Saudi Arabia contributes $1.5m toward launch of new regional aviation safety body

‎Inauguration ceremony ‎of the Regional Safety Oversight Organization ‎for the ‎Middle East and North African States (MENA-RSOO) which is hosted by ‎Riyadh ‎‎(Wednesday, December 6, 2023) by Abdulaziz Al Duailej President of the General ‎Civil Aviation Authority inaugurated.‎ (Supplied)
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Updated 06 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia contributes $1.5m toward launch of new regional aviation safety body

  • Al-Duailj said: “The establishment of the new organization will be a milestone for all its member states and is also a testimony to their commitment to aviation safety, quality, and efficiency

RIYADH: A new body to monitor aviation safety in the Middle East and North Africa region was on Wednesday unveiled at an international industry conference being held in Riyadh.

Abdulaziz Al-Duailj, president of the Saudi General Civil Aviation Authority, inaugurated the new MENA Regional Safety Oversight Organization — which will be based in Riyadh — during a ceremony as part of the 15th International Civil Aviation Organization meeting.

A memorandum of agreement was later signed by representatives of MENA-RSOO member states including Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Libya, Mauritania, and Yemen.




‎Inauguration ceremony ‎of the Regional Safety Oversight Organization ‎for the ‎Middle East and North African States (MENA-RSOO) which is hosted by ‎Riyadh ‎‎(Wednesday, December 6, 2023) by Abdulaziz Al Duailej President of the General ‎Civil Aviation Authority inaugurated.‎ (Supplied)

The new organization will aim to help develop and implement national training and safety programs, improve the monitoring of air safety, and work with nations to meet aviation safety standards.

In a speech, Al-Duailj said: “The establishment of the new organization will be a milestone for all its member states and is also a testimony to their commitment to aviation safety, quality, and efficiency.

“This step confirms the Kingdom’s keenness and commitment to aviation safety through its continued cooperation with international partners, to ensure the highest standards of air safety are achieved,” he added.

Al-Duailj noted that the ICAO wanted to see unified safety standards and the integration of technology throughout the civil aviation industry, especially regarding the design of aircraft engines, autonomous control, remotely piloted service aircraft, personal transportation via air taxis, and the overall performance of the air traffic network.

On Saudi Arabia’s financial contribution toward the setting up of the MENA-RSOO, he said: “Through this, the Kingdom aims to activate the role of this organization and support it with an amount of $1.5 million for the first two years of its establishment, in order for the organization to carry out its tasks and responsibilities in supporting air safety programs in our region.

“It also aims to assist member states in strengthening and raising the legislative and supervisory capabilities of their national air safety systems, enabling them to achieve higher levels of compliance with international rules and recommendations,” Al-Duailj added.

Salvatore Sciacchitano, president of the ICAO Council, said that the organization’s inauguration was an important step toward enhancing safety in the civil aviation sector.

“It embodies the amount of cooperation exerted to develop civil aviation safety in the Middle East,” he added.

He pointed out that the sector was an essential driver of economic growth and connectivity between countries.

Abdenbi Manar, director general of the Arab Civil Aviation Organization, noted ‎that the transportation sector played an essential role in the progress of nations.

He said: “It contributes to creating wealth and job opportunities, whether at the ‎industrial level or the infrastructure of the transportation system, and air transport ‎is usually an integral part of this system.

“The air transport sector is distinguished from other types of transportation by its ‎speed, efficiency, regularity, and high level of safety.

“Also, it relies on international ‎standards, whether at the institutional level or at the legal, financial, and technical ‎level,” Manar added.‎

The five-day ICAO conference is being hosted by the GACA until Dec. 7, with the participation of more than 100 countries and international organizations, and at least 700 industry experts.

 


MDLBEAST launches Beast House for music enthusiasts in Diriyah

MDLBEAST on Sunday inaugurated Beast House, a members-only club in Diriyah, Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 11 sec ago
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MDLBEAST launches Beast House for music enthusiasts in Diriyah

  • As part of its overarching strategy, MDLBEAST aims to venture into music venues, strengthening the Kingdom’s music ecosystem
  • Beast House, an innovative hub in Jax District, fosters talents, offering a creative space for artists and music enthusiasts

RIYADH: MDLBEAST, the leading Saudi music entertainment company, on Sunday inaugurated Beast House, a members-only club in Diriyah, Riyadh.

As part of its overarching strategy, MDLBEAST aims to venture into music venues, strengthening the Kingdom’s music ecosystem. This includes boosting production capabilities, empowering talents, and curating immersive musical experiences globally.

Beast House, an innovative hub in Jax District, fosters talents, offering a creative space for artists and music enthusiasts.

The club includes a cutting-edge recording studio, production rooms, designated spaces for workshops and music seminars, and a versatile stage for concerts and musical events.

Beast House provides four membership tiers, each with unique benefits. The studio membership, designed for creative individuals, grants access to recording studios and specialized programs to enhance musical skills, fostering engagement with the vibrant creative community.

Ramadan Al-Haratani, CEO of MDLBEAST, said: “Our aim is to establish innovative spaces and a supportive community that (empowers) musical talent and cultivates production capabilities, providing creative individuals with an inspiring environment to transform ideas into captivating music experiences.”

MDLBEAST will unveil new music venues, showcasing innovative ideas and pushing boundaries in the music scene while fostering creativity. In collaboration with NEOM, the company is creating a modern beach club on Sindalah Island, and additional venues are slated for 2024.


Saudi date industry targets East Asian markets, says official

The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023. (NCPD)
Updated 03 March 2024
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Saudi date industry targets East Asian markets, says official

  • Kingdom’s date exports hit $390m, marking a 14% rise in 2023

RIYADH: The value of Saudi Arabia’s date exports increased by 14 percent in 2023, reaching SR 1.462 billion ($390 million), compared to SR 1.280 billion in 2022, according to a report released by the National Center for Palms and Dates.

By the end of 2023, the number of countries importing Saudi dates had reached 119. The total value of date and date by-product exports increased by 152.5 percent since 2016, from SR579 million in 2016 to SR1.462 billion in 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of 12.3 percent.

The rate of increase in 2023 compared to the previous year and the market entry of about 120 countries “mean a lot to us,” while the cumulative annual rate (12 percent annually) — compared to the base year 2016 — indicates that “we are steadily entering global markets and expanding steadily as well,” said Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of the center.

Date exports to Singapore recorded an 86 percent increase in 2023, while South Korea saw a 24 percent increase, and France experienced a 16 percent increase.

Currently, more than 20 Saudi companies are approved by Chinese customs, and this is reflected in the expansion of the Kingdom’s exports of dates to China. There is a focus on East Asian markets more clearly than other global markets, Al-Nuwairan added.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of the National Center for Palms and Dates. (Supplied)

He told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is not limited to exporting dates only, “but rather the export extends to include date derivatives such as molasses, pastes, and others, which enhances the presence of exports from the sector outside Saudi Arabia.

“East Asian countries are receiving attention from Saudi exports of dates, especially to Singapore, situated in the heart of countries targeted for exporting dates and their derivatives, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and also China in particular. What supports this is the high demand for Saudi dates, which possess high nutritional values and production quality,” Al-Nuwairan added.

He expects the growth rate of date exports to increase, “or to remain stable at least,” in the next five years.

Al-Nuwairan pointed out that there is a significant trend from local and international partners to invest in the sector, especially concerning plastic wood derived from palm trees, and date products such as powder, molasses, pastes, and vinegar that can be derived from dates.

The date derivatives can be used in various products such as dairy, bakery, ice cream, and confectionery factories.

“We are currently engaged in serious discussions with large international food companies to include date derivatives in food industries,” Al-Nuwairan said.

He affirmed the concerted efforts between Saudi date producers, exporters, and government sectors to support marketing activities in targeted countries. This includes participation in local and international exhibitions, trade missions, facilitating export procedures, and collaborating with the private sector under a joint strategy, all under ambitious and supportive leadership.

Al-Nuwairan emphasized that efforts are ongoing to enhance the presence of Saudi dates worldwide, noting that Saudi date exports have witnessed significant increases in many countries. He pointed out that date exports to China increased by 121 percent last year compared to 2022.

Through its strategy and partnership with the private sector, the National Center for Palms and Dates aims to achieve its strategic objectives, with Saudi dates being the first choice for consumers globally, according to Al-Nuwairan.

The center implements several initiatives, including increasing national exports of dates and their derivatives, improving agricultural and industrial practices to enhance production quality, providing marketing services, and necessary information about the sector, and empowering the sector, he added.


Saudi authorities seize 1.3m Captagon pills in Jeddah

Updated 03 March 2024
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Saudi authorities seize 1.3m Captagon pills in Jeddah

RIYADH: Maj. Marwan Al-Hazmi, the Saudi General Directorate of Narcotics Control’s spokesperson, has announced that the Kingdom’s authorities have seized about 1.3 million Captagon tablets in Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The directorate’s officials, in collaboration with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, thwarted an attempt to smuggle 1,298,886 highly addictive and illegal amphetamine pills, which were concealed within a shipment of electric ovens at Jeddah Islamic Port.

Authorities apprehended the intended recipients of the shipment in Riyadh and Jeddah, a Sudanese national and a Saudi citizen.

Initial statutory procedures have been completed, and both individuals have been referred to the Public Prosecution.

The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority also thwarted two attempts to smuggle more than 63,000 Captagon pills hidden in two vehicles coming into the Kingdom through the Al-Haditha border crossing.

One vehicle contained more than 41,000 pills and the authority, coordinating with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, arrested five intended recipients.

The authority said that it was enhancing customs control over the Kingdom’s imports and exports, in coordination with the General Directorate of Narcotics Control, as bodies concentrate on cracking down on smuggling operations.

The authorities have called upon the public to report all information regarding drug smuggling or selling by calling 911 in Makkah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom. Alternatively, contact by email at [email protected].

Reports of suspected cases of drug smuggling are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for information leading to arrests.


New scheme to promote Saudi comedians

Updated 03 March 2024
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New scheme to promote Saudi comedians

RIYADH: A new initiative to uncover and promote emerging Saudi comedy and theater talents has been launched in the Kingdom.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said the body would be backing the Comedy Factory project, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The authority aims to create a supportive environment in which up-and-coming young comics can develop content reflecting the Saudi identity and community issues, with guidance from industry experts.

The Comedy Factory is part of a series of initiatives organized by the authority to boost the country’s entertainment sector and will include workshops, training courses, and competitive events.

To register for the chance to join the scheme visit https://sauditheaters.com/ar.


Saudi Arabia distributes 10,000 Qur’an copies at Muscat book fair

Updated 03 March 2024
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Saudi Arabia distributes 10,000 Qur’an copies at Muscat book fair

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance distributed 10,000 copies of the Qur’an in various sizes from the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an at the 28th Muscat International Book Fair.

The fair, held from Feb. 21 to March 2 at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center in Muscat, highlighted the importance of literature and knowledge exchange, showcasing a diverse array of works from both within and beyond Oman.

The ministry’s pavilion saw a significant turnout from visitors who expressed admiration for the exhibition and the ministry's efforts in serving Islam.

The visitors also praised the Kingdom’s role in promoting Islam and disseminating the values of tolerance and moderation.

On display at the ministry’s pavilion were various copies of the Qur’an, along with translations into 77 foreign languages.

This year’s fair featured works from 847 publishing houses across 34 countries for a total of 622,000 titles, including 19,000 Omani books.