At least 35 Killed, 45 Injured in Egyptian Church Fire

Cairo– At least 35 people were killed and 45 injured in a fire inside a church in the Egyptian city of Giza on Sunday, Reuters reported.

An electrical fire broke out as 5,000 worshippers gathered for Mass at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in the Imbaba neighbourhood, the sources said.

The fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing a stampede, they said.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

SAUDI ARAMCO’S PROFITS ALREADY $88B AS OIL PRICES STAY HIGH

Saudi oil company Aramco’s half-year profits peaked just shy of $88 billion for the first half of the year as oil prices remain high globally, the company said Sunday.

The oil and gas company, which is nearly entirely state-owned by Saudi Arabia, said it also saw a 90% surge in net profits for the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same time last year.

Aramco said the results set a new quarterly earnings record for the company since it floated around 5% of the company on the Saudi stock market in late 2019. The company said it would pay a dividend of $18.8 billion for the second quarter to shareholders, as it has promised to do since its IPO.

Aramco said the profits were driven primarily by higher crude oil prices and volumes sold, and higher refining margins.

The higher profits bode well for the Saudi government, which despite years of efforts to diversify the economy continues to be heavily reliant on oil and gas sales for revenue.

Aramco President CEO Amin Nasser said the results of the second quarter reflect increasing demand for the kingdom’s oil, which is among the world’s cheapest to produce.

“We expect oil demand to continue to grow for the rest of the decade, despite downward economic pressures on short-term global forecasts,” he said.

Source: National News Agency

Saudi Central Bank: Electronic payments exceeded cash for first time in Saudi Arabia during 2021

Riyadh– The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) issued a report on the results of an extensive study conducted to measure used payment methods in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during 2021, which aimed to assess consumer payment habits (cash and non-cash), across all market sectors; individuals, business, and the government sector.

A key objective of the Financial Sector Development Program – under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 – is the promotion of digital payment solutions to transform the Kingdom into a less-cash society by reaching 70% non-cash payments by 2025.

The extensive study which covered the use of payment methods across the market, and gives detailed insights into the most used instruments, by whom and for which purchases.

The study showed that, across all user groups, the use of electronic payments exceeded the use of cash. In total, across all areas of economic activities, the use of electronic payments increased from 44% in 2019 to 62% of all payments by volume in 2021. These transactions represent 94% of all payments when measured by value.

The study indicated that – for the first time in the Kingdom – cash is no longer the most used method of payment by individuals, as electronic payments of individuals have grown significantly to reach 57% in 2021 of the total number of transactions executed, compared to just 36% in 2019.

In the business sector, the share of electronic payments reached a substantial 84% of all business payments in 2021, compared to 51% in 2019 (a growth of 65%over the two years). On the other hand, the study also revealed that the government sector has almost completely converted to electronic payment methods of all outward government payments to individuals, business establishments or other government agencies.

The Saudi Central Bank, through its main role in the financial sector development program, seeks to encourage use of the fastest and most efficient electronic payment methods, as an extension of SAMA efforts in the development of the national and international payments ecosystems, including new technical and operational infrastructure, regulatory and legislative adjustments and new payment services.

The Payments Usage study report is available on SAMA’s website:

http://www.sama.gov.sa/en-US/Documents/National_Payments_Usage_Study_en.pdf

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Muscat Stock Exchange Index Ends Trading Lower

Muscat– The Muscat Stock Exchange (30) index ended trading lower today at 4626.15 points, losing 4.3 points, or 0.09%.

The trading value amounted to 1,620,506 Omani Riyals, 36.9% up compared to the last trading session, which amounted to 2,569,188 Omani Riyals.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Qatar Stock Exchange Ends Trading Higher

Doha– The general index of the Qatar Stock Exchange ended trading higher today, gaining 52.30 points, or 0.38%, to reach 13,796.2 points.

During today’s session, 212,524,534 shares were traded, with a value of QAR 684,866,602.268, through 16,121 deals in all sectors.

The shares of 24 companies rose, while the prices of 16 other companies declined, while 6 company maintained their previous closing price.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of the Republic of India on Independence Day

Jeddah– The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of congratulation to President Droupadi Murmu of the Republic of India, on the anniversary of her country’s Independence Day.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his best felicitations and wished the President constant good health and happiness and the government and people of the Republic of India steady progress and prosperity.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

HRH Crown Prince Congratulates President of the Republic of Congo on Independence Day

Jeddah– His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister, has sent a cable of congratulation to President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, on the anniversary of his country’s Independence Day.

In his cable, HRH the Crown Prince expressed his best felicitations and wished the President constant good health and happiness and the government and people of the Republic of Congo steady progress and prosperity.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Vampire Esports Soar to PUBG MOBILE World Invitational Triumph at Gamers8

Riyadh– Gamers8, the biggest esports and gaming event worldwide, saw Vampire Esports crowned PUBG MOBILE World Invitational (PMWI) champions on Saturday at Boulevard Riyadh City after an epic tournament victory.

The team from Thailand claimed $500,000 of the total $2 million prize pool after scoring 220 points. That points total was enough to edge out homegrown heroes Team Falcons from Saudi Arabia, who scored 197 points, into second place.

Team Falcons’ exploits earned them $300,000, while the 180 points scored by Stalwart Esports, from Mongolia, claimed third spot and $160,000. The MVP award, and with it $10,000, also went to Stalwart Esports – with star performer Action leading the individual rankings from day one of the tournament on Thursday right up until Saturday’s conclusion.

Vampire Esports Leader Rvenclaw said: “This is the greatest achievement of our lives. It was our team goal to come here and win, and we are so delighted to have done so. We really encouraged each other to win.”

Rvenclaw added: “The Esports Arena at Boulevard Riyadh City is a great venue and the fans created a great atmosphere. It was a great honor to be here in Riyadh and we have really enjoyed our time in Saudi Arabia – it is a beautiful country. We have really enjoyed the culture here; the buildings are beautiful, the food has been awesome, and the people have been very welcoming.”

Asked if Team Vampires had a message for the young gamers of Saudi Arabia who wish to follow in their footsteps, Rvenclaw said: “If you want to be a professional esports player, you must have the self-discipline to be able to study, practice and do your homework. When you see the best players in the world right now, they all have self-discipline and keep on improving. This is what makes you win and makes money for you and your family!”

The second annual PMWI tournament marks the fifth and final phase of the historic Professional Esports calendar at Gamers8, which is being organized by the Saudi Esports Federation.

Split into two parts, the main tournament welcomed 17 regional champions and one homegrown representative. The Afterparty Showdown – the week two tournament taking place from August 18-20 – will see teams competing for the remaining $1 million on offer.

The Afterparty Showdown line-up will comprise the top five teams from week one – the aforementioned Vampire Esports, Team Falcons, and Stalwart Esports, as well as Nigma Galaxy, who hail from the UAE and India, and DWG Kia from South Korea – alongside six teams chosen from different regions, and one given a special invitation to compete.

Faisal bin Hamran, Head of Esports at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “The PUBG MOBILE World Invitational at Gamers8 witnessed high enthusiasm from the participating teams, the fans present at the Esports Arena at Boulevard Riyadh City, and the tournament followers on Gamers8 channels being broadcast live in eight languages.

“This is our fifth tournament of the Gamers8 season, and the PMWI only adds to the glittering roster of elite action that we have been delighted – and privileged – to have witnessed this summer. I congratulate all the participating teams, especially those who qualified for the Afterparty Showdown that will be held next week.”

Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, Gamers8, the biggest esports and gaming event worldwide, runs daily throughout this summer until September 8 at a purpose-built venue at Boulevard Riyadh City. Elite esports tournaments are featuring alongside a series of big-name concerts, festivals, shows, and fun-filled activities for all ages. Further details, including ticket sales, are available on the event website.

Source: Saudi Press Agency