Alfadley: Saudi Arabia is Steadily Moving towards Planting 600 Million Trees by 2030

A planted field in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)
A planted field in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)
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Alfadley: Saudi Arabia is Steadily Moving towards Planting 600 Million Trees by 2030

A planted field in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)
A planted field in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture, Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen Alfadley, took part in the third edition of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, held concurrently with COP28 in Dubai.
Eng. Alfadley said that Saudi Arabia is steadily moving towards achieving the targets of the Saudi Green Initiative in planting around 600 million trees by 2030, and 10 billion trees across the Kingdom during the coming decades.

According to SPA, he clarified that the third edition of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum is to continue the achievements of past projects and initiatives initiated since the first edition in Riyadh.

The Saudi Green Initiative has 80 initiatives, and since its adoption, 43 of these initiatives have been launched to meet its primary objectives. Notably, 43.9 million trees have been planted across the Kingdom, and 940,000 hectares of degraded lands have been rehabilitated. Furthermore, a 300% increase in production capacity for reducing carbon emissions as well as the production capacity of renewable energy projects has exceeded 8 gigawatts.

He concluded that the Kingdom's strategy for afforestation is grounded in the principle of sustainability. The strategy focuses on utilizing renewable water sources. Additionally, the Kingdom aims to use cutting-edge technologies to enhance these initiatives.



Saudi General Entertainment Authority Announces Sponsorship of Comedy Factory Initiative

The Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) logo
The Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) logo
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Saudi General Entertainment Authority Announces Sponsorship of Comedy Factory Initiative

The Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) logo
The Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) logo

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) Advisor Turki bin Abdulmohsen Al Al-Sheikh announced the authority's sponsorship of the "Comedy Factory" initiative, aimed at discovering and supporting young talents in the fields of comedy and theater.

Through this sponsorship, the Authority aims to create a supportive environment, enabling young Saudis to unleash their creativity and provide unique comedy content that reflects the Saudi identity and humorously addresses community issues.
The initiative serves as a platform for young Saudis to showcase their humorous talents, fostering the development of creative capabilities in this field and offering an opportunity to refine their skills under the guidance of specialists in comedy art.

The Comedy Factory is part of a series of initiatives organized by the General Entertainment Authority as part of its efforts to boost entertainment activity. The initiative encompasses workshops, training courses, and competitive events designed to refine the skills of emerging comedy actors, preparing them for effective participation in the entertainment industry.


Condition of Nigerian Siamese Twins Stable after Surgery in Saudi Arabia

The surgery took place at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital of King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard. SPA
The surgery took place at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital of King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard. SPA
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Condition of Nigerian Siamese Twins Stable after Surgery in Saudi Arabia

The surgery took place at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital of King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard. SPA
The surgery took place at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital of King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard. SPA

Advisor at the Royal Court, Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), and head of the medical and surgical team for separating Siamese twins Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah said the condition of the Nigerian Siamese twins Hasnah and Hussaynah remains stable following their successful separation surgery in Riyadh.

The surgery took place on Thursday at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital of King Abdulaziz Medical City of the National Guard.

Al Rabeeah noted that the twins are currently in intensive care, under anesthesia, receiving intravenous nutrition, and necessary medications to ensure the stability of their condition.

He said all medical indicators for the twins are reassuring, and the medical team is diligently monitoring their health in the pediatric intensive care unit.

He added that the twins will remain in the intensive care unit for approximately ten days to two weeks before being transferred to the children’s ward after a thorough evaluation of their condition. Al Rabeeah also provided detailed explanations about the twins’ health condition to their parents.


Where Will You be for the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse?

FILE - People gather near Redmond, Ore., to view the sun as it nears a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
FILE - People gather near Redmond, Ore., to view the sun as it nears a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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Where Will You be for the April 8 Total Solar Eclipse?

FILE - People gather near Redmond, Ore., to view the sun as it nears a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
FILE - People gather near Redmond, Ore., to view the sun as it nears a total eclipse by the moon, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Where will you be watching the April 8 total solar eclipse? There are just a few weeks left to pick your spot to see the skies darken along a strip of North America, whether by land, sea or air.
For those who live inside the 115-mile-wide (185-kilometer-wide) path of total darkness, it may be a matter of just stepping outside and donning special eclipse glasses to watch the spectacle unfold. For the millions outside the path, or those who just want to improve their chances of clear skies, it could mean hitting the road with a game plan.
The eclipse reaches Mexico’s Pacific coast in the morning, cuts diagonally across the US from Texas to Maine and exits in eastern Canada by late afternoon. Most of the rest of the continent will see a partial eclipse, The Associated Press reported.
WHERE TO WATCH THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE The weather will be key, and spring weather along the path can be dicey. Mexico and Texas offer the best odds of sunny skies, said retired Canadian meteorologist Jay Anderson.
“There’s no guarantee of sunshine anywhere — just better chances,” he said.
Anderson studies satellite data for the previous 20 years to calculate how often a location has cloudy weather on any eclipse day. Besides Mexico and Texas, he said there are other promising spots on the path of totality, particularly along the Great Lakes.
The advice: If you’re flexible, start paying attention to local weather about 10 days out, and make your plans on the three-day forecast. Die-hard eclipse chasers often line up more than one location and make last-minute decisions based on the best forecast, he said.
HOW TO PREPARE LIKE AN ECLIPSE CHASER One veteran eclipse chaser recommends picking a location and make it a vacation so that the eclipse is “the cherry on top” and not the only highlight — just in case things don’t work out.
Tom Schultz will be traveling from his retirement home in Costa Rica to watch the eclipse from his mother-in-law’s house in Rochester, New York, along with other relatives.
“If we get rained out, we’ll get this great family reunion,” said Schultz.
Veteran Anne Marie Adkins could drive across town in San Antonio to see the total eclipse, but opted to join an astronomer-led tour to Mazatlán, Mexico, betting on clear skies there. She’s been thwarted by clouds on other trips. For the 2017 US eclipse, she went to Nebraska and had to scramble that day to find better skies.
“It’s a gamble. You never know what you are going to get,” said Adkins.
Post-eclipse traffic is a particular worry, especially in more rural areas like the Texas Hill Country. Patricia Moore, of the Bandera visitors center, said last year’s “ring of fire” eclipse provided a dress rehearsal for police and other first responders. Tiny Bandera — the “Cowboy Capital of the World” — expects crowds from nearby weekend music festivals.
“After the eclipse will be a challenge,” she said.
WHERE ARE THE ECLIPSE WATCH PARTIES? With the eclipse falling on a Monday, cities and towns along the path have lined up a weekend full of activities and watch parties to attract visitors. There are a multitude of music festivals and gatherings planned at museums, parks, wineries and other businesses hoping to capitalize on the buzz.
Niagara Falls has a slate of events for days and is expecting July Fourth-sized crowds for the eclipse, said Sara Harvey, spokeswoman for Destination Niagara USA.
There are multiple vantage points to watch the show from Niagara Falls State Park, and the famous Maid of the Mist tourist boats may be running, weather permitting, she said. Even if it’s cloudy, visitors will get “a beautiful view of the falls,” Harvey said.
In Waco, Texas, festivities will culminate on eclipse day with science-themed activities outside Baylor’s McClane stadium, along what's called Touchdown Alley.
It may be too late to snag a cabin on a cruise ship positioned off the Mexico coast for the eclipse, but there are other watery options including a ride on the paddle-wheeler Victorian Princess on Lake Erie from Erie, Pennsylvania.
If the sky beckons, Southwest and Delta have identified flights that will fly along or near the eclipse path. A special Delta flight from Austin to Detroit quickly sold out, prompting the airline to add another from Dallas.
Looking for an different kind of place to watch the sun, moon and Earth align? The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host NASA astronauts and other guests. Cedar Point amusement park on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, is opening for the day. And the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas is throwing a tailgate fundraising party and inviting visitors to watch the zoo’s residents react to the midday darkness.
You can also spend the day visiting the planets. In northern Maine, a scale model of the solar system is displayed along nearly 100 miles (160 kilometers) of US Route 1. Retired geology professor Kevin McCartney expects to unveil a new 23- foot-tall (7-meters-tall) roadside sun at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on eclipse day. “You won’t be able to miss it,” he said.
Anderson, the weather expert, said it's well worth the travel to see the “special magical moment” of a total eclipse: “It's the Taylor Swift of natural events.”


Last Surviving Member of 1st Team to Conquer Mount Everest Says it is Crowded, Dirty Now

Kanchha Sherpa sits on a chair during an interview with The Associated Press at his residence in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Kanchha Sherpa sits on a chair during an interview with The Associated Press at his residence in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
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Last Surviving Member of 1st Team to Conquer Mount Everest Says it is Crowded, Dirty Now

Kanchha Sherpa sits on a chair during an interview with The Associated Press at his residence in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Kanchha Sherpa sits on a chair during an interview with The Associated Press at his residence in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

The only surviving member of the mountaineering expedition that first conquered Mount Everest said Saturday that the world's highest peak is too crowded and dirty, and the mountain is a god that needs to be respected.
Kanchha Sherpa, 91, was among the 35 members in the team that put New Zealander Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay atop the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) peak on May 29, 1953.
“It would be better for the mountain to reduce the number of climbers,” Kanchha said in an interview in Kathmandu on Saturday, “Right now there is always a big crowd of people at the summit.”
Since the first conquest, the peak has been climbed thousands of times, and it gets more crowded every year. During the spring climbing season in 2023, 667 climbers scaled the peak, but that brought in thousands of support staff to the base camp between the months of March and May.
There have been concerns about the number of people living on the mountain for months on end, generating trash and waste, but authorities have no plans to cut down on the number of permits they issue to climbers.
There are rules that require climbers to bring down their own trash, equipment and everything they carry to the mountain or risk losing their deposit, but monitoring has not been very effective, The Associated Press reported.
“It is very dirty now. People throw tins and wrappings after eating food. Who is going to pick them up now?” Kanchha said. “Some climbers just dump their trash in the crevasse, which would be hidden at that time but eventually it will flow down to base camp as the snow melts and carries them downward.”
For the Sherpas, Everest is Qomolangma or goddess mother of the world, and is revered by their community. They generally perform religious rituals before climbing the peak.
“They should not be dirtying the mountain. It is our biggest god and they should not be dirtying the gods,” he said “Qomolangma is the biggest god for the Sherpas but people smoke and eat meat and throw them on the mountain.”
Kanchha was just a young man when he joined the Hillary-Tenzing expedition. He was among the three Sherpas to go the last camp on Everest along with Hillary and Tenzing. They could not go any further because they did not have a permit.
They first heard of the successful ascent on the radio, and then were reunited with the summit duo at Camp 2.
“We all gathered at Camp 2 but there was no alcohol so we celebrated with tea and snacks,” he said. “We then collected whatever we could and carried it to base camp.”
The route they opened up from the base camp to the summit is still used by climbers. Only the section from the base camp to Camp 1 over the unstable Khumbu Icefall changes every year.
Kanchha has four children, eight grandchildren and a 20-month-old great-granddaughter.


Saudi Education, Foreign Ministries Launch Study Visa for International Students

"Study in Saudi Arabia" platform
"Study in Saudi Arabia" platform
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Saudi Education, Foreign Ministries Launch Study Visa for International Students

"Study in Saudi Arabia" platform
"Study in Saudi Arabia" platform

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have jointly launched the Study Visa Issuance Service on the "Study in Saudi Arabia" platform.

The service is intended for international students who wish to study in the Kingdom and was launched in the presence of Education Minister Yousef Al-Benyan.
The initiative was launched during the "Human Capacity Initiative" conference that took place in Riyadh on February 28 and 29. The conference was held under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Human Capacity Development Program Committee.
The new visa service aims to facilitate the visa issuance process for international students. The platform aims to achieve integration between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and related sectors.
The "Study in Saudi Arabia" platform provides a range of services that contribute to providing educational options for students who wish to study in Saudi Arabia. The platform aims to enhance the Kingdom's role as a global educational destination. It enables international students to submit applications for admission to Saudi universities with ease and also provides short-term academic, training, and research programs, as well as long-term educational opportunities within a modern and distinguished educational environment.
The platform also aims to enhance academic and cultural cooperation and to fulfill the Kingdom's Vision 2030 by developing the education sector and attracting talent and competencies to Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Team Successfully Separates Nigerian Conjoined Twins

Saudi team successfully separates Nigerian conjoined twins. (SPA)
Saudi team successfully separates Nigerian conjoined twins. (SPA)
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Saudi Team Successfully Separates Nigerian Conjoined Twins

Saudi team successfully separates Nigerian conjoined twins. (SPA)
Saudi team successfully separates Nigerian conjoined twins. (SPA)

A medical team at King Abdullah Specialist Children's Hospital has successfully separated Nigerian conjoined twins, Hassana and Hasina, SPA said on Friday.
The separation comes under the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
Following their arrival in Riyadh on October 31, 2023, the twins underwent extensive examinations, which revealed they shared areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves.
The complex 16.5-hour surgery, which was carried out Thursday morning by 39 medical professionals, marks the 60th operation performed by the Saudi program for separating conjoined twins.
Over the past 34 years, the program has cared for 135 conjoined twins from 25 countries.
"Such successive medical breakthroughs are a testament to the Kingdom's shining examples of progress and development," said Advisor to the Royal Court, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) and head of the medical team Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah in a statement following the surgery.
He highlighted the Kingdom's commitment to humanitarian and medical excellence, aligning with Vision 2030's healthcare development goals.
The twins' parents expressed their gratitude to the Saudi leadership and medical team for the life-changing surgery and exceptional care.


Saudi Press Agency, Sky News Arabia Sign Cooperation Agreement

Saudi Press Agency and Sky News Arabia sign cooperation agreement. (SPA)
Saudi Press Agency and Sky News Arabia sign cooperation agreement. (SPA)
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Saudi Press Agency, Sky News Arabia Sign Cooperation Agreement

Saudi Press Agency and Sky News Arabia sign cooperation agreement. (SPA)
Saudi Press Agency and Sky News Arabia sign cooperation agreement. (SPA)

The Saudi Press Agency and Sky News Arabia signed a cooperation agreement in the field of news training, SPA said on Friday.
Assistant Minister of Media Dr. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Maghlouth attended Thursday's signing ceremony which took place during the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) in Riyadh.
The HCI is held under the patronage of Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister and Chairman of Human Capability Development Program Committee Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The program seeks to realize Saudi Vision 2030.
The agreement focuses on the specialized courses offered by the academy in the field of news, exchange of expertise, and utilization of technology.


Jeddah Middle Corniche Closed 10 Days for Maintenance

People stand on the corniche in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
People stand on the corniche in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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Jeddah Middle Corniche Closed 10 Days for Maintenance

People stand on the corniche in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
People stand on the corniche in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

The Jeddah Governorate Municipality announced that the waterfront on the middle Corniche will be closed starting next Sunday, March 3, for 10 days for maintenance and preparation work.

The municipality explained that the closure of the waterfront comes out of its concern for the safety and health of visitors during the maintenance work for the facilities at the waterfront, SPA reported.

The closure includes the seating and picnic areas, starting from Al-Anani Mosque to Palestine Street.
The maintenance work includes rehabilitating the entire plantings of the waterfront project on the Middle Corniche and the Palestine Street walkway, repairing sidewalks, and cleaning and equipping fountains and lighting poles.


Saudi Medical Team Begins Separating Nigerian Conjoined Twins

The twins share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves. SPA
The twins share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves. SPA
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Saudi Medical Team Begins Separating Nigerian Conjoined Twins

The twins share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves. SPA
The twins share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves. SPA

A Saudi medical and surgical team began on Thursday separating Nigerian conjoined twins Hassana and Hasina at King Abdullah Specialist Children's Hospital in King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh.

The separation is in implementation of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.

Following their arrival in Riyadh on October 31, the twins underwent extensive examinations, which revealed they share areas in the lower abdomen, pelvis, lower spine, and lower spinal nerves.

The surgery will be performed in nine stages and is expected to take approximately 14 hours.

A team of 38 consultants, specialists, technicians, and nursing staff in the specialties of anesthesia, pediatric surgery, urology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, and pediatric neurosurgery will participate in the operation.

According to Advisor at the Royal Court, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), and head of the medical team Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, the success rate of the operation is 70%.

This is the 60th operation performed by the Saudi program for separating Siamese twins.

Over the past 34 years, the program has cared for 135 conjoined twins from 25 countries.
Al Rabeeah expressed gratitude to the Saudi leadership for its support of the program.


Living Near Fast Food Restaurants Could Affect Heart Health, New Study

(FILES) A driver in a vehicle places his order from a drive-thru lane at a Wendy's fast food resturant in Alhambra, California on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)
(FILES) A driver in a vehicle places his order from a drive-thru lane at a Wendy's fast food resturant in Alhambra, California on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)
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Living Near Fast Food Restaurants Could Affect Heart Health, New Study

(FILES) A driver in a vehicle places his order from a drive-thru lane at a Wendy's fast food resturant in Alhambra, California on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)
(FILES) A driver in a vehicle places his order from a drive-thru lane at a Wendy's fast food resturant in Alhambra, California on May 5, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

A new British study, involving 500,000 adults, has found that living near fast food restaurants could harm the health of the heart.

These kinds of ready-to-eat food environments typically provide unhealthy foods and drinks, and have been linked to cardiovascular diseases, mostly heart failure. The findings were published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. In this case, fluids can accumulate in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. This condition can lead to narrowing the heart arteries and raising blood pressure.

This study is likely the first to assess the association between food environment and heart failure with long-term observation, according to the researchers.

The study involved more than 500,000 adults, ages 37-73 years old, in the UK.

During the research, the team measured the link between living within one-kilometer from three types of food environments — pubs or bars, restaurants or cafeterias and fast-food restaurants.

The study documented nearly 13,000 heart failure cases during a 12-year follow-up period.

The analysis found that a closer proximity and a greater density of ready-to-eat food outlets were associated with a 16% risk of heart failure compared to those with no ready-to-eat food environments near their homes.

It also found that those in the highest density areas of pubs and bars showed a 14% higher risk for heart failure; while those in the highest density areas for fast-food outlets had a 12% higher risk.

Heart failure risk was stronger among participants without a college degree and adults in urban areas without access to formal physical activity facilities such as gyms.

According to the researchers, these findings add to previous studies that have suggested that exposure to ready-to-eat food environments is associated with risks of other disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity, which may also increase the risk of heart failure.

Authors said the findings suggest that improving access to healthier food environments and physical fitness facilities in urban areas, along with helping more people attain higher levels of education, could reduce the increased risk of heart failure linked to quick-meal options.