The Saudi government hired two Twitter employees to get personal account information about critics of the regime, US prosecutors say. The accounts included a journalist with more than a million followers, as well as other well-known critics, according to the complaint, which was unsealed in the US District Court in San Francisco. The employees were rewarded with a designer watch and tens of thousands of dollars in secret bank accounts, the allegation says.
Saudi Arabia is moving forward with an initial public offering of its huge state oil producer that could shatter records and give investors the chance to own a piece of the world’s most profitable company. Following approval from the country’s regulators, Saudi Aramco on Sunday formally announced its intention to float shares on the Tadawul exchange in Riyadh. The company posted a $68 billion profit for the first nine months of this year.
Five men have been cleared of raping a 14-year-old girl but jailed for the lesser charge of sexual abuse in a case that has reignited protests against Spain’s controversial sex-offense laws. The men, aged 18 to 21, who were jailed for between 10 and 12 years, avoided conviction for the more serious charge of sexual assault or rape because they did not need to use violence or intimidation against her.
A bus crash in the Saudi city of Medina killed 35 foreigners and wounded four others on Wednesday evening, a police spokesman cited by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. The privately chartered bus collided with a heavy vehicle, the Medina police spokesman said. The victims were Arab and Asian expatriates, he added. The Prophet Mohammed’s mosque is in Medina, making it the second-holiest site in Islam after Mecca.
Unmarried foreign couples will now be allowed to rent hotel rooms together in Saudi Arabia as part of a new visa regime announced by the religiously conservative kingdom. Women will also be allowed to stay in hotel rooms alone. Couples previously had to prove they were married before getting a hotel room. The government move comes amid efforts by Saudi Arabia to grow its tourism industry.
In a television interview, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Prince Mohammed called for global action against Iran and warned that oil prices could otherwise rise astronomically. Bin Salman blamed Iran for the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut its production by half and led to a spike in oil prices. The crown prince said he would prefer a political rather than a military response to Iran.
Any attack on Iran by the U.S. or Saudi Arabia will spark an “all-out war,” Tehran’s top diplomat warned Thursday, raising the stakes as Washington and Riyadh weigh a response to a drone-and-missile strike on the kingdom’s oil industry that shook global energy markets. Along with the sharp language, however, there also were signals from both sides of wanting to avoid a confrontation.
Saudi Arabia’s defense ministry has shown off what it says is wreckage of drones and cruise missiles that proves Iranian involvement in weekend attacks on two oil facilities. It said 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were fired from a direction that ruled out Yemen as a source. Iran has denied any involvement and warned it would retaliate against any attack that targeted it.
The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities originated from inside Iran, according to US media reports. It comes as the Saudi energy minister announced that half of the crude oil production cut after the attack had been restored. The remainder will be fully restored by the end of the month, said Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday it looked like Iran was behind attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia but stressed he did not want to go to war, as the attacks sent oil prices soaring and raised fears of a new Middle East conflict. Iran has rejected U.S. charges it was behind the strikes on Saturday that damaged the world’s biggest crude-processing plant and triggered the largest jump in crude prices in decades.