Madinah Airport ranked 2nd best in the Middle East

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485126038330522100

RIYADH: Airports Council International (ACI) has ranked Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah the second best airport in the Middle East for the second quarter of 2016.
The airport ranked second among 10 airports in the region and earned a score of 4.65 points out of five points in total passenger satisfaction with the quality of services provided by international airports.
In the category of airports with a capacity of 5 to 15 million passengers, which includes 80 airports worldwide, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport came in 11th place. It ranked 38th place among the top 267 airports worldwide.
Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Fadel, director general of the airport, said, “The ranking provides global confirmation that Al-Taiyibah Airport Operating Company, the airport’s operator, applies the highest quality and excellence standards in the administration of passenger services, as well as the keenness of airport staff to provide the best services based on international standards.”
He said the operating company works to meet the needs of passengers at different airport facilities, as per the leadership’s directives to provide and continuously develop top quality air transportation services in the kingdom.
He also praised the support of the General Administration for Civil Aviation (GACA) to the development and growth of civil aviation in the kingdom.
He said the airport received substantially high results evaluation categories, especially safety standards and performance. He noted that the Kingdom is among the safest for aviation in the world and is seeing a continuous rise in air transportation and aviation service providers.
Sofyan Abdulsalam, director general of Al-Tayibah Company, said he was pleased with the results of the ranking.
The ACI is the only global trade representative of the world’s airports, representing more than 1,850 airports, or 85 percent of total airports worldwide.
It also plays a role in the promotion of professional excellence in airport management operations as it applies an airport quality program that services as a global platform for measuring passengers’ satisfaction with services provided during travel.

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French foreign minister arriving for talks with Saudi officials

Author: 
Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485126038310521800

RIYADH: Jean-Marc Ayrault, French minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will arrive here Monday to hold talks with senior Saudi officials.
This will be the first visit by Ayrault to the Kingdom since he was appointed foreign minister early last year.
“During the visit, Ayrault will reaffirm the strategic partnership uniting France and Saudi Arabia, and will continue dialogue,” said a statement released by the French Foreign Ministry.
He “will have meetings with several of his Saudi interlocutors” including, “among others, King Salman and his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir,” the statement added.
“With them, Ayrault will discuss the main regional issues, particularly the situations in Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Syria.”
The two sides will “reaffirm the priority which our counter-terrorism cooperation represents.”
The statement said: “Our economic ties with Saudi Arabia will be discussed during a meeting between the minister and Saudi figures in the economic and business worlds.”
Ayrault “will visit construction work on the Riyadh metro system, some of which is being carried out by the French company Alstom.”
Slimani Mounir, a spokesman for the French Embassy, said Ayrault would also visit the Riyadh-based King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) “to support and boost cooperation between KACST and two major French research institutions — the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French National Center for Space Research (CNES).”
The spokesman said Ayrault would also visit the Misk Foundation.
Al-Jubeir met with Ayrault in Paris on Jan. 15 on the sidelines of a high-profile conference that was attended by about 70 world diplomats, including foreign ministers. The focus of the conference was how to boost the Middle East peace process.
The two countries have built a strong partnership, especially in the fields of defense, energy, health care, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure, culture, education, sport, science and technology, information, the environment, water and tourism.
With $15.3 billion of French foreign direct investment (FDI) in Saudi Arabia, France is the third-biggest investor in the Kingdom. More than 80 French mega-companies and subsidiaries have a direct presence in Saudi Arabia.

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KFAA to mark its 50th anniversary with new fighter jets

Author: 
Arab News
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485124008520365800

Riyadh: Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince and minister of defense, expressed on Sunday his thanks and gratitude to King Salman bin Abdulaziz for lending his patronage to King Faisal Air Academy’s (KFAA) for its celebration of its 50th anniversary next Wednesday.
He also thanked the King for the induction of an F-15-SA fighter jet that is joining the fleet of Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). The academy will also witness the graduation ceremony of the 91st batch of KFAA students.
The deputy crown prince said the Kingdom will continue boosting its military and defense capabilities through upgrading the Armed Forces, notably the RSAF, by making it possible for it to be in possession of the most modern planes in the world. He also said qualifying and training pilots and co-pilots, as well as enhancing the Armed Forces’ capabilities to make them combat ready, will enable the Armed Force to perform more efficiently.
The deputy crown prince said the induction of the new fighter jet coincides with the 50th anniversary of KFAA, which prepared many pilots who have proved their competence at world level.
The event will witness the official joining of the recently received F-15-SA fighter jets to the RSAF fleet following a deal signed with the US in 2012, which stipulated the purchase of 84 F-15-SA fighter jets.
The jets contain advanced equipment in electronic warfare based on digital technology. They can be loaded with conventional or new smart weapons.
KFAA was established in 1967 when Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the then-minister of Defense and Aviation, announced during the graduation ceremony of the 26th batch of King Abdulaziz Military College cadets, the establishment of an air academy that would carry the name King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA).

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Prince Mishaal inaugurates Jeddah University program for gifted students

Author: 
Arab News
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485118898739588300

JEDDAH: Prince Mishaal bin Majed, governor of Jeddah, on Sunday inaugurated a Jeddah University program to attract and care for the gifted.
This was done in the presence of university Director Abdul Fattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, Director General of education in Jeddah Abdullah Al-Thakafi, Adel bin Abdulrahman Al-Qaeed, secretary general of the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (MAWHIBA), and a group of gifted young people.
Prince Mishaal urged the university and its partners to nurture the potential of the gifted, saying they represented real wealth and a promising future.
Mashat said the program is the first of its kind in Saudi universities, covering the fields of science and technology, memorizing the Holy Quran, sports and the arts.
Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Olayan, adviser to the university director, said the idea behind the program is based on five basic concepts: Excellence, creative production, promotion of excellence, promotion of entrepreneurship, and promotion of experts.
The university attracts students classified as gifted in general education schools, and gives them special advantages to help them enrol at the university.
They receive quality and educational activities and programs to promote their abilities while studying. It also helps them join the labor market after graduation.
The vice president of the university, Dr. Adnan Al-Humaidan, said the university aims to free the gifted from physical and moral restrictions, and to urge them to focus on what promotes self-confidence and develop skills and abilities.
“These programs include the means to attract gifted people and provide them with the best international practices in education,” Al-Humaidan said.
Educating the gifted in the Kingdom is aimed at contributing to meeting the future needs of the state — represented in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 — and meeting the special needs of gifted students.
The program also aims to consolidate positive values, build independent personalities, and provide citizens with the knowledge and skills necessary to adapt to labor market needs.

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Education minister to launch forum on children and the media

Author: 
Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485118898649587400

RIYADH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa will inaugurate on Tuesday the “Media: The Friend of Childhood” forum at the Education Ministry.
More than 20 national and international experts will participate in the three-day event, organized by the ministry’s National Committee for Childhood (NCC).
Dr. Wafaa Al-Salih, NCC secretary general, said the “forum comes after intensive studies dealing with the current situation of media and its impact on the Arab child in general and Saudis in particular.”
Al-Salih said the committee “is very keen to discuss all theoretical and practical issues related to childhood during various activities and platforms, aiming to find the optimal environment for the child that meets the rapid-paced development that we are living with.”
She added that the forum is aimed at media people including writers, reporters, journalists and anchors in national media, as well as civil society institutions, especially those with experience in covering child and family issues.
She said the forum also aims to provide participants with a solid background about professional principles related to the rights of children, and to enable activation of their role in supporting, promoting and adhering to those rights.
The forum will include three main pillars. The first will argue the charters and agreement of a child’s rights and the status of its application.
The second pillar will discuss professional guidelines on how the Arab media should deal with child issues and rights.
The third will be dedicated to media morals and displaying children’s experiences in media and education.
The forum will be organized in partnership with the Arab Council for Childhood and Development (ACCD), the Arab Gulf Development Program (AGFUND) and UNICEF in Arab Gulf countries.

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Residents urged to renew Muqeem ID before expiry

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485118898709588000

RIYADH: The Saudi General Directorate for Passports has urged all residents in the Kingdom to renew their Muqeem IDs before they expire via the Interior Ministry’s “Abshir” and “Muqeem” e-services, and to complete the renewal process after full payment of fees via the regulatory banking channels.
The directorate said once the Muqeem ID has expired, the holder will not be able to take advantage of the e-services offered, and financial penalties and punishments will be applied as stipulated by the relevant laws.
The Muqeem ID is the new replacement of residency cards, effective with the start of the Hijri year 1437. It represents the official informative identity of its holder, with many new specifications including validity for five years and the ability to renew electronically every year without the need for re-prints.
The Muqeem ID has come with no changes in regulatory fees or amendments on the residence and work system. It contains the personal data of its holder, including the ID number, place and date of issuance, work permit and name of employer.
The directorate stressed on all residents the importance of carrying the Muqeem ID at all times inside the Kingdom to avoid it being lost, and not to put it as a warranty or use it for purposes other than what it has been originally allocated for.
The Muqeem ID will be issued for the first time after placing a request via the e-service system on the ministry’s “Abshir” or “Muqeem” sites online, and will be delivered via the Wasel postal service through the Saudi Post without the need to go in person to the passport department for printing.
The passports department has also provided, with the cooperation of the National Information Center, an inquiry service about the expiry date of the Muqeem ID via the e-services of the Interior Ministry on “Abshir” and “Muqeem.”
In addition, the system will automatically send text messages to beneficiaries on their mobiles registered in the system to remind them of the need to electronically renew the IDs ahead of time.

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Philippine foreign secretary visits Kingdom ahead of Duterte

Author: 
Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485118898689587700

RIYADH: Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto R. Yasay Jr. visited Saudi Arabia on Saturday in preparation for a visit by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Yasay Jr. “came to Saudi Arabia to meet the Filipino community and to listen to their concerns, issues and aspirations, which he will relay to President Duterte before he comes,” Philippine Embassy Charge d’Affaires Iric C. Arribas told Arab News on Sunday.
Yasay Jr. headed a delegation that included Assistant Secretary Hajceleen Quintana and Director Germinia Usudan, top officials at the Office of Middle East and African Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Voltaire Pingol and Rene Montebon, special assistants to the foreign secretary.
Arribas said Yasay Jr. expressed his appreciation to the Filipino community for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation.
During the meeting, Yasay Jr. reminded the community to be responsible to the host government, which welcomed them to help the Kingdom’s development.
The embassy estimated the number of Filipino workers in the Kingdom at close to a million.
Arribas said the Filipino community is looking forward to the visit of Duterte, and the embassy will ensure his visit is memorable.
Consul General Imelda Panolong joined Yasay Jr. and his delegation, and Philippine Embassy officials, in meeting with the community. Panolong was accompanied by Consul Rodney Jonas Sumague and Vice Consul Alex Estomo.

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Saudi Finance Ministry says no to fees on foreign workers’ remittances

Author: 
Reuters
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485114615588781000

RIYADH: The Saudi finance ministry said on Sunday there would be no fees applied on remittances out of the country, days after the kingdom’s advisory Shoura Council said it was looking at a proposal to impose a 6 percent levy on expatriate remittances. 
Saudi Arabia is “committed to the principle of free movement of capital in and out of the kingdom, in line with international standards,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account.
Around a third of Saudi Arabia’s 30 million inhabitants are foreigners, many of them attracted by the absence of tax and higher pay than they can get at home.
But the country has been facing a budget squeeze from low oil prices and announced reform plans last year, which included a proposal to impose income tax on foreign workers.
Proposals endorsed by the Shoura Council are not always adopted and the kingdom’s central bank governor and finance minister said in the autumn that there were no plans to tax remittances or income.
The country has already introduced a range of new fees to help close a budget gap created by low oil prices.
For example, the government has raised the cost of visas and introduced gradually rising monthly fees on expatriate workers and their dependents.  

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Qatari ‘miracle child’ performs Umrah

Author: 
MASHAEL AL-KHALDI & AISHA FAREED
Sun, 2017-01-22
ID: 
1485097764167304300

JEDDAH: Ghanim Al-Miftah, the Qatari “miracle child”, has reached Makkah to perform Umrah — a wish he previously announced — amid a throng of well-wishers led by Sheikh Maher Al-Meiqli, Imam of the Grand Mosque.
Social media websites published videos of the boy while performing Umrah rituals and his meeting with imams of the Grand Mosque.
“Allah answered my prayers and I was able to perform Umrah and circumambulate the Kaaba on my hands,” said the 15-year-old, who had been dubbed “The Gulf Miracle” and “Qatari ambassador of childhood.”
Ghanim was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder which impairs the development of the lower spine. Despite his physical disability, he has made a name for himself, setting up his own charities, his own sports club and has founded his own ice cream shop, according to Marhaba, Qatar’s information guide.
He had also been described by Ameer Al Mulla, CEO of the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships’ Organizing Committee, as an “embodiment of hope, determination and giving,” and a “fantastic role model for young Qataris.”
Even though he is frail, he was able to overcome his disability and proved to many people that true disability is the disability of the soul and its surrender to inability and believing in the impossible.
In a video shared on social media, Ghanim expressed appreciation to everyone who helped make it possible for him to perform Umrah. “The facilitations I received were from Allah first and foremost; those who helped me to come to Makkah have my deepest appreciation and I will not forget them in my prayers,” he said.

He thanked Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, for making his dream come true, and his uncle Yousif Al-Marzouq, who accompanied him. He also thanked Dr. Faisal Al-Sharif, director general of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, and all the commission’s employees.

Main category: 

Qatari ‘miracle child’ performs Umrah

Author: 
MASHAEL AL-KHALDI & AISHA FAREED
Sun, 2017-01-22
ID: 
1485097764167304300

JEDDAH: Ghanim Al-Miftah, the Qatari “miracle child”, has reached Makkah to perform Umrah — a wish he previously announced — amid a throng of well-wishers led by Sheikh Maher Al-Meiqli, Imam of the Grand Mosque.
Social media websites published videos of the boy while performing Umrah rituals and his meeting with imams of the Grand Mosque.
“Allah answered my prayers and I was able to perform Umrah and circumambulate the Kaaba on my hands,” said the 15-year-old, who had been dubbed “The Gulf Miracle” and “Qatari ambassador of childhood.”
Ghanim was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder which impairs the development of the lower spine. Despite his physical disability, he has made a name for himself, setting up his own charities, his own sports club and has founded his own ice cream shop, according to Marhaba, Qatar’s information guide.
He had also been described by Ameer Al Mulla, CEO of the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships’ Organizing Committee, as an “embodiment of hope, determination and giving,” and a “fantastic role model for young Qataris.”
Even though he is frail, he was able to overcome his disability and proved to many people that true disability is the disability of the soul and its surrender to inability and believing in the impossible.
In a video shared on social media, Ghanim expressed appreciation to everyone who helped make it possible for him to perform Umrah. “The facilitations I received were from Allah first and foremost; those who helped me to come to Makkah have my deepest appreciation and I will not forget them in my prayers,” he said.

He thanked Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, for making his dream come true, and his uncle Yousif Al-Marzouq, who accompanied him. He also thanked Dr. Faisal Al-Sharif, director general of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, and all the commission’s employees.

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