Security chief announces Makkah crowd control plan for Ramadan

Security chief announces Makkah crowd control plan for Ramadan
Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, the director of Saudi Public Security, has stated the Umrah security plan for Ramadan 2024 includes a well-organized system to manage crowds, especially during prayer times, with specific attention given to Tarawih and TaHajjud prayers. (SPA)
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Updated 10 March 2024
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Security chief announces Makkah crowd control plan for Ramadan

Security chief announces Makkah crowd control plan for Ramadan
  • Mataf courtyard ground floor reserved for Umrah performers during the holy month
  • Beggars, rough sleepers face arrest for obstructing pilgrims; worshipers asked to give special consideration to those with special needs

MAKKAH: Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, the director of Saudi Public Security, has stated the Umrah security plan for Ramadan 2024 includes a well-organized system to manage crowds, especially during prayer times, with specific attention given to Tarawih and TaHajjud prayers.
During the Ministry of Interior’s press conference for senior Umrah security figures in Makkah on Saturday, he noted that the plan for Umrah during Ramadan will undergo a review, adding that the Mataf courtyard and ground floor will be exclusively reserved for Umrah performers.
Al-Bassami stated that special teams have been deployed to address issues such as begging and sleeping in prohibited areas, which disrupt the flow of pilgrims and worshippers. Anyone caught engaging in these activities will be arrested.
He added that the plan encompasses various areas, including security, crowd control, traffic management, humanitarian aid, and assistance to service organizations.
Al-Bassami said that transportation stations near the Grand Mosque, along the first, second, and third ring roads, as well as the entrances to Makkah, are now operational. These stations play a crucial role in managing traffic to the Grand Mosque.
“There is a high demand for Umrah at the start of Ramadan, with the third Saudi expansion allocated for worshippers,” he said, adding that entry and exit are organized to ensure the safety of worshippers walking to and from the vicinity of the Grand Mosque.
“The Grand Mosque and its surroundings are reserved for worship, and visitors are encouraged to assist in serving pilgrims,” he said, asking worshippers two provide space for individuals with special needs so as to not be overwhelmed.
Al-Bassami predicts that over 57 million Umrah pilgrims will travel by bus this year. “As a result, we have successfully reduced the number of vehicles entering the central district by over 7 million. Additionally, we have utilized 3,000 buses across 16 routes and 13 stations,” he said.
The acting director general of Civil Defense, Maj. Gen. Hamoud Al-Faraj, stated that the directorate commenced its operations early to guarantee the safety of Umrah pilgrims and other visitors in Makkah and Madinah.
“Employees of the directorate conducted 5,645 safety tours and educated visitors and pilgrims through media and mobile exhibitions,” he said.
Al-Faraj added: “Civil Defense centers are located in Makkah, comprising seasonal centers, rapid intervention teams, preventive supervision points, mobile units, field support for machinery and heavy equipment, specialized teams, and the Haram Support Force in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.
“These centers are supported by dedicated volunteers and utilize technology and artificial intelligence, playing a crucial role in ensuring the safety of individuals during the Umrah season.”
Deputy Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Saleh Al-Murabba discussed the preparations of the General Directorate of Passports to facilitate the arrival and departure procedures of Umrah pilgrims and visitors at all air, land, and sea ports.
He emphasized the need to coordinate and harmonize efforts, providing support and assistance to all agencies involved in serving them while also enhancing awareness among pilgrims and visitors.


300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah

300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah
Updated 7 sec ago
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300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah

300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah
  • To ensure that Zamzam water is safe, a specialized technical staff takes more than 80 samples daily and examines them with the latest equipment

RIYADH: The General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque exerts all efforts to provide Zamzam water at the Prophet’s Mosque so that worshippers and visitors can enjoy the blessed water.

The authority supplies 300 tons of Zamzam water, brought daily from Makkah to the mosque in Madinah on bowsers equipped for this purpose, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

To ensure that Zamzam water is safe, a specialized technical staff takes more than 80 samples daily and examines them with the latest equipment.

Meanwhile, Zamazemah Co. and the Coordination Council for Institutions and Companies Serving Domestic Pilgrims (Mutahed) signed a memorandum to provide Zamzam water bottles to domestic pilgrims during Hajj.

Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat attended the signing. This agreement aims to ensure high-quality services for pilgrims.


Saudi Arabia a ‘faithful friend’ of Cameroon, says envoy

Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 8 min 44 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia a ‘faithful friend’ of Cameroon, says envoy

Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • Cameroon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia said that cooperation between his country and the Kingdom has “continued to deepen over the decades”

RIYADH: Cameroon has celebrated its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh, with the country’s ambassador hailing Saudi Arabia as a “faithful friend.”

Iya Tidjani, speaking at a reception on Monday in the Saudi capital to mark Cameroon’s 52nd national day, said that cooperation between his country and the Kingdom has “continued to deepen over the decades.”

Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf was the guest at the reception, which was attended by diplomats in Riyadh, Saudi officials and businessmen, the Cameroonian community and embassy staff.

“Since 1966, the year of establishment of relations between the two countries, these ties have continued to deepen and diversify to the mutual benefit of both countries,” Tidjani said.

The ambassador praised Saudi Arabia for sending medical missions every year to support the Cameroonian health sector.

“Our government also expresses sincere thanks to Saudi Arabia for their laudable efforts for the Hajj, both in terms of organization and infrastructure,” he added.

In 2019, the Great Mosque of Maroua in northern Cameroon was inaugurated, built with the support of Saudi Arabia.

The mosque can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers and is “considered one of the most beautiful achievements in mosque construction in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Tidjani.

The ambassador highlighted Cameroon’s battle against the Boko Haram militant organization, describing Saudi Arabia as a “friend and a major player … as can be seen from its role in the fight against terrorism.”

He added: “Cameroon and Saudi Arabia share similar views on international issues and Cameroon joins the international community to support Saudi Arabia in its effort toward peace in the Middle East and beyond.”

Cameroon’s national day on May 20 saw citizens celebrate the “unity, peace and stability of a country firmly committed to the path of emergence,” the embassy said in a statement.


Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

Saudi center maps 246 areas to fight desertification

RIYADH: The National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification has completed a significant step in its fight against desertification: the first phase of a project to assess the state of land degradation across the Kingdom, resulting in the creation of 246 detailed maps.

These maps provide valuable insight into desertification trends and the current state of land degradation in different regions, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The center’s teams conducted extensive studies to better understand the processes of desertification and land degradation and to identify effective strategies to combat them.

The project combined cutting-edge technologies and traditional methods to gather data, including geographic information systems, remote sensing techniques, and field surveys.

Fieldwork included collecting soil samples for analysis, studying plant life at designated sites, and analyzing satellite imagery.

The center has launched the second phase of the project, starting in the Riyadh region. During this phase, it will focus on identifying areas most vulnerable to desertification, classifying the causes and types of land degradation, and conducting further field surveys to gather more detailed data.


Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
Updated 21 May 2024
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Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
  • Saudi Space Agency awards 10 winners in arts, botany, engineering

RIYADH: The Saudi Space Agency wrapped up its Space Madak competition on Tuesday by awarding 10 winning contestants prizes for their arts, botany and engineering projects.

Hailing from seven Arab countries, the winners were revealed at a ceremony hosted by the agency at the Communications, Space and Technology Commission headquarters in Riyadh.

The event marked the first anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s “Journey to Space” mission and was attended by the agency’s CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi, officials, experts, and ambassadors from the winning students’ countries.

The competition, engaging ambitious Arab students, showcased their enthusiasm for space exploration and skills development.

The panel of judges comprised scientists, experts and space enthusiasts.

Following rigorous evaluation rounds, the top 10 contenders were chosen for their exceptional contributions.

In the arts category, winners included Yamen Al-Zaabi from Jordan, Preeti Sami from Egypt, Jawaher Farhan from Bahrain, Rafqa Mansour from Lebanon, and Aline Al-Issa from Saudi Arabia.

Sadan Al-Dosari from Saudi Arabia, Hooriya Basheikh from Morocco, and Fatima Al-Khabouriah from Oman won in the botany category.

Engineering-category winners were Abdulrahman Qattan from Saudi Arabia and Yara Reda from Syria.

The ceremony celebrated the winners and acknowledged the creative endeavors of more than 50 finalists, chosen from a pool of 80,000 submissions vying for prizes totaling SR500,000 ($133,320).

The winning projects will be showcased on the International Space Station, offering an opportunity to advance research, development, and innovation in space exploration while enriching Arab contributions in this field.

The competition represents a significant milestone in the Saudi Space Agency’s mission to support research, development, and innovation within the domain of space exploration.

With a focus on nurturing creative thinking among Arab students, the initiative aims to ignite curiosity about space and inspire breakthroughs in this burgeoning field.

The space mission, carried out by astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni, included 14 pioneering scientific experiments.

According to a press release issued by the agency, the mission was a part of the “Saudi Toward Space” program, aligning with the Kingdom’s focus on research, development and innovation driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Tamimi praised the achievements of the SSA-HSF1, or Saudi Space Agency-Human Space Flight 1, mission. This was a major milestone in the Kingdom’s journey toward leadership in the space sector.

He said there were 14 research experiments conducted in microgravity, yielding valuable contributions to research, development and innovation.

Al-Tamimi said the mission helped foster national expertise and enhance cooperation with leading international institutions.

He added that the agency remained committed to supporting innovative projects.


Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage
Updated 21 May 2024
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Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

Manga International launches in Tokyo to showcase Saudi creativity on global stage

RIYADH: In a move to bolster its international presence, Manga Arabia, a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Media Group, announced the launch of Manga International at a ceremony in Tokyo, Japan.

The event drew in prominent officials and media representatives from Saudi Arabia and Japan, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

This expansion follows a series of successful partnerships and agreements with major Japanese manga publishers, such as Kodansha, Shueisha, Kadokawa, Shogakukan, and Hakusensha.

Manga Arabia has a strong track record in the Arab world, having launched two manga magazines — one for children and another for young adults — in both print and digital formats.

The company reaches over 8 million users in 195 countries, with a print distribution network of 220 points in the Arab world, selling over 400,000 copies monthly.

SRMG CEO Jomana Al-Rashid highlighted the significance of this international foray.

“We are strategically expanding through partnerships with leading manga companies and establishing a legal framework equipped with cutting-edge technologies,” she said.

“This will not only generate financial returns but also nurture an educational environment catering to the immense global demand for this content,” Al-Rashid added, emphasizing how this geographic and cultural expansion will help combat content piracy and intellectual property theft.

Manga Arabia and Manga International CEO Essam Bukhary said: “Through the art of manga and creative industries, we have achieved remarkable success in the Arab world, earning the trust of our Japanese and international partners. Now, under the umbrella of SRMG, Manga International seeks to leverage our pioneering experience and development in global markets.”

Bukhary elaborated on plans to translate and produce a range of comic stories targeting international audiences.

He added that the expansion signifies a qualitative leap for Saudi and Arab creativity on the world stage, aligning with Manga Arabia’s vision of empowering imagination, nurturing and developing Arabic content, and delivering it to a global audience across all demographics and generations.

Building on this commitment, Manga Arabia has already translated several of its comic stories into English, Chinese, and Malay for international markets.

Collaborating with the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission, it has also adapted a selection of Saudi novels into manga format, aiming to reach diverse audiences and present Saudi literature and culture through the lens of manga.