“My father allowed me to study art because he was a big feminist…[he] wanted his daughters to be financially independent. But he wanted me to study computer science….I financed my own education, my own studio — and this is very rare, even in the Western world. The whole time I was studying art privately. I would go and take weekend or evening courses. It was my passion; it was meant to happen. It was just a matter of time.”
-Saudi Artist Manal AlDowayan, in an interview with the New York Times about her life and work that explores the changes in the Kingdom.



Tiger Woods Cites Busy Schedule in Declining to Play in Saudi Invitational, Defends Mickelson’s Decision to Play


Tiger Woods has declined to play in the upcoming Saudi Invitational golf tournament early next year, citing one of the busiest tour schedules for the Master’s champ in recent years, and defended the decision by Phil Mickelson and others to play.

Woods said that he understood that the decision could be difficult for some athletes, but noted that sports have a way of bringing people together and to help “heal.”

“I understand the politics behind it,” Woods said at a news conference. “But also the game of golf can help heal a lot of that, too. It can help grow it. And also a lot of top players are going to be playing there that particular week.”

“It’s traditionally not a golf hotbed, the Middle East,” Woods said. “But it has grown quite a bit. I remember going to Dubai for my very first time and seeing maybe two or three buildings in the skyline. Now there is a New York City skyline. Again, golf has grown. There were only a few courses when I went to Dubai and now they’re everywhere. Same with Abu Dhabi, and maybe eventually in Saudi Arabia.”




Saudi Aramco IPO institutional tranche 2.95 times oversubscribed

Via Marwa Rashad in reuters.com : The institutional tranche of Saudi Aramco’s planned initial public offering (IPO) has been almost three times oversubscribed, receiving orders worth $50.4 billion, financial advisers for the IPO said on Tuesday.

Saudi king invites Qatar emir to GCC summit

in gulfnews.com : Saudi King Salman has invited Qatar’s emir to a meeting next week of the Gulf regional bloc in Riyadh, Qatari state media said Tuesday, without specifying if Doha had accepted. The invitation to the December 10 summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation (GCC) comes amid signs of reduced animosity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has led an economic boycott of Doha since 2017.

Youth in the Middle East overwhelmingly view Saudi Arabia as a stronger ally

in saudigazette.com.sa : Young Arabs overwhelmingly view Saudi Arabia as a stronger ally and believe the Kingdom to be the Arab state that has increased its influence the most in the Middle East in the past five years, according to insights from the 11th annual ASDAA BCW Arab Youth Survey 2019. In its 11th edition, the Arab Youth Survey reveals the hopes and aspirations of youth aged between 18-24. Titled ‘A Call for Reform’, the Survey was conducted between January 6 and 29, 2019.



Saudi Aramco IPO

Interview at Davos: Aramco International Listing ‘Still on the Cards,’ Saudi Arabia Finance Minister Says

Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan discusses the recent $5 billion debt issuance, the state of the Saudi economy, and the prospect of an international...[via bloomberg.com]



More efforts needed to bridge gender, generation gaps in labor market: Saudi conference

The two-day T20 Inception Conference brought together experts from all over the world to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate, energy, migration, youth,...[By Rashid Hassan via arabnews.com]


Saudi Bonds

Saudi Arabia Issues $5 Billion of Bonds as Gulf Tensions Ease

The kingdom issued $5 billion of debt, taking advantage of low borrowing costs globally. It’s seeking to plug part of its growing budget deficit by...[By Archana Narayanan and Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


Saudi Youth Development Survey of 2019

Youth make up over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia: Survey

Youth, categorized as individuals aged 0-34 years, make up 67.02 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia, according to a report released by the...[By Matthew Amlôt via alarabiya.net]


Pensacola Shooting

At Florida base, a mix of relief, anxiety in Saudi shooting aftermath

With an FBI investigation underway, Navy security officer David Link still is not allowed to talk about what he saw when a Saudi gunman killed...[By Phil Stewart via reuters.com]



Saudi Arabia to Screen Travelers From China After Virus Outbreak

Saudi Arabia will start screening passengers arriving from China and take other preventive measures following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, the kingdom's...[via nytimes.com]


Women in the Workforce

First military section for women introduced in Saudi Arabia

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals,...[via thenews.com]


Study Abroad

From the field: The new student recruitment landscape in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government began to wind down the KASP scholarship programme in 2016, and Saudi numbers in all major receiving countries began to drop off...[via icef.com]


Saudi Projects

Fifteen of the top projects currently shaping Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is pouring billions into a suite of gigaprojects, transport and mobility schemes, such as Riyadh Metro, designed to wean the country off its...[By Gavin Gibbon via arabianbusiness.com]



OPEC gearing up for deeper oil cuts, Russia yet to agree

OPEC is gearing up to deepen production cuts later this week but still needs to agree with allies such as Russia over details of a...[By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin via reuters.com]


ISIS Aftermath

In Syria and Iraq, The Fight for Old ISIS Territory Is Just Beginning

The best way to look at the complex and intricate post-Baghdadi landscape is as a series of spheres of influence projected by regional and global...[By Seth J. Frantzman via foreignpolicy.com]



Lebanon Central Bank to Reduce Interest Rates to Ease Crisis

Lebanon’s central bank plans to slash interest rates in an attempt to ease the country’s economic crisis and is considering formalizing temporary capital controls set...[By Dana Khraiche via bloomberg.com]


Iran in the Region

Opinion: Iran Is Crushing Freedom One Country at a Time

And right when Middle Easterners are demanding to be treated as citizens — not Sunnis or Shiites — Americans are devolving into Sunnis and Shiites...[By Thomas L. Friedman via nytimes.com]



Fresh intelligence points to Iranian threat against US forces and interests in Middle East, officials say

But in the last several weeks there has been movement of Iranian forces and weapons that the US worries could be put in place for...[By Barbara Starr via cnn.com]



The Superpowers Battling Over Iraq’s Giant Oil Field

This large foothold in West Qurna 1 will very neatly fit in with China’s near-identical move just a couple of months ago in Iraq’s massive...[By Simon Watkins via oilprice.com]



Turkey drops block on defence plan for Baltics – NATO chief

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Turkey had dropped its block on a plan to bolster the defences of Baltic states and Poland...[By Robin Emmott via reuters.com]



Oman Oil Co plans 20%-25% share sale in 2020: oil minister

State-owned Oman Oil Co expects to list 20%-25% of its shares in an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of next year, Oman’s Oil...[By Dahlia Nehme via reuters.com]



Hezbollah member gets 40 years for scouting possible sites for terrorist attacks in New York

Ali Kourani, a 35-year-old native of Lebanon, was the first member of the Islamic Jihad Organization, an arm of Hezbollah, to be convicted and sentenced...[By Shayna Jacobs via washingtonpost.com]



Trade tensions, stricter regulations weighing on chemical industry: SABIC CEO

Trade tensions between the US and China and tightening environmental regulations in some regions are weighing on the demand for chemical products, used in everything...[By John Benney via alarabiya.net]



$5 million reward offered for San Diego man linked to al-Shabab

Federal authorities Monday announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of a former San Diego man believed to...[via latimes.com]


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