QUOTED

“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]

TOP STORY

CITIZENSHIP

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

King-salman

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]

 

MORE TOP STORYLINES

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.

 

MORE ON THE KINGDOM AND BEYOND

Saudi Aramco IPO

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T20

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

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Saudi Bonds

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Saudi Youth Development Survey of 2019

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

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Pensacola Shooting

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Syria

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]

 

Iran

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]

 

Petrochemicals

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]

 

Turkey

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]

 

Agriculture

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]

 

Malware

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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