Swiss music to be highlighted at Riyadh concert

Swiss artists Marc Aymon and Milla Besson. (Supplied)
Swiss artists Marc Aymon and Milla Besson. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 14 April 2024
Follow

Swiss music to be highlighted at Riyadh concert

Swiss artists Marc Aymon and Milla Besson. (Supplied)
  • Marc Aymon and Milla Besson performing at event

RIYADH: The Swiss Embassy in Riyadh — in cooperation with the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise — is hosting a music concert on April 18 at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter. It aims to showcase French-language Swiss music through performances by Swiss artists Marc Aymon and Milla Besson.

Born in 1982 in Sion, Switzerland, Aymon has released four albums and his music has reached audiences across South America, Iran, the US, Africa, and the French-speaking world. Aymon has performed at various concerts and festivals, including the Paleo Festival in Nyon in 2006 and 2013.

Aymon and Besson recently gave an exclusive French-language interview to Arab News in which they told of their love of Swiss culture.

Aymon said: “It (Swiss culture) represents the authenticity of nature, elegance, precision, and quality.

“Swiss culture is inspiring just about everywhere. It’s a wonderful country to leave and return to. I believe in movement. I like to be a Swiss artist who arrives on time, who is very precise and fussy, but who doesn’t hesitate to change all the plans and go through the window when all the doors remain closed.”

His passion for music has been recognized on European and global stages. He added: “It’s a passion for memory, for archives, for the emotions we all share.

“I fell in love with an old song from 1890 and thought it was beautiful before I knew it was part of Switzerland's heritage.”

Aymon will be performing for the first time in Saudi Arabia with Besson.

He added: “We’re going to be playing in a magnificent auditorium, a very large room equipped with a great sound system.

“I’m looking forward to unplugging my guitar, in total acoustic mode, (and) asking people to stop filming us with their phones to experience a moment of disarming simplicity.”

Besson, who was born in 2000, is a Swiss singer-songwriter who has been collaborating and composing with singers Aymon and Jeremie Kisling, and the duo Aliose, since 2019.

She said: “We all have important encounters that shape our lives. Marc Aymon was the first person to take my music seriously, to see in me what I didn’t dare to see, and to offer me my first stages and studio experiences. He helped me to make my mark, to become solid and free artistically.

“This is my first time in Saudi Arabia and Riyadh. Like any first time there’s a certain mystery and excitement about it. I'm looking forward to discovering this new country, its people, and its culture.”

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on April 18 and free tickets can be obtained from https://dqa-et.e-ticket.app/events/9bac8509-623a-4696-b0ee-e1f988982f2a.

* This article is a translation of an article published on Arab News en francais, click here to read it.


Saudi Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs prepares 5 clinics, center for heat exhaustion at Hajj sites

Saudi Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs prepares 5 clinics, center for heat exhaustion at Hajj sites
Updated 33 min 5 sec ago
Follow

Saudi Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs prepares 5 clinics, center for heat exhaustion at Hajj sites

Saudi Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs prepares 5 clinics, center for heat exhaustion at Hajj sites
  • Some 250 employees and health practitioners made available, including 50 doctors specialized in different fields
  • Facilities include 26 inpatient beds, ICU beds, isolation rooms

MAKKAH: The Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs has prepared five clinics and a medical center for heat exhaustion and sunstroke at Mina and Arafat to serve pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.
The Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday that the ministry had concluded its preparations and made available 250 employees and health practitioners, including 50 doctors specialized in intensive care, cardiology, emergency, internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, family and community medicine, and fighting infections.
Dr. Jabr Al-Subaie, the chief operating officer in the health affairs section of the ministry in the Western Region, said that five clinics had been set up for men and women suffering with respiratory diseases, along with 26 inpatient beds, ICU beds, and isolation rooms.
He added that a room for minor operations, a dental clinic, a pharmacy and a laboratory will also be made available, along with radiology services.
The health affairs section is also present for a second year in Arafat, with a heat exhaustion and sunstroke center boasting 20 beds with the latest equipment.
The center has an air and water spray distribution system. There are also clinics for men and women and an outpatient pharmacy.
Dr. Majid Al-Thaqafi, the medical supervisor at the field hospital in Mina, said all rescue teams were equipped with the latest emergency and support equipment at the Jamarat sites at Mina and Jabal Al-Rahma (Mount Arafat).


How Saudi Arabia is using AI and other high-tech solutions to streamline traffic during Hajj

How Saudi Arabia is using AI and other high-tech solutions to streamline traffic during Hajj
Updated 31 min 11 sec ago
Follow

How Saudi Arabia is using AI and other high-tech solutions to streamline traffic during Hajj

How Saudi Arabia is using AI and other high-tech solutions to streamline traffic during Hajj
  • By monitoring congestion with AI-controlled drones, the Kingdom offers pilgrims a seamless transport experience
  • To bypass Makkah’s heavy congested streets, hospitals will use drones to transport blood and laboratory samples

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is using artificial intelligence technologies to enhance traffic management and alleviate congestion in Makkah during the annual Hajj season, ultimately providing a more secure and seamless pilgrimage experience.

Having hosted 1,845,045 pilgrims in the 2023 season, according to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Statistics, efficient traffic control measures are more important than ever.

By implementing AI-powered solutions, such as real-time traffic monitoring and adaptive signal control systems, Saudi Arabia aims to streamline the flow of vehicles and pedestrians, reducing bottlenecks and ensuring smoother movement throughout the city.

Col. Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, security spokesperson at the Ministry of Interior, told Arab News there are several new AI applications for this Hajj season, including new algorithms for surveillance cameras to analyze the number of vehicles on the city’s streets.

“We have supplied advanced digital equipment for data, artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge technology to assist field officials and incorporate AI into operational systems,” Al-Shalhoub said.

“We are utilizing AI technologies to enhance traffic control in Makkah by leveraging the collaboration between the Civil Defense and the Saudi Data and AI Authority.”

This partnership will offer digital solutions to assist security personnel in monitoring and analyzing data during Hajj operations.

“The cooperation between these authorities allowed us to establish an integrated advanced technology system during this year’s Hajj season, where operations centers are equipped with smart platforms built with national artificial intelligence algorithms to serve the pilgrims during their performance of Hajj rituals,” Al-Shalhoub added.

Saleh Al-Jasser, the Kingdom’s minister of transport and logistics, recently announced the rollout of new technologies designed to manage traffic during Hajj this year, including the use of drones for road network inspection and evaluation using thermal scanning.

Meanwhile, the Virtual Glasses Initiative is revolutionizing transport monitoring by equipping field monitors with augmented reality glasses to supervise activities and ensure compliance.

With a target to cut inspection times by 600 percent, from 60 seconds to just 10 seconds, it is hoped that this innovative technology will streamline operations and significantly improve efficiency.

“Cameras, intelligent systems, and sophisticated data dashboards, like the Sawaher platform, offer advanced services for identifying and analyzing the flow of vehicles and pilgrims, as well as for detecting violations in different areas,” Al-Shalhoub said.

By improving monitoring quality and easing congestion, the initiative is providing a more seamless transport experience for passengers.

The initiative is currently being tested on a fleet of 100 buses to assess its effectiveness.

The Ministry of Health will also be using drones to quickly and efficiently transport blood and laboratory samples between hospitals around the holy sites to help cut waiting times for transfusions and test results.

Compared with the existing system of making deliveries by road, drones will reduce the time needed to transport blood from an average of two and a half hours to just two minutes.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The Public Transport Authority has also launched the “Enseeyab” initiative, first introduced during Hajj season 2023, using drones connected to an AI program to measure the real-time movement of pilgrims to the holy sites by bus.

The authority aims to provide safe means of travel using new technologies, including AI, to measure their effectiveness. These technologies will ensure pilgrims can perform rituals in comfort and with ease.

Another way authorities will be managing traffic congestion during Hajj is through micro-mobility options, such as electric scooters, which will be available at the holy sites to facilitate movement.

By providing designated paths for these electric scooters, planners have allowed pilgrims to travel more efficiently and reduce the overall congestion in high-traffic areas.

Some of the key routes that could benefit from the use of electric scooters include Route No.1 from Arafat to Muzdalifah border, which is 4,000 meters in length, and the 1,200m pedestrian road bridge entering and exiting Jamarat.

These technology-driven solutions reflect the country’s commitment to use innovations to optimize the Hajj experience for all participants.

Through the integration of AI into traffic management systems, Saudi Arabia can adapt to changing conditions and address issues quickly.

This proactive stance helps to alleviate congestion and enhance the overall efficiency of transport networks during Hajj.


First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
  • Ziyad Al-Maayouf tells the Mayman Show by Arab News he hopes he can inspire more young Saudis to take up the sport and follow in his footsteps
  • In the absence of any local boxing heroes from the Kingdom when starting out, he says he looked to Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao for inspiration

Riyadh: Saudi professional boxer Ziyad Al-Maayouf is proud that the Kingdom is establishing itself as a major force on the global sports stage.

During an interview with the Mayman Show by Arab News, the 23-year-old also spoke of his hopes that he is only the first of many professional boxers from Saudi Arabia, and told how his journey as a professional boxer began in 2010.

“It really started for me when one day I Googled ‘professional Saudi boxer.’ I found no one,” he said, adding that he then searched for just “Saudi boxer” and still found no results.

This is important, he added, because young people who aspire to careers in sports naturally look to their idols for inspiration.

“It’s even a lot better when your idols are people you can relate to, where your superheroes are people you could relate to,” he said.

But when Al-Maayouf went looking for someone with whom he could closely identify to inspire him in his boxing career he could not find anyone from his country.

“That’s where I said, OK, I think this is where I want to start competing,” he said. “I want to be the guy who, when you Google ‘professional boxer from Saudi Arabia,’ he comes up; and, you know, little did I know, the stars were aligning in the way they did.”

Al-Maayouf said he is very pleased to see sports initiatives form such an important part of Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s national development and diversification plan.

“The sport they choose to invest in the most, and powerfully, powerfully, like that, is boxing,” he said. “And then behind the scenes, there is a Saudi boxer that’s been training for over a decade, preparing and waiting for a moment like that. So I always say that my career aligns exactly with Vision 2030, you know?”

In the absence of any local heroes, Al-Maayouf said he has been greatly inspired by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, in part because of what the fighter means to the people of his native country.

“The way that he is to the Philippines, they look at him as if he’s come from the sky,” he said. “It's like he is something else for them there. It is like he’s a prophet there (for) what he was for the Philippines, how he carried that weight on his back and how much he achieved while doing so.”

Al-Maayouf said he can relate to Pacquiao’s journey as a boxer who moved alone to another country to train, leaving his family and friends behind. He also respects the legendary fighter’s achievements outside of the ring, in particular his efforts to help promote his country and community.

“How he helped his people, how he introduced the world to the Philippines, you know?” he said. “And he was always announced as ‘the fighting pride of the Philippines.’ So I always wanted to be announced as ‘the fighting pride of Saudi Arabia,’ you know? ‘The fighting pride of the Arab world.’”

Inspired by Pacquiao, Al-Maayouf trained at the Filipino fighter’s gym when he moved to the US in 2019 to pursue his studies, majoring in psychology.

“I only applied to universities in Los Angeles because that’s where Pacquiao was,” he said. “That’s where Pacquiao’s gym was. That’s where his coach was. I wanted to go where Pacquiao did, so I did exactly that.

“On Aug. 4, 2019, I arrived in LA; on Aug. 5, I was in Pacquiao’s gym, training. And ever since, I could maybe count the weeks on my hand that I took off from training since 2019. Because when I moved, I realized that the decade I had been training before went out the window because, you know, we didn’t have the IQ, the knowledge.”

The Kingdom was still learning about boxing during that time, he said, and the sport was rarely even broadcast on TV.

“So the levels were completely different,” Al-Maayouf added. “I stayed there for a lot of years, just getting a beating every single day.”


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iran’s acting foreign minister

Saudi FM receives phone call from Iran’s acting foreign minister
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Saudi FM receives phone call from Iran’s acting foreign minister

Saudi FM receives phone call from Iran’s acting foreign minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday received a phone call from the Iranian acting foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani.
During the call, they reviewed aspects of cooperation between the two countries and topics of common interest, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.


Makkah faces potential thunderstorms, Madinah and Jeddah partly cloudy

Makkah faces potential thunderstorms, Madinah and Jeddah partly cloudy
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Makkah faces potential thunderstorms, Madinah and Jeddah partly cloudy

Makkah faces potential thunderstorms, Madinah and Jeddah partly cloudy
  • Current temperatures in Makkah sit at 43 degrees Celsius

MAKKAH: There is a chance of rain and thunderstorms over Makkah in the next few hours, according to the National Center of Meteorology.
Meanwhile, Madinah and Jeddah are also expected to be partly cloudy, reported Saudi Press Agency on Thursday.
Current temperatures in Makkah sit at 43 degrees Celsius, with south-westerly to westerly winds ranging from 12 to 34 km/h. These could increase to more than 50 km/h with thunderstorms.
Madinah is experiencing significantly warmer temperatures at 46 degrees Celsius, with westerly to south-westerly winds at 12 to 34 km/h.
Jeddah offers a reprieve from the heat with temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius and north-westerly to westerly winds at 10 to 30 km/h.