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On International Day of the Arabian Leopard, together, we can make a difference

On International Day of the Arabian Leopard, together, we can make a difference

On International Day of the Arabian Leopard, together, we can make a difference
Young leopard at breeding center. (Photo courtesy: the Royal Commission for AlUla)
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Wildlife conservation is critical to the planet’s biodiversity and to ensuring the long-term survival of countless species … including our own. While the plight of an animal like the Arabian leopard may seem far removed from the daily life of most, our collective well-being is inextricably linked. Everything in nature is connected to the rest of the world. Your health and the health of your family and community is linked to the vitality of all other species.

In 2021, with fewer than 200 Arabian leopards — a critically endangered species — left in the wild, I started Catmosphere. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became increasingly clear how our planet, environment, wildlife and our own well-being are all interconnected. And while the survival and longevity of this subspecies may have driven the original initiative, the story is one of determination and hope for our collective future.

As human activities continue to encroach on natural habitats and drive species like the Arabian leopard to the brink of extinction, the need for conservation efforts has never been more urgent. Among the many species threatened by habitat loss, poaching and human-wildlife conflict, big cats stand out as iconic and imperiled symbols of the challenges facing wildlife conservation. And the Kingdom of ż is leading efforts to help ensure their survival. Whether through the Catwalk Trails in Sharaan Nature Reserve, the Royal Commission for AlUla’s breeding and reintroduction program or the Arabian Leopard Fund, the Kingdom is committed to fostering a more sustainable future, including for wildlife.

While the survival and longevity of this subspecies may have driven the original initiative, the story is one of determination and hope for our collective future.

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud

Catmosphere has worked with leading experts in the field of conservation to tell the stories of big cats and their conservation challenges to encourage us all to take action to address our collective well-being. The preservation of big cats, including species such as tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs, has been the focal point of Catmosphere’s global efforts to protect biodiversity. These majestic creatures play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of their respective habitats. As apex predators, big cats help regulate prey populations, which in turn affects the entire food web. However, big cats face numerous threats that jeopardize their survival, including habitat destruction, the illegal wildlife trade and climate change.

So, I was so elated that, through Catmosphere’s efforts, the UN last year recognized the “International Day of the Arabian Leopard,” an initiative sponsored by ż and co-sponsored by more than 30 member states. The resolution proclaimed Feb. 10 as the International Day of the Arabian Leopard, to be observed annually around the world from this year. This announcement was significant because it was the first time ever that the UN had named an international day of recognition for a mammal or a big cat or a subspecies. And it was the first time that an international day established by the UN was led by ż. I am particularly proud that this day is for conservation.

On the first International Day of the Arabian Leopard, Catmosphere is inviting everyone to celebrate by taking part in the third “CATWALK,” a mass participation walk that is open to everyone, everywhere. The Arabian leopard and its habitats cannot speak for themselves. We need to speak and act on their behalf. I encourage you to visit the Catmosphere website (catmosphere.org), where you can get involved, participate in the CATWALK and register your support.

This first International Day of the Arabian Leopard is a testament to the idea that truly anything is possible … it is not too late. Our well-being is interconnected — from reintroducing the native Arabian leopard in AlUla to planting mangroves in the Red Sea, our collective action brings positive change. Together, we can make a difference.
Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud has served as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of ż to the US since 2019. She founded Catmosphere, a foundation aimed at addressing collective well-being through conservation, in 2021.

Rewilding Arabia
Return of the leopard is at the heart of plans to conserve and regenerate ż’s landscapes and wildlife
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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect ż' point of view

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605
Updated 1 min 7 sec ago

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,605

RIYADH: ż’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Sunday, shedding 29.74 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 12,604.59.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR6.63 billion ($1.77 billion) as 148 of the stocks advanced while 74 retreated.  

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market, Nomu, rose 194.49 points, or 0.76 percent, to close at 25,702.15. This comes as 44 of the stocks advanced while as many as 22 retreated.

Meanwhile, the MSCI Tadawul Index slipped 7.60 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 1,620.57.

The best-performing stock of the day was żn Amiantit Co. The company’s share price surged 9.96 percent to SR29.25. 

Other top performers include Arabian Pipes Co. as well as Saudi Steel Pipe Co.

The worst performer was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., whose share price dropped by 6.67 percent to SR0.14.

On the announcements front, Hail Cement Co. announced its annual financial results for the period ending Dec. 31. 

According to a Tadawul statement, the firm’s net profit reached SR24.61 million in 2023, reflecting a 49.95 percent rise compared to 2022.  

The increase in net profit was mainly attributed to a decrease in general and administrative costs as well as a drop in zakat expenses. 

It was also primarily linked to achieving profits from financial investments at fair value as well as high returns on Murabaha deposits during the aforementioned period.

Additionally, Saudi Steel Pipe Co. has also revealed its annual consolidated financial results for 2023. 

A bourse filing disclosed that the company’s net profit hit SR217 million in the year ending on Dec. 31, up 301.85 percent in comparison to the corresponding period a year earlier. 

The rise in net profit is mainly driven by a surge in gross profit, recognition of a bargain purchase gain, a rise in other income, and a drop in Zakat and tax expense.

Saudi Lime Industries Co. announced the signing of a conditional binding agreement with Astra Industrial Group and Tharawat Mining Co. to acquire a 100 percent stake in the share capital of Astra Mining Ltd. Co.

According to a Tadawul statement, the transaction value is up to a maximum of SR35 million for acquiring the company shares and settlement of company debt to local banks amounting to SR129.6 million. Accordingly, the maximum amount is SR164.6 million.

Moreover, the Capital Market Authority approved the public offering of King Khalid University Endowment Fund units.

Meanwhile, Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co. will list on Nomu today.


Massive rise in Islamophobic incidents following Gaza war leaves Muslims in fear

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave placards and Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of Gaza in London. (File/AFP)
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave placards and Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of Gaza in London. (File/AFP)
Updated 6 min 18 sec ago

Massive rise in Islamophobic incidents following Gaza war leaves Muslims in fear

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave placards and Palestinian flags at a mass rally in support of Gaza in London. (File/AFP)
  • Islamophobia Response Unit said there was a 365 percent increase in reports of Islamophobia in October 2023, following Hamas’ attack on Israel that month

LONDON: An enormous rise in Islamophobic incidents against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war has led many Muslims to fear leaving their homes after dark, The Independent reported on Sunday.

Many of the Islamophobic incidents have involved people being targeted over their support for Palestine as the war in Gaza continues.

Muslims who spoke to The Independent said they had bricks thrown through their windows for displaying the Palestinian flag, and a 17-year-old was questioned by his teachers after he displayed a Palestinian badge on his bag at school.

Islamophobia Response Unit, a charity dedicated to supporting victims of Islamophobia, said there was a 365 percent increase in reports of Islamophobia in October 2023, following Hamas’ attack on Israel that month.

“Since October 2023, IRU has seen a sustained increase in reports to the unit,” said IRU CEO Majid Iqbal.

“It is clear that this is now developing into a long-term trend and is having a profound impact on those affected by it. IRU calls on the press and politicians to not demonize legitimate Palestinian activism and, by extension, British Muslims, to avoid feeding into the serious societal problem of Islamophobia,” he said.

Tell MAMA, another body that records anti-Muslim hate incidents, said there were 2,010 Islamophobic incidents between Oct. 7 and Feb. 7, more than triple the 600 reported during the same period the year before. 

The figures were released in the same week that Tory MP Lee Anderson was suspended by the Conservative Party after making comments about London Mayor Sadiq Khan that have been widely condemned as Islamophobic.

Anderson told GB News on Friday that “Islamists” had “got control” of the mayor of London and the capital city.

“I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London … He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates,” the former Tory deputy chairman said. 

Of the cases reported to IRU, a 17-year-old Londoner said he was interrogated by teachers about his faith and “his understanding of Hamas” after he put a Palestinian badge on his school bag.

The Year 13 student said he felt targeted because he was Muslim, which triggered an anxiety attack and led to exam failure.

“The numerous instances of being pulled out whilst studying to remove my badge made me feel like I was targeted because I was a Muslim, which made me feel like I was doing something wrong,” the boy said. 

“This feeling of being targeted intensified following the intimidating interrogation, which I was subjected to,” he added.

A 32-year-old doctor said he has been too scared to leave his home after an attack he believes stemmed from his support for Palestine.

He was awoken on Feb. 5 after a large rock smashed through a window at his Manchester home, which displayed a Palestinian flag. He said he was unable to sleep and took two weeks off work as a result of the incident.

“This event has been extremely traumatic and has had a significant impact on my well-being,” he told The Independent.

“I am not sleeping; I just pace around until 4 or 5 a.m. because I am too scared to sleep in the property. I no longer leave the house after sunset, as I am too frightened.

“I will soon be returning to work after two weeks off sick with stress, but I am very concerned about the impact this event will have on my professional performance as a doctor. I do not know how I can work with patients whilst I am this sleep-deprived,” he added.


Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded
Updated 11 min 36 sec ago

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

Saudi approach toward capital allocation, economic diversification lauded

RIYADH: ż’s general disposition around capital allocation is diversified, as financial institutions in the Kingdom are “savvy and strong” with long-term strategies, according to a senior executive.

In an interview with ż on the sidelines of the Middle East Investment Conference held in Riyadh, President and CEO of CFA Institute Marg Franklin noted that ż aims to move away from its heavy reliance on oil by diversifying its investment portfolio.

This diversification plan involves investing in small and medium-sized enterprises within the Kingdom to broaden the economy’s scope.

She said: “If you look at ż’s general disposition around capital allocation, it really centers on diversification, and that is really where we’ve seen the savviest and strongest financial institutions who have a very long-term view and very long-term objectives really achieve those ambitions for the capital.”

Franklin highlighted the importance of asset owners in the Middle East, who prioritize serving their citizens over short-term gains, emphasizing long-term objectives and sustainability in capital allocation.

Additionally, amid ż’s ambitious Vision 2030 program, Franklin noted that the CFA Institute emerges as a key player in shaping the nation’s economic landscape.

With a three-pronged approach focused on education, advocacy, and policy, the institute is instrumental in fostering a robust and well-functioning capital market.

“When we look here in ż, it’s an ambitious program for 2030 and what’s exciting about it is how much it’s related to the population of Saudi, so it really lines up with those last six words of our mission for the ultimate benefit of society,” Franklin said.

She added: “The key things where CFA Institute, I think has a distinct role to play is first of all in developing and enhancing the capital markets, making sure they’re efficient and fair.”

Franklin continued: “Because at the end of the day, when you’re bringing in global capital or exporting global capital, there is a common language that goes with it. But there will be unique features here in the region, specifically Islamic finance.”

The second aspect Franklin highlighted is capacity building and talent development. This includes the renowned CFA program, known for its comprehensive curriculum and ethical foundation, providing a common platform for investment professionals globally.

“Then finally, just building those baseline skills, because we know one of ż’s key objectives is to build financial literacy, and that’s crucial if you’re going to increase the savings of citizens,” Franklin said.


Table-topping Multan round off home leg of PSL by handing Quetta first loss

Table-topping Multan round off home leg of PSL by handing Quetta first loss
Updated 25 min 26 sec ago

Table-topping Multan round off home leg of PSL by handing Quetta first loss

Table-topping Multan round off home leg of PSL by handing Quetta first loss
MULTAN: Table-topping Multan Sultans rounded off their home leg of the Pakistan Super League by handing Quetta Gladiators a first defeat on Sunday.
Half centuries by Reeza Hendricks (72) and captain Mohammad Rizwan (51) provided Multan with a strong total of 180-4 with Tayyab Tahir also contributing a meaningful 35 off 22 balls in his first game of the season after Dawid Malan fell ill.
Quetta failed to capitalize on good starts and were restricted to 167-9 as fast bowlers Mohammad Ali (3-19) and David Willey (3-37) led Multan to a convincing 13-run win.
Ali, who thrived with both the new and old balls, is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 13.
Multan’s four wins in five home games gave last year’s finalist eight points while Quetta, who won three successive games before Sunday’s loss, are second with six points. Multan’s only setback to date came at the hands of Peshawar Zalmi.
“You can’t get satisfied because it will be a different challenge when we play our five away games,” Rizwan said.
Ali hit the top of Jason Roy’s (12) off stump in his second over as the Englishman exposed his stumps while attempting a big shot. Willey also struck inside the power play when he had Saud Shakeel (24) caught at long-on before captain Rilee Rossouw (30) and young Pakistan batting sensation Khawaja Nafay (36) dragged Quetta back into the game.
Rossouw fell to a brilliant low catch by Khushdil Shah in the covers that ended a threatening 62-run stand and Ali had Nafay caught off a slower ball in his return spell as Quetta’s chase got derailed after it slipped to 124-5 in the 15th over.
Willey plucked a brilliant skier off his own bowling to dismiss Sherfane Rutherford and Ali capped another impressive day by having Mohammad Amir clean bowled off a full-pitched delivery.
Earlier, after being sent in to bat, Hendricks featured in two solid partnerships and scored his third half century of the season in five games.
Hendricks added 79 runs with Rizwan for the second wicket and contributed a further 77 with Tahir by counterattacking pacers Amir (2-46) and Mohammad Wasim (0-41) in the death overs.
Rizwan was dismissed soon after completing his half century when he holed out at deep mid-wicket. Hendricks’ robust 47-ball knock that featured four sixes and seven fours ended in the last over when he was caught in the deep while going for a big shot against Amir.

Algeria’s president inaugurates Africa’s largest mosque

Algeria’s president inaugurates Africa’s largest mosque
Updated 42 min 55 sec ago

Algeria’s president inaugurates Africa’s largest mosque

Algeria’s president inaugurates Africa’s largest mosque
  • The vast mosque, which can hold 120,000 worshippers, first opened for prayers in October 2020
  • Known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair, the modernist structure extends across 27.75 hectares

ALGIERS: Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune officially inaugurated the Grand Mosque of Algiers, the third largest in the world and the biggest in Africa, on Sunday.
The vast mosque, which can hold 120,000 worshippers, first opened for prayers in October 2020, but Tebboune was suffering from Covid-19 and did not attend.
Known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair, the modernist structure extends across 27.75 hectares (almost 70 acres), and is smaller only than the two mosques in Makkah and Madinah, Islam’s holiest sites, in ż.
It also boasts the world’s tallest minaret — 267 meters (875 feet) — fitted with elevators and a viewing platform that looks out over the capital and the Bay of Algiers.
The mosque’s interior, in Andalusian style, is decorated in wood, marble and alabaster.
To its critics, the mosque is a vanity project of former autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced out in April 2019 after mass street protests against his two-decade-long rule.
The mega-project cost more than $800 million dollars and took seven years to build.
Tebboune’s mandate officially expires at the end of this year but the president, elected in December 2019, has not yet made known whether he intends to run for a second term.