RIYADH | SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman spoke publicly on Thursday for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, saying the kingdom will take measures to curb its spread and urged citizens to work together to confront the pandemic.
‘We are living through a difficult period in the history of the world, but we are fully aware that it will pass despite its currently, bitterness and difficulty’, the 84-year-old monarch said in a five-minute televised address.
He urged people to act with solidarity and cooperation and to adhere to officials directives.
Saudi Arabia recorded 36 new infections on Thursday, bringing its total to 274 with no deaths so far.
It has taken drastic measures already, including halting international flights, suspending the Umrah year-round pilgrimage to Mecca, closing mosques, schools, malls and restaurants, and asking people to stop going to work.
Later on Thursday, the government suspended Muslims from conducting their five daily prayers and the weekly Friday in the overflow area just outside the walls of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Amid volatility in regional markets and plunging oil prices, the world’s top crude exporter has prepared a 50 billion riyal ($13 billion) package to help small-and medium-sized enterprises cope, and has cut its state budget by nearly 5%.
De facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s son and heir apparent, has talked by phone with several foreign leaders but not spoken publicly since the country went into virtual lockdown last weekend. The government has halted its regular Cabinet meetings.
Coronavirus infections among the Gulf Arab states were more than 1,300 with one death in Bahrain. Many of the cases are linked to travel to Iran, an epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East with 1,284 deaths and more than 18,000 cases.
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the Dhu al – Hijjah crescent moon on Wednesday evening, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday. The sighting of the moon marks the beginning of the Dhu Al – Hijjah Islamic month in which the Hajj … More Saudi Arabia Calls On Muslims To Sight Dhu Al – Hijjah Crescent Moon
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia’s industry and Mineral Resources said on Friday the country would invest $3.4 billion in the vaccine and biomedical drugs sector, according to state news agency SPA. The Minister Bandar Alkhorayef, who heads the newly – established vaccines and biopharmaceutical industry committee, said the move is part of the kingdom’s push … More Saudi Arabia To Invest $3.4 Bln In Vaccine,Biomedical Drugs Sector
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Egypt on Monday and was welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel – Fattah el Sisi, state news agency SPA reported. The Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt is part of a tour that will include visiting Jordan and Turkey next. The visits were based on … More Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Arrives In Egypt, Will Visit Jordan And Turkey Next
PARIS, France – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Egypt on June 20 as part of a regional tour that includes stops in Jordan and Turkey, two diplomatic sources said on Saturday. Prince Mohammed will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al – Sisi to discuss issues including the impact of the war in … More Saudi Crown Prince To Visit Egypt June 20 On Regional Tour
PARIS, France – Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the UAE’s deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs, on Wednesday launched the National Media Office. The unit is tasked with developing the media sector, legislation, regulations, and decisions on media development while also monitoring the implementation of legislation in coordination with the relevant authorities and administrative … More Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Establishes National Media Office in UAE
PARIS, France – Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala and a fund managed by European buyout firm EQT have agreed to buy Envirotainer, a Swedish company which leases out cold containers for shipping temperature – sensitive healthcare products. Mubadala and the EQT X fund are buying the company from European buyout firm Cinven and Denmark life … More Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala And EQT Fund To Buy Sweden’s Envirotainer
WASHINGTON – The White House took the rare step of recognizing the role played by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in extending a ceasefire in Yemen on Thursday ahead of what is expected to be a trip to Riyadh by President Joe Biden. White House press secretary Karine Jean – Pierre told reporters … More White House Praises Saudi Crown Prince Ahead Of Expected Biden Trip
MILAN – Italy’s top soccer league Serie A is in talks over a broadcast deal with state – backed Abu Dhabi Media and on a separate agreement to host its Super Cup in the emirate, three sources with knowledge of the matter said. Home to AC Milan, Juventus and other top clubs, Serie A is … More Soccer Serie A Seeks Abu Dhabi Deals On TV Rights, Italian Super Cup – Sources
PARIS, France – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Saudi Arabia on Wednesday where he will meet with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC), two Gulf officials said on Tuesday. Lavrov is expected to meet with ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar in … More Russia’s Lavrov To Meet With GCC Ministers In Riyadh On Wednesday – Officials
DUBAI – Dubai’s Emirates Central Cooling System Cooperation (Empower) has invited investment banks to pitch for roles in its planned initial public offering, which is slated for later this years, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Empower, which is part owned by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has asked banks to … More Dubai Cooling Firm Empower Invited Banks To Pitch For IPO – Sources
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – Saudi Arabia’s finance minister said on Monday there were no immediate plans to transfer more funds to the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund at the centre of the kingdom’s plans to diversify its economy away from oil. The PIF manages over $600 billion in assets, a figure that has … More Saudi Finance Minister Says No Immediate Plans To Transfer More Funds To PIF
PARIS, France – A security guard was killed in the early hours of Monday Inside the Qatar Embassy in Paris in an incident that does not appear to have any links to terrorism, a source close to the investigation said. The incident took place at around 0630 (0430GMT), the source said, adding that the suspect … More Security Guard Killed In Qatar Embassy In Paris
PARIS, France – Spaniard Pep Guardiola became the most successful foreign manager in English football, in terms of league titles won, when he clinched his fourth Premier League crown on Sunday. With his latest success, the Manchester City manager moved above Frenchman Arsene Wenger and Portuguese Jose Mourinho who both have three Premier League titles … More Guardiola Becomes England’s Most Successful Foreign Manager
PARIS, France – Qatar’s foreign minister said in remarks cited on Saturday by Al Jazeera TV that Qatar had been informed by Iran that matters were ‘under review’ regarding a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The Qatari – based TV broadcaster quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulraham Al – Thani as saying … More Qatari Foreign Minister: Iran Says It Has Matters ‘Under Review’ Over Nuclear Pact
ATHENS, Greece – Greece lifted COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday for foreign and domestic flights, its civil aviation authority said, ahead of the summer tourism season that officials hope will see revenues bouncing back from the pandemic slump. To fly in or out of the country, travellers were previously required to show either a vaccination certificate, … More Greece Lifts COVID Curbs For Travellers Ahead Of Key Summer Season
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will discuss the possibility of supporting the kingdom’s $3 billion deposit in Pakistan’s central bank bank by extending its term ‘or through other options’, a joint statement carried by Saudi State News Agency SPA said on Sunday. Last year, Saudi Arabia deposited $3 billion in Pakistan’s central bank … More Saudi, Pakistan To Discuss Possible Support For Kingdom’s $3 Billion Deposit
PARIS, France – Jordan’s King Abdullah returned home on Tuesday from Germany after a successful operation for a slipped disc, the royal palace said. The king flown 10 days ago to a specialist hospital in Frankfurt after suffering severe back pain that required urgent surgery, doctors said.
PARIS, France – Yemen’s president delegated power to a presidential council and dismissed his deputy on Thursday in moves aimed at supporting U.N. – led efforts to revive negotiations to end a bitter seven – year war. Riyadh announced $3 billion in financial aid to the Saudi – backed government after the announcement by President … More Yemen President Cedes Powers To Council As Saudi Arabia Pushes To End War
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of State Security warned citizens and residents in the Kingdom against donating to strangers, nothing that such practices increase the probability of financing terrorism. ‘[Random strangers] may be more dangerous than you think’, the Presidency of State Security said in a statement on Twitter, urging people to only make … More Saudi Authorities Warn Against Donating To Strangers Due To Terrorism Financing
PARIS, France – Jordan’s Prince Hamzah Bin Al – Hussein is relinquishing his title of prince, he said in a statement. Prince Hamza, a former heir to the throne, was accused last year of conspiring to destabilize the monarchy in a foreign – inspired plot. Prince Hamzah posted the statement on his official Twitter account, … More Jordan’s Prince Hamzah Relinquishes Royal Title
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Formula One’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will go ahead as planned, organizers said on Friday following attacks on a facility owned by oil giant Aramco near the racetrack in Jeddah. Yemen’s Iran – backed Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Arab coalition said Aramco’s … More Saudi Arabian Grand Prix To Go Ahead As Planned, Say Organizers
PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia has resumed issuing visas on arrival for holders of valid U.S., U.K. and Schengen visas if they qualify for an e – visa, state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday. The decision which allows any of these visa holders to ger a 12 – month tourist visa upon arrival to … More Saudi Arabia Resumes Visa On Arrival For US, UK, Schengen Valid Visa Holders
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Yemen’s Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities on Friday and the Saudi – led coalition said oil giant Aramco’s petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was hit, causing a fire in two storage tanks but no causalities. A huge plume of black smoke could be seen rising over … More Saudi Aramco Storage Facility Targeted By Houthi Attack, Causing Fire
WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Bahrain of M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems Upgrade and related equipment for an estimated cost of $176 million, the Pentagon said on Thursday. The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release.
PARIS, France – The French Foreign Ministry has promised 500,000 euros ($548,715) of financing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to support the investigation into cimes committed in Ukraine, it said in a statement on Wednesday. France will also be providing magistrates, investigators and experts, ‘to make sure the prosecutor can lead his investigation in … More France Promises Funding To International Criminal Court To Investigate Crimes In Ukraine
PARIS, France – In a video message posted to Facebook Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Russians and told them, ‘save your sons from the war’. Zelensky said Ukraine had never threatened the security of Russia, adding that Russian propagandists ‘lie about the war, which is paid for by your taxes’. Ukrainians, he said, … More Zelensky Tells Russians: ‘Save Your Sons From The War’
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PARIS, France – – The Russian invasion of Ukraine could worsen the food crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, the U.S. – based Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned in a statement Monday. ‘Both Ukraine and Russia are leading exports of agricultural products to many Middle Eastern and North African countries, and disruptions related … More Invasion Could Worsen Food Crisis In The Middle East And North Africa, Says Human Rights Watch
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi – led coalition said early on Sunday that Yemen’s Iran – aligned Houthi group launched missile and drone strikes on energy and water desalination facilities in the kingdom that caused some material damage but no deaths. It said the attacks were at a water desalination plant in Al – … More Houthis Launch Attacks On Saudi Energy, Desalination Facilities – Coalition