Klaija Festival boosts local economy with $5.3m in sales

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The festival featured participants from Gulf countries, along with 217 families and 20 craftsmen specializing in handicrafts. (SPA)
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The festival featured participants from Gulf countries, along with 217 families and 20 craftsmen specializing in handicrafts. (SPA)
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Updated 28 February 2024
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Klaija Festival boosts local economy with $5.3m in sales

  • The 20-day event, which ended on Feb. 27, was held at the King Khalid Cultural Center

RIYADH: The 15th Klaija Festival in Buraidah has recorded SR20 million ($5.3 million) in sales, marking a boost to the local economy.

The 20-day event, which ended on Feb. 27, was held at the King Khalid Cultural Center.

Over 20,000 people visited the festival each day which is held annually to boost local entrepreneurship, cuisine and handicrafts.

Organized by the Qassim Chamber of Commerce, the festival featured participants from Gulf countries, along with 217 families and 20 craftsmen specializing in handicrafts.

In response to the increased demand and attendance, Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal had extended the festival by 10 days.

Nayef Al-Mansaleh, the executive director of the festival, said more than 700 young men and women from various organizations had supported the event.

The klaija dessert is one of the leading products of the region and has helped to create jobs for local producers. Klaija’s ingredients include wheat flour, sugar, lemon, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and molasses. The dough is stuffed with some of the ingredients and baked to a crisp.

Diplomats from Ghana, Finland, Algeria, Maldives, accompanied by their families, had attended the event in Buraidah earlier this month.


KSrelief contributes $10m to World Food Programme to support Ukrainians

Updated 8 sec ago
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KSrelief contributes $10m to World Food Programme to support Ukrainians

  • Saudi donation will help provide 50m meals in institutions supported by UN agency
  • WFP: ‘We’re grateful that KSrelief chose to support a vital component of our emergency programmes in Ukraine’

KYIV/RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief has contributed $10 million to the UN World Food Programme to support Ukrainians affected by war with daily hot meals in 1,200 institutions nationwide.
The agreement was signed by KSrelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah and WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.
Saudi Arabia’s donation will help provide 50 million meals in institutions supported by WFP such as hospitals, shelters for internally displaced persons, orphanages, and psychiatric and geriatric facilities.
Many of these institutions have faced increased strain and budget shortfalls due to the war and massive internal displacement.
“We’re grateful that KSrelief chose to support a vital component of our emergency programmes in Ukraine, which provides relief to the most vulnerable Ukrainians while also strengthening the local institutions and organizations that care for them,” Marianne Ward, WFP country director in Ukraine, said in a statement.
Ahmed Al-Baiz, KSrelief’s assistant supervisor general of planning and development, said in a statement: “We are pleased to be part of this important emergency programme to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the affected population in Ukraine.
“KSrelief humanitarian assistance will provide lifesaving food assistance to the most vulnerable communities throughout the country.”
The contribution will enable WFP to procure and deliver approximately 7,600 tonnes of food commodities, including flour, pasta, buckwheat, oatmeal, peas, sugar and oil — all of which are bought inside Ukraine to support the local economy and food systems.
These commodities are complemented by other foods bought directly by the institutions to prepare nutritious daily meals for residents and people under their care.
Over the next six months, WFP plans to provide food assistance to 210,000 vulnerable Ukrainians through its institutional feeding program.
The KSrelief contribution will cover approximately 67 percent of the program’s needs, supporting 140,000 Ukrainians.


Saudi FM stresses GCC-Central Asia cooperation for regional stability

Updated 34 min 8 sec ago
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Saudi FM stresses GCC-Central Asia cooperation for regional stability

  • Prince Faisal addressed the second GCC-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue ministerial meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign visa-exemption deal for diplomatic, special passport holders

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday emphasized the importance of promoting the interests of Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Central Asian states so the two regions become safe, stable and prosperous, offering hope for a better future for all.

Prince Faisal was speaking at the second GCC-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue ministerial meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

In his speech he affirmed the importance of continuing to strengthen coordination and consultation between GCC countries and Central Asian states based on joint values, interests and historical ties, noting the broad growth in relations over the past years.

Prince Faisal pointed out the broad consensus between GCC countries and Central Asian states on the importance of achieving peace, promoting negotiated solutions and supporting security, stability and development.

He emphasized the importance of joining efforts to ensure the Palestinian people’s internationally recognized rights and to achieve peace through negotiation, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the principles of international law.

The Saudi minister also highlighted the ongoing efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region, as well as the need to pursue a sustainable ceasefire, lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and ensure the delivery of humanitarian and relief assistance.

He called for the forced displacement of Palestinians to cease and emphasized the need for the international community and the UN Security Council to permanently stop Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people.

Prince Faisal also met with his Uzbek counterpart, Bakhtiyor Saidov, and the two signed a reciprocal visa-exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic and special passports.

The parties held official talks during which they discussed ways to strengthen cooperation, as well as opportunities for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation on issues of mutual interest.


Gulf Cinema Festival showcases region’s rich cultural tapestry

Updated 15 April 2024
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Gulf Cinema Festival showcases region’s rich cultural tapestry

RIYADH: The fourth Gulf Cinema Festival, which runs until April 18, is currently taking place in Riyadh.

Organized by the Saudi Film Commission under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the minister of culture and chairman of the commission’s board of directors, the event brings together several pioneers of Gulf cinema.

Dignitaries, cultural and media figures, as well as prominent activists and influencers in the film industry, are also taking part.

The festival’s schedule features film screenings, interviews and workshops, giving visitors the chance to explore the film industry from the perspectives of both makers and critics.

Film Commission CEO Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Qahtani delivered the culture minister’s speech at the start of the event. In it, Prince Badr said: “This edition of the festival represents a crucial milestone in cultural cooperation among the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and embodies our leadership’s commitment to enhancing collaboration among us.

“This festival reflects the strong connection between ambition and the cultural strategy of the GCC countries, which play a significant role in enhancing cultural exchange, expanding infrastructure, drawing inspiration from successful experiences, and encouraging Gulf talents to offer more.”

The opening ceremony also featured a film highlighting the depth of Gulf cinema and the festival’s contribution. It is hoped the event will enrich national cinema, providing creative platforms for talented individuals to showcase their work and share their experiences.

A rich and diverse program is planned across the five days, with the screening of 29 films — including feature-length, short films and documentaries — produced by renowned Gulf filmmakers across various categories.

Specialized training workshops will cover topics such as “How to make an impactful documentary film” by Abdulrahman Sandokji, “The relationship between the music composer and the film director” by Mohammad Haddad, and “Art, writing and script development” by Mohammad Hassan Ahmed.

Discussion sessions include “Challenges of producing adapted films,” “Film festivals in Gulf countries,” “Support funds and joint financing,” “Independent films and small budgets” and “The experience of exhibition platforms in the Middle East.”

Gulf filmmakers are also competing for nine awards recognizing various aspects of filmmaking such as directing, photography, music and acting.

The festival aims to promote the growth and development of the regional cinema industry while honoring prominent Gulf cinema figures who have contributed significantly to the global cultural scene. It also fosters cultural and knowledge exchanges among those taking part.


KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

Updated 15 April 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

RIYADH: Saudi charity KSrelief distributed 1,930 food parcels on Saturday to displaced families in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. 
The initiative, part of the group’s food-security support project in Sudan, benefited 12,236 individuals, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The assistance comes within the framework of a series of relief and humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to help conflict-hit areas, SPA added.
In Lebanon, KSrelief provided health care services to Syrian refugees and their host community in Arsal town of Baalbek Governorate. 
The Arsal Health Care Center received a total of 3,422 patients and offered 6,128 services from various health sections such as clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, nursing and the community and mental health program. 
In Yemen, KSrelief continues its implementation of the water supply and environmental sanitation projects across several districts. If February, KSrelief pumped 36,207,000 liters of usable water and 3,194,000 liters of potable water into Hajjah Governorate.
Additionally, the center carried out 237 transportation operations to remove waste from displaced camps.
In Saada Governorate, KSrelief pumped 290,000 liters of potable water and another 290,000 liters of usable water, benefiting 30,100 people.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.