Yesterday Was The Second Time That Valentines Day Was Openly Celebrated In The Kingdom And It Was All Red

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Valentine’s Day was welcomed in full force this year, for the second time around. A Saudi cleric’s even referred to the day as a ‘positive event’ and one that has naught to do with religion. Ahmed Qassim Al Ghamdi, the former chief of the religious police in Makkah, was the one who made that statement and this truly shows how far Vision 2030 will come along.

This is the second time that the Kingdom has opened its doors to allowing flowers and gift shops to allow selling Valentine’s Day memorabilia. People took to celebrate with ease following a fatwa that allowed it circulated on Twitter.

One of the aims of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision is to liberalise and pave way for a ‘moderate Islam’. Reforms such as allowing Valentine’s Day to be celebrated, and women soon being able to drive was simply achieved in a short manner of time.

“It’s an act of kindness to share greetings on Western national and social holidays”

He further added to the positive statement by saying,””It is a positive social event and congratulating people for it is not against sharia (law), It is an act of kindness to share greetings on Western national and social holidays, including Valentine’s Day, exchange red roses with others, as long as it is towards peaceful people who do not share animosity or are being at war with Muslims.

Florists even sold red roses and other usual Valentine’s Day items in Jeddah on the day itself

And photos of people handing red roses out on the streets was also evident in the Kingdom on Wednesday. Photos from Sabq were released on social media and show just how accepting the people were to show some love on hearts day.

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Screen Shot 2018 02 15 At 2 41 00 Pm

Several residents also expressed their Valentine greeting

Of course, in natural Saudi Twitter fashion, some had to be completely comedic.

نايف المطلق@Naif_amq

If you’re miserable and hate because you’re single, you’re doing it wrong, Celebrate all the love in your life, especially the self kind, Be excited when people you love find real love. Go shopping. Eat chocolate.

سمير قباني@samir_gabbani

My sweet Valentine dates on 14 Feb were jus AWESOME !
We sure had a great time ?

I’m sure some of us most definitely planned to do this too..

All for the laughs!

Amal Wafa@AmalWafa0

Happy valentines day ❤️ allah ytmm l kl tnen b7bo ba3ad w yktblon el5er?❤️

هلا العجمي ??@Hala_hanim

Spent Valentines Day cooking with mom ❤️

This article was first published in Lovin Saudi

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Vuclip appoints content, brand marketing VP for Mena

Time : February 1, 2018


Wesam Kattan

Vuclip, a leading global technology-driven media company, has appointed Wesam Kattan as its vice president, content and brand marketing, for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region for Viu.

Viu is a leading over-the-top (OTT) video service with over 18 million downloads across 15 markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and the Middle East countries of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The mobile application was also the Google Play Best of 2017 winner of the most entertaining app award, a strong testimony to its innovative and compelling mobile experience.

This appointment comes ahead of the unveiling of Arabic Originals on Viu, its popular direct to consumer video-on-demand (VOD) service, said a statement.

In his new role, Wesam will oversee the overall operations and strategic direction of Viu in the region with a focus on driving a strong content led value proposition for the consumers, as well as strategic partnerships.

He joins Vuclip with over 14 years of experience in broadcast and media marketing with well-known organisations such as MTV Arabia, Rotana, Middle East Broadcasting Corp (MBC), Creative Edge International, Barajoun Entertainment and most recently with Quest Arabiya.

Salman Hussain, chief revenue officer of Vuclip, said: “The Middle East market is of strategic importance to Viu. It is an exciting time for our company as we prepare to introduce unique and original shows to meet the increasing demand for premium Arabic content in the region and we are confident as one of the leading OTT players in this region.”

“With a strong understanding of the broadcasting and media landscape, Wesam will play a key role in meeting our objectives,” he said.

Commenting on his new role, Wesam added: “The continually evolving video and entertainment space, coupled with dynamic customer expectations presents an exciting challenge in captivating the tech-savvy youth population of the Mena region.”

“I look forward to working with the amazing Viu team,” he concluded.

This article was first published in  Trade Arabia

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UAE’s Tecon wins $6.7m contract for Saudi’s Riyadh Metro

Time: January 31, 2018

The UAE's TSES, which includes Tecon, has been picked to provide emergency lighting systems for Saudi's Riyadh Metro [representational image].

The UAE’s TSES, which includes Tecon, has been picked to provide emergency lighting systems for Saudi’s Riyadh Metro [representational image].


Tecon Specialized Engineering Solutions (TSES), a UAE-headquartered sub-contracting specialist, has won work on Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro

Naveed Ansari, chief executive officer of TSES, has revealed additional details of the contract to Construction Week.

“For the Riyadh Metro, we have been picked to provide emergency lighting services for three of the project’s lines,” Ansari said.

“The contract is worth $6.7m (SAR25m), and we have started working on it.”

TSES, a part of UAE-headquartered Albatha Holding – which is chaired by Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Sultan Al Qassimi – has had a presence in the kingdom for the last six years.

The firm’s most notable project in the kingdom is the record-breaking Jeddah Tower, the 1km building that is planned to become the world’s tallest structure upon its launch.

Moreover, TSES has also worked on the new Jeddah Airport in the country, as well as the Madinah Airport.

Ansari also detailed TSES’s consolidation activity, as well as its future technology plans – which include counter-drone systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) – during his interview with Construction Week.

Pick up issue #685 of the magazine, to be published on 10 February, 2018, to read Ansari’s full interview.

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Emerson Inaugurates New Facility in Saudi Arabia to Support Localized Innovation and Training

January 17, 2018

New facility opens at Dharan Techno Valley

Dammam, Saudi Arabia –  Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province, His Excellency Suliman Abdulrhman Al-Thunayan, Governor of Al Khobar, inaugurated today Emerson’s (NYSE: EMR) new technology and innovation center at Dhahran Techno Valley, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The ceremony was held with the participation of Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco; Dr. Sahel N. Abduljauwad, Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM); David Farr, Emerson’s chairman and CEO; and Mike Train, executive president of Emerson Automation Solutions.

The 11,370-square-meter built area facility, which represents an Emerson investment of SAR 94 million (USD 25 million), enables the company to host Saudi students, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry stakeholders to collaborate with Emerson’s technical experts to develop process automation technologies and design innovative products and solutions that meet the country’s goals as well as ensure global access to Emerson’s research and development (R&D) expertise. The facility houses a collaboration center, educational classrooms, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) laboratory for R&D, and concept test laboratories.

The technology and collaboration focus of Emerson’s new facility aligns with Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan and the Saudi Vision 2030 development agenda which looks at technology as a key enabler to boost job creation and economic activities in the non-oil sector. The project is also in alignment with the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) program, the initiative created by Saudi Aramco to baseline, measure, and support increased levels of localization in the Kingdom.

David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson, said: “The opening of this facility marks the beginning of a new era for our operations in Saudi Arabia. This project is part of Emerson’s long-term commitment to Saudi Arabia’s growth and to make our technology expertise easily accessible for stakeholders. The state-of-the-art systems in this facility will facilitate our education and collaborative research activities with our partners and customers. We also look forward to helping develop the knowledge and skills of industry stakeholders, university students, and entrepreneurs, as well as providing opportunities for local small to medium-size enterprises to participate in our supply chain for our innovative products and solutions.”

Emerson has made a significant additional investment to equip the collaboration center with modern technology-enabled capabilities including five research pods (for individual and team initiatives) fully equipped with a distributed control system and simulation panels, a collaboration and brainstorming space for creativity and idea sharing, a solutions theater for exploring a wide range of solutions in the process automation field with full 3D capabilities, and an advanced teleconferencing room for connecting to Emerson’s network of centers, experts and consultants or any external site.

Dr. Sahel N. Abduljauwad – Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), added: “We welcome the opening of Emerson’s Saudi Arabia technology and innovation center as a strategic initiative which underscores Dhahran Techno Valley’s role as an ideal location to advance the Kingdom’s digital transformation goals in its quest to fulfill its mandate towards vision 2030. This is a new milestone in Dhahran Techno Valley’s efforts to advance Saudi Arabia’s objective of building a knowledge-based economy and promoting growth in the non-oil sector. We are positive that Emerson’s facility will attract huge interest for collaboration from universities and research institutions in the country and the region.”

Emerson is one of the leading technology providers in the Middle East and Africa, helping businesses achieve Top Quartile performance in capital projects and ongoing operations in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, mining and metals, food and beverage, life sciences and other industries.

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About Emerson 
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit

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Saudi Arabia changes its working week to Sunday-Thursday


Jan 23, 2013

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has announced it is switching its official weekend to Fridays and Saturdays, bringing the kingdom’s working week closer in line with other countries in a move long desired by many of the country’s businesses.

Brokers monitor a screen displaying stock market index at an investment bank in Riyadh, June 9, 2013. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, had been the only member of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to have a Thursday-Friday weekend after Oman shifted to a Friday-Saturday weekend last month.

The surprise move, which will be applied from this week, was immediately welcomed by Saudi economists and businessmen as giving the private sector an extra day of alignment with international businesses.

“It will increase interface with the rest of the world, now things will move faster,” said Ali al-Ajmi, a former vice president at state oil company Saudi Aramco who now runs a project management business.

Abdulrahman al-Ubaid, a former vice president at Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) (2010.SE), the world’s biggest petrochemcial company, and now managing director of Saudi Development and Innovation Group, also welcomed the change.

“We expect the impact to be positive on the Saudi economy, we think our business will be easier,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is considering opening its stock market to more direct foreign investment in the future. At present, stocks move considerably on shifts in global equities and commodities markets.

Although the world’s top oil exporter had discussed looking at the change in its weekend in the future, few people had expected it to make the switch so soon.

However, some Saudi companies, including food producer Savola 2050.SE had already announced they would change their own weekend to Friday and Saturday to improve their coordination with regional partners.

The fact the change is happening in June, after schools have closed and while many Saudis are on holiday before the Ramadan fast which starts on July 9, means it will be less jarring, economists said.

“Instead of having just three working days aligned with the rest of the world, now you will have a full team for most of the working week that the rest of the world applies. One extra day does play a considerable role in increasing output,” said John Sfakianakis of chief investment officer at Masic investment in Riyadh.

Traditionally Saudis had a six-day working week, taking off Fridays when Muslims are enjoined to attend mosque for communal prayers, but the government added Thursday to the official weekend.

Some religious conservatives had argued against moving to a Friday-Saturday weekend because they feared it smacked of westernisation. However, that argument did not enjoy serious support, said Saudi sociologist Khalid al-Dakhil.

  • 2010.SE

“In terms of religious opposition, yes there might be some, but there’s absolutely no unanimity in opposing this course among religious people,” he said.

A statement on Sunday on national Saudi news agency SPA said the change, decreed by King Abdullah, will take effect as of this weekend, “for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities consistently associated with variation based on work days between local departments, ministries and institutions and the regional and international counterparts.”

King Abdullah issued the decree following a recommendation in April by the Kingdom’s Shura Council, which advises the government on new laws, to investigate changing the country’s official weekend from the current Thursday and Friday. (Reporting By Mirna Sleiman and Angus McDowall; Additional reporting by Martin Dokoupil and Reem Shamseddine; Editing by William Maclean and Greg Mahlich)