Passport Department ready to facilitate pilgrims’ entry

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Sun, 2017-07-30 03:00

JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, the director of the General Directorate of Passports, inspected the pilgrimage halls at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.
Al-Yahya was accompanied by the deputy commander of the Passport Authority for Hajj Affairs, Maj. Khalid bin Fahd Al-Jaid, and other officials.
Al-Yahya said that “the passport department at Jeddah airport is supported by qualified human cadres and advanced technical equipment to facilitate entry procedures for the pilgrims.”
At the end of the tour, the director general urged all employees to exert the utmost efforts and to ensure accuracy in the implementation of procedures that serve pilgrims.
Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, the deputy minister of Makkah region, on Sunday inspected the Hajj terminal complex at Jeddah airport, during which he was briefed on preparations and services provided for this season’s pilgrims.
Pilgrims will benefit from 13 projects undertaken by the Development Authority of Makkah and the holy sites (MMDA), and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
These projects include pedestrian bridges, toilets, train gates and many others, and will accommodate pilgrims from all over the world.
According to Okaz newspaper, the holy sites are witnessing great efforts being exerted to complete a number of projects, especially since only 38 days are left before the arrival of pilgrims to the sprawling tent city of Mina.
Trial train trips have been operated on a daily basis over the past months, to make sure of the trains’ security, safety and readiness.
The Malaysian company operating the Mashaer Railway network is now offering temporary jobs for young Saudis. Saudis willing to work for a period of 8 days during the Hajj season this year can now apply.
The MMDA has achieved 60 percent of a project aiming to separate pedestrians climbing Jabal Al-Rahmah Mountain from the Iranian pilgrims’ camps in Arafat. The MMDA and the workers on site are in a race against time, as they want pilgrims to benefit from this project during this year’s Hajj season.

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Free Iranian citizens, Iran tells US in response to Trump

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Iran demanded on Saturday that the United States release Iranians detained there, a day after US president Donald Trump called on the Islamic Republic to release three US citizens. “America should quickly release Iranian prisoners in the country,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA). On Friday, Trump urged Tehran to return Robert Levinson, an American former law enforcement officer who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago, and to release businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer, both jailed on espionage charges. Trump warned that Iran would face “new and serious consequences” if the three men were not released. The statement capped a week of US rhetoric against Tehran, which announced […]

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Saudi Arabia issues Venezuela travel warning

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Author: Arab NewsTue, 2017-07-18 23:27ID: 1500399051903855000
JEDDAH: The Ministry of the Interior has warned Saudi citizens against travel to Venezuela due to the security situation.
The director general of public relations and information…

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Main theater attracts visitors to ‘Jeddah Eid and Sea’ Festival

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Tue, 2017-07-18 03:00

JEDDAH: The main theater at the North Jeddah Eid and Sea Festival has attracted a large number of visitors and residents of Jeddah through a diverse array of performances.
Performances at the theater include a comedy skit showcasing a group of talented Saudis, stand-up comedy highlighting social issues in a lighthearted and comedic nature, and an informative performance about overcoming fears of the sea and its secrets.
Many visitors have enjoyed the air conditioned tents at the festival, which has also included light and sound shows by the Kawabees group in a fun and entertaining manner.
Other theatrical performances include “Abbas Clinic,” which highlights and supports initiatives and regulations in the Kingdom in line with the “A Nation Without Violations Campaign,” and promoting awareness about conserving and protecting the sea.

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Mysterious Hacker Leaks Emails Of Top US State Department Expert On Russia

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Coming at a “sensitive” moment for US-Russian hacking diplomatic relations, on Friday Foreign Policy reported that emails belonging to a senior US State Department intelligence official involved in Russian affairs have been leaked by a hacker known as “Johnnie Walker.” The official, whose work is focused on Russian domestic affairs and who was described to FT as “probably the top intelligence guy in the entire U.S. government on Russia [who] knows more than anybody about what’s going on there,” is said to have been particularly interested in Russian media and government reshuffling.

The emails which were sourced from a hacked nongovernmental account over a two-year period, were sent to “an unknown number of recipients” and while the leaks were first released on July 10, they did not gain widespread attention until Friday when both FP and Newsweek commented on the hack.

In a letter announcing the alleged hacking, Johnnie Walker said that the leak would provide evidence for establishing what was called “agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.” The sender also claimed that the US State Department official was in contact with various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, as well as “mainstream media, NGOs, and international funds.”

Although the alleged hacking victim holds “a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research” and while name was disclosed in the leaked emails, Foreign Policy outlet did not disclose the name, citing a request from the state department, which has so far neither confirmed nor denied the hack. The leaked correspondence was released online on Pastebin although its authenticity remains unclear for now. The description to the three archives available for download also adds the name of the alleged agent.

As part of his introduction to the leaked emails, the mysterious hacker says that “perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world. Now you can make sure it’s true.” Below is the preface that “Johnnie Walker” posted on the pastebin:

Perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world.


Now you can make sure it’s true. Let me show you the correspondence between the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Robert P. Otto and his colleagues, CIA officers and other intelligence agencies, as well as representatives of mainstream media, NGOs, international funds and think tanks.


With the respect for privacy I’ve deleted his correspondence with his wife and relatives. The rest of emails will give evidence of who is responsible for different information campaigns, the so-called mythmaking and essentially engaged in the promotion of “American values” throughout the world.

As a reminder, two days before the find round of the French election, a dump of internal documents of then-French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron was also released on Pastebin, although it is unclear if the two releases are related. Apart from the name of the hacker’s target, the content of the letters has not been published in the Western media, although Russia’s Kommersant claims it has access to the files.

The Russian newspaper says that the intel official sent his colleagues links to articles from different Russian news outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, The New Times, Vedomosti, and RBK, among others. Among the topic of particular interest for the State Department official were social media accounts of Russian officials, staff re-shuffling in governmental bodies, and the influence of some state officials. According to the report, it is also unclear if it was a single leak or only one in a series of hacking attacks.

As Redditor NathanOhio summarized overnight, the facts so far appear to be as follows:

  1. A hacker going by the name “Johnnie Walker” has hacked a senior state department official’s personal Gmail account.
  2. The official has not been publicly named, but is claimed to be the foremost expert on Russia.
  3. Two years worth of emails were stolen and include exchanges between the victim and “CIA officers and other intelligence agencies, mainstream media, NGOs and international funds” that would “give you evidence of who is responsible for agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.”
  4. A link to the email cache has been published by “an obscure website in Crimea” that the MSM claims is “financed by the Russian secret service, and its topics assigned by top political leadership in Moscow.”

In retrospect, it appears that the email contents are relatively innocuous: as the Redditor notes:

Reading through some of the messages, it seems they are mostly discussions between various neocon academics and forwarding of articles. Most of these people rather than experts seem to be groupthinkers endlessly building up the walls of their own echo chamber.


Found a couple of things that are interesting. A Russian scholar “Valery Solovei” is sending Robert Otto a monthly report on Russia. Also, Otto and his buddies HATE John Kerry and continually refer to him as an idiot!

With the Trump administration neck-deep in Russia-hacking drama, we expect that this story, which somehow failed to make last week’s news cycle will be among the main topics in the days ahead, with questions over the identity (and nationality) of Johnnie Walker obvious among the most discussed items.

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