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Pope Francis Speaks of Tolerance During Cairo Mass

On Saturday, Pope Francis spoke of tolerance as well as co-existence during his Mass in Egypt at a military stadium. The Pope is visiting Egypt as part of a trip that is designed to create a brotherhood between Christians and Muslims and to forge solidarity with persecuted Coptic Christians in the country. His trip to the country in North Africa is just a few weeks following the bombing on Palm Sunday of two of the Coptic churches that left 45 dead. There was heavy security that could be seen surrounding the Pope when he entered the stadium in Cairo... 
 

Israel Strikes Military Site in Syria Near Damascus

Syria state media has reported that an Israeli missile strike created a huge explosion and subsequent fire at a Syria military site close to the international airport in Damascus. The Sana news agency reported that warehouses and a fuel tank had been heavily damaged. However, sources with the Syrian rebels said that an arms depot operated by the Hezbollah group from Lebanon, which is an ally of the Syria government forces and fighting alongside them, was hit. Israel said that the explosion has been consistent with the policy it has to prevent Iran... 
 

More Than 1 Million Expats Will Leave Saudi in Amnesty Campaign

According to Saudi government officials, 1 million or more migrant workers will leave Saudi Arabia under an amnesty campaign that is currently taking place. The campaign, which is three months long, allows those that have overstayed in the country with correct visas or documents to leave without facing penalties or fines for violating visa rules. Those that exit under the amnesty campaign become exempt from the requirement of an exit fingerprint and can return to Saudi Arabia legally at a later date. To apply for amnesty, workers need to go on the... 
 

Freed Egyptian-American Aid Worker Welcomed by President Trump

Aya Hijazi, an aid worker who is Egyptian-American was welcomed on Friday by President Donald Trump after being freed after three years of detention in Egypt. The White House had quietly worked on securing her release earlier in the week, said White House officials. Trump said everyone was very pleased that Aya was back home and it was an honor having her visit the Oval Office. Trump spoke during a brief opportunity for photos and less than one full day after a plane from the U.S. government had landed in Washington with her aboard. Hijazi, who... 
 

Emirates Cuts Back on Flights to U.S. Citing White House Curbs

The largest airline in the Middle East Emirates slashed flights to the U.S. by 20% on Wednesday citing a drop in passenger demand due to tougher security measures imposed by the U.S. and the White House administration’s attempts to ban travelers from six nations that are Muslim majority. The decision by the carrier, which is owned by the government of Dubai, is the strongest sign to date that the new measures imposed on travelers bound to the U.S. from the Middle East could take a financial toll on Gulf airlines that have expanded quickly across... 
 

Israel Will Not Negotiate With Hunger Strike Inmates

Israel said it would not negotiate with hundreds of prisoners who are Palestinian and started a hunger strike pressing for better prison condition, said a minister for the government on Tuesday. He added that the protest’s organizer was put into solitary confinement. If continued, the strike, which Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti jailed during the second uprising of the Palestinians started, would be the biggest in the past few years. The strike could also heighten tensions between Israel and Palestinians during a time of renewed attempts... 
 

Reversing Smartphone Slump in the Gulf Region

The beginning months of any year are always the most exciting related to the smartphone market and 2017 is no exception. Over a period of just a week or two, a selection of the top manufacturers in the world revealed their new handsets in a race which is becoming fiercer by the day. Global sales of smartphones increased only 5% in 2016 to just over 1.5 billion total units following an increase of 14.4% in 2015. That has left smartphone makers scrambling to find market share amidst less growth. Conditions across the Gulf region were tougher, with... 
 

Saudi Woman Forcibly Returned After Seeking Asylum

A woman from Saudi Arabia who sought asylum in Australia was detained in the Philippines during a layover and subsequently returned on Wednesday to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Dina Ali Lasloom, in a video that was self-recorded, said authorities in the Philippines held her at the airport in Manila after confiscating her passport. Her videos have circulated across social media the past two days. In one video she states her name and that she is from Saudi Arabia but fled the country to seek asylum in Australia, adding she was in fear of violence... 
 

U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson Takes U.S. Stance on Syria to Russia

On Tuesday, United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took with him a message from the world powers to Moscow. The unified message denounced Russia’s support for Syria and took on the traditional role of the U.S. as the West’s leader on behalf of the Trump administration. Tillerson left on Tuesday for Russia after being in Italy where he had met different foreign ministers in the Group of Seven. They were also joined by allies from the Middle East to form a united position related to Syria, which was placed atop the international agenda... 
 

Crate & Barrel Looking at Expansion in Bahrain and Kuwait

Crate and Barrel the U.S. furniture and homeware brand is looking at expanding across the Gulf region and throughout the Middle East after it signed a new franchise deal with Majid Al Futtaim the regional retail and mall company. Executives from each of the companies confirmed they would look at Kuwait and Bahrain for their upcoming immediate openings following a new store of 1,500 square meters in Doha during the fourth quarter of 2017. We look at the region overall as being very interesting said Executive Chairperson Neela Montgomery at Crate... 
 

Hyperloop One Hiring Starts in Preparation of Dubai Office Opening

Hyperloop One currently is developing a system to transport people between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes. The company is developing its hyperloop high-speed transportation system and is scheduled to open an office this September in Dubai. The company, based in Los Angeles is one of many competing to introduce the first hyperloop system that is operational in the world. The system involves moving both passengers and cargo pods through tubes at up to 670 mph. In 2016, it signed a deal with the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai to conduct... 
 

Alleged Chemical Attack Kills 58 in Idlib

Fifty-eight people were killed while dozens more were wounded in what has been called a chemical attack on a town held by rebels in northwest Syria, says a monitoring organization. Reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that strikes by either Russian jets or the Syrian government caused a number of people to choke. Unconfirmed reports later said that aircraft fired rockets at clinics that had been treating survivors from the previously bombing in Khan Sheikhoun. The government of Syria has denied repeatedly the use of chemical weapons.... 
 

Kuwait Increasing Business and Expat Utility Rates

The government of Kuwait announced new utility rates for both businesses and expats starting May 22. The new water and electricity rates in Kuwait for businesses as well as expats will begin for businesses on May 22 and for expats on August 22, said the utilities ministry of Kuwait this week. The new rates will then apply to offices of the government starting in November and the agricultural and industrial sectors starting in February of 2018, according to a report in a national newspaper. The new tariffs will increase from a per kilowatt rate of... 
 

UAE Places Ban on Imports of Poultry from Malaysia and Tennessee

The United Arab Emirates placed a ban on the importing of some poultry products from the U.S. state of Tennessee and Malaysia over fears of bird flu. The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment made the announcement of the ban. The ban includes all types of live wild, domestic and ornamental poultry, as well as eggs, bird remains and chicks that that were not heat-treated from the county of Lincoln, Tennessee reported WAM the official news agency for the UAE. The ban was placed after the World Organization for Animal Health released a... 
 

New Move by Saudi Arabia Could Increase Aramco IPO Over $2 Trillion

The government of Saudi Arabia cut the income tax paid by Saudi Aramco the national oil behemoth to smooth the initial public offering of the company next year, which most expect to be the largest equity sale in the world. On Monday, a royal decree retroactive to January 1 set a rate of 50% for taxes for the company. Previously the oil giant paid taxes of 85%, plus a royalty of 20% levied during a different stage; the royalty was not mentioned in the royal decree. This new step taken by the government appears to likely lower the tax burden of Aramco... 
 

Commentator Accuses U.S. of Deliberately Stifling Airline Competition

Sultan Al Qassemi an Emirati commentator accused the United States of trying to rein in air carriers Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways from the Gulf through the recent ban on taking large electronics inside the cabin of airplanes. Under new rules, that the U.S. announced Tuesday, passengers from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa are not permitted to bring electronics aboard that are bigger than a smartphone when flying to the United States. Airports on that list included Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha bases for the three largest carriers... 
 

Sources: Amazon Acquiring Middle East Retailer Souq.com

Sources close to the deal said that e-commerce giant Amazon.com agreed to acquire Souq.com the internet retailer based in Dubai, one of the most well-known names in online shopping in the Middle East. Souq.com sells fashion, consumer electronics, household items and many other goods. It claims on its website it is the largest site for e-commerce in all of the Arab world. For Amazon, buying Souq.com offers a foothold across a region that has seen a rapid expansion of e-commerce thanks to a young, tech-savvy population. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait... 
 

Electronics Banned in the Cabins on Some Flight from Middle East to U.S.

A U.S. official says that the new ban of some electronics in the cabins of flights from the Middle East and Africa into the U.S. would impact some airlines. Another U.S. official said the ban covers devices that are larger than a mobile handset. An official in aviation said there was a concern related to security of passengers boarding nonstop flights into the U.S. from certain countries. This relates to the screening taking place in some countries related to nonstop flights that are bound for the U.S. The officials added that it is their belief... 
 

Israeli Jets Fired At By Syria Following Airstrikes

Syria has fired missiles at warplanes from Israel that were on a mission to destroy a convoy of weapons destined for Hezbollah the Lebanese militant group that is Iranian backed. That prompted Israel to deploy the missile defense system it has. This incident was a rare military exchange between the pair of hostile neighbors. Military officials from Israel said its military aircraft hit a number of targets inside Syria and when back within airspace that is Israeli controlled a number of anti-aircraft missiles were then launched by Syria toward the... 
 

Kuwait Eyeing Higher Healthcare Fees for Expats

Kuwaiti officials are planning an increase in healthcare fees for expats in their buildup toward a complete segregation of care at hospitals for citizens and expats, said reports from two reliable sources. Sources were cited by the Kuwait Times saying that the process of restricting services at public hospitals to just Kuwaitis would be a gradual one because of the lack of sufficient capacity in private hospital across the country. However, other measures including higher fees for healthcare services as well as the denial of access to a specific... 
 

IATA: UAE Airlines Profitability to Fall in 2017

Profitability of the airlines based in the United Arab Emirates, one of the two large hubs for aviation in the Middle East, is expected to drop in 2017, said the International Air Transport Association or IATA on Tuesday. IATA’s CEO and director general Alexandre de Juniac said that UAE carriers will experience a year that will likely be below that of 2016. He made those comments in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday adding that long haul, low cost service could soon begin to take hold across the region. IATA has said previously that airlines in the Middle... 
 

ASICS Looks for Sales Boost in Middle East with Subsidiary

Japan-based ASICS is looking to repeat success it has enjoyed elsewhere. The footwear and sports apparel industry is highly competitive worldwide, with huge players such as Nike and Adidas. ASICS, the Japanese footwear and sports apparel maker is looking to take a big share of the sports equipment market in the Middle East that is currently $750 million in size. The company launched a new regional subsidiary recently in Dubai. In a statement from the company’s new office at the Dubai Design District, Alistair Cameron the ASICS CEO of Europe, Middle... 
 

Bahrain Claims Militant Group Linked to Iran Involved in Attacks

Bahrain over the weekend said it uncovered a militant group of 54 members linked to Iran that is suspected of being involved with the recent security forces attacks including the organization of a January prison break. It was one of the largest operations by Bahrain security forces against a suspected militant group that Bahrain blames for the increase in armed attacks in the kingdom where the Fifth Fleet from the U.S. is based. Tensions have run high in the kingdom since 2016 after local authorities increased their crackdown on dissent, banned... 
 

President Trump Signs Second Travel Ban

On Monday, United States President Donald Trump signed another executive order that bans immigration from six countries that are Muslim-majority. However, the new order exempted Iraq from the previous order and reinstated a temporary ban on refugees from all countries. This latest travel ban arrives just six weeks after the original one signed by Trump caused major chaos in airports around the globe, before federal courts blocked it. The new one removed language in the first one that banned refugees from Syria indefinitely and called for the prioritizing... 
 

Saudi Arabia Might Raise Prices of Domestic Fuel 30%

The government of Saudi Arabia could increase its prices for domestic gasoline by as much as 30% starting in July, said industry sources. This is part of a reform plan by the top exporter of oil in the world to align the prices of fuel in the country, with benchmark global levels. During December of 2015 Saudi raised prices of its 95 octane gas from SAR0.60 per liter to SAR0.90 ($0.24). However, that kept the kingdom amongst the nations with the least expensive gasoline anywhere in the world. The government wants to now increase prices for domestic... 
 

Millions of Saudis Without Medical Insurance

Authorities in Saudi Arabia estimate close to 2.5 million citizens of the kingdom work in the private sector without any medical coverage. The insurance industry in Saudi Arabia, which experienced sharp growth in net income last year, should see even further growth in 2017, showed a new report released this week. However, enforcement of compulsory coverage is key to the growth of the industry, stressed the report. Saudi Arabia has almost 20 million citizens and another 10 million foreign nationals with dependents, making the possibility of insurance... 
 

Sources: Saudi Arabia Wants Oil to Reach $60 During 2017

A source in the oil industry has said that Saudi Arabia wants the price of crude oil to increase to close to $60 per barrel in 2017. That price level is where the heavyweight of OPEC and its allies in the Gulf – Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – believe would be enough to encourage more investment in new oil fields but would not lead to an increase in shale output in the U.S., said the same source. OPEC, Russia and other oil producers pledged in late 2016 to lower production by close to 1.8 million barrels daily staring January 1.... 
 

Aramco IPO Might Push Other States in the GCC to do the Same

The initial public offering of Saud’s Aramco could encourage other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to publicly list oil assets, said a leading economist in the region. However, the oil behemoth must clear up some uncertainties due to taxation, ownership of crude and OPEC policy. Former Lebanon economy minister Nasser Saidi told an interviewer on Dubai radio that Aramco must address how the business will separate assets and liabilities it has from those the state has. A number of countries could step up across the region such as the UAE said... 
 

PepsiCo Will Open Large Manufacturing Facilities in Saudi Arabia

PepsiCo the global food and beverage conglomerate is planning to open one of its largest ever manufacturing facilities, in the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah, said one senior official. The SIBCO facility will be opened later in 2017 confirmed the PepsiCo CEO Sanjeev Chadha of its Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA) region. During an interview this week, he said the plant would make the wide portfolio of the company including its carbonated drinks such as Pepsi, Mirinda and Mountain Dew, along with other brands like Gatorade. Chadha said the... 
 

Authorities in Saudi Arabia Authorize Tax Date for Soft Drinks

The Council of Ministers in Saudi Arabia authorized the kingdom’s Finance Minister to establish a date to implement a new tax on all soft drinks, tobacco and other specific items indicated a report released by the Saudi Press Agency. The tax is just part of an initiative Gulf-wide that was proposed at the GCC Supreme Council during 2015 but was just approved by Saudi’s finance ministry late in 2016. No other state in the Gulf has announced when their law will be introduced, but the cabinet in Qatar approved a new draft law during a session last... 
 

Emirates No Longer Offering Seafood Meal in Economy Class

Emirates Airlines the Dubai based air carrier confirmed that its meal option of seafood was removed from its menu for passengers in economy class. The move was communicated to members of the Skyward loyalty program at Emirates and said it follows the airline’s internal review. The statement said that as part of the airline’s continuous review of products and services it provides its customers, it could confirm that it would stop offering its seafood meal option to economy class passengers. A spokesperson for the airline said that it constantly... 
 

Saudi Arabia to Handover as Many as 120,000 New Homes in 2017

The government of Saudi Arabia launched a new housing program that is designed to hand over as many as 120,000 homes to its citizens in 2017. The program, Sakani, is part of the efforts to distribute financial assistance and homes to as many as 280,000 families through the Ministry of Housing in the country. A general supervisor and advisor to the agency, Prince Saud Bin Talal said that the first group of homes would reach 15,560 units. That group includes 5,015 housing plots and government financial support for over 7,700 through its Real Estate... 
 

Iran President to Visit Kuwait and Oman

A top official in Iran said on Tuesday that Gulf Arab states should seize the opportunity that Hassan Rouhani the President of Iran is visiting Kuwait and Oman to improve ties, by warning that a chance of this magnitude passes very quickly. Rouhani is scheduled to visit both Kuwait and Oman Wednesday, which will mark the first visit by Rouhani to the two Gulf States since he took power back in 2013. The six Gulf Cooperation Council Arab member states, in particular Saudi Arabia, have accused Iran of the use of sectarianism as a way to interfere... 
 

Trump to Discuss Middle East Air Carriers with U.S. Airlines

On Thursday, President Donald Trump will meet with the CEOs of the top U.S. airlines and one issue is sure to be a divisive force during the meeting. That issue is what will be done about three Middle East based airlines – Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways. Over the last 15 years, the three cash rich carriers based in the Middle East have clawed their way to the front of the global airline market. Of recent, the expansion of the three has created a direct competition with the trio of U.S. top airlines American, United and Delta. The three... 
 

Saudi Cabinet Approves 5% VAT

The cabinet in Saudi Arabia gave its approval for a region-wide 5% value added tax that will start next year in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In a cabinet session that King Salman chaired, the cabinet approved the Value Added Tax Unified Agreement, said the Saudi Press Agency or SPA. The press agency also said that a Royal Decree was being prepared. The cabinet’s approval was given after it deemed that the kingdom was at a point where it was ready for the implementation of VAT, said the news agency. A 5% VAT is to be imposed across all of... 
 

Iran Denies Visas to Wrestlers from the United States

On Friday, Iran banned wrestlers from the United States from participating in Freestyle World Cup competition later this month. The denial of visas was in response to the executive order by President Donald Trump that forbids visas for any Iranians for the next 90 days, said the official Iranian news agency IRNA. A senior cleric in Iran vowed that his country was going to continue its missile program even though it has received threats from the White House administration that new sanctions were being prepared. Bahram Ghasemi a spokesperson for the... 
 

Anger Mounts in Europe and Middle East Over Travel Ban

A parliamentary committee in Iraq asked the government on Sunday to reciprocate against the immigration curbs implemented by the U.S. on citizens of 7 Muslim dominated countries. The government of Iraq has not yet commented on the executive order made by President Donald Trump that barred immigrants from those seven nations from entering for the next 90 days. The order also banned the admission of refugees from Syria for an indefinite period and a ban of 120 days for all refugees. However, officials in Iraq said they would lobby the administration... 
 

U.S. President Aims at Keeping Terrorists Out of the Country

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump set a hard line tone on the country’s national security by ordering new, strict screening of refugees to ensure that radical Islamic terrorists do not enter the U.S. Trump visited the Pentagon and was joined by his Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to sign the executive order that brought sweeping changes to the refugee policies in the U.S. and put his plans into motion to build up the military. Trump said the government wants to make sure it does not admit the very threats into country that our soldiers are battling... 
 

Saudi Arabia Warns as Shamoon Returns

On Monday, Saudi Arabia warned organizations inside the kingdom to be on the lookout for the return of the Shamoon virus that is crippling to computers by erasing disks. The government’s labor ministry announced it was attacked and a firm that handles chemicals posted a disruption in its network. The telecoms authority from Saudi Arabia released an alert that advised everyone to remain vigilant for possible attacks by Shamoon 2, a variant of the original virus that during 2012 that crippled thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco the oil giant. Shamoon... 
 

Apartment Prices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Dropped in 2016

Prices at apartments in Dubai fell by an average of more than 11% during 2016 as the housing market battled tough conditions in the economy said a report by Bayut.com a property online site. In its report released annually, the company said that prices of apartments in Dubai fell from Dhs2.57 million during 2015 to just over Dhs2.29 million in 2016. Rents were not as affected, but still were down 6% from the average in 2015. The site said that rent for studios was down by 8%, while prices dropped 5% for buying studios. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment... 
 

Egypt Central Bank Maintains Key Interest Rates

This week the central bank of Egypt has maintained its key interest rates with no change. The bank is holding pat until it can see an impact on the country’s inflation due to last month’s hike in cost of borrowing is clearer. Egypt’s Monetary Policy Committee maintained its overnight deposit rate of 14.75% and its overnight rate for lending of 15.75%, the bank announced in a prepared statement. A majority of economists who were served had predicted the bank would not move interest rates. The bank increased its rates by 550 basis points on... 
 

Oman Joins Muslim Saudi-led Coalition to Fight Against Terrorism

Oman has traditionally been resistant to efforts from Gulf Arab states to close ranks against the Islamic Republic if Iran. However, it has now joined a coalition led by Saudi Arabia of Muslim nations to fight against terrorism, both Gulf and Saudi sources have said this week, The sultanate showed a willingness to be part of an alliance of 40 countries in a letter sent to the Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, said sources. Although it is rare that difference become aired publicly, Oman long stood out amongst... 
 

Saudi Arabia: No Immediate Tax on Remittances of Expats

Saudi Arabia has reportedly been discussing possible plans of imposing a tax of between 2% and 6% on remittances. Saudi Arabia announced through one of its senior officials that there are not any immediate plans of imposing a tax for remittances by expats. Earlier there were reports that claimed the Shoura Council in the kingdom was discussing the possibility of a tax. Former member of the Shoura Council Husam Al-Angari, who was the one who submitted the tax proposal, suggested a tax of 6% on expat residents in the first year of their time in the... 
 

Netanyahu Calls UN Vote Shameful Over Settlements

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a UN vote to stop settlement activities on occupied land shameful. Netanyahu stressed that Israel was not going to abide by the vote on Friday taken by the UN Security Council’s 15 members. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas through a spokesperson said the resolution had been a huge blow to Israel’s policy. The resolution was able to pass when the United States did not veto it, breaking with a longstanding practice by the Americans. Washington traditionally has sheltered Israel from any condemnatory... 
 

Israel Urging United States to Veto Resolution by UN on Settlements

Israel has urged the U.S. to veto on Thursday a UN draft resolution made by the Security Council that calls for the immediate halt of settlements being built on occupied land that is wanted by Palestinians for an independent state. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted on his Twitter account late at night making the appeal in a sign of big concern that U.S. President Barack Obama could take one last parting shot at a policy he has always opposed and a leader whom he has always had a rocky relationship with. On Wednesday, the draft resolution... 
 

Gulf Airlines Must Make Job Cuts Due to Slowdown in Growth

Emirates, the largest long-haul airline in the world, and Etihad Airway based in Abu Dhabi are preparing to make job cuts, while a strong U.S. dollar is pressuring earnings. The needed cutbacks indicate how the rapid expansion of airlines in the Gulf Cooperation Council over the last few years have begun to slow down against an economic backdrop that is more and more challenging. Emirates, based in Dubai is expected to make job cuts in finance, accounting, IT as well as other departments within the head office, said sources who are familiar with... 
 

Saudi Arabia King Calls Economic Reforms Necessary but Painful

On Wednesday, King Salman admitted that his kingdom was enduring some economic reforms he called painful, but indicated they were all necessary in order to protect the country from any worse problems. The steep decline in the price of oil since June of 2014 pushed the energy-rich Arab states in the Gulf to pull back on lavish spending. Saudi Arabia accumulated a new record for a budget deficit of close to $100 billion in 2015, which forced the country to find savings in new places and ways to increase revenue. The state has looked to deal with... 
 

Russia and OPEC Members See Easy Deal for Cut in Output

Saudi Arabia and Russia said they are expecting both OPEC as well as non-OPEC producers to come up with an agreement during meetings on Saturday to cut back on the output of oil to prop prices up during the first joint move in the past 15 years. Khalid al-Falih the energy minister from Saudi Arabia the defacto OPEC leader and top exporter of oil said a deal is already in place and we are only adding the final touches. Energy Minister of Russia Alexander Novak while speaking at a meeting between both members and non-members of OPEC in Vienna said... 
 

Forecast by Boeing is for 200,000 New Jobs in Aviation in Middle East

Airlines across the United Arab Emirates as well as the rest of the region of the Middle East will need as many as 200,000 additional personnel to support growing demand for deliveries of new aircraft during the upcoming two decades, said U.S. based Boeing. The plane maker in the U.S. announced in its Wednesday report that the Middle East’s industry of commercial aviation would need almost 92,000 for cabin crew, over 58,000 for pilots and technicians of over 66,000. The recruiting of personnel for the aviation industry will be one of the biggest... 
 

Fifteen Shia in Saudi Arabia Given Death Sentences for Spying

A Saudi Arabia court has handed down 15 death sentences for spying. The fifteen defendants found guilty of spying for Iran were amongst 32 that consisted of 30 members of the Shia Muslim minority of Saudi Arabia, one Iranian national and one Afghan, that went to trial during February. Saudi prosecutors had accused the defendants of treason, putting together a spy ring through collaboration with the Iran intelligence and the passing of sensitive data regarding military zones. Over the last year, tensions have escalated between Saudi Arabia, which... 
 
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