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Apple Holding Discussions With Saudi Arabian Government to Open Retail Store in 2019

Apple could debut its first retail location within Saudi Arabia as soon as 2019, thanks to the government's current push towards a "high-tech look" for the country. Reuters reports today that officials in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh -- including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman -- are currently in licensing discussions with both Apple and Amazon in an effort to entice major technology companies into the country.

Apple is rumored to be talking with SAGIA, Saudi Arabia's foreign investment authority, and a licensing agreement for Apple's retail stores with the authority is expected to come by February 2018. The first location would then be targeted for an opening in 2019.

Image of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia via Wikimedia Commons
Apple and Amazon are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia, two sources told Reuters, part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look.

A licensing agreement for Apple stores with SAGIA is expected by February, with an initial retail store targeted for 2019, said two sources familiar with the discussions.
Amazon's cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, is said to be leading the company's discussions with Saudi Arabian officials. The talks are believed to be in "earlier stages" than Apple's, with no specific time frame given for Amazon's investment plans in the country.

The Saudi Arabian government's regulations previously placed heavy limits on foreign ownership of businesses, preventing companies like Apple and Amazon from coming to the country. In the past two years, however, falling crude oil prices "highlighted the need to diversify" the country's dependency on oil within its economy, leading to courting technology companies.

Evidence of this came in September, when Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on services that provide access to calling someone over the internet, including Apple's FaceTime. The ban was enacted in 2013 and began due to the government's fear of non-secure internet communication among its residents, but was lifted this year in the country's new efforts to "attract more business" to its economy.

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DOD shows components proving Iran provided missiles fired at Saudi Arabia

Department of Defense

In a presentation that echoes assertions by another administration that Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction, US officials have created a display of evidence that the Trump administration hopes will trigger further action against Iran. In a hangar at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, DC, today, Department of Defense (DOD) officials accompanied by US United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley put on display debris from what they claim are Iranian-built ballistic missiles and other weapons recovered by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The presentation comes as the secretary general of the United Nations is scheduled to release a report on Iran's lack of compliance with UN Security Council resolutions. Haley says the report "describes violation after violation of weapons transfers and ballistic missile activity. Aid from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to dangerous militias and terror groups is increasing... Its ballistic missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones across the region. It's hard to find a conflict or a terrorist group in the Middle East that does not have Iran's fingerprints all over it."

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How Saudi Arabia plans to rebuild area coined ‘Gates of Hell’ into a thriving province

gates of hell

It was just a couple of months ago that archeologists revealed their findings of ancient stone gates in a deserted area of Saudi Arabia. The region, which has been nicknamed the "Gates of Hell" due to its proximity to lava domes and volcanic fields, is thought to have been home to settlers nearly 10,000 years ago. Today, the area is mostly a wasteland with very little in the way of vegetation or, even more importantly, water. Now, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has declared his plans to give the area an extreme makeover.

The prince reportedly visited the area by buggy before stopping by the nearby province of Madinah to mingle with the locals and talk about his vision for new development in the region. Photos on social media even show a dust and sand-covered Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman being greeted by ordinary citizens that are sharing in the excitement of this important project.

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How Saudi Arabia plans to rebuild area coined ‘Gates of Hell’ into a thriving province originally appeared on on Tue, 5 Dec 2017 at 15:31:10 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Archaeologists find gates of Hell in Saudi Arabia

gates of hell

When researchers are searching for remnants of structures and settlements constructed by ancient peoples they typically focus on areas that are hospitable to human life. A new discovery in Saudi Arabia goes firmly against that notion, with archaeologists revealing the existence of hundreds of stone "gates" situated in and around ancient lava domes, in an area that is little more than a hellish landscape devoid of vegetation and water.

The structures, which measure anywhere from 40 feet to nearly 1,700 feet in length, are crude in their construction, built of rough rocks that have withstood thousands of years of wear and tear. What's most interesting is that it appears that the lava fields these structures were built upon was still active at the time, with hardened lava appearing to have flowed over some of the gates.

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Saudi minister fired after textbook shows Yoda at UN signing ceremony

Enlarge (credit: Shaweesh)

Saudi Arabia's under-secretary for curricula has been fired and exiled to Dagobah after an official Saudi social studies textbook included a photo of Jedi Master Yoda. In the photo, Yoda can be seen sitting next to Saudi Arabia's King Faisal at the 1945 ceremony that created the United Nations. The textbook page began circulating on social media last week.

The photograph was created by Saudi artist Abdullah Al Shehri, who goes by the nickname Shaweesh. He told the BBC that he hadn't meant any disrespect to King Faisal.

"The 2013 artwork, entitled United Nations (Yoda), is part of a series in which symbols of American pop culture—ranging from Captain America to Darth Vader—are superimposed onto archive photos of historical events," the BBC reports.

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