Friday, September 22, 2023


Arab News


Saudi FM takes part in OIC, Arab League meetings during UN General

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Thursday took part in a coordination meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly session in New York, the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The minister expressed the Kingdom’s condolences, sympathy and solidarity with Morocco and its people in the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked the North African country, and to Libya and its people following the deadly flooding in Derna. He praised the OIC and member states’ response to a call by the Kingdom for an extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers to address the desecration and burning of copies of the Qur’an in Sweden and Denmark. Prince Faisal highlighted the Palestinian issue and the pursuit of a comprehensive solution, in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. He also chaired the Arab side of a high-level foreign ministerial informal interactive dialogue session between the Arab Summit Troika and the UN Security Council. During the session, the Saudi foreign minister said the international community faces many common challenges that require collective action, but no progress will be achieved without a safe and stable regional and international environment that enables countries to work together. The Arab Summit Troika is a group of three rotating countries that monitors the implementation of resolutions and commitments adopted by the Arab League, which consists of the outgoing, current, and incoming Arab Summit chairs — Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Other countries belonging to the Arab Group at the UN have been invited to participate in the meeting, along with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Prince Faisal said that since Arab issues make up a prominent share of the topics raised in the Security Council, strengthening cooperation and joint work between the Arab League and the Security Council to establish peace and security in the Arab world is of great importance. The Kingdom is interested in improving this cooperation to achieve a common perspective for dealing with crises and developing peaceful solutions, he said. Prince Faisal warned of the growing role of armed groups outside the framework of the state in creating these crises, which threaten international peace and security. He said the ease with which these groups gain access to advanced technology and weapons enables them to undermine state institutions. He called on the Security Council to take serious and strict measures against the groups. Prince Faisal welcomed the results of discussions on a road map to support the peace process in Yemen, which brought together the Saudi communication and coordination team with the Sanaa delegation in Riyadh, with the participation of Oman. He expressed the Kingdom’s hopes for dialogue between the Yemeni parties to pave the way for security and stability in the war-torn country, and ensure a future in which Yemen enjoys a comprehensive renaissance and sustainable development.

Libraries Commission launches audio services tool

RIYADH: CEO of the Saudi Libraries Commission Abdulrahman Al-Asem has launched a device created from the audio library booths “Masmou” project at the King Fahd National Library Park in Riyadh.The device allows library and park visitors to benefit from the audio services provided in an accessible and easy way.The launch of the device is a continuation of the second phase launched by the commission this year in Al-Ahsa, to be followed by many devices in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province. It is also one of the strategic initiatives of the commission aiming to provide library services in gathering places.Through “Masmou,” the commission seeks to introduce audio content and facilitate access to knowledge for different community groups in all regions of the Kingdom by providing audiobooks in distinctive locations, as well as reviving cultural heritage in an innovative way.The idea of the audio library booths project was inspired by the telephone booths of the Ministry of Telegraph, Post, and Telephone in the 1980s and the 1990s, as they were commonly available and easy to use.The “Masmou” booths allow users to listen to audio content via mobile phone, by browsing content according to duration, topic, most listened to, and other categories. Users can then choose the desired audio file, with the ability to listen to a short clip directly via the device or scan the QR code to listen to the entire audio file via mobile phone. 

What We Are Reading Today: Business Adventures

Author: John Brooks This business classic written by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks is an insightful and engaging look into corporate and financial life in America, says a review published on  Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance.  Brooks’ insightful reportage is so full of critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962 or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history really does repeat itself.

Turkiye says it played no direct role in Karabakh operation

ANKARA: Turkiye is using “all means,” including military training and modernization, to support its close ally Azerbaijan but it did not play a direct role in Baku’s military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a Turkish Defense Ministry official said on Thursday. Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive to take back control of its breakaway Karabakh region on Tuesday. It later announced a ceasefire that would disarm the ethnic Armenian separatists who had held much of the region — regarded internationally as part of Azerbaijan — since the 1990s. NATO ally Turkiye publicly threw its support behind Azerbaijan’s “steps to preserve its territorial integrity” but it had been unclear whether Ankara played any active role in the 24-hour military operation. “It was Azerbaijan army’s own operation, there was no direct involvement of Turkiye,” a Turkish Defense Ministry official said on Thursday. “Turkiye’s cooperation with Azerbaijan in military training and army modernization has been underway for a long time. The Azerbaijani army’s success in the latest operation clearly shows the level they achieved,” the official said. He also said a joint Turkish-Russian monitoring center was still operating and was reporting on any ceasefire violations. Turkiye, which has close linguistic, cultural and economic ties with Azerbaijan, supports efforts by Baku and Yerevan to build peaceful relations, the official added. In a phone call late on Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed Ankara’s support to his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. “President Erdogan reiterated Turkiye’s heartfelt support for Azerbaijan,” the presidency said in a statement. President Aliyev trumpeted victory in a televised address to the nation, saying his country’s military had restored its sovereignty in Nagorno-Karabakh. Representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan government met for talks on Thursday to discuss the future of the breakaway region that Azerbaijan claims to fully control following this week’s military offensive. Azerbaijan’s state news agency said the talks had ended but provided no details on whether an agreement was reached.  Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and the news agency earlier said the talks between regional leaders and Azerbaijan’s government would focus on Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan said at least 200 people, including 10 civilians, were killed and more than 400 others were wounded in the fighting.  French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Aliyev and “condemned Azerbaijan’s decision to use force ... at the risk of worsening the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and compromising ongoing efforts to achieve a fair and lasting peace,” the French presidential office said. Macron “stressed the need to respect” the ceasefire and “to provide guarantees on the rights and security of the people of Karabakh, in line with international law.” Azerbaijan presidential aide Hikmet Hajjiyev said the government was “ready to listen to the Armenian population of Karabakh regarding their humanitarian needs.”

Saudi Snapchat designer creates special National Day filter lenses

RIYADH: To mark Saudi Arabia’s 93rd National Day, Maha Al-Dosary, a certified Snapchat Lens Developer and Ambassador, created special filter lenses meant to capture the essence of the occasion. Al-Dosary, who is also a wife and mother, has been able to seamlessly balance her roles while nurturing her interests in Augmented Reality lens development on Snapchat. “I designed a simple lens that embodies the national identity for the 93rd National Day where I animated several pictures using scripts provided by Lens Studio. The lens works when you click on the missile as it launches upward and then the picture becomes clear,” she explained. Lens Studio, an AR development tool by Snap, is designed to empower artists and developers to craft immersive AR experiences for Snapchatters worldwide. Al-Dosary’s work exemplifies the growing influence of AR technology, and she believes that it can enhance various aspects of daily life, including e-commerce. As of 2022, the Ipsos Augmentality Shift Study commissioned by Snap Inc. found that the number one reason people use AR is not for fun but for shopping. Snapchat filter lens created by Al-Dosary, a Saudi- certified Snapchat lens designer. (Supplied) The fast-growing field of AR technology offers the opportunity to merge the physical and digital worlds while fostering connections with friends and colleagues. Al-Dosary draws inspiration from various sources, including pictures, objects, world news, and even the imagination of her daughters, underscoring the versatile nature of AR design. “My girls are always telling me how proud they are of me and the job I do. They truly enjoy using the filters I design and are my biggest supporters,” Al-Dosary said with pride. In 2022, Al-Dosary clinched the top spot in the Tunisia AI Hackathon in the Snap Augmented Reality Challenge. This competition, which focused on using SnapML to address UNICEF’s Sustainable Development Goals, attracted participants from 27 Middle East and African nations. Al-Dosary’s journey into the world of Snapchat lenses had a humble beginning, with self-learning and limited English proficiency. However, her curiosity and determination led her to become a certified Snapchat ambassador, trainer, content creator, and a leader of the Snapchat Lenses community in Saudi Arabia. Sharing her message of encouragement for aspiring Snap lens creators, she said: “Success is one of the most beautiful things a person can achieve, but it requires effort and perseverance. Set your goals and strive to achieve them. Take advantage of quiet times and make use of the free educational materials available on the Internet.” Maha Al-Dosary, a Saudi certified Snapchat lens developer. (Supplied) Snapchat is playing a pivotal role in transforming Saudi Arabia in alignment with Vision 2030. It not only showcases art, culture and entertainment but also fosters technological advancements in AR. “We’ve been working on AR for nearly a decade. Snap has long had the ability to be ahead of the curve,” said Rayan Al-Zahab, AR developer relations lead at Snap MENA. “We believe AR is the future of immersive customer experiences and are developing the technology to facilitate virtual try-ons, catalog browsing, showrooming, and much more.” “Snapchat is committed to empowering Saudi youth by providing hands-on training in augmented reality and innovation through local events and Saudi AR experts,” Al-Zahab added. As Snap continues to lead the way in AR innovation, it is evident that the future holds exciting possibilities for both creators and users of this immersive technology.

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