Red Sea Global, Warner Bros. to release coral reef documentary

Red Sea Global, Warner Bros. to release coral reef documentary
The film features Saudi Arabian free diver Salma Shaker as she explores extensive coral research. (RSG)
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Updated 16 April 2024
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Red Sea Global, Warner Bros. to release coral reef documentary

Red Sea Global, Warner Bros. to release coral reef documentary
  • Viewers will discover the untouched coral reefs along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global has partnered with Warner Bros. Discovery to produce a documentary on climate change and coral reefs.

“Beneath the Surface: The Fight for Corals” will air on the Discovery Channel on Earth Day, April 22, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The documentary will highlight RSG’s environmental efforts, according to a statement from the developer.

Red Sea Global Group CEO John Pagano said the documentary will “aim to spotlight the beauty and vulnerability of these underwater wonders and emphasize the importance of global collaboration in preserving our oceans.”

The film features Saudi Arabian free diver Salma Shaker as she explores the extensive coral research conducted by Red Sea Global and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

Viewers will also discover the untouched coral reefs along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline, showcasing their rich biodiversity and vital role in the environment.

“Beneath the Surface: The Fight for Corals” also extends beyond local waters to coral reefs in Mexico, emphasizing the universal challenges these ecosystems face.

The documentary will highlight the benefits of coral research in the Red Sea for ecosystems globally.

Kerrie McEvoy, head of Factual Channels in Discovery Networks EMEA at Warner Bros Discovery, said: “As a company, we believe in the power of storytelling to entertain and inspire change, and this film exemplifies that commitment.”

The documentary will provide a holistic view of coral reefs worldwide, their importance to the marine ecosystem, as well as conservation efforts. It also features insights from a range of experts.

A trailer of the documentary was screened to attendees at a side event during COP28 in Dubai late last year.
 


Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program

Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program
Updated 14 sec ago
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Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program

Hatching of red-necked ostrich chicks highlights success of Saudi royal reserve’s breeding program
  • The Imam Turki Royal Nature Reserve launched its ostrich conservation scheme in 2021 to rescue this critically engaged species 
  • Saudi Arabia’s second largest royal reserve is dedicated to providing secure habitats to allow the Kingdom’s wildlife to thrive

RIYADH: In a significant boost for biodiversity in the Kingdom, the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve Development Authority recently announced the hatching of three endangered red-necked ostrich chicks — a species that had been considered extinct in Saudi Arabia.

At the end of 2021, the royal reserve launched a scheme to reintroduce ostriches to the wild, creating a habitat for a male and a female. The ostriches soon adapted to the reserve and laid their first clutch of 12 eggs in the spring of 2024, three of which hatched naturally.

The royal reserve is dedicated to providing a suitable environment for endangered species to help increase their numbers, restore biodiversity, and provide a safe haven for animals like reem gazelle, Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, and others to flourish in the wild.

“The red-necked ostrich, also known as the North African ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus), is currently classified as critically endangered,” Abdulmajeed Aldhaban, executive vice president of operations at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve Development Authority, told Arab News.

“This subspecies faces significant threats due to habitat loss, hunting, and egg collection, which have led to a dramatic decline in its population over the past 100 years.” 

The red-necked ostrich is not the only bird species the reserve has sought to revitalize through breeding programs, captive breeding techniques, and habitat restoration to bolster its population. The houbara bustard has been another success story.

The royal reserve is dedicated to providing a suitable environment for endangered species to help increase their numbers, restore biodiversity, and provide a safe haven for animals like reem gazelle, Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, and others to flourish in the wild. (Supplied)

“In March, the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Royal Nature Reserve Development Authority started construction of a state-of-the-art aviculture center on the reserve,” said Aldhaban.

“This was part of the authority’s comprehensive plan to conserve wildlife in general and, specifically, protect the endangered houbara bustard in its natural habitat.”

Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines. (Shutterstock)

He added: “The center comprises 22 facilities, including administrative buildings, breeding facilities, clinics, and laboratories, spanning an area of 4 sq. km. The first phase of breeding is set to commence by the end of 2024.”

Saudi Arabia’s rich biodiversity has long been overlooked by environmentalists. Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines.

Local conservationists believe they have an obligation to protect these terrestrial and marine habitats and maintain the ecological balance for the benefit of the Kingdom’s wildlife and for generations to come.

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Officials have therefore outlined a set of biodiversity conservation goals under various initiatives like Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green Initiative designed to work in partnership with civil society groups and the private sector.

One focus is the design of protected areas. 

During an interview with Arab News at the Hima forum in Riyadh last April, Mohammed Qurban, the CEO of the National Center for Wildlife in Saudi Arabia, outlined the Kingdom’s aim to protect 30 percent of the Kingdom’s terrestrial and marine areas by 2030.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve, where the red-necked ostriches hatched last month, covers an area of more than 91,500 sq km, making it the second largest royal protected area in the Kingdom, home to 138 species of animal and 179 species of plant. (Supplied)

This goal includes the creation of wildlife sanctuaries and restoration programs to restore natural habitats and protect endangered animal species such as the Arabian oryx, red-necked ostrich, gazelle, and Arabian leopard.

The Imam Turki bin Abdullah Royal Natural Reserve, where the red-necked ostriches hatched last month, covers an area of more than 91,500 sq. km, making it the second-largest royal protected area in the Kingdom, home to 138 species of animal and 179 species of plant.

Despite its arid climate and vast desert landscape, the Kingdom is home to a wealth of distinctive species, occupying its dunes, mountains, valleys and coastlines. (SPA)

Situated in the country’s northeast, close to the border with Iraq, the reserve is a popular destination for tourists interested in hiking and bird watching.

In 2018, the royal reserve declared three key objectives, including the conservation of biodiversity, the development of the reserve as a destination for ecotourism, and the aim of generating socio-economic benefits for local communities.

The Natural Reserve Development Authority has registered the reserve in the World Database on Protected Areas. It has also earned global recognition after being nominated for the International Union for Conservation of Nature Green List in 2023.
 

 


Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal meets with French foreign minister Sejourne

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal meets with French foreign minister Sejourne
Updated 12 min 54 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal meets with French foreign minister Sejourne

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal meets with French foreign minister Sejourne
  • The two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations
  • Also discussed the situation in Gaza

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Stephane Sejourne in Paris on Friday.

During the meeting, the two ministers discussed Saudi-French relations and ways to enhance them and ways to improve coordination on various issues of mutual concern, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The two ministers also discussed the situation in Gaza and its surroundings and the need to deliver humanitarian assistance to the civilians in the enclave.

The meeting was also attended by Saudi Ambassador to France Fahd bin Mayouf Al-Ruwaili, the Foreign Minister's office director general Abdulrahman Al-Dawood, and ministry Advisor Manal Radwan.


Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary

Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
Updated 24 May 2024
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Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary

Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
  • The documentary takes viewers on a trip as he journeys to places near and far within Japan to interact with locals, expats and visitors about their relationship to technology and nature

DHAHRAN: For the finale of the two-day Sync Digital Wellbeing Summit at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, or Ithra, a documentary titled “The Dark Side of Japan” premiered at the Ithra Cinema on Thursday. 

The Bahraini creative influencer, Omar Farooq, who was the narrator in the documentary, was there in-person with his team to answer questions after the screening.

As part of the Sync Spotlight series, the documentary tied together all the various themes explored during the summit, of which technology and wellness topics were explored on stage and at various points throughout the center. The documentary, which was filmed in Japan, showcases Farooq as he observes the Japanese people’s intense interactions with — and addictions to — their screens. Amid the bright lights of flashy Tokyo emerges a lingering dark side of loneliness, heads down, and fingers scrolling endlessly.

The filmmaker and influencer tried to convey an important message the old-fashioned way before the film premiere. He asked every attendee to take a moment to look under their seats. After a minute of awkward shuffling, it was revealed that an envelope was placed there so they could tuck their phones away and watch the documentary phone-free.

An envelope that was placed under each seat at the Ithra Cinema instructing viewers to place their phones there and enjoy the documentary phone-free. (Supplied)

Farooq wanted the audience to be completely immersed and to be on the journey alongside him.

The documentary takes viewers on a trip as he journeys to places near and far within Japan to interact with locals, expats and visitors about their relationship to technology and nature. He spoke to families of young children about the school system and he spent time with adults of various backgrounds to ask about their preferences: city life or country life?

“It’s hard to keep a close relationship with people (in Tokyo). We don’t have time to care about others,” a Japanese artist told him in one scene.  

Wildly popular, with 3.9 million followers on instagram, Farooq was on hand to have a discussion on stage after the screening. Moderated by Ithra’s own head of a performing arts and cinema, Majed Z. Samman, who had studied in Japan and was familiar with the Japanese culture, they were joined by Mohammed Alhajri and Ahmed Alsayed, both of whom were with Farooq in Japan to assist with the filming. They sat on the floor, Japanese style, on stage for the discussion.

The panel sat on the floor, Japanese style, for the panel discussion. (Supplied) 

“This documentary isn’t about Japan,” Farooq cautioned the audience. Japan was merely an example of a place that has been plagued by hyper internet addiction and loss of real world connection. He asks the question: “Will this be our future? Is it already our present?”

He instructs viewers to look within and not just walk away as a programmed robot on autopilot; constantly shackled to their smartphones and ignoring the world around them.

After the initial screening, there were two other screenings back-to-back at the cinema, both of which were sold out.

The Ithra-produced documentary was mostly in Arabic, with some English and some Japanese.
 


Saudi Ports Authority: Jeddah Islamic Port is ready for 2024 Hajj season

Saudi Ports Authority: Jeddah Islamic Port is ready for 2024 Hajj season
Updated 24 May 2024
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Saudi Ports Authority: Jeddah Islamic Port is ready for 2024 Hajj season

Saudi Ports Authority: Jeddah Islamic Port is ready for 2024 Hajj season
  • During Hajj season, ports are not only limited to receiving pilgrims but will also provide them with logistical and strategic services
  • Jeddah Islamic Port is the gateway to the Two Holy Mosques

RIYADH: The Saudi Ports Authority said it is ready to provide this year’s pilgrims with a distinguished experience through advanced equipment and high-tech operation systems run by young Saudi men and women skilled in welcoming pilgrims.
The authority explained that, during Hajj season, ports are not only limited to receiving pilgrims but will also provide them with logistical and strategic services, including goods and medicines delivered in a timely manner.
Ships will likewise transport livestock for sacrificial purposes, clearing them, ensuring their safety, and facilitating their transportation from the port to the holy sites through the Huda and Adahi Route initiatives, organized by the authority.
Jeddah Islamic Port is the gateway to the Two Holy Mosques and an important logistical and commercial center along the coast. It extends over an area of 12.5 sq. km and comprises equipped container terminals through which chilled and frozen food products, as well as other goods, pass.


Cameroon’s National Day celebrated in Riyadh

Cameroon’s National Day celebrated in Riyadh
Updated 24 May 2024
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Cameroon’s National Day celebrated in Riyadh

Cameroon’s National Day celebrated in Riyadh
  • Cooperation between the countries hailed by ambassador
  • The ambassador said that in addition to the projects, both countries had attributes which were complementary

RIYADH: Cameroon’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Iya Tidjani hailed the cooperation between the two countries at a reception in Riyadh to celebrate Cameroon’s 52nd National Day.
Tidjani told Arab News: “The cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Cameroon currently has an active portfolio of four projects, for a total of $61 million.
“These include the construction of the Olama-Kribi road (Bingambo-Grand Zambi section); the construction of an industrial high school in the city of Douala; the construction and equipment supply to the regional hospital of Mbalmayo; and the construction of the Bikoula-Djoum road.”
The ambassador, who was speaking at the reception, said that in addition to the projects, both countries had attributes which were complementary, and would lead to further cooperation.
Cameroon’s National Day takes place on May 20 each year, and the ambassador added: “The political history of Cameroon reminds us that it was on May 20, 1972, that Cameroonians, from north to south, from east to west, decided, following a constitutional referendum, to create a single state, whose rich cultural mosaic would constitute the strong basis of its unity.
“Long live the cooperation between the Republic of Cameroon and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The cooperation between the two countries is testimony of the solid friendship ties existing between our two countries, and also reflects the excellent relationship we have maintained over the decades.”
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Cameroon were established in 1966 and have continued to deepen in the years since.