“I was destroyed, but what happened is I got the awareness to understand that we as human beings, with all our arrogance and technology, are nothing in front of nature… I thanked nature for the sights I was witnessing and, at a certain point, I said to it: ‘Do as you want with me — clean my mind, clean my body, clean my thoughts. I have only one mission and that is to see myself with my family again.’ That was indeed my goal.”

Max Calderan, Dubai-based Italian explorer, discussing his trek on foot across the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest continuous sand desert on earth. His 1,100 km trek took a new West to East route through the heart of the Empty Quarter. [arabnews.com]



Jadwa Investment: Saudi Inflation Set to Rise Slightly in 2020; Non-Oil Private Sector to Pick Up

Saudi Arabia may spend SAR 100 billion ($26.6 billion) more than originally planned in 2019.

A recently-released report by Jadwa Investment notes that the Kingdom will see a slight increase in inflation in 2020 on expectations of a continued pick-up in non-oil activities and an elevated level of consumer spending. [more]




Saudi Arabia’s 2018 CO2 Emissions Fall Faster Than Expected


Latest data for the year of 2018 show that emissions in Saudi Arabia have fallen significantly for the first time, down 4.4% or 26 million tons, according to researchers at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). [more]




Report: Saudi Arabia Pushing for a ‘Major, Short-Term Oil Production Cut’

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.

OPEC and its allies are “considering cutting their oil output by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd)” with eyes on mitigating the impact on oil demand from the coronavirus, Reuters and the WSJ report. [more]



Saudi inflation set to rise on higher consumer spending in 2020

Via Sam Bridge in arabianbusiness.com : Inflation forecasts for Saudi Arabia in 2020 have been revised upwards to 1.7 percent to reflect expectations of a continued pick-up in non-oil activities, and an elevated level of consumer spending. Jadwa said price rises in restaurants and hotels were a result of increasing demand in entertainment and tourism in the kingdom, following the emerging activities associated with the Saudi Seasons in different regions during 2019.

Power Businesswomen in The Middle East 2020

in forbesmiddleeast.com : In the 2020 list, there are 22 new entries and 23 nationalities represented across 28 sectors. Emiratis are the most prevalent nationality with 23 entries. There are also nine Egyptians, eight Lebanese and eight Omani women. British women have the highest representation among non-Arabs, with seven entries. The top 10 is dominated by Saudis, with three of the country’s biggest names in the top five: Samba Financial Group’s Rania Nashar, Tadawul’s Sarah Al Suhaimi and Saudi British Bank’s Lubna Olayan.

Saudi Arabian Mining CEO Says Hopeful on Gold

in bloomberg.com : Darren Davis, president and chief executive officer of Saudi Arabian Mining Co., also known as Maaden, talks about commodities including aluminium and gold, and the prospects for his company.



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]


Saudi Lending to Private Sector Surges to Fastest Since 2016

Lending to Saudi Arabia’s private sector grew at the fastest pace since May 2016, a sign the kingdom’s non-oil economy is sustaining momentum as businesses...[By Vivian Nereim via bloomberg.com]


Trump Foreign Policy

Trump praises US military build up but vows overseas troop cuts in State of the Union address

Despite a lack of progress on that effort in the last year — about 13,000 troops in are currently deployed to Afghanistan, 5,200 troops to...[By Leo Shane III and Joe Gould via defensenews.com]



U.S. halts secretive drone program with Turkey over Syria incursion

The U.S. decision to indefinitely suspend the program, which has not been previously reported, was made in response to Turkey’s cross-border military incursion into Syria...[By Humeyra Pamuk and Phil Stewart via reuters.com]


Shale Oil

Shale pioneer John Hess says key U.S. fields starting to plateau

Production in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is starting to plateau, while the Bakken field in North Dakota where Hess is a major...[By Jennifer Hiller via reuters.com]



The Yemeni E-rial: A Digital Projection of Monetary Authority

Rather than streamline and improve access to the country’s financial system, the e-rial adds new layers of complexity to the country’s financial market and increases...[By Robert Mogielnicki via agsiw.org]



Throughout Boeing’s troubles, Airbus is struggling to shine

While its 2019 orders far outstripped Boeing’s, sales were still down from a year earlier. A combination of slowing economic growth, rising trade tensions, and...[By Natasha Frost via qz.com]


Dubai International Airport

Dubai airport passenger traffic drops in 2019, first time ever

The world’s busiest airport for international travelers since 2014 blamed 3.1% drop on a temporary runway closure, the collapse of India’s Jet Airways (JET.NS), and...[By Alexander Cornwell via reuters.com]



Plan to Move Patriot Battery to Iraq on Hold amid Baghdad Government Turmoil

The plan to move a Patriot anti-missile battery from Kuwait into Iraq to protect U.S. troops against another attack from Iran is on hold. It...[By Richard Sisk via military.com]



Turkey, Russia can tackle Syria escalation ‘without anger’: Erdogan

An attack by Russian-backed Syrian government forces that killed eight Turkish military personnel on Monday posed the biggest challenge to Russian-Turkish ties since their 2018...[By Orhan Coskun, Tuvan Gumrukcu and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber via reuters.com]



Europe to avoid taking Iran nuclear dispute to U.N., EU’s top diplomat says

The European Union will extend indefinitely the time limit to resolve disputes in the Iran 2015 nuclear accord to avoid having to go to the...[By Robin Emmott via reuters.com]



Dozens of rescue workers killed in Turkish avalanche

At least 23 rescue workers have been killed on a mountain road in eastern Turkey after they were hit by an avalanche while searching for...[via theguardian.com]


Cyber Operations

Iran-linked hackers pose as journalists in email scam

In a report published Wednesday, London-based cybersecurity company Certfa tied the impersonation of Fassihi to a hacking group nicknamed Charming Kitten, which has long been...[By Raphael Satter and Christopher Bing via reuters.com]


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