First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj

Update First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj
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Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Suhel Ajaz Khan, right, shakes hands with an arriving pilgrim from the South Asian country in Madinah. (Indian Haj Mission)
Update First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj
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7,700 flights will arrive through six airports during the Hajj season (SPA)
Update First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj
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7,700 flights will arrive through six airports during the Hajj season (SPA)
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Updated 09 May 2024
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First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj

First pilgrims from India arrive for 2024 Hajj
  • India is sending a total of 175,025 pilgrims in this pilgrimage season
  • Special Hajj flights for Indian pilgrims depart from 10 cities on Thursday

NEW DELHI: The first group of pilgrims from India arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to perform this year’s Hajj, as the world’s most populous country launched special flights for the annual pilgrimage.

With over 200 million Indians professing Islam, the Hindu-majority country has the world’s largest Muslim-minority population. Under the 2024 Hajj quota, 175,025 worshippers will travel to Saudi Arabia for the spiritual journey that is one of the five pillars of Islam.
This year, Hajj is expected to begin on June 14 and end on June 19. While the pilgrimage can be performed over five or six days, many pilgrims choose to arrive early for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill their religious duty.
One of the first Hajj flights for Indian pilgrims departed on Thursday from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.
“The flight carrying the first lot of 285 people took off at 2:20 a.m. on Thursday,” Kausar Jahan, chairperson of the Delhi State Hajj Committee, told Arab News.
In Madinah, the pilgrims were welcomed by the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Suhel Ajaz Khan, and his team, as well as the Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Service, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, and the Saudi Vice Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Abdul Fattah Mashat.

 


“First flight of Indian Hajj pilgrims arrives in Madinah (and) receives a warm reception,” the Indian Hajj Mission in Jeddah wrote on Facebook. “With the arrival of the first flight … India’s Hajj 2024 has begun.”
A.P. Abdullakutty, chairman of the Hajj Committee of India, said several flights took off from different parts of India on Thursday.
“We have several embarkation points, and on May 9th, the first day of the Hajj flights, several planes will be taking off from at least 10 places across India,” he told Arab News.
The list of cities includes Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Srinagar, capital of the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and rule in part.
India’s Hajj contingent this year includes more than 4,000 women who will perform the Hajj on their own, without a mahram, or male guardian, Abdullakutty said.
They represent a group of women pilgrims who have been able to travel to Saudi Arabia alone since last year, following the Kingdom’s 2022 decision to lift a rule that required women to be accompanied by a mahram. Those who had no such companion could only travel in large groups of other women.
India’s preparations for this year’s Hajj were overseen by Muktesh K. Pardeshi, secretary of consular, passport, visa and overseas Indian affairs at the Ministry of External Affairs, who concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
“During his visit, the secretary conducted a review of preparations for Hajj 2024 in Jeddah and Madinah,” the ministry said in a statement.
“He met with (Saudi) Vice Hajj Minister Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat, and discussed logistical arrangements and infrastructure developments aimed at the welfare and comfort for pilgrims.”


Saudi deputy FM stresses need for immediate halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji.
Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji.
Updated 17 sec ago
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Saudi deputy FM stresses need for immediate halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji.
  • Al-Khuraiji said it was necessary to secure the arrival of humanitarian aid and to intensify efforts to bring about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji stressed the need for an immediate halt to Israeli military operations in Gaza and the protection of civilians on Monday.

Speaking at the 19th meeting of the foreign ministers of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue in Tehran, Al-Khuraiji said it was necessary to secure the arrival of humanitarian aid and to intensify efforts to bring about the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He also spoke of the importance of deepening cooperation to face various challenges, including food and energy security, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Khuraiji said the Kingdom believes in the importance of strengthening cooperation in emerging fields and challenges, including the climate change crisis.

Increasing cooperation in the field of global governance of artificial intelligence and new technologies and collective action to calm tensions and promote dialogue and joint action were also necessary, Al-Khuraiji told the meeting.


Saudi university secures X-ray film patent

Saudi university secures X-ray film patent
Updated 53 min 57 sec ago
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Saudi university secures X-ray film patent

Saudi university secures X-ray film patent
  • The patent details the creation of biodegradable organic nanomembranes designed to replace synthetic membranes currently used in laboratories

RIYADH: Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Islamic University has been granted a new patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for a pioneering X-ray film made from bio-materials.

This innovation, developed by a team of researchers including Sharif Hussein, Mohammed Saad Al-Issa, Hassan Ahmed Rudaini, Nasser Adam Ibrahim, Mohammed Mousa Al-Zahrani, and Salem Ali Al-Yami, represents a significant advancement in the field of biological sciences.

The patent details the creation of biodegradable organic nanomembranes designed to replace synthetic membranes currently used in laboratories, surgeries, biomedical engineering, bioengineering, and dentistry.

These innovative membranes are not only biodegradable but also environmentally friendly, offering a sustainable alternative to conventional synthetic films.

This accomplishment is a result of the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center’s Patent Deposit and Registration Program, an initiative aimed at supporting and enhancing patent registrations by university staff, thereby safeguarding the institution’s intellectual assets.


TVTC reveals 25k jobs created in May

TVTC reveals 25k jobs created in May
Updated 24 June 2024
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TVTC reveals 25k jobs created in May

TVTC reveals 25k jobs created in May
  • TVTC said it signed 54 agreements with several authorities during the month and implemented 136 programs
  • TVTC held 214 meetings with human resources officials from various bodies to discuss cooperation and partnerships to attract graduates

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Technical and Vocational Training Corp, in coordination with the business sector, provided 25,171 job opportunities for graduates of technical training programs during May.

TVTC said it signed 54 agreements with several authorities during the month and implemented 136 programs to prepare graduates to enter the job market.

In addition, it held 214 meetings with human resources officials from various bodies to discuss cooperation and partnerships to attract graduates. It also distributed 594 questionnaires to measure the satisfaction of employers and 6,337 questionnaires to measure graduate satisfaction.

The center said it is working to implement several programs and initiatives to facilitate the employment of graduates. Its initiatives include the “Job Opportunity for Every Graduate” initiative, and it has established career coordination offices in affiliated universities and institutes.

TVTC holds employment exhibitions and forums at universities and institutes to link graduates and employers. In May, 141 employment forums and exhibitions were held in various regions of the Kingdom.


Ministry foils mattress scam in Makkah

Ministry foils mattress scam in Makkah
Updated 24 June 2024
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Ministry foils mattress scam in Makkah

Ministry foils mattress scam in Makkah
  • Old mattresses were repackaged and disguised with new covers to trick consumers
  • Seized items included 1,921 mattresses, 2,700 meters of raw fabric and mattress covers, and 5 tonnes of wood, which were all destroyed

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce’s inspection teams in Makkah foiled an illegal operation selling used mattresses from containers and dumps as new.

Old mattresses were repackaged and disguised with new covers to trick consumers. In collaboration with security authorities, the ministry shut the facility situated east of Makkah. Additionally, inspection teams confiscated a loaded truck and handed over the individuals involved for punishment under the anti-commercial fraud system.

Seized items included 1,921 mattresses, 2,700 meters of raw fabric and mattress covers, and 5 tonnes of wood, which were all destroyed. In addition, sewing machines and other tools were seized.

The Ministry of Commerce reiterated its commitment to combating commercial fraud and enforcing legal penalties against violators. The system stipulates penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment, fines of up to SR1 million, or both, as well as publicizing the names of violators.


8th Saudi-US Trade and Investment Council Meeting held in Washington

8th Saudi-US Trade and Investment Council Meeting held in Washington
Updated 23 June 2024
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8th Saudi-US Trade and Investment Council Meeting held in Washington

8th Saudi-US Trade and Investment Council Meeting held in Washington
  • Council tackles bilateral trade and investment issues, promotes market access

RIYADH: The eighth meeting of the Saudi-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council in the United States kicked off on Sunday in Washington DC.
The Saudi delegation was led by the General Authority of Foreign Trade (GAFT), and it included 20 government entities.
The council's goal is to monitor trade and investment relations in order to identify opportunities for expansion, work on removing trade and investment barriers, improve a promising trade and investment environment, and foster economic development between the two countries.
The council tackles bilateral trade and investment issues, promotes market access, protects and enforces intellectual property rights, manages data and e-commerce, builds capacity, and reviews trade and investment policies.
The Saudi delegation is scheduled to attend several meetings and workshops on the sidelines of the meeting, which will last until Friday.
These include a workshop titled "Trade Opportunities between the Middle East and the United States," which will be attended by US ambassadors in Gulf countries, and the opening session of the Select USA Investment Summit, which will be chaired by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
The delegation will also participate in the fifth GCC-US Trade and Investment Dialogue Forum, a panel discussion titled "Saudi Investment in Technology," the US-Saudi Forum titled "Investing in Our Shared Future," the GCC-US Roundtable, and the Saudi-US Roundtable, all of which will include private sector participation from both sides.
The trade volume between Saudi Arabia and the US in 2023 was approximately $34 billion, with mineral products and fertilizers being the most significant Saudi exports to the US, while machinery, mechanical appliances and spare parts, and automobiles and spare parts were the top US imports.