Indonesian pilgrims praise Makkah Route Initiative’s ‘seamless service’

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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative. (SPA)
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Updated 18 May 2024
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Indonesian pilgrims praise Makkah Route Initiative’s ‘seamless service’

  • Services provided include biometric scans, the provision of Hajj visas, and electronic luggage coding

MAKKAH: Hajj pilgrims departing from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia have praised the services of the Makkah Route Initiative, which include assistance with check-in procedures at 12 dedicated counters in the airport, ensuring that all health requirements are met, and organizing delivery of their luggage to their accommodation in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Pilgrims expressed their gratitude for the help they received from authorities for the swift completion of their departure procedures on their journey to the Kingdom to perform Hajj, the SPA stated.

Indonesian couple Dewa Rosetta and Fatiha Munir told the SPA of their “extreme satisfaction” with the initiative, emphasizing its facilitation of travel procedures and time-saving benefits.

They also noted the Kingdom’s commitment to serving pilgrims from their home countries and its generosity in supporting Islamic countries and those in need, the SPA reported.

The couple extended well wishes to all involved in the initiative, and said it was a “memorable experience.”

The first Makkah Route Initiative flight from Indonesia departed from Juanda International Airport on May 12, carrying approximately 300 pilgrims.

The Makkah Route Initiative, implemented by the Saudi Ministry of Interior, is intended to streamline pilgrims’ journeys from airports in their home countries.

Launched in 2017 as part of Vision 2030, it involves a dedicated team that assists pilgrims, as well as buses to transport them safely and comfortably on their journey through Makkah and Madinah.

Other services provided include biometric scans, the provision of Hajj visas, and electronic luggage coding.


Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Updated 20 June 2024
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Saudi authorities thwart drug smuggling operations

Arab News RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drug control authority seized large quantities of narcotics and arrested several people involved in smuggling following a number of operations across the Kingdom, reported Saudi Press Agency.

Border guards in Asir province thwarted an attempt to smuggle 123 kg of hashish and 89,355 narcotic tablets, while in Jazan four Ethiopian nationals were arrested for trafficking 75 kg of qat.

In Riyadh, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control arrested two Pakistani residents attempting to sell 26 kg of methamphetamine.

Saudi security authorities are urging people to report any activities related to drug smuggling or promotion by calling 911 in the Makkah, Riyadh and Eastern Province regions, and 999 in the rest of the Kingdom.

Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated in confidence.


The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

Updated 20 June 2024
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The art of playing the drums — a popular part of Najran cultural heritage

RIYADH: Drumming is an important and popular part of cultural heritage in Najran, especially during holidays and special occasions.

The art of playing the drums is considered one of the most famous and creative Najran dances and is the only one in which all vocal and movement arts are included. 

Drummers begin collectively in a single straight row as they move in harmony to the beat of drums and tambourines while chanting. 

The dancers then divide into two rows, one beating tambourines and the other the drums. At the same time, they chant poetic verses with a range of melodies and rhythms.

Najran’s cultural dancers once again enthralled families and visitors during this year’s Eid Al-Adha celebrations, treating them to an exhilarating performance.


AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

Updated 20 June 2024
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AI-enhanced visual medical service proved useful during Hajj

  • The service uses a high-tech capsule to conduct the necessary medical examinations within six minutes for each individual

RIYADH: A high-tech visual medical service trialed by the Saudi Ministry of Interior on security personnel during this year’s Hajj season proved successful, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The service uses a capsule enhanced with artificial intelligence and modern communication technology to conduct medical examinations in the workplace, completing each one within six minutes.

A report from the ministry’s General Administration of Medical Services said the capsule enabled 26 physiological measurements, the most important of which were height and weight, body and muscle mass, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, energy requirements, heart rate, and heart rate variability.

Each person’s health status data is analyzed by the built-in AI system, followed by a remote medical consultation with a doctor. Any necessary medications are then prescribed via the Wasfaty system.

The service reduces the need for hospital or health care center visits and provides a safe, private environment for conducting workplace health examinations and medical consultations.

Personnel currently covered by the service are from the Ministry of Interior and the Presidency of State Security.


Saudi Arabia’s Mashaer Train transports more than 2.2m Hajj pilgrims 

Updated 19 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Mashaer Train transports more than 2.2m Hajj pilgrims 

RIYADH: Saudi Railways on Wednesday hailed the success of the Mashaer Train operation at this year’s Hajj season, saying the metro service had transported more than 2.2 million passengers between the nine stations in Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, operating 2,206 trips.

More than 29,000 worshippers were transported on the first day of the pilgrimage, while more than 292,000 pilgrims were carried from Mina to Arafat, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Mashaer Train then transported over 305,000 people during the pilgrimage from Arafat to Muzdalifah, and more than 383,000 worshippers from Muzdalifah to Mina.

During the days of Tashreeq, the train carried more than 1.2 million pilgrims from stations Mina 1, Mina 2, and Muzdalifah 3 to Mina 3 station (Jamarat), which offered easy access to the Jamarat Bridge.

Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of SAR, said that the success of the operating plan was built on unlimited support for the railway sector from the Saudi leadership.


Riyadh targets Expo 2030 ‘by the world, for the world’

Updated 20 June 2024
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Riyadh targets Expo 2030 ‘by the world, for the world’

  • Saudi organizers deliver their first progress report to event bureau chiefs in Paris

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is on target to deliver an Expo 2030 “by the world, for the world,” organizers have told event chiefs in Paris in their first progress report since Riyadh was chosen as host city.

Abdulaziz Alghannam, director general of the Riyadh Expo 2030 office at the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, led the Saudi delegation at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions in the French capital.

Efforts were fully underway for Expo registration and preparation for creating the legal framework to enable international participation in the event, he told the bureau.

Riyadh was chosen to host the event at the bureau’s last general assembly in November 2023. The expo will take place  from Oct. 1, 2030 to March 31, 2031, when the Saudi capital will host 197 countries and 29 international organizations.

The theme – “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow” – encapsulates Saudi Arabia’s commitment to using the Expo to accelerate progress toward the planned sustainable development goals. The event will focus on harnessing science and innovation for a better future.

Preparations are underway at the highest levels, including infrastructure development, legislative and financial measures, the master plan for the Expo site, and legacy plans.