Jeddah to host food, hospitality expo on Monday

Live shows provide visitors with updates on developments in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. (Twitter @saudihoreca)
Live shows provide visitors with updates on developments in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. (Twitter @saudihoreca)
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Updated 30 January 2024
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Jeddah to host food, hospitality expo on Monday

Live shows provide visitors with updates on developments in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. (Twitter @saudihorec
  • The Culinary Arts Commission participates in this exhibition to support institutions in the relevant sectors, ensuring that citizens and visitors enjoy world-class local food experiences

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s Culinary Arts Commission is participating in the annual Saudi Horeca exhibition from Feb. 5-7 in Jeddah, aiming to promote businesses in the hospitality and food industries while providing a platform for local producers.

The exhibition showcases live shows for visitors to stay updated on developments in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors.

It includes a live cooking competition led by renowned chefs, allowing attendees to sample tasty dishes and compete for awards such as best barista in the Kingdom and best mocktail.

The event draws diverse companies and entrepreneurs from various sectors, including food and beverages, pastries, sweets, coffee, tea, dairy, poultry, spices, flavoring, water, food-tasting equipment, maintenance, hygiene, commercial cooking equipment, vending machines, baking and ice cream machines, coffee machines, hospitality services, franchising, hotels, restaurants, packaging and more — directly or indirectly linked to the food and hospitality sector.

The Culinary Arts Commission participates in this exhibition to support institutions in the relevant sectors, ensuring that citizens and visitors enjoy world-class local food experiences.

This comes as part of its “Community Engagement and Local Food Festivals Program,” which supports food festivals nationwide. The program aligns with the commission’s objectives of emphasizing authentic Saudi dishes.

 


Saudi Arabia welcomes ICJ ruling on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories

Saudi Arabia welcomes ICJ ruling on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories
Updated 20 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia welcomes ICJ ruling on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories

Saudi Arabia welcomes ICJ ruling on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories
  • The Kingdom calls for practical steps to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has welcomed a ruling by UN’s top court that Israel’s settlement policy on Palestinian territory breaks international law.
The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement that the Kingdom welcomed the advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice and called for practical steps to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause.
The World Court issued the judgment, which is non-binding, on Friday.
The court panel found “the transfer by Israel of settlers to the West Bank and Jerusalem as well as Israel’s maintenance of their presence, is contrary to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
The ruling comes against the backdrop of Israel’s devastating bombardment on Gaza, following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on Israeli settlements adjacent to the Palestinian enclave.
Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem in 1967, but Palestinians consider the areas as integral part of a future independent state.
The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday condemned the “continued genocidal massacres” against the Palestinian people amid Israel’s battle with Hamas in Gaza.
The Kingdom wants an independent state for the Palestinian people, encompassing the 1967 borders.
The US and regional players have been attempting to end the conflict in Gaza through a peace deal between Hamas and Israel, which would include the release of Israeli hostages and a form of lasting cessation of military activities.


How Saudi Arabia and its Asian partners are driving green development ahead of COP29

How Saudi Arabia and its Asian partners are driving green development ahead of COP29
Updated 20 July 2024
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How Saudi Arabia and its Asian partners are driving green development ahead of COP29

How Saudi Arabia and its Asian partners are driving green development ahead of COP29
  • Asian nations share a common vision for climate action that does not hinder growth and prosperity
  • From the Saudi Green Initiative to Azerbaijan’s adoption of solar, Asia seeks harmony between humans and nature

QINGDAO, China: As one of the world’s largest economies and contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, China is seen as having a particular responsibility among nations to help address climate change and promote sustainable development.

As such, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization invited Asian countries to participate in a two-day Green Development Forum in Shandong earlier this month to discuss solutions for a greener future.

China’s President Xi Jinping has expressed his desire to strengthen cooperation with regional parties to work toward common social and economic development goals, while at the same time fostering harmonious coexistence between people and nature.

Representatives from various Asian countries attended the two-day Green Development Forum in Shandong, China, earlier this month to discuss solutions for a greener future. (Supplied)

Shen Yueyue, vice chair of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chair of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the SCO, reiterated the need to foster this link between development and the environment.

“Development is development for all, and good development is green development,” Shen said in her keynote address at the forum, which was themed: “Joining hands in green development, together promoting harmony between humans and nature.”

Opinion

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Green development is a focus for many countries, including Saudi Arabia. Indeed, one of the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform agenda is ensuring sustainable practices in social and economic development.

Two such strategies launched by the Kingdom to promote green development and a low-carbon future are the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative.

Together, these initiatives aim to increase vegetation cover in Saudi Arabia and across the region by planting billions of trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and to help slow the rise of global temperatures in line with the Kingdom’s net-zero commitments

Another regional state that is making green development a key priority is Iran.

During the SCO conference in Shandong’s port city of Qingdao, Ali Salajegheh, vice president and head of Iran’s Department of Environment, discussed his country’s commitment to fighting climate change.

One example of this is the country’s role in hosting the International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms in 2023.

Family picture of the participants of the Green Development Forum held in Shandong, China, earlier this month. (Supplied)

However, Salajegheh believes that addressing social and political issues is crucial to preventing a deepening of the environmental crisis in the region, including the need for economic stabilization and poverty reduction.

“Developing countries should make sure of their social and economic development as the main priority because the fight against poverty and the development of health and the provision of housing and energy is still for a significant part of the developing world considered a basic priority,” he said, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

These efforts and more will be on the agenda at the 29th UN Climate Change Conference — COP29 — in Baku this November. In the run-up to this major event, host nation Azerbaijan has been working hard to achieve its green development goals.

DID YOUKNOW?

Azerbaijan’s capital Baku will host COP29 in November.

COP29 Presidency aims to raise ambition and enable action.

Baku is committed to developing the nation’s renewable energy potential.

Policies include tax breaks on electric vehicles and investment in education.

Although Azerbaijan is a major player in the global oil and gas industry, ranking 20th in the world for proven oil reserves, one of the key pillars of its green development strategy is the rapid expansion of renewable energy infrastructure.

The country has made significant changes to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, begin the transition to renewable energy, and participate in the global effort to combat climate change.

The 230MW Garadagh Solar Power Plant project in Azerbaijan. (AN photo by Haifa Alshammari)

In 2020, an agreement was signed between Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Energy and UAE firm Masdar to establish the country’s first solar energy facility — the 230-megawatt Garadagh Solar Power Plant.

The project occupies 550 hectares and currently boasts 570,000 bifacial photovoltaic panels, which capture the direct light of the sun and the reflection of sunlight from the ground.

Murad Sadikhov, the Garadagh Solar Power Plant’s country manager, told Arab News the facility has thus far achieved 24-gigawatt capacity. “But we have set a very ambitious goal to reach 100 GW by 2032,” he said.

Murad Sadikhov, country manager at The 230MW Garadagh Solar Power Plant project in Azerbaijan. (AN photo by Haifa Alshammari)

Alongside the implementation of renewable energy projects, Azerbaijan is also encouraging the public to shift from using fossil fuel-intensive vehicles to adopting green modes of transport.

“The government is promoting a green agenda, not only in terms of establishing generative capacity but also on the demand side,” said Sadikhov.

“They promote electrical vehicles. They started the electromobility master plan. They hired prominent consultants. They established new rules and legislations such as the tax relief for EVs and are promoting EVs for public transportation, trying to maximize the use of electric transportation.”

Significant strides have been made in tapping Azerbaijan's immense wind energy potential. The Azerbaijan 240 MW Wind Farm, for one, is being developed by Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power. 

Azerbaijan is also investing heavily in raising public awareness about environmentally friendly practices and training the next generation of sustainability professionals. “Most of the universities now have special programs for renewable energy,” said Sadikhov.

Although green development strategies have been adopted by several nations across Asia, experts and officials are keenly aware that more needs to be done to respond to the climate challenge without undermining social and economic development.
 

 


Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat

Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat
Updated 19 July 2024
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Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat

Better in the long run: how Riyadh’s running clubs beat the heat
  • From new sports projects, physical activity is soaring, and running is no exception

RIYADH: For many, summer in Saudi Arabia is a time to relax on the couch, turn up the air conditioning, and watch other people play sports on TV, with those who dare to challenge this approach often ending up with heatstroke.

Yet, running clubs in the Kingdom are busier than ever, and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Seema Ghannam, who regularly takes part in Riyadh Road Runner club sessions, told Arab News: “You can keep active wherever you are. There is no limit to movement anywhere you go because you already have hands, arms, and legs. This is what you are born to do, to keep moving.”

Riyadh Road Runner, made up of a variety of ages and nationalities, began with a warmup before moving to strength training and then running laps around the court. (Supplied)

Until recent years, physical activity in the Kingdom was almost nonexistent outside of schools and designated football teams. People were discouraged by the lack of facilities, suitable outdoor spaces, and the hot weather. Now, all that is changing. From the growing number of padel courts to the new projects at Sports Boulevard, physical activity is soaring, and running is no exception.

To find out how these runners manage to keep up their routines in the heat, Arab News visited Riyadh Road Runners, established in 1978, at one of the club’s 7:30 p.m. Monday sessions at the Eid Villas Compound. Runners were doing laps, climbing stairs, and completing full-body workouts.

The group, made up of a variety of ages and nationalities, began with a warmup before moving to strength training and then running laps around the court, focusing on proper technique.

FASTFACTS

• Until recent years, physical activity in the Kingdom was almost nonexistent outside of schools and designated football teams.

• Now, all that is changing. From the growing number of padel courts to the new projects at Sports Boulevard, physical activity is soaring.

Coach Amr Hafez has the runners break up their runs occasionally with bodyweight and stair exercises to increase stamina and muscle strength. The session ends with a final lap around the whole compound. At the end of a very sweaty workout, the runners take a dip in the pool to cool down.

Ghannam, who is also a yoga teacher and swimming instructor, added running to her exercise routine two years ago. She said that she enjoys Hafez’s holistic approach to the body, training the abs, hips, glutes, and thighs.

“We focus on trying to learn different kinds of running, how to run, how to place your toes, what shoes you should use.”

Riyadh Road Runners, Eid Villas Compound. (Photo by Mayas Al-Ahmadi)

Ghannam said that she enjoys running outdoors because “you want your skin and your body to get used to the temperature.” But to manage the heat, runners should choose a time that is best for them, whether at night or early in the morning.

Hafez, a national sales manager at a Saudi food company, has coached with Riyadh Road Runners for more than three years. He has three key rules when it comes to running in summer. One is to stay well hydrated, two is to control your breathing, and three — much to our dismay — is high-intensity interval training.

The coach said that when he first started running, he used martial arts moves as part of his training, a fitness trick he learned from his first running coach.

Riyadh Road Runners, Eid Villas Compound. (Photo by Mayas Al-Ahmadi)

“Runners need to build all their muscles to have great ability,” he said. “Combining strength with fitness helps people develop running ability for doing long distance.”

Hafez said that he used to think running served no purpose, and was simply a means of punishment when a school coach thought someone was slacking off. He never imagined he would one day run a marathon or be teaching other people to do the same.

“Most of the team when they first started couldn’t jog even 1k,” he said.

Omar Al-Ansari, a coach with Riyadh club R7, has six marathons under his belt. R7 runs in Wadi Hanifa, where the location offers protection against the heat.

“The trails are naturally shaded by the trees, and the breeze from the lake provides a 3–4-degree difference in temperature from the rest of the city,” he said.

Like Riyadh Road Runners, R7 emphasizes staying hydrated. “Always run with water, take electrolytes to preserve what is being lost through sweating,” Al-Ansari said.

He also advises runners to wear light-colored clothing, to complete their workouts before sunrise or after sunset, and to choose a garden or wadi as a location, or exercise indoors.

“And never forget your sunscreen,” he added.

Many runners told Arab News there is no longer any excuse for being inactive in the Kingdom.

“We are seeing a broader awareness about the importance of having an active lifestyle in the country, and despite our difficult weather in the summer, there are ways to go about it,” Al-Ansari said.

Hafez offered Arab News this simple suggestion: “Start by walking and go from there.”

 


Saudi economy minister in talks with IMF managing director

The Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning met with Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's managing director. (SPA)
The Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning met with Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's managing director. (SPA)
Updated 19 July 2024
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Saudi economy minister in talks with IMF managing director

The Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning met with Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's managing director. (SPA)
  • Talks focused on global and regional growth prospects amid the latest economic developments, in addition to reviewing the main developments and trends in the local economy

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadel Alibrahim met with Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

Talks focused on global and regional growth prospects amid the latest economic developments, in addition to reviewing the main developments and trends in the local economy. They also looked into strengthening cooperation between the Kingdom and the IMF.

The meeting was attended by Ammar Nagadi, vice minister of economy and planning; Rakan Alsheikh, deputy minister for policies and economic planning at the Ministry of Economy and Planning; Yaser Faquih, general director for the economic research and insights department at MEP; Hattan Mounir bin Samman, general supervisor for international organizations at MEP; and Ismail Salloum, executive director of Saudi Arabia’s National Infrastructure Fund.

 

 


Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature

Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature
Updated 19 July 2024
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Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature

Design hopefuls from across MENA draw up plans to nurture nature
  • From fashion to furniture, Ithra challenge seeks ideas to protect biodiversity

DHAHRAN: Promising designers from the MENA region are preparing to outline their solutions to some of the world’s most pressing nature-related problems as part of an annual creative competition hosted by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

As part of Tanween, Ithra’s Season of Creativity, Tanween Challenges selected 80 designers from a pool of applicants to take part in the six-day challenge, with a July 20 deadline to deliver a tangible product or solution.

Designers across a range of disciplines will be aiming “to harmonize human activities with the planet’s biodiversity in an era where nature is affected by elements such as technological advancements, growing inequalities, and urbanization,” Sultan Al-Badran, creative programs developer at Ithra’s Idea Lab, said.

Each of the challenges will involve 20 participants, either as individuals or in teams. Competitors will also be offered workshops and talks with experts in their chosen disciplines to ensure they have the tools to tackle their challenge briefs.

Tanween Challenges asked designers to craft practical solutions in the key areas of urban development, graphic design, furniture, and fashion. Event partners include NYXO, Albawardi Group, AM Unique by NamtHajja, and Vanina.

Ithra said in a statement that the competition seeks solutions that “nurture all forms of life, supported by a cross-disciplinary blend of expertise to tackle these complex issues courageously and innovatively.”

The four categories are:

- Pavilion Design Challenge asks participants to reimagine how people can coexist with their environment — and each other — more harmoniously amid rapid urban development and industrial activities that have compromised air quality and contributed to pollution that affects people’s health and the health of natural habitats within their cities.
 
- Graphic Design Challenge asks designers to develop visual communication to transform complex data into insights that will lead to a sustainable future, countering current threats to biodiversity and ecological balance.
 
- Participants in the Furniture Design Challenge will design public spaces that prioritizes people without neglecting the needs of other species that share the environment. Designers have been asked to answer the question: How can we create urban spaces that promote cohabitation between humans and other species?
 
- Fashion Design Challenge looks to provide answers to problems associated with the fashion industry, such as overproduction, overconsumption and the dominance of fast fashion — issues that have not only harmed the environment but also erased much of the culture that was once celebrated in fabric form.
 
One winning project from each challenge will be selected for commercial production. Successful projects will be displayed as part of a design exhibition at the Tanween Conference in November at Ithra’s headquarters.