US ambassador visits King Fahd Complex for Printing of Holy Quran

US Ambassador Michael Alan Ratney, left, receiving a memento from an official at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran in Madinah. (SPA)
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Updated 30 September 2023
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US ambassador visits King Fahd Complex for Printing of Holy Quran

MADINAH: The US Ambassador to the Kingdom, Michael Alan Ratney, and the US Consul General in Jeddah, Fares Asad, visited the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran in Madinah recently.

Ratney appreciated the work at the complex. He expressed gratitude for the warm reception he received from those in charge of the complex.

Ratney said that thousands of American citizens visit Makkah and Madinah every year, and they often leave with a copy of the Holy Quran printed in the King Fahd Complex.

 


Nepal latest to ban Indian spice brands over safety concerns

Updated 3 min 52 sec ago
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Nepal latest to ban Indian spice brands over safety concerns

  • Hong Kong, Singapore last month banned products from Everest and MDH after tests detected presence of ethylene oxide
  • Besides its use as a pesticide, ethylene oxide is used to sterilize medical equipment and as a sterilising agent in spices

KATMANDU: Nepal has become the latest jurisdiction to ban the import and sale of two popular Indian spice brands after reports that some of their products contained a cancer-causing pesticide, officials said Friday.
Hong Kong and Singapore last month banned products from Everest and MDH — two brands popular in India and exported worldwide — after tests detected the presence of ethylene oxide, according to media reports.
Besides its use as a pesticide, ethylene oxide is used to sterilize medical equipment and as a sterilising agent in spices to prevent illnesses caused by salmonella and E. Coli bacteria.
Regular exposure to the colorless and odourless compound increases the “risk of cancers of the white blood cells,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Matina Joshi Vaidya, chief of Nepal’s Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, told AFP that the Himalayan country had also decided to halt the sale of the spice blends.
“It is an issue of public health,” she said. “We have its banned import and sale from Thursday.”
Nepal has banned four products — three variants produced by MDH and one by Everest.
“We do not have the lab resources to run the tests in the country. The ban will be lifted when Indian authorities declare it safe,” Vaidya said.
Everest and MDH are India’s top two spice brands with a market share of 16 and 10 percent respectively in 2022, according to consumer research monitor Statista.
Both companies have put out statements denying their products pose a health hazard to consumers after the Singapore and Hong Kong import bans.
“We clarify and state unequivocally that these claims are untrue and lack any substantiating evidence,” MDH said last month on social media platform X.
India’s food regulation agency has asked for state authorities to carry out random testing of spice products, broadcaster NDTV reported.


Religion minister inspects catering arrangements for Pakistani Hajj pilgrims in Madinah

Updated 55 min 31 sec ago
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Religion minister inspects catering arrangements for Pakistani Hajj pilgrims in Madinah

  • Pakistan’s Hajj Mission has hired seven catering companies in Madinah to oversee food arrangements for pilgrims
  • Chaudhry Salik Hussain urges catering firms to pay special attention to quality of flour, vegetables, meat and spices

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s religious affairs minister, Chaudhry Salik Hussain, has visited various firms in Madinah and inspected catering arrangements for Pakistani Hajj pilgrims, the Pakistani religious affairs ministry said on Saturday.
Pakistan’s Hajj Mission has hired seven catering companies in Madinah to oversee food arrangements for pilgrims as they arrive in Saudi Arabia’s holy cities from for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage in June.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and requires every adult Muslim to undertake the journey to the holy Islamic sites in Makkah at least once in their lifetime if they are financially and physically able.
Hussain, who is currently in the Kingdom, inspected various stages of food preparation and packaging for the pilgrims, and lauded all departments for the “excellent work.”
“Special attention should be paid to the quality of flour, rice, vegetables, meat, pulses and spices,” he was quoted as telling officials of catering firms. “Catering companies should try to use all ingredients, spices and meat from Pakistan.”
He said using Pakistani commodities and spices would not only benefit Pakistan, but it would also maintain the Pakistani taste, adding that an online survey through the Pak Hajj mobile app would be conducted for the feedback of the pilgrims.
Pakistan has a Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims this year, of which 63,805 people will perform the pilgrimage under the government scheme, while the rest will use private tour operators. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to run from June 14-19.
Pakistani pilgrims have been arriving in Madinah since May 9 when Pakistan launched its pre-Hajj flight operation. More than 20,000 Pakistani pilgrims have since arrived in Madinah under the government scheme.


Pakistan praises Saudi Arabia over facilitating Hajj for its nationals

Updated 18 May 2024
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Pakistan praises Saudi Arabia over facilitating Hajj for its nationals

  • Pakistani pilgrims have been arriving in Madinah since May 9 when pre-Hajj flight operations were launched
  • Pakistani minister is currently visiting Madinah to oversee Hajj arrangements for his nationals

RIYADH: Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Chaudhry Salik Hussain has expressed his appreciation to Saudi Arabia for the exceptional services and facilities provided to Pakistani pilgrims who will be taking part in Hajj this year.
Minister Hussain’s remarks came in a statement delivered in Madinah, where he is currently visiting to oversee Hajj arrangements for Pakistani pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Pakistan has a Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims this year, of which 63,805 people will perform the pilgrimage under the government scheme while the rest will use private tour operators. This year’s Hajj is expected to run from June 14-19.
Pakistani pilgrims have been arriving in Madinah since May 9 when pre-Hajj flight operations were launched. Over 20,000 Pakistani pilgrims have so far arrived in Madinah under the government scheme.
The Pakistani official particularly praised the Saudi leadership for launching the Makkah Route Initiative at Karachi International Airport, mirroring the program already established at Islamabad International Airport.
Hussain was also confident the initiative will be extended to Lahore Airport in the coming year.


Israeli forces kill senior Palestinian militant in Jenin: army

Updated 18 May 2024
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Israeli forces kill senior Palestinian militant in Jenin: army

  • The strike by a fighter jet and helicopter killed Islam Khamayseh
  • Khamayseh was a leader of the Jenin Battalion

RAMALLAH: The Israeli military said on Saturday it killed a senior Palestinian militant during an air strike on an “operations center” in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
“A number of significant terrorists were inside the compound,” the Israeli Defense Forces said in a statement posted to Telegram.
It said the strike by a fighter jet and helicopter killed Islam Khamayseh, a “senior terrorist operative in the Jenin Camp” who was responsible for a series of attacks in the area.
The Al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, confirmed in a statement that Khamayseh was killed and several others wounded during an Israeli raid on Friday night.
It said Khamayseh was a leader of the Jenin Battalion, which is affiliated with Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said one person was killed and eight were wounded and receiving hospital treatment as a result of Israel’s operation in Jenin on Friday night.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 and its troops routinely carry out incursions into areas such as Jenin, which are nominally under the Palestinian Authority’s security control.
The West Bank has seen a recent surge in violence, particularly since the Israel-Hamas war erupted on October 7.
More than 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since October 7, according to Palestinian officials, and at least 20 Israelis have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
The Gaza Strip has been at war since Hamas’s unprecedented attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.
Israel’s retaliatory offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has killed at least 35,303 people, most of them civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.


KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Yemen and Greece

Updated 18 May 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Yemen and Greece

  • 26 neurosurgeries were done in Sudan
  • 330 relief trucks delivered 5,752 tonnes of aid to Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief  continued its aid projects in Sudan Yemen and Greece.
In Sudan, KSrelief implemented a medical volunteer project for neurosurgery and spine surgery which ran from May 12 to May 17.
About 15 volunteer-specialists from various medical fields assisted in performing 26 surgeries, state news agency SPA reported. 
Meanwhile, the aid agency continued its humanitarian aid project in Yemen.
KSrelief provided a convoy of 330 relief trucks which delivered of over 5,752 tonnes critical supplies to people in 14 Yemeni governorates.  
The aid included food, medical supplies and shelter materials. 
Additionally, KSrelief donated 10 tonnes of dates to Greece, which was presented by Saudi ambassador to Greece Saad Al-Ammar to Athens.