“The move to one sale per year has been something we have been discussing for some time now. We needed to respond to the new needs of Middle Eastern collectors who are hungry for a curated sale of quality works…Collectors have matured in their choices and their buying. The majority of top modern Middle Eastern artworks have been sold over the last 10 years and are not yet back out on the market And most institutions have no intention to resell their work. This means that now we are looking at helping the contemporary scene and the contemporary market.”

-Caroline Louca, auction house Christie’s new managing director in the Middle East, on the decision to nix its annual March auction in Dubai, an indication of the overall success of the market. The event will now be folded into a London sale scheduled to take place in October. [artnet.com]



Kingdom’s Domestic Tourism, Entertainment Push Leads to Declines in Saudis Visiting Dubai

Demand for one to three-star hotels in Riyadh increased by 240 percent, Seera travel group said.

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Dubai in 2019 dropped as Saudi Arabia begins to see major gains in its domestic tourism market and local entertainment offerings. [more]




Saudi Health Officials, Experienced with MERS-CoV, Take Preventative Measures against New ‘Wuhan’ Coronavirus


Officials in Saudi Arabia are taking precautions to stop the spread of a new coronavirus from China, screening arriving passengers and nurses to prevent a public health threat, according to reports. [more]




Saudi Olympic Football Team Qualifies for Tokyo 2020, First Olympic Soccer Bid in 24 Years

Tokyo 2020

Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic have become one of the first three Asian teams to secure a trip to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Fifa reports.  [more]



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]



Riyadh to host next World Economic Forum regional summit

Via Frank Kane in arabnews.com : The announcement was made at a special meeting at Davos to consider the strategic priorities for Saudi Arabia as it prepares to stage the G20 meeting of world leaders in the Kingdom in November, the first time the power-summit has been held in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia joins MENA leaders as renewable energy projects ramp up

Via Reem Mehio in stepfeed.com: The kingdom has made sure to set and organize its objectives in different segments. In 2018, the country’s National Renewable Energy Program put into place a plan to reach a target of 27.3 GW in just five years — currently, the plan is in its third year of action. The second phase of this plan was to reach 58.7 GW of solar power by the 12th year.

Trump to release Middle East peace plan, will brief Netanyahu and Gantz

Via Ashley Parker, Anne Gearan, Ruth Eglash and Steve Hendrix in washingtonpost.com : Vice President Pence extended the invitations while in Israel, where he met with the embattled longtime Israeli leader and his lesser-known rival, and hours later Trump said he would probably release the plan as soon as next week.



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]


U.S. Military

US Central Command general says troop surge in Middle East may not end soon

“Iran is very hard to read,” McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that...[By Lolita Baldor via militarytimes.com via AP]



‘No, No America’: Iraq protesters demand expulsion of U.S. troops

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr convened the march after the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi paramilitary chief in Baghdad this month. His...[By John Davison and Aziz El Yaakoubi via reuters.com]



Lebanon protests: After 100 days, mood is dark but hopes are undimmed

Lebanon’s anti-government uprising entered its 100th day on Friday with protesters in a much darker mood, reflected in their new rallying cry....[By Hamza Hendawi via thenational.ae]


Iran Cyber

Explainer: How Iran’s military outsources its cyberwarfare forces

According to cyberthreat intelligence firm Recorded Future, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps uses trusted intermediaries to manage contracts with independent groups. These intermediaries are loyal...[By Dorothy Denning via navytimes.com]


Yemen Civil War

Yemen Envoy Sees Path to End Conflict

Yemen’s government wants to resume direct peace talks with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels to end a brutal five-year conflict, but getting the insurgents back to the...[By Glen Carey and Mohammed Hatem via bloomberg.com]



Locusts: UN calls for international help in East Africa

Ethiopia and Somalia have not faced an infestation on this scale for 25 years, while Kenya has not seen a locust threat this size for...[via bbc.com]



Ankara Warns of EU Migrant Deal Ahead of German Chancellor’s Visit 

The future of the EU deal, which curtailed an exodus of migrants into Europe, is expected to be an essential part of talks between Merkel...[By Dorian Jones via voanews.com]



Sony strengthens operations in Asia and Middle East

Newsflash: The entire top 10 of YouTube’s popular global artists chart right now perform non-English-language music. With the exception of four Puerto Rican artists (Daddy Yankee,...[By Tim Ingham via musicbusinessworldwide.com]


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