Saudi Arabia and Bahrain sign four agreements: Foreign minister – Arab News
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday said that the Kingdom and Bahrain have worked hard to complete the objectives of the AlUla agreement, the Al Arabiya reported.
Prince Faisal said that the two kingdoms signed four agreements during Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to Manama, which comes a week ahead of the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh next week.
The AlUla declaration was issued following the previous GCC summit in the historic Saudi city of AlUla in January, and marked a new era in Gulf relations.
Speaking during a press conference with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif Al-Zayani, Prince Faisal said that the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council approved 65 initiatives during its meeting.
He praised the depth of relations, cohesion, coordination and unity between the two kingdoms and said the talks between the crown prince and King Hamad “reflected a determination to strengthen these bonds and enhance the level of coordination in all fields, especially in the economic, development, investment, and political domains,” the Bahrain News Agency reported.
Al-Zayani said the talks between the two leaders affirmed that the Bahraini-Saudi relations truly set a model of distinguished ties that are based on strong foundations of brotherhood, interdependence, cooperation, understanding, and joint coordination on all issues.
He also said that King Hamad was proud of the honorable historic stances that Saudi Arabia always takes toward Bahrain and its people, and its continuous support at various levels.
Al-Zayani added that the Bahraini monarch also commended the Kingdom’s efforts and good endeavors to develop the process of joint Gulf action, and praised Prince Mohammad for the development and progress in Saudi Arabia.
He said that they are looking forward to the 42nd Gulf summit on Dec. 14, under the chairmanship of King Salman, and for its fruitful outcomes, to strengthen Gulf solidarity and achieve more cooperation and integration.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host and preside over the 42nd session of a summit for Arabian Gulf countries on December 14, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council said on Sunday.
Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf congratulated the Kingdom for assuming the presidency of the forty-second session of the GCC and thanked Bahrain for its great efforts during its presidency of the forty-first session of the council.
The Secretary-General also praised Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent tour of GCC countries that strengthened the bonds of affection, love, and kinship that unite the leaders and citizens of those countries and developed relations in various fields.
He said that foreign ministers who took part in a preparatory session for the summit in Riyadh on Sunday said they looked forward to strengthening cooperation in all fields and achieving the aspirations of GCC citizens.
During a press conference after the session which was also attended by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Al-Hajraf said that GCC countries discussed relations with Egypt and ways to enhance them.
The Secretary-General added that consultations between GCC countries and Egypt to enhance the stability of the region and the world continue.
Shoukry, meanwhile, said the relationship that brings Egypt together with GCC countries is strategic and that his country is coordinating with the council on all issues.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the upcoming GCC summit will discuss various issues including stability in the region.
RIYADH: An expert speaker at the Riyadh Philosophy Conference believes philosophizing with children is essential to their personal growth as people and as individuals in society, and for adults to perhaps see different perspectives on their set belief systems.
Christopher Phillips, an American author and educator, is a man on a mission: to open up the world to the idea of learning from children. He is known for starting the Socrates Cafe, philosophical discussion meetings held in venues such as cafes, schools, nursing homes and churches. It was also the title of the first in a series of philosophical books he has written, which also includes children’s books “The Philosophers’ Club” and “Ceci Ann’s Day of Why.”
The Kingdom’s first international philosophy conference took place this week at the King Fahad National Library in Riyadh. The three-day event, which began on Dec. 8, is organized by the Ministry of Culture’s Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission. The attendees included experts in philosophy and its theories and those with an interest in its modern-day applications worldwide.
The event targeted an audience with diverse interests, experiences, and academic and professional backgrounds. The aims of the conference, which is planned to be an annual event, include discussions of the latest developments in philosophy and its contemporary applications
Phillips began his talk at the event by using the well-known example of a proverbial part-filled glass and the question of whether it is half empty or half full.
“Why does it have to be either?” he asked. “Why not both or why not none at all? Or what lies on the surface of the water in the glass: is it air or water?”
Those are some of the answers to the question given to Phillips by children over the years, which he said opened up his mind to a whole new way of looking at things.
Phillips told Arab News that everyone should look at the world through the lens of a child, with an inquisitive curiosity that is open to all possibilities of truth, rather than enter into exchanges and intellectual discussions with rigid presuppositions. He calls this being an “openist,” or “openism.”
According to the opennist philosophy, everything can be challenged but not be in a way that appears hostile. Rather it should open up perceptions of aspects of life to all-new, previously unconsidered avenues of understanding. This is the beauty of dialogue and intertwining different cultural and ideological backgrounds, he says, and a huge part of it is conversing with children philosophically on the “whys” of life.
Phillips, who studied for his bachelor’s degree in the US, has three master’s degrees in natural sciences with a specialty in DNA science, and a doctorate in communications, for which he wrote a thesis on the Socratic method of inquiry.
“I love academia,” he said. “My lament is that we don’t inspire lifelong learners, that we make classes intimidating. We can often tend to suck the desire out of a child to learn more about chemistry and physics and biology, which are the building blocks of so many things.
“People who take an English class instead of being inspired to write their own works are criticized about grammar; it’s all about grammar. When I was a reading teacher in Maine, I used to tell my kids, ‘Don’t worry about the grammar, just get the story out. We’ll worry about the grammar later.’”
Phillips said that when he was working on his first book this was the same approach his editor adopted with him. This made him feel like he had the freedom, creativity and imagination to think and write, he explained, which in turn made his work that much more insightful and meaningful. Writing should not be about the details from the start, he said, it should be about the bigger picture — with the details ironed out later.
“We have all these people teaching us about the most microscopic little things, without giving us a sense of possibility and the big picture,” Phillips said. “So what I do is give workshops in schools to teachers. I teach them to come up with fundamental questions that are timeless in nature, that relate to their discipline, that they feel perplexed about, and can inquire about with kids.
“It’s a very rigorous and difficult exercise, but then it enhances their relationship with their students. The whole idea is to fall in love with the disciplines, to realize there’s no clear-cut boundaries between art and science; that maybe the whole idea is to live a life of poetic science, poetic sensibility.”
Phillips said his methods have been well received and very successful in the schools he has introduced to them. Some teachers have told him their students are now more engaged in learning as they have a better understanding of what it means to learn for themselves. Rather than lessons being forced upon them, it now feels like a moral, personal duty that contributes to their growth as individuals in society.
Teach them the “why”, not the “what”, as Phillips puts it.
“A teacher will kind of say, ‘Chris, what did you do that child? Suddenly, she’s inspired to learn?’ I say, ‘Yeah, because now she sees a reason to develop her reading, writing, arithmetic, because it helps her in her arsenal of introducing philosophical thinking to supply evidence from these various disciplines.’”
In addition to philosophizing with children, Phillips also has discussions with prison inmates and people who are terminally ill.
“I go to prisons: maximum security, minimum security,” he said. “There’s some wise people in there who’ve done some really unwise things. But how many of us can look in the mirror and say, with honesty, that we haven’t ourselves, maybe to a lesser degree.
“The most profound part of my outreach in our nonprofit,, is with terminally ill children and adults. During the pandemic, they have been cut off even more. So many of them, their loved ones died, you know, bereft of family, and yet they have so much wisdom to share.
“And so with whatever time they have left, it’s so important to create a space where they can philosophize and get outside of all the other things that are happening in their lives.”
Phillips started the Socrates Cafe in 1996, and now there are about 500 of the cafes that meet regularly around the world, including eight in Saudi Arabia.
At a Socrates Cafe, people from different backgrounds get together and exchange philosophical perspectives based on their experiences, using a version of the Socratic Method developed by Phillips. Its foundation lies in the idea of proposing Socratic dialogue with anyone who wishes to become a more empathetic, objectively critical and creative philosophical inquirer.
“Socratic inquiry is kindred to the scientific method; it’s no accident I studied the natural sciences,” Phillips explained. “It’s all about positing or hypothesizing a viewpoint, whether it’s ethical or scientific, and then testing it, seeing if it comes up with what you thought it would and if it doesn’t, then you readjust, you revisit, you go out.
“That area of ethical moral inquiry, to me, is completely interlaced with the sciences; it’s about cultivating a social conscience.”
MAKKAH: The Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture has designated 2022 as “The Year of Saudi Coffee,” celebrating the authentic taste of a local household staple.
Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said that the “Saudi Coffee Initiative” would be the umbrella under which all celebrations would gather as an essential component of the Kingdom’s culture.
In the past few years, coffee bean farms in Jazan have been given special attention as support for farmers has increased, and special care has been given to the Khawlani bean.
Gibran Al-Maliki, the owner of a coffee bean farm in Al-Dayer in Jazan, famous for its abundance of coffee bean farms, said that the announcement was a great honor and would be a beacon for those interested in the coffee industry.
He told Arab News that the coffee bean was once considered essential to the ancient Khawlani coffee drink and had been revived in recent years.
Al-Maliki said that the region went through a period of drought and low rainfalls last year, which affected many coffee bean farms as the crop requires a lot of watering. He said that most farmers could not irrigate using water tanks due to the difficult topography of the region. The farms were located in a rugged mountainous area, making it difficult to establish a stable irrigation system.
Khaled Hashem Nagro, general manager of Renad Arabia for Events Management, said that each region was distinguished from other regions in producing Arabian coffee — whether through the taste, the composition of flavors or through roasting.
During the collection process, coffee beans are given special care; they differ in color depending on type — they are found in yellow, black and brown shades. Farmers cultivating the beans discard very dark or black beans or those in direct sunlight, which can affect the taste. Flavors are also dependent on the topography and nature of the regions.
• The coffee bean tree is grown in 70 countries worldwide and is an important source of income. However, in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, the coffee produced is considered one of the most delicate types of coffee.
• Yemen witnessed centuries-old commercial deals with the Dutch and the British to export coffee beans.
The beans are roasted over a light fire, with the exception of the Bahri, which requires intense fire.
There’s the Khawlani, Berri, Harari, and Bahri (imported from Brazil or Turkey) bean.
The finest type of coffee is the Khawlani, which is divided into two categories. The first is the “Qatma” (with small coffee beans), which is organic and only found in the high mountains of Khawlan of Yemen. It is rare, in high demand, and expensive. The second category is the long grain of Khawlani, cultivated in most Yemeni regions.
After the roasting process, the coarse powder, mixed with crushed cardamom, is boiled in water, and no sugar is added. Condiments can be also be added to the mix, such as cardamom or saffron, sometimes even mastic and amber, depending on personal preference.
For as long as anyone can remember, drinking Arabic coffee has been a common social habit and an integral part of Saudi culture.
“Choosing the source of the coffee is very essential and gets reflected in its quality and taste whether being Khawlani, Harari, Brazilian, etc.,”  Nagro told Arab News. “These types are now available in every Saudi household and people prepare it in their own way. Every region serves coffee in its traditional way that distinguishes it from others, and this contributes to a diversity of tastes.”
The researcher and former head of the Culture and Arts Association, Abdullah bin Abdullah Al-Saad, said that Arabian coffee symbolizes authentic Arab celebration and generosity.
“It’s a delicious and common drink presented to their guests as an expression of generous hospitality and of honoring,” Al-Saad said.
“Some coffee beans are considered ordinary, and others are regarded as luxurious and extravagant in taste.”
The coffee tree is grown in 70 countries worldwide and is an important source of income. However, in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia, the coffee produced is considered one of the most delicate types of coffee. It is world-renowned, as Yemen witnessed centuries-old commercial deals with the Dutch and the British to export coffee beans.
Throughout the year, we have heard many success stories coming from the southern region of Jazan, specifically about coffee bean farms and farming. We’ve seen small family businesses boom into fully fledged large companies exporting their beans across the nation, festivals, workshops, as well as youth training in the processes of coffee farming, cultivating, packaging, and even barista training.
Last month, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture signed an agreement to establish a coffee development city in the Al-Baha region’s Mashuqa and Al-Qara governorates.
The city will be built in an area totaling 1,600,000 sqm and will have the operational capacity to provide 1,000 job opportunities and plant 300,000 coffee trees.
DUBAI: Hakeem Jomah debuted his latest horror flick “Kayan” during the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival, taking place in Jeddah from Dec. 6-15.
The film had its world premiere on Dec. 10.
“I had several scripts pitched to me, but none of them really resonated,” the Saudi doctor-turned-director said. “So I asked if I could write my own script. And what I enjoy writing tends to be horror and psychological thrillers.”
Thus, “Kayan” was born.
The film, which was shot over the span of two weeks in Egypt, is Jomah’s second. It tells the story about a couple far from home stuck in tense circumstances out of their control.
Starring Saudi actors Summer Shesha and Ayman Almutahar, the entire film takes place in a single night at a hotel.
“I think we shot something very raw,” Jomah said. “We didn’t have any tripods. We didn’t have any lighting. Our film is very reliant on long, drawn-out shots where we go from the lobby all the way up to the room on the stairs. Our lenses are super tight so you feel like you are those characters. You see what they see, you feel what they feel.”
I had several scripts pitched to me, but none of them really resonated. So I asked if I could write my own script. And what I enjoy writing tends to be horror and psychological thrillers, Thus, ‘Kayan’ was born.
Hakeem Jomah, Saudi filmmaker
The director admitted that the film may not be “everyone’s cup of tea,” but said that it is something he would want to watch.
“Ultimately it is a story about grief and acceptance,” he said. “It’s a very divisive film. I know it’s going to be, but all great stories are divisive stories.”
“Kayan” is the first exclusive film supported by streaming service MBC Shahid. “MBC really rolled the dice on me. I really give them props for that because they had no reason to believe that I would make something that was not a disaster. And they gave me all the space to create something I wanted,” the director mused.
Jomah’s film was not going to be part of the Red Sea International Film Festival’s line-up. Initially, he was just supposed to make a trailer, but then received a call from the festival organizers asking if he could deliver the entire film.
“So we went into intensive, hardcore editing. We’ve been working tirelessly night and day to make that happen.”
Jomah said that he is “honored, excited and nervous” to take part in the inaugural festival.
“Joining my friends and my colleagues on such an international front is a true feat from where we were five years ago. And every one of the local filmmakers on the roster is an honor to be in the trenches with,” he said.
“If you had told me a few years ago that Joe Wright would be premiering his latest film in Jeddah, it would have been unbelievable. We get to be among some of the world’s most seasoned filmmakers as colleagues and participants in what is bound to be the epicenter of film in the Middle East this year,” the filmmaker said.
Jomah was born in Jeddah and relocated to Scotland when he was two years old. His family moved back to Saudi Arabia where he continued his education and eventually enrolled in medical school to become a doctor.
A cinephile at heart, the director, who growing up would fly to Dubai with his family to watch films, decided to pursue filmmaking seriously in 2016.
“It was one fateful day when ‘Barakah meets Barakah’ came out. And it was the first Saudi film to get international renown. And for me, ‘Saudi film’ and ‘international renown’ were things I’d never thought I’d hear in the same sentence so it kind of pushed me to make something,” he said.
He traveled to the supposedly haunted Madayen Saleh ruins in the north of the Kingdom to shoot his first film alongside the only other person he knew who loved film as much as he did — his wedding photographer. He called up Saudi actor Khaled Yeslam to star as the lead.
“I didn’t have the know-how to make a film,” he recalled. “It took us eight months to edit that movie because we didn’t know how to edit.”
“Madayen” was rejected by several international film festivals, before it was picked up by the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival.
It was also screened at the Arab Film Festival in Los Angeles, which Jomah, who was still practicing as a doctor at the time, had to take unpaid leave to attend.
“The first time it was screened to a Saudi audience they went pretty crazy for it,” Jomah said. “I realized I wanted to (make films) forever when I was sitting in the theater with all Saudis and they didn’t know I was the filmmaker. I was just a guy in the audience. And when the first jump scare happened and everyone gasped, and then they started laughing as they do, I realized that it was a very euphoric sensation where I did a thing and people reacted positively to it.”
It wasn’t until shortly after Saudi Vision 2030 reform program was announced that Jomah decided to quit his job in the ER and pursue filmmaking full-time. “I saw this as a chance to be part of the kingdom’s cinematic identity,” he explained.
The filmmaker revealed that he will continue to create horror films, a genre he feels is lacking in Saudi Arabia. “I feel a trap we used to fall in a lot of the time was we created something that romanticized our region to Western audiences. I just want to see genre films. I want to see stories. I don’t want to see this hyper-orientalist kind of spotlight on us. I would love to see a Saudi superhero. Not everything has to be so deep and meaningful.”
Indeed, sometimes it just has to be frightening.
RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested more than 15,000 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, an official report has revealed.
From Dec. 2 to 8, a total of 7,567 people were arrested for violations of residency rules, while 5,600 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 1,902 for labor-related issues.
The report showed that among the 438 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 66 percent were Yemeni, 29 percent Ethiopian and 5 percent other nationalities.
The authorities transferred 78,154 offenders to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents. A further 2,338 people were transferred to complete their travel reservations and 7,700 were deported.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be aiding illegal entry to the Kingdom, including transporting and providing shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), or 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.


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