‘Moderation award’ entry open to Saudis, foreign residents

Tue, 2017-03-14

JEDDAH: An award to recognize those promoting moderation is open to both Saudi citizens and foreign residents of the Kingdom, an official has said.
Dr. Hassan bin Yahya Al-Manakhra, president of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal’s Center for Moderation, confirmed that foreign residents in the Kingdom can participate in the center’s award, with entries accepted in languages including English, French and German.
The Center for Moderation sets out to prove to the world that Islam is a religion for all times and places, as it preaches moderation and rejects terrorism, tyranny and despotism.
Al-Manakhra stressed the fact that the award aims to produce real outputs to instill the concept of moderation among youths, and to represent moderate thinking in the Kingdom.
Al-Manakhra was speaking on Sunday during an introductory meeting held at the Tourism College at King Abdulaziz University.
He said the center struck agreements with the Education Ministry so that school radio will broadcast briefings on the concept of moderation, and the best three presentations on the subject will receive tributes from Prince Khalid Al-Faisal during the coming hijri month of Muharram.
He also noted that King Salman will personally be briefed on all the participations, and a panel of specialist judges will evaluate these.
The award aims to highlight the real stance of the Kingdom concerning moderation, and to support pioneering and creative individuals and group efforts to promote the concept of moderation and its applications.
It aims to encourage positive role models, as well as to root the culture of moderation in all areas at the local level, and increase the level of awareness among the Arab community on the issues of combating extremism in all its forms.
The award will be in the areas of digital and intellectual content, and community partnership. It is split into three categories. The first includes media content, which is divided into two sections. The first section is for short film, with an award prize of SR200,000. The second is digital content, and is divided into animation, with an award of SR100,000; photography with an award of SR50,000; and a digital arts award amounting to SR50,000.
The second category involves knowledge content and is divided into two prizes; the first includes quantitative statistical studies, with an award amounting to SR100,000; and translation with an award amounting to SR150,000.
The third category involves community partnership, and the award is divided into creative individual initiatives with its award amounting to SR100,000, and the creative institutional initiatives with its award amounting to SR150,000.

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‘Bareh’ helps productive Madinah families compete in local market

Yousuf Mohammed
Tue, 2017-03-14

MADINAH: Artisan families earning income with their handicraft skills are now capable of competing with external competitors, according to the Productive Families Forum held recently.
The forum, attended by representatives of the Bareh Program of the Tourism and National Heritage Authority, Madinah branch, and several of its partners, was held in the King Fahd Central Garden.
During the forum, 6,000 visitors were registered. Also participating were 100 productive families, which are helped by the forum’s initiatives and programs in the region.
The general-secretary of the Tourism and National Heritage Authority, Madinah branch, Khaled bin Hussein Al-Shehrani, said the National Program for the Development of Crafts and Handicrafts (Bareh) is getting support from the tourism authority and its partners.
Traditional industries are a vital national heritage that plays an important role in raising the living standards of productive families, providing jobs, diversifying local economic development and helping the commercial and tourist movement in the region, said Al-Shehrani.
He added that 363 skilled craftsmen are listed in the craftsmen registry of the Bareh program, with women forming 92 percent of the craft industry in the Madinah region. This includes carpet-making, crochet, embroidery, fashion heritage, Arabic calligraphy, painting, soap-making, engraving, pottery, and jewelry and accessory making.
Al-Shehrani said that by obtaining the “Artisans Accredited Card,” productive families can practice their skills and market their products, in addition to taking part in festivals, activities, exhibitions and occasions related to the Bareh program.
They could also obtain material support easier, market their products on special marketing days organized by the program and announced in a handicraft guide. They also have priority if they wish to participate in the Okaz Market Award for Skills Distinction, which is the biggest event that supports the national program.

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2,500 Kazakh pilgrims to perform Haj this year

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: An estimated 2,500 Kazakh pilgrims will arrive in the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Kazakhtan’s Consul General in Jeddah Madiyar Ismailov told Arab News on Sunday.
The Kazakh Haj mission will be the coordinating center for the Haj organization issues of Kazakhstani pilgrims. The mission will comprise officials from the Kazakh Religious Authority Muftiyat, the newly established Ministry of Religious Affairs and Civil Society, the Ministry of Health and several travel agencies.
He said the number of pilgrims is smaller this year compared to the 3,000 who performed Haj in 2016 due to the global economic and financial constraints.
He noted pilgrims pay for everything in connection with their Haj performance including plane tickets, transportation facilities, accommodation and food, among other expenses. He said that a delegation came to the Kingdom last month to meet with Saudi authorities to discuss Kazakh pilgrims’ travel. He added the delegation signed this year’s agreement for Kazakh pilgrims’ Haj performance and expressed appreciation for the preparations made by the Kingdom.

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New Saudi WTO representative presents credentials

Mohammed Rasooldeen
Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: Saleh bin Eid Al-Hussaini, who was appointed the Kingdom’s permanent representative at the World Trade Organization (WTO), submitted his credentials to Director-General Roberto Azevedo at its headquarters in Geneva on Friday.
Al-Hussaini pledged to contribute to maintaining stability among member states and enhance the growth of the global economy.
He said trade and investment policies, as well as promoting access to world markets and improving the investment environment, are salient features in realizing Saudi Vision 2030.
He added that increasing growth, improving standards of living and working for the welfare of Saudi citizens will help develop the national economy.
Azevedo underlined the Kingdom’s leading regional and global roles as a key WTO and G-20 member.
Al-Hussaini was a member of the Saudi negotiation team for joining the WTO, and has occupied several important positions in the government and private sectors. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the American University in Washington.

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Exercise, weight loss key in fight against diabetes: Expert

Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: Reducing obesity and regular physical exercise are key in the fight against diabetes, a visiting Danish expert said here on Thursday.
Frederik Kier of the global health care company Novo Nordisk was speaking to Arab News during a break in an educator course for 52 Saudi pharmacists at the National Diabetes Center in Riyadh.
Located in the heart of Riyadh, the National Diabetes Center is a non-profit partnership between Novo Nordisk and the Saudi Society of Family and Community Medicine in the capital.
The training course included a general introduction to diabetes and the latest guidelines on how to control it.
Kier explained that physical exercise, a good diet, the right medicines and proper rest are especially important for those suffering from diabetes.
“I am glad (about) our collaboration with the Saudi Society of Family and Community Medicine; we are raising awareness about diabetes,” Kier said.
“It is unfortunate that our business here is a reflection (of) a high prevalence rate of diabetes, not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the whole Gulf region,” stressed the expert. He also confirmed his company’s commitment to invest heavily on research and development to find more effective drugs to enable diabetics to lead a better life.
The Novo Nordisk executive said his company is also working on an effective drug that will make a difference in helping people lose weight.
Dr. Saud Al-Hassan, the head of the Saudi Society of Family and Community Medicine in Riyadh, explained the role of the National Diabetes Center in providing educational and training services to the health care community to unite efforts against diabetes.
High obesity rates in the Gulf are linked to the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the region.
Statistics and studies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states indicate that diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. According to an estimation by the International Diabetes Federation in 2015, people with diabetes amount to 20 percent of the population in many states.
According to a 2013 report by the Saudi Health Ministry, about 25 percent of Saudis are diabetics and the figure may rise further because of obesity and lifestyle.

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Sri Lankan student launches awareness program on kidney disease

Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: A 16-year-old Sri Lankan student based in Riyadh has launched an awareness program on acute kidney diseases in parts of her native country.
Zainab Ifthikar, who attends the English section of Bangladesh International School, founded a charitable foundation dubbed MEI (Motivation Encouragement and Inspiration) in Colombo.
She told Arab News on Friday that she wants to create awareness among the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom about the strong prevalence of renal diseases in the central part of Sri Lanka due to the drinking water in these areas.
Ifthikar said that some 13 percent of the population in these areas suffers from kidney diseases, and more than 90 percent of those are from farming villages.
Ifthikar, who has traveled widely in central Sri Lanka, said the disease is mostly prevalent in farming villages because farmers use agrochemicals for cultivation.
“The chemicals used for fertilization get mixed with the well water, and people consume that water,” she said.
The young activist said that she is interested in taking preventive as well as curative measures to address the issue. She called upon philanthropists to join her to achieve her goal of supplying water filters to these areas, which will enable residents to drink purified water.
She would also like to help dialysis patients who patronize hospitals for their weekly treatment.
Ifthikar, who also wrote the book “Poverty is not Passivity,” has personally witnessed the sufferings of the poor, and had made a genuine effort to bring about measures that could help those in need.
“I started feeling the plight of the poor when I was 13 years old,” Ifthikar told Arab News. She said that such a sincere feeling toward the poor prompted her to document her thoughts in a book.
She has since been working tirelessly to spread awareness on poverty, and how families in need could be helped.
“I have always had a profound love for three things in my life: One is my motherland Sri Lanka, the other is philanthropy, and the third is writing,” said Ifthikar.
“Many of us live a life of luxury, with cars, clothes, fast food and brands making a large part of it; whilst there are thousands of people out there who neither have a morsel a day to fill their stomachs, nor enough hope to fill their hearts.”
“Nowadays, poverty is not only hunger and the lack of shelter; it has also become inequality, injustice, illiteracy, violence, and ignorance. Poverty is the ultimate hub to all the complications that the world faces.”

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Indian election results evoke mixed reaction from expats

Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: Indian expats living in the Kingdom might have missed voting in their most crucial elections in five provinces, the results of which were announced on Saturday, but they made all possible efforts to defeat the communal forces by sharing their concerns with their families and friends back home. Various Indian organizations in the Kingdom worked in close coordination with each other. Still the secular parties suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the most populous province of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Reacting to the results, Mohammad Quaiser, president of Tanzeem Hum Hindustani, said: “It is unfortunate for our secular democracy.” He voiced concerns over the use of electronic voting machines during the polls.
“The (election) results are creating doubts over the fairness of the polls,” he said.
Murshid Kamal, convener of the India Islamic Culture Center, said: “In democracy, one has to accept the mandate and popular voice, no matter how unfortunate the verdict is.”
The defeat is a lesson for the secular leadership in India to form a grand alliance, he said, adding that the outcome of the polls indicates that in the near future, divided regional parties will not be able to defeat the communal forces in the northern Indian belt due to the highly-polarized voters.
Akhtarul Islam Siddiqui, general Secretary of Bihar International Society for Welfare and Solidarity (BISWAS), said: “The BJP victory shows that development is irrelevant if compared to communalism; Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) played an important role to bring the BJP back to power.
“No doubt, Muslims voted for anti-BJP parties, but no one can deny that a large number of Dalit and Yadav voted for the BJP, just like in the 2014 national elections, which made Muslim votes ineffective.”
Arshad Ali Khan, general secretary of Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys Association (AMUOBA), said: “It was a bad day for us… this mandate shows how mentally backward the voters are in our state, where people are not able to think beyond the religious line.” Khan hails from UP.
“Demonetization was a foolish decision by the BJP government and a painful experience for the people. The cost of essentials are skyrocketing, but all these unpopular decisions by them were less important as compared to the communal agenda,” he said.
M. Z. Aazmi, general secretary of the Nadwa Old Boys’ Association, said: “In UP, secularism lost and communalism won.”
Referring to complaints by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati that the main factor behind BJP’s sweeping victory in UP was the manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVMs), he said such concerns were also expressed during the 2014 elections. He urged the commission to do all what needs to be done in this regard.
He, however, expressed his relief that the saffron brigade lost elections in three provinces.
Kaunain Shahidi, a senior manager at Almarai, said: “Those parties who convinced the voters won in the five provinces through various means, including silent and subtle communal polarization.”

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Global effort needed to end Middle East crises: King Salman

Tue, 2017-03-14

RIYADH: There is an urgent need to intensify international efforts to resolve crises in the Middle East, including the Palestinian cause and the Syrian and Yemeni wars, said Saudi King Salman on Monday, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The king, who is in Tokyo for the fourth leg of his seven-nation Asian tour, said: “Terrorism has become the greatest danger to the security of nations and peoples. We are major partners in fighting it, and we are in need of concerted global efforts and hard work to deepen the concepts of dialogue between the followers of religions and cultures, and enhance the spirit of tolerance and coexistence between peoples.”
The crises have affected negatively the region’s stability and development, impeding the growth of international trade and threatening energy supplies, he added.
King Salman made his remarks as he met with Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister, to discuss a wide range of topics. The king and Abe focused on ways to further strengthen strategic as well as economic bilateral ties.
Saudi Arabia and Japan agreed on a “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030” plan to bolster bilateral cooperation during the king’s talks with Abe at the premier’s office.
Abe and King Salman agreed to advance a new economic collaboration program on Saudi Vision 2030, said Setsuo Ohmori, charge d’affaires at the Japanese Embassy.
He added that the two sides also agreed to launch a feasibility study on setting up special economic zones in the Kingdom to attract Japanese investments by easing regulations and customs procedures.
Ohmori said Abe has sought the king’s support for the listing of Saudi Aramco on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He said the king would meet Emperor Akihito of Japan on Tuesday at a lunch banquet before winding up the tour on Wednesday.
He added that scores of bilateral agreements signed on Monday.
King Salman said: “I express my happiness to be in your country with which we have had historical and economic relations. The Kingdom’s partnership with Japan in launching Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 will strengthen the strategic partnership between our two countries.”
Abe said he welcomed the visit, considering it “historical and aimed at developing and enhancing relations and achieving more partnership and investments between the two friendly countries.”
The king and Abe attended the signing ceremony of memorandums of cooperation that included one on cooperation for the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 in the cultural field and another in the field of regulating the process of granting the citizens of the two countries visit visas.
The king also met Fumio Kishida, Japanese foreign minister, Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. They discussed economic, trade and industrial cooperation between the two countries.

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Jeddah police arrest killer of businessman

Author: Muhammad Al-SulamiTue, 2017-03-14ID: 1489410628695321200JEDDAH: Police in Jeddah have arrested a Yemeni national accused of murdering the owner of a well-known money exchange company at his home in Al-Rawdha district of the city.The s…

King Salman says to consider Japan’s request to support Tokyo listing of Aramco

Kiyoshi Takenaka | Reuters
Mon, 2017-03-13

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked King Salman to support the listing of Saudi state oil giant Aramco shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, a Japanese senior government official said on Monday.
King Salman said that the kingdom would look into the request because he wants Japanese investors to buy Aramco shares, the official said after the two leaders met.
Bourses in Asia and elsewhere are vying to win the $100 billion listing.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

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King Salman’s visit to Japan, China to expand bilateral partnerships, says expert
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