Saudi authorities thwart two attempts to smuggle over 250,000 Captagon pills

Saudi authorities thwart two attempts to smuggle over 250,000 Captagon pills
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Authorities foiled the first attempt to smuggle 138,728 pills found hidden in wooden boxes inside a truck’s body. (SPA)
Saudi authorities thwart two attempts to smuggle over 250,000 Captagon pills
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The second attempt saw 117,340 Captagon pills hidden inside a vehicle’s spare tire. (SPA)
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Updated 08 December 2023
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Saudi authorities thwart two attempts to smuggle over 250,000 Captagon pills

Saudi authorities thwart two attempts to smuggle over 250,000 Captagon pills
  • Officers seized the substances hidden in a car and a truck attempting to enter the Kingdom via Al-Haditha Port

RIYADH:Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority thwarted two attempts to smuggle more than 250,000 Captagon pills.

Officers seized the substances hidden in a car and a truck attempting to enter the Kingdom via Al-Haditha Port, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The drug haul had an estimated street value of between $2.5 million and $6.25 million, according to research published in the International Addiction Review-Journal, based on the assumption that users pay between $10 and $25 per pill.

Authorities foiled the first attempt to smuggle 138,728 pills found hidden in wooden boxes inside a truck’s body. The second attempt saw 117,340 Captagon pills hidden inside a vehicle’s spare tire.

 

 

ZATCA said it was tightening customs control over the Kingdom’s imports and exports in coordination with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, as authorities continue cracking down on drug smuggling operations.

Amphetamines are largely used by young men and teenage boys across the Middle East, and the money raised through the sale of all drugs often goes into funding 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 to email [email protected].

Tip-offs are treated with confidentiality, and financial rewards are offered if the information provided is correct.


Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
Updated 5 sec ago
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Jeddah art exhibition highlights students’ creative odyssey

Layal Alireza's work explores the concepts of identity and culture, drawing inspiration from old Jeddah as a foundational elemen
  • “The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint"

JEDDAH: The inaugural IB2 Visual Art Exhibition at the British International School of Jeddah opened with a display of 70 pieces created by eight students.

The exhibition, which runs until March 7, features diverse themes and art forms including painting, printmaking, photography, digital art, sculpture and installations. The works reflect each artist’s unique journey.

Head of Secondary School Pierre Scottorn said the art section of the International Baccalaureate diploma was very demanding: “Every student studying art in the program is featured in this exhibition. Over two years, they must create a comprehensive portfolio of work that includes a significant written component. (It) is not just a creative subject; it is highly academic. Students carefully curate their exhibition space, explaining the reasoning behind their artistic choices. Their grades are based not only on their artwork but also on the written explanations and overall presentation of the exhibition.”

He added: “The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase the exceptional talent of our students and the high-quality teaching that supports them. It is a celebration of their hard work and dedication.”

Scottorn also highlighted the diverse career paths students could subsequently pursue.

“Some students will continue their studies in art at university, while others will pursue different careers such as fashion or architecture. Our students have been successful in gaining admission to top universities globally, thanks to the high standards of their work. The quality of their art significantly impacts their university applications and future opportunities,” he said.

“The real challenge lies in sustaining motivation and consistently producing top-tier work over the two-year period, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. This challenge extends to both students and teachers, requiring ongoing support and encouragement.”

Scottorn said he wanted his school to become a leader in the arts and added he valued partnerships with other organizations and individuals that would support this. He also hopes to introduce an artist-in-residence program in due course.

Shehzia Khan, head of visual art, shared insights into the depth and personalization of the students’ higher level art projects.

(L to R) Jude Kayal, Ayesha Rehman, Mayar Abdul Nnabi, Mrs. Shehzia Khan, Loulwa Al-Banna, Shahad El-Adawy, Sara Kreidieh, Mashael Iqbal. (Supplied)

“All the students participating in this exhibition are enrolled in higher level art. This year, they explored deeply personal themes showcasing a diverse range of subjects including fame, journeys, stages of life, empowerment of Saudi women, freedom, addiction, the human body, and culture and identity,” she said.

“Each student has chosen a theme close to their heart, demonstrating individualized and passionate explorations. The IB program offers students the freedom to choose their artistic direction after mastering foundational skills in oil painting, graphic design and sculpture.”

Khan said the exhibition served as the final exam, where each student had to display a minimum of eight pieces, curate their display, and provide detailed curatorial rationale and exhibition texts.

Mashael Iqbal, one of the exhibiting students, said: “I aimed to challenge the norms and shed light on the complexities of fame. By delving into themes of sexualization, method acting, and the darker side of celebrity lifestyles, I strived to provoke thought and evoke emotions. Each element in my exhibition represents a facet of the industry that often goes unnoticed. My passion for art and storytelling drives me to consider a future in the creative field, with a keen interest in exploring animation and digital media.”

Saudi art student Sara Kreidieh added: “My exhibition theme centers on the human body, delving into deeper dimensions beyond the physical aspects typically associated with it. Through my artwork, I aim to shed light on masculinity, the reluctance to seek help, confused identities, and societal issues such as racism, emotions, stress, and body dysmorphia. My collection includes paintings, photography, digital pieces and sculptures. I plan to pursue studies in architecture and eventually return to Saudi Arabia for professional work in the field.”

Even the school’s nursery level pupils are part of the exhibition. Helen Elhoss, head of early years, said: “Our children begin their art journey at two years old. Guided by the Reggio Emilia approach, children are encouraged to explore diverse avenues for expressing their creativity and thoughts.

“The theme of our exhibition was centered around community. Some of our children ventured into the community to understand its significance to them. They then represented their interpretations incorporating elements like nature.”

 


Hajj Ministry’s Jusoor initiative highlights pilgrim services

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
Updated 22 min 43 sec ago
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Hajj Ministry’s Jusoor initiative highlights pilgrim services

Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (SPA)
  • This innovative platform streamlines the issuance of Hajj visas, simplifies arrival procedures, provides pre-planning options, and offers an array of Hajj packages through authorized service providers

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched the second edition of the Jusoor initiative in Riyadh on Sunday, aimed at highlighting the Kingdom’s efforts in serving pilgrims and ensuring a seamless experience at the Two Holy Mosques.

Present at the event, held under the patronage of Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, were several ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps of the EU, the Americas, Australia, and other countries.

The initiative seeks to foster global connections and showcase the services provided by the Kingdom to pilgrims.

Al-Rabiah emphasized the unwavering commitment to transforming the Hajj and Umrah journeys into all-encompassing experiences that fulfill pilgrims’ aspirations.

Highlighting the ongoing development endeavors in the Two Holy Mosques and other holy sites, he affirmed the ministry’s objective of accommodating a maximum number of pilgrims while enhancing service efficiency, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

At the heart of the Jusoor initiative lies Nusuk, the official platform responsible for offering Hajj services to residents in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and a number of European and African countries.

This innovative platform streamlines the issuance of Hajj visas, simplifies arrival procedures, provides pre-planning options, and offers an array of Hajj packages through authorized service providers.

 


JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen

JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen
Updated 49 min 1 sec ago
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JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen

JIAT investigation clears coalition forces of aerial targeting in Yemen
  • Regarding the At-Tuhayta allegation, after analyzing coalition air missions on that day, JIAT found no evidence of operations in Hodeidah governorate
  • JIAT also confirmed that Saqeen General Hospital, in the western part of Saada governorate, is on the coalition forces’ no-strike list

RIYADH: The Joint Incidents Assessment Team on Monday issued a statement regarding the allegation of the targeting of a residential area in At-Tuhayta city in Hodeidah governorate, Yemen, on Nov. 12, 2021, in which a man and three children were killed, and two men injured.

After examining various documents, including air tasking orders, mission schedules, and satellite images, JIAT concluded that the claimed location lacked specific coordinates.

Analyzing coalition air missions on that day, JIAT found no evidence of operations in the Hodeidah governorate. Similarly, missions on Nov. 11 and Nov. 13 that year showed no activity in the area.

In a press conference in Riyadh, JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour also addressed another allegation that coalition forces targeted the Saqeen General Hospital in Saada governorate on May 30, 2015.

After evaluating various sources, including a Doctors for Human Rights report from March 2020 which claimed that coalition aircraft carried out two airstrikes on the hospital and severely damaged it, JIAT conducted a thorough investigation.

Al-Mansour explained that this involved examining air tasking orders, mission schedules, post-mission reports, satellite images, open sources, the National Information Center’s website listing health centers, the coalition forces’ no-strike list, and focusing on international humanitarian law.

JIAT confirmed that Saqeen General Hospital is in the western part of Saada governorate and was on the coalition forces’ no-strike list.

The closest military target hit by coalition forces on May 30, 2015, was 13 km away from the hospital, the Iran-backed Houthi militia receiving a hit from a guided bomb.

By studying the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that on the previous day, coalition forces had carried out an air mission on a target 7,000 meters away from the hospital, using one guided bomb that hit its target. No air missions targeted Saqeen on May 31, 2015.

Specialists studied satellite images of the hospital and found no trace of damage caused by aerial targeting on the main building or its annexes.

JIAT also addressed an incident in a Bani Makki residential area of the Midi district in Hajjah governorate on June 29, 2021, in which one person was killed and two others injured.

JIAT found that forces carried out an air mission on a military target on that date. A vehicle carrying arms for the Houthis in Abs was hit by a guided missile.

The coalition forces did not carry out any missions the previous day or in the following 24 hours.

Specialists studied satellite images of the military target’s location and found that it was about 1,500 meters away from the nearest residential area.

JIAT confirmed that the vehicle, a light truck, was seen underneath a tree and the missile recorded a direct hit.

Al-Mansour said: "There is indeed international cooperation and communication with international organizations; if they have representatives, they may provide us with information."

Concerning allegations or claims that have not been addressed, he outlined the current process: "Based on the team's (Joint Incidents Assessment Team) classification of an allegation, we initiate the investigation procedures and review the results," explained Al-Mansour.

"Some organizations cooperated with us by providing information, while others did not have information, and some pledged to furnish us with the required information," he added.


Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
Updated 04 March 2024
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Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
  • NCM forecasts inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday
  • Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions

RIYADH: People are warned to be careful after the National Centre of Meteorology forecast inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday.

The Civil Defense Directorate said: “Forecasts from the NCM indicate heavy rains in the Riyadh region, including the capital Riyadh, Diriyah, Afif, Dawadmi, Al-Quway’iyah, Al-Aflaj, Hotat Bani Tamim, Al-Hareeq, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqraa, Al-Majma’ah, Al-Muzahimiyah, Rumah, Marat (and) Huraymila from Sunday.

“The Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions. Your cooperation is needed. Your safety is our goal.”

The authority has previously warned residents against crossing flowing valleys and canyons as this can be dangerous with potentially fatal consequences.

The NCM has said most regions will experience cloudy weather, thunderstorms and rain until Tuesday.

It has issued warnings of moderate thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds reaching speeds of over 50 km per hour, leading to hailstorms, sandstorms and high waves along coastal areas. This is expected to affect the Jazan, Baha and Asir regions.

The Makkah and Madinah regions are expected to experience light to moderate rainfall.

The forecasts also indicate that some areas will remain overcast and wet until the weekend.

Riyadh had hazy sunshine on Monday. The minimum recorded temperature was 14 C, and the maximum was 27 C.


Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
  • The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam cleared 669 mines in Yemen — which had been planted by the Houthi militia — between Feb. 24 and March 1, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Overseen by the Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief, the project’s special teams destroyed 537 items of unexploded ordnance, 109 anti-tank mines, and 23 anti-personnel mines.

The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly.

Project Masam is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia at the request of King Salman, which has cleared routes for humanitarian aid to reach the country’s citizens.

The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

A total of 434,002 mines have been cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018, according to Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the project’s managing director.

These include 275,891 items of unexploded ordnance, 143,621 anti-tank mines, 8,001 improvised explosive devices, and 6,489 anti-personnel mines.

The initiative trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

About 5 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by the presence of land mines.

Masam teams are tasked with clearing villages, roads and schools to facilitate the safe movement of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The project’s contract was extended for another year in June 2023 at a cost of $33.29 million.