Doha Horticultural Expo 2023 hosts Saudi Day with cultural performances

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International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha celebrated ‘Saudi Day’ in the presence of Saudi and international officials. (SPA)
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International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha celebrated ‘Saudi Day’ in the presence of Saudi and international officials. (SPA)
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International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha celebrated ‘Saudi Day’ in the presence of Saudi and international officials. (SPA)
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International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha celebrated ‘Saudi Day’ in the presence of Saudi and international officials. (SPA)
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International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha celebrated ‘Saudi Day’ in the presence of Saudi and international officials. (SPA)
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Updated 06 January 2024
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Doha Horticultural Expo 2023 hosts Saudi Day with cultural performances

  • Speakers highlighted the Kingdom’s successes so far in its efforts to achieve sustainability and preserve natural resources
  • They also praised other related achievements under the Saudi Vision 2030 national development and diversification plan

RIYADH: The 2023 International Horticultural Expo in Doha hosted a special “Saudi Day” on Friday, which included performances and activities that embodied the folklore, heritage, history and achievements of the Kingdom.

Guests at the celebration, which took place at the event’s Expo House, included the Saudi ambassador to Qatar, Prince Mansour bin Khalid; the Qatari minister of municipality, Abdulla Al-Subaie, and ambassadors and other representatives of countries taking part in the expo, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Mansour Al-Mushaiti, the Saudi deputy minister of environment, water and agriculture, said the Kingdom’s participation in the expo is affirmation of its global leadership in all fields relating to its efforts to achieve sustainability and preserve natural resources.

 


 

He praised the achievements made under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 national development and diversification plan, particularly in farming, including the provisions of the Agricultural Development Fund through loans and long-term facilities for strategic projects worth SR50 billion ($13.3 billion).

Al-Mushaiti also highlighted the Kingdom’s pioneering role in the field of energy and its continuing journey toward sustainability, through the launch of local and international initiatives related to clean energy, the reduction of carbon emissions, increasing green spaces, and sustainable waste management.

He said that before the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, less than 4 percent of the Kingdom’s total land area was designated as nature reserves and conservation areas. A target was set to increase this to 15 percent by 2030; in fact the figure has already reached 16 percent.

The Kingdom, in cooperation with the G20, established a platform to discuss international water issues, and its work continues during the group’s meetings, Al-Mushaiti added. The establishment of the Global Water Organization was announced in Riyadh in September to stimulate innovation in technical solutions to water-related challenges, and to help ensure water issues are at the top of the international agenda, he said, adding that the Saudi Fund for Development has provided financing of more than $6 billion to countries on four continents.

In addition, Saudi Arabia achieved first place in the electronic and mobile government services maturity index for 2022, Al-Mushaiti said, and is now held up as a pioneering model for the world in efforts to bridge the digital divide, especially its success in developing digital infrastructure accessible by 99 percent of the population.

Saudi Arabia also ranked second in terms of digital competitiveness among G20 countries, according to the European Center for Digital Competitiveness, and fourth globally in its readiness for digital regulations, the deputy minister added.

He noted that active participation by Saudi women in the country’s labor market already exceeds the target of 30 percent set by Vision 2030, an achievement he said reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to empowering women.

Saleh bin Abdul Mohsen bin Dakhil, the general supervisor of the Kingdom’s participation at the expo, thanked Qatar for hosting and organizing the event and for its efforts in providing the optimal atmosphere in which to showcase the Kingdom’s achievements.

He also congratulated the Saudi leadership and people for the success of the nation’s winning bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh.

He said of the Horticultural Expo: “The Kingdom’s participation in this global event presents a sustainable vision based on comprehensive development and achieving a balance between the environment, agriculture and water.

“It also comes based on a commitment to achieving the goals of Vision 2030, which is consistent with the exhibition’s slogan — ‘Green Desert, Better Environment’ — to contribute to exploring and adopting innovative solutions to combat desertification.”

He added that the Saudi pavilion at the event has attracted more than 400,000 visitors from all over the world with the dazzling diversity of its content, which reflects the richness and variety of the Kingdom’s natural splendor and terrains.

The pavilion offers an innovative digital showcase of the Kingdom’s agricultural and environmental sustainability projects, its best practices and innovations, and more than 80 successful projects and initiatives related to the main objectives of the expo.

Bin Dakhil said Saudi Arabia’s leaders have developed an ambitious vision for improving the quality of life in the country and ensuring a better future for its youth. At the forefront of this are the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives, he added, through which the Kingdom is exerting great effort to achieve a sustainable, green future by turning the ambitious goals of Vision 2030 into tangible reality.

The 2023 International Horticultural Expo in Doha began on Oct. 2 last year and continues until March 28.


Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity

Updated 19 sec ago
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Merwas — Riyadh’s beating heart of creativity

  • World’s largest music production studio is nurturing Saudi talent, streamlining local industry

RIYADH: Riyadh’s Merwas, considered the biggest art and entertainment factory globally, is proving to be one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest music industry assets.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, co-founder and CEO of Merwas, told Arab News that the facility, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest music production studio, “is home to all artists.”

She added: “The methodology behind it is to create solutions through the subsidiaries, and invest in both talent and infrastructure.

“Alongside it being a one-stop shop for all content creators, we strive to take our local talents from local to global and create a unique stamp in the industry.”

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

The entertainment zone and audiovisual production studio, located in Boulevard Riyadh City, houses 22 main studios alongside its academy.

Some of the top musicians in the world have visited Merwas since it opened in 2022. These include DJ Khaled, the acclaimed Saudi singer Rabeh Saqer, and the Emirati singer Ahlam. Afrojack, a world-renowned Dutch DJ and producer, also led an electronic music boot camp to nurture local talent and inspire a new generation of Saudi artists.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Merwas, located in Boulevard Riyadh City, houses 22 main studios alongside its academy.

• The academy’s classes offer local creatives and artists direct access to seasoned expertise.

• The Earth Sound Studio, or ESS, named after the late Saudi composer Talal Maddah.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, the culture factory fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, while providing artists with access to top-tier services, facilities and industry expertise.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

The Earth Sound Studio, or ESS, named after the late Saudi composer Talal Maddah, features state-of-the-art technology, such as the SSL console, which is used to create depth on music tracks and ensures the true soul of the artist’s voice is protected.

This live recording space is booked almost every day by various artists, and has been used by some of the Arab region’s biggest stars.

The facility, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest music production studio, is home to all artists according to co-founder Nada Al-Tuwaijri. (Supplied)

One of the only five Neve consoles in the world can be found in the Neve Studio. The panel is known for its high-quality sound and warmth, and is ideal for music recording, vocal tracking, and mixing for exceptional audio quality.

Its live studio can accommodate over 120 orchestra members and their instruments to provide a unique recording experience.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

Specifically designed for electronic music production, the EMP Suite is a DJ’s dream, with cutting edge synthesizers and digital audio workstations ensuring an artist leaves the room with a fully produced track.

Merwas is also home to three production suites, designed for content creators who require a comfortable and professional environment for music production, editing, and mixing. Each suite is equipped with industry-standard gear, software, and acoustics to support a wide range of projects.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, Merwas cofounder and CEO

The studio also provides private rehearsal spaces to ensure Saudi talents are nourished to their full potential. The versatile space is designed for musicians, performers, and other artists to rehearse and refine their craft within a comfortable environment with access to instruments and equipment.

Part of the charm of recording studios is the live jam sessions that have given birth to some of the most iconic records to date. Merwas’ Band Live/Control Room also captures the spontaneity of live performance within its soundproof walls.

Alongside (Merwas) being a one-stop shop for all content creators, we strive to take our local talents from local to global and create a unique stamp in the industry.

Nada Al-Tuwaijri, Merwas cofounder and CEO

Championing audiovisual pursuits, the studio has made space for high-quality podcasts and videos to come to life.

The podcast suite and FM radio recording spaces are tailored to immerse listeners with unbeatable audio clarity, while the 25-meter-long Green Screen room helps ideas come to life, whether commercial, film, or music video.

Spread across almost 5,000 square meters, Merwas fosters creativity, collaboration, and the production of multimedia content, along with hosting workshops, networking sessions, and community events. (AN photos by Abdulrhman Bin Shalhoub/Supplied)

Material can then be edited at the color-grading suite, which is essentially a small theater with 4K projector. Producers, directors, writers, and engineers gather here to put the final visual touches on video projects through its DaVinci color grading software and hardware.

Academy Classes offers local creatives and artists direct access to seasoned expertise. These feature advanced stations for sound production, engineering, and technical programs, with everything necessary for a basic understanding and training of music production.

The studio hosts workshops, networking sessions, and community events in an effort to flourish the music industry locally while making it a magnet for international talent. Anyone can be a part of this community by booking a suite or signing up for a workshop on their website merwas.sa.

Merwas has positioned itself at the the forefront of the entertainment industry being the first of its kind in the MENA region. In less than a year since its launch, it has already became a hotspot for musicians across the globe to visit and utilize its services, from rising talents to international A-listers.

Founded by Al-Tuwaijri and Chief Content Officer Rumian Al-Rumayyan in partnership with Sela, Merwas treasures Saudi creativity and is a vital part of building an ecosystem and community for local artists.

Their partnership with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has set a new focus on preserving the rights of local creatives, pillared by the aim to enrich the culture of the Kingdom while empowering its citizens and their creativity in an environment of abundant knowledge, education in culture, art, entertainment and music.

 


15k held for labor, residency, border violations in KSA

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
Updated 38 sec ago
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15k held for labor, residency, border violations in KSA

  • The report showed that among the 996 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 64 percent were Ethiopian, 33 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested almost 15,000 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 9,479 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 3,763 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 1,430 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 996 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 64 percent were Ethiopian, 33 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 37 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and six were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.

 


Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia

Updated 52 sec ago
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Authorities bust drug smugglers across Saudi Arabia

  • The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected]

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations across the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Border Guard land patrols in Al-Ardah governorate, Jazan region arrested a Yemeni national attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat.

In the Saqam sector of Najran region, the land patrols thwarted the smuggling of 58 kg of hashish.

The General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested a Bangladeshi resident in the Hail region for attempting to sell methamphetamine, a narcotic substance commonly referred to as “shabu.”

The authorities also arrested a citizen in Jazan for selling amphetamines, highly addictive drugs that stimulate the central nervous system.

Preliminary legal procedures have been completed for all the individuals involved and all seized items have been handed over to the relevant authorities.

The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected].

Tips received relating to smuggling and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.

 


Urban greening begins in Irqah, Riyadh

Updated 20 April 2024
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Urban greening begins in Irqah, Riyadh

  • 24,000 trees planted in neighborhood as part of Green Riyadh program
  • 38 buildings will also be restored using the Salmani architecture style, and 111 parking lots will be greened

RIYADH: Urban greening works in the Irqah neighborhood of Riyadh began on April 18, continuing a tree-planting initiative that is part of the Green Riyadh program.
Irqah is the eighth residential neighborhood in the capital to become part of the urban greening initiative, following Al-Aziziyah, Al-Naseem, Al-Jazeera, Al-Uraija, Qurtuba, Al-Ghadir, and Al-Nakheel, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
In Irqah, works will include the planting of 24,000 trees and shrubs — all of which are heat-tolerant and suitable for the Kingdom’s summer climate, the creation of 39 parks, and the greening of eight schools, 54 mosques, four government buildings, and 69 kilometers of streets. These efforts will, the SPA said, “improve the neighborhood’s landscape, encourage walking, and reduce health care expenses and energy consumption.”
In addition to the greening works, bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways will be created between Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City with Wadi Hanifah.
According to the SPA, 38 buildings will also be restored using the Salmani architecture style, and 111 parking lots will be greened.
To mark the start of the urban greening works an exhibition and planting events have been organized, with the aim of raising residents’ awareness about the project and the accompanying works. The exhibition, which is being held near Prince Mishal bin Abdulaziz Mosque in Irqah and runs until April 27, includes renderings of how the neighborhood will look once the project has been completed.
Green Riyadh is one of four major projects related to Riyadh that were launched by King Salman in 2019, and is an initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It will involve the planting of more than 7.5 million trees in Riyadh, resulting in 9.1 percent of the city being covered in greenery, and an increase in the per-capita share of green spaces from 1.7 square meters to 28 square meters — 16 times its current level.
Green Riyadh will also help decrease Riyadh’s temperature and improve the city’s air quality, according to the SPA.
By 2030, project developers plan to have carried out urban greening in 120 neighborhoods in the capital.


Heritage celebrations in Diriyah and Baha draw crowds

Updated 20 April 2024
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Heritage celebrations in Diriyah and Baha draw crowds

RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority, in collaboration with the Saudi National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the Heritage Foundation, marked World Heritage Day on April 18.

The celebration included a variety of activities held over three days at several sites, notably the historic At-Turaif district in Diriyah, listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2010.

Heritage experts embarked on a field tour to Diriyah’s sites undergoing rehabilitation, including Wadi Hanifa, Al-Bahli Farm, Ghassiba, and the historic At-Turaif district.

A multi-session seminar was also held to help understand challenges of rainfall and floods in Diriyah. Experts also discussed integrating traditional knowledge and modern engineering in preservation operations, aiming to counteract the impact of natural disasters.

The event highlighted the ongoing journey of the DGDA in rehabilitating, preserving, and raising awareness about the historical and cultural value of heritage sites in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile in Baha, the Saudi Heritage Commission and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Al-Makhwah Governorate of the Baha region organized a celebration for World Heritage Day at Thee Ain historic village.

The festivities included captivating sound and light shows projected onto the facades of 58 heritage houses in the village, a folk performance, a heritage council, and the traditional preparation of Saudi coffee.

Thee Ain village is renowned for its authentic heritage, rich history, and breathtaking beauty, leaving a lasting impression on visitors. According to the UNESCO website, the village dates back to the end of the 16th century, making it over 400 years old.