Saudi crown prince, Pompeo discuss maritime security, Iran

Time: August 08, 2019  

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (File/SPA)
  • Tensions have heightened after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed maritime security, Iran and Yemen with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a phone call on Wednesday.
“The secretary discussed heightened tensions in the region and the need for stronger maritime security in order to promote freedom of navigation,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Iran has seized three tanker ships in strategic Gulf waters in less than a month, and the United States has accused it of carrying out multiple attacks on ships in the region.
The US has been struggling to piece together an international coalition to protect cargo ships traveling through the Gulf, with allies concerned about being dragged into conflict with Iran.
Ortagus also said that the top US diplomat and the crown prince “discussed other bilateral and regional developments, including countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”

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Nexthink expands operations in Saudi Arabia

Time: August 05, 2019  

Maged Eid, area vice president of Nexthink.

Nexthink, a leader in digital employee experience software for enterprises, will strengthen its existing operations in Saudi Arabia as a response to the company’s strong growth, by increasing its workforce and presence through strategic partnerships.

Maged Eid appointed as the area vice president will oversee Middle East, Turkey and Africa growth strategy; he will drive new business and strengthen existing operations in the region. In his role, Eid will work closely with the Saudi Arabia team to ensure companies have better support and significantly improve the digital employee experience.

“Saudi Arabia is a key market for us and we will continue to invest in this region by increasing our workforce and partnerships with key distributors,” said Eid. “Nexthink’s technology enables an organization’s IT department to take a proactive approach to improving their IT performance, resolving potential problems quickly and focusing better on company-wide initiatives. We believe there is a clear need for our solutions in the Kingdom that can help an organization transform their business.”

Some of Nexthink’s key clients in the Kingdom include organizations from the finance, defense, government, health care and energy sectors.

The Kingdom continues to adopt innovative technologies as a result of the National Transformation Program (NTP) objectives and Vision 2030 strategy that will drive significant ICT spending ($34.5 billion) in technologies such as digital transformation, cloud, mobility, artificial intelligence and robotics.

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Iranian pilgrim’s sight saved by Saudi doctors in Makkah

Time: August 03, 2019

A surgical team at King Abdullah Medical City has restored the eyesight of a 58-year-old Iranian pilgrim. (Photo/Asharq Al-Awsat)
  • King Abdullah Medical City’s neurosciences center carries out numerous rare operations with a high success rate

JEDDAH: A surgical team at Makkah’s King Abdullah Medical City (KAMC) has successfully removed a tumor from a 58-year-old Iranian pilgrim.

The tumor was discovered in the pilgrim’s pituitary gland. It was severely affecting his sight and required urgent surgery. It was performed by surgical teams from the neurology department and the otorhinolaryngology department, the Ministry of Health reported.

The patient was received at King Faisal Hospital, where he underwent a series of medical tests to identify the type of tumor he had and to measure his hormone levels.

The results confirmed the presence of visual impairment in both eyes, a damaged third cerebral nerve and a damaged sixth cerebral nerve in both eyes.

“During the surgery, the tumor was completely removed without complications” the ministry said. “The patient recovered and his eyesight improved with partial improvement in the nerves’ condition. He will be transferred from the intensive care unit to a room after his condition becomes stable.”

The pilgrim, Mehdi Mueen, spoke to Al-Ekhbariya News after the successful operation.

“I had a headache and could not open my left eye,” he said. “Thank God I feel better now.”

Only three days have passed since Mueen’s condition was identified as critical by doctors and he was operated on.

BACKGROUND

  • The Saudi government has provided many services to pilgrims to facilitate their pilgrimage.
  • It has equipped the hospitals of Makkah and the holy sites with highly qualified medical and technical personnel.
  • The Ministry of Health is providing all medical services and improve existing ones in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

Dr. Sultan Al-Seiari, neurosurgery consultant at King Abdullah Medical City, carried out the surgery with a team of specialists.

He said that the pituitary tumor was a bleeding type of growth that had affected the man’s sight and caused visual impairment.

“The case was accepted expeditiously, and within two to three hours the patient was in intensive neurological care,” he told Al-Ekhbariya News.

“The surgery was performed immediately, and the tumor was removed almost completely.”

A doctor with the Iranian Hajj campaign, Dr. Kamal Nazer, said that the patient’s family was worried and had discussed with the doctors if the surgery could be postponed until Mueen was back in Iran. “We reassured his family and wife, and they accepted making the operation in Makkah, thankfully,” he said.

The Saudi government has provided many services to pilgrims to facilitate their pilgrimage.

It has equipped the hospitals of Makkah and the holy sites with highly qualified medical and technical personnel.

The Ministry of Health is providing all medical services and improving existing ones in line with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

KAMC’s neurosciences center carries out numerous qualitative and specialized rare operations, similar to those performed around the world, with a high success rate.

It is capable of dealing with the most complex and difficult cases during the Hajj season.

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India’s Samana Global eyes hotel projects in UAE, Saudi Arabia

Time: July 31, 2019   

India's Samana Global eyes hotel projects in UAE, Saudi Arabia
Samana Global Services is on the lookout for upscale hotel projects in Dubai, Sharjah and Saudi Arabia as part of a major plan to expand its hospitality business in the Middle East, a top executive of the group has said.

The hospitality and retail arm of the Indian multi-business group Samana Global Business Solutions is also eyeing hotel projects in the southeast Asia and Indian Ocean regions as part of its ambitious plans.

“We are quite bullish about UAE and Saudi Arabia for our expansion plans in the hospitality business and are in talks for acquiring hotel projects in Dubai, Sharjah, Oman and Saudi Arabia currently,” Vinay Nair, chief operating officer of Samana Global Services, told Arabian Business.

Though the group’s preference is to acquire management contracts for 5-star hotel projects, we are also open to other options like joint development or acquisition of properties for hotel projects, Nair added.

The group will fund its expansions in the hospitality sector partly using proceeds from its $560 million Alternative Investment Fund, launched in Abu Dhabi and India December last year, he added.

Samana Global, which already runs a hotel in Riyadh, is currently in talks with the promoters of the hotel property to acquire a second hotel project in the Saudi Kingdom.

“The talks are on (with the promoters of the Saudi hotel property) but nothing has been finalized yet,” he said.

Nair said the group was also open to having hotels in the Red Sea area which the Saudi Government is currently developing as a major tourist attraction with full fledged hotel and recreation facilities. “We are still studying the opportunities in this area”, he said.

Samana Global also runs high-end hotels in Trivandrum and Calicut in Kerala. The group runs its hotels under the brand name Apollo Dimora.

“We are aggressively pursuing opportunities (in the hospitality segment) in the Middle East region as we have set a target of achieving 1,000-rooms by next year. We are hopeful of achieving this target,” Nair said.

Nair said the decision to lookout for hotel projects in the Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean region also is part of the group’s strategy to not only achieve the target (of 1,000 rooms) but go beyond it.

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Successful birth of Arabian leopard cubs ‘new beacon of hope’ in Saudi bid to save species from extinction: Culture minister

31/07/19

The birth of two Arabian leopard cubs has been hailed as a “new beacon of hope” in Saudia Arabia’s bid to reintroduce the critically endangered big cat back into the wild. (SPA)

This article was first published in Arab News

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The Flower Men of Saudi Arabia — a beacon of history and culture

27/07/19

 

From mountainous and beautiful Asir come the Flower Men — a people descended from ancient tribes whose traditions date back for centuries. They reside in Rijal Almaa, an ancient village in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern region, and are an integral feature of this cultural hotspot, which will now become the focus of its own cultural festival.
The Flower Men use tourism, and the culture of their region, to their advantage — tours and ceremony demonstrations are the bedrock for multiple businesses.
Their name comes from their unique colorful floral headpieces. Some wear them in celebration, particularly on public or religious holidays, or for festivals and at other special occasions, while some do so for medicinal purposes, choosing herbs and greens to stave off headaches and sinusitis.
They are an essential part of Saudi Arabia’s rich and diverse cultural history. This is why the Ministry of Culture is organizing a festival centering on them and their region.
It will start on August 12 as part of Al-Souda Season, and will provide visitors with a vivid experience of the history of the Flower Men through live folk performances, art and poetry nights, and a heritage market.
As we continuously promote the unique cultures across our beautiful land, an opportunity arises for anyone and everyone to explore, engage, learn from one another, and be inspired from every region in the Kingdom and across the globe.
The festival also presents great opportunities for the Kingdom. Festivals like the Flower Men’s will attract visitors and tourists from across the country, region and the world, to one of Saudi Arabia’s most treasured heritage sites. The cultural sector represents a powerful engine for economic growth — and the ministry is capitalizing on this, to help contribute to the realization of Vision 2030’s diversification objective.
Under the leadership of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al- Saud, the ministry will showcase and highlight the best of Saudi culture — unlocking hidden treasures and encouraging cultural enrichment.
This festival is another step in our nation’s cultural journey — a journey that promises to enrich lives and showcase our beautiful and rich culture to the world. We should be proud of our people for their extraordinary efforts in utilizing platforms such as these festivals to creatively express themselves, and continue to support and encourage cultural exploration and exchange.

Abdulkarim Alhumaid is a public relations manager and spokesman at the Ministry of Culture.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

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Brazilian food giant BRF in talks to produce chicken in Saudi Arabia

Time: July 21, 2019  

Brazilian food giant BRF in talks to produce chicken in Saudi Arabia

BRF CEO Lorival Luz said that he’d like to see the talks concluded by the end of 2019
In January, BRF announced that it planned to restore chicken exports to Saudi Arabia to previous levels after one of its plants lost its certification to export to the kingdom.

Brazilian food giant BRF is in advanced talks with multiple parties in Saudi Arabia to produce chicken in the kingdom, according to company CEO Lorival Luz.

In January, the firm announced that it planned to restore chicken exports to Saudi Arabia to previous levels after one of its plants lost its certification to export to the kingdom.

The facility – known as Lejeado – had been exporting around 6,500 tonnes of chicken products to Saudi Arabia each month before the Saudi government significantly reduced the number of Brazilian exports allowed to ship there.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Luz said that the company is now in advanced talks with more than one party in Saudi Arabia to produce chicken in the kingdom.

“It’s a priority for BRF,” he said. “I would like to see talks concluded by year-end.”

BRF began exporting meat and poultry products to the Middle East in the 1970s. In 2016, the firm consolidated OneFoods, a regional subsidiary. The firm now has 5 production units in the region, as well as 11 distribution centres and over 6,000 direct employees.

In May, Reuters reported that BRF executives travelled to Saudi Arabia to discuss the expansion of its presence there.

At the time, company chairman Pedro Parente said that the BRF executives met with Saudi authorities and potential partners to explore meat production in the country.

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First Arab astronaut releases book in time for moon landing anniversary

Time: July 07, 2019

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Prince Sultan bin Salman filling in his logs inside a spaceship. (Supplied photo)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman was also the first Muslim and first royal in space
  • ‘7 Days in Space’ full of personal recollections about his mission in June 1985

RIYADH: When better to publish a book about space than the month of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing? And who better to write it than Prince Sultan bin Salman — the first Arab, first Muslim and first  royal in space?

Prince Sultan spent seven days (plus 1 hour, 38 minutes and 52 seconds) in orbit in 1985 as a payload specialist aboard the US Discovery space shuttle.

His book, 7 Days in Space, describes his experiences before, during and after the launch.

Prince Sultan bin Salman’s book soon to be at bookstores. (Supplied photo)

“I think it’s the only natural thing to do,” Prince Sultan, now 63 and chairman since December of the new Saudi Space Agency, told Arab News.

The book is filled with pictures that take readers behind the scenes of what a space mission is really like. It includes personal recollections and photos of the royal family throughout his expedition. There are pictures of the gifts his parents gave him, such as a Qu’ran, and the significance of them being taken into space.

The introduction was written by the late Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who proudly describes the success of the mission and what it meant to the Kingdom. It also includes remarks from King Fahd, King Abdullah, King Salman and Princess Sultana Al-Sudairi, Prince Sultan’s mother.

After he returned from his mission, Prince Sultan was hailed a hero in the Arab world. He still flies his own planes around the world, as he looks to keep the flame of adventure alive.

7 Days in Space will be released in major bookstores, and is available online in the Apple and Android stores.

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Tawuniya ‘best insurance company’ offering e-services

Time: July 01, 2019  

Majed Al-Bahiti, VP of marketing & communication at Tawuniya.

The Company for Cooperative Insurance (Tawuniya) has been recognized as the “Best Insurance Company Offering Electronic Services” in Saudi Arabia in 2019, by Global Banking and Finance Review.

A judging committee analyzed Tawuniya on the quality of its electronic services, development of its communication and technical systems and customer experience.

The company had embarked on a process of digital transformation that saw continuous development of its information infrastructure and the upgrade of systems and applications.

Tawuniya has succeeded in raising the level of cybersecurity and has consistently developed electronic services to meet the expectations of its customers.

Majed Al-Bahiti, vice president of marketing and communication at Tawuniya, said: “This award is an addition to the many awards and accolades Tawuniya has earned over the years. It is a recognition of the company’s efforts in line with the complete transformation of all operations and insurance services using modern IT and communication systems, which has enabled the provision of services to customers at any time, from anywhere and using all devices.”

He added: “This award is also a validation of the success of our strategic vision to keep up with the developments in the market and support society, the economic and regulatory environment through the support of digital transformation and innovation. We are constantly developing products and services, and establishing modern channels that allow the use of advanced information and communication technologies to sell insurance products, improve services and upgrade technical capabilities and skills, and continue to empower Saudi talent to work in the insurance sector.”

Tawuniya recently became the first insurance company in the Kingdom to be granted the ISO 27001 international certificate for electronic information security.

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UK coffee chain giant eyes Gulf expansion with new deal

Time: July 01, 2019    

Costa Coffee, the UK-based retailer with nearly 4,000 locations in more than 32 markets, is seeking further expansion across the Gulf region.

The coffee shop chain and Alghanim Industries announced an expansion of their partnership which will see Alghanim have development rights in Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar, on top of existing rights in Kuwait.

The Costa Coffee-Alghanim partnership has opened 75 outlets in the region since its 2013 formation, a statement said.

It has also established a barista training centre, arranged pastry collaborations with celebrity chefs, upgraded store design and interiors, and opened a concept store at Al Hamra Tower, Kuwait.

Kutayba Y Alghanim, executive chairman, Alghanim Industries, said: “You must have a patient, long-term outlook, you must act decisively when opportunity arises, and above all, you must put the customer at the heart of your business. We share these values with Costa Coffee, a world-class brand.”

Omar K Alghanim, Group CEO, Alghanim Industries, added: “It comes as no surprise that most people in this region have a deep appreciation for good coffee. And that’s why we’re thrilled to grow with Costa Coffee, and to build on our success in Kuwait.”

“Today marks another exciting new chapter for Costa Coffee in the Middle East,” said Dominic Paul, CEO of Costa Coffee.

Alghanim Industries said it expects to open its first store outside Kuwait in Saudi Arabia by the fourth quarter of 2019.

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