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#691 [Permalink] Posted on 19th March 2012 22:07
Severe sandstorms engulf Saudi cities

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article588906.ece

Traffic crawls along street in Jeddah street, and Riyadh's Kingdom Center is hardly visible as severe sandstorms swept across the Kingdom on Sunday. (AN photo by Khidr Al-Zahrani/SPA)

By ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 19, 2012 00:39 Updated: Mar 19, 2012 01:07

The General Presidency for Meteorology and Environment yesterday warned of possible severe sandstorms in the northern and eastern regions and Riyadh. It also warned of below-zero temperatures in the northern areas of Tabuk, Turaif and Al Qurayat in the next few days.

PME spokesman Hussein Al-Qahtani said the sandstorms are the result of high winds buffeting the Kingdom. "We are now in transition from one season to another, and the Kingdom is usually affected by different rates of temperature in addition to high wind speeds," he said.

"Wind speeds reached 60 km per hour yesterday and have been affected by the climate of the northern, eastern and central regions of the Kingdom, but God willing the storm will finish on Tuesday evening," he said.

Al-Qahtani said he would keep the public updated on what precautions to take.

With regard to air traffic controllers and schools, he said: "We send our reports to all parties and they respond accordingly."

Dust storms hit Jeddah yesterday, leading to visibility levels of less than two kilometers. Some schools closed for the day. The Civil Defense is on high alert, it said.

Officials also ordered the suspension of classes in many cities and provinces starting Monday. The Civil Defense office advised teachers, students and other school staff to stay home to avoid getting caught in the storm.

The Traffic Department advised motorists to exercise caution and not drive fast and use headlights.

In addition, a sandstorm yesterday morning engulfed villages in Taif and reduced visibility on the road to less than a kilometer.

Some parents of students complained about schools that continued to teach despite the hazardous conditions, while media spokesman for Health Affairs in the province of Taif Siraj Al-Humaidan confirmed health centers as well as hospitals were on high alert and prepared to receive emergency cases of children and the elderly who suffer allergic reactions.

The PME in Jeddah said dust storms would limit horizontal vision to 1 km especially in the southern part of the Eastern Province, Riyadh province, Najran and parts of the western provinces especially in the eastern part of Makkah and Madinah today.

Deputy Director of General Administration for Analysis and Forecast at PME Hassan Mirah told Arab News that the dust storms would continue and restrict horizontal vision in Makkah province and coastal governorates including Jeddah and regions sitting between Makkah and Madinah to less than 1km today.

The visibility will be minimum in open areas including express roads in those regions and also in parts of Hail and Tabuk, he said.

The temperature will fall below 0 degree Celsius in northern parts of the Kingdom especially in areas such as Turaif and Al-Qarayyat. He did not rule out snowfall in some northern regions today.

"The currently experienced dust storms are rare in the Kingdom in general and particularly in Jeddah and other parts of Makkah province. The weather condition experienced in most of the Kingdom since last Saturday, hit Jeddah on yesterday morning. The visibility is expected to improve in most of the regions including Jeddah on Tuesday," he said.

The Eastern Province was in the eye of a severe sandstorm yesterday. Visibility was reduced to zero and a sharp wind, laden with sand, whipped down streets in Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Hasa, Hafr Al-Batin, Ras Tanura and Jubail.

The storm started blanketing the region at 8 p.m. on Saturday as sand-laden winds made life difficult for motorists who drove with hazard lights on as they negotiated their way through the thick balls of yellow and orange dust.

The spokesman of the Civil Aviation Khaled Al-Khaibary said the sandstorm did not affect the functioning of the airports in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam.

"Flights were on schedule and the visibility at all three airports is enough for safe takeoff and landings," he said. But there were reports of flights being rescheduled to avoid flying into areas with poor visibility. Airlines, as a precaution, either rescheduled the flights or canceled.

The Jeddah Seaport General Manager Sahir Tahlawi said that the sandstorm did not affect ship movements for the day. "The ship movements were as usual and the effect of the sandstorm was not felt at the port as the storm was not accompanied by heavy winds," he said.

The emergency rooms in the hospitals at the storm-affected cities were packed with citizens and residents suffering from asthma attacks, allergies and respiratory illness. Over 800 cases in Riyadh, and about 500 cases in Dammam and Jeddah respectively were reported.

- Nadeem Al-Hamid from Jeddah, Khalid Tawalbeh from Riyadh and Siraj Wahab from Dammam contributed to the story.
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#692 [Permalink] Posted on 19th March 2012 22:11
New medical city outside Makkah

By MAKKAH: ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 19, 2012 00:43 Updated: Mar 19, 2012 00:43

The Ministry of Health unveiled plans to set up a new medical city in Makkah outside the Haram. Hussein Ghanam, deputy director general of health affairs in the Makkah region, said the ministry is preparing engineering plans and designs for the city, which will be built on the Makkah-Jeddah Expressway after Shumaisi checkpoint.

"The city project would be implemented in a sprawling area covering more than three million square meters. As the city will be located outside the Haram area, the ministry can take advantage of non-Muslim medical cadets, including specialists and experts," Al-Madinah local daily reported yesterday quoting him as saying. Ghanam opened the second social service forum organized by the health department at King Abdulaziz Hospital in Makkah's Al-Zaher.

This will be the second medical city in Makkah after King Abdullah Medical City. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah opened the city in Aziziya district in November 2009. The city, which was built over an area of 800,000 square meters, had 1,500 beds, including 500 beds in the specialist referral hospital, which consisted of five stories with 10 operating theaters and a modern radiology department.

Ghanam also disclosed plans to implement a number of health projects in the holy city. "The first phase of the medical tower at King Abdulaziz Hospital will be operational before the beginning of this year's Haj season. Our department has also plans to shift the Maternity and Children's Hospital from its old building in Jarwal district to King Abdullah Medical City before Ramadan this year," he said adding that the 220-bed hospital will be expanded to a 600-bed hospital after shifting to the city.

Ghanam also announced plans to establish a 400-bed new hospital in Makkah's eastern suburb of Al-Sharaie. "We are now preparing special budgetary allocations for implementing the project. The department is also implementing a number of primary health center projects," he added.
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#693 [Permalink] Posted on 19th March 2012 22:14
33,000 Hajis to come from Iraq this year

By ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 17, 2012 01:03 Updated: Mar 18, 2012 16:32

MAKKAH: About 33,000 pilgrims from Iraq will perform Haj this year, local daily Al-Madinah reported yesterday quoting the adviser to the president of the Iraqi Supreme Haj Authority.

Hussein Jumaa said the authority would train the Iraqi pilgrims on the best and correct methods of performing the ritual before they depart for the Kingdom. The adviser made the statements after a meeting with the chairman of the Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries Faisal bin Muhammad Nuh.

Members of the Iraqi Haj mission and members of the board of directors of the Tawafa establishment attended the meeting that discussed all matters related to the Iraqi pilgrims.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article588239.ece
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#694 [Permalink] Posted on 19th March 2012 22:18
SR14bn a year spent on smoking

By NAJRAN: ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 14, 2012 23:57 Updated: Mar 16, 2012 17:57

Saudi Arabia is the fifth country in the world and the second in the Arab Gulf region in the number of women smokers, said the chairman of a society to combat smoking, local Arabic daily Al-Madinah reported Monday.

Abdul Rahman Al-Shamrani, chairman of Waaie ('enlightened') society to combat smoking in Najran, said a study of the society revealed a frightening number of smokers in the Kingdom. "About a third of the population of Saudi Arabia smoke," the study said.

Al-Shamrani held a speech at the launch of the society's campaign against smoking at Najran University. "If there are eight million smokers in the Kingdom, each consuming one pack at about SR5 a day, then the Kingdom annually spends over SR14 billion on cigarettes," he pointed out.

University rector Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Hassan launched the campaign, titled Qudha ('lead it'). The campaign was jointly organized by the society and the university's deanship of student affairs. A number of government and private establishments participate in the weeklong campaign.

An exhibition was held on the occasion, in which a number of public and private institutions took part. Among many others, they included health affairs, the drug-combat police, the university hospital, the faculty of dentistry and the boy scouts.

The campaign included a special mobile clinic manned by specialist doctors to help smokers give up the habit. It also had a section for blood donation.

The exhibition will be open for four days and will include lectures, seminars, cultural competitions and other activities.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article587605.ece
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#695 [Permalink] Posted on 21st March 2012 14:58
Dust sweep Mecca for the second day

ارتفاع عدد مراجعي المستشفيات.. وأمن الطرق يحذر
الغبار يجتاح مكة المكرمة لليوم الثاني ويعلق الدراسة


الغبار يغطي سماء الحرم المكي

Dust covers the Grand Mosque in Mecca sky

مكة المكرمة – جمعان الكناني تصوير – محمد حامد

شهدت مكة المكرمة امس ولليوم الثاني على التوالي موجة شديدة من الغبار أدت إلى تدني مستوى الرؤية وخاصة على طرقات مكة المكرمة المرتبطة ببقية المحافظات وذلك بسبب الأتربة المثارة والعوالق الترابية الشديدة وأصبحت المنطقة أشبه بالظلام الدامس.

وأوضحت مديرية الدفاع المدني بمكة المكرمة بأنه تم التنسيق مع الجهات المعنية تمحورت في تسيير عدد من دوريات السلامة داخل وخارج المحافظة لمسح الطرق وإعطاء معلومات ميدانية عن الحالة.

وكثفت هيئة الهلال الأحمر من وجودها وزيادة الأطقم الطبية والإسعافية مع توفير الكمامات والأدوية اللازمة والتنسيق مع إدارة المرور وإدارة أمن الطرق لتسيير وتكثيف الدوريات الأمنية داخل المحافظة وعلى الطرق السريعة ومراقبتها.

كما كثفت دوريات امن الطرق من وجودها على الطرقات السريعة محذرة قائدي المركبات من القيادة أثناء موجات الغبار الشديدة والتوقف عند تدني مستوى الرؤية تجنباً للحوادث المرورية والكوارث لا سمح الله.

كما تسببت الموجةً في تعليق الدراسة أمس الاثنين في جميع مدارس التعليم العام للبنين والبنات بالاضافة الى جامعة ام القرى. كما شهدت المستشفيات والمراكز الصحية التابعة لها إقبالا من مرضى الربو نتيجة موجة الغبار الشديدة.

http://www.alriyadh.com/2012/03/20/article719988.html


Google translation:

Dust sweep the Mecca for the second day and the attached study

Saw Mecca yesterday for the second day in a row a tidal wave of dust led to the low level of visibility, especially on the roads of Mecca associated with the rest of the provinces because of the dust and dirt plankton severe and the area became more like a plunging darkness.

She explained the Directorate of Civil Defense in Makkah had been coordination with the concerned authorities centered in the conduct of a number of safety patrols inside and outside the province to clear roads and provide information on the status field.

The Red Crescent Authority has stepped up its presence and increase emergency medical staff and providing masks and with the necessary medicines and coordination with traffic management and security management methods for the conduct and the intensification of security patrols within the province and on the highways and control.

It also stepped up security patrols of the roads and the presence on the highways warning motorists of the driving waves during severe dust and to stop at a low level of visibility in order to avoid traffic accidents and disasters, God forbid.

It also caused a wave in the suspension of classes on Monday in all schools in public education for girls and Benin as well as Umm al-Qura University. Also seen hospitals and health centers have attracted a result of patients with asthma severe wave of dust.


تدني الرؤية الافقية بشوارع مكة المكرمة
Low visibility through the streets of Mecca

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#696 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd March 2012 09:51
25-year strategic plan aims to improve pilgrims’ service
 



Haj 2011


By MAKKAH: ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 22, 2012 02:14 Updated: Mar 22, 2012 02:14

Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar said ongoing efforts to work out a 25-year strategic plan for Haj and Umrah operations reflect the top priority given by the Saudi government to extend the best possible services to the millions of pilgrims who come to the Kingdom every year to perform the various pilgrimages.

“A committee has already been constituted to prepare the strategic plan following a recommendation by the Shoura Council. The ministry recently convened the first meeting of the committee that discussed various aspects of the strategy,” he said.

Al-Hajjar, who is also chairman of the committee, made the remarks in an article that appeared in the new edition of the Haj & Umrah monthly magazine published by the ministry.

Representatives of the ministries of interior, transport, health, and municipal and rural affairs, as well as officials from the Authority for Makkah and Holy Sites Development, Authority for the Development of Madinah, and the Haj and Umrah Research Institute at Umm Al-Qura University are members of the committee.

According to Al-Hajjar, the strategic plan involves the integrated and coordinated work of all departments and agencies concerned with the Haj operation.

“The plan would contain specific visions and programs to extend the best possible services for the anticipated number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims who come to the Kingdom from all over the world within the next 25 years. It would cover all aspects regarding Haj and Umrah operations during the stipulated period,” he said.

The minister stressed the need for exerting great efforts to realize the aspirations of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to further improve the services extended to Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy cities to enable them to perform the rituals in ease and comfort.

Al-Hajjar lauded King Abdullah and other Saudi leaders for implementing a number of mega projects in Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article591436.ece

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#697 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd March 2012 09:52
Dust, cold continue to prevail



Dust in Makkah


By RIYADH: RODOLFO ESTIMO JR.

Published: Mar 22, 2012 02:14 Updated: Mar 22, 2012 02:14

Various parts of the Kingdom continued to experience sandstorms for the third day in a row yesterday, with rising dust causing zero visibility in some areas and less than 1 km in other areas, accompanied by below-zero temperatures.

In a weather forecast issued earlier in the day, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) said the sky would be cloudy in parts of the southwest and western areas of the Kingdom, with some rain in Makkah, Taif, Madinah and Qassim.

It also predicted that visibility will be less than 3 km in the north, east, central and southern parts of the Kingdom as well as in areas located between Makkah and Madinah.

It predicted, however, that visibility will improve today in Makkah, Madinah and in southwestern parts of the Kingdom, with a possible increase in humidity in the coastal areas by the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

In Riyadh the skies were cloudy the whole day yesterday, with a drizzle occurring at about 5.30 p.m.

“The sandstorm caused a lot of problems, especially to health. As soon as you got out of the house, you had to hurry to your car to avoid sniffing dust,” said Cenon “Nonie” C. Sagadal, a marketing representative.

He noted that because of the dust many local activities were postponed, adding many schools had closed. However, some that had not closed held classes for only a half day on Monday and Tuesday.

Dusty weather also hit the Asir province for the last two days, causing the King Khaled and Prince Sultan universities to close.

“The weather was bad on Monday but worse on Tuesday, with zero visibility,” said Andy Relox, a statistician at King Khaled University.

Dusty weather also persisted for the last three days in the Qassim area. “The sandstorm is not that strong anymore and visibility has improved but last night it was strong. It rained as well,” said Buraidah-based Christopher Agustin, an analyst at a pharmaceutical company.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article591419.ece


 

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#698 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd March 2012 09:53
Heat-resistant marble for Holy Haram courtyards
 

22 March 2012

MAKKAH — Hundreds of engineers and laborers are working round-the-clock to install new heat-resistant marble tiles in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque to provide pilgrims and visitors with the ultimate in comfort. All marble tiles of the outside courtyards will be replaced with new Greek Thassos marble tiles that resist heat. These marble tiles are similar to the ones installed in Al-Mataf area inside the Grand Mosque.

The installation of new marble tiles is being done meticulously so as not to disrupt the movement of pilgrims entering or exiting the Grand Mosque.

The new marble floor tiles maintain the same temperature day and night, allowing visitors to walk barefoot in the afternoons without feeling any heat.
Thassos marble absorbs humidity in the night and maintains its cool temperature even in hot weather.

Engineers are also working on relocating the area from where the muezzin calls for prayers. It will now be near the Al-Safa Gate. The new area is provided with modern equipment and air-conditioners.

Sources said that the new muezzin area will continue to be near Al-Safa Gate until after next Haj when the project of expanding Al-Tawaf area has been completed.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...20120322120157


 

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#699 [Permalink] Posted on 22nd March 2012 09:54
6-story parking lot near Grand Mosque planned

 

22 March 2012

MAKKAH — A six-story parking lot will be built in Ghaza District near the Grand Mosque to help solve the parking problem in Makkah, said Col. Misha’l Musaad Al-Maghrabi, Director of Makkah Traffic Department.

In a wide-ranging interview published in a section of the Arabic press on Tuesday, Al-Maghrabi also outlined other developments taking place to tackle traffic problems in the city. He said that traffic courts, once established, will reduce the time taken to process cases.

Regarding train stations, he said three stations in Ghaza, Jabl Al-Ka’ba and Kudai districts will be built to facilitate transport for Haj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors.

About Saher, he said the latest statistics show a 21 percent decrease in injuries caused by traffic accidents and a five percent drop in deaths. “There are currently 20 mobile Saher cameras, six stationary ones and five additional cameras all over Makkah.”

Regarding speed limits, he said these are decided by the Traffic Department, Ministry of Transport and Makkah Mayoralty. “We have recently increased the speed limit of the Circular Road and Al-Sharayeh Road to 100 km/hour. For other roads, there is no plan to increase the speed limit.”

Regarding insurance companies, he said some companies have tried to wriggle out of their financial obligations. The role of the Traffic Department is to ensure citizens have insurance when they register their vehicles or have their driving licenses renewed. Financial issues are the responsibility of the committee of financial disputes and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Al-Maghrabi explained. “Our role ends when we issue a report about the accident.”

In response to a question about whether his department has plans to remove traffic signs and build roundabouts in Makkah, he said roundabouts do not work in Makkah because drivers do not yield to traffic flow inside the roundabout. This, unfortunately, causes congestion. Many mayoralties have started reducing the number of roundabouts in their cities because of this problem, he said.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index...20120321120087

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#700 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd March 2012 12:30
Traffic police cars to be equipped with eye, fingerprinting devices

By MAKKAH: ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 23, 2012 00:36 Updated: Mar 23, 2012 00:37

The traffic police cars will be equipped with special devices to take eye and fingerprints to reveal the identity of drivers and uncover any fake car papers such as the driving license and the car registration, local newspapers reported yesterday. They were quoting director of traffic in Makkah Col. Misaed Al-Maghrabi.

"These devices will enable us to uncover the identity of the driver in a very short time and hence know if his papers are original or fake," he said.

Al-Maghrabi said the traffic police and the passport police were jointly organizing intensive campaigns to ascertain the identities of foreign drivers. "If a foreign driver is working for someone other than his original sponsor, he will be caught and deported immediately," he warned.

The director recalled these campaigns were launched following reports that many drivers, especially Indonesians, often escaped from their sponsors to seek work in Makkah at double the salaries paid by their sponsors.

About the traffic congestions near schools in the holy city, Al-Maghrabi said the traffic police was coordinating with the department of education to appoint some students to work as traffic policemen so as to organize traffic, especially in the mornings and afternoons. "We are unable to place a traffic policeman in front of every school, so we resorted to students to help in this regard," he added.

The director pointed out that some car insurance companies failed to honor their agreements with the insurers. "Some insurance companies make it difficult for their policyholders by asking them to come in person to the company within two weeks in case of an accident, otherwise he will not be compensated," he said. "But what will a policyholder do if he has an accident in Makkah and the company is headquartered in Riyadh?" he questioned.
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#701 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd March 2012 12:32
Cars abandoned on public roads becoming a menace

By MADINAH: YOUSUF MUHAMMAD

Published: Mar 23, 2012 00:36 Updated: Mar 23, 2012 00:36

Abandoned cars on the streets of Madinah are increasingly becoming a nuisance, local mechanics and residents have warned.

Such vehicles can be found in large numbers on roads close to workshops and industrial areas. Most of them are abandoned in workshops as their owner cannot pay the repair cost or they are write-offs.

"Some people do not pay the repair charges and then we just leave them on roads and later parts are removed or sold as scrap," Muhammad Arshad, an expatriate automobile mechanic in the industrial area in Madinah, told Arab News.

Khaled Al-Lehaibi, a Saudi workshop owner, said car owners do not claim their cars after they are repaired at workshops in the city.

He added most workshops do not have the space to store all the cars left behind, so they are forced to shift them to public roads.

However, Al-Lehaibi added most of the abandoned cars have been seriously damaged in accidents. Some are left on the roads because of the delay in getting the right spare parts. The long delay in obtaining spare parts leads to other components in the car eventually getting damaged and therefore sometimes the owner refuses to claim his car because of the additional repair costs, he said.

Local resident Ahmad Al-Sheikh said workshop workers used to leave a repaired car on nearby roads if the car owner delayed payment for the repair for whatever reason. He also accused workshop employees of selling cars to junkyards.

Abdullah Obaid, another local resident, said workshop owners are the only people to blame for the large number of abandoned cars on public roads.

He said some time ago he took his car to a workshop and the mechanic said it would take a week to repair it. He came back after the specified time to find his car outside on the street and unrepaired. The workshop employee said he did it because the garage did not have sufficient space.

Ali Al-Sahli said the municipality, motorists and workshop owners were equally responsible for the practice. "If municipal officials firmly punish workshop and vehicle owners when they leave any car on public roads this practice will end."

It has also been reported lately that abandoned cars were being used by illegal hawkers to store their wares.
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#702 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd March 2012 12:33
SR657m in school projects to be implemented in Makkah

By MAKKAH: ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 22, 2012 02:14 Updated: Mar 22, 2012 02:14

The General Education Department in Makkah province is implementing projects worth SR657.65 million this year. These include projects under various phases of implementation as well as those for which allocations have been made during this year's budget, according to Badr Al-Harithy, director of the department's division for buildings.

Al-Harithy said the department was awarded the 38 educational projects costing a total of SR221.5 million and these included 20 projects for boys schools and 18 projects for girls schools. The department is currently implementing 55 projects (35 for boys and 20 for girls) at a total cost of SR436.1 million.

According to Al-Harithy, the number of projects expected to be awarded during the current financial year is 55, including 32 for boys and 23 for girls. He also described the department's initiative to phase out rented buildings used by schools. "The percentage of schools operating in government-owned buildings would rise to 65 with the completion of the ongoing building projects. Our department has worked out a plan to dispense with rented buildings in a phased manner and this was mainly through the allocation of government land for the construction of school buildings," he said.
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#703 [Permalink] Posted on 23rd March 2012 12:35
Dust, cold continue to prevail

By RIYADH: RODOLFO ESTIMO JR.

Published: Mar 22, 2012 02:14 Updated: Mar 22, 2012 02:14

Various parts of the Kingdom continued to experience sandstorms for the third day in a row yesterday, with rising dust causing zero visibility in some areas and less than 1 km in other areas, accompanied by below-zero temperatures.

In a weather forecast issued earlier in the day, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) said the sky would be cloudy in parts of the southwest and western areas of the Kingdom, with some rain in Makkah, Taif, Madinah and Qassim.

It also predicted that visibility will be less than 3 km in the north, east, central and southern parts of the Kingdom as well as in areas located between Makkah and Madinah.

It predicted, however, that visibility will improve today in Makkah, Madinah and in southwestern parts of the Kingdom, with a possible increase in humidity in the coastal areas by the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.

In Riyadh the skies were cloudy the whole day yesterday, with a drizzle occurring at about 5.30 p.m.

"The sandstorm caused a lot of problems, especially to health. As soon as you got out of the house, you had to hurry to your car to avoid sniffing dust," said Cenon "Nonie" C. Sagadal, a marketing representative.

He noted that because of the dust many local activities were postponed, adding many schools had closed. However, some that had not closed held classes for only a half day on Monday and Tuesday.

Dusty weather also hit the Asir province for the last two days, causing the King Khaled and Prince Sultan universities to close.

"The weather was bad on Monday but worse on Tuesday, with zero visibility," said Andy Relox, a statistician at King Khaled University.

Dusty weather also persisted for the last three days in the Qassim area. "The sandstorm is not that strong anymore and visibility has improved but last night it was strong. It rained as well," said Buraidah-based Christopher Agustin, an analyst at a pharmaceutical company.
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#704 [Permalink] Posted on 24th March 2012 21:44
Terror advocates mustn't be allowed to exploit poverty: Makkah Khatib

By ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 23, 2012 23:19 Updated: Mar 23, 2012 23:19

Makkah/Madinah: Imam and Khatib at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid urged people to realize the dignity of labor and fight against poverty.

He warned that poverty provides a means of exploitation for the advocates of destructive and extremist ideologies to promote evil in the world.

"Work is a form of worship in Islam, and believers can choose any work that suits their aptitude and skills," the sheikh said.

Islam demanded every able-bodied man to work, the khatib said. Every legitimate means of earning one's livelihood is not only dignified but it will earn Allah's reward, he added.

"Labor is the weapon to fight the problem of poverty," he said.

The sheikh condemned the social custom of viewing some jobs as undignified. "There are some people, particularly among the Arabs, who view hand labor and certain trades as undignified. That attitude is unreasonable and has nothing to do with our religion. Islam upholds the dignity of labor, whatever the work may be as long it is lawful," he said. He also warned that Islam is against sitting idle and relying on others for one's food.

He also urged people to go out anywhere in the world to find work if they do not find any job in their native places.

"People from different parts of the world come to this blessed land for work and participate in the country's developmental activities. We are also happy to see our own citizens work and compete with the expatriate workers honorably," he said.

He also condemned some people's tendencies to receive charity from others.

Islam does not give a lazy man the right to receive charity, he said.

Imam and Khatib at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Qassim said justice was the basis of Islam. "Injustice is the source all evils including corruption," the sheikh said.

"Allah prohibited all types of injustice when He said, 'O my servants, don't be unjust because I have prohibited injustice to you just as I have prohibited it for myself," the sheikh said.
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#705 [Permalink] Posted on 24th March 2012 21:46
Child beggary on the rise in Madinah

Two young girls begging near Arwah Circle in Madinah. (AN photo)

By MADINAH: YOUSUF MUHAMMAD Published: Mar 23, 2012 22:41 Updated: Mar 23, 2012 23:17

Many children are lining the streets of Madinah and near traffic lights to beg for money while watching out for special anti-beggary units following the start of the school spring vacation that started on Wednesday.

A number of citizens and expatriates all told Arab News that they were a nuisance and urged authorities to crack down on them before the number of child beggars snowballed across the city.

"This is new trend in the Holy City. We have not seen such a large number of children beggars before. Citizens and expatriates should not hesitate to inform the police whenever they see a child begging near traffic lights, mosques and gas stations," said Ghazi Falah, a Saudi citizen.

He said he was pained by the sight of young boys and girls extending their hands for a riyal or two from Saudis and foreigners.

Naif Al-Mitairi, another Saudi, held their families fully responsible for this unwelcome trend. "When the family fails to monitor its children, they may feel free to do anything including begging along the streets, which may jeopardize their lives," he said.

Mahmoud Essam Al-Din, an Egyptian, noted that most of the child beggars were foreigners. "This is a new trend in Madinah and we should all join hands with the concerned authorities to put an end to it before it becomes something we cannot control," he said.

Al-Din asked all residents not to hesitate in informing the police whenever they see children begging.

Maha Saeed, a Saudi mother, said she saw foreign children begging in malls and shopping centers while pretending to sell water. "These children are mostly foreigners. Their numbers increase remarkably during weekends and school vacations," she said.

Saeed said she saw young girls who were hardly 10 years old. "These young girls are endangering their lives and future. They may fall prey to pedophiles," she warned.
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