Technological revolution to transform 70% of global business practices

 Saudi Education Minister Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan speaks at the Human Capability Initiative that began in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Saudi Education Minister Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan speaks at the Human Capability Initiative that began in Riyadh on Wednesday.
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Updated 28 February 2024
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Technological revolution to transform 70% of global business practices

Technological revolution to transform 70% of global business practices

RIYADH: Global estimates suggest that technology adoptions and expansion are set to transform 70 percent of business practices globally, according to a top official.

Speaking during the opening of the Human Capability Initiative held in Riyadh, Saudi Education Minister Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan highlighted that global estimates indicate a potential disruption of 40 percent of workers’ skills within the next four to five years due to these changes. 

“During the next two days, over 250 global leaders and experts will join us to share their knowledge and insight on how to unleash the potential for human capability and catalyze international corporations to maximize resilience in times of uncertainty,” Al-Benyan said. 

He added: “Technology adoptions and expansion are set to transform 70 percent of business practices globally. As economists continue to navigate this dynamic labor market landscape, it is more critical than ever to work inclusively to promote positive human capability outcomes.” 

Al-Benyan emphasized the importance of harnessing human potential in a world that is constantly changing. Additionally, he highlighted the need to address evolving labor market dynamics both locally and globally. 

“Today, we convene to navigate the currents of changes shaping both local and international labor markets. Human Capability Initiative is a part of the Kingdom Vision 2030 and supports the goal of advancing skills,” the minister said. 

He also noted that over the next two days, over 40 announcements will be made, reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to working collaboratively with all partners. 

Additionally, Al-Benyan mentioned that Saudi Arabia’s Human Capability Development Program, which encompasses strategies covering all stages of learning, from early childhood to lifelong learning, aims to unleash individuals’ full potential.  

Furthermore, he emphasized collaboration between the government, private sector, and non-profit organizations to ensure success and prosperity for all. 

“To make these efforts a reality, Saudi Arabia will come working with all partners to explore opportunities and promote innovative policy design and solutions advancing human capability,” Al-Benyan continued. 

He added: “It is within this context that human capability initiatives emerge as a beacon of hope and progress — a global, collaborative platform dedicated to advancing the human capability agenda. HCI aims to empower individuals and foster resilient economics for the future.”  

Touted as the first-ever global cooperative platform designed to unify international efforts and enrich the global dialogue on the challenges and opportunities for developing human capabilities, HCI is being held under the patronage of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

According to the HCI website, the event will explore opportunities in various areas including skill development, the future of work, education, talent, and technology. 


Tunnel, fortification wall unearthed by archaeologists in Jeddah

Tunnel, fortification wall unearthed by archaeologists in Jeddah
Updated 1 min 15 sec ago
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Tunnel, fortification wall unearthed by archaeologists in Jeddah

Tunnel, fortification wall unearthed by archaeologists in Jeddah
  • Findings linked to expansion of city’s defenses in 18th and 19th centuries
  • New evidence of human settlement discovered in Umm Jirsan cave in Madinah

RIYADH: A series of archaeological discoveries in Jeddah and Madinah were revealed on Thursday by the Historic Jeddah Program and the Saudi Heritage Commission.

The finding of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan Cave, located in Madinah’s Harrat Khaybar, was announced by the commission, and the remnants of an ancient underground tunnel and a fortified wall, which once encircled the city, were announced by the program as part of the inaugural phase of Jeddah’s Archaeology Project.

Situated in the northern sector of historic Jeddah, adjacent to Al-Kidwa Square and in close proximity to Al-Bayaa Square, these historical structures date back several centuries.

Some estimations put Jeddah becoming a fortified city during the late 10th to early 11th century, but laboratory analyses suggest that the new finds belong to a later phase of fortification, likely constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Archaeological excavations revealed that by the mid-19th century, the tunnel had become unusable and was quickly filled with sand. However, the wall remained standing until 1947, and some parts of the tunnel’s supporting wall remained intact up to a height of three meters.

Imported European ceramics dating back to the 19th century were also found, highlighting the historic commercial connections of Jeddah. Additionally, a pottery fragment dating back to the 9th century was discovered in Al-Kidwa Square.

These findings are part of a broader collection of archaeological discoveries announced by the Historic Jeddah Program as outcomes of the first phase of its Archaeology Project — a collaborative effort that involves specialized national teams, Saudi experts from the Heritage Commission, and foreign archaeologists.

Their combined expertise has revealed a trove of 25,000 artifacts across four sites, marking a significant development in understanding the cultural evolution of historic Jeddah.

In Madinah, the Heritage Commission announced the discovery of new evidence of human settlement in Umm Jirsan Cave following research conducted by its archaeologists in cooperation with King Saud University, Germany’s Max Planck Institute and Saudi Arabia’s Geological Survey, as part of the Green Arabian Peninsula Project, which focuses on multidisciplinary field research.

It is the Kingdom’s first study that looks into archeological research inside caves, and involved archeological surveys and excavations in several parts of the cave, revealing evidence dating back to the Neolithic period.

The oldest piece of evidence dates back to between 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, encompassing the Copper and Bronze Age periods.

The study of the cave proved that it has been utilized by pastoral groups.

The artifacts discovered include wood, fabric, and some stone tools, in addition to rock art facades depicting scenes of grazing goats, sheep, cows and dogs, as well as hunting activities with different types of wild animals.

The commission noted that the scientific discoveries represent evidence of human settlement in the cave, and a great number of animal bones, including those of striped hyenas, camels, horses, deer, caribou, goats, cows, and wild and domestic donkeys were also identified.

The analysis of human skeletal remains using radioactive isotopes revealed that ancient humans relied on a predominantly carnivorous diet but that, over time, plants were introduced, suggesting the emergence of agriculture.


Cameron tells Netanyahu UK will not ban IRGC: Report

Cameron tells Netanyahu UK will not ban IRGC: Report
Updated 45 min 11 sec ago
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Cameron tells Netanyahu UK will not ban IRGC: Report

Cameron tells Netanyahu UK will not ban IRGC: Report
  • Stance relayed during face-to-face talks between British FM, Israeli PM Wednesday
  • ‘We need to be able to pick up the phone. If we proscribed them it would not help the situation’

LONDON: The UK will not proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, the Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

The stance was reportedly relayed by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron during a face-to-face meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday.

The Israeli government reportedly requested that the UK ban the IRGC following Iran’s drone and missile attack last week.

But Cameron, in what a source called a “blunt” response, told Netanyahu and Katz that doing so would hinder London’s ability to communicate with Tehran.

“We need to be able to pick up the phone. If we proscribed them it would not help the situation,” the source reported Cameron as saying.

If the IRGC were to be proscribed in the UK, it would make membership of it, attending its meetings, displaying its symbols or campaigning for it in the country illegal.

The move has been considered by the UK government for over a year, but Home Office officials have long warned that doing so would sever one of the few remaining diplomatic channels with Tehran. Instead, the IRGC has been sanctioned by the UK government on several occasions.

The US, which has banned the IRGC, has also suggested that the UK should proscribe it. The group’s navy was recently included in a new set of joint sanctions issued by London and Washington.


Li and Hend one back of Catlin while Moroccans Lguirati and Raouzi make cut at 2024 Saudi Open

Li and Hend one back of Catlin while Moroccans Lguirati and Raouzi make cut at 2024 Saudi Open
Updated 33 min 29 sec ago
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Li and Hend one back of Catlin while Moroccans Lguirati and Raouzi make cut at 2024 Saudi Open

Li and Hend one back of Catlin while Moroccans Lguirati and Raouzi make cut at 2024 Saudi Open
  • John Catlin birdied the 18th to remain at the top of the 2024 Saudi Open presented by PIF leaderboard
  • Moroccans Ayoub Lgiurati and Othman Raouzi made the cut as Saudi amateur Khalid Walid Attieh missed by one stroke

RIYADH: Li Haotong and Scott Hend made the most of the calm morning conditions to head into the weekend one shot behind pacesetter John Catlin, who leads on 10-under-par after day two of the 2024 Saudi Open presented by PIF.

Catlin birdied the 18th hole as the sun set on a warm day at Riyadh Golf Club to ensure he heads into Friday ahead of Chinese star and DP World Tour member Li, who shot a scintillating 65, and Australian Hend. Steve Lewton’s 64 was the best round of the day and sees him in third place alongside David Puig, who finished his round with a triple bogey on the ninth hole.

Amateur Khalid Walid Attieh looked set to make history as the first Saudi player to make the cut since the tournament was elevated to the Asian Tour, however three bogeys on the back nine saw him miss out by one, with a putt just sliding by at the last.

Moroccan golfers Ayoub Lguirati and Othman Raouzi, who were two of the golfers given special invites to the tournament as part of Golf Saudi’s strategic partnership with the Arab Golf Federation, finished on one-under-par and even par respectively to extend their participation.

Lguirati said: “It was a positive day for me with only one bogey and one birdie. I stuck to my strategy all day and ended with a good result in a tough competition. I am very happy to have made the cut in this tournament and to play over the next two days.

“I usually play on the second tier Asian Development Tour but with the help of the Royal Moroccan Golf Association and Golf Saudi I have been able to reach this level and I continue improving.”

Meanwhile, Li is excited to challenge for the 2024 Saudi Open presented by PIF trophy as he looks to put some recent poor form behind him. Four birdies in five holes on his back nine catapulted him up the leaderboard.

Li said: “I played really well and wasted some chances. The course played a lot easier compared to yesterday, because of no wind and easier pin positions.

“I am still struggling a little bit off the tee, but except for that everything’s pretty solid overall. I am here to try and get the job done and get the trophy! So hopefully I have a hot start tomorrow.”

Li will play alongside Hend and Catlin on Friday, but will be wary of Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Puig in the penultimate group, who won the PIF Moment of the Day for a stunning front nine of 29, which included five birdies and an eagle in his first six holes.


US to oppose Palestinian bid for full UN membership

US to oppose Palestinian bid for full UN membership
Updated 18 April 2024
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US to oppose Palestinian bid for full UN membership

US to oppose Palestinian bid for full UN membership
  • 15-member council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution
  • Palestinians currently non-member observer state, de facto recognition of statehood

NEW YORK: The US will on Thursday vote against a Palestinian request for full United Nations membership, a US official told Reuters, blocking the world body from effectively recognizing a Palestinian state.
“It remains the US view that the most expeditious path toward statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the support of the United States and other partners,” the US official said.
The 15-member council is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution that recommends to the 193-member UN General Assembly that “the State of Palestine be admitted to membership of the United Nations.”
A council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. Diplomats say the measure could have the support of up to 13 council members, which would force the US to use its veto.
“We have long been clear that premature actions in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people,” the US official said.
The Palestinians are currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood that was granted by the UN General Assembly in 2012. But an application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the Security Council and then at least two-thirds of the General Assembly.
The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes six months into a war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.
“Recent escalations make it even more important to support good-faith efforts to find lasting peace between Israel and a fully independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council.
“Failure to make progress toward a two-State solution will only increase volatility and risk for hundreds of millions of people across the region, who will continue to live under the constant threat of violence,” he said.

DIRECT TALKS
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Palestinians failed to meet the criteria to become a full UN member, which he outlined as: a permanent population, defined territory, government, and capacity to enter relations with other states.
“Who is the council voting to ‘recognize’ and give full membership status to? Hamas in Gaza? The Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Nablus? Who?” Erdan asked the Security Council.
He said granting full UN membership to the Palestinians “will have zero positive impact for any party, that will cause only destruction for years to come, and harm any chance for future dialogue.”
The UN Security Council has long endorsed a vision of two states living side by side within secure and recognized borders. Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.
The Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank. Hamas ousted the Palestinian Authority from power in Gaza in 2007.
Ziad Abu Amr, special envoy of Abbas, asked the United States: “How could this damage the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis? How could this recognition and this membership harm international peace and security?“
“Those who are trying to disrupt and hinder the adoption of such a resolution ... are not helping the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis and the prospects for peace in the Middle East in general,” he told the Security Council.
Abu Amr said full Palestinian UN membership was not an alternative for serious political negotiations to implement a two-state solution and resolve pending issues, adding: “However, this resolution will grant hope to the Palestinian people hope for a decent life within an independent state.”


Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls

Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls
Updated 18 April 2024
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Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls

Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls
  • Fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to international cricket after nearly four years
  • Having come out of retirement last month, Amir’s participation was limited to just fielding

RAWALPINDI: Heavy rain caused the first Twenty20 international between Pakistan and New Zealand to be abandoned after just two deliveries in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
New Zealand skipper Michael Bracewell won the toss, which had also been delayed by 30 minutes, and opted to bat but no action was possible for two-and-a-half hours.
Umpires Ahsan Raza and Aleem Dar then announced a five-over-a-side game at 10:10 local time (9:10 GMT).
Pakistan paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi conceded two leg-byes to debutant Tim Robinson off the first ball before bowling the batsman with a sharp delivery off the next.
But as soon as the Pakistan fielders started celebrating the wicket, the rain returned to force an abandonment.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to international cricket after nearly four years, having come out of retirement last month, but his participation was limited to just fielding.
The 32-year-old retired in December 2020 after being dropped from the side but changed his mind last month and decided to restart his career, which had already been stalled by a match-fixing ban in 2010.
Pakistan handed T20I caps to batsman Usman Khan, spinner Abrar Ahmed and all-rounder Muhammad Irfan Khan, while Robinson debuted for New Zealand.
The remaining matches are in Rawalpindi on April 20 and 21 and in Lahore on April 25 and 27.
The series gives a chance to both teams to test their bench strength ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in June in the United States and the West Indies.
New Zealand are without nine key players, including skipper Kane Williamson, who are playing in the ongoing Indian Premier League.