UNESCO Lists Yemen, Lebanon Sites as World Heritage in Danger

Armed men allied to Yemen's legitimate government pose for a photograph at Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis, in Marib, Yemen, on June 21, 2021. (AP)
Armed men allied to Yemen's legitimate government pose for a photograph at Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis, in Marib, Yemen, on June 21, 2021. (AP)
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UNESCO Lists Yemen, Lebanon Sites as World Heritage in Danger

Armed men allied to Yemen's legitimate government pose for a photograph at Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis, in Marib, Yemen, on June 21, 2021. (AP)
Armed men allied to Yemen's legitimate government pose for a photograph at Awwam Temple, also known as the Mahram Bilqis, in Marib, Yemen, on June 21, 2021. (AP)

The United Nations on Wednesday inscribed an ancient city and its dam in war-torn Yemen and a futurist park in cash-strapped Lebanon on its world heritage list.

The UN cultural agency listed both as world heritage sites in danger, the first because of the conflict raging in Yemen since 2014, and the second because of "its alarming state of conservation" and the lack of resources in Lebanon to maintain it.

Seven archaeological sites were added in Yemen's province of Marib for bearing witness to the achievements of the Saba kingdom from the first millennium BC to the arrival of Islam in around 630, UNESCO said.

The kingdom, known for the legendary Queen of Sheba, at the time controlled much of the incense route across the Arabian Peninsula.

The newly listed sites include the ancient city of Marib, two temples and the remains of the city's ancient dam, a feat of ancient hydrological engineering whose bursting is mentioned in the holy Quran.

The UN body said it hoped the decision would help "mobilize the entire international community for the protection of sites".

UNESCO's world heritage committee also voted to add the Rachid Karameh International Fair in Lebanon's northern coastal city of Tripoli to the list.

The concrete park, a short walk away from the seafront, was designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, but activists have warned it risked crumbling into ruin in recent years.

"The fair was the flagship project of Lebanon's modernization policy in the 1960s," UNESCO said, describing it as "one of the major representative works of 20th century modern architecture" in the region.

Its inscription as a world heritage site in danger "opens access to enhanced international assistance" to preserve it.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who hails from the city, welcomed the decision as "a great achievement for Lebanon and Lebanese, especially for the city of Tripoli".

Activists had been hoping for a UNESCO listing to open the way to donor funding to save the park, in a country mired since 2019 in one of the worst financial crises in recent history.



Riyadh Season Visitors Enjoy Big Balloon Ride in Wonder Garden

The zone also features sub-zones, such as the Flamingo Lake, the Butterfly Garden, and many others - SPA
The zone also features sub-zones, such as the Flamingo Lake, the Butterfly Garden, and many others - SPA
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Riyadh Season Visitors Enjoy Big Balloon Ride in Wonder Garden

The zone also features sub-zones, such as the Flamingo Lake, the Butterfly Garden, and many others - SPA
The zone also features sub-zones, such as the Flamingo Lake, the Butterfly Garden, and many others - SPA

Wonder Garden, a zone part of Riyadh Season 2023, offers an unforgettable experience to visitors of all ages, the Saudi Press Agency SPA said in its reported. One of the highlights is the "Big Balloon", which provides a full view of Riyadh from an altitude of 150 meters.

Having a capacity of up to 20 passengers and lasting for 10 minutes, a flight offers a family-friendly experience and panoramic views of Boulevard City and Boulevard World.
Riyadh Season, in its fourth edition, continues to prioritize enjoyable and safe experiences for everyone. The Big Balloon ride, guided by a specialized balloon pilot, is done in utmost security and safety.
Wonder Garden stands out with its captivating theme of trees, flowers, butterflies, artwork, and a wide range of attractions. With over 70 rides and experiences, two arcade halls, 15 stores, 26 restaurants, and over 60 roaming acts and stage shows, there is something for everyone.


Islamic Electronic Library Records 399,692 Book Downloads

The ministry has distributed 145,241 copies of awareness-raising and guidance publications to the visitors - SPA
The ministry has distributed 145,241 copies of awareness-raising and guidance publications to the visitors - SPA
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Islamic Electronic Library Records 399,692 Book Downloads

The ministry has distributed 145,241 copies of awareness-raising and guidance publications to the visitors - SPA
The ministry has distributed 145,241 copies of awareness-raising and guidance publications to the visitors - SPA

Islamic Electronic Library, provided by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, has recorded a total of 399,692 books downloads during this Umrah season.

The ministry has distributed 145,241 copies of awareness-raising and guidance publications to the visitors in an attempt to guide them to perform the rituals correctly, SPA reported.

It also provides the option of downloading copies of publications through barcode reading via mobile devices.


Bird Flu Kills over 900 Seals, Sea Lions in South Brazil

File photo: Sea lions are seen on a street of Mar del Plata harbor during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Mar del Plata, some 400 km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina | AFP.
File photo: Sea lions are seen on a street of Mar del Plata harbor during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Mar del Plata, some 400 km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina | AFP.
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Bird Flu Kills over 900 Seals, Sea Lions in South Brazil

File photo: Sea lions are seen on a street of Mar del Plata harbor during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Mar del Plata, some 400 km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina | AFP.
File photo: Sea lions are seen on a street of Mar del Plata harbor during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Mar del Plata, some 400 km south of Buenos Aires, Argentina | AFP.

Nearly 1,000 seals and sea lions in southern Brazil have died from bird flu outbreaks, say authorities, who are scrambling to isolate the deadly virus from commercial poultry flocks.
The southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul has confirmed an unprecedented 942 sea mammal deaths following infection by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which was reported for the first time ever in the South American country this year.
Oceanographer Silvina Botta, at the Rio Grande Federal University (FURG), said the carcasses have to be buried or incinerated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of contaminating humans or other animals.
Scientists have also found some sea mammals convulsing along local beaches, as the virus attacks their nervous system. Under government health regulations, animals have to be euthanized to spare "a very painful death," Botta said.
Since Brazil's first report of HPAI in wild birds in May, the Agriculture Ministry says preventive measures have avoided an outbreak on commercial poultry farms, which could trigger export bans against Brazil, the world's top chicken exporter.
But the virus has run rampant in other animal populations. In addition to the outbreaks among seabirds, seals and sea lions, authorities have collected samples of dead porpoises and penguins found on beaches, with no confirmed results yet.
Botta said the first diagnosis of HPAI-related sea mammal deaths in Rio Grande do Sul came in September, when unusual mortality rates caught scientists' attention. Three towns in the state still have active outbreaks.
She said the contagion among sea mammals appears to have started in Peru and then circled the South American continent, hitting wildlife in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and now Brazil.
Brazil's Agriculture Ministry reported 148 HPAI outbreaks in the country, mostly along the coast, declaring a health emergency to contain the disease, which it says "is not yet considered endemic in Brazil."
Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, has led to the culling of hundreds of millions of farm animals in Europe and the United States.


KSrelief Launches Noor Saudi Volunteer Program to Combat Blindness in Djibouti

The project was launched in collaboration with Al-Basar International Foundation - SPA.
The project was launched in collaboration with Al-Basar International Foundation - SPA.
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KSrelief Launches Noor Saudi Volunteer Program to Combat Blindness in Djibouti

The project was launched in collaboration with Al-Basar International Foundation - SPA.
The project was launched in collaboration with Al-Basar International Foundation - SPA.

King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) initiated the Noor Saudi Volunteer Program to Combat Blindness and its related diseases in Djibouti from December 8 to 14, 2023.

This was launched in collaboration with Al-Basar International Foundation, according to SPA.

Throughout the campaign, KSrelief's volunteer medical team attended to 675 cases, performed 127 surgeries, and distributed 175 pairs of eyeglasses.

The program stands as a significant component of KSrelief's volunteer medical initiatives, part of Saudi Arabia's humanitarian support to bolster the medical sector and aid individuals affected by eye diseases globally.


Saudi Arabia Participates in UN High-level AI Advisory Body Meeting

A landmark is lit up in the colors of the national flag in Diriyah on the occasion of Saudi National Day. (SPA file photo)
A landmark is lit up in the colors of the national flag in Diriyah on the occasion of Saudi National Day. (SPA file photo)
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Saudi Arabia Participates in UN High-level AI Advisory Body Meeting

A landmark is lit up in the colors of the national flag in Diriyah on the occasion of Saudi National Day. (SPA file photo)
A landmark is lit up in the colors of the national flag in Diriyah on the occasion of Saudi National Day. (SPA file photo)

The United Nations High-level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence, composed of 38 members from various countries worldwide, has held its first in-person meeting in New York City, with the participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom was represented in the UN Advisory Body by the Shura Council's member Dr. Latifa bint Mohammed Al-Abdulkareem, with the participation of a delegation from the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), SPA reported.
The meeting discussed the potential adoption of AI technologies, addressing challenges arising from their misuse, and delving into the governance mechanisms of AI at both the national and global levels.
In 2020, the Kingdom hosted a consultation session during the Global AI Summit organized by the SDAIA, discussing the establishment of this advisory body for AI under the UN.


Lebanese Professor Wins Great Arab Minds Award in Technology, Engineering

Lebanese professor Fadil Adib. Asharaq Al-Awsat
Lebanese professor Fadil Adib. Asharaq Al-Awsat
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Lebanese Professor Wins Great Arab Minds Award in Technology, Engineering

Lebanese professor Fadil Adib. Asharaq Al-Awsat
Lebanese professor Fadil Adib. Asharaq Al-Awsat

Lebanon’s Fadil Adib, associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), won the Great Arab Minds Award 2023 in engineering and technology, for his contributions that have significantly expanded the possibilities of wireless sensing technology, enabling detection behind walls and the use of wireless waves in medicine and search for survivors under the rubble.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and ruler of Dubai, said innovation and creative engineering have always contributed to the progress of humanity, and were a major part of the Arab civilization, which the younger generations are looking forward to resume and to contribute to its achievements using technology and digitization.

"Today, we proudly announce the winner of the Great Arab Minds Award in engineering and technology, Professor Fadil Adib from Lebanon. He has published over 80 research papers and holds patents in the fields of engineering and technology. His significant contributions have served humanity in vital fields such as healthcare, wireless sensing and oceans exploration,” he added.

"Today, in the Arab world, we have millions of programmers, engineers, computer scientists, and technology experts who are capable of producing an effective knowledge and development movement in their societies, economies and world. The Great Arab Minds initiative aims to honor the achievements of creative people among them so they can serve as role models for their peers,” the Ruler of Dubai said.

"With their achievements and in their various positions, Arabs are the ambassadors of values, capabilities and aspirations of the young Arab generations eager to develop their societies and advance humanity,” he noted.

Adib developed a battery-free device that harness energy from ocean waves.

His doctoral dissertation, “See through Wall”, was named as one of the best 50 transformative contributions from MIT in computer science in the past 50 years.

Launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Great Arab Minds Award is aimed at introducing and celebrating the brightest minds in the Arab world, as well as honoring those whose works left remarkable impact in their societies. The award also reflects the ruler’s support of innovation and scientific, cultural and intellectual advancement in the region.

Fadel’s leading research and inventions have contributed to expanding the possibilities of wireless sensing technology and progressing in fields that are vital for the future of development in the Arab region and the world.

He harnessed wi-fi techniques in sensing what’s behind walls, enabling the detection of objects and vibrations. This advanced technology can be used to monitor patients' health conditions around the clock, and in search and rescue operations under rubble and during disasters.

For his part, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, chairman of the Great Arab Minds initiative, said: "The Arab world has promising talents in advanced technology and creative engineering that are capable of providing unprecedented added value to human knowledge and progress.”

He called on Arab youth to be inspired by the experiences of Arab geniuses such as Adib.

The announcement of the winner in the engineering and technology category comes after completing all stages of receiving, sorting, and evaluating nominations within the six categories: engineering and technology, medicine, economics, architecture and design, natural sciences, and literature and arts.


Egyptian Artists Hail Decision to Name Bridge in Cairo after Adel Emam

Adel Emam is one of Egypt's best-known actors [Getty]
Adel Emam is one of Egypt's best-known actors [Getty]
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Egyptian Artists Hail Decision to Name Bridge in Cairo after Adel Emam

Adel Emam is one of Egypt's best-known actors [Getty]
Adel Emam is one of Egypt's best-known actors [Getty]

The decision to name a bridge in the Egyptian capital after star Adel Emam, also famed as “The Leader”, was widely celebrated in the artistic circles.

Emam’s name went viral on Egypt’s social media platforms, including X, after the official page of Cairo Governorate on Facebook announced the decision. According to the announcement, the governorate’s executive council presided by the governor, approved to “name some schools and public projects after Egyptian martyrs and symbols, among them is Adel Emam, whose name will be given to the bridge near the Salah Salem intersection, eastern Cairo.”

Egyptian artists described the decision as a merited tribute to Emam, who has piled great works since his debut in the 1960s, and represented Egypt in myriads international platforms. Actress Majida Zaki said “Emam’s name is like a medal. He’s the model actor who supported and inspired a whole generation of artists.”

“My first work was with him in a series named ‘Dreams of the Flying Boy’, and people knew me in this production. Everyone loves and respects the family of Adel Emam. They are known with their compassion. Emam is the mentor and compass not only for his family, but also for the entire artistic community,” she told “Asharq Al-Awsat”.

Actress Lebleba, who partnered with Emam in many works, said that “naming a public project after him is an honor and a source of pride and happiness for all artists,” adding that “he is incomparable. He captivated his audience with a diverse range of artistic creations that continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of his fans. Emam's enduring legacy as a remarkably distinctive artist has elevated him to the status of an icon. His commitment to creativity and years devoted to the world of art have solidified his unique place in the realm of artistic brilliance, she added.

For her part, Actress Sherine described “the decision as a thoughtful gesture" adding that “honoring the name of the leader is an appreciation of art and its value. Naming cinemas and theaters after artistic symbols is an esteemed tradition that the Egyptian state is accustomed to.”

Artist Salah Abdullah said he was delighted with the decision, “a great surprise that the leader deserves.” “Paying tribute to our mentor is an honor to the entire artistic movement and an appreciation of symbols who gave a lot to the Egyptian art,” he told “Asharq Al-Awsat”.

Actress Elham Shahein applauded the tribute and described it as “a triumph for all artists.”

Hani Ramzi also commented on the decision, highlighting that it’s an appreciation of the art’s role and message. “Paying tribute to the legend Adel Emam is a tribute to every Egyptian artist and to the role of soft power,” he wrote on Facebook. Artist Khaled Sarhan also hailed the decision and addressed the leader on Facebook, saying: “Your name is a landmark in itself, master.”

Egypt's Acting Professions Syndicate and the Emam family also applauded the decision, while his brother producer Issam Emam described it as “an honor for his name and family.”

Before “the leader”, the names of many stars in Egypt were given to public facilities, including Samir Ghanem, Mahmoud Abdelaziz and Mahmoud Yassine.

Back in August, the National Festival of Egyptian Theater celebrated Adel Emam by naming its 16th edition after him as a tribute to his 60-year-old journey.


Menu Signed by Mao Zedong Brings a Quarter Million Dollars at Auction

This photo provided by RR Auction shows an official menu for a state banquet signed by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong that has been auctioned for $275,000. (RR Auction via AP)
This photo provided by RR Auction shows an official menu for a state banquet signed by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong that has been auctioned for $275,000. (RR Auction via AP)
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Menu Signed by Mao Zedong Brings a Quarter Million Dollars at Auction

This photo provided by RR Auction shows an official menu for a state banquet signed by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong that has been auctioned for $275,000. (RR Auction via AP)
This photo provided by RR Auction shows an official menu for a state banquet signed by former Chinese leader Mao Zedong that has been auctioned for $275,000. (RR Auction via AP)

An official menu for a state banquet that bears the signature of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong has been auctioned for $275,000.
Boston-based RR Auction said the menu auctioned Wednesday was for a banquet held in Beijing on October 19, 1956, and commemorated the first state visit to China by Pakistan's Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
The menu was signed in fountain pen by six influential Chinese statesmen, including Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai. The banquet featured foods from both nations and included delicacies such as “Consommé of Swallow Nest and White Agaric,” “Shark’s Fin in Brown Sauce,” and “Roast Peking Duck.”
“To hold a menu signed by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai is to hold a piece of the past – a piece that tells a story of diplomatic engagement, cultural exchange, and the forging of friendships that have endured through the decades,” Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, said in a statement.
Other items auctioned off included a fully operational World War II-era Enigma coding machine for $206,253, a Thomas Edison-signed document for a light bulb patent for $22,154, and a check signed by Steve Jobs to Radio Shack was sold for $46,063.


Judge Rules against Prince Harry in Early Stage of Libel Case against Daily Mail Publisher

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the sitting volleyball finals at the 2023 Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for injured soldiers, in Duesseldorf, Germany September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the sitting volleyball finals at the 2023 Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for injured soldiers, in Duesseldorf, Germany September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw/File Photo/File Photo
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Judge Rules against Prince Harry in Early Stage of Libel Case against Daily Mail Publisher

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the sitting volleyball finals at the 2023 Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for injured soldiers, in Duesseldorf, Germany September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw/File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the sitting volleyball finals at the 2023 Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for injured soldiers, in Duesseldorf, Germany September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw/File Photo/File Photo

Prince Harry lost a preliminary round Friday in his libel case against the publisher of the Daily Mail tabloid over an article that said he tried to hide his efforts to retain publicly funded protection in the UK after giving up his status as a working member of the royal family.
A London judge said the Duke of Sussex failed to knock out Associated Newspaper Ltd.’s defense that its article reflected an honest opinion. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday to discuss the consequences of the ruling.
Justice Matthew Nicklin said in that ruling that “it is not fanciful that the Defendant will be successful, at trial.” He scheduled a hearing Tuesday in the High Court to discuss the consequences of the ruling.
The ruling comes just a day after another judge concluded three days of arguments — mostly behind closed doors — over whether the government unfairly stripped Harry of his security detail after he and his family moved to the US in 2020.
Harry, 39, the younger son of King Charles III, is challenging the government's decision to provide security to him on a case-by-case basis when he visits Britain. Harry has said hostility toward him and his wife on social media and relentless news media hounding threatens their safety.
The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online published an article in February 2022 about the issue headlined: “How Prince Harry tried to keep his legal fight with the government over police bodyguards a secret ... then — just minutes after the story broke — his PR machine tried to put a positive spin on the dispute.”
Harry claims the article was “fundamentally inaccurate” and the newspaper libeled him when it suggested he lied in his initial public statements about his case challenging the government.
Associated Newspapers argued the article expressed an “honest opinion" and did not seriously harm Harry's reputation.
Nicklin previously ruled the article was defamatory but had not considered whether the story was accurate or in the public interest.
The government, meanwhile, has defended its decision to withdraw full protection for Harry because he stepped down from his role as a senior working member of the family. It said he was treated fairly and provided with security occasionally when he visits.
Another judge earlier this year shot down Harry's request to privately reimburse London’s police force to guard him when he comes to town. A government lawyer had argued officers shouldn’t be used as “private bodyguards for the wealthy.”
The dispute with the Mail is one of four lawsuits Harry has pending against publishers of British tabloids in his ongoing battle with the press.
His three other cases allege that journalists at the Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Sun used unlawful means, such as deception, phone hacking or hiring private investigators, to try to dig up dirt about him.


Royal Commission for AlUla Announces Arrival of New Leopard in Taif

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
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Royal Commission for AlUla Announces Arrival of New Leopard in Taif

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif. SPA

Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced the arrival of a new Arabian leopard to the Arabian Leopard Breeding Center (ALBC) in Taif, as part of its efforts to preserve and protect the Arabian leopard, contributing to environmental balance in AlUla and aligning with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 goals.

The animal is the second leopard to arrive, enhancing genetic diversity within the breeding program.

As part of the breeding agreement, the RCU agreed to potentially transfer leopard cubs to broader centers across the peninsula in the future, sharing knowledge and expertise in the breeding process.

The first leopard, named Al Ain, came from Al Bustan Zoological Center in the UAE last April and was integrated into the ALBC's leopard population in July.