Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary

Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Bahraini filmmaker and influencer Omar Farooq premiered his Ithra-produced documentary, “The Dark Side of Japan,” at the closing of the Sync Summit. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Omar Farooq (second L) alongside his Japan-filming team. Majed Z. Samman (far R), the head of performing arts and cinema at Ithra, moderated the panel. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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The panel sat on the floor, Japanese style, for the panel discussion. (Supplied)
Sync Summit at Ithra ends with world premiere of documentary
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Audience members awaiting the start of the documentary. (Supplied)
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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 Arabia’s ozone-depleting gases reduced to 1%

Saudi Arabia’s ozone-depleting gases reduced to 1%
Updated 11 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s ozone-depleting gases reduced to 1%

Saudi Arabia’s ozone-depleting gases reduced to 1%
  • Results were part of a study conducted on the Kingdom’s refrigeration and air-conditioning facilities to check the extent of their environmental compliance
  • Field survey checked more than 1,200 facilities to evaluate their general condition and respective corrective plans were activated

RIYADH: The National Center for Environmental Compliance revealed today that the proportion of gases emitted in the Kingdom that deplete the ozone layer has decreased to 1 percent.

The results were part of a study conducted on the Kingdom’s refrigeration and air-conditioning facilities to check the extent of their environmental compliance.

A field survey checked more than 1,200 facilities to evaluate their general condition and respective corrective plans were activated.

NCEC made the announcement at the opening of the workshop “Field study of the environmental compliance extent in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector” and attended by executives and specialists from related government and private agencies.

According to SPA, the results of the study showed that, during the past 10 years, the Kingdom’s prohibited gases were reduced to 1 percent, a proportion representing a positive indicator of the reduction of the ozone-depleting gases consumption plan. On the other hand, the Kingdom’s imports of eco-friendly appliances and gases have increased since 2020, as well as an awareness of the Montreal Protocol that aims to reduce the concentration of ozone-depleting gases and use eco-friendly alternatives. As such, the Kingdom could gradually reduce the consumption of ozone-depleting substances and eliminate them radically by 2030.

The study covered 24 factories using the relevant gases (2 percent), 689 maintenance centers (58 percent), 248 gas distributors and suppliers (21 percent) and 28 importers of appliances (2.3 percent).

The Kingdom ratified the Montreal Protocol in 1993 and established the National Ozone Unit, which later joined the NCEC and is responsible for preparing and implementing national plans for compliance with the protocol in cooperation with the pertinent sectors.


Al-Baha mayor announces launch of ‘Theatrical Nights’ program

Al-Baha mayor announces launch of ‘Theatrical Nights’ program
Updated 15 min 56 sec ago
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Al-Baha mayor announces launch of ‘Theatrical Nights’ program

Al-Baha mayor announces launch of ‘Theatrical Nights’ program
  • Organized by the Al-Baha Municipality in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts and the private sector, the event will be held from July 21 to 27
  • Ali Al-Sawat: Al-Baha Theatrical Nights program will present a diverse range of theatrical performances, including comedic, social, and patriotic themes

RIYADH: Ali Al-Sawat, the mayor of Al-Baha region, announced the upcoming launch of the “Al-Baha Theatrical Nights” program, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Organized by the Al-Baha Municipality in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts and the private sector, the event will be held from July 21 to 27.

Al-Sawat said the program is part of the “A Summer in Al-Baha: Embrace Serenity” festival and includes theatrical performances featuring stars from outside the region, along with artists from Al-Baha. These local artists will introduce themselves to the audience and visitors through seven theatrical performances, all being presented for the first time in Al-Baha region.

He said that the “Al-Baha Theatrical Nights” program will present a diverse range of theatrical performances, including comedic, social, and patriotic themes, all marked by suspense and amazement.”

“These performances will foster a cultural and artistic atmosphere that complements the entertainment events and summer activities. Through this harmony, Al-Baha will be transformed into a vibrant hub featuring international shows, concerts, folk performances, fashion, heritage exhibitions, and culinary arts,” he added.

Al-Sawat confirmed that the theatrical performances include a women-only play, which will be held at the municipality’s theater, the Baljurashi Municipality Theater, and the Wesam Al-Badyah Theater in Al-Mandaq, concluding at the Baljurashi Front Theater. Additionally, the play “Lohmat Watan” (Homeland Kinship) will be staged at the Al-Baha Lights Festival Theater and the Wesam Al-Badyah Theater, with its final performance at the Baljurashi Front Theater.

He said this will be the first time the Al-Baha Summer Festival includes theatrical performances among its various activities, alongside the major events and parties announced in this year’s summer calendar.

According to SPA, with the support of the governor of Al-Baha, the region aims to attract more than 2.5 million visitors and tourists. Al-Baha’s enchanting nature, moderate climate, and well-developed facilities, services and infrastructure have earned it a strong reputation and significant momentum as one of the premier tourist destinations for the Saudi summer this year.


KSrelief runs volunteer medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

KSrelief runs volunteer medical projects in Sudan, Yemen
Updated 18 July 2024
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KSrelief runs volunteer medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

KSrelief runs volunteer medical projects in Sudan, Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief continues to provide healthcare for vulnerable people in Sudan and Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday evening.

The project in Port Sudan for urology surgery, from July 13 to 20, involves 11 volunteers with training in various specialties.

The team members have already completed six surgeries.

A similar project is currently being implemented for orthopedic surgery in the Seiyun district of Yemen’s Hadhramaut governorate, with seven operations already completed.


Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans

Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans

Saudi Arabia calls for UN Security Council resolution to compel Israel to end war, ‘starvation’ of Gazans
  • Tel Aviv must end its ‘aggression’ and allow for urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza
  • UN failure to stop Israel driven by ‘short-sighted, selfish political interests,’ says Saudi envoy Abdulaziz Alwasil

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdulaziz Alwasil, on Wednesday called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that would compel Israel to end its war on Gaza.

Alwasil said Tel Aviv must comply with the Security Council’s own resolutions, which call for an immediate ceasefire and the delivery of aid into Gaza.

He said Israel, as the occupying power, must be forced to respect international law. This includes implementing the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures to end the genocide being perpetrated on the Palestinian people.

Alwasil said the UN Security Council, since the beginning of the assault on Gaza 10 months ago, has been holding “meeting after meeting to no avail.”

Meanwhile, the world continues to witness the Israeli “war machine deliberately targeting civilians and imposing the harshest forms of collective punishment by killing, displacing, starving and imposing a blockade on civilians.”

Alwasil added: “All of these blatant violations are happening before the eyes of the world and the international community continues to turn a blind eye.

“And this inaction pushed the occupation power, which is hiding behind a solid wall, to take advantage of this weakness and international silence to impose its inhumane, violent practices unabated.”

The Saudi Arabia envoy was speaking at a signature UN Security Council meeting called by Russia, which is holding the rotating presidency of the body for the month of July. It was chaired by Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Alwasil lamented the failure of the Security Council to stop the war, which he blamed on members of the body being bound by “short-sighted, selfish political interests that have impeded its ability to take the necessary firm actions to stop the Israeli aggression.”

“The failure by the international community and the Security Council to protect the innocent civilians has led so far to the killing of 38,000 people and the injury and maiming of tens of thousands, most of whom are women and children,” said Alwasil.

He added: “How can such a forced displacement that is recurrent in Gaza be justified? How can we stay silent in the face of this systematic starvation and deliberative blockade? How can the international community stand idly while a major humanitarian catastrophe is taking place before our eyes?”

Alwasil vowed that his country would continue to support the Palestinian right to self-determination and the establishment of a state on the lines of 1967 with East Jerusalem as the capital.

This would “ensure comprehensive justice (and) peace in line with the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.”


Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

Saudi crown prince, Russia’s Putin discuss relations 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Saudi Press Agency said early Thursday.

The pair discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations in all fields.

The call also reviewed issues of mutual interest.