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Arab officials call for more flexibility in cities to help tackle existing and future challenges – Arab News

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RIYADH: Arab officials on Tuesday called for action to make cities more “flexible” places by 2030 so that they can better tackle current and future challenges, a goal that they described as “crucial.”
It came during the 19th general conference of the Arab Towns Organization, which was hosted by Riyadh. In their final statement on Tuesday, the participants highlighted the importance of supporting the work of crisis and disaster management teams in local administrations. They also stressed the need for the organization and its institutions to focus on youth, enhance the role young people and help them to achieve their ambitions. They added that volunteering is an important part of the societal fabric of cities and plays a part in sustainable development.


Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, Mayor of Riyadh, during 19 th general conference of Arab towns organization in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Supplied)

Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, the mayor of Riyadh, said: “Despite the different challenges among cities, we all share the desire to achieve comprehensive and sustainable urban development that contributes to achieving the population’s aspirations.”
The final statement was signed by representatives of 20 Arab countries. It also highlighted the importance of electronic transformation, building smart cities, and achieving social justice and equality. In addition, it called for the enhanced participation of persons with disabilities in society and employment, the protection of the environment as a collective responsibility, and cooperation and relationship building among Arab cities.
The participants recommended the development of partnerships that support innovation and creativity, rehabilitation projects for cities, and placing cities and urban centers at the forefront of development processes.


Officers and specialists, during the 19th General conference of Arab Towns Organization in Riyadh on Tuesday. (Supplied)

“The global urban agenda of the United Nations emphasizes the importance of taking into account the design, implementation and operation of cities in a flexible manner that reflects existing and future challenges resulting from the effects of climate change,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, an urban-planning expert and secretary general of the Saudi Green Building Forum.
He noted that Riyadh is following “a green approach, mainly by increasing the vegetation cover and reducing heat islands in residential and commercial neighborhoods, and by offering investment projects that are friendly to humans and the environment, which raises the quality of life for the population and fulfills the commitments, ambitions and initiatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Fadl praised Saudi Arabia’s adoption of environmentally friendly best practices and methodologies supported by digitization.
 
RIYADH: Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi deputy minister of defense, patronized the graduation ceremony of the 19th group of King Abdullah Air Defense College cadets, the Saudi Press Agency reported on early Thursday.
He attended the ceremony on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Commander of the college Major general Mohammed Al-Balawi said that the cadets studied for three years at the college in Taif, where they provided with knowledge and rehabilitation using the latest education and training means under the supervision of elite teachers and instructors.
He added that since the college receives cadets from other countries annually, this batch included cadets from Bahrain, Mauritania, Djibouti, Yemen, and Sudan.
After the parade, the cadets performed the oath, and then Prince Khaled honored the high achieving cadets.
On Wednesday, 228 female Saudi cadets graduated from the General Directorate of Passports military training course, where they completed their fourth basic individual training.
They were honored during a ceremony patronized by Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al-Yahya, the directorate’s director general, under the patronage of Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, the minister of interior.
JUBBALAND : The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center has provided urgent food aid to 18,000 Somalis affected by drought and displacement.
The center distributed 3,000 food baskets in Goobweyn, in Somalia’s Jubaland state.
The director of KSrelief’s branch in Africa, Youssef Al-Rahma, said that 2,838 tons of aid will be distributed in Somalia, benefiting 254,184 people in most regions.
Al-Rahma added that 670 tons have been allocated to Jubaland for the benefit of 60,000 people, stressing that this aid comes within the center’s relief and humanitarian projects to alleviate the suffering of the brotherly people of Somalia.
RIYADH: Fans of the Korean band BTS are in for a treat with an opportunity to win merchandise from a new game featuring the band. 
ITP Gaming has launched an activation of a mobile game in the Middle East and North Africa region, marking a collaboration between Garena Free Fire and BTS.
The main activation is a pop-up in the Saudi capital’s bustling Riyadh Front shopping and entertainment district, which features a series of activities related to the band and their participation in the game from March 24 to April 2.
Abdullah Al-Houti, executive sales for ITP Gaming, explained that Garena gave them permission to promote the game in the MENA region.
“Korean music group BTS are one of the world’s most popular bands and were the top-selling artists of 2020 and 2021. They are also very popular in KSA, which is why we had the permission to promote it here,” Al-Houti told Arab News. 
“We planned to promote the game in a pop-up that has fun activities for visitors, like the photo booth. The wall of the pop-up explains how BTS designed the characters of the game, with each member of the team designing their character.” 
Visitors were invited to participate in free activities, such as the interactive photo booth where they could place themselves in the game’s setting alongside the K-pop superstars, a spinning wheel where they could win limited-edition Free Fire x BTS merchandise, and a gallery wall with never-before-seen hand-drawn costume designs from the BTS members themselves.
Visitors were invited to participate in free activities, such as the interactive photo booth where they could place themselves in the game’s setting alongside the K-pop superstars, a spinning wheel where they could win limited-edition Free Fire x BTS merchandise, and a gallery wall with never-before-seen hand-drawn costume designs from the BTS members themselves.
“I like how when you enter the pop-up, you can listen to BTS music in the background. The place is attracting a lot of visitors. I know many people who love the band, and owning their merchandise is amazing to those who like to collect their things, including myself,” Eman Mohammed, a visitor of the pop-up, told Arab News.
Many influencers were invited to visit the booth to share their experiences on social media platforms. Lina, who is also known as KPOPINA, complimented the work they put into the pop-up.
“As a K-pop fan, I really loved it. The details, colors and gifts were amazing, and I enjoyed the photo booth section, too. The workers are also friendly. I really hope to see more K-pop events like this in the future,” the influencer said.
“We worked as a team to make this pop-up happen. To mark the one-of-a-kind collaboration, we, as ITP Gaming, are also organizing similar activations in two other important MENA countries, Egypt and Morocco,” Al-Houti added.
Free Fire, a mobile battle royale game launched by Garena, was the most downloaded mobile game in the world in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The partnership will see a series of in-game costumes and collectibles themed around the band, as well as custom emotes and hidden artwork for fans.
RIYADH: Bangladesh Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Mohammad Javed Patwary recently met Khaled bin Hussein Al-Biyari, Saudi assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, in Riyadh.
During the meeting, the two discussed issues of mutual concern and ways to enhance cooperation between both countries. Several officials from the Kingdom and Bangladesh attended the meeting.
The Bangladesh Embassy recently celebrated the country’s national day and 51st anniversary of independence. Assistant Deputy Riyadh Gov. Nabeel Abdullah Al-Taweel attended the reception as chief guest.
Ambassadors and diplomats from different missions, high officials from different ministries, representatives from chambers, and businessmen also attended the reception.
The Bangladesh ambassador, along with guests, cut a cake to celebrate the day.
In his speech, Patwary said: “Bangladesh achieved independence through a nine-month liberation war under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and with the sacrifice of the lives of people.
“Today Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working relentlessly to implement Bangabandhu’s Golden Bengal dream and to make Bangladesh a developed country by 2041.”
Patwary thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support and for facilitating the well-being of Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom.
He described Saudi Arabia as Bangladesh’s trusted friend.
The relationship between the countries “is based on our shared values, common understanding on global peace and harmony, and commitment to concerted bilateral cooperation toward advancing economic activities and issues of mutual interest,” he said.
Patwary added: “We would like to take our relationship to a new height in the coming days, particularly in the areas of security, trade, investment, education, health, agriculture, climate change and environmental protection, and manpower between the two brotherly countries.”
The ambassador urged expatriate Bangladeshis in Saudi Arabia to come forward to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh.
RIYADH: More than 200 female Saudi cadets graduated on Wednesday from a military training course, the General Directorate of Passports announced.
The 228 soldiers, who have completed their fourth basic individual course, were honored during a ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, the directorate’s director general, under the patronage of Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, the minister of interior.
 
In a speech, Al-Yahya passed on to the graduates a message of congratulations from the minister and praised the women for the determination they had shown during training. He also stressed the importance of “responsibility, working seriously, being team-spirited and making every effort to serve the country.”
Saudi Arabia opened up military recruitment to women in February last year as part of the goals of Vision 2030 relating to empowerment and gender equality in all fields. Saudi women now have the opportunity to join the Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force and the Armed Forces Medical Services.
The first group of female recruits graduated from the Armed Forces Women’s Cadre Training Center in September last year after completing 14 weeks of basic training that began on May 30.

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