The Gathering brings winter wonderland to Riyadh

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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
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Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)
Updated 15 January 2019
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The Gathering brings winter wonderland to Riyadh

  • The event is now in its second year
  • “It is amazing how people here have responded to us,” says performer

RIYADH: Over the past ten days, more than 50,000 people have attended Winter Day Out, an event sponsored by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), at The Gathering in Riyadh’s Masharef Hills development complex.

Now in its second year, Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for 2019. 

Running from Jan. 3 until Saturday night, thousands of people arrived daily, braving the cold winter weather to walk through the scenic gardens, and enjoy the food, shopping and entertainment, including the Frank Sinatra Orchestra, featuring a Dutch Sinatra tribute act.

“This is my first time in Saudi Arabia, and hopefully not my last,” said Frank In Person, the Sinatra lookalike. “It is amazing how people here have responded to us.

“It was a very flattering experience I did not expect. People here are very polite and friendly. It’s new for the Kingdom and I am honored and privileged to be a part of it.”

Dutch ambassador Joost Reintjes was one of the thousands in attendance, who watched the performance and chatted with members of the Dutch orchestra.

“Everyone here is very excited,” Reintjes said. “The members of the band are very proud to be here. It is the first time; they’ve heard stories about Saudi Arabia, and when you’re abroad and come here for the first time, it is always different to what you thought.”

Winter Day Out is one of around 5,000 events either organized or sponsored by the GEA planned for this year. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)

Reintjes also said there were plenty more Dutch-Saudi events being planned.

“The Netherlands has had magicians and acrobats perform here in Saudi Arabia. There are many things that we can do in Saudi Arabia and the other way around, not just business and investments. There are the entertainment, sport, and cinema sectors – we have a very big cinema event in April with Saudi movies. Culture and entertainment provide a lot of possibilities.”

A full schedule of other GEA events can be found at www.roznamah.sa.

50,000 people have attended Winter Day Out. (AN photo by Essam Al Ghalib)


Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

Updated 16 min 13 sec ago
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Saudi Arabian doctors save lives around the world with Albalsam International

  • Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, says team leader Emad Bukhari

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian nonprofit Albalsam International Organization and its team of surgeons have reportedly provided medical assistance to 2,524 patients in six different countries, including Yemen and Tanzania, it announced recently.

Albalsam, which opened in Switzerland in 2017 under the leadership of Saudi cardiologist and executive director Dr. Emad Bukhari, provides free medical services to underprivileged citizens around the world. 

The organization has seven teams specializing in different areas of medicine: Cardiovascular medicine and surgery; ophthalmic medicine and surgery; pediatric medicine and surgery; cardiac catheterization; pediatric urology; intensive care; and respiratory care.

Bukhari cites Qur’an 22:77 — “O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good — that you may succeed” — as the inspiration behind the organization.

“By the grace of God first, and then by the hard work and devotion of my team and the generous assistance of those who donate to us, we are able to do good in service of humanity,” Bukhari told Arab News.

In numbers

560 cases of eye patients.

2,524 recipients.

46 surgery for children.

Specific teams are chosen for each trip based on the needs of the country in question, he explained: “If we are urgently needed to perform surgeries, we’ll send a larger surgical team of about 10 people. If we are sending doctors to offer training or teaching, we might send four.” The necessary resources for each trip are donated by various hospitals.

The doctors do their utmost to ensure that they are able to provide follow-up care for their patients too, and monitor their recovery. 

“We do not go anywhere unless we know we have the full means to offer the proper care,” Bukhari said. 

“We ensure that the local medical teams can carry on the treatment after we leave, training them ourselves if we have to, and we even follow up on the phone or over Skype, if necessary.”

To date, the organization has provided services including open-heart surgery, cardiac catheterization therapeutic intervention surgery, cardiac ultrasound diagnosis, cataract surgery, and various pediatric surgical procedures.

Bukhari said that the organization treats all patients equally, regardless of race, creed or gender.

“Islam teaches us that saving a single life is like saving all of humanity, and that is how Albalsam contributes to the growth and expansion of its work and puts its own mark on humanitarian action.”