Saudi Arabian Startup NOMADD Looks To Clean Up Solar Energy Production

NOMADD (1) In Saudi Arabia, a country known more for its vast oil reserves than its commitment to renewable energy, a small startup called NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions has developed a new way to clean up the process of solar energy production — literally.
Even the Saudi kingdom realizes that despite the attractively low prices of fossil fuels, solar energy is gaining momentum.
Solar panels are… Read More

The dangers of the Iran-Saudi Arabia stand-off

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The Middle East hurtled toward a regional conflict after Saudi Arabia executed a Shiite cleric earlier in the week, sparking protests throughout the region. In short order, demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Saudi Arabia responded by cutting diplomatic relations with Iran, a move followed by several Saudi allies.

Caught off-guard on a holiday weekend, U.S. and Western officials are now appealing for calm, worried that the hostile rhetoric could escalate to something beyond a diplomatic dustup.

“We’re urging all sides to show some restraint and to not further inflame tensions that are on quite vivid display in the region,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday. Read more…

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U.S. cautious as tensions rise in Middle East over Saudi-Iran dispute

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The Obama administration tread warily Monday around inflamed tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia that threaten several key U.S. foreign policy objectives.

A U.S. official said Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken Sunday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, while the official Saudi Press Agency reported that Kerry had spoken on Monday with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Salman.

Kerry is also planning to make a round of calls Monday to the foreign ministers of all the Sunni-led states in the Persian Gulf region, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, the U.S. official said. Bahrain followed Saudi Arabia’s lead and severed diplomatic ties with Iran, while the UAE downgraded its diplomatic relations with it. Read more…

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Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran after protesters burn Saudi embassy

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country is kicking out Iranian politicians and severing ties with Iran amid rapidly rising tensions between the two nations following the Saudi execution of a Shiite Islam cleric popular in Iran.

Iranian diplomats have two days to leave Saudi Arabia, and Saudi diplomats in Iran have been told to come home, according to al-Jubeir

The Saudi government executed Saudi Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 others on Saturday in a series of executions that took place across the country Read more…

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Protesters set fire to Saudi embassy in Iran after prominent cleric’s execution

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A crowd of Iranian protesters stormed and ransacked part of the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday in response to the country’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Photos and video footage posted to Twitter and Instagram show demonstrators smashing windows, ripping apart furniture and flags and torching parts of the building with Molotov cocktails. Iranian journalist Sobhan Hassanvand reported on Twitter that the protest was later quelled after police dispersed the crowd and made several arrests. Firefighters were also working to contain the blaze.

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Saudi Arabia executes 47, including the critical Shiite cleric al-Nimr

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia executed 47 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges on Saturday, including a Shiite cleric who was a central figure in 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests in the kingdom.

The killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr may spark new unrest among Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority, largely concentrated in the kingdom’s east, and in Bahrain, which has seen low-level violence since 2011 protests by its Shiite majority demanding greater rights from its Sunni monarchy.

The cleric’s name was on a list of the 47 carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. It cited the Interior Ministry for the information. Saudi state television also reported the executions. Read more…

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First women in history elected to local councils in Saudi Arabia

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — 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 released Sunday.

The five women hail from vastly different parts of the country, ranging from Saudi Arabia’s second largest and most cosmopolitan city to a small village near Islam’s holiest sites.

Though not many women are expected to win seats, even limited gains are seen as a step forward for women who had previously been completely shut out of elections. Read more…

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Women in Saudi Arabia are voters and candidates in elections for the first time

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Women in Saudi Arabia participated in elections as both voters and candidates for the first time Saturday, in a step toward a more equal role for women in the sharply gender-segregated society

About 130,000 women have registered to vote in the municipal council elections, as compared to 1.35 million men

As for candidates, there are 978 women and 5,938 men running for 2,100 seats. The king will appoint 1,050 additional seats

Women and men must vote at separate polling stations. Women candidates can’t address men directly, so have had to speak through male relatives or supporters, or speak from behind a petition and rely on projectors and microphones. Read more…

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The new tallest building in the world will be a kilometer high

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Dubai’s Burj Khalifa may soon need to forfeit its Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest building.

Saudia Arabia has secured funding to finish building the Jeddah Tower, a $1.2 billion project that is planned to rise about 3,280 feet into the sky, compared to Burj Khalifa’s 2,722 feet.

A release from the Saudi government on Sunday stated that Jeddah Economic Company, the tower’s owner and developer, signed a $2.2 billion deal with Saudi Arabia’s Alinma Investment (8.4 billion Saudi riyals). Those funds will also be used to develop the first phase of the Jeddah Economic City project.

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Saudi Arabia sentences Palestinian poet to death for renouncing Islam

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Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Palestinian poet to death for renouncing his Muslim faith.

The execution order was handed down to Ashraf Fayadh, 35, by a judge on Tuesday, The Guardian reported.

Adam Coogle, Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters he had read the trial documents, which make it “very clear he has been sentenced to death for apostasy.”

Fayadh was arrested by the country’s religious police in 2013. In 2014, he was tried in court and sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes. But the verdict was appealed, and another judge handed Fayadh the death sentence. Read more…

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