Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest

Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
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Above, Saudi astronaut Rayyanah Barnawi, the first Arab woman to orbit Earth. (SPA)
Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
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Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi, left, and Ali Alqarni are flashed on a screen during their mission at the International Space Station last year. (SPA)
Arab innovators shine in space exploration contest
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The event marked the first anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s “Journey to Space” mission and was attended Saudi Space Agency’s CEO Mohammed Al-Tamimi. (SPA)
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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.


Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
Updated 11 sec ago
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Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

ARAFAT: Amid strict security and health measures, this year’s Hajj pilgrims arrived in Arafat early Saturday morning, the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, and attended the annual Hajj sermon at Namirah Mosque.

As the sun rose, pilgrims camping in the tent city of Mina performed dawn prayers, then began their journey to Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago. On Saturday, one could hear nothing louder than the crowd chanting supplications.

Ansarul-Haq Rasheed, a 63-year-old Indonesian pilgrim, expressed a heartfelt desire to pray to Allah for as long as possible.

“I wish time could pause so I could continue praying to Allah with all my heart,” he told Arab News. “These moments are unforgettable. I want to lay bare all my emotions to my creator, who knows everything. I seek His blessings for my needs in this life and the hereafter.”

Reflecting on the pilgrimage experience, he expressed gratitude for the services provided to pilgrims. He compared it with stories he had been told of his late father’s Hajj, some 45 years ago. “My mother shared the hardships my father faced during Hajj; I wish he could see how much more comfortable Hajj has become,” Rasheed said. 

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Khadija Yakoubi, a Moroccan pilgrim, anticipated a transformative experience from his pilgrimage.

“When all sins are forgiven, life inevitably changes for the better, leading to a renewed enjoyment. This feeling motivates pilgrims to continue doing good throughout their lives,” Yakoubi said, adding that the services pilgrims have received at the holy sites have been “exemplary.”

The Day of Arafat is the most important part of the Hajj — one of Islam’s five pillars; without it, a pilgrimage is not valid. Pilgrims typically combine and shorten the Dhuhr and Asr prayers before staying in Arafat until sunset. They then move on to Muzdalifah before returning to their tents in Mina.

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, who delivered this year’s sermon, described Hajj as a “sincere act of worship for Allah.”

He urged pilgrims to seize “the great blessings” during their time in Arafat, reminding them that “in this honorable place and virtuous time, the Almighty multiplies his rewards” for their good deeds and forgives their sins.

In his sermon, Al-Muaiqly emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and that Shariah “mandates justice, noble ethics, and kindness to parents, along with the importance of maintaining family ties, truthfulness in speech, and safeguarding rights to ensure they are rightfully upheld. It also emphasizes respect for contracts and encourages obedience to rightful authorities.”

He added that Shariah also emphasizes the obligation to obey the five central religious laws: safeguarding religion, and protecting the soul, the mind, one’s possessions, and one’s dignity — all important principles in Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and, he said, guiding principles for the well-being and growth of individuals and society.

“Indeed, Shariah considers any transgression against these basics a crime deserving punishment. Furthermore, safeguarding these essentials is a path to entering paradise and attaining Allah’s satisfaction. It also serves as a key to stability, happiness, progress, and advancement in this world,” the imam said.


Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
Updated 13 min 35 sec ago
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Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
  • Arafat is where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago

ARAFAT: Amid strict security and health measures, this year’s Hajj pilgrims arrived in Arafat early Saturday morning, the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, and attended the annual Hajj sermon at Namirah Mosque.

As the sun rose, pilgrims camping in the tent city of Mina performed dawn prayers, then began their journey to Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago. On Saturday, one could hear nothing louder than the crowd chanting supplications.

Ansarul-Haq Rasheed, a 63-year-old Indonesian pilgrim, expressed a heartfelt desire to pray to Allah for as long as possible.

“I wish time could pause so I could continue praying to Allah with all my heart,” he told Arab News. “These moments are unforgettable. I want to lay bare all my emotions to my creator, who knows everything. I seek His blessings for my needs in this life and the hereafter.”

 

 

Reflecting on the pilgrimage experience, he expressed gratitude for the services provided to pilgrims. He compared it with stories he had been told of his late father’s Hajj, some 45 years ago. “My mother shared the hardships my father faced during Hajj; I wish he could see how much more comfortable Hajj has become,” Rasheed said. 

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Khadija Yakoubi, a Moroccan pilgrim, anticipated a transformative experience from his pilgrimage.

“When all sins are forgiven, life inevitably changes for the better, leading to a renewed enjoyment. This feeling motivates pilgrims to continue doing good throughout their lives,” Yakoubi said, adding that the services pilgrims have received at the holy sites have been “exemplary.”

The Day of Arafat is the most important part of the Hajj — one of Islam’s five pillars; without it, a pilgrimage is not valid. Pilgrims typically combine and shorten the Dhuhr and Asr prayers before staying in Arafat until sunset. They then move on to Muzdalifah before returning to their tents in Mina.

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, who delivered this year’s sermon, described Hajj as a “sincere act of worship for Allah.”

He urged pilgrims to seize “the great blessings” during their time in Arafat, reminding them that “in this honorable place and virtuous time, the Almighty multiplies his rewards” for their good deeds and forgives their sins.

In his sermon, Al-Muaiqly emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and that Shariah “mandates justice, noble ethics, and kindness to parents, along with the importance of maintaining family ties, truthfulness in speech, and safeguarding rights to ensure they are rightfully upheld. It also emphasizes respect for contracts and encourages obedience to rightful authorities.”

He added that Shariah also emphasizes the obligation to obey the five central religious laws: safeguarding religion, and protecting the soul, the mind, one’s possessions, and one’s dignity — all important principles in Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and, he said, guiding principles for the well-being and growth of individuals and society.

“Indeed, Shariah considers any transgression against these basics a crime deserving punishment. Furthermore, safeguarding these essentials is a path to entering paradise and attaining Allah’s satisfaction. It also serves as a key to stability, happiness, progress, and advancement in this world,” the imam said.


Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 
Updated 15 June 2024
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Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

MAKKAH: Around 220 girls from the Saudi Arabian Scouts Association are volunteering to serve this year’s Hajj pilgrims by participating with the Grand Mosque Security Force to manage crowds.

The girl scouts are helping to organize and direct the pilgrims, particularly in the women’s prayer areas.

They also guide the lost, assist the elderly, and help those with special needs.

Ghada Al Mutailiq, leader of the Girl Scouts camp, praised the dedication and commitment of the scouts and noted that the association’s expertise in handling large groups also provided members with valuable skills.


Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
Updated 15 June 2024
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Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
  • Facilities to help take care of youngsters while parents perform Hajj

JEDDAH: Some 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah have been set up this year to take care of children while their parents are performing Hajj.

The centers, which were established by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, can accommodate more than 1,000 children each day, targeting boys and girls between the ages of 1 and 10.

The centers provide care and education for children. They are safe and comfortable environments in which to learn and play under the supervision of a specialized team of consultants and qualified trainers, according to Mohammed Al-Rizqi, the spokesperson at the HRSD.

Facilities include a dining hall, where meals are provided, a sleeping area, a physical play area, and a skill activity space.

Al-Rizqi told Arab News: “The initiative aims to help the guests of Allah perform the Hajj rituals with reverence and reassurance, and to provide them with the utmost comfort to perform the Hajj rituals.

“This initiative is concerned with hosting children of pilgrims up to 10 years of age, as these centers provide a safe environment for the child by providing a group of health, social and psychological programs, as well as recreational activities and overnight services that are appropriate to the age stages of each child.”

Al-Rizqi added that the services are to be provided for all nationalities, with employees speaking different languages to serve the children of pilgrims.

He said: “Care services are provided through recreational programs and activities for children.

“Children are also cared for during their stay and a suitable environment is provided for overnight stays, as well as providing healthy meals for the child.”

Al-Rizqi explained that the initiative seeks to achieve several goals, such as providing awareness and guidance on the nature of dealing with children during the Hajj season.


MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj
Updated 15 June 2024
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MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Waste Management, or MWAN, has lunched initiatives to provide a healthy and clean environment for pilgrims throughout the Hajj period.

Sultan Al-Harthi, a spokesperson at the center, told Arab News that the initiatives are part of efforts to improve and regulate waste management during the Hajj season, preserving natural resources for future generations.

Al-Harthi said one includes a machine that turns food waste into fertilizer, which is initially used within sacred sites, without any emissions or emitting odors during the recycling process.

The “Sustainable Ihram” initiative educates pilgrims on the importance of recycling and environmental preservation, he added. It is based on collecting and sorting pilgrims’ textile waste, including ihrams, pillows, blankets and mattresses, followed by recycling and distributing them. Containers will be available in Mina camps and hotels in Makkah where pilgrims can contribute their cloths.

The center expects around 50 tonnes of ihrams and more than 300,000 pillows will be collected in cooperation with the relevant authorities. An outreach team is touring the Mina camps in order to ensure the readiness of the initiative, Al-Harthi said.

Another initiative will treat waste generated from slaughterhouse carcasses, expected to be more than 12,000 tonnes this year, with teams dedicated to monitoring the activity to ensure safe disposal. The work will begin on Sunday, the first day of Eid Al-Adha.

According to Al-Harthi, another initiative seeks to raise awareness of good waste management practices among Hajj service providers. This Hajj season, MWAN has given training courses on sustainable waste management to 121 service providers over the past two weeks, to help them develop their skills and abilities, raise awareness about reducing volume of waste produced, and use environmentally friendly materials that reduce pollution and preserve environmental integrity.

The monitoring and inspection team has undertaken dozens of monitoring tours and visited more than 100 facilities to improve the level of operational efficiency of the facilities.