King Salman, Crown Prince order air bridge to provide aid to Morocco earthquake victims

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) will operate an air bridge to provide relief aid to Morocco following a deadly earthquake in the country, Saudi Press Agency reported. (SPA)
King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) will operate an air bridge to provide relief aid to Morocco following a deadly earthquake in the country, Saudi Press Agency reported. (SPA)
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Updated 10 September 2023
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King Salman, Crown Prince order air bridge to provide aid to Morocco earthquake victims

King Salman, Crown Prince order air bridge to provide aid to Morocco earthquake victims
  • The disaster has killed more than 2,100 people — a number that is expected to rise
  • Saudi team to participate in relief and humanitarian work for those affected and rescue any survivors

RIYADH: Under directives issued on Sunday by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) will operate an air bridge to provide relief aid to Morocco following a deadly earthquake in the country, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah confirmed that the assistance provided comes out of the keenness of the king and crown prince to stand by and support those affected by Friday's 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

The disaster has killed more than 2,100 people — a number that is expected to rise.

Al-Rabeeah said a Saudi search and rescue team from the General Directorate of Civil Defense and teams from the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, led by KSrelief, will be sent to participate in relief and humanitarian work for those affected and rescue any survivors.

He added that the gesture was “an extension of the humanitarian role played by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in standing with those affected and in need around the world in various crises and tribulations,” SPA added.


Riyadh book fair provides special section for children

Riyadh book fair provides special section for children
Updated 46 sec ago
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Riyadh book fair provides special section for children

Riyadh book fair provides special section for children

RIYADH: Organizers of the Riyadh International Book Fair have created a special section for children.

Activities and workshops covering areas such as writing, theater, music, fashion, and culinary arts are among events aimed at promoting reading among kids.

An animation workshop and educational sensory play area has also been provided, and a music corner offers children the opportunity to play instruments including the piano and guitar.

Amr AbuKhalaf, a Jordanian musician and member of rock band Akher Zapheer, was representing Music House at the fair and running guitar classes for young visitors.

Saudi company Music House, established in 2018, specializes in music education and training in the Kingdom.

AbuKhalaf said: “I am here to introduce children to music, especially those who may not have had the chance to learn before.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response from many children. I even had the pleasure of teaching a young girl how to play the guitar, and I was amazed at how quickly she picked it up, as if she had been playing for a year.”

Rewan Abdulrazeeq, a violin and music teacher who graduated from the Conservatoire, The Higher Institute for Music in Egypt, was invited by Music House to take part in the event and provide general information about music to children.

An instrumentalist in the Cairo Symphony Orchestra with 15 years’ experience in the music business, Abdulrazeeq said: “I am fascinated by the approach of schools and institutions in teaching music to children here, and how it helps them express themselves.

“Music is not just about playing or singing; it is a means for children to express their thoughts and emotions,” she added.

The book fair’s fashion design workshop area targets children aged nine to 12, and aims to help them explore their artistic side, discover their potential in fashion, and enjoy experimenting with colors.

The fair is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight until Oct. 7 at King Saud University.


KSrelief team inspects Rohingya housing in Bangladesh

KSrelief team inspects Rohingya housing in Bangladesh
Updated 02 October 2023
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KSrelief team inspects Rohingya housing in Bangladesh

KSrelief team inspects Rohingya housing in Bangladesh
  • So far 300 out of a total 410 housing units have been delivered and erected with the remainder due to arrive soon

RIYADH: An inspection team from the Saudi aid agency KSrelief recently visited one of the center’s housing projects in Rohingya refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh.

KSrelief assistant general supervisor for planning and development, Aqeel Al-Ghamdi, said shelter was being provided for refugees affected by a devastating fire at the camps.

So far 300 out of a total 410 housing units have been delivered and erected with the remainder due to arrive soon, he added.

Last year, the center sent 500 shelters to Cox’s Bazar which were used to house 3,000 people from 590 Rohingya families.

During the inspection tour, the KSrelief team also went to the Okiya Specialized Hospital, and Sadar District Hospital, in Cox’s Bazar and reviewed the center’s support services including medical supplies.

KSrelief team also went to the Okiya Specialized Hospital, and Sadar District Hospital, in Cox’s Bazar and reviewed the center’s support services including medical supplies. (SPA)

 


Saudi Arabia, China collaborate on literary exchange

Saudi Arabia, China collaborate on literary exchange
Updated 02 October 2023
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Saudi Arabia, China collaborate on literary exchange

Saudi Arabia, China collaborate on literary exchange
  • Through this partnership, both parties aim to strengthen cultural ties, enhance content exchange, and reinforce literary collaboration

Jeddah: Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission has partnered with China’s National Press and Publishing Administration to promote literary translation between Arabic and Chinese.

The agreement was signed on Monday during the Riyadh International Book Fair, which is currently taking place at King Saud University until Oct. 7.

Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, signed the agreement with Zhang Jianchun, deputy head of the Chinese Communist Party’s publicity department.

Through this partnership, both parties aim to strengthen cultural ties, enhance content exchange, and reinforce literary collaboration.

The program highlights the Ministry of Culture’s dedication to international cultural exchange under Saudi Vision 2023 and builds upon previous Saudi-Chinese collaboration in this regard.

Saudi Arabia was honored as the first Arab and Islamic country to participate as a guest in the 20th Beijing International Book Fair. The Saudi pavilion at the fair displayed a diverse collection of books in various genres. Over 50 books by Saudi authors were translated into Chinese, and a film about the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz, was screened in Chinese.


Red Sea ecosystem’s ‘pristine’ preservation requires global attention, says director of new documentary

Red Sea ecosystem’s ‘pristine’ preservation requires global attention, says director of new documentary
Updated 02 October 2023
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Red Sea ecosystem’s ‘pristine’ preservation requires global attention, says director of new documentary

Red Sea ecosystem’s ‘pristine’ preservation requires global attention, says director of new documentary
  • Red Sea project and NEOM bringing scientists together to provide information as the development of tourism is being planned

LONDON: The Red Sea should be the most pristine sea in the world but its ecosystem also contains ancient endangered species and this should be treated as a global issue, according to the director of a new documentary.

The film, “RED, A sea worth protecting,” highlights the efforts of scientists and conservationists to save endangered species including the dugong, turtles and sharks, listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species.

“The point we are trying to make is that it is a global issue and you can have what is supposed to be the most pristine place in the world, like the Red Sea, which is a very strong sea, (but) you still have problems and it’s important that the governments, officials, policymakers, NGOs and scientists communicate that and do something accordingly,” said Philip Hamilton, the film’s director.

“It’s one planet, the species migrate and they move (and) the problems of either coral bleaching, temperature rising or acidity is actually a global problem,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of a preview screening in London hosted by the Saudi embassy to the UK.

“So when we look at, for instance, the Red Sea, we should think about how we can protect the migratory species, how we can protect the pollution, moving from one place to another due to currents.”

Above, Philip Hamilton, director of ‘RED, A sea worth protecting’. (Supplied)

The documentary, produced by UK-based Ocean Souls Films, focuses on ocean conservation. It starts with an introduction to the history of the Red Sea and its geography, highlighting its exceptional coral formations, mangrove forests and seagrass beds.

The film moves on to more specific details about the extraordinary, but critically endangered, marine species that make the Red Sea their home and provides an insight into what should be one of the “least concerning” seas in the world.

It follows the inspiring journey of a group of people dedicating their lives to protecting the Red Sea, sharing their frustrations and sacrifices, and their achievements and hopes.

“Even in the most remote places — thousands of kilometers south of the Antarctic Peninsula, you couldn’t possibly imagine that (after testing) certain animals who have never seen humans are infected with metals and microplastics and so on,” said the filmmaker, photographer and author.

The crew began filming the documentary — being presented at major international film festivals and soon to become available on social media channels — during the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided an opportunity to work in locations that would otherwise be crowded or full of tourists.

The Red Sea is a narrow strip of water lying between Africa and Asia, and which connects Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Israel, Eritrea and Djibouti.

Hamilton said that the team worked extensively with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which is doing extensive work via their coral research and development accelerator platform — launched in 2020 during the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20 to fast-track research and development solutions to save the world’s corals.

“I know they are doing a lot (and) the reality is that they are top in the world in terms of the technology, the know-how, and the people they have,” said Hamilton, who has more than 30 years diving and sailing experience and has documented most marine animals on the planet.

“When you highlight the work of one scientist or one NGO, it’s very important for me that it inspires other people around the world because then you have the leverage effect that you really want,” he said.

“It’s great if you are an inspiration and you do great work in one place, and then you are being copied 100 times around the world and you have a real important effect.

“I would love to see KAUST or plenty of other organizations be better known, not only by the scientific community, but people need to see all the great work they are doing.”

Hamilton called on the global community to increase collaboration and implement more marine protected areas. There was a need to replicate what happened in the Galapagos, Malpelo, Cocos and Coiba, he said, “where four countries got together and united to protect their own different individual zones and created one large corridor for species to migrate and be protected” throughout the migratory year.

“I think that’s what we need going forward,” he said. “We need countries to cooperate and go and act together.”

Hamilton was speaking with particular reference to the UAE’s hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28, which will be held in November. The UAE will be the second consecutive Arab country to stage the annual global gathering, after Egypt held it last year in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, which also lies on the Red Sea.

“We need to protect certain species before it’s too late,” Hamilton said, calling for more integrated planning. “I would expect not only this film to inspire solutions, but for instance, if you want to further develop your tourism, have a look at what could be causing certain problems to certain species, so when you grow, you do it properly.”

Hamilton said the Red Sea project and NEOM were bringing scientists together to provide information as the development of tourism was being planned.

Territorial waters extended to a limit of 12 nautical miles, he said. After that, areas were considered exclusive economic zones but there was a lack of sufficient marine protection laws protecting them.

“When we think about nature, we need to think about no borders, no frontiers, no passports, no visas, no religion, no race. We need to think about the animals and ecosystems in a totally different way.

“But from there to implementing high seas policies and (doing this) worldwide, it is very, very hard (and) that’s a little bit frustrating,” he said.


Saudi artist expresses faith, culture at Kosovo exhibition

Saudi artist expresses faith, culture at Kosovo exhibition
Updated 02 October 2023
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Saudi artist expresses faith, culture at Kosovo exhibition

Saudi artist expresses faith, culture at Kosovo exhibition
  • Ghadeer Hafez has hints of blue on black and white paintings, which portrays ‘hope’ when turning humbly to God

Jeddah: Saudi Arabia’s Ghadeer Hafez says her recent exhibition in Kosovo showcases her belief that faith can restore balance, meaning and purity in one’s life.

Her work was displayed at the Euro Kosovo International Art Festival from Sept. 22 to 29, which was held under the title “My Creative World in Kosovo,” and featured the output of 30 renowned artists from 20 countries.

Hafez was the only artist from Saudi Arabia invited to participate in the festival by Kosovo’s Ministry of Culture.

In an interview with Arab News recently, she said: “I am very keen to represent my country in international artistic forums around the world, and I consider this an integral part of my duty toward my country as a Saudi citizen and visual artist.”

In her latest work, Hafez departed from her previous style — characterized by vibrant colors depicting the hustle and bustle of life — with hints of blue on largely stark black and white paintings.

“We may get confused sometimes, but we find ourselves when we return to God. The works were dressed in two colors, black and white, as it distinguishes between the psychological state that a person experiences when he elevates his heart with God and a little ... the blue color is an expression of hope in life.”

“The goal of my artistic works is the human being and how God takes care of him.”

Hafez also believes that her work expresses Saudi Arabia culture, which she says speaks to all areas of life.