With only 11 tweets, King Salman has more retweets than Trump

Time: August 19, 2019

US President Donald Trump is by far the most followed world leader on Twitter, with the Pope trailing him by some 4.5 million followers, a study showed Tuesday.

The number of Trump’s followers has “more than doubled since taking office”, the study authors said.

However, in terms of retweets alone, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, easily dwarfs Trump.

King Salman only tweeted 11 times between May 2017 and May 2018, but each of those tweets generated an average of 154,294 retweets, compared to just 20,319 retweets per Trump tweet, the study showed.

With more than 52 million followers, the @realDonaldTrump account also counts nearly 10 million more followers than third-place holder, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the latest “Twiplomacy” study by communications firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW).

In terms of interactions with followers – in the form of likes and retweets – Trump’s lead is even more impressive, the study showed.

Over the past 12 months, the US president has had nearly 264.5 million interactions with his followers – more than five times more than runner-up Modi, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis, in third place.

It also pointed out that the US State Department is the only US governmental department which does not follow the personal account of @realDonaldTrump.

At the same time, however, the State Department does follow the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Tuesday’s report found that leaders around the world have jumped on the Twitter train, with the governments of only six countries – Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan – still lacking an official presence on the platform.

In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the most followed leader on Twitter over the past year, with the @10DowningStreet account counting nearly 5.6 million followers.

The British royal family came next with 3.6 million, followed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has nearly tripled his numbers since his election last year to over three million Twitter followers.

Queen Rania of Jordan ranks at the top of the twittersphere among Arab leaders with nearly 10.7 million followers, ahead of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed with over nine million followers, and King Salman on nearly seven million.

And Latin American governments are among the most prolific on twitter. Venezuela’s foreign ministry sends out an average of 55 tweets each day over the past 12 months, according to the study.

While most world leaders and governments are growing their Twitter followings, there are exceptions.

According to the study, Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian foreign ministry, and the Ukrainian foreign ministry have seen their number of followers decline significantly “after Twitter decided to cut down on fake followers and bot farms”.

BCW’s own review of 951 Twitter accounts showed that 125 of them, or 13 per cent, were currently dormant, 33 inactive and nine protected.

This article was first published in Khaleej Times

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince congratulate interior minister on Eid Al-Adha

Time: August 17, 2019  

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha. (SPA)
  • Around 2.5 million pilgrims performed the Hajj this year
  • Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims across the world who are not performing Hajj, began on Sunday Aug. 11, 2019

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha and the success of Hajj 2019.
They also thanked Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif for his cables congratulating them on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha.
Previously, the interior minister had thanked the king for taking care of Hajj pilgrims and for providing them with all the facilities and services that they needed.
Around 2.5 million pilgrims performed the Hajj this year and all the measures put in place by authorities and agencies were successful, he added.
Eid Al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims across the world who are not performing Hajj, began on Sunday Aug. 11, 2019.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman arrives in Mina to oversee facilities for pilgrims

11/08/19

King Salman at the Mina Palace on Saturday Aug. 10, 2019. (SPA)

King Salman was received at Mina Palace by several senior officials, including Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif
MINA: King Salman arrived in Mina on Saturday to oversee facilities for Hajj pilgrims and ensure that they are comfortable.

Almost 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world are participating in Hajj, one of the largest annual global gatherings.

On Saturday, pilgrims spent the day in Arafat where it rained heavily during the afternoon. After sunset, they made their way to Muzdalifah.

Muslims who are not performing Hajj will celebrate the first day of Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, on Sunday.

King Salman was received at Mina Palace by several senior officials, including Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif.

This article was first published in Arab News

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New Zealand’s most senior Muslim police officer thanks King Salman for making Hajj dream come true

Time: August 05, 2019  

Superintendent Naila Hassan of the New Zealand police. (Supplied photo)
  • Superintendent Naila Hassan praises Saudi Arabia for Hajj ‘generosity’
  • “As much as it’s a journey for me, I’m here for the victims,” she says in a video

JEDDAH: Just over four months ago, police superintendent Naila Hassan was giving an emotional speech at a vigil in New Zealand for the 51 people murdered in the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack.

Now Hassan, New Zealand’s most senior Muslim police officer, is in Makkah to take part in the Hajj pilgrimage — and her dream has come true.

“As a Muslim, you just dream about seeing the Kaaba and going to Makkah and Madinah,” she said in a video thanking Saudi King Salman for hosting the Christchurch pilgrims.

“When I saw the Kaaba this morning, I was breathless, I really was.

“But … as much as it’s a journey for me, I’m here for the victims … I’m here particularly for the women and the widows that are here. I’m here to support them.”

Vigil in Auckland

Hassan described how she and about 200 other pilgrims were welcomed with petals, singing and gifts. “I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” she said.

“I’m thanking King Salman for his generosity. He has just been unbelievably generous to the people of New Zealand.”

The day after the March 15 Christchurch massacre, Hassan gave a speech at a vigil in Auckland in support of the Muslim community and fellow New Zealanders.

Opening with the Islamic greeting, she reassured the crowd that police were providing support to the Muslim community and everyone affected.

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said on Sunday that hosting the Christchurch pilgrims was part of Saudi efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all its forms.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman to host 2,000 family members of Yemeni army ‘martyrs’ during Hajj

27/07/19

King Salman will host 2,000 family members of Yemeni army and Popular Resistance soldiers who died fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen during this year’s Hajj. (SPA)

The 2,000 pilgrims will perform the pilgrimage as part of the ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah’ which is overseen by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance
Earlier, King Salman issued a directive for 200 family members of the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand to also be hosted during Hajj
RIYADH: King Salman will host 2,000 family members of Yemeni army and Popular Resistance soldiers who died fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen during this year’s Hajj.
The 2,000 pilgrims will perform the pilgrimage as part of the ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah’ which is overseen by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said that the family members of those who died while participating in the “Determination Storm and Restoring of Hope” operations as part of the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate government in Yemen would be hosted in a mark of appreciation of the sacrifices made by the personnel to restore unity and safety in the country.
Earlier, King Salman issued a directive for 200 family members of the victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand to also be hosted during Hajj.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman makes Indonesian grandfather’s Hajj dream come true

18/07/19

Hajj authorities will aid the man and his family with their Hajj travel. (Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta)

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman issues directive for Saudi Arabia to host families of Christchurch attack victims during Hajj season

Time: July 17, 2019

Saudi Arabia will host 200 Hajj pilgrims of families of victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on the orders of King Salman. (SPA)
  • Directive from King Salman announced on Tuesday by Minister of Islamic Affairs
  • Ministry was working with Saudi embassy in New Zealand

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host 200 Hajj pilgrims of families of victims of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on the orders of King Salman, a Saudi Press Agency report said.
The attack in March by Brenton Tarrant on two mosques in the city killed 50 people and wounded dozens more.
The directive from King Salman was announced on Tuesday by Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abulaziz Al-Asheikh, the Minister of Islamic Affairs.
Al-Asheikh said the hosting of the families during the Hajj season was part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “confront and defeat terrorism” in all forms.
Al-Asheikh added that his ministry was working with the Saudi embassy in New Zealand to ensure the invitees have everything they need to perform Hajj during their visit.

An armed police officer (R) stands guard outside the Al Noor mosque, one of the mosques where some 50 people were killed by a self-avowed white supremacist gunman on March 15, 2019, in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AFP file photo)

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman and Lebanese ex-PMs hold ‘positive and excellent’ talks over stalemate

Time: July 16, 2019  

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The king received former Lebanese Prime Ministers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora and Tammam Salam. (SPA)
  • The king received former Lebanese Prime Ministers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora and Tammam Salam
  • Saudi Arabia stresses ‘keenness on Lebanon’s security and stability’ during visit by three former premiers to Kingdom

BEIRUT/JEDDAH: A meeting on Monday between King Salman and three former Lebanese prime ministers to discuss the “political stalemate” in Beirut was described as “positive and excellent.”

During talks held at the Peace Palace, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia stressed its “keenness on Lebanon’s security and stability and the importance of preserving Lebanon within its Arab environment.”

King Salman met former premiers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora and Tammam Salam to discuss the latest developments in Lebanon and review relations between the two countries.

Also present at the gathering, which lasted for 35 minutes, were Saudi Minister of State Dr. Musaed Al-Aiban, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Assistant Special Secretary to King Salman Tamim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Salem, Royal Court Adviser Nizar bin Sulaiman Al-Alula, and Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Bukhari.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Lebanese delegation sources revealed that the talks had been “positive and excellent.”

Following the meeting, Mikati said on Twitter: “We have reviewed the fraternal relations between the two countries and His Highness stressed the Kingdom’s keenness on Lebanon’s security and stability.”

FAST FACTS

  • Top Saudi officials attended the meeting, which lasted for 35 minutes. Lebanese leaders stressed the need to return to the 1989 Taif Agreement.

The Lebanese delegation also met with Al-Assaf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ premises in Jeddah.

Lebanese news websites quoted the delegation as saying that the Kingdom had stressed that “whatever affects Sunnis in Lebanon affects us in the Kingdom.”

Arriving in Jeddah on Monday for their one-day visit, the former PMs conveyed to King Salman a message from Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri on “strengthening the relationship between Lebanon and the Kingdom — a relationship that reflects respect for Lebanon and its independence and sovereignty.”

Speaking at Jeddah airport, Siniora said: “We have always had excellent and honest fraternal relations with Saudi Arabia, and this visit emphasizes the importance of this relationship.

“No doubt Lebanon and the region are going through a difficult period, and due to these major developments, it is important and necessary to return to the fundamentals that unite the Lebanese people.

“It is also important to return to the Taif Agreement (the 1989 accord to provide the basis for the ending of the civil war and return to political normality in Lebanon) and to commit more to it and to the constitution that emerged from it and extended state authority over all of the Lebanese territory,” added Siniora.

“It is unacceptable to listen to rumors that say we want to change the law by practice or refrain from applying the law because we do not want it.

“We must also emphasize the importance of respecting Arab legitimacy and the Arab consensus. This is how Lebanon should face the challenges, because we are exposed to this difficult situation and because there are those who are trying to divide a bag of sand from Lebanon to use it to defend themselves.”

Ex-premier Siniora noted: “We do not wish for our country to become a battleground for major powers. Lebanon must unify its stance to face the challenges and, most importantly, it must commit to its policy of disassociation in words as well as actions.”

Describing their Saudi visit as “important and natural,” Salam said: “We enjoy a close, historical and continuous relationship with Saudi Arabia, and we expect more communication, especially under these difficult circumstances. We have been witnessing significant Saudi moves toward Lebanon, and the government is the one sponsoring these agreements.”

A source close to the former PMs told Arab News that the visit had been previously planned and had not been arranged in response to recent statements by secretary general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. The source said the visit was “to discuss the current situation in Lebanon. There is a political stalemate and an attempt from those who oppose Saudi Arabia to control the political decision in Lebanon.”

The ex-PMs had met with Hariri the evening before their visit to Jeddah, and the current Lebanese leader’s Future TV channel said that the delegation would “stress from Saudi Arabia Lebanon’s support for its Arab family and Saudi Arabia’s presence in Lebanon.”

Following an extraordinary meeting last month on Lebanon’s political crisis Mikati, Siniora and Salam said they rejected “prejudice to the powers of PM Hariri by anyone.”

They also refused “to compromise the delicate internal balances in light of some stances and practices aimed at starting arguments and opening controversial files, which had been launched by ministers and politicians, and especially that these had been resolved in the Taif Agreement and the constitution. The re-stirring of these files will lead to serious repercussions for national reconciliation and civil peace.”

In their statement, the trio had called on Lebanese President Michel Aoun to “put a definitive end to the provocative stances and practices that undermine the prestige of the covenant.”

Lebanese Cabinet sessions have been stalled since the end of June due to political tensions over the referral to the judicial council of an attack in Mount Lebanon by supporters of the Progressive Socialist Party against Minister Saleh Al-Gharib, who is close to the pro-Hezbollah minister, Talal Arslan.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman to host 1,300 Hajj pilgrims from 72 countries

Time: July 14, 2019  

King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is hosting 1,300 pilgrims from 72 countries around the world. (File/ SPA)
  • The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said the order was evidence of the Kingdom’s efforts to take care of the interests of Muslims
  • He said that the total beneficiaries of the program since its inauguration had reached 52,747 pilgrims from around the world

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered 1,300 pilgrims from around the world to be hosted during this year’s Hajj season as part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah.

The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, the general supervisor of the program, said the order was evidence of the Kingdom’s efforts to take care of the interests of Muslims.

He said that the total beneficiaries of the program since its inauguration had reached 52,747 pilgrims from around the world.

Earlier, King Salman ordered 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims who are family members of martyrs to be hosted while they performed Hajj.

Al-Asheikh said the ministry would follow up on the pilgrims’ traveling process through its embassies in Egypt and Jordan.

The ministry would also finalize all procedures needed for their travel to the Kingdom on private flights, and offer services to help them perform Hajj.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King Salman orders Saudi Arabia to host 1,000 Hajj pilgrims from Palestinian ‘martyr families’

07/07/19

JEDDAH: King Salman has ordered Saudi Arabia to host 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims from the families of martyrs to perform Hajj next month.

The pilgrims will be part of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah.

The Saudi minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh expressed his appreciation for King Salman’s “generous gesture towards the Palestinian state and its brotherly people,” the Saudi Press Agency reported Sunday.

Al-Asheikh said the ministry would work swiftly on executing the king’s order by following up on the pilgrims’ traveling process through its embassies in Egypt and Jordan.

The ministry would also finalize all procedures needed for their travel to the kingdom on private flights, and offer services to help them perform the duty of Hajj.

This article was first published in Arab News

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