Community initiative aims to link doctors, pilgrims

11/08/19

High-tech devices are being provided to needy patients inside their camps. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)

Drive to facilitate communication between health service providers and Hajjis
MINA: An initiative in Makkah has provided financial support to supply interpreting devices in 120 languages, in partnership with the Community Participation Department of the Makkah Health Department. It is also helping to employ interpreters working around the clock in operations rooms.

Dr. Waddah Abu Talib, director of Mina Al-Jisr Hospital in Mina, said that a number of community bodies and members, including businessmen, in Makkah have participated in this initiative to provide 73 devices that interpret 120 languages, as well as 14 interpreters/translators who are offering their services 24 hours a day through the Ministry of Health.
This initiative aims to facilitate communication between service providers and pilgrims in hospitals and primary care centers in the holy places and Makkah, he said.
The 14 interpreters/translators are working around the clock to provide their services through the Ministry of Health.

100
glucose monitoring devices are being provided for free to patients in need inside their camps.

The languages they cover include English, Persian, Turkish, French, Swahili, Russian and Urdu, which are the most commonly used languages by patients visiting hospitals in Makkah and the holy places.
The supervisor of the Community Participation Program, Mahassen Hassan Shuaib, said that these services are courtesy of the Saudi people, and specifically the people of Makkah, to support the pilgrims in partnership with the Siqaya and Rifada Committee of the Makkah Municipality.
She added: “In addition to that, 100 blood pressure monitoring devices and 100 glucose monitoring devices are being provided for free to patients in need inside their camps, alongside water, umbrellas and shoes.”

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Arab News launches Hajj special coverage with all-female team

10/08/19

The Arab News all-female team comprises Hala Tashkandi from our Riyadh bureau, Rua’a Al-Ameri from our Dubai bureau and photographer Huda Bashatah from our Jeddah bureau. (AN photo)

In tandem with comprehensive coverage in print and online, the Arab News Hajj app for mobile devices is again available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play
JEDDAH: Arab News today launches its special coverage of Hajj 2019 — with, for the first time, an all-female team on the ground at the holy sites.

Today’s special edition of the newspaper, with a stunning cover-wrap image of the Kaaba, is being distributed to pilgrims at Mina as they begin their spiritual journey.

In tandem with comprehensive coverage in print and online, the Arab News Hajj app for mobile devices is again available as a free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

The app, developed with the support of the Muslim World League, features a digital Qibla compass, a real-time currency converter, Qur’an prayer audio files and live news updates.

This year the app also has an enhanced “pilgrim tracker” function, an optional feature that allows users who activate it to share their location and follow loved ones in real time, round the clock.

For Hajj 2019 our staff will also be distributing Arab News umbrellas; designed for sun protection, they were invaluable last year when Makkah and Madina were deluged with rain. This year, in association with the Makkah Health Affairs General Directorate, the umbrellas will also be distributed to outpatients attending hospital for treatment during Hajj.

The Arab News all-female team comprises Hala Tashkandi from our Riyadh bureau, Rua’a Al-Ameri from our Dubai bureau and photographer Huda Bashatah from our Jeddah bureau.

“It is both amazing and intimidating to know that I have the task of bringing news to the general public, who rely on us to deliver information accurately, quickly and in an entertaining way,” Tashkandi said.

“I hope we can supply new and exciting information to all our readers, from Hajj veterans looking to see how things have changed, to young Muslims soaking up information to prepare for their first Hajj experience, and even curious non-Muslims who just want to know what it is about.”

Al-Ameri, on her first visit to Saudi Arabia, will be focusing on stories with a human interest.

“I am keen to learn about pilgrims’ experiences and share their personal stories on their spiritual journey,” she said.

Bashatah, the photographer, said: “I’m touched and proud to be part of the team as this is my first Hajj journey. I’m even more excited to leave my fingerprint on people’s memories with the photos I take of the pilgrims.”

The initiative for a 50:50 gender-balanced newsroom by 2020 was launched by Arab News editor-in-chief Faisal J. Abbas in 2018, reflecting Saudi Arabia’s drive toward reform and female empowerment. Hajj coverage was a key area for implementing the initiative, Abbas said.

“As the voice of our changing region, and the English-language newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia, Arab News sets the benchmark for reporting on Hajj, and our female staff play a crucial role in that work,” he said.

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Arab News has the Hajj pilgrims covered

10/08/19

There are more than 2 million pilgrims attending Hajj. (Arab News/Huda Bashatah)

Pilgrims can be seen at all parts of the Hajj journey sheltering from the sun. (Arab News/Huda Bashatah)

It’s unlikely to rain during the pilgrimage – but at least they are prepared. (Arab News/Huda Bashatah)

Most of the pilgrimage is spent outdoors. (Arab News/Huda Bashatah)

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Arab News Hajj app explained

09/08/19

What it is

The Arab News Hajj app is a free smartphone application designed to help pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia to perform the holy rituals. It offers essential information and contact details needed during their spiritual journey. 

This year’s version of the app, endorsed once more by the Muslim World League, comes with a new design that provides an improved user experience. Enhanced features include live news updates and the signature ‘Pilgrim Tracker,’ which enables worshippers to connect with their loved ones back home. The new features give pilgrims the option to listen to verses from the Qur’an, to use a digital Qibla compass and activate a real-time currency converter to help to process their payments.

 

What it does: Main features

 

Pilgrim tracker: If you get lost in the crowd of Hajj pilgrims, there is no need to panic. This feature allows you to track and check on friends and family while performing Hajj. Each user has a unique code that can be shared with their loved ones to let them know where they are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hajj information: All you need to know about Hajj rituals. Key information such as daily prayer times and weather updates can also be found under this feature. It also has important contact details of all embassies and other useful numbers such as hotels and restaurants. The feature also shows pilgrims the nearest hospitals, train stations and Grand Mosque gates.

 

 

 

 

Latest news: Pilgrims no longer need to worry about grabbing newspapers or checking online news outlets while performing Hajj. All the latest stories and developments from our team of journalists covering Hajj will be listed in detail under this feature.

 

 


 

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Yemen Houthi court condemns 30 to death for ‘spying’

09/07/19

Those sentenced have been Houthi custody for the past year. (File/AFP)
  • The accused have been held in custody for the past 12 months
  • The Houthis have issue a number of death sentences for spying allegations

SANAA: A court run by Yemen’s Houthi militia Tuesday sentenced 30 academics, trade unionists and preachers to death for allegedly spying for the Saudi-led coalition, a judicial source said.
The men, among 36 defendants tried by the criminal court in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, have been in custody for the past year, the source told AFP.
“The criminal court today (Tuesday) issued a verdict condemning 30 people to death on charges of spying for the aggression countries,” the source said, adding that the other six were acquitted.
He said the men were convicted of supplying the coalition with information on locations for air strikes.
The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015, a few months after the Iran-aligned Shiite Houthi rebels captured Sanaa.
The coalition backs the internationally-recognized government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Since the Houthis took control of the capital in September 2014, their courts have issued several death sentences for spying.
In May last year, a Sanaa court sentenced two men to death for spying for Riyadh, while in January, the same court condemned to death 22-year old mother Asmaa Al-Omeissy and two men on charges of aiding the United Arab Emirates, a key partner in the coalition.
The sentences have not been carried out.
Yemen’s conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say, and sparked what the UN terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions displaced and in need of aid.

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Arab News chief recalls anecdote that set foundation of Saudi-Japanese ties

Time: July 08, 2019  

Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas speaks at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo on Thursday. (Photo/Supplied)
  • Faisal J. Abbas sees enhanced bilateral relations following crown prince’s successful visit

TOKYO: Following the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Japan for the G20 Summit, Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas provided context to growing Saudi-Japanese ties during a talk in Tokyo on Thursday.

Participating in a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, moderated by British journalist Fred Varcoe, Abbas recalled an incident that marked a turning point in bilateral relations.

“It involved former Japanese Emperor Akihito and the late (Saudi) King Fahd. During the 1953 coronation of (Britain’s) Queen Elizabeth II, when King Fahd wasn’t even crown prince at the time let alone king, both he and the emperor had been invited to attend the ceremony,” said Abbas.

“Upon discovering that he’d been seated in the first row and the emperor had been seated in the third row, King Fahd immediately insisted on giving the emperor his own seat, despite the breach of British royal protocols,” Abbas added.

“A friendship grew out of mutual respect ever since that moment. In some circles, it’s a very famous story, and whenever there’s a state visit it’s always repeated. That shows you the level of respect between the leaderships of the two countries.”

Abbas took questions from journalists in attendance, and the topics included Saudi-Japanese ties, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Saudi-Iranian relations.

He also discussed educational reforms, being a journalist in Saudi Arabia, and ongoing efforts toward gender equality and female empowerment in the Kingdom.

Abbas expressed his happiness at being in Japan for a third time, saying he learned something new every time he was there, and hoped to spend more time in the country in the future.

He referenced the crown prince’s visit, saying he hoped to see Saudi-Japanese relations go beyond trade and extend to such areas as cultural exchange.

“The relationship started based on the fact that Japan doesn’t produce its own oil, and Saudi Arabia used to import a lot of automobiles from Japan,” Abbas said.

“But now, with the new crown prince and the focus on having a strong bilateral relationship with Japan, we’re looking to enhance the relationship.”

Abbas also discussed his interview with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, in which he discussed the possibility of Tokyo acting as a “credible broker” in ongoing efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When asked about the Saudi position on Israel, Abbas stressed that the Kingdom has no issue with Judaism or Jews.

“We believe that the problem between Palestine and Israel is a land dispute, and taking it out of context has harmed both sides,” he said, adding that once religion enters the argument, it becomes more complicated.

“You stop talking about land, and it becomes a nasty who’s right, who’s wrong situation. Our position is clearly outlined in the Arab Peace Initiative (API) of 2002.”

The API calls for normalizing relations between Arab states and Israel in exchange for the latter’s full withdrawal from the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee issue based on UN Resolution 194.

Abbas welcomed the idea of Japan becoming an unbiased broker in negotiations. “I think it’s a great idea. The region has a lot of trust in Japan, and I hope it succeeds,” he said.

On the subject of Tehran, he said Saudi Arabia has “more in common with Iran than probably any other country in the world. It was never a position of us or them. What we’re asking for is to stop the destabilizing activities Iran has been carrying out in the region.”

Abbas added: “If we can disarm Iran, I think it would achieve the purpose without a drop of blood, and it would be an excellent achievement.”

He also discussed his attempts to create a gender-inclusive environment at Arab News, referencing his plan for a 50/50 gender ratio by 2020.

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Arab coalition intercepts Houthi drones targeting Saudi Arabia

30/06/19

Saudi army officers walk past F-15 fighter jets, GBU bombs and missiles displayed during a services marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the King Faisal Air Academy at King Salman airbase in Riyadh on January 25, 2017. (File/AFP)

  • The Houthi militia targeted a civilian residential area in the southern province of Asir
  • The Iran-backed Houthis have increasingly used drones to target southern Saudi Arabia

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intercepted two drones targeting Saudi Arabia that were launched by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Coalition spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Malki told Saudi news agency, SPA, that the Houthi militia targeted a civilian residential area in the southern province of Asir at 11:45 p.m. local time on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The Houthi affiliated news channel, Al-Masirah, reported late Saturday that the Houthis targeted Saudi airports in Abha and Jizan with Qasef-2K drones.

The Iran-backed Houthis have increasingly used drones to target southern Saudi Arabia, including two recent strikes on the Abha airport.

On June 12, a Houthi missile attack on Abha airport wounded 26 civilians, drawing promises of “stern action” from the coalition. And on June 23, another Houthi attack on Abha airport killed a Syrian national and wounded 21 other civilians, according to the coalition.

The drone attacks come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran.

This article was first published in Arab News

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How Malika Favre’s Arab News cover image of a woman driving made its mark in Saudi Arabia

Time: June 24, 2019  

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French artist Malika Favre
  • An image that wrapped the special Arab News edition of June 24, 2018, took off as a popular symbol of the historic day
  • The French artist, whose mother is Algerian, is known for her minimal style and popular New Yorker covers

JEDDAH/RIYADH: An image by French artist Malika Favre, marking the day that women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia for the first time, has been formally recognised with a slew of awards after it became something of a cultural sensation.
The picture, commissioned to cover the special “Start Your Engines” edition of Arab News in June last year, took off as a popular symbol of that historic moment. It was downloaded as mobile wallpapers, replicated on hats, painted on a wall mural in Riyadh and, to celebrate its one-year anniversary, Arab News is giving away bumper stickers with it in today’s print edition.
It wasn’t just the masses that embraced the image. It went on to become the success story of the newspaper awards season, clinching seven design gongs, including the Society for News Design’s Award of Excellence for cover story illustration.
“For Arab News to be recognized on a global scale with so many awards is a great honor,” said Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News. “This highlights just how important this moment in history was for women across the Kingdom. We hope Malika’s work and our cover will empower women across the whole region.”
Favre, whose mother is Algerian, is an illustrator for The New Yorker, New York Times, Vanity Fair and Penguin Books. She’s known for her minimal style, with designs that are easily linked back to her through her use of vibrant colors and positive/negative spacing.
“As a champion of women for years through her unique creative style, Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever,” said Khalil.
Favre’s illustration is of a Saudi woman in her headscarf, with her hands on a steering wheel reflected in her sunglasses (in the animated online version, her hands and the wheel move). “A story within a story,” the artist described it.
The artwork has resonated with a lot of people, to the extent that even those who were not Arab News readers at the time shared it and downloaded it in droves. Favre thinks that’s because it is about “empowering women and looking forward to the changes to come.”
Favre is a firm believer in celebrating even the smallest milestones in life. “The cover holds a very positive message, and I think this is what resonated with people out there, and especially the women of Saudi Arabia,” she said from her base in London.
Favre was not expecting Saudi Arabia’s reaction to the cover. “It is always an amazing feeling when an illustration starts having a life of its own.”
One Saudi female artist was especially moved by the cover. For a Panorama Mall contest in which she participated, Noha Al-Johar recreated Favre’s design as mural on the wall of the mall’s parking lot.
Al-Johar told Arab News that she went into the competition blindly, but then saw Favre’s illustration and knew what she had to do. For three days she replicated the design faithfully, right down to the street details in the oversized sunglasses.
When Favre came across a photo of the homage painted by Al-Johar, she shared it on her social media accounts. Al-Johar was very humbled by the attention. “I want to thank her,” she said. “She’s the definition of a visionary.”
Favre expressed delight at how her illustration has been received. “As an artist, getting awarded for a piece is very fulfilling,” she said.
“This cover was very important for me on a personal level as a woman, and I was really happy to see the image being shared, emulated and celebrated by other artists.”

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Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

Time: May 22, 2019  

The Arab News cover, featuring an illustration by Malika Favre, has won eight design awards. (Arab News)
  • Arab News scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive
  • It has won numerous awards since its publication and been one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom

LONDON: Arab News has continued its success on the international awards stage by winning two honorable mentions at the DNA Paris Design Awards.

The newspaper scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive.

The honorable mentions were for the categories “Graphic design – Editorial” and “Graphic design – Key art (Posters, covers, illustration).”

“For Arab News to be recognised again on a global scale with this award is a great honor,” Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News, said. “Our women drivers cover has been recognised with eight design awards so far and this highlights just how important this moment in history was for women across the Kingdom.

“Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever.”

The illustration was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year. It has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

The cover has won numerous awards since it was published. In March, it was recognized by SND awards, one of the most prestigious in the industry.

In February, the cover image was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine.

The DNA Paris Design Awards honors international architects and designers “who improve our daily lives through practical, beautiful and innovative design,” according to its website.

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