Success of Saudi Vision 2030 ‘good basis for cooperation,’ says Hungary official

Hungary’s State Secretary for the Ministry of Defense Tamas Vargha said the transformation under Saudi Vision 2030 allows for further cooperation between the countries in several sectors including tourism, trade, and knowledge transfers. (AN photo by Loai El-Kellawy)
Hungary’s State Secretary for the Ministry of Defense Tamas Vargha said the transformation under Saudi Vision 2030 allows for further cooperation between the countries in several sectors including tourism, trade, and knowledge transfers. (AN photo by Loai El-Kellawy)
Short Url
Updated 25 June 2024
Follow

Success of Saudi Vision 2030 ‘good basis for cooperation,’ says Hungary official

Success of Saudi Vision 2030 ‘good basis for cooperation,’ says Hungary official
  • Hungary, Saudi Arabia ties grown in 10 years, says Tamas Vargha
  • Tourism is key area for further developing bilateral cooperation

RIYADH: There will be continued growth in economic ties between Saudi Arabia and Hungary over the next few years, according to the latter’s Deputy Minister and State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense Tamas Vargha.

“(Saudi Arabia’s) Vision 2030 … I think it’s a success story … it’s a good basis, for our cooperation,” Vargha told Arab News during a recent interview. “You have seen lots of changes since Vision 2030 started … both social changes and the economic changes and growth.”

Vargha said this transformation allows for further cooperation in several sectors including tourism, trade, and knowledge transfers.

Vargha said that in 2023 Saudi Arabia was Hungary’s 53rd-largest trading partner, and there was great potential for future growth.




A venture between Saudi Arabia’s Rakaa Security and Military Supplies Co. and Hungary’s Quadron Cybersecurity Services will facilitate security development and defense industry digitization. (X/HungaryinKSA)

“We are a smaller country, but we would like to be part of your success and your solution,” he added. “In terms of economic relations, I think the past five years have been a success story.”

“We would like to enhance tourism between the two countries,” he said. “Now there are direct flights between Riyadh and Budapest … So, it’s a good path.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• In 2023 Saudi Arabia was Hungary’s 53rd-largest trading partner, and there was great potential for future growth.

• An agreement was recently signed between the two nations in cybersecurity and defense digitalization.

During his visit, Vargha said an agreement was signed between the two nations in cybersecurity and defense digitalization.

Vargha praised Balazs Selmeci, Hungary’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who was “very active and helped a lot to establish the joint venture … we have to say a big thank you to our ambassador.”

The venture between Saudi Arabia’s Rakaa Security and Military Supplies Co. and Hungary’s Quadron Cybersecurity Services will facilitate security development and defense industry digitization.

“I think that the decade marks a huge change in the growth of our relations in times of conflicts, regional conflicts, and conflicts around us,” he said.

Vargha said cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Hungary was strengthened with the first Saudi-Hungarian Joint Economic Committee established in 2012.

“At the beginning, it was getting to know each other and finding solutions,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia is … an important state in the Middle East. And we are a part of the EU in Europe and we had to find what’s our common interest,” he said. “It’s a good, good start and a good path that we are going on.”

The committee recently hosted its fourth session with more than 30 companies on each side participating, to further cooperation in energy, education, health, investment, communications, water, agriculture, trade, tourism, sports and culture.

Hungary considers the committee a part of its “Eastern Opening,” an economic strategy aimed at strengthening relations with nations in the Middle East.

Vargha said: “We believe that if we open to the east — to the Middle East and the East — that we can and will be able to serve as a bridge between the West and the East.”

 

 


Mermaids make waves in the Red Sea

Mermaids make waves in the Red Sea
Updated 22 July 2024
Follow

Mermaids make waves in the Red Sea

Mermaids make waves in the Red Sea
  • First-of-its-kind diving course in Jeddah offers aquatic adventures for summer

JEDDAH: Inspired by mythical sea-dwelling creatures, a diving center in Jeddah is offering a first-of-its-kind mermaid diving course for those wanting to splash around in cool waters during the summer.

Scuba Schools International at Al-Haddad Scuba in the coastal city offers a whimsical yet invigorating experience for those in search of an aquatic adventure.

All over the world, mermaids represent beauty, danger, transformation, duality, and feminine power. Today they continue to inspire literature, film, fashion, and even marine conservation efforts.

Ali Ayoub, Al-Haddad Scuba, certified mermaid diver

Arab News spoke to Corinna Davids, an Austrian scuba diving and swimming instructor known for her groundbreaking approach to mermaid diving. She developed the SSI Mermaid Program after years of expertise in free diving and swimming.

Davids became an instructor in swimming and scuba diving at SSI when she was 18 and has since revolutionized the diving industry, making waves with her innovative techniques and passion for the sea.

HIGHLIGHTS

• In April, Corinna Davids held the first mermaid diving course for instructors in Saudi Arabia.

• The course comprises extensive theory sessions, in-water training, and evaluations of teaching abilities.

Mermaid diving, she explained, is an art form that combines the technique of dolphin kick used in swimming with an exaggerated, aesthetically pleasing movement. This unique style not only looks beautiful but also ensures efficiency and safety.

“By mastering various fun skills and tricks, SSI mermaids can perform beautifully while maintaining safety protocols,” she told Arab News.

Saudi model Wafaa Al-Masry said the mermaid diving course was ‘a fun and unique experience.’ (Supplied)

Davids says that to become a mermaid one needs only basic water confidence. “The program is easily accessible, and to become a mermaid instructor, one needs to complete additional steps after becoming a mermaid,” she added.

The mermaid diving experience is incomplete without the mermaid costume. Davids recommends using high-quality monofins, such as the Mahina Monofin, which provides efficiency and aesthetic appeal. The tail skin, made from Lycra or scuba fabric, completes the look and will give mermaids the confidence to shine.

In April, Davids held the first mermaid diving course for instructors in Saudi Arabia, focusing on safety, technique and teaching methods to ensure that trainees are able to teach mermaid diving to students of all levels. The course comprises extensive theory sessions, in-water training, and evaluations of teaching abilities.

Initiatives such as the Vision 2030 plan aim to diversify the economy and promote tourism, which includes the development of new recreational activities like mermaid diving.

Ali Ayoub, Al-Haddad Scuba, certified mermaid diver

“The course received an overwhelmingly positive response from the trainees, who showed significant improvement throughout the program,” she said.

The newly certified instructors will be able to teach the mermaid diving program throughout Saudi Arabia.

“The primary aim of conducting this course in Saudi Arabia was to introduce a new, fun program that would appeal to kids and adults alike. Mermaid diving offers an exciting experience for those who may be hesitant to try scuba diving or freediving,” Davids said.

Corinna Davids, a respected scuba diving and swimming instructor known for her groundbreaking approach to mermaid diving. (Instagram/corinna.flowrebels)

Four participants from diverse backgrounds took part in the course, including a swimming instructor and lifeguard, two scuba instructors (one of whom is a doctor), and a free-diving instructor who is also an air traffic controller.

Ali Ayoub, a certified mermaid diver and scuba instructor from Al-Haddad Scuba, told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia has been undergoing considerable social and cultural transformations, with more emphasis on leisure and recreational activities.

“Initiatives such as the Vision 2030 plan aim to diversify the economy and promote tourism, which includes the development of new recreational activities like mermaid diving.”

Ayoub added that mermaid diving requires strong swimming abilities and good physical fitness. “Practice swimming regularly, work on your breath-holding techniques, and consider taking free-diving courses to improve your underwater endurance,” he advised.

He added that mermaid divers can participate in educational programs for schools, community groups, and public events: “They can share information about marine ecosystems, the threats they face, and how individuals can help. Their captivating presence can make learning about these issues more engaging and memorable.”

Wafaa Al-Masry, 22, a Saudi model, took the mermaid diving course under the supervision of coach Ayoub. She told Arab News: “It was a fun and unique experience. Initially, I thought it would be difficult, but with the training and the coach’s guidance, I found it easy and enjoyable.”

She said that breathing techniques, relaxation, and mastering the fin method were new skills she managed differently throughout the mermaid course. “The trainer was excellent in providing instruction, making the experience fun, and delivering valuable information,” she added.

Davids has written a comprehensive guide for those interested in discovering the magic of mermaid diving in Saudi Arabia. The guide provides all the necessary information for new mermaids to stay safe, make informed decisions, and choose the right equipment.

Having trained more than 3,000 divers in the past five years, Al-Haddad Scuba specializes in unique activities such as snorkeling, deep diving and night diving, providing immersive experiences of the vibrant underwater world alongside a community of fellow ocean enthusiasts.

 

 


Saudi farmer turns worm waste into wealth in innovative move

Saudi farmer turns worm waste into wealth in innovative move
Updated 22 July 2024
Follow

Saudi farmer turns worm waste into wealth in innovative move

Saudi farmer turns worm waste into wealth in innovative move
  • Vermicomposting operation is an example of agricultural ingenuity

RIYADH: A Saudi farmer has developed a technique that transforms a common garden nuisance into a useful resource.

Mohammed Al-Shaer, of Al-Dhafir village in Baha, has established a thriving vermicomposting operation on his farm, producing high-quality organic fertilizer from earthworms, according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Shaer’s venture began approximately a year ago with a simple setup: a single 5-meter-long, 60 cm-high tank housing roughly 2,000 worms. The worms were fed a diet of dry leaves, organic waste, and food scraps and were closely monitored for four months, yielding over 300 kg of nutrient-rich compost and a tenfold increase in their population.

Baha farmer Mohammed Al-Shaer’s worm compost accelerates plant growth, enhances fruit production, and improves overall soil health. (SPA)

“Through extensive field trials and research into global best practices, I have gained insights into worm behavior, needs, and breeding techniques,” Al-Shaer explained in an interview with the SPA. His operation has since expanded to four tanks, producing enough vermicompost to fertilize roughly 250 trees on his property.

The benefits of this organic fertilizer are manifold. It accelerates plant growth, enhances fruit production, and improves overall soil health.

FASTFACT

Mohammed Al-Shaer’s venture began approximately a year ago with a simple setup: a single 5-meter-long, 60 cm-high tank housing roughly 2,000 worms.

Al-Shaer added: “The worms naturally enhance soil quality, optimize nutrient cycling for crops, and develop sound agricultural practices to enhance the production of fruits and vegetables.”

Looking ahead, the farmer aims to scale up his project to develop it into a comprehensive operation that produces large quantities of worm compost.

He also intends to raise awareness about this ecofriendly practice among fellow farmers through agricultural festivals in Saudi Arabia, encouraging his contemporaries to use organic fertilizer as an alternative to chemical fertilizers, which can harm soil, plants, and human health.

Local officials, notably Fahd Al-Zahrani, director general of the branch of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in Baha, have expressed support for the proposal.

Dr. Lubna Saad, an associate professor of applied nutrition at Al-Baha University, emphasized the scientific benefits of vermicomposting, describing it as a potent mixture of worm castings and processed organic matter.

“These worms consume most of the organic inputs, transforming them into vermicompost,” Saad said in an interview with the SPA.

“The resulting material is then sifted and filtered, producing a ready-to-use fertilizer suitable for all types of agricultural fields. It significantly enhances the soil’s ability to absorb and retain water.”

Farmers participating in the recent Khayrat Al-Baha Festival praised Al-Shaer’s initiative, noting improvements in their crop quality after using organic fertilizer, the SPA reported.

 

 


Al-Baha Honey Festival to begin Tuesday

The festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5. (SPA)
The festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5. (SPA)
Updated 22 July 2024
Follow

Al-Baha Honey Festival to begin Tuesday

The festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5. (SPA)
  • Al-Zahrani added that all types of honey exhibited are tested carefully to ensure quality

AL-BAHA: Under the patronage of Al-Baha Gov. Prince Hussam bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, the 16th International Honey Festival kicks off on Tuesday, July 23, organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and held at the Cooperative Association of Beekeepers headquarters in Baljurashi Governorate.

Fahd Al-Zahrani, director general of the ministry’s Al-Baha branch, said the festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5.

The festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5. (SPA)

He said the festival will witness the participation of 90 beekeepers from seven countries to showcase their products.

Al-Zahrani added that all types of honey exhibited are tested carefully to ensure quality.

The festival will continue for 14 days until Aug. 5. (SPA)

Nine governmental, civil, and voluntary entities are also participating in the festival, which is one of the most important agricultural festivals in the Kingdom, attracting exhibitors and experts from around the world every year.

 


Financial district in Riyadh earns SmartScore Neighborhood certification

View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 22 July 2024
Follow

Financial district in Riyadh earns SmartScore Neighborhood certification

View shows the King Abdullah Financial District, north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
  • With this certification, the financial district becomes the first development in the Middle East and Africa to receive WiredScore’s SmartScore Neighborhood certification

RIYADH: The King Abdullah Financial District obtained the SmartScore Neighborhood certification by WiredScore, the world’s leading authority on smart building technologies, for its excellence in advanced digital infrastructure that provides a robust network, sustainability and seamlessness at the level of living, work and leisure.

With this certification, the financial district becomes the first development in the Middle East and Africa to receive WiredScore’s SmartScore Neighborhood certification.

The recognition comes after a rigorous evaluation and certification process that started in Sept. 2023, when WiredScore announced at a Cityscape Global event in Riyadh that KAFD met the pre-certification criteria for the SmartScore Neighborhood certification.

 


Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh
Updated 22 July 2024
Follow

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh
  • Reviewed relations between KSA and France and discussed number of issues and topics of common interest

RIYADH: Saudi defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the French ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Pouille, in Riyadh on Monday.

During the meeting, they reviewed relations between Saudi Arabia and France and discussed a number of issues and topics of common interest, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was also attended by Prince Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf, the deputy minister of defense and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili.

The assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, Khalid bin Hussein Al-Bayari, and the director general of the office of the minister of defense, Hisham bin Abdulaziz bin Saif, were also in attendance.

On the French side, it was attended by the military attache to the Kingdom Jean-Christophe Guerdet and the ambassador’s adviser Wassim Zammat.