AI training program for young Saudis

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Time: 31 August, 2020

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi. (SPA)
  • Saudi Arabia’s share of this advanced economy will be 12.4 percent by 2030

MAKKAH: Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority on Monday announced the launch of a training program in the field of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for 100 young men and women in the Makkah region.
He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 5th Makkah Cultural Forum.
Al-Ghamdi said: “We are living in the era of data economy and AI. In 2015, the global data volume was 15 zettabytes, which increased to 50 zettabytes in 2020. In 2025m it will rise to 175 zettabytes.”
He said the global economy has an opportunity to exploit this huge volume of data. According to studies, Al-Ghamdi added, the Kingdom’s share of this advanced economy will be 12.4 percent by 2030.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches second annual entrepreneurship world cup

Time: 23 July, 2020

    • Organizers aim to top success of inaugural event by attracting 150,000 entries from 200 countries

JEDDAH: Following the success of the inaugural event last year, the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (Misk) is gearing up for the second Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC).

The international initiative aims to support young entrepreneurs, improve their knowledge and experience of the economy and commerce, locally and globally, evaluate their businesses and encourage the launch of successful ventures.

It includes an integrated training and mentoring program to help entrepreneurs hone their skills and increase their chances of success. The participants will work closely with mentors and other specialists, from the idea stage through to the growth and structuring of the business.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event — presented by the Misk Global Forum and hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network and the Global Education and Leadership Foundation — will be staged virtually. Organizers aim to attract more than 150,000 participants from 200 countries. Last year, there were about 102,000 entries from 187 countries,

Participants will have access to a digital library that contains a wide range of expert knowledge and advice to help them succeed, from how to draw up a business plan and structure the project, to collecting customer feedback, product development, team building and corporate culture.

“The second (edition of the) competition seeks to achieve success more comprehensively than the previous version, by embracing as many young businessmen and businesswomen as possible in Saudi Arabia, where this year it targets up to 150,000 startups,” said Abdulrahman Al-Suhaymi, director of the EWC initiative.

“The world today, more than ever, needs to foster entrepreneurship among young people, encourage them to innovate and develop solutions for a better future.”

He also stressed the important role played by entrepreneurs in solving many of the problems caused by by unemployment, through the creation of new job opportunities and generating economic growth for individuals and businesses.

Al-Suhaymi urged young Saudi entrepreneurs and the owners of startups not to miss this opportunity and to register online for the training and mentoring program. The deadline for applications is Aug. 9.

About 100 participants reached the semi-final stage last year, and had the chance to present their ideas to thousands of people.

Red Sea Farms, a Saudi startup based at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology that specializes in saltwater greenhouse technology, finished third in the inaugural EWC. First place went to Canadian business NREv Technology, which makes health-monitoring systems that warn of complications that can develop in patients recovering from surgery.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia permits Eid Al-Adha prayers with coronavirus measures

Time: 14 July, 2020

The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance said it has intensified its awareness and guidance campaign to adopt preventive protocols to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Prayers will only take place in certain mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said on Monday it would permit worshippers to perform Eid Al-Adha prayers at mosques.
The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, directed the ministry’s branches in the regions throughout the Kingdom to provide for this year’s Eid Al-Adha prayers.
Prayers will only take place in certain mosques and ensuring they use the government’s preventative measures, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry said it has intensified its awareness and guidance campaign to adopt preventive protocols to combat the spread of the coronavirus through the participation of a group of advocates and scholars, in addition to publishing what was recommended by the medical committees concerned with combating the epidemic.

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250 Saudi doctors volunteer for scheme offering free medical consultations

Time: 11 July, 2020

At least 250 Saudi doctors and health practitioners have signed up to an ambitious community volunteer program offering free medical consultations to patients throughout the Kingdom. (SPA)
  • Health Ministry records 2,220 critical COVID-19 cases, deaths toll reaches 2,151
  • The scheme’s health volunteers are hoping to provide 250,000 consultations by the end of the year

At least 250 Saudi doctors and health practitioners have signed up to an ambitious community volunteer program offering free medical consultations to patients throughout the Kingdom.

The We Are All Sanad initiative, supervised by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, aims to recruit more than 2,000 medics to offer expert advice and raise awareness on key health issues.
Covering around 30 specialties, the scheme’s health volunteers, 45 percent of whom have so far been women, are hoping to provide 250,000 consultations by the end of the year.
The project is being run in tandem with Saudi government efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The head of the initiative, Dr. Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Hamali, said the volunteer advisers had already provided hundreds of free teleconsultations remotely through the Mawidy (my appointment) platform which had contributed toward achieving sustainable goals, such as improving community service, increasing access to health care, and raising health awareness.
The initiative, launched on March 1, has been designed to help overcome obstacles faced by patients in relation to access to health care.
“These challenges include geographic barriers, a lack of clarity in the appointments available to patients, the high costs of treatment in some private sector facilities, and fear of disease exposure when visiting hospitals and clinics.
“We Are All Sanad provides services to everyone, however, priority has been given to beneficiaries of charities, especially under the unprecedented current conditions and the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens the health and safety of the world,” said Al-Hamali, adding that the program supported more than 15 associations.
The Mawidy app, available in Arabic, English, and sign language, offers telemedicine and appointment booking services, and users will soon be able to make home health care reservations as part of a raft of upcoming additional services.

FASTFACTS

The total number of coronavirus cases in KSA reached 226,486.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom reached 163,026.

The number of active cases in Saudi Arabia stood at 61,309.

The total number of PCR tests in the Kingdom reached 2,179,448.

Deputy head of the initiative, Dr. Sultan bin Faisal, praised the ministry for its support for health charity staff and beneficiaries through the provision of telemedicine consultations, educational lectures, and scientific seminars.
He said volunteers wishing to join the initiative could register through the Mawidy platform, provided they had a valid license from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, adding that the scheme offered a unique opportunity for health practitioners to exchange experiences.
Faisal pointed out that the team included 30 young volunteers who would receive skills development training through the Ibtikar program, which offered scientific and practical training courses.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom on Friday recorded 51 new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total to 2,151.
There were 3,159 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 226,486 people had now contracted the disease. There were 61,309 active cases, with 2,220 patients in critical condition.
According to the Ministry of Health, 296 of the newly recorded cases were in Riyadh, while 249 were reported in Al-Hofuf, and 209 in Jeddah. In addition, 1,930 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 163,026.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 2,179,448 tests for COVID-19.
As part of the Kingdom’s strategy to tackle the virus outbreak, several services and products have been rolled out throughout the country.
These have included Takkad (make sure) centers which have conducted more than 480,000 lab tests, 239 Tetamman clinics which have dealt with at least 265,000 patients, the provision of an extra 2,500 intensive care unit beds, the building of four field hospitals, the carrying out of at least 2.1 million lab tests, and the conducting of 3.7 million medical consultations through the ministry’s 937 service center.
Earlier, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said that we are currently going through a phase of stability and control of the COVID-19 curve in the Kingdom. “This is due to the successful measures taken by authorities, and public awareness, and we should maintain this level of commitment.”
The ministry urges those who have come in contact with an infected person to immediately isolate themselves and call them at 937. They should also stay away from others and self-isolate at home.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia conducts 60k PCR tests daily in fight against COVID-19

08/07/20

So far, over 2 million PCR tests have been conducted in the Kingdom. (AFP)

  • The death toll in the Kingdom stands at 2,017, with 49 new fatalities

JEDDAH: Saudi health authorities are conducting 60,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests daily in a bid to check the spread of COVID-19, Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
So far, over 2 million PCR tests have been conducted in the Kingdom, indicating the efficiency of its health-care system, he added.
Jalal Al-Owais, supervisor general of the ministry’s Emergency, Disasters and Ambulatory Transportation General Department, said: “One of the directives given by our leadership was to increase the number of hospital beds in critical care units. In only three months, capacity has risen by 30 percent. This shows the Kingdom’s great care and attention to its people’s health and safety.” Timely action helped health facilities cope with the number of patients effectively, he added.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia recorded 3,392 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections to 217,108. A total of 60,252 cases are active, of which 2,268 are in critical condition.
With 5,205 new recoveries, the total number of people having recovered from COVID-19 has reached 154, 839. The death toll in the Kingdom stands at 2,017, with 49 new fatalities.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi school smashes world record for longest chain of bottle caps

Time: 30 June, 2020

An environment-conscious Saudi school in Jeddah has topped the world record for the longest chain of bottle caps. (Supplied/BISJ/Guinness World Records)
  • Staff and children at the British International School of Jeddah (BISJ) threaded together 323,103 caps

JEDDAH: An environment-conscious Saudi school has topped the world record for the longest chain of bottle caps.

Staff and children at the British International School of Jeddah (BISJ) threaded together 323,103 caps to break the previous Guinness World Records title of 260,866 gained in the Netherlands.

The official attempt followed a plastic pollution awareness campaign, in which the school managed to collect a massive amount of bottle caps with the aim of taking them to a recycling firm and donating the funds locally to support children with disabilities by buying items such as wheelchairs and leg braces.

Sonja Sutcliffe, deputy head of the BISJ, said: “We have tried to break the Guinness World Records title for over a year with an aim to raising community awareness of the problem of plastic pollution, especially in oceans.

“We started by collecting as many bottle caps as we could, even cleaning up the local areas a little on the way.

“The message was to visually represent how many plastic bottles we use and see how the tops could be converted into specialized equipment for less-fortunate children. This is an amazing achievement of teamwork, vision, and resilience,” she added.

The school approached the challenge in a methodical and scientific way, working out the best ways to put holes in the caps and measure out fishing line to string them together.

Organizers used standard-size bottle caps, fishing line to make the lines of caps and large needles to thread the caps onto the line, as well as specific recording sheets for counting and measuring.

The final length of the chain was measured at 2,738.5 meters.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Media training program aims to put global spotlight on budding Saudi talent

29/06/20

Education and training platform, MBC Academy, has launched its latest skills development program covering TV, film, radio, theatre, content production, digital content, photography, music, lighting, editing, and comedy. (Supplied)

  • Part of MBC Group, the academy was established with the aim of building a fully integrated and vibrant media production industry in Saudi Arabia
  • Successful applicants will receive intensive training in media and production techniques in line with international industry standards

RIYADH: Budding Saudi media talents are being invited to take part in a high-profile industry training scheme aimed at showcasing the region’s potential on the world stage.

Education and training platform, MBC Academy, has launched its latest skills development program covering TV, film, radio, theatre, content production, digital content, photography, music, lighting, editing, and comedy.

Part of MBC Group, the academy was established with the aim of building a fully integrated and vibrant media production industry in Saudi Arabia while also upskilling the Kingdom’s talent across various media sectors.

Its programs, developed with leading international experts, have been designed to hone skills, improve career opportunities, and give participants the chance to be involved in major global media-related projects.

MBC Group chairman, Waleed Al-Ibrahim, said: “We believe in telling our own stories; bringing them to the rest of the world. MBC Academy is part of the group’s mission to showcase the region’s potential, as well as create a more open space for exchanging dialogue and expertise between our region and international entities in similar fields.

“We believe in investing in our own youth and empowering them with the skills they need to pursue a thriving and promising career.

“Saudi Arabia is home to top-tier talent with incredibly promising potential. What this talent is missing is a platform to help them reach their full potential, as well as offer them once-in-a-lifetime work experience opportunities not available anywhere else.

“We cannot wait to provide the space this year for more Saudi youth to achieve their goals and realize their potential. We also cannot wait to showcase to the world what our burgeoning Saudi youth in media is made of,” added Al-Ibrahim.

Successful applicants will receive intensive training in media and production techniques in line with international industry standards.

Led by Jana Yamani, the group’s executive director of talent, the academy will initially focus on the core pillars of inspiration and awareness, skills development, and talent management.

Emphasis will be placed on improving the perception of careers in the media and creative industries among younger generations, society influencers, and decision makers, increasing the number of world-class media professionals through structured educational and training programs, and connecting talented individuals with local and global opportunities.

“With the major developments occurring in the Saudi media space, as well as in the Kingdom overall, we are witnessing more interest from Saudi youth wanting to pursue a career in media or related creative industries,” said Yamani.

“MBC Academy’s work revolves around providing an integrated program that can provide the necessary skills in order to transform promising talent into distinguished professionals who have acquired skills to the highest standards in line with international best practices.

“The historical success of discovering and upskilling talent within MBC GROUP has provided an excellent foundation for us to build on with MBC Academy.”

She added that trainees would benefit from the group’s three decades of experience in the fields of media and production, hands-on training in MBC studios and departments, and the prospect of future involvement and management opportunities within the group for the most promising individuals.

“Looking ahead, we will be introducing more initiatives such as online courses, non-degree programs, and work experience opportunities in Hollywood,” said Yamani.

2020 PROGRAM

MBC Academy’s 2020 program is scheduled to welcome its first cohort of successful applicants later this year, with students due to begin training on set at MBC locations – pending global conditions – from October 2020.

This will be followed by a second phase focusing on e-learning courses in various disciplines, such as filmmaking and screenwriting.

The final phase of the program will see top-performing candidates offered job opportunities within the organization. For more information and to apply, visit www.mbcacademy.me.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Jeddah bids fond farewell to iconic airport terminal

27/06/20

Named after the Kingdom’s founder, the south terminal is just shy of celebrating its 40th anniversary. (Supplied)

For many worshippers, south terminal has been their first stop on a journey of a lifetime to perform Hajj or Umrah
JEDDAH: Jeddah’s international airport is bidding a fond farewell to its distinctive south terminal, known for its unique triangular tent-shaped exterior and large glass facade, as flight operations move to a new base.

Inaugurated by King Khalid in April 1981 after transferring all operations from its previous location near Jeddah’s Al-Sulaimania district, King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA) has become one of the main gateways into the Kingdom not only for travelers but for millions of pilgrims.
For many worshippers, the airport’s south terminal has been their first stop on a journey of a lifetime to perform Hajj or Umrah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah or visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
Named after the Kingdom’s founder, the terminal is just shy of celebrating its 40th anniversary.

BACKGROUND
Inaugurated by King Khalid in April 1981 after transferring all operations from its previous location near Jeddah’s Al-Sulaimania district, King Abdul Aziz International Airport has become one of the main gateways into the Kingdom not only for travelers but for millions of pilgrims.

With its iconic high ceilings that resemble the inside of a tent, it has served millions of passengers and is one of the busiest air terminals in the Kingdom. It also serves as the headquarters for Saudi Arabia’s national airline Saudia.
The first direct flight to New York City took off from KAIA in June 1981 and other international destinations were added that year.
It was recently reported that KAIA accounts for 36 percent of the total number of passengers in the Kingdom.
The closure of the south terminal and the moving of all operations to the airport’s newly opened T1 terminal — inaugurated by King Salman last September and capable of handling 30 million passengers a year — is aimed at ensuring the airport remains a key link between the East and West and continues to serve the city’s residents and welcome pilgrims.

This article was first published in Arab News

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DiplomaticQuarter: Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia hails frontline doctors as heroes

Time: 25 June, 2020

RIYADH: Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi on Tuesday paid tribute to the frontline doctors who sacrificed their lives in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Offering condolences to family members of the doctors who died on duty during the pandemic, Moshi called them “real heroes.”
At least five Bangladeshi doctors have died of COVID-19-related causes while serving in hospitals and clinics across Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Mohammad Shafiullah, a consultant at King Salman Hospital in Riyadh, died on June 19.
The first Bangladeshi doctor in the Kingdom to die from COVID-19 was 62-year-old orthopedic surgeon and general practitioner Dr. Afaq Hossain, who died on March 31 in Madinah after contracting the virus from patients at Safa Al-Madinah Polyclinic.
On June 16, Dr. Golam Mostafa, who was also based in Madinah, died. He had worked with the Saudi Ministry of Health for more than 34 years and had retired four months ago. He was waiting to go back to his home country.
On June 13, Dr. Md. Anwar Ul-Hasan died from COVID-related causes in Riyadh. He worked as a GP at Badruddin Polyclinic in Batha.
His fellow GP, Dr. Abdur Rahim, died on May 19 in Jeddah, where he had worked at Binladen Polyclinic.
Several other Bangladeshi doctors are receiving treatment for COVID-19 in the Kingdom, and two Bangladeshi doctors’ wives have also lost their lives to the virus in Riyadh.
The embassy is keeping in close contact with the medical community to ensure all possible support is given to them, Moshi said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Over 100 Saudi doctors on a medical mission to fight COVID-19 in Egypt

Time: 23 June, 2020

A master’s degree student reacts as medical staff member checks her temperature amid concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19), following the suspension of study for only undergraduate students at Cairo University to prevent it spreading, in Cairo, Egypt March 15, 2020. (REUTERS)
  • The volunteers are part of a joint effort by the Saudi cultural attaché in Cairo and the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population

CAIRO: Over 100 highly qualified Saudi doctors, in Egypt on a medical fellowship program, have decided to stay on and help Egyptian hospitals by providing services to patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The volunteers are part of a joint effort by the Saudi cultural attaché in Cairo and the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population.
“There are 100 to 120 Saudi doctors of different specializations here in Egypt,” said Dr. Abdul Aziz Muteb Al-Saadoun, a dermatologist who is part of the medical fellowship program. “When the pandemic first began to spread, we decided we would not ignore our responsibility as doctors and leave our positions here in Egypt vacant. Some of us work in emergency rooms, and as such, we are considered the first line of defense,” said Al-Saadoun.
“We are fighting the pandemic alongside our Egyptian colleagues. We are here to fulfill our mission to provide medical services to the Egyptian people. I consider myself an ambassador of my country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Dr. Mohammed Abdul-Aziz Al-Shneiber said.
Dr. Al-Saeed Abdel-Hadi, who took part in a previous Egyptian-Saudi fellowship program, said that Saudi Arabia is a pioneer in sending young doctors to train in clinical specialties, not only in Egypt, but in some of the largest medical establishments across the world.
“I’ve met many Saudi doctors, and I can confirm that their level of education and skill is no less than any consultants in major American or British hospitals. I pray that Egypt benefits from the Saudi experience, that it establishes its own Council for Health Specialties, that it develops a system that is compatible with international regulations for training doctors,” Abdel-Hadi said. He added that he hoped training would take place “in all Egyptian health units and hospitals, regardless of their administrative affiliation, according to a timetable and fixed scientific content that everyone agrees upon.”
“I have full confidence that Egypt is able to develop and modernize its health care system,” Abdel-Hadi told Arab News.

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