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Azimuth 2023: Saudi Arabia marks National Day, weekend party in AlUla’s oasis valleys

AlUla Moments, an annual series of festivals in the oasis valley of the Saudi Arabian heritage site, kicked off with the Azimuth music event on Thursday.

With headline performers including South Korean DJ Peggy Gou and British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith, the mountain region north-west of the capital city Riyadh is welcoming international and local artists to raise the metaphorical roof.

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“…We cannot wait for guests to experience everything we have in store for them this year,” Rami Almoallim, Vice President of Destination Management and marketing at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) said.

“AlUla Moments is all about people enjoying incredible experiences,” he said in a statement to the media.

Coinciding with the Kingdom’s 93rd National Day, the experience is being organized by Saudi-based MDLBEAST, who has promised to “transform stunning and historical AlUla into an exceptional gathering of art, sound, and music for an unmissable weekend extravaganza,” in a statement.

The entertainment firm is best known for hosting the flagship three-day SOUNDSTORM festival in Riyadh, which saw over 600,000 attendees in 2022.

On the ground

Mohammed Sal, a Saudi national promoting the Kingdom through his travel videos, and visiting the AlUla concert for the second time Thursday, told Al Arabiya English that he is not “expecting anything this time because every time I go there, it [AlUla] surprises me with a new thing.”

“I was planning to go to Tomorrowland in Belgium, but I don’t need that anymore. It’s happening in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

In addition to his role as a TV presenter, Sal is also an aspiring producer who corelates his newfound passion to Saudi Arabia’s “open doors” to art and entertainment.

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A post shared by Mohammed Sal | محمد سال (@moasalem)

“I was a traveler around the world and I used to make content for people to see the world. But now I make content in Saudi for people to see Saudi,” he said, adding that he is excited to experience the varied entertainment options available in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia began a liberalization drive after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the ambitious Vision 2030 reform plan. Part of it included opening up the country’s previously strict policies on entertainment, including music and cinema.

Saudi-based pop artist Molham, who has previously performed at a MDLBEAST-organized event, said Azimuth was a “bridge” between local and global music and musicians.

“Saudi is very much changing and so is the sound of music, integrating our local sound with international sound,” he told Al Arabiya English on the sidelines of the festival.

“…We want to introduce Saudi music and Saudi instrumentation and Saudi lyrics on a global stage, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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A post shared by MOLHAM (@molham)

Molham is not performing at the AlUla event, but is in town to experience the party, he said. He also said the landscape “inspires” him.

“Being in an iconic place, it really inspires me and a lot of other artists to create in a way that we hadn’t created before… I am excited to be here, excited to take part in a lot of what the country is building towards,” the Jeddah-based artist said.

“I’m very proud of my country. I’m very proud of a lot of the progress that we’ve shown in the last couple of years, and I’m excited to take part in that and be a leader within this movement and very much believe in the vision and what we’re building towards,” he added.

“I’m very excited for the future.”

The lineup

Festival goers can hear from dozens of artists from techno to house and R&B to Soul.

Day 1, September 21: UK indie band The Kooks, South Korean DJ Peggy Gou, Australian singer and record producer RY X, Egyptian rock band Cairokee, electronic music duo Thievery Corporation, Saudi-born DJ Nooriyah, Saudi DJ and producer BluePaper, Arabs Got Talent star Daneel, female singer-songwriter Cosmicat, Saudi DJ JEME, and regional stars Dorar, Nomad, Amro, and Sokkary.

Day 2, September 22: English singer and songwriter Jorja Smith, indie artist Dope Lemon, Australian singer Chet Faker, northern Mali’s Tinariwen, Gaza-raised Saint Levant, Shkoon Live, Ame & Dixon, and regional legends Vinyl Mode, Husa & Zeyada, Dish Dash, Majid, Kayan, Zone+, Baloo, Anmarz, and Narkbeat.

Both weekend and single day passes are available through the official AlUla website starting from $215 (SAR 808).

The organizers have also set up a festival playlist, now streaming on Spotify.

Read more:

AlUla Moments features exciting calendar of events with concerts, festivals, sports

Saudi archeologists make ‘significant’ discovery at al-Abla archeological site

Inaugural AlUla Desert Blaze all set to challenge endurance racers

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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