Saudi Arabia

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Saudis Bust an Unusual Sit-In: Princes Mad Over Yanked Perks

11 upset royals currently cooling their heels in prison

(Newser) - A group of 11 Saudi princes is apparently mad as hell over slashed perks and not going to take it anymore. Or rather, as CNN reports, they're going to take it from the comfort of a Riyadh prison. How it went down: A recent royal decree, stemming from Crown... More »

Saudi Arabia Seeks Staggering Amount to Free Prince: Report

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was arrested in November along with many others

(Newser) - One of the world's richest men is being asked to pay a staggering amount to secure his freedom, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal . Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal—who owns stakes in Twitter and other Western companies and has an estimated worth of $18.7... More »

Missile Headed for Saudi Palace Is Intercepted

Rebels in Yemen claim responsibility for the attack

(Newser) - The Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen's Shiite rebels said it intercepted a missile fired over southern Riyadh on Tuesday, which the rebels said was targeting a leadership meeting at the royal palace in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. It was the second time in as many months that a rebel... More »

NYT Unmasks Man Who Bought $300M Home in 2015

Saudi prince's French mansion is world's most expensive

(Newser) - What do you call somebody who publicly leads a campaign against corruption while privately buying the most expensive things in the world for himself? In Saudi Arabia, the answer to that question is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, per a New York Times investigation that exposes the 32-year-old king-in-waiting as... More »

Saudis Lift 35-Year Cinema Ban

Clerics stamped movies out decades ago

(Newser) - Saudis are going to be allowed to go to the movies for the first time since ET, Annie, and Blade Runner were in the cinemas. Saudi Arabian authorities have announced that as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform program, movie theaters, which have been banned for at... More »

Mystery Buyer of $450M da Vinci Revealed

Painting is headed for Abu Dhabi's Louvre

(Newser) - The mystery buyer who shattered art auction records by paying $450 million for a Leonardo da Vinci painting last month has been revealed as an obscure Saudi prince not previously known for collecting art—or for being incredibly wealthy. Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud—identified by the... More »

Strongman's Death May Worsen Saudi-Iran Conflict

Ali Abdullah Saleh is killed, and Yemen's civil war is expected to get worse

(Newser) - Yemeni rebels killed their erstwhile ally Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's former president and strongman, as their forces battled for control of the capital, Sanaa, officials said. The collapse of their alliance throws Yemen's nearly three-year-old civil war into unpredictable new chaos, per the AP . The war is... More »

Saudi Crown Prince Blasts 'the New Hitler'

Mohammed bin Salman says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's influence must be curtailed

(Newser) - Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are creeping ever higher, with the Saudi crown prince referring to Iran's supreme leader as "the new Hitler" in an interview with the New York Times . Mohammed bin Salman also suggested Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's influence in the Middle East needed to... More »

After 2 Mysterious Weeks, Lebanese PM Now in France

Saad Hariri says it's a 'lie' he was being held captive in Saudi Arabia

(Newser) - The (potentially) former prime minister of Lebanon's mysterious two-week stay in Saudi Arabia has come to an end, as Saad Hariri arrived in France on Saturday morning and met with French President Emmanuel Macron, the New York Times reports. Hariri was in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4 when he... More »

Lebanon President: Saudis Are Holding Our PM Hostage

It's Michel Aoun's strongest statement since Saad al-Hariri resigned

(Newser) - Lebanon President Michel Aoun said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia is holding Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his family hostage. It's the first time since al-Hariri's sudden resignation earlier this month that Aoun has explicitly accused Saudi Arabia of holding him, Reuters reports. Al-Hariri resigned during a trip... More »

Lebanon's Prime Minister Is Missing; Some Fear War Nears

Saad Hariri resigned suddenly while in Saudi Arabia last week, has yet to return to Lebanon

(Newser) - In the week since he suddenly and unexpectedly resigned as Lebanon's prime minister during a trip to Saudi Arabia, Saad Hariri has yet to return to his country—or make any sort of public statement at all, Reuters reports. According to the New York Times , on Friday Hezbollah, which... More »

What Just Happened in Saudi Arabia?

Crown prince 'MBS' makes a risky move in an apparent bid to consolidate power

(Newser) - The heir to the throne in Saudi Arabia ordered a series of stunning, high-profile arrests over the weekend. The upshot? Only what appears to be "the most sweeping transformation in the kingdom’s governance for more than eight decades," writes David Kirkpatrick in the New York Times . Crown... More »

Saudis Bust Dozens of Princes, Bigwigs in Corruption Sweep

Dramatic move seen as power play by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia has arrested dozens of princes and former officials, including a well-known billionaire with extensive holdings in Western companies, as part of a sweeping anti-corruption probe that further cements control in its young crown prince. A high-level employee at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Co. told the... More »

Saudi Prince to Open Sports Stadiums to Women

'What’s next? Night clubs?' one critic tweeted

(Newser) - First came driving , now Saudi women will be allowed in sports stadiums. Saudi authorities on Sunday tweeted that stadiums in three cities—Riyadh, Jeddah, and Damman—"will be ready to accommodate families from early 2018," AFP reports. The move was the latest effort by 32-year-old Crown Prince... More »

Google Earth Reveals Ancient Mystery in Saudi Arabia

Hundreds of unexplained stone 'gates' are spotted from above

(Newser) - Google Earth has revealed an archaeological mystery from on high. Satellite images show the existence of ancient stone structures built thousands of years ago in what is now an inhospitable part of Saudi Arabia, reports LiveScience . Archaeologists led by David Kennedy of the University of Western Australia call them "... More »

Crown Prince to Open Saudi Arabia 'to the World'

He says move to 'moderate Islam' will better the country

(Newser) - Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to Saudi Arabia's throne, wants to move the hardline kingdom toward "a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions." In an interview with the Guardian , Prince Mohammed says past leaders instituted strict rules on behavior and dress in response to... More »

Rebel Behind the Wheel: Saudi Woman Flouts Driving Ban

She was summoned, though reportedly not arrested, for cruising in advance of ban being lifted

(Newser) - A Saudi woman who appeared in a video driving a car in Riyadh was briefly detained for violating the country's ban on women driving, which is set to be lifted in June , per the AP . The state-linked Sabq news website reported on Monday that the woman in the video,... More »

Women Will Be Allowed to Drive in Saudi Arabia Next Year

Ultra-conservative kingdom announced move Tuesday

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women's rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban. The kingdom was the only country in the world to bar women... More »

Saudi Textbook Shows Yoda at UN Charter Signing

Several officials fired over photo error

(Newser) - Royally messed up, they did. A senior education official and others in Saudi Arabia have been fired after a government textbook included a photo of King Faisal seated next to Yoda, everyone's favorite Jedi Master from Star Wars. The doctored black-and-white photo showing Yoda on King Faisal's right... More »

Concern Grows as Saudi Arabia Arrests Dozens

Authorities say they're preventing coup; activists say they're crushing dissent

(Newser) - Activists say authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested at least 40 people—including clerics, scholars, and political commentators—in the past week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Saudi authorities, who won't name or quantify the arrested, say they were working against the government on behalf of foreign powers, according... More »

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