RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks with the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, David Gressly, during his visit to Riyadh, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
During the meeting, they reviewed the regional and international efforts of the Kingdom and the UN to reach a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis, including the Kingdom’s peace initiative.
They also reviewed the humanitarian and development support programs implemented by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center to help alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
#Riyadh | Foreign Minister H.H Prince @FaisalbinFarhan receives the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for #Yemen @DavidGressly. pic.twitter.com/EEqJ1UrSzS
— Foreign Ministry (@KSAmofaEN) February 8, 2022
The two sides discussed ways to enhance joint Saudi-UN coordination to support regional and international efforts to stop the humanitarian violations carried out by the Iran-backed Houthi militia against the Yemeni people, which in turn disrupted all political solutions to end the war, the ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Prince Faisal made a phone call to his Icelandic counterpart Thordis Kolbrun, where they reviewed bilateral relations and ways to enhance them, and discussed the most prominent regional and international developments of common interest.
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.
JEDDAH: Puzzles and board games are a great way to pass time and bond with families and friends, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased people’s interest in such pursuits.
Ali Al-Mohsen, who runs Saudi Puzzles, said that he had the idea of making personalized puzzles for a long time.
He creates 1,000-piece puzzles of beautiful Saudi landscapes and other traditional sights that are close to the hearts of locals.
Al-Mohsen told Arab News that he was such a huge fan of puzzles that he would often spend his free time solving them. “I was finally able to devote my full time and attention to this project when we were asked to stay at home,” he said.
He said that there is a particular process that he follows before the puzzles are sent for manufacturing.
“I research and sort out the most important Saudi national landmarks or pictures that I like, then I speak with the photographer to credit him, and then send it to the manufacturers,” he said.
Makhshab, another puzzle company, provides their customers with parts to create objects out of wood such as a functioning ferris wheel, a hot air balloon, and a telescope.
• Ali Al-Mohsen, who runs Saudi Puzzles, said that he had the idea of making personalized puzzles for a long time.
• He creates 1,000-piece puzzles of beautiful Saudi landscapes and other traditional sights that are close to the hearts of locals.
Ibrahim Al-Omar, an engineer and the brains behind Makhshab, said that he developed the idea during lockdown. “I think recently puzzles and such games have become popular among parents as they saw that the electronic devices were consuming their children’s time and energy, leaving no time for anything else.”
Al-Omar was not able to add a Saudi twist to his puzzles as they were manufactured abroad. “They manufacture things in very big quantities, which is why we decided to use international landmarks to test the waters,” he said.
In the future, Al-Omar said that he “wants to make something that requires mental skills and not just something you build out of pieces of wood.”
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have launched a health e-passport for travel between the two countries.
The Saudi Cabinet approved the memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and Bahrain’s Information and e-Government Authority to activate the electronic document.
It will help verify and match traveler information across the King Fahd Causeway for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for COVID-19 health requirements.
The health passport was introduced by the SDAIA in January last year and has since been enhanced to display a PCR result and travel insurance policy for coronavirus risks.
It also links the passport with border systems, verifying the traveler’s health eligibility when issuing the boarding pass, and integrating with IATA transport systems to display travel requirements. The aim of the SDAIA is to improve the health e-passport to the point that it can be acknowledged as an official document worldwide.
Last July, Saudi Arabia’s Tawakkalna app announced the inclusion of a feature in the health e-passport to review the insurance policy data approved by the Saudi Central Bank and the Council of Health Insurance, which covers the risks of COVID-19 outside Saudi Arabia. The feature aims to facilitate travel procedures.
In November, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain signed an agreement to activate the health passport and achieve technical integration between the Tawakkalna and the Bahraini BeAware Bahrain app.
The aim is to facilitate the movement of travelers, citizens, and residents between the two countries through the King Fahd Causeway.
It also helps to verify their compliance with the health procedures and requirements in force within the framework of fighting COVID-19.
The collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain aims to ensure the implementation of bilateral preventive and control measures in combating the disease.
It is expected that the electronic link between the two countries will expedite the completion of travel procedures. It will also enable people working at the King Fahd Causeway to immediately verify all the personal and health data of travelers, in addition to enhancing the level of protection and confidentiality of all data.
Bahraini writer Najat Shwaiter said that the agreement contributed to providing a database with “information accuracy and high reliability.”
“This is important because it preserves the privacy of travelers in particular,” she told Arab News.
She said the e-passport would save the time and effort of travelers and “also the employees working with authorities in the border area between the two countries.”
Shwaiter emphasized the importance of the e-passport as it was part of the preventive measures to combat coronavirus, while also ensuring the movement of travelers between the two countries within their health requirements.
She also believed that this move would enhance digitalization and contribute to the reduction of paper transactions.