Kingdom arrests 14,955 illegals in one week

Kingdom arrests 14,955 illegals in one week
Police officers man a checkpoint in a street in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on April 3, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 02 March 2024
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Kingdom arrests 14,955 illegals in one week

Kingdom arrests 14,955 illegals in one week

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 14,955 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 9,080 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 3,088 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 2,787 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 849 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 42 percent were Yemeni, 56 percent Ethiopian, and 2 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 99 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and six were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


Riyadh to host first National Afforestation Forum

Riyadh to host first National Afforestation Forum
Updated 21 sec ago
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Riyadh to host first National Afforestation Forum

Riyadh to host first National Afforestation Forum

RIYADH: The National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification is organizing the first National Afforestation Forum with the theme “Toward a Green Future.”

The forum will be held in Riyadh on May 6 and aims to unify national efforts, align energies, and foster collaboration across various sectors, including public, private, and nonprofit.

According to the Saudi Press Agency report, one of its key objectives is to support the Saudi Green Initiative’s ambitious target of planting 10 billion trees.

The forum is designed to involve stakeholders from various sectors, including experts, environmental enthusiasts, and the general public, aiming to raise awareness of the National Afforestation Program.

It aims to showcase successful models, encourage participation, highlight investment opportunities, and explore the latest developments in the sector. It also seeks to organize community engagement across all segments to achieve ambitious national environmental objectives.

The forum explores a range of pivotal themes through interactive sessions aimed at supporting national efforts to promote vegetation cover and expand green areas. These sessions include an in-depth examination of the various benefits of the National Afforestation Program, such as environmental sustainability, economic growth, and investment opportunities.

Additionally, there is an emphasis on harnessing nature-centric solutions for vegetation growth, along with discussions about current and future afforestation initiatives across various sectors within the Kingdom, the SPA reported.

Moreover, the forum will address the complexities of nursery development, international afforestation initiatives, and the challenges confronting seed banks. It will also explore strategies to improve nursery standards and optimize plant quality to support a variety of projects.


Cairns continue to be silent guides in the desert 

Cairns continue to be silent guides in the desert 
Updated 23 April 2024
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Cairns continue to be silent guides in the desert 

Cairns continue to be silent guides in the desert 
  • Used as resting spots, mark water sources for Bedouins, travelers
  • Some documented including for Hajj route from Kufa to Makkah 

RIYADH: Cairns, known as “rjum” in Arabic, are more than just heaps of stones scattered throughout the desert but have served as important landmarks and silent guides for Bedouins and travelers through the years, and will continue to do so, according to a local heritage researcher and archeologist. 

Shaped as pyramidal or circular heaps of stones, cairns mark valleys, ravines and deserts across the region. Their strategic placement atop hills or elevated ground provides a vantage point for hidden landscapes, said Abdulrahman Mohammed Al-Tuwayjiri, from the Rafha governorate, in an interview published by the Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.

Bedouins revere cairns, which aid in visual exploration and have served as places of contemplation for lovers and poets over the years, said Al-Tuwayjiri.

Each cairn has its unique features, with some bearing names, possibly attributed to their builders or reflective of specific geographical locations. The care and preservation of cairns remain a priority for the Bedouin community, ensuring that their legacy endures for generations to come. 

Al-Tuwayjiri said these landmarks are constructed using stones of varying sizes with diameter, as well as height, between 2 and 3 meters. However, over time many have deteriorated and now measure about 1 to 2 meters in height. Some cairns have become mere piles of fallen stones along the roadside.

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Al-Harbi, an early geographer, documented the landmarks and mile markers that guided Hajj pilgrims from Kufa to Makkah. These landmarks were spaced approximately 2 km apart, with closer intervals at road intersections and divergences to ensure that travelers maintained their direction.

Cairns were typically built on natural hills and elevations to ensure they were visible from a distance.

Cairns serve a variety of purposes beyond just guiding travelers. These silent stone structures are often designated resting areas for weary explorers on long journeys, function as gathering points for nomadic tribes, and can indicate the presence of water.


Saudi Arabia braced for heavy rainfall, Civil Defense issues warning

Saudi Arabia braced for heavy rainfall, Civil Defense issues warning
Updated 23 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia braced for heavy rainfall, Civil Defense issues warning

Saudi Arabia braced for heavy rainfall, Civil Defense issues warning
  • NCM forecasts higher than average figures for rain in May

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to receive more rainfall toward the weekend, with Riyadh and its outskirts likely to witness heavy rains from Friday to next Tuesday.

In addition, the National Center for Meteorology said on Tuesday: “May forecasts indicate a chance of higher than average rainfall.”

More rain is forecast this week in Makkah, Jazan, Aseer, Al-Baha, the Eastern Province, and regions in Riyadh, the NCM added.

Makkah and the surrounding areas are set to experience heavy showers, while Riyadh, Wadi Al-Dawasir, and Al-Sulayil will receive medium rainfall.

Southern regions like Jizan, Najran, Asir, and Al-Baha will be impacted by medium to heavy rainfall, with Jizan and Asir expected to receive torrential rain and strong winds.

Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Civil Defense has issued weather warnings and safety instructions.

Its message, which has been sent to residents, said: “Forecasts from the NCM indicate that there will be moderate to heavy rainfall in the Riyadh region (Riyadh, Diriyah, Muzahmiyah, Al-Harij, Al-Kharj, Hotat Bani Tamim, Al-Majmaah, Thadiq, Marat, Al-Ghat, Al-Zulfi, Shaqraa, and Huraymila).

“The Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions. May God make it rain of goodness and blessings and spread it to benefit all parts of the country. Your cooperation and your safety is our goal.”

The NCM has also warned of high-speed winds that may cause sandstorms, further complicating the situation. Consequently, the Civil Defense has urged the public to stay at home during the severe weather and avoid going to valleys and waterlogged areas, while adhering to all safety directives.

The UAE, Oman, and Bahrain were hit by heavy storms last week that saw unprecedented levels of rainfall.

The UAE experienced its highest-ever rainfall in a 24-hour period since climate data records began in 1949.


Saudi cabinet reiterates commitment to regional security, stability

Saudi cabinet reiterates commitment to regional security, stability
Updated 23 April 2024
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Saudi cabinet reiterates commitment to regional security, stability

Saudi cabinet reiterates commitment to regional security, stability

RIYADH: King Salman briefed on Tuesday the Council of Ministers on recent regional dynamics and global affairs, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

The cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering security and stability globally and regionally.

It called on the international community to fulfill its obligations in halting Israeli assaults on civilians in Gaza and support the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, advocating for their state based on the 1967 borders with its capital.

The Council of Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the second ministerial meeting of the strategic dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Central Asian countries. 

The cabinet also welcomed participants of the special meeting of the World Economic Forum, scheduled for next Sunday and Monday in Riyadh. 


The King Faisal Prize 2024 awarded to four scientists and Japanese Association

The King Faisal Prize 2024 awarded to four scientists and Japanese Association
Updated 23 April 2024
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The King Faisal Prize 2024 awarded to four scientists and Japanese Association

The King Faisal Prize 2024 awarded to four scientists and Japanese Association
  • The service to Islam prize was awarded to the Japan Muslim Association
  • The event is the most prestigious in the Muslim world and recognizes outstanding achievements in services to Islam

Riyadh: The winners of this year’s King Faisal Prize received their awards at a glittering ceremony staged in Riyadh on Monday.

Held under the auspices of King Salman, Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar attended the ceremony, handing over the King Faisal International Award to laureates in its 46th edition.

The event is the most prestigious in the Muslim world and recognizes outstanding achievements in services to Islam, Islamic studies, Arabic language and literature, medicine, and science.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, founder and trustee of the King Faisal Foundation and chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said: “This award carries a prestigious name in a great country ... to honor science and scientists from various corners of the world who have contributed to presenting scientific research and inventions that have advanced humanity and served mankind.

“This honor always comes primarily for scientific achievement without considering any geographical, racial, religious, or sectarian considerations, hence the prize has gained appreciation from universities and scientific centers in various parts of the world,” Prince Turki added.

The service to Islam prize was awarded to the Japan Muslim Association for its care for the affairs of Muslims in Japan and interest in Muslim youth through education.

The selection committee also decided to grant the award to Dr. Mohammad Al-Sammak of Lebanon, for his early and continuous contributions in promoting Islamic-Christian dialogue, his hard work in strengthening relations and communication with others, and his active participation in dialogue conferences regarding the relationship between Islam and other beliefs, in addition to his presidency and active membership of many establishments, bodies and associations concerned with tolerance and peace.

The Islamic Studies prize was granted to Dr. Wael Hallaq, writer of “Islamic Systems and their Contemporary Applications,” a professor at Columbia University in the US, who succeeded in providing a scientific reference parallel to the traditional Orientalist writings influential in international universities, which appeared in his many works and have been translated into many languages, and his success in building a guide to the development of Islamic legislation throughout history.

Dr. Jerry Roy Mendell, a US national and a professor at Ohio State University, was granted the medicine prize for his work in screening, early diagnosis, and treatment of patients suffering from spinal muscular atrophy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, osteochondrodystrophy, as the first researcher to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of high-dose adeno-associated virus gene transfer therapy for spinal muscular atrophy type 1 patients, a globally approved treatment.

Dr. Howard Yuan-Hao Chang, another US national, won the science prize for his pioneering contributions in explaining the role played by non-coding RNA in the regulation and function of genes. He developed innovative means to identify regulatory sites within DNA. These discoveries have had a great effect on the field of molecular biology and genetics, and a great role in understanding complex human diseases.

The selection committee for the King Faisal Prize for Arabic Language and Literature, whose subject this year was “The Efforts of Establishments Outside the Arab World to Spread the Arabic Language,” decided to withhold the award for 2024 “as the nominated works did not meet the award’s criteria,” according to a statement.

The King Faisal Prize was established in 1977 by the King Faisal Foundation. It was first granted in 1979 to recognize individuals and establishments and their outstanding achievements in its five categories.