Red Sea’s hidden wonders revealed at Riyadh forum

A symposium on the outcomes of the Red Sea Decade Expedition was attended by Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, the Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture. (Supplied)
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A symposium on the outcomes of the Red Sea Decade Expedition was attended by Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, the Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture. (Supplied)
Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. (Supplied)
The Saudi National Center for Wildlife hosts a symposium on the outcomes of the Red Sea Decade Expedition on Sunday. (Supplied)
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The Saudi National Center for Wildlife hosts a symposium on the outcomes of the Red Sea Decade Expedition on Sunday. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 February 2024
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Red Sea’s hidden wonders revealed at Riyadh forum

Symposium on outcomes of Red Sea Decade Expedition was attended by Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture.
  • During the two-day seminar, the crew from the international research vessel Ocean Explorer discussed the key findings of their exploration of the Red Sea

RIYADH: The Saudi National Center for Wildlife has hosted a symposium on the outcomes of the Red Sea Decade Expedition, which led months of research into the habitat’s biodiversity and hidden wonders.

The event, held on Feb. 11-12 in Riyadh, was attended by Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, the Saudi minister of environment, water and agriculture.

During the two-day seminar, the crew from the international research vessel Ocean Explorer discussed the key findings of their exploration of the Red Sea.

The Red Sea Decade Expedition, involving 126 researchers, was launched last year by the National Center for Wildlife from the Islamic Port of Jeddah. The project conducted a thorough survey of previously unexplored areas, providing invaluable insights into the marine life, biodiversity and environmental characteristics of the Red Sea.

Accompanying the Ocean Explorer on its journey was the national vessel Al-Azizi, in collaboration with institutions such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, King Abdulaziz University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, as well as prominent projects including NEOM, AMAALA and the Red Sea Project.

Lectures at the seminar covered diverse topics such as “Status and Biodiversity of Shallow and Deep Coral Reefs in the Red Sea,” “Exploring Blue Holes in the Farasan Bank,” “Human Waste Assessment on the Seabed in the Eastern Part of the Red Sea,” “Volcanoes and Chimneys in the Deep Part of the Red Sea” and “Shark Species in the Eastern Part of the Red Sea.”

Vincent Pieribone, co-chief executive officer and chief science officer of Ocean X, shared his perspectives during a panel discussion, and was asked about the lessons he had learned from the project.

“One that I can think of, which we should have known before, was the temperature, and how the temperature doesn’t change as you go deep,” he said.

A number of local and international scientists, environmentalists and experts in the field of marine environments, as well as officials from government agencies, attended the event.

The keynote speech was delivered by Carlos Duarte, a professor of marine science at KAUST. Duarte’s insights, coupled with his expertise in marine science and conservation, provided valuable information on the significance of the expedition.

Duarte announced the discovery of numerous blue holes and sub-lagoons, four of which were found to harbor coral walls and unique ecosystems near Jazan. These coral walls present opportunities for conservation.

“These deep-sea coral reefs are unique, because in the global ocean, they grow in very cold waters around 4 to 2 degrees Celsius. But in the Red Sea, the water is very warm all the way to the deepest part of the Red Sea, with the minimum temperatures being 21 degrees Celsius,” said Duarte.

Another surprise finding was DNA results that confirmed the presence of great white sharks in the Red Sea.

In addition, more than five new species-level lineages of dendrophylliidae, three new species-level lineages of agariciidae, and four new records of soft corals were found.

Mohammed Ali Qurban, CEO of the Saudi National Center for Wildlife, highlighted the Kingdom’s dedication to environmental preservation and its pivotal role in supporting global initiatives for environmental development. He underscored the significance of safeguarding the marine environment and its biodiversity.

The symposium organized by the center will contribute to raising awareness about the importance of preserving the Red Sea environment, thereby paving the way for further exploration and understanding of marine life.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”

 


Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
  • Authorities apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations in the Jazan region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

In the Al-Dayer governorate of Jazan, Border Guards thwarted an attempt to smuggle 175 kg of narcotic qat.

The guards also apprehended three Yemeni nationals attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat in Jazan.

In another incident, land patrols in the Jazan region arrested a citizen for selling qat plants hidden in his vehicle.

Authorities also apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate.

Border Guards patrols in the Al-Arda governorate in the Jazan region intercepted the smuggling of 160 kg of qat.

Preliminary legal procedures have been completed for all the individuals involved and all seized items have been handed to the authorities.

The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected].

Tips received relating to smuggling and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.