Snap launches Saudi-focused film ‘Telgana Ala Snap’

Snapchat enjoys significant popularity in Saudi Arabia, with users opening the app more than 50 times per day on average. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 May 2024
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Snap launches Saudi-focused film ‘Telgana Ala Snap’

DUBAI: Snap has launched a new campaign film, “Telgana Ala Snap,” focused on the Saudi and Gulf market.

The film, which translates to “Find Us on Snap,” showcases how audiences in the Kingdom use Snapchat; from a brother imitating his father through the old age lens, to a teenager tucked in bed watching Snap star Naif Hamdan.

 

 

Snapchat enjoys significant popularity in Saudi Arabia, with users opening the app more than 50 times per day on average. Snapchat users are also twice as likely to use the app to express who they really are compared to users of other social media platforms, the company said.

With a monthly addressable reach of more than 22 million people, Snapchat is reaching more than 90 percent of 13- to 34-year-olds in the Kingdom.

Abdulla Alhammadi, regional business lead for Saudi Arabia at Snap Inc., said: “With the Kingdom experiencing rapid transformational societal and cultural change, the simple need to stay connected with family and friends is more important now than ever, and Snapchat provides a place to do just that.”

At a time when people feel pressured to “broadcast an edited version of themselves, we provide a safe and private alternative” and the “new film echoes this” sentiment, he added.


Pakistani religious party vows to continue pro-Palestine sit-in protest until demands are met

Updated 1 min 30 sec ago
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Pakistani religious party vows to continue pro-Palestine sit-in protest until demands are met

  • Thousands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan supporters remain camped at Faizabad Interchange connecting Islamabad, Rawalpindi since last week 
  • TLP protesters demand Pakistan government officially boycott Israeli products, send aid to Gaza and declare Israeli PM a “terrorist”

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani religious party on Thursday vowed to continue its large pro-Palestine sit-in protest at a key junction connecting the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi until its demands are not met, as residents suffer traffic disruption. 
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), known for its hard-line stance on blasphemy laws, has previously staged sit-ins at the Faizabad Interchange. The presence of large numbers of protesters in the area significantly disrupts traffic, forcing drivers to take longer, alternative routes between the two cities.
The TLP workers, led by their young leader Saad Rizvi, took out a protest rally from Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi to Faizabad last Saturday before deciding to set up a protest camp at the interchange.
The TLP has asked the government to officially boycott Israeli products and send food and medical aid to Palestinians suffering Israel’s relentless military campaign in Gaza. They have also called on Pakistan’s government to declare Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “terrorist.”
“We are engaged with the government regarding our demands for the people of Palestine but no agreement has been reached yet,” Sajjad Saifi, a member of the TLP’s Shoura or consultative council, told Arab News over the phone.
“We will continue our dharna [sit-in] till all three of our demands are fully met.”
Saifi said TLP chief Rizvi was leading the party’s protest, adding that over 50,000 of their supporters were camped at the Faizabad Interchange. 
“If the government accepts our demands, it will earn a huge respect in the Muslim world,” he said.
Israel’s war on Gaza has so far claimed at least 39,000 lives, many of them women and children. The casualties have sparked anger and protests worldwide, including in Pakistan, where the country’s civil society and political factions have consistently led pro-Palestine rallies. 
When asked why the party decided to stage a sit-in protest nine months into the war, Saifi said the TLP had mobilized the public since October last year through rallies across Pakistan. 
 “Tens of thousands of our supporters have been waiting for the leadership’s call to join the dharna in Islamabad,” he said. 
“We are doing it for a cause, for the people of Palestine. We don’t have any political agenda to achieve through this dharna.”
The large number of protesters at the Faizabad Interchange have effectively blocked the Islamabad Expressway, causing difficulty for commuters and creating gridlocks in the area.
When asked about the protest and the inconvenience being caused to the public, Information Minister Attaullah Tara said: 
“Don’t worry, we are on it.”
‘STATE HAS SURRENDERED’
Political analysts called on the government to initiate strict action against the outfit to disperse them from the interchange. 
“Freedom of movement is a basic right of the public, therefore the government and the Supreme Court should take notice of the dharna and initiate measures to disperse the protesters,” political analyst Adnan Rehmat told Arab News. 
“If the government fails to initiate action against the TLP, it clearly means the state has surrendered before the outfit that doesn’t believe in any law and the constitution.”
Political science professor Rasul Bakhsh Rais agreed. 
“There is no rationale behind the TLP’s sit-in as Pakistan has already dispatched food and medicines to the people of Gaza,” Rais told Arab News. “It is unfortunate the government is silent over the mess and taking no steps to disperse them.”


British foreign secretary’s concern over former PM Johnson’s meeting with US presidential hopeful Trump

Updated 18 min 19 sec ago
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British foreign secretary’s concern over former PM Johnson’s meeting with US presidential hopeful Trump

  • Lammy admitted to LBC presenter Tom Swarbrick that he had not been aware the meeting was taking place

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary David Lammy expressed his concern on Thursday about a meeting between former UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Speaking on the LBC radio morning show, Lammy admitted to presenter Tom Swarbrick that he had not been aware the meeting was taking place.

Johnson posted a picture on social media of him meeting Trump at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, after which he said the former president was “on top form” and that they had discussed the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The foreign secretary was asked if Johnson had followed protocol by informing the UK Foreign Office of his meeting with Trump, to which Lammy replied: “I’m not sure that Boris Johnson consults either Keir Starmer or us on his plans. And I certainly didn’t know.”

Lammy refused to be drawn when pressed by Swarbrick on whether the meeting went against “UK national interests” or not.

“The record will show that I had a friendship with Barack Obama, prior to him becoming president of the United States of America, and about a year or so into office, he was dealing with David Cameron (as prime minister),” he said.

“I would never have done anything to prejudice the UK national interests at that time. So the point you’re making is a serious one. I would hope that all former prime ministers would act in the UK national interests and not cut across us, particularly two weeks into office.

“You know, I’m not interested, actually, in the past. I’m interested in the future.”


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 38 min 44 sec ago
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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.


Suryakumar takes over as India’s new T20 skipper

Updated 57 min 22 sec ago
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Suryakumar takes over as India’s new T20 skipper

  • Decision comes after former skipper Rohit Sharma quit shortest format last month
  • Suryakumar last year led India to a 4-1 series win over Australia, 1-1 draw against South Africa

NEW DELHI: Suryakumar Yadav has been named India’s T20 captain, the country’s cricket board announced Thursday, after Rohit Sharma quit the shortest format following last month’s World Cup triumph.
The 33-year-old Suryakumar will lead a 15-member T20 squad to tour Sri Lanka for three internationals starting on July 27 in Pallekele. 
Shubman Gill recently led a second-string Indian side to a 4-1 T20 series victory in Zimbabwe and has been named vice-captain in T20 and ODI matches.
Rohit will continue to lead the ODI team, which will follow the T20 side by taking on Sri Lanka in three matches on August 2, 4 and 7 at Colombo’s R. Premadasa Stadium.
Virat Kohli will also return for the 50-over matches, while pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah remains absent from the tour after a grueling season.
Rohit and Kohli had decided to take a break but returned for the ODI matches as India begin preparations for next year’s Champions Trophy to be hosted by Pakistan.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was Rohit’s deputy in the T20 World Cup, had started as a frontrunner for the job but lost out due to his frequent injury breakdowns.
Pandya, 30, suffered an ankle injury during the ODI World Cup at home last year and was out of action until the start of this season’s Indian Premier League where he returned to captain Mumbai Indians.
Pandya remains part of the T20 squad but is out of the ODI series, which will see the return of Shreyas Iyer, who earlier lost out on his contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Suryakumar, an attacking middle-order batsman who has been India’s go-to player in the T20 format, remained new coach Gautam Gambhir’s top choice, according to media reports.
Rohit, Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja announced their retirements from the T20 format after India’s thrilling win over South Africa in the final last month in Barbados.
The match was also Rahul Dravid’s last as head coach and Gambhir was handed the job last week to build on the team’s World Cup win.
Suryakumar, who previously captained Mumbai in domestic cricket, last year led India to a 4-1 T20 series win over Australia and followed it up with a 1-1 result in South Africa.
T20I squad: Suryakumar Yadav (capt), Shubman Gill (vice-capt), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Riyan Parag, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj
ODI squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, KL Rahul (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Arshdeep Singh, Riyan Parag, Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Harshit Rana


Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

Updated 18 July 2024
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Israel parliament votes to oppose Palestinian state

  • Resolution is symbolic but lays down marker before Netanyahu’s Washington trip
  • Palestinian state would cause existential danger to Israel and its citizens, says resolution

JERUSALEM: An Israeli parliament vote to oppose a Palestinian state as an “existential threat,” just days ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, brought Palestinian and international criticism on Thursday.
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.”
The resolution is symbolic but lays down a marker before Netanyahu’s Washington trip as well as an opinion to be issued by the International Court of Justice over the legality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
“The Knesset firmly opposes the creation of a Palestinian state (on land) west of Jordan,” said the resolution, referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which has been devastated by the war unleashed by the October 7 Hamas attacks.
“The creation of a Palestinian state in the heart of the land of Israel would constitute an existential danger for the state of Israel and its citizens, would perpetuate the Israel-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region.”
It predicted that Hamas would take over the state and turn it into “a radical Islamic terrorist base” seeking to destroy Israel.
The resolution said “promoting” a Palestinian state was “a reward for terrorism and would only encourage Hamas and its supporters” after the October 7 attacks.
The Palestinian Authority said there would be “neither peace nor security for anyone without the establishment of a Palestinian state.” It accused Israel’s ruling coalition of “plunging the region into an abyss.”
The French foreign ministry expressed “consternation” at the resolution that it said was “in contradiction with resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.”
The Knesset voted by an even larger majority in February against countries unilaterally backing a Palestinian state. Spain, Ireland, Norway and Armenia have since said they recognized a Palestinian state.
The latest Knesset resolution was proposed by a right-wing deputy in opposition to Netanyahu’s coalition of conservative and far-right parties. However, coalition deputies and some centrist lawmakers voted in favor.