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Saudi Arabia reports 2136 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths – Arab News

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 2,136 new infections on Sunday.
Of the new cases, 765 were recorded in Riyadh, 157 in Jeddah, and 149 in Dammam. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 692,001 after 3,482 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,973 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 59.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.
MAKKAH: The trial phase for a public transport bus project in Makkah was launched on Tuesday by the Royal Commission for Makkah City and the Holy Sites, on the track linking the Haramain Express train station in the Rusaifa district and the Jabal Omar station near the courtyards of the Grand Mosque.
The project is one of the initiatives from the Doyof Al Rahman Program, the pilgrims’ service program, one of the programs of Saudi Vision 2030.
The RCMC representative for the Makkah Buses project, Dr. Rayan Al-Hazmi, said that 12 other tracks would be launched to cover most Makkah neighborhoods in the coming months. These tracks will extend for a distance of 280 km throughout Makkah, with 450 bus stops, served by 400 buses, some with a capacity of 85 passengers, while other articulated buses will have a larger capacity of 125 passengers.
Al-Hazmi said that four central stations around the Grand Mosque would handle transportation to and from the site, targeting the residents of Makkah city and its various neighborhoods.
He added that this trial phase was free of charge since the RCMC wanted as many people as possible to try the service and give their feedback to ensure that the targeted groups were satisfied with the service quality.
“Buses will reach bus stops every five to seven minutes, according to different times of the day. Every bus will be monitored based on very accurate schedules from the control rooms, with the aim of respecting schedules by the second, in pursuit of achieving the highest levels of readiness and discipline,” Al-Hazmi told Arab News.
He said the trial track was dubbed Route 7A and served to transport passengers from the Haramain Express train station to the Grand Mosque, but that the other 12 tracks were distributed in a way to serve all neighborhoods, regardless of their geographical locations, including Umm Al-Qura University students and even the outskirts of Makkah.
Al-Hazmi said that this step was aimed at reducing the use of vehicles in Makkah. “We will also raise capacity during the Hajj and Umrah season to go in line with the operational plans carried out by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.”
He said the project would incorporate eight languages from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research as secondary languages after Arabic.
Al-Hazmi stressed that the RCMC was aware that Makkah was full of shops and sidewalks, and that it had taken this matter into consideration to establish this project with the least number of complaints.
“A committee made up of representatives from the Transport General Authority, the Holy Makkah Municipality, consulting offices, and companies executing the project will study every complaint submitted before the RCMC or the relevant authorities separately and take action to ensure the issue is resolved immediately.”
He said there were no specific distances between stops. They differed according to each route and the need for these tracks, which would constantly be improved after looking into passenger feedback to ensure the project’s positive development.
Makkah Buses aims to improve services for pilgrims to help them perform their religious rituals with ease, which can be done through facilitating the hosting of more pilgrims, providing quality services to pilgrims, and enriching their religious and cultural experience while providing all possibilities to ensure sector sustainability.
The project has a contract for the supply, operation, and maintenance of 400 buses for a period of eight years and six months, and the construction of a bus station, which includes a control building, a driver management building, a fuel station, maintenance workshops, parking lots, and housing facilities for drivers.
The buses feature fire extinguishing systems, carbon emission reduction systems, security systems through cameras inside and outside the bus, collision avoidance systems, electronic screens showing the intended destination, as well as hydraulic systems to help people with special needs, dedicated sections for strollers and wheelchairs, WiFi services, and audio-visual systems for trip information inside the bus.
Buses will be effectively scheduled to accommodate transportation needs on normal days, peak times and seasons, with up to 20 operating hours per day.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 1,793 new infections on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 546 were recorded in Riyadh, 125 in Dammam, and 121 in Jeddah. Several other cities recorded less than one hundred new cases each.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 702,049 after 3,207 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,977 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 59.8 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.
RIYADH: An official from Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, also known as Nazaha, has revealed details of a number of recent criminal cases it recently investigated and prosecuted.
In one of the biggest cases, a bank employee was arrested for receiving gifts, including travel and accommodation expenses, from a citizen and a resident, who were also arrested, in return for depositing SR7 million ($1.87 million) from an unknown source in bank accounts belonging to a commercial entity.
According to investigators, as much as SR136 million was deposited by the citizen and the resident at banks in the Kingdom and transferred abroad over a period of five months.
In a second case, a resident working at an engineering consultancy firm was caught red-handed receiving SR400,000, from a total payment of SR2.8 million, in return for issuing a license for the illegal construction of an industrial compound. The scheme also involved an employee at the local municipality, who was caught in the act receiving SR1 million.
Another case involved an engineer at a communications company and two mediators who were caught receiving SR225,000 of a SR450,000 payment in return for extending a network-implementation contract between the company and a commercial entity, after the engineer sent an e-mail threatening the termination of the contract unless the payment was made.
In a separate case, a resident was caught receiving SR162,000 in return for reducing a penalty imposed by a municipality on a warehouse operator. Investigators found that the ultimate recipient of the payment was the manager of technical affairs at the municipality, who was caught accepting the payment from the resident. The investigation also revealed that the manager had received SR1 million in return for assisting with illegal property purchases.
Meanwhile, a municipality employee was caught accepting SR150,000 of a SR250,000 payment in return for approving a license for a building constructed in an illegal fashion.
Another case involved a resident working for a charitable organization as a medical-procedures analyst who was caught in the act accepting a SR15,000 payment for issuing an approval by the organization for a resident to receive medical treatment.
Nazaha said it continues to work to identify and prosecute anyone involved in the embezzlement of public funds, abuse of power and position for personal gain, or otherwise harming the public interest. It stressed that guilty parties can be pursued and held accountable even after retirement because there is no statute of limitations on such crimes.
RIYADH: Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez on Tuesday received Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir in the capital, Asuncion, during his official visit to the South American country.
During the meeting, Al-Jubeir conveyed greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the president, government and people of Paraguay, and wished them continued stability, progress and prosperity, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They two sides reviewed opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance and develop them in various fields, in addition to a number of regional and international issues and developments of common interest.
Earlier on Tuesday, Al-Jubeir met with Beatriz Argimon, vice president of Uruguay, and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo Bonasso in Montevideo, where they held talks on developing joint action and bilateral coordination in various fields.
#Montevideo | Minister of State for Foreign Affairs member of the Council of Ministers H.E @AdelAljubeir met with Vice President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay H.E Dr. @beatrizargimon, during his official visit to the Republic of #Uruguay. pic.twitter.com/q3BEO0v5uX
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Gate Development Authority and the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts have signed a memorandum of understanding for strategic cooperation in a number of projects and initiatives, the authority said on Tuesday.
The agreement includes plans for projects related to education and training in fields such as traditional arts, urban heritage, the protection of heritage sites, inventory and documentation of tangible and intangible heritage, conducting studies and the exchange of expertise, and promoting the role of the local community in preserving Diriyah’s heritage and providing programs and services to the community of Saudi craftsmen.
It also includes cooperation between the organizations to establish a library of traditional arts and crafts in Diriyah and the Najd region.
The memorandum was signed by Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of the DGDA, and Suzan Al-Yahya, director general of RITA.
“The two parties will work to cooperate in developing educational, cultural and community initiatives of common interest, and to provide specialized courses in traditional crafts and arts that were practiced in Diriyah, including wickerwork, jewelry, stone and woodwork, building with mud and more,” the DGDA said.
The courses will be held in Prince Saad bin Saud Palace, one of the largest mud-brick structures in the historic Turaif neighborhood, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Inzerillo said he is pleased to enhance cooperation with RITA, which includes innovative collaborative efforts to manage and preserve heritage and culture; provide workshops and link them to the labor market; and propose an action plan for graduates of the institute by building connections between them and authorities tasked with preserving heritage and culture.
Al-Yahya said the deal will help to expand the joint work to include the exchange of research, statistics and related studies; cooperation in disseminating educational materials related to traditional architecture; the creation of a unified platform for collecting data relating to heritage and culture; coordination on joint initiatives, events and programs; and the organization of exhibitions of work by art students and craftsmen.
Diriyah, the site of the First Saudi State, has been selected as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2030. The Diriyah Gate project includes plans for a wide range of cultural, entertainment, commercial, hospitality, educational, institutional and residential areas and facilities, including 38 hotels and a variety of museums and cultural institutes, in addition to becoming the beating heart of commercial markets.
RITA was established in Riyadh last year, as part of the Quality of Life Program, with the aim of highlighting national identity and enriching Saudi traditional arts locally and internationally, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification program.

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