JEDDAH: Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, met with the Kingdom’s Minister of Defense and commanders, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his gratitude and appreciate for ministry of defense’s efforts and the progress achieved in the development program.
The Crown Prince also commended the increase in internal self-sufficiency of military industries, which saw a 13-percent rise from two percent to 15 percent, hoping it reaches 50 percent under the supervision of the minister of defense and the military personnel.
Prince Khalid highlighted the ministry of defense’s achievements throughout the various development programs in addition to the achievements they wish to fulfill in the future.
The event was attended by commanders from the ministry of defense and the armed forces.
ALULA: Maraya’s stunning mirror concert hall here was the scene of wild excitement and lump-in-the-throat nostalgia on Wednesday when Westlife performed for what appeared to be some of their most dedicated fans from Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world.
The Irish boy band had the crowd cheering even before they came on stage in AlUla for their “Wild Dreams Tour.” The audience erupted when the four singers eventually emerged to play their most recent hit “Starlight,” with the fans then singing every line in unison.
It was impossible to keep them in their seats. And when the singers shouted “jump,” they were on their feet.
The vocalists Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne have been through thick and thin. In 2012 they disbanded temporarily, only to come back bigger and stronger in 2018.
Diana Philander from Cape Town said she has been following them since a teenager. “I was 17 back then and I’m 40 now, so this is one of my favorites. I have been practicing the songs for the whole week and I loved every minute of it.”
“Thank you to the Saudi government for making all of this possible, there is just one word I can say and that is, it was just superb.”
The concert was a real treat for fans, with the band playing some of their biggest hits.
Before performing the very first song of their career, “Swear it Again,” Egan stepped forward and said: “Can you believe it? This song came out when we were little boys.”
Later Filan said: “We have played in a lot of places in the world, but honestly Maraya might be the coolest venue we have ever played in.”
“Everything was so beautiful, the ride here was absolutely stunning, and of course, you guys are so beautiful,” Filan said pointing toward the audience. “We have a beautiful family and we have always considered our fans as a part of this family, so thank you for being amazing.”
They also played “When you’re looking like that,” “Money, Money, Money” (originally sung by ABBA), and “Flying Without Wings.”
With fans calling for more, the band returned after briefly walking off the stage and performed “Hello My love” and several other songs.
Jessan Domingo Sanson from the Philippines said she traveled all the way from Dhahran to see the stars. “I have been a fan since I was in sixth grade, and I am now 34 years old.”
Sanson was so excited she could barely form coherent sentences, instead expressing herself with shrieks and gestures. Sitting in the front row, she was over the moon because the band members repeatedly moved forward to wave and make heart signs to her and the other audience members.
“I am just glad that it was their first time here in Saudi Arabia, and I didn’t miss a chance to see them,” she said.
Having been together on the road for 23 years, the singers seemed clearly comfortable on stage, bantering and laughing while performing. They applauded each other when hitting particularly expressive and beautiful notes.
Thomas Wallace Thompson, a Scot who lives in AlUla, said: “It was amazing, a boy band from the 90s was here, all the girls were screaming. I am a man who is nearly 60 years old and still found everything extremely enjoyable. I have so many friends who are fans of Westlife and they are so jealous of me.”
Aisha Ahmed, a Saudi fan who was present at the concert with her husband, said: “The band kept saying that they are taking us through their songs, but it really felt like I went back in time, suddenly I was 13 again and I was listening to them in my bedroom, suddenly I was back with my high school friends dancing with our hairbrushes to their songs.”
Her voice wavered: “I am so emotional right now.”
RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) ramped up its aid efforts in Pakistan, Yemen and Sudan.
The KSRelief teams continued to distribute various relief aid to people in flood-hit Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
About 2,988 food baskets were distributed on Monday in Sindh and Punjab provinces, benefiting 20,916 people, according to SPA.
In Yemen, with the support of KSRelief, the Artificial Limbs Center project continued offering its medical services to Yemenis who lost their limbs.
The center offered 1,613 services to 551 Yemeni patients last month, SPA reported.
The services included manufacturing and rehabilitating artificial limbs for 250 patients, including the delivery of, measuring, and maintenance of limbs, as well as providing physical therapy sessions and specialized consultations to 301 people.
Meanwhile in Sudan, KSRelief distributed 13 tons and 500 kilograms of food baskets in the River Nile State to 1,340 people, according to SPA.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic grew to 816,262.
The authorities also confirmed three new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,350.
Of the new infections, 48 were recorded in Riyadh and 21 in Jeddah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 10 new cases each.
The ministry also announced that 100 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 803,452.
It said that 3,460 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 7,302 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to more than 44.3 million.
The ministry said that of the current cases, 33 were in critical condition.
More than 68.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with over 25.4 million people fully vaccinated.
JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation signed a health deal on Wednesday with China to help some of its African member states.
The OIC’s Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha was present at the ceremony that saw the pact inked on behalf of the organization by Askar Mussinov, assistant secretary-general for science and technology, and China’s Ambassador to Riyadh Chen Weiqing.
Mussinov praised China for the grant and said it was an example of the excellent relations the organization has with Beijing.
The deal was part of several efforts undertaken by the OIC to help some of its African members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mussinov.
He added that it was Taha who had approached China for the assistance.
JEDDAH: Saudi university students wondering how to gain a mental edge and improve their academic performance have been offered an age-old answer — yoga.
The Saudi Yoga Committee has delivered an online lecture for university representatives highlighting the physical and mental advantages yoga can offer people of all ages, but especially students.
Nouf Al-Marwaai, the committee’s president, said that the benefits of practicing yoga for young men and women are clear, with studies showing that it improves academic achievement, and can play a significant role in reducing stress and anxiety.
The virtual lecture was organized in cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation under the theme “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders,” and set out to spread awareness and encourage the practice of yoga among all segments of society.
It coincides with the arrival in the Kingdom of a delegation from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation to train Saudi yoga referees through a qualification course hosted by the Ministry of Sports in cooperation with the Saudi Yoga Committee.
The virtual lecture outlined options available to students on campus who wish to practice yoga simply for mental and physical health, or those who plan to take it to an advanced level with professional yogasana sports training, as well as local and international competition.
Al-Marwaai said that the committee set out to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to “build a generation of yoga-lovers, especially among young people, who want to enjoy physical and mental health.”
The committee is seeking to increase the number of practitioners, and build yoga teams to take part in local and regional yoga championships.
The Kingdom excels at the Arab level in yoga, she added.
Al-Marwaai said that asanas and postures used in yoga can improve balance, increase physical flexibility and deliver a wide range of health benefits.