Saudi Arabia

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Twitter Erupts After Saudi Cleric Says Chess Is Forbidden

The game 'wastes time and money and causes rivalry and enmity'

(Newser) - A video clip of Saudi Arabia's top cleric saying that the game of chess is "forbidden" in Islam because it wastes time and leads to rivalry and enmity among people has provoked heated debate, and widespread criticism, among Arabic Twitter users. The clip was shared on YouTube in... More »

Saudi Arabia Is Snapping Up US Farmland

Farmers worry about 'exporting water'

(Newser) - In Southwestern states, including Arizona and California, the Saudis are making hay while the sun shines, and local farmers aren't happy about it. Last week, a Saudi company bought 1,790 acres of farmland in Blythe, Calif., the Saudi Gazette reports, adding to the amount of farmland bought by... More »

Iran: Saudi-Led Airstrike Hit Our Embassy in Yemen

Reporter sees no visible damage as tensions rise after Shiite cleric's execution

(Newser) - More Saudi-Iran trouble Thursday morning: Tehran accused the Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite rebels in Yemen of bombing its embassy there in an overnight airstrike. However, an AP reporter who reached the site just after the announcement by Iran's state-run news agency said the embassy was still standing without any... More »

Another Country Yanks Ambassador From Tehran

Iran says Saudis 'can't cover up their crime'

(Newser) - Kuwait announced on Tuesday it has recalled its ambassador to Iran over attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions, making it the latest Arab ally of Saudi Arabia to line up behind the kingdom amid rising regional tensions following its execution of a leading Shiite cleric and opposition figure. Sudan and the... More »

Fallout Deepens Over Saudi-Iran Rift

Bahrain severs ties with Tehran as US worries about effect on ISIS fight

(Newser) - The fallout in the Muslim world over Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite cleric is only getting worse. After Iranian protesters broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran, and now Bahrain has done the same, reports the BBC . The United... More »

Saudi Arabia to Iran: We're Done

Conflict grows over execution of Shiekh Nimr al-Nimr

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia is severing diplomatic ties with Iran amid spiking tensions over the execution of a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric. Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said late Sunday evening that Iranian diplomatic personnel had 48 hours to leave the country and all Saudi diplomatic personnel in Iran were being recalled... More »

After Execution, Iran Warns Saudis of 'Divine Revenge'

Embassy stormed, unrest deepens after Shiite cleric killed with 46 others

(Newser) - Iran's top leader on Sunday warned Saudi Arabia of "divine revenge" over the execution of an opposition Shiite cleric while Riyadh accused Tehran of supporting terrorism, escalating a war of words hours after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday... More »

Saudi Arabia Executes Dissident Cleric, 46 Others

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr's execution expected to deepen unrest

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday it had executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, including al-Qaeda detainees and a prominent Shiite cleric who rallied protests against the government. The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is likely to deepen discontent and spark protests among Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority, largely concentrated... More »

Good News, Bad News for Adulterer Sentenced to Die

Saudi court reduces sentence to 3 years in prison

(Newser) - An appeal has spared the life of a Sri Lankan maid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in Saudi Arabia. A court announced the unidentified woman's sentence would be reduced to a three-year prison term on Wednesday, about four months after she was convicted of adultery with a... More »

Fire in Saudi Maternity Ward Kills at Least 24

'We could hear the women screaming'

(Newser) - At least 24 people are dead—including one child—after a fire tore through the maternity and neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital in Saudi Arabia early Thursday, Reuters reports. The fire—which one witness says spread through the hospital in only minutes—occurred in the city of Jazan,... More »

Saudis Lead New Islamic Counterterrorism Alliance

34 nations have agreed to join new coalition

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. The announcement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the alliance will be Saudi-led and is being... More »

Saudi Women Vote—and Win— for First Time

At least 5 win council seats in historic election

(Newser) - At least five Saudi women have won seats on local municipal councils a day after women voted and ran in elections for the first time in the country's history, according to initial results Sunday. The women hail from vastly different parts of the country, ranging from Saudi Arabia's... More »

Woman Jailed for Driving in Saudi Arabia Is Now Running for Office

'I want to make a point; it's a personal thing now'

(Newser) - What a difference a year makes. In 2014, activist Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested for purposefully violating Saudi Arabia's law against women driving, the Washington Post reports. This weekend, Saudis will be able to cast a vote for her. Al-Hathloul received international fame when she live-streamed herself behind the wheel.... More »

Saudis Reopen Case of Woman Sentenced to Die Over Adultery

Court will take new look after Sri Lanka raises objections

(Newser) - A Saudi court has decided to reopen the case of a Sri Lankan woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva told parliament that an appeals court in Riyadh has decided to hear the case again following pleas by Sri Lanka's... More »

Saudi Arabia: We'll Have World's Tallest Building by 2020

Financing in place for Jeddah Tower

(Newser) - For years, Saudi Arabia has had plans to construct the world's tallest building—and now, per a Saudi government press release, the financing is in place. The Jeddah Tower has already been built to the 26th floor, but there are many more to go; ultimately, the tower will boast... More »

Saudis Find Huge Beer Shipment Disguised as Pepsi

48K cans of Heineken, to be exact

(Newser) - A ban on alcohol in Saudi Arabia recently drove a smuggler to try to cross into the Arab state from the UAE with 48,000 cans of Heineken beer—all disguised as Pepsi cans, Al Arabiya reports. "A truck carrying what first seemed to be normal cans of the... More »

US Won't Budge on One Key Point as Syria Talks Begin

US, allies want Assad gone from Syria—and want Russia, Iran on board

(Newser) - Talks designed to seek peace in Syria began Friday in Vienna, and this time there's a new player involved in the negotiations: Iran, Bashar al-Assad's No. 1 ally, Reuters notes. "Those who tried to resolve the Syrian crisis have come to the conclusion that without Iran being... More »

Man Facing 'Most Gruesome' Penalty Wins Elite Award

Raif Badawi gets Sakharov Prize for human rights—but he's stuck in Saudi prison

(Newser) - A Saudi blogger has joined the ranks of Nelson Mandela, Malala, and all other notables who've taken home one of the European Union's most elite human-rights prizes—but as of now, he can't go and collect his award in person. EU leaders announced Thursday that Raif Badawi... More »

Flogging of Saudi Blogger Said to Be Resuming Soon

Wife says Raif Badawi could receive another 50 of his 1K lashes any day

(Newser) - Whippings could soon resume for a blogger in Saudi Arabia sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam," CNN reports. Raif Badawi, who advocated for secularism on his blog Saudi Arabian Liberals, has been in prison since 2012 and received the first 50... More »

Persian Gulf Is Getting Too Hot for Humans

Heat, humidity will create killer conditions, study warns

(Newser) - A stark warning, even by the standards of climate research: If emissions continue at their current level, parts of the Persian Gulf region will simply become too hot and humid for people to survive in. Researchers say that by the end of this century, the combined heat and humidity "... More »

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