“The move to one sale per year has been something we have been discussing for some time now. We needed to respond to the new needs of Middle Eastern collectors who are hungry for a curated sale of quality works…Collectors have matured in their choices and their buying. The majority of top modern Middle Eastern artworks have been sold over the last 10 years and are not yet back out on the market And most institutions have no intention to resell their work. This means that now we are looking at helping the contemporary scene and the contemporary market.”

-Caroline Louca, auction house Christie’s new managing director in the Middle East, on the decision to nix its annual March auction in Dubai, an indication of the overall success of the market. The event will now be folded into a London sale scheduled to take place in October. [artnet.com]



Kingdom’s Domestic Tourism, Entertainment Push Leads to Declines in Saudis Visiting Dubai


The number of Saudi tourists visiting Dubai in 2019 dropped as Saudi Arabia begins to see major gains in its domestic tourism market and local entertainment offerings. [more]



Riyadh to host next World Economic Forum regional summit

Via Frank Kane in arabnews.com : The announcement was made at a special meeting at Davos to consider the strategic priorities for Saudi Arabia as it prepares to stage the G20 meeting of world leaders in the Kingdom in November, the first time the power-summit has been held in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia joins MENA leaders as renewable energy projects ramp up

Via Reem Mehio in stepfeed.com: The kingdom has made sure to set and organize its objectives in different segments. In 2018, the country’s National Renewable Energy Program put into place a plan to reach a target of 27.3 GW in just five years — currently, the plan is in its third year of action. The second phase of this plan was to reach 58.7 GW of solar power by the 12th year.

Trump to release Middle East peace plan, will brief Netanyahu and Gantz

Via Ashley Parker, Anne Gearan, Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix in washingtonpost.com : Vice President Pence extended the invitations while in Israel, where he met with the embattled longtime Israeli leader and his lesser-known rival, and hours later Trump said he would probably release the plan as soon as next week.



Oil Markets

Saudi Arabia says all options open at OPEC+ meeting, including further cuts

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said all options are open at an OPEC+ meeting in early March, including further cuts...[via yahoo.com]


Adel Al-Jubeir

Saudi foreign minister: Iran has to change its behavior and policies

Saudi’s al-Jubeir said: “They can’t give missiles to terrorist groups and they can’t attack facilities in other countries and expect the world to deal with them...[By Abigail Ng via cnbc.com]


Saudi Tourists

UAE: Saudi tourists declined by 20% in 2019

Saudi tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Dubai in 2019 have decreased by 20 per cent, compared with a total of two million Saudi...[via middleeastmonitor.com]



Bezos Hack Claim Clouds Start of Big Year for Saudi Crown Prince

Officials have spent the past year trying to rebuild the country’s reputation after Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The government pulled off...[By Sylvia Westall and Donna Abu-Nasr via yahoo.com via Bloomberg]



Saudi Arabia denies case of coronavirus infection

A Saudi health ministry affiliate said on Thursday there were no cases of coronavirus in the kingdom, denying earlier reports of an expatriate resident being...[By Marwa Rashad via reuters.com]



Agreement signed to train Saudis in construction

The memorandum of understanding, between Hadaf and Saudi Abyat Academy for Building Materials, is aimed at preparing nationals for the labor market through electronic training...[via arabnews.com]


Franchise Law

Saudi Arabia’s New Franchise Law

Among its key provisions, the CFL provides a franchisee with a unilateral option to renew or extend a franchise agreement by providing notice 180 days...[via mayerbrown.com]



Saudi Tour presents route for sprinters and puncheurs for first edition

The first Saudi Tour ever will be held between the fourth and the eighth of February and will combine different kind of landscapes around the...[via cyclingpub.com]



Saudi health Ministry launches 8,000 steps campaign

Al-Sheikh, who is a diabetes and endocrinology consultant and chairman of the Saudi Society for Diabetes, told Arab News that there were 3.8 million diabetics...[By Alaa Ali via arabnews.com]



Saudi Launches World’s Fastest Interceptor Speedboats

On Thursday, the Saudi Navy organized a celebration at the Ras Mashaab military port, located 236 km north of Dammam. During the event, three speedboats...[via aawsat.com]


U.S. Military

US Central Command general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon

“Iran is very hard to read,” McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that...[By Lolita Baldor via militarytimes.com via AP]



‘No, No America’: Iraq protesters demand expulsion of U.S. troops

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr convened the march after the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi paramilitary chief in Baghdad this month. His...[By John Davison and Aziz El Yaakoubi via reuters.com]



Lebanon protests: After 100 days, mood is dark but hopes are undimmed

Lebanon’s anti-government uprising entered its 100th day on Friday with protesters in a much darker mood, reflected in their new rallying cry....[By Hamza Hendawi via thenational.ae]


Iran Cyber

Explainer: How Iran’s military outsources its cyberwarfare forces

According to cyberthreat intelligence firm Recorded Future, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps uses trusted intermediaries to manage contracts with independent groups. These intermediaries are loyal...[By Dorothy Denning via navytimes.com]


Yemen Civil War

Yemen Envoy Sees Path to End Conflict

Yemen’s government wants to resume direct peace talks with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels to end a brutal five-year conflict, but getting the insurgents back to the...[By Glen Carey and Mohammed Hatem via bloomberg.com]



Locusts: UN calls for international help in East Africa

Ethiopia and Somalia have not faced an infestation on this scale for 25 years, while Kenya has not seen a locust threat this size for...[via bbc.com]



Ankara Warns of EU Migrant Deal Ahead of German Chancellor’s Visit 

The future of the EU deal, which curtailed an exodus of migrants into Europe, is expected to be an essential part of talks between Merkel...[By Dorian Jones via voanews.com]



Sony strengthens operations in Asia and Middle East

Newsflash: The entire top 10 of YouTube’s popular global artists chart right now perform non-English-language music. With the exception of four Puerto Rican artists (Daddy Yankee,...[By Tim Ingham via musicbusinessworldwide.com]


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