“I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime…If I had tried to get such a gathering together back then, they would have shut it down. But now this is a forum for everyone. And I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes I get a customer who complains about the music, or mixing, but I just tell them things have changed.”

-Saudi coffee shop owner Monira Salman Quaratah, who hosted on Thursday a women’s empowerment forum that drew more than 15 local and foreign women to speak to a new foundation, Saudi Women Stories. [The Guardian]



Saudi Aramco Officially the World’s Biggest IPO, Raises $25.6 Billion

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Aramco sold 3 billion shares at 32 riyals ($8.53) each in its IPO, raising $25.6 billion, making it the world’s biggest IPO.

The IPO values Aramco at roughly $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world ahead of Apple, which is worth about $1.15 trillion. It also soared past the previous record IPO, China’s Alibaba when it made its 2014 public debut. [more]



Saudi Aramco IPO proves a hit with small investors

Via Frank Kane in arabnews.com : Samba Capital, the lead manager for the record-setting share sale, announced that 5.06 million individual subscribers bought shares in the offer, spending nearly SR50 billion ($13.3 billion). Most of them did so online, or via the special ATM arrangements for the IPO.

Saudi, Russia win over oil producers to deeper cuts

Via Shadia Nasralla in reuters.com : Saudi Arabia and Russia won backing for deeper output cuts from OPEC and allied oil producers on Friday as they look to head off global oversupply in 2020 and sustain prices.

Saudi Arabia into the final of the Gulf Cup after defeating Qatar

in arabnews.com : A tiny handful of Saudi fans were present in Qatar Thursday to see their side’s hard-won 1-0 Gulf Cup semifinal victory over the hosts whose supporters dominated the cavernous Al-Janoub stadium.



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]



Teneo Signs Up to Manage PR Unit of Saudi Mega-City

The New York-based firm’s duties include leading and staffing Neom’s PR unit to ensure that the development’s corporate messages and positioning are effectively communicated. It also...[By Kevin McCauley via odwyerpr.com]



Iraq cleric calls for new premier without foreign influence

“We hope the head of the new government and it’s members are chosen within the constitutional deadline and according to the aspirations of the people...[By Samya Kullab and Murtada Faraj via apnews.com]


U.S. Military

U.S. military could add troops to Middle East, but struggles to explain plans

The United States military struggled on Thursday to explain its plans for potential increases in U.S. forces in the Middle East amid concerns Iran could...[By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart via reuters.com]


Iran Nuclear Agreement

Iran Faces Tougher Stance From Europe Over Nuclear Deal Violations

France, Britain and Germany will ratchet up pressure on Iran in coming weeks by triggering a dispute mechanism if Tehran continues its prohibited moves away from...[By Laurence Norman via wsj.com]



Assessing US policy toward Iran

In the aggregate, Tehran is able, despite the maximum pressure campaign, to deter an assault on Iran by threatening to inflict substantial damage on the...[By Kenneth Katzman via atlanticcouncil.org]



France to convene meeting to mobilize support for Lebanon

France plans to convene a meeting of an international support group for Lebanon on Dec. 11 to mobilize assistance for the country as it grapples...[By Tom Perry and John Irish via reuters.com]


ME Startups

Middle East innovation: These four startups are making their mark

"The Middle East was late to the first, second, and third industrial revolutions. This time, it must be ahead of the curve," Khalid Al Rumaihi,...[By Damian Radcliffe via zdnet.com]



With the Help of Russian Fighters, Libya’s Khalifa Haftar May Soon Take Tripoli

All this may sound like good news to Haftar, who, for the first time, could conceivably take Tripoli. But the battlefield advantages that come with...[By Frederic Wehrey via foreignpolicy.com]


Israel in the Region

Netanyahu’s annexation of Jordan Valley already a reality, say Palestinians

With their water already stolen by Israeli settlers and facing legal discrimination, residents say any formal move will make little difference...[By Qassam Muaddi via middleeasteye.net]



Archaeologist launches private bid to retrieve priceless Egyptian treasures from European museums

Egypt’s famed archaeologist and a former antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, is launching a campaign for the restitution of treasures from Europe’s leading museums. “I am...[By Martin Bailey via theartnewspaper.com]


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