“One of Saudi Arabia’s leading goals is attracting a new type of tourist. Ruiz is a dual national, with a large fan base in both the US and Mexico; together with Anthony Joshua’s home the UK, tourists from these three countries accounted for 4.4 percent of the total number of incoming tourists in Saudi Arabia in 2017. A world championship fight could help boost this number and attract affluent visitors who can market the country to their affluent friends on social media and when they get back home.”

Al Arabiya’s Omar Al-Ubaydli on this weekend’s ‘Clash on the Dunes’ world heavyweight boxing title rematch in Riyadh between Britain’s Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr of the United States. [Al Arabiya]



Saudi Arabia to Grant Citizenship to ‘Scientists, Intellectuals and Innovators’ From Around the World


In a bid to attract top talent and spark innovation in the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia has announced that it would grant full citizenship to “scientists, intellectuals, and innovators” from key sectors and focuses, according to reports. [more]



Saudi Aramcos bookrunners recommend pricing IPO at top end: sources

Via Marwa Rashad, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Saeed Azhar in reuters.com : Two sources said the firm could exercise a 15% “greenshoe” option, offering more shares to meet high demand from institutional investors. If exercised, it would mean the stake sale could increase from 1.5% to 1.725%.

Joshua v Ruiz fight is a genuine boost to Saudi Arabia’s tourism plan

Via Omar Al-Ubaydli in alarabiya.net : There is a massive potential for growing the Kingdom’s tourism industry: Out of the total 18 million people who visited Saudi Arabia in 2017, fewer than one million were tourists on holiday. This implies a ratio of less than 0.03 recreational tourists per inhabitant, compared to 1.2 for France, and 3 for Singapore. The “Clash on the Dunes” is an ideal event at an ideal time to help boost this number.

Spotify unveils Saudi Arabia’s favorite songs of 2019

in arabnews.com : Today, Spotify released its list of the most-streamed artists and songs in the world this year, and — to no ones surprise — Iraqi singing sensation Aseel Hameem is the most-streamed female artist in Saudi Arabia in 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]



U.S. military completes pullback from northeast Syria, Esper says

The United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria, settling into a more stable posture of about 600 troops in the rest of...[By Phil Stewart via reuters.com]


U.S. Military

Pentagon denies US mulling sending 14,000 troops to Mideast as Iran threat grows

“To be clear, the reporting is wrong. The US is not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East,” spokeswoman Alyssa Farah tweeted....[via timesofisrael.com]


Iran in the Region

Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say

An arsenal of missiles outside its borders gives advantages to the Iranian government, military and paramilitary in any standoff with the United States and its...[By Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt via nytimes.com]



U.S. warship in Gulf seizes missile parts of suspected Iran origin

A U.S. Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea, U.S....[By Idrees Ali via reuters.com]


Tuk-tuk Trouble

Egyptian government seeks to do away with popular tuk-tuks

The new plan requires that drivers sell their tuk-tuks for scrap and take loans to buy new minivans — or risk fines and even prosecution....[By Isabel Debre and Mohamed Salah via apnews.com]


Taliban Talks

U.S. envoy to rejoin Doha talks with Taliban after Kabul visit, says State Dept

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul earlier on Wednesday to follow up on U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Afghanistan last week and to discuss with Afghan...[By Jonathan Landay via reuters.com]


Academic Donations

Gulf donors drawn into controversy over foreign influence at US campuses

The push comes as Congress has increased its oversight of Chinese influence operations amid concerns that Beijing’s ubiquitous Confucius Institutes have stifled debate on US...[By Aaron Schaffer via al-monitor.com]



SABIC boss urges more partnerships among petrochemical companies in the Middle East

“Strategic partnerships are a winning proposition,” he said. “In the Middle East, 55 percent of total chemical capacities are run in partnership mode, significantly higher...[via arabnews.com]



Turkish Committee Backs Contentious Maritime Deal With Libya

The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Thursday endorsed a controversial deal on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean reached between Turkey and Libya’s U.N.-supported government. The...[By AP via voanews.com]



Desert Locust Threat Increases in Horn of Africa, UN Says

The threat from locusts in the Horn of Africa and on the India-Pakistan border is “extremely serious,” the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said....[By Samuel Gebre via bloomberg.com]



New Shamoon-style disk wiper hits Middle East oil producers

Security researchers have spotted a new destructive malware that attempts to wipe hard disks on computer systems at Middle Eastern energy companies, and believe it...[By Juha Saarinen via itnews.com]


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