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Makkah Criminal Court drops crane case citing lack of jurisdiction

Author: 
Mohammed Al-Sulami
Fri, 2017-01-27
ID: 
1485453423900541800

JEDDAH: Makkah Criminal Court issued on Thursday said it was dropping the case of the crane that collapsed in Makkah in September 2015 due to lack of jurisdiction over the case.
The accident resulted in 110 deaths and 209 injuries.
The court issued its ruling in the presence of the defendants on trial and the prosecutor; it came after several sessions of deliberations.
The prosecutor had interrogated the defendants before the judge decided to drop the case due to an issue of jurisdiction.
The court informed the defense team of the 13 people on trial, consisting of Ahmed Al-Qurashi, Attorney Hassan Jomaan Al-Zahrani and Abdullah Bin Laden, that it will inform them later of the date the legal decision will be formally issued.
Reports presented by the Bin Laden Group during the investigation and court sessions had shown that sudden changes in weather conditions, difficult to forecast, resulted in unusual winds, which in turn caused the collapse of the crane.
The company made a point of mentioning the fact that 50 thunderbolts were recorded on the day in Makkah within a period of only one hour due to the inclement weather conditions.
The storm was accompanied by heavy rain and thunder, as well as drop in temperature from 45 degrees to 21 degrees Celsius, the company said.
The Civil Defense Department spokesman said that the heavy rain that fell over Makkah on that day reached 40 millimeters within a very short period of time.
The 13 defendants on trial gave their affidavits to the court. They were absolved of responsibility for the collapse of the crane and the consequent damage due to insufficient evidence.
Of the three judges, two decided to drop the case; the third maintained that the court has jurisdiction over the case.
The prosecutor also insisted that the court had jurisdiction and legal competency to look into the case, based on the royal decree issued following the incident, including into charges of loss of life, property damage and negligence.
The Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution relied on the results of the investigation, which were submitted to higher authorities, and indicated that the main cause of the accident was the fact that the crane was subjected to heavy winds and had been kept idle in the wrong position, in violation of the operation instructions issued by the manufacturer.
According to the instructions, the crane’s main arm should have been lowered when not in use or during instances of heavy winds.
The bureau also pointed to the lack of compliance with safety standards in the operating procedures, no respect for the safety requirements, and poor communication and monitoring by safety officials responsible for the project during the poor weather conditions, despite warnings by the Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental Protection.
The defendants were also accused of failing to measure the speed of the wind and to respond to a number of letters from concerned authorities to review the condition of the several cranes at the site, especially the crane that fell.
The bureau called for holding the contractor, Saudi Bin Laden Group, partially responsibility for the accident, due to these reasons, as well as for reexamining the contract of Kansas Advisory Company and all cranes involved in the project, and to make sure that all safety and security conditions are met.
Following the incident, King Salman bin Abdulaziz called for referring the results of the investigation and related evidence to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution to complete the investigation of the Bin Laden Group, as well as to prepare a list of charges to be presented to the judiciary.
The order also asked Saudi Bin Laden Group to comply with the decision reached.

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Saudi vulnerable to ‘Shamoon 2’ virus: telco chief

Author: 
Agence France Presse
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485430279208419000

RIYADH: Saudi computer security systems are vulnerable to the “Shamoon 2” virus, a senior communications official warned Thursday, confirming reports of a fresh cyberattack on the kingdom.
The virus “has devised a new method that was unexpected by government systems,” Abdulaziz Al-Ruwais, governor of the Commission for Communications and Information Technology, told Makkah newspaper.
He said that “some bodies had been affected” by the program, and detailed measures which companies could take to try to protect their computer networks.
Local media reported early this week that Shamoon 2 hit the private sector and various government agencies including a division of the labor ministry.
Global security firm Symantec on Monday did not mention Saudi Arabia but said it was “currently investigating reports of yet another new attack in the Middle East involving the destructive disk-wiping malware used by the Shamoon group.”
The company in December said Shamoon had been used in attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia.
Arab News reported at the time that the National Cyber Security Center “detected destructive electronic strikes against several government agencies and vital establishments.”
In August, state media reported cyberattacks against government institutions and vital installations they did not identify.
Shamoon was employed in strikes against the Saudi energy sector in 2012.
At that time, US intelligence officials said they suspected a link to the kingdom’s regional rival Iran.
Ties between Riyadh and Tehran have worsened over the past year.

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King Salman inducts high-tech fighter jets into RSAF

Author: 
Arab News
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485377213332741000

RIYADH: King Salman on Wednesday attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA).
The KFAA also marked the graduation ceremony of its 91st batch of students, as well as the launch of the new F-15SA aircraft, which has joined the fleet of the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The event was held in the presence of Omar Al-Bashir, president of Sudan.
Commander of the Air College, Air Vice Marshal Khalid Al-La’aboun, delivered a speech welcoming King Salman and Al-Bashir.
“Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this ancient edifice. The beginning of the training was launched by the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, may God have mercy on him, by raising the banner of the college in this field having the honor to carry his name,” he said.
Al-La’aboun pointed out that the college has become one of the best flight schools in the world. Thousands of pilots and technicians who have served their country in various fields, and participated in the protection of its airspace, have graduated from the academy.
King Salman and the audience watched a film to mark the 50th anniversary of the KFAA, which featured the most prominent achievements of the academy.
King Salman also launched the new F-15SA aircraft which recently joined the fleet of the Royal Saudi Air Force. He watched a film about the plane and its advanced technologies, followed by an air parade show.

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King Salman inducts high-tech fighter jets into RSAF

Author: 
Arab News
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485377213332741000

RIYADH: King Salman on Wednesday attended the 50th anniversary celebrations of the King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA).
The KFAA also marked the graduation ceremony of its 91st batch of students, as well as the launch of the new F-15SA aircraft, which has joined the fleet of the Royal Saudi Air Force.
The event was held in the presence of Omar Al-Bashir, president of Sudan.
Commander of the Air College, Air Vice Marshal Khalid Al-La’aboun, delivered a speech welcoming King Salman and Al-Bashir.
“Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this ancient edifice. The beginning of the training was launched by the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, may God have mercy on him, by raising the banner of the college in this field having the honor to carry his name,” he said.
Al-La’aboun pointed out that the college has become one of the best flight schools in the world. Thousands of pilots and technicians who have served their country in various fields, and participated in the protection of its airspace, have graduated from the academy.
King Salman and the audience watched a film to mark the 50th anniversary of the KFAA, which featured the most prominent achievements of the academy.
King Salman also launched the new F-15SA aircraft which recently joined the fleet of the Royal Saudi Air Force. He watched a film about the plane and its advanced technologies, followed by an air parade show.

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4 women among 25 winners of prize for inventors, talented

Author: 
Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News Staff
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948742709400

RIYADH: Four women were among 25 winners of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prize for inventors and the talented (Takreem), which was distributed by Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih at the headquarters of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) on Wednesday.
The prize was established by ministerial decree to contribute to the development of science and technology in support of the transition to a knowledge-based society; to encourage and appreciate distinguished inventors and the gifted in science, technology and innovation; to develop a spirit of creativity, innovation and invention; and to motivate talents and abilities.
The laureates received cash prizes ranging from SR100,000 ($26,663) to SR200,000 ($53,326) to help them promote their future programs.
Congratulating the winners, the KACST’s president, Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, chairman of the council of trustees for the prize, said he hoped it would help them achieve more progress and development to build a knowledge-based society.
The prince told Arab News it is a historic occasion when the prize is given to honor winners who contribute a great deal in their field of research and skills.
He said more than SR3 billion ($800 million) has been spent on 2,000 science and technology projects under the first national plan for science, technology and innovation. “We have planned out several new projects under Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.”
He added that the prize demonstrates the interest shown by King Salman to encourage and give honor where it is due.
Al-Falih said the intelligentsia is being encouraged by the king at a time when the government is undergoing a transformation period under Vision 2030 and NTP 2020. The Kingdom can use their talents for national prosperity, the minister said.
Secretary general of the awards committee, Dr. Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim, said the committee received 387 nominations in the inventors category and 583 in the gifted category. “We have chosen 17 winners from the first category, while seven were selected for the gifted category,” he said.
The prize for the inventors category was awarded to Dr. Muneer bin Mahmoud Al-Dsouqi, Dr. Ali bin Abdrabb Al-Rasool Al-Hamza, Dr. Fares bin Dabas Al-Sweilem, Dr. Waleed bin Fahd Allafi, Dr. Ali bin Saad Al-Ghamdi, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Asiri, Dr. Basem bin Yousef Sheikh, Dr. Khalid bin Saad Abdukhair, Dr. Majed bin Muaala Al-Hazmi, Dr. Saeed bin Mohammed Al-Zahrani, Dr. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Jalil, Dr. Inas bin Mueen Al-Nashef, Dr. Khadija bint Mohammed Al-Zaydi, Dr. Iman bint Kamel Al-Dagas, Eng. Saleh bin Bidaiwe Al-Ruwaili, Eng. Saeed bin Mahd Al-Mubarak and Mohsen bin Jubran Hussein.

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4 women among 25 winners of prize for inventors, talented

Author: 
Mohammed Rasooldeen | Arab News Staff
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948742709400

RIYADH: Four women were among 25 winners of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prize for inventors and the talented (Takreem), which was distributed by Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid A. Al-Falih at the headquarters of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) on Wednesday.
The prize was established by ministerial decree to contribute to the development of science and technology in support of the transition to a knowledge-based society; to encourage and appreciate distinguished inventors and the gifted in science, technology and innovation; to develop a spirit of creativity, innovation and invention; and to motivate talents and abilities.
The laureates received cash prizes ranging from SR100,000 ($26,663) to SR200,000 ($53,326) to help them promote their future programs.
Congratulating the winners, the KACST’s president, Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, chairman of the council of trustees for the prize, said he hoped it would help them achieve more progress and development to build a knowledge-based society.
The prince told Arab News it is a historic occasion when the prize is given to honor winners who contribute a great deal in their field of research and skills.
He said more than SR3 billion ($800 million) has been spent on 2,000 science and technology projects under the first national plan for science, technology and innovation. “We have planned out several new projects under Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.”
He added that the prize demonstrates the interest shown by King Salman to encourage and give honor where it is due.
Al-Falih said the intelligentsia is being encouraged by the king at a time when the government is undergoing a transformation period under Vision 2030 and NTP 2020. The Kingdom can use their talents for national prosperity, the minister said.
Secretary general of the awards committee, Dr. Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim, said the committee received 387 nominations in the inventors category and 583 in the gifted category. “We have chosen 17 winners from the first category, while seven were selected for the gifted category,” he said.
The prize for the inventors category was awarded to Dr. Muneer bin Mahmoud Al-Dsouqi, Dr. Ali bin Abdrabb Al-Rasool Al-Hamza, Dr. Fares bin Dabas Al-Sweilem, Dr. Waleed bin Fahd Allafi, Dr. Ali bin Saad Al-Ghamdi, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Asiri, Dr. Basem bin Yousef Sheikh, Dr. Khalid bin Saad Abdukhair, Dr. Majed bin Muaala Al-Hazmi, Dr. Saeed bin Mohammed Al-Zahrani, Dr. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Jalil, Dr. Inas bin Mueen Al-Nashef, Dr. Khadija bint Mohammed Al-Zaydi, Dr. Iman bint Kamel Al-Dagas, Eng. Saleh bin Bidaiwe Al-Ruwaili, Eng. Saeed bin Mahd Al-Mubarak and Mohsen bin Jubran Hussein.

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Makkah governor receives report on efforts to correct the status of Burmese expats

Author: 
Arab News
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948722709100

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman, received in his office in Jeddah the final report on the work of the standing committee to correct the status of Burmese expats.
The report which Prince Khaled Al-Faisal received from Prince Faisal bin Mohammad, deputy governor for rights affairs and chairman of the standing committee to correct the status of the Burmese, said that more than 190,000 free residence cards, valid for four years, were distributed. The residence permits were issued on sponsorships of companies and institutions and individuals. There were also exemptions from the accumulated fines resulting from non-renewal of residencies for many years because of their inability to renew their passports, or being unable to cancel runaway reports against them.
The report also noted that 7,428 Burmese beneficiaries were referred to the Personal Status Court to prove marriage, parenthood and child support issues.
It further indicated that the Ministry of Labor and Social Development branch in Makkah participated in correcting the status of laborers, including changing the professions, calculating the Burmese worker as only a quarter against the foreign workers in the Nitaqat program, and maintaining Burmese maids on sponsorships of their families. The status changes also included exempting workers from the transfer of their sponsorships to the enterprises where they want to work.
The report also showed that more than 83,000 beneficiaries received vaccinations against tuberculosis, meningitis, seasonal influenza and tetanus at the medical centers at the correction status headquarters. An estimated 750 cases of illnesses were transferred from the emergency medical centers to hospitals in Makkah.
The medical team in charge of work at the correction headquarters received a bus and an ambulance, said the report.
Health Affairs in the region also treated 2,257 cases infected with hepatitis B or C, in addition to other medical conditions at a cost estimated at SR25 million. The total cost of medical treatment and preventive services provided for the Burmese community was estimated at SR782 million.
The report noted the Myanmar community charitable schools’ status in Makkah was corrected, with about 121 schools, and that the students have all been enrolled in the three stages— primary, intermediate and secondary study levels— a total of 62,650 students. It said that university scholarships for outstanding students were also granted to about 1,307 students.
The report reported that free meals were served for a total of 1,500 meals per day throughout the correction period, as well as water supplies, approximately 2,000 water containers daily.
Finally, the report said that free health care services were also provided through the Zamzam Health Services Association and Shifa Association for 11,682 beneficiaries.

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Makkah governor receives report on efforts to correct the status of Burmese expats

Author: 
Arab News
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948722709100

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman, received in his office in Jeddah the final report on the work of the standing committee to correct the status of Burmese expats.
The report which Prince Khaled Al-Faisal received from Prince Faisal bin Mohammad, deputy governor for rights affairs and chairman of the standing committee to correct the status of the Burmese, said that more than 190,000 free residence cards, valid for four years, were distributed. The residence permits were issued on sponsorships of companies and institutions and individuals. There were also exemptions from the accumulated fines resulting from non-renewal of residencies for many years because of their inability to renew their passports, or being unable to cancel runaway reports against them.
The report also noted that 7,428 Burmese beneficiaries were referred to the Personal Status Court to prove marriage, parenthood and child support issues.
It further indicated that the Ministry of Labor and Social Development branch in Makkah participated in correcting the status of laborers, including changing the professions, calculating the Burmese worker as only a quarter against the foreign workers in the Nitaqat program, and maintaining Burmese maids on sponsorships of their families. The status changes also included exempting workers from the transfer of their sponsorships to the enterprises where they want to work.
The report also showed that more than 83,000 beneficiaries received vaccinations against tuberculosis, meningitis, seasonal influenza and tetanus at the medical centers at the correction status headquarters. An estimated 750 cases of illnesses were transferred from the emergency medical centers to hospitals in Makkah.
The medical team in charge of work at the correction headquarters received a bus and an ambulance, said the report.
Health Affairs in the region also treated 2,257 cases infected with hepatitis B or C, in addition to other medical conditions at a cost estimated at SR25 million. The total cost of medical treatment and preventive services provided for the Burmese community was estimated at SR782 million.
The report noted the Myanmar community charitable schools’ status in Makkah was corrected, with about 121 schools, and that the students have all been enrolled in the three stages— primary, intermediate and secondary study levels— a total of 62,650 students. It said that university scholarships for outstanding students were also granted to about 1,307 students.
The report reported that free meals were served for a total of 1,500 meals per day throughout the correction period, as well as water supplies, approximately 2,000 water containers daily.
Finally, the report said that free health care services were also provided through the Zamzam Health Services Association and Shifa Association for 11,682 beneficiaries.

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Janadriyah festival opens next Wednesday Egypt guest of honor

Author: 
Rashid Hassan | Arab News Staff
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948692708800

RIYADH: Egypt will be the guest-of-honor country at Al-Janadriyah 31, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, where it is held annually to celebrate Saudi identity.
The festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, will open on Wednesday under the patronage of King Salman, said Abdul Mohsen bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri, deputy minister of the National Guard and deputy chairman of the festival’s supreme committee, at a press conference.
He said King Salman is a strong believer in the festival’s message of maintaining and deepening Saudi heritage, culture and traditions, and above all the principles of Islam, as was the late King Abdullah.
“In the upcoming 31st session of the festival, we keep progressing under our wise leadership in building our country and protecting our achievements and holy shrines,” Al-Tuwaijri said, expressing pleasure in hosting Egypt as the guest of honor.
He praised media coverage of the festival and the close partnership between the two.
The press conference was attended by Nasser Hamdy, ambassador of Egypt in Riyadh. “It is a great honor for Egypt to have been chosen as the guest-of-honor country for the 31st edition of the festival. We express our sincere thanks to King Salman for choosing us,” Hamdy told Arab News.
“The participation of Egypt at this outstanding cultural heritage festival of course reflects the deep relations beatween the two countries,” he said, adding that this will further strengthen people-to-people relations and cultural exchange.
Egypt’s government is “very dedicated to finalizing all aspects of participation in the festival,” Hamdy said. “Preparation is almost finished. Eleven troops will participate in our special pavilion, representing different parts of Egypt and its diversity.”

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Janadriyah festival opens next Wednesday Egypt guest of honor

Author: 
Rashid Hassan | Arab News Staff
Thu, 2017-01-26
ID: 
1485376948692708800

RIYADH: Egypt will be the guest-of-honor country at Al-Janadriyah 31, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, where it is held annually to celebrate Saudi identity.
The festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, will open on Wednesday under the patronage of King Salman, said Abdul Mohsen bin Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri, deputy minister of the National Guard and deputy chairman of the festival’s supreme committee, at a press conference.
He said King Salman is a strong believer in the festival’s message of maintaining and deepening Saudi heritage, culture and traditions, and above all the principles of Islam, as was the late King Abdullah.
“In the upcoming 31st session of the festival, we keep progressing under our wise leadership in building our country and protecting our achievements and holy shrines,” Al-Tuwaijri said, expressing pleasure in hosting Egypt as the guest of honor.
He praised media coverage of the festival and the close partnership between the two.
The press conference was attended by Nasser Hamdy, ambassador of Egypt in Riyadh. “It is a great honor for Egypt to have been chosen as the guest-of-honor country for the 31st edition of the festival. We express our sincere thanks to King Salman for choosing us,” Hamdy told Arab News.
“The participation of Egypt at this outstanding cultural heritage festival of course reflects the deep relations beatween the two countries,” he said, adding that this will further strengthen people-to-people relations and cultural exchange.
Egypt’s government is “very dedicated to finalizing all aspects of participation in the festival,” Hamdy said. “Preparation is almost finished. Eleven troops will participate in our special pavilion, representing different parts of Egypt and its diversity.”

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