“We wanted to appeal to young job seekers in the Kingdom by offering them a fun and simple way to apply to McDonald’s. Our main purpose was to make the application process instantaneous and accessible and Snapchat is the perfect channel to reach the target audience given its widespread popularity among them.”

Mohamed Alireza, Deputy General Manager of Reza Food Services Limited, McDonald’s Western and Southern regions, in comments about how his company used a Snapchat campaign to hire Saudis. The effort netted 42,000 applications; far surpassing its goal of 10,000. [Campaignme.com]



Lockheed Martin Awarded Contract to Build Four MMSC ships for Saudi Arabia


The Navy announced Friday that Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.96 billion contract to modify four multi-mission surface combatants (MMSC) for Saudi Arabia.  This award is an addition to Saudi Arabia’s $11.25 billion agreement to provide MMSCs in 2015. [more]



Foreigners Top Saudi Stock Buyers in Week of Aramco Inclusion

Via Filipe Pacheco in bloomberg.com : Investors from outside of the Gulf were net buyers of about 3.56 billion Saudi riyals ($950 million) for the week ended Dec. 19, according to data provided by the stock exchange. Qualified foreign institutional investors (QFIs) boosted the figure and bought the most.

Saudi sentences five to death, three to jail in Khashoggi case

Via Marwa Rashad in cnbc.com : Riyadh’s criminal court pronounced the death penalty on five defendants, whose names have not yet been released, “for committing and directly participating in the murder of the victim”. The three sentenced to prison were given various sentences totaling 24 years “for their role in covering up this crime and violating the law”.

How the rise of individualism is upending the Middle East

Jon B. Alterman writes in washingtonpost.com about changing societal norms throughout the ME region. “Besides technology, another force driving the trend is urbanization. When people live in villages, they rely on the people directly around them for basic social needs. Neighbors may have known each other for generations. Yet reciprocal obligations are more tenuous in cities, which are booming in the Arab world.”



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]



Saudi Arabia’s taxis go green

The green vehicles will be monitored and tracked to document quality of service and driver efficiency, equipped with screens that support both Arabic and English...[By Aseel Bashraheel via arabnews.com]



Small Earthquake hits Saudi Arabia, Iran

In Saudi Arabia, the earthquake was recorded at 10:27 pm local time. The magnitude of the quake was 3.9 on Richter scale....[via siasat.com]



Saudi Arabia renews call for Sudan to be removed from US terror blacklist

Bashir was toppled by the military last year, but the country remains on the list along with Syria, Iran and North Korea. In recent months, Saudi...[via middleeasteye.net]



Thousands Protest in Iraq Ahead of Deadline to Name New PM

Protesters on Sunday decried the likely pick for the new interim prime minister, former higher education minister Qusay al-Suhail, who is opposed by critics for...[via voanews.com]



Thousands protest in Lebanon against new Prime Minister Hassan Diab

Thousands of protesters demonstrated in central Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon on Sunday against the country’s new prime minister, saying he should abandon the post...[via france24.com]



Reuters Report Says Iran’s Leader Ordered Crackdown On Unrest: “Do Whatever It Takes To End It”

After days of protests across Iran last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared impatient. Gathering his top security and government officials together, he issued...[By Reuters via radiofarda.com]



Top US General Defends Afghanistan War

Too many officials across too many agencies worked on Afghanistan, he argued, to suggest that there was any kind of deliberate lie to the American...[By Katie Bo Williams via defenseone.com]


Banking and Finance

IPO Bankers Face Headwinds From Silicon Valley to Saudi Arabia

From Silicon Valley to Saudi Arabia, it’s been a tough year for IPO bankers. Wall Street kicked off the year excited about money it would make...[By Myriam Balezou, Swetha Gopinath, and Liana Baker via bloomberg.com]



Why Pakistan’s Former Ruler Musharraf Was Sentenced to Death, And What It Means

Given that he is currently living in Dubai, the sentence is unlikely to be carried out, even if it is upheld by the Supreme Court....[By Madiha Afzal via lawfareblog.com]



Erdogan says Turkey cannot handle new migrant wave from Syria, warns Europe

Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, and fears another wave from the Idlib region, where up...[By Tuvan Gumrukcu via reuters.com]


Qatar Dispute

UAE holds back from Qatari-Saudi detente and plans for gas independence

But Abu Dhabi's rhetoric has begun to change of late, with officials from state-owned ADNOC talking of reaching gas "self-sufficiency" and even becoming a net...[By Dania Saadi via spglobal.com]



For Women in Kabul, ‘It Is Just Me and the Water’

Since 2001, 23 public and private pools have appeared in Kabul, but only two allow women. They’re a welcome refuge from suicide bombings and the...[By Fatima Faizi and Thomas Gibbons-Neff via nytimes.com]


Sugar Tax

Vimto maker Nichols warns of lower 2020 profit on Saudi, UAE sugar tax

Shares of the company, which sells its drinks in more than 85 countries, fell 17%, as it said price hikes to offset the 50% excise...[By Tanishaa Nadkar via reuters.com]



Popular chat app ToTok is reportedly secret United Arab Emirates spying tool

The Times notes that this is something of a new development in the history of digital spying by authoritarian regimes. Although many governments routinely hack...[By James Vincent via theverge.com]



Fire at Warehouse in India’s Capital Kills 9

A fire at a warehouse in India's capital on Monday killed nine people and injured three others, an official said. The fire broke out early in...[via voanews.com]


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