Saudi Arabia to establish institute for Global Cybersecurity Forum

The annual GCF will convene experts and decisionmakers from around the world to meet and discuss protecting the most vulnerable in cyberspace. (Twitter: @gcfriyadh)
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Updated 08 June 2023
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Saudi Arabia to establish institute for Global Cybersecurity Forum

  • The institute aims to harness the potential of cyberspace and support efforts to boost cyber safety on a global scale

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued on Wednesday a royal decree to establish a new institute for the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF) in Riyadh, state news agency SPA reported.
The institute aims to harness the potential of cyberspace and support efforts to boost cyber safety on a global scale.
“The GCF Institute will tackle the most challenging cybersecurity issues facing governments, businesses, and individuals. It will be a catalyst for the exchange of ideas, driving thought leadership and developing research to inform policy solutions and action,” added SPA.
Through the institute, the annual GCF will convene experts and decisionmakers from around the world to meet and discuss protecting the most vulnerable in cyberspace, while maximizing its benefits for everyone.
The establishment of the institute came after “the dialogue among key global cybersecurity stakeholders has underscored the need for a new entity that can provide an action-oriented platform, designed to develop solutions to the most pressing issues in cyberspace,” said SPA.

Welcoming the move, Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “This great initiative is an indicator that the Saudi government is committed and determined to make the Kingdom a global leader in cybersecurity. It would pave the way to promote global cybersecurity cooperation with other nations around the world.

He added: “This initiative would provide a platform for the global community to exchange knowledge, expertise and experience to address the most pressing cybersecurity challenges faced by individuals and organizations.”

Khan said that since Saudi Arabia has a strong footprint and expertise in cybersecurity, the institution will devote its work and effort to policy, technology and practical perspectives.

According to the professor, Saudi Arabia has paid great attention to establishing national institutions for capacity and capability building, and some recent establishments, including the National Cybersecurity Center, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones, and the National Cybersecurity Authority, have helped the Kingdom become a top country in the global cybersecurity index of the International Telecommunication Union.  

Headquartered in Riyadh, the GCF Institute will be guided by an international board of trustees, tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the institution’s sustainability and independence.

In addition, the institute will have an advisory council, composed of international experts carefully drawn from the highest echelons of government, academia, think tanks and the private sector.


Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University

Updated 39 sec ago
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Training program for trainers at Princess Nourah University

RIYADH: Staff at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University recently had the chance to take part in a series of training programs to help them develop their own training and development skills, and prepare more effective training resources.

A six-day “Training of Trainers” program, provided by the university’s Deanship of Quality and Development, included topics such as theories of learning and their effects on training; the needs of the trainer; development of the communication model and communication skills; and the design of training materials.

It also covered management of the training process and the evaluation of performance, along with development of the skills required for managing workshops and conducting training sessions, and how to research information in support of training.

The deanship also provided a three-day “Preparation of Training Packages” program. This addressed the practical aspects of preparing a training program that effectively familiarize trainees with the required principles and standards of quality. It included topics such as development of a curriculum, setting objectives, training methods, and the types and organization of programs.

Officials said the initiative forms part of the deanship’s efforts to help achieve the university’s Strategic Plan 2025, the aim of which is to achieve excellence in teaching and learning through professional support, career guidance, and improved knowledge and skills.


Bahrain king receives speaker of Saudi Shoura Council

King Hamad receives Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh at Al-Safriya Palace.
Updated 12 min 41 sec ago
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Bahrain king receives speaker of Saudi Shoura Council

  • King Hamad expressed appreciation for King Salman’s efforts to strengthen the historical ties between their kingdoms

RIYADH: Bahrain’s King Hamad received Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh at Al-Safriya Palace in Manama on Thursday.

The king praised the deep-rooted relations between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and the high level of close cooperation and mutual coordination achieved on all fronts to fulfil the interests and aspirations of the two countries, Saudi Press Agency reported.

He also expressed appreciation for King Salman’s efforts to strengthen the historical ties between the two kingdoms.

The king commended the instrumental role of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council and Bahrain’s Council of Representatives and Shoura Council in bolstering relations and supporting development in the two countries.

The king also welcomed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Bahraini Council of Representatives and the Saudi Shoura Council, which aims to expand and strengthen cooperation frameworks, exchange expertise and experiences at the legislative and parliamentary levels, and coordinate positions taken at various regional and international parliamentary forums.


Hail locals relish ancient, nutrition-rich dish on special occasions

Updated 14 min 14 sec ago
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Hail locals relish ancient, nutrition-rich dish on special occasions

  • Khalea is mostly lamb fat, needs careful preparation
  • Bedouin communities used it for energy in the past

RIYADH: Residents of Hail are known to enjoy a local dish, khalea, on special occasions and especially during winter because of its nutritious and calorie-rich properties.

Consisting largely of lamb fat, khalea requires tedious and lengthy preparation before it can be consumed.

Manifa Ali, a resident of Hail, told Arab News that the fat is cut into small pieces and yoghurt added as a marinade.

It is then slow-cooked over a low flame, which requires constant stirring so the fat does not burn. As the fat dissolves, the mixture is filtered, and the process is repeated multiple times until it is free of all impurities.

Turmeric can be added for color, and the fat is then fried carefully until crispy, said Ali.

It can then be enjoyed with bread or rice-based dishes.

Sarah Mohammed, another resident, said that making khalea requires “continuous practice and extreme precision because any delay in stirring the fat may lead to it being burned.”

Mohammed’s sister, Nora, enjoys eating the khalea like popcorn while watching TV.

Munif Ali, who lives with his family in a remote area east of Hail, said that khalea has ancient roots, harking back to a time when people did not have electricity.

In the past, local Bedouin communities extracted oil from sheep fat as a source of energy.


Saudi Arabia rejects, condemns Israeli security minister’s visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir speaks at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on July 17, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia rejects, condemns Israeli security minister’s visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

  • The Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry also condemned an Israeli parliament vote to oppose a Palestinian state
  • Continuing and hostile practices toward Islamic sacred sites and international resolutions demonstrate the aggressive approach of Israeli authorities, ministry said

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemned and rejected in the strongest terms on Thursday a visit made by Israel’s far-right national security minister to Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist settler leader, said he had gone up to the Jerusalem hilltop compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray for the return of Israeli hostages on Thursday.

The Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry also condemned an Israeli parliament vote to oppose a Palestinian state.

The 120-member Knesset late on Wednesday passed by 68 votes to nine a resolution that said a Palestinian state on land occupied by Israel would “perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”

These continuing and hostile practices toward Islamic sacred sites and international regulations and resolutions demonstrate the aggressive approach of Israeli authorities, the ministry said. 

The ministry added that these practices prevent the achievement of any progress aimed at sparing the blood of innocent people and achieving a just and comprehensive peace. 

Earlier on Thursday, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Ben-Gvir’s visit as a “provocative intrusion” that endangered the fragile status quo regarding the Jerusalem hilltop compound.


Saudi Arabia sets new tourism record

Updated 18 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia sets new tourism record

  • Record 60 million tourists spent a total of SR143 billion in the first half of 2024
  • Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb: Our country is blessed with a multiplicity of tourist destinations and climate diversity

ABHA: A record 60 million tourists to Saudi Arabia during the first half of 2024 spent a total of SR143 billion ($38.1 billion), Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb has announced.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the minister highlighted the significant advances made by both the Kingdom and its tourism industry which have resulted in such a notable achievement.

“Our country is blessed with a multiplicity of tourist destinations and climate diversity, (as well as) the moderate weather that the Aseer region enjoys during the summer season and low temperatures compared to most cities in the world,” he said.

Al-Khateeb added that visitors could enjoy diverse attractions, from historic villages to farms rich in local products, along with delicious cuisine telling stories of the past.

The third Aseer Season — which will run until Sept. 1 — is ready to make its mark on the region, with renowned locations set to provide rich cultural experiences for visitors.

Known as the cultural hub of Saudi Arabia, Aseer boasts a range of attractions in Abha such as Rijal Alma and Shada Palace Museum. A key landmark is Soudah Peaks, a sustainable luxury mountain destination standing 3,015 meters above sea level — the highest point in the Kingdom.

Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 had strengthened the tourism sector through the launch of the National Tourism Strategy in 2019 and a tourist visa. He also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“Our goal is to develop tourism capabilities and expand international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality,” he said.

Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.

The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.

Al-Khateeb added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SR7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SR35 billion.”