Dr. Sara Jeza Al-Otaibi, director general at the Institute of Public Administration in Makkah

Dr. Sara Jeza Al-Otaibi
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Updated 24 January 2021

Dr. Sara Jeza Al-Otaibi, director general at the Institute of Public Administration in Makkah

Dr. Sara Jeza Al-Otaibi has been the director general of the women’s branch of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in the Makkah region since January 2018. She has also been a member of the IPA’s supreme committee since then.

Al-Otaibi received her bachelor’s degree in computer sciences from the College of Sciences at King Abdul Aziz University in 2007.

Two years later she attended the School of Electronics and Computer Sciences at the University of Southampton, UK, where she completed her master’s degree in web technology in 2010. In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. in the same field of study at the same university.

In 2018, she served as dean of library affairs for students and as an associate professor in web technology at Taif University (TU). Later that year she began teaching at the IPA as an associate professor. She was the first dean of library affairs for male and female students in Saudi Arabia.

From 2017 to 2018, she served as the dean for undergraduate studies (female section) and as a board member of the TU. She was vice dean for university development and the vice dean for e-learning and distance education at TU.

She has also been a part-time consultant at the Jubail-based Regional Center for Quality and Excellence in Education (RCQE), which is run under the auspices of UNESCO.

Al-Otaibi is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Information Technologies and Lifelong Learning (JITLL), an IT British peer-reviewed and open-access journal.

She is known for designing Finger ID, a desktop application that uses a biometric recognition system. This aims to be convenient for internet users as they do not have to remember multiple usernames and passwords to access multiple online accounts.


Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 387,795
  • A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced nine deaths from COVID-19 and 948 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 419 were recorded in Riyadh, 210 in Makkah, 133 in the the Eastern Province, 34 in Asir, 32 in Madinah, 23 in Jazan, 20 in Hail, 15 in Tabuk, 12 in the Northern Borders region, nine in Najran and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 387,795 after 775 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

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Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

  • The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have donated $8.1 million for charitable and not-for-profit activities via the Ehsan Platform, state news agency SPA reported.

The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal that contributes to the governance, management and sustainability of donations. King Salman donated $5.4 million (SR20 million) while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman contributed $2.7 million (SR10 million).

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, Chairman of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, thanked the Saudi leaders for their generous donations which according to him was an affirmation of “attention being paid by the state’s leadership through being in touch with citizens’ needs and expending for goodness ways.”

Al-Ghamdi expressed the Crown Prince’s keenness to support charitable work and develop the non-profit sector.

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Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Updated 17 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

  • Coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians

RIYADH: The Arab coalition destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan on Friday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The militia’s hostile attempts to target civilians are systematic and deliberate, the coalition said. 

The coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The attack came a day after the coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Those attacks originated from Sa’dah governorate in Yemen, spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki said.

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Six years on, the sound of Makkah’s Ramadan cannon is still missed

The blast of the cannon, with all its importance and beauty, became the sound of the call to prayer for the residents of the holy city. (Supplied)
Updated 17 April 2021

Six years on, the sound of Makkah’s Ramadan cannon is still missed

  • Modern technology — most notably the speakers affixed to the minarets — eventually made the cannon obsolete

MAKKAH: It has been six years since the cannon that stands atop Mount Abu Al-Madafaa in the north of Makkah has been fired to mark the holy month of Ramadan. But its sound still reverberates in the memories of many Makkans, for whom it was a means to tell the times of fasting, morning prayers, and the beginning and end of Ramadan.

For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to see the cannon being fired once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, sahoor, and the start of fasting.
In an interview with Arab News when the cannon was still active, Maj. Abdul Mohsin Al-Maimani — a spokesman for Makkah Police, which was responsible for guarding, maintaining and firing the cannon — noted how popular the cannon was with the public.
“When Makkah Police was founded 75 years ago, it was entrusted with the maintenance and care of this cannon. After Eid, the cannon is returned to a special department. A few days before Ramadan, it is sent back to the mountain. The powder is handled by a special team so that no one gets hurt,” he added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to fire the cannon once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, suhoor, and the start of fasting.

• Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.

Fahad Al-Harbi, mayor of Ray Zakhir near Mount Abu Al-Madafaa, told Arab News: “The Ramadan cannon withstood technical changes for long decades until its recent retirement. It represents ancient Makkan history. The blast of the cannon, with all its importance and beauty, became the sound of the call to prayer for the residents of Makkah.”

The cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and ‘the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month’ to both the cannon and the mountain.

Dr. Fawaz, Al-Dahas

For many years, he noted, the cannon was “the only means to alert people that it was time to break fast” and “added a distinct character to the holy month” that is still “treasured in people’s memory.”
According to Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the Center of Makkah History, the cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and “the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month” to both the cannon and the mountain.
“In the past, it was impossible to hear the voice of the Grand Mosque’s muezzins, so the cannon performed the task on their behalf. It remained a tradition held dearly,” said Al-Dahas. But modern technology — most notably the speakers affixed to the minarets of Makkah’s Grand Mosque — eventually made the cannon obsolete.
Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.

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Saudi mission launches Ramadan food programs in Thailand

Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi mission launches Ramadan food programs in Thailand

BANGKOK: Saudi Arabia on Friday launched Ramadan food programs in Bangkok.

The charge d’affaires at Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in the Thai capital, Issam Al-Jutaili, inaugurated the King Salman iftar and date distribution programs, supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

The initiative was launched in cooperation and coordination with the Sheikhul Islam Office, the Central Islamic Council and prominent Islamic centers and associations in Thailand.

The embassy’s Islamic adviser, Dr. Youssef bin Abdullah Al-Hamoudi, said that the Kingdom this year provided eight tons of dates and nearly 5,000 food baskets. These will be distributed to around 35,000 Muslims in Thailand during Ramadan.

The program will be rolled out in 30 provinces, 990 mosques and 160 Islamic centers, associations and commissions, in line with COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Muslims who attended the inauguration of the two programs praised the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Islam and Muslims around the world. 

They extended their thanks and appreciation to the Saudi government.