Khaled rambles technology, tea/coffee, consumer rights and other interest from Saudi Arabia

August 3, 2010

Just like that, Blackberry services banned in Saudi Arabia by CITC

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:19 pm

So it wasn’t just the “Blackberry Messenger” that will be banned in Saudi Arabia. According to this the CITC has expressed concerns about the BIS for a year and asked the local carriers (STC, Mobily and Zain) to “look into” the concerns and provide an alternative for 3 months! The three months end next Friday August 6th.

Someone pulled the switch and f***ed it up for everyone.

No, not Conan.

There are almost 1 million blackberry user in Saudi Arabia and they only got one official statement about the ban less than 3 days. So 3 day notice? This is unacceptable! The CITC should have issued a longer warning period like the UAE TRA who announced the ban 2 months in advance!

The carriers, STC, Mobily and Zain did not warn their customers in the last 3 months as well. Both are at fault, CITC and the carriers.

And what will the customers do now? a 3 day notice is not acceptable especially for what is considered a business device. UAE Etisalat will offer free phones to Blackberry customers including iPhones!

Lastly, STC PR denied the ban 2 days ago which is obviously a lie. I never believed STC’s stupid lies anyway.

Sorry I am rambling but this idiocy is frustrating.

August 1, 2010

Blackberry Messenger is banned in Saudi Arabia (STC Confirms)

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 5:21 pm

Looks like the CITC/MCIT has decided to ban the Blackberry messenger, the only feature used by a lot of people in Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the piece on Reuters: Saudi telcos ordered to freeze Blackberry Messenger and Saudi Telecom confirms Blackberry Messenger ban-TV. There you go, STC confirmed it as well.

Saudi media fails again in covering it, AlRiyadh newspaper said that the blackberry is made by the “Blackberry Company from Canada” (شركة بلاك بيري الكندية) while we all know it’s RIM.

By the way, I think CITC and MCIT need a new website, the design is awful.

June 22, 2010

Smokefree Saudi Arabia: Smoking banned at Saudi airports!

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 1:56 pm

A major step forward, Saudi Arabia re-enforces it’s ban on smoking in airports by forcing a 200SR (about $50) fine on anyone smoking in a Saudi airport! It’s about time, so many people are already smoking in the airports including airport employees!

From Arab News:

Although the Kingdom passed anti-smoking regulations in August 2003, the habit is growing among its population. There are six million smokers in the country who puff away SR8 billion every year. According to one report, smoking-related diseases kill at least 33 people in the Kingdom each month.

We still have a long way to go though.

Make sure to follow @SmokefreeRiyadh on twitter for the Smokefree Riyadh project.

June 14, 2010

5 year old child died stranded in a van in Dammam

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 1:58 pm

This is tragic. From Arab News:

DAMMAM: A private van driver faces charges of criminal negligence following the death on Sunday of a five-year-old girl who was left unattended for five hours in the vehicle in the full glare of the sun outside the International Indian School in Dammam’s Al-Raka district.

The kindergartener, Fida Haris, started attending the school only two months ago. Authorities allege the driver forgot to ensure she came off the 15-seater van when he dropped off other children at the school in the morning. Ostensibly the child dozed off and remained inside the van, which had tinted windows.

On a day when mercury reached 47 degrees Celsius, school officials said Fida apparently suffocated inside the vehicle. “Her body had turned pale because of lack of oxygen and the intensity of the heat,” said her class teacher Gita Radhakrishnan. “It was a horrible sight.”

Read the rest on Arab News.

This is probably the first recorded death in 2010 caused by heat in Saudi Arabia. We’re not even in July.

Anti-smoking campaign targets Saudi youth

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 1:14 am

Published on yesterday’s Arab News:

JEDDAH: Seven commercials about the harms of smoking are being screened on television as part of an anti-smoking campaign that has recently been launched targeting Saudi youth.

Flyers are also being distributed on the harms of smoking and lectures are being delivered on the subject as part of the campaign.

“The idea came to me when I visited a high school in Jeddah and met grade 11 students. I asked them about smoking and realized that 12 out of the 15 I met smoked,” said Kaswara Al-Khatib, managing director of Full Stop Advertising. “I have always been irritated that underage boys and girls are smoking cigarettes or the hookah. It is because of this that I came up with the idea of organizing a campaign to highlight the poor effects of smoking,” he added. “We are targeting young smokers who have begun smoking while at school because they have just started smoking and can easily be pulled back,” said Al-Khatib. “We’re avoiding older smokers because they are harder to convince,” he added.

Concerned Saudi citizen Hamza Khushaim said supermarkets sell cigarettes without giving due consideration to the age of those buying. “I think this campaign should also target supermarkets and restaurant owners who sell cigarettes and serve hookah pipes to youngsters,” he said.

“I once asked a salesman why he was selling cigarettes to young boys when he knows they are bad for their health. The guy told me that he also sells Pepsi knowing that it’s also bad for health and added that he is only concerned with making money,” he added.

Local companies and hospitals are also following suit. Balubaid Group of Companies and International Medical Center (IMC) recently joined together to hold an anti-smoking seminar that ran under the slogan “Extinguish your cigarette and spark hope.” The seminar was hosted by IMC’s Medical Director Dr. Ashraf Ameer and was held to spread awareness among the company’s employees and their families.

“The initiative came from Balubaid to emphasize that we do care about our employees’ health,” said Sana’a Dakheel from Balubaid. “The company has also banned smoking at all of its branches to promote its corporate culture which involves providing employees with healthy working environments,” she added.

End of article.

A good move, but I am also worried about restaurants and coffee shops with no non-smoking sections. I am looking at you, Dunkin Donuts Saudi Arabia.

Always good news to hear, thanks R. Hakim. Please make sure to follow the #SmokefreeRiyadh twitter campaign by following @SmokefreeRiyadh.

May 28, 2010

Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robins prepare for IPO in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 10:00 pm

Sha-heiah “شهية” or “appetite” is a name of a Saudi company for food (ltd). I really wanted to link to the official website of Sha-heiah “شهية” but the only thing I found was this email: dunkindonuts.ksa@gmail.com. The link to the company’s site titled: “شركة شهية المحدودة للأطعمة” actually takes you Dunkin’ Donuts’ official website. Again with Saudi companies lacking presence on the Internet.

Anyway according to this, Sha-heiah “شهية” has announced that they are preparing for IPO. Wish they would use the money to turn all of their Dunkin’ Donuts to a non-hazardous, smoke free coffee shop. One can dream, can he not?

Interesting fact: If you check Gowalla there are over 30 Dunkin Donuts in Riyadh! Can you visit them all?

Image from Hoboken411.

May 17, 2010

Video: Street Terror – with English translation

Filed under: Videos — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 7:47 pm

Ala’a Al-Maktoum made the following video titled “إرهاب الشوارع” or “Street Terror” to raise driving safety awareness in Saudi Arabia.

Video is in Arabic:

Or watch it directly on YouTube and is available in 720p.

General translation to English:

(more…)

May 10, 2010

More plagiarism from the Saudi mainstream media

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 6:14 pm

It never ends, does it?

The following photo of Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri (Ar: محمد عابد الجابري‎), who died recently, was taken in 2009 by Fahd Alhazmi (فهد الحازمي).

The photo was taken during Riyadh Book Fair 2009 and posted here. Interesting note about the original photo, Mohammed’s eyes were closed and Fahd has edited the photo slightly.

Now it appeared in the following Saudi newspapers/news sites.

On Asharq Alawsat as well as their web site:

On Alarabiya’s news site:

AlRiyadh newspaper’s website:

Elaph news site:

A Moroccan newspaper did it twice: here and here.

Islam Today as well:

More details (in Arabic) at Fahd’s site.

May 3, 2010

Riyadh Rain news on Twitter with #RiyadhRain (Update)

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 6:54 pm

It’s raining heavily in Riyadh at the moment and everyone twitter has agreed to use the following twitter hashtag #RiyadhRain. Since the old media has failed covering this.

ArabCrunch is the first to report about this. Keep an eye on RiyadhRain for updates as well.

I also made @RiyadhRain and curating some of the tweets as best as I can.

Update: Ahmed made this post with an updated set of videos.

Update: Jihad Alammar have made this page with auto refresh as well as this form to request help. Here’s a list of these help requests for volunteers.

Saudi Toyota and Lexus dealer finally recall some cars

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 12:01 pm

Abdul Latif Jameel Co. Ltd., Toyota and Lexus’ dealer in Saudi Arabia, has finally announced a recall for the following cars:

  1. Toyota Prado VX manufactured between August 2009 and April 2010.
  2. Lexus GX manufactured between November 2009 and April 2010.

As advertised on today’s newspapers.

Thanks Bander for taking that picture.

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