UK cyclists pedal 550 km in KSA for little hearts

UK cyclists pedal 550 km in KSA for little hearts
The cyclists will ride for three days, from Jan. 29-31, enduring challenging desert conditions. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 January 2024
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UK cyclists pedal 550 km in KSA for little hearts

UK cyclists pedal 550 km in KSA for little hearts
  • The club already raised more than £400,000 ($508,000) in previous tours

RIYADH: H&K Cycle Club, a London-based club, will undertake the challenging 550 km ride from Makkah to Madinah for the third time in a bid to raise vital funds and awareness for children suffering from congenital heart defects in Africa.

The club already raised more than £400,000 ($508,000) in previous tours.

The cyclists will ride for three days, from Jan. 29-31, enduring challenging desert conditions, including strong headwinds and temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.

The campaign will raise vital funds for Muntada Aid’s flagship project, Little Hearts, which was launched in April 2012.

The charity provides free life-saving heart surgeries to children with congenital heart defects from underprivileged backgrounds, irrespective of gender, race or religion.

To date, it has carried out 50 missions in 13 countries and performed almost 3,000 cardiac interventions and surgeries, saving thousands of lives.

Shamsul Abdin, head of the club, said: “The team is delighted to be able to support Muntada Aid’s missions in 2024. As we take on this tough ride again, we aim to raise as much as possible to help the cause, and we ask everyone to give generously to help us hit the goal.”


Beauty of Soudah to feature in 3 Discovery documentaries

Beauty of Soudah to feature in 3 Discovery documentaries
Updated 18 sec ago
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Beauty of Soudah to feature in 3 Discovery documentaries

Beauty of Soudah to feature in 3 Discovery documentaries
  • Media giant teams up with state-owned real estate firm Soudah Development
  • Films will tell ‘captivating stories of Soudah’s natural wonders,’ Discovery says

JEDDAH: Soudah Development, a real estate company owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, has teamed up with Warner Bros. Discovery International to produce three short films to promote the beauty, culture and heritage of the Soudah region in the Kingdom’s southwest.

The partnership will focus on Soudah Peaks, a luxury mountain tourism destination in Abha region, set 3,000 meters above sea level.

The documentaries will air around the world this summer on WBD’s Discovery Channel, Food Network, Travel Channel, Eurosport 1 and 2, as well as on international social media platforms.

Eng. Saleh Al-Oraini, CEO of Soudah Development, said: “We are delighted to join forces with Warner Bros. Discovery to unveil the exceptional beauty and cultural significance of the Soudah region, along with Saudi Arabia, on a global scale.

“This collaboration marks a pivotal step in our endeavor to position Soudah as a unique luxury mountain tourism destination and we are confident that it will captivate travelers from around the world.”

The Soudah region’s diverse fauna and flora, landscapes and agricultural traditions, like beekeeping, will all feature in the films.

Mike Rich, head of sports and lifestyle international brand partnerships at Warner Bros. Discovery, said: “Partnering with Soudah Development presents an exciting opportunity for us to showcase the unique appeal of Soudah Peaks through our influential media platforms.

“We are thrilled to bring captivating stories of Soudah’s natural wonders and cultural heritage to our viewers. We eagerly anticipate a successful collaboration.”

The partnership comes after Saudi property developer Red Sea Global in April teamed up with Warner Bros. Discovery to produce a 45-minute documentary titled “Beneath the Surface: The Fight for Corals.”

Released on Earth Day, the film chronicles the work of Saudi free diver and environmentalist Salma Shaker and illuminates the remarkable resilience of Red Sea corals and their pivotal role in bolstering global coral health.

“Soudah is not merely a tourist spot, it’s a sanctuary of tranquility and natural marvels,” Saudi environmentalist Hussain Asiri told Arab News.

“With this newfound exposure, I’m sure we will see a concerted effort toward responsible tourism, one that cherishes and conserves our environment while showcasing its magnificence to the world.”

Mohammed Al-Malky, a local tour guide, said: “Soudah’s beauty isn’t just for us to enjoy, it’s a treasure that deserves global recognition. Hopefully, these documentaries will inspire more people to visit and experience the magic of our mountains and valleys.”


Visa holders can’t enter Makkah during Hajj season — Saudi interior ministry

Visa holders can’t enter Makkah during Hajj season — Saudi interior ministry
Updated 29 May 2024
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Visa holders can’t enter Makkah during Hajj season — Saudi interior ministry

Visa holders can’t enter Makkah during Hajj season — Saudi interior ministry
  • Between May 23 and June 21, only pilgrims with Hajj permits can enter Makkah
  • Interior ministry says penalties to be imposed on anyone violating the rules

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior has announced visit visa holders will not be allowed to enter or remain in Makkah during the Hajj season.
Between May 23 and June 21, only pilgrims with Hajj permits may do so, with penalties imposed on anyone violating the rules.
The ministry emphasized that visit visas did not give the holder permission to perform Hajj. It also urged visitors currently in Saudi Arabia to avoid travel to Makkah during the specified period.
“Violators will be subject to penalties according to the Kingdom’s regulations,” said a statement from the ministry.
Earlier, the Ministry of Interior said it would start imposing fines amounting to $2,666 on anyone, including Saudi citizens, caught entering Makkah without a Hajj permit between June 2-20.


First group of Yemeni pilgrims arrive in Jeddah for Hajj

First group of Yemeni pilgrims arrive in Jeddah for Hajj
Updated 12 min 38 sec ago
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First group of Yemeni pilgrims arrive in Jeddah for Hajj

First group of Yemeni pilgrims arrive in Jeddah for Hajj
  • The Saudi government simplified the Yemeni visitors’ travel

RIYADH: The first Yemeni pilgrims to the Kingdom to perform Hajj this year arrived through Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.

The Saudi government simplified the Yemeni visitors’ travel with immigration officers ensuring entry procedures were carried out smoothly, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports “has exerted every effort to ensure that the entry of pilgrims is facilitated, equipping all international border crossings with advanced technology and trained staff proficient in different languages spoken by pilgrims,” the report added.

Saudi Arabia in 2019 launched the Makkah Route Initiative to help Hajj pilgrims from seven countries — Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkiye and Ivory Coast — with their visa, customs and passport requirements.

The government program issues visas electronically and collects biometric data, carrying out all travel procedures at the airports of the countries of departure, including ensuring that pilgrims have a clean bill of health. Baggage is coded and sorted to meet the transport and accommodation arrangements while pilgrims are in the Kingdom.

King Salman earlier ordered the hosting of 2,322 Hajj pilgrims, a group that includes 1,000 family members of Palestinians killed or wounded by Israel or held in Israeli prisons.


Visa holders may not enter Makkah around Hajj season

Visa holders may not enter Makkah around Hajj season
Updated 29 May 2024
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Visa holders may not enter Makkah around Hajj season

Visa holders may not enter Makkah around Hajj season

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior has announced visit visa holders will not be allowed to enter or remain in Makkah during the Hajj season.

Between May 23 and June 21, only pilgrims with Hajj permits may do so, with penalties imposed on anyone violating the rules.

The ministry emphasized that visit visas did not give the holder permission to perform Hajj. It also urged visitors currently in Saudi Arabia to avoid travel to Makkah during the specified period.

“Violators will be subject to penalties according to the Kingdom’s regulations,” said a statement from the ministry.

Earlier, the Ministry of Interior said it would start imposing fines amounting to $2,666 on anyone, including Saudi citizens, caught entering Makkah without a Hajj permit between June 2-20.


Saudi Arabia and Austria sign economic-cooperation pact

Saudi Arabia and Austria sign economic-cooperation pact
Updated 29 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia and Austria sign economic-cooperation pact

Saudi Arabia and Austria sign economic-cooperation pact
  • The pact was inked at the ninth session of the Saudi-Austrian Joint Committee in Vienna
  • The parties aim to encourage cooperation in trade, industry, research and development, tourism, and small and medium enterprises

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Ministry of Economy and Planning has signed a cooperation agreement with its Austria counterpart, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The pact was inked at the ninth session of the Saudi-Austrian Joint Committee in Vienna between the Kingdom’s Economy and Planning Minister Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim and Austria’s Labor and Economy Minister Martin Kocher.

The parties aim to encourage cooperation in trade, industry, research and development, tourism, and small and medium enterprises.

The countries will also organize conferences and seminars featuring experts in their fields.

The parties are committed to protecting mutual intellectual property rights, the SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia and Austria first signed economic, commercial, industrial and technology agreements in 2004.