“The economic factor is important, but for women here this is also an opportunity to live alone and be independent from their families and they are really eager to have such an experience. Some girls have sacrificed really good jobs in their local areas to move to Riyadh and be on their own.”

Mona al-Sheddi, assistant professor at the psychology department of King Saud University, in an article from the Financial Times on how Saudi women are embracing new freedoms as gradual reforms take hold. [ft.com]


Oil Demand Growth Forecasted to Trend Higher in 2020

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with Russia and its allies will curb oil output by a collective 1.2 million barrels a day.

Oil demand growth is set to trend higher this year compared with 2019, a recent report from Jadwa Investment finds, citing OPEC forecasts and other global economic factors.   [more]




Saudi Authority Calls on UNESCO to Protect Traditional Khawlani Coffee Cultivation Techniques

Coffee making in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Heritage Preservation Society has called on UNESCO to protect traditional Khawlani coffee cultivation techniques in Saudi Arabia in a press release, noting that the Arabian tradition “has been passed down for generations by the ancient tribes of Khawlan who have grown and processed Khawlani coffee beans in the verdant valleys of Jazan, a region in the southern-most tip of Arabia, for over 300 years.” [more]



Saudi Arabia begins sale of triple-tranche dollar bond

Via Davide Barbuscia in reuters.com : Of Saudi Arabia’s total planned debt issuance this year, almost $12 billion will be used to refinance existing local debt and will also be raised locally, a finance ministry official told Reuters last month. International debt is expected to account for 45% of the remaining $20 billion-worth of new funds that Riyadh plans to raise.

Madain Saleh - Saudi Arabia’s Abandoned Nabatean City

Via Ed Whelan in ancient-origins.net : The Nabateans occupied the city in the 1st century BC. They were originally nomads who established a powerful kingdom in the Sinai and parts of modern Jordan in north-west Arabia. Under the Nabateans, the settlement of Madain Saleh became a true city. They developed a system for irrigation based on the collection of rainwater in tanks which helped agriculture to flourish.

World Economic Forum - Global Risks Report 2020

in weforum.org : The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and a fragmented cyber space threatens the full potential of next generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions, and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality.



Netflix screening ‘big boost’ to Saudi filmmakers

“Six Windows in the Desert,” a series of short films created by Saudis, will make its Netflix debut on Thursday, streaming in 190 countries. After buying...[via arabnews.com]


Saudi Officials Hold Talks with US Special Envoy for Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel...[via aawsat.com]


More Than A Dozen Saudi Oil Firms Book Hefty Losses In 2019

A total of 14 Saudi companies in the energy sector booked hefty losses last year, Middle East Monitor reported on Wednesday, quoting analysts who had...[By Tsvetana Paraskova via oilprice.com]


Trekking to the Most Beautiful Wadi in the Middle East

Wadi Lejab is this magical spot somewhere on the map of the Al-Raith mountains in Saudi Arabia. After driving for 2 days from Riyadh, we...[By Eva zu Beck via youtube.com]


Inaugural Saudi Cup To Be Televised On FS1

Live coverage of the inaugural Saudi Cup airs Saturday, Feb. 29 at noon Eastern on FS1. The field for the Saudi Cup, the world's richest...[via paulickreport.com]


Can I Fly to Riyadh? Emirates Air to Limit Access to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia suspended entry for nationalities holding tourist visas and coming from: Greater China, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Singapore,...[By Layan Odeh via bloomberg.com]


Sports minister launches Saudi Games, Kingdom’s largest sporting event

The event will feature 40 games with the participation of 35 sports federations in 18 venues within Riyadh....[via arabnews.com]


Aramco Is Said to Start Early Preparations for Overseas Listing

The world’s largest publicly traded company is in discussions with Wall Street banks to draw up scenarios for a second listing overseas, according to the...[By Matthew Martin, Dinesh Nair, and Ishika Mookerjee via bloomberg.com]


Saudi cuts March oil volumes to China by at least 500,000 bpd

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is reducing crude supplies to China in March by at least 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to...[By Alex Lawler via reuters.com]


Saudi Aramco Open to Share Sales Abroad to Fuel Economic Plans

Saudi Arabia is planning to sell more stakes in state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco as it looks to raise money to fuel an economic diversification...[By Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


Saudi Cup Could Change How Sires Are Ranked

If the winner of the Saudi Cup is by a U.S. sire and goes on to win the $12 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by...[By Eric Mitchell via bloodhorse.com]


In Saudi Arabia, women have scored another winning goal

Saudi Arabia is planning on expanding the number of professional football players competing in the country, not by recruiting more athletes to its existing national...[via thenational.ae]



Iran confirms it fired two missiles at Ukrainian plane

Iran has confirmed two missiles were fired at a Ukrainian airliner brought down this month, in a catastrophic error that killed all 176 people on...[via france24.com]



Yemen: death toll rises to 116 from suspected Houthi missile attack

The death toll from a suspected Houthi rebel missile attack on Yemeni government forces has risen to at least 116, making it one of the...[By Bethan McKernan via theguardian.com]



U.S. Looks to Maintain Pressure on Iran as Tensions Cool

Trump administration officials say they aren’t seeking regime change, just a dramatic shift in Tehran’s approach to military and foreign affairs. But some U.S. officials...[By Dion Nissenbaum, Benoit Faucon and Felicia Schwartz via wsj.com]



Surge in Mercenaries Threatens Attempt to Stop War in Libya

As world powers back a cease-fire in Libya to end months of fighting, a recent injection of mercenaries by rival foreign backers threatens to unravel...[By Jared Malsin in Berlin and Raja Abdulrahim in Beirut via wsj.com]


Gulf Security

Eight Countries Back European-Led Naval Mission In Strait Of Hormuz

Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal backed the new force, they said in a "political statement" issued by France's Foreign Ministry...[via radiofarda.com]



Opinion: The killing of Soleimani will shape the transition of Iraq’s government

After the killing of Iran’s Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, and the deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abul Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iraq...[By James Durso via thehill.com]



New IMF Program Still Up in the Air as Egypt Primes Its Economy

Egypt expects its domestic reforms to spur private investment whether or not it agrees on a non-financial International Monetary Fund program, a decision that will...[By Marc Champion via bloomberg.com]



The team behind the US ‘Deal of the Century’ is heading to Israel

The entire US peace team – Jared Kushner, Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook – are headed to Israel and expected to meet Prime Minister Benjamin...[via jpost.com]



White House unveils list of leaders to meet with President Trump at forum in Davos

Among the leaders he will meet with include Iraqi President Barham Salih, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Swiss Confederation President Simonetta Sommaruga and Nechirvan Barzani, the...[By Alexandra Alper via reuters.com]


Military Training

New regs to restrict firearms, base access, travel for international military students

For now, international student training is still on pause, as the Army, Navy and Air Force departments receive guidance from the Pentagon and implement their...[By Meghann Myers via militarytimes.com]


ISIS Issues

Norway’s prime minister loses majority after authorities repatriate Islamic State suspect and her children from Syria

Many European nations have refused to heed calls to repatriate suspected Islamic State fighters and their children from Syria. In some cases, their reluctance drew...[By Rick Noack via washingtonpost.com]



BP pulls out of Iraq’s Kirkuk field as expansion plans stall

BP has pulled out of Iraq's giant Kirkuk oilfield after its $100 million exploration contract expired with no agreement on the field's expansion, dealing a...[By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Ahmed Rasheed via yahoo.com]


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