NEWS ABOUT: Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Cop Rests Shoe on Holy Site, Sets Off Furor

Governor of Mecca orders investigation

(Newser) - A Saudi police officer is the scourge of many in the Arab world today after a photo of him resting his shoe against a holy site went viral, reports Gulf News . The officer was snapped leaning against the Kaaba, which the BBC describes as "a square building at the... More »

Saudi Blogger Gets 10 Years, 1K Lashes

Judge decides liberal Saudi's first sentence was too liberal

(Newser) - Founding an Internet forum to debate the role of religion in Saudi Arabian society has earned a blogger a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes. Raif Badawi, who was found guilty of cybercrime and "disobeying his father"—but not apostasy, which carries a death sentence —was... More »

Middle East Sees Spike in Cases of Lethal Virus

92 have died since 2012

(Newser) - A respiratory virus identified in 2012 has since claimed 92 lives—and recent days have seen cases soar. Last week, Saudi Arabia reported 15 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome within four days; this weekend, the United Arab Emirates announced that paramedics were the victims in six additional cases.... More »

UK Investigates Muslim Brotherhood

Officials fear London could be used for planning

(Newser) - Concerned that London could serve as a terrorist planning ground, David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in Britain, the New York Times reports. Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia will lead the inquiry. In the past, Britain has seen the Brotherhood as a relatively... More »

Report: Saudi Woman Dies After School Blocks Aid

Male paramedics weren't allowed on female-only campus: report

(Newser) - Thousands of Saudis vented their anger online over a report yesterday that staff at Riyadh's King Saud University had barred male paramedics from entering a women's-only campus to assist a student who had suffered a heart attack and later died. The Okaz newspaper said administrators impeded efforts by... More »

Saudi Arabia Milestone: Dinosaur Fossils

Scientists find first that can be identified in Arabian Peninsula

(Newser) - A new fossil discovery confirms that dinosaurs roamed present-day Saudi Arabia. Researchers report in PLoS One that they found bone fragments of two different dinosaurs that lived about 72 million years ago. One is a distant cousin of T-Rex, a meat-eating theropod. The other is a plant-eating titanosaur, reports LiveScience... More »

Saudis to Lebanon: Here's $3B for Your Army

Diplomatic move with France as Syrian conflict threatens to spill over

(Newser) - With an eye on neighboring Syria's backslide into violence, Saudi Arabia is pledging $3 billion to Lebanon to buy weapons from France in order to shore up its army. "I am happy to tell the Lebanese people that the Saudi ruler will give a grant of $3 billion... More »

9/11 Families Win Right to Sue Saudi Arabia

Appeals court cites 'extraordinary' circumstances

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia can be sued for its alleged support of al-Qaeda before the 9-11 attacks, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, throwing out its own previous ruling that the kingdom was protected by sovereign immunity. The court said it would be in "the interests of justice" to... More »

Iran: We're Going to Produce Way More Oil

Even if it means tanking global crude prices

(Newser) - Following an initial nuclear deal between Tehran and the West, Iran is planning to ramp up its oil production, its oil minister says. "We will produce 4 million even if the price drops to $20," says Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. That's about a sixth of the current price,... More »

Saudis Arrest Free Huggers

But they're unrepentant, will hug again

(Newser) - Offering free hugs to strangers is not cool with Saudi Arabia's religious police. Earlier this week, a young Saudi man named Bandr al-Swed posted a video to YouTube in which he walked through the streets of Riyadh with a "Free Hugs" sign, giving them out happily to men... More »

Dozens of Saudi Women Drive Cars in Protest

Organizers say they've gotten videos and phone messages, though confirmation is tricky

(Newser) - Saudi activists said more than 60 women claimed to have answered their call today to get behind the wheel in a rare show of defiance against a ban on female driving in the ultraconservative kingdom. Saudi professor and campaigner Aziza Youssef said the group has received 13 videos and another... More »

Saudi Women Plan Day of Illegal Driving

Interior ministry warns that they will be punished

(Newser) - Saudi Arabian women intend to defy the country's ban on female drivers tomorrow, taking to the road across the country in protest of the law. Organizers say more than 16,000 people have signed an online petition supporting the "26th October Women's Driving Campaign." They're... More »

Angry Over Syria, Saudis Back Away From US

Intelligence chief wants more aggressive approach against Assad

(Newser) - Following his country's decision to reject a UN Security Council seat , Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief is edging away from the US specifically: Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud told European officials that his country will reduce its secret work with the CIA on training Syrian rebels, reports the Wall ... More »

Saudis on UN Council Seat: Thanks, but No Thanks

Cites poor response to Syria in turning down its newly won spot

(Newser) - Fresh off winning a rotating seat on the 15-member UN Security Council, Saudi Arabia has made the unexpected move of refusing it, citing the body's poor response to unrest in the Middle East, specifically in Syria. In a statement reported by the New York Times , the Saudi Foreign Ministry... More »

UN Elects 5 New Security Council Members

But human rights groups aren't happy with some choices

(Newser) - Saudi Arabia and Chad easily won coveted seats on the UN Security Council today, despite criticism from human rights groups that their rights records are abysmal. Nigeria, Lithuania, and Chile also won seats. The five candidates endorsed by regional groups faced no opposition because there were no contested races for... More »

Advisers to Saudi King: Let Women Drive

Council's transport committee to mull proposal

(Newser) - This year, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the advisory Shoura Council—the closest thing the country has to a parliament, Reuters notes. Now, women on the council are urging the king finally to allow women to drive. When a member of the panel, Latifa al-Shaalan, called... More »

Saudi Cleric: Driving Hurts Women's Ovaries

And their children will have problems, he claims

(Newser) - There are some solid medical reasons behind Saudi Arabia's ban on women drivers, according to a conservative Saudi cleric who has become an international laughingstock. "If a woman drives a car, it could have a negative physiological impact," Sheikh Saleh al-Loheidan told an interviewer. "Medical studies... More »

2-Year-Old Boy Has Weight-Loss Surgery

Toddler's stomach is now the size of a banana

(Newser) - Babies are known to be a bit chubby, but how about morbidly obese? A Saudi Arabian toddler is now the youngest bariatric surgery patient on record after undergoing a stomach staple at just two-and-a-half years old; he weighed in at 73 pounds at the time, Australia's News Network reports.... More »

Groundbreaking Saudi Film a 'Revelation'

Wadjda, the first film by a Saudi woman, earns raves

(Newser) - Movie theaters are outlawed in Saudi Arabia, and women's rights are deeply restricted, so Wadjda, the first feature film shot entirely in the kingdom, and the first directed by a Saudi woman, was always going to be a remarkable film. It's also a very good one, critics overwhelmingly... More »

Saudis Gave Hillary $500K in Jewelry

She can't keep it though; it tops list of gifts from world leaders

(Newser) - With great power comes great swag. The State Department is out with its annual list of gifts bestowed upon US officials by foreign governments, and the most eye-catching item is the $500,000 worth of white gold jewelry that Saudi King Abdullah gave Hillary Clinton. Think "teardrop rubies and... More »

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