haul in Batha port
  • The drug haul had an estimated street value of between $1.8 m and $4.6 m

DUBAI: Saudi authorities seized 183,900 Captagon pills found hidden in a car in Batha port, southern Riyadh, that arrived in the Kingdom on Friday.
The pills were seized from the boot of the car, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority said in a statement on Friday.

 

 

The person who was meant to collect the shipment was arrested in cooperation with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control in the country.

The drug haul had an estimated street value of between $1.8 m and $4.6 m, according to research published in the International Addiction Review-Journal, based on assumptions that users pay in the range of $10 - $25 a pill.
Amphetamines are largely used by young men and teenage boys across the Middle East, and the money raised through the sale of all narcotics is usually find their way into organized crime and terrorism.
The Saudi government has urged anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number 00 966 114208417, or email [email protected].

 

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AlUla’s shannah dates nurture, preserve heritage

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)
Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)
Updated 02 March 2024
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AlUla’s shannah dates nurture, preserve heritage

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)
  • In alignment with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, the Royal Commission for AlUla is supporting tourism development in the governorate

JEDDAH: In AlUla and the wider Arabian Peninsula, an ancient method of storing and preserving dates, known as shannah, stands as testament to people’s commitment to the preservation of their cultural and culinary heritage.

Shannah not only showcases the ingenuity of the past but also plays a significant role in the region’s economic and agricultural landscape.

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla.

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)

Harvested dates are cleaned, dried, and stuffed into the animal skin, which is then sewn together with palm fronds. The shannah is then left outside to soak up the sun for a period ranging from a few months to five years. The meticulous shannah process ensures the dates’ high quality is maintained throughout.

The demonstration of the shannah process is a highlight of the annual AlUla Dates Festival, providing visitors with firsthand experience of preserving dates in this unique manner.

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$400

Their unique taste and cultural significance make these dates highly sought after, and a single shannah of dates can fetch up to SR1,500 ($400).

In alignment with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, the Royal Commission for AlUla is supporting tourism development in the governorate. This includes the revival of ancient industries such as the shannah, involving the local community in achieving the commission’s goals.

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)

Abdulhadi Suqeer, a Saudi expert in the cultivation and preservation of dates and date palms, told Arab News: “Shannah has a rich history dating back approximately 400 years. This ancient method served as a means for the residents of AlUla to ensure food security throughout the year.

“In recent times, recognizing its cultural significance, the Royal Commission for AlUla has taken steps to revive this heritage, introducing the new generation to the ancient ways of preserving dates,” he added.

FASTFACTS

• Harvested dates are cleaned, dried, and stuffed into the animal skin, which is then sewn together with palm fronds.

• Shannah is primarily used to store one specific type of date known as Al-Helwa Al-Hamra.

Shannah is intricately linked to the geography and culture of AlUla.

Shannah is crafted from the skin of sheep or goats and is a crucial element in the date storage process in AlUla. (Supplied)

“Crafted from goat or sheep skins, the shannah undergoes a meticulous process of cleaning, tanning, and preparation, using materials like lime to maintain flexibility,” Saqeer explained.

In the past, the people of AlUla stored their harvest in a variety of containers, including Al-Jassah — made from lime or gypsum — and Al-Majlad, which is made from green palm fronds.

However, Saqeer said, “The ‘shannah’ method imparts a unique taste and flavor to the dates, avoiding any unnatural substances. Some even add flavors like mint, orange leaves, or basil to enhance the aromatic experience.”

The 'Shannah' is primarily used to store one specific type of date known as Al-Helwa Al-Hamra, which translates to sweet red dates. (Supplied)

The shannah is primarily used to store one specific type of date known as Al-Helwa Al-Hamra, (sweet red dates), which have a low molasses and sugar content, giving the dates their distinct red color. The natural storage process ensures that shannah dates maintain their original taste, flavor, and fragrant smell, particularly when consumed with natural sheep butter or ghee.

Their unique taste and cultural significance make these dates highly sought after, and a single shannah of dates can fetch up to SR1,500 ($400).

“There are individual efforts by some farmers in AlUla to promote the shannah throughout the year, but we need to have a marketing platform adopted by the commission or any of the entities interested in this type of food,” Suqeer concluded.

 

 


Saudi artist reimagines Kingdom’s capital in vibrant pixels

Saudi artist reimagines Kingdom’s capital in vibrant pixels
Updated 03 March 2024
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Saudi artist reimagines Kingdom’s capital in vibrant pixels

Saudi artist reimagines Kingdom’s capital in vibrant pixels
  • Khaled Makshoush’s creativity is sparked by Saudi Arabia’s era of transformation

RIYADH: Saudi artist Khaled Makshoush has mastered pixel designs to reimagine Saudi Arabian scenes in a form of art that is personal, soothing and contemporary.

Indie and retro-style video games use pixel designs to create a colorful and visual design, but with his tablet and stylus the Riyadh-based artist captures a variety of sights, from construction sites with cranes to the iconic streets of the capital and the serene terracotta-coloured desert.

Makshoush told Arab News that he is energized by the transformation of the Kingdom and its complexity: “I’m inspired by the urban landscapes of Riyadh and the industrial scape and the desert scenery of Saudi Arabia in general.”

Saudi artist Khaled Makshoush captures a variety of sights from the Kingdom’s capital, from construction sites with cranes to the iconic streets of the capital and the serene terracotta-coloured desert. (Pixel Art by Khaled Makshoush)

There is a transportive power in his art that emerges from his creative process. He explained: “In my art I explore the atmosphere of place. For example, if a place makes me feel something, I ask myself what is it about that place that makes me feel these emotions and ways. And I create an imaginary place that expresses these feelings.”

Colors are a big subject in Makshoush’s art; he mixes a vibrant palette, resulting in a bold and eye-catching drawing.   

“Usually, I start with just a few colors that indicate the feel or the atmosphere of the painting, and after that I try to find relationships with other colors that add on or complement that feeling.”

Khaled Makshoush, Saudi artist

Makshoush’s art is inspired by the rapid development of Riyadh, showcasing the bustling city life of the Kingdom’s capital. “I try to let my life and my culture come out organically through chasing my personal sense of the world,” he said.

His forays into the city’s urban landscape spark his creative imagination and the scenes and moments he comes across become the subjects of his work: “Walking and driving in Riyadh always gives me inspiration and an idea for my artwork. It’s interesting to see how the city is changing very fast and also still has its own unique feel that I always like to express.

When everything is moving and changing so fast, it’s important to see and understand what people felt like during a specific time.

Khaled Makshoush, Saudi artist

“My first art Riyadh artwork, ‘Early Evening,’ is about seeing the last phase of sunset in the city and my last Riyadh artwork, ‘Cranes,’ is inspired by the huge and tall cranes I see in Riyadh and how they almost glow during nighttime. Very different subject matters but one city and that’s what I like about it.”

Saudi artist Khaled Makshoush captures a variety of sights from the Kingdom’s capital, from construction sites with cranes to the iconic streets of the capital and the serene terracotta-coloured desert. (Pixel Art by Khaled Makshoush)

Makshoush creates new worlds of his own, inspired by existing ones. His artwork does not simply replicate what he sees in Riyadh — he adds layers of his own interpretation to it while capturing its Saudi essence: “Most of these paintings are imaginary. All these Saudi Arabian scenes don’t really exist but it makes me happy that people still find familiarity with them.”

He says that he has received encouraging feedback from the local community: “I’d say it’s always amusing when I draw a scene of Riyadh and get some people telling me they almost recognize the location, but they don’t (know) where exactly.”

According to Makshoush, art is important for society because it teaches us about ourselves: “Especially now when everything is moving and changing so fast, it’s important to see and understand what people felt like during a specific time. What things looked like, what people felt like, what was the mood, how people saw things … art is the best way to answer these questions.”

 


Tabuk visual arts forum highlights Arab creativity

The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)
The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)
Updated 02 March 2024
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Tabuk visual arts forum highlights Arab creativity

The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)
  • The forum’s primary objective was to highlight the talents of Arab artists, and foster a “dynamic exchange of ideas and skills between international participants and local artists in Tabuk”

RIYADH: The inaugural Tabuk International Forum for Visual Arts, hosted by the Colors of Art club, a division of the national hobby portal, Hawi, presented a diverse array of creative endeavors from 30 artists from across the Arab world.

The two-day event, which ended March 2, showcased more than 100 artworks in genres ranging from realism to abstraction and contemporary expressionism, and attracted participants from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq, Oman, and the UAE.

The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)

The forum’s primary objective, according to the organizers, was to highlight the talents of Arab artists, and foster a “dynamic exchange of ideas and skills between international participants and local artists in Tabuk.”

Additionally, the forum, which includes workshops and discussions, was intended to “bolster the status of the arts within the GCC and wider Arab region.”

The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)

Club president Thanawa Al-Qurani underscored the forum’s emphasis on fostering cross-cultural exchange and praised the engagement among attendees and participants, positioning the event as a pivotal moment in shaping public appreciation for visual arts in Tabuk.

“The exhibition stands as a testament to the evolving artistic landscape, reflecting the burgeoning cultural dynamism in the realm of visual arts,” Al-Qurani said, according to a report from the Saudi Press Agency.

The two-day event featured over 100 artworks ranging from realism to abstraction to contemporary expressionism. (SPA)

“Featuring a diverse array of works spanning realism, impressionism, and abstraction, it bears witness to the artistic renaissance underway … underscoring the region’s vibrant and cohesive artistic vision,” she added.

Meanwhile, Omani artist Jamal Al-Jassasi, the SPA said, expressed his enthusiasm for the forum’s overarching goal of “promoting and elevating visual arts while nurturing cultural ties” in the Arab world.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi, board member of National Customer Experience Academy

Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi
Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi
Updated 02 March 2024
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Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi, board member of National Customer Experience Academy

Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi

Abdulaziz Al-Osaimi has been a board member of the National Customer Experience Academy since January 2024.

He has been deputy chairman of the board at the Customer Experience Association since May 2021.

Al-Osaimi also founded Right Decision for Customer Experience Consulting in December 2019 and has been a consultant since then.

He has more than 20 years of professional experience in management and business development in the Saudi ‎market.

His core strengths include strategic thinking, planning, identifying and maximizing potential opportunities, and motivating and leading a cross-cultural workforce to consistent levels of growth.  

Previously, Al-Osaimi served in many important positions, including as member of the International Contact Centers Association.

Between May and December of 2021, Al-Osaimi worked at the Ministry of Interior as a customer experience consultant to design customer journeys for services in traffic, civil defense, passports and borders to improve service and to grow non-oil revenues.

He was director of program to enhance communication between citizens and the government at the Ministry of Education from December 2017 to November 2019.

Al-Osaimi has published two books and multiple articles on customer experience, spoken at several conferences, and served as a judge at international customer experience awards‎.

He has over eight years of experience in customer experience consulting, strategy planning, performance measurement, and project management, working with various government entities and private organizations in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Osaimi hold a master’s degree in business information systems from the University of Bedfordshire and several professional certifications, including CXAC, PMP, KPI, and CGPM.

 


Thousands hit streets of historic Jeddah for half-marathon

Thousands hit streets of historic Jeddah for half-marathon
Updated 02 March 2024
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Thousands hit streets of historic Jeddah for half-marathon

Thousands hit streets of historic Jeddah for half-marathon
  • Runners embrace race challenge and enjoy beauty of Al-Balad’s landmarks

JEDDAH: The historic district of Al-Balad was the scene of a remarkable spectacle on Saturday as thousands of runners, both male and female, from Saudi Arabia and other countries took part in the Jeddah half-marathon 2024.

This event, a major highlight in Saudi Arabia’s running calendar, was the first of its kind held through the scenic streets and landmarks of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It showcased the grit, determination and enthusiasm of Jeddah’s runners.

More than 3,000 participants from national and international backgrounds joined the event, competing in the 21 km, 10 km, and 1 km categories across different age groups.

The 21.1 km route began at 6 a.m. in front of Al-Balad’s historical gate, Bab Jadid, taking participants past iconic landmarks such as Nassif House, Al-Matbouli Museum and Al-Juffali Mosque.

Other races included a 10 km run for participants aged 12 and above, attracting enthusiastic runners of all ages, including children and the elderly. Additionally, a 1 km walk was open to participants of all ages, including those with special needs or disabilities, receiving maximum cheers from the crowd.

Runners gathered early in the historical area. Marathon arrangements included facilities such as medical points, hydration stations, food trucks and entertainment programs within the race village.

Enthusiasm was palpable as top runners from more than 15 countries enjoyed the scenic beauty of the city’s sights while competing.

Organized by the Saudi Sports for All Federation and Historic Jeddah Program, the half-marathon aimed to provide a fun and accessible way for amateur athletes and families to experience Al-Balad’s rich culture and history through sports.

Anwar Algoz, from Morocco, clinched the first prize worth SR18,000 ($4,800) in this year’s half-marathon, covering the 21 km category and crossing the finish line in 1 hour and 6 minutes.

Afterwards, Algoz, who recently secured third place in the Riyadh Marathon, told Arab News: “It’s not my first half-marathon in Saudi Arabia. Despite the intense heat today, I pushed myself. Halfway through, I felt I could make a move, and in the end, I increased the pace, securing the win. I’m thrilled to have won this race today following my third-place finish in Riyadh.”

Getting to the starting line was a new challenge for Prince Sultan bin Khalid Al-Faisal. Speaking to Arab News after finishing the 10 km race, he said: “Actually, it is a great experience in old Jeddah, and what makes it more exciting is seeing all those people involved in this marathon. For me, it is the first experience, and I found it very thrilling and exciting.”

Prince Saud bin Turki Al-Faisal said: “I’ve done it before, and just watching all these enthusiastic amateurs and professional athletes running together is so wonderful. I believe all of them are winners.”

He added: “It was a very interesting experience, and the location itself added an exciting atmosphere to go through these historical monuments located in the historical area.”

Ola Altaib, a medical student, expressed her happiness at participating in this marathon. “Running through the streets of old Jeddah is an incredibly invigorating experience that is unmatched,” she said.

At the end of the race, runners were greeted by cheering crowds, and the most thrilling moment for them was crossing the finish line.

“Tired but super happy,” said one of the oldest runners, Hamid Al-Ahmri, who came all the way from the southern side of the Kingdom after completing the 10 km category. “I am so glad I made it, and it feels great to cross the finish line.”

Hatoon Kadi, a YouTuber, said: “Experiencing the marathon was wonderful. Old, young, male and female runners were there; it was so nice to see them joining the marathon for their own health. I will repeat it again, and it is going to be a yearly habit.”

The event concluded with the distribution of prizes and medals to the winners and participants.