An evolving U.S.-Saudi relationship, jaw-dropping developments and progress on the Red Sea, and much more….
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Episode 78! The 966 hosts fly solo this week ahead of a busy week of travel to Saudi Arabia and the region and an impressive slate of forthcoming guests in the coming weeks. Richard’s One Big Thing this week is a recent collection of articles and items in the media that paint a picture of a U.S.-Saudi relationship that is evolving as Saudi Arabia increasingly becomes an emerging power and global economic and diplomatic player. Lucien’s One Big Thing is highlighting the rapid progress at The Red Sea giga-project, which seemingly makes a new announcement every day and seems to be way ahead of schedule. Then the hosts jump right into the final Yallah! Segment discussing six top storylines of the week to get you up to speed headed into the weekend.
3:11 - Richard’s One Big Thing this week is a recent collection of articles and items in the media that paint a picture of a U.S.-Saudi relationship that is evolving as Saudi Arabia increasingly becomes an emerging power and global economic and diplomatic player. Richard highlights recent pieces specifically by Bilal Saab and Hussein Ibish.
17:35 - Lucien’s One Big Thing is highlighting the rapid progress at The Red Sea giga-project. By all accounts and from everything one can see on social media, the development is proceeding ahead of schedule. Red Sea Global’s dynamic and news-making CEO, John Pagano, announced the “first luxury resort brand revealed at AMAALA,” Clinique La Prairie, which is a leading Swiss clinic, and bills itself as master of longevity resort which has both medical and wellness programs. Red Sea Global also announced a new Four Seasons resort for the area, and renderings show a nearly-magical design that is set to rival the Maldives.
26:31 - Yallah! 6 Top Storylines to get you up to speed headed into the weekend…
Saudi Arabia announces $400m humanitarian aid to Ukraine
According to Andrii Yermak, head of the President’s Office of Ukraine, after meeting Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia will supply Ukraine with an aid package worth $400m. Two documents were signed formalizing $100m worth of humanitarian aid and $300m worth of oil products.
Vision 2030 projects trigger a real estate boom in Saudi Arabia
With multibillion-dollar projects related to the Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector is expected to witness a record boom, real estate experts told Arab News. Faisal Durrani, partner – head of Middle East Research, Knight Frank, said that, “in Riyadh, average apartment values are up 30 percent in the last 12 months, and this is even higher at around 40 percent for some of the most desirable suburbs in north Riyadh. Villa prices in the capital have also risen by 20 percent.” According to Knight Frank, over 555,000 residential units, more than 275,000 hotel keys, over 4.3 million sq. m of retail space, and over 6.1 million sq. m of new office space are expected by 2030.
First Israeli commercial flight uses Saudi-Omani corridor
Oman has become the latest Middle Eastern state to allow overflights of Israeli registered aircraft. It joins Saudi Arabia, and creates room for a significant air corridor to and from Asia since Israeli carriers still cannot overfly Iranian airspace – previously requiring them to route much further south. On Feb 26, El Al flight 871 from Tel Aviv to Bangkok became the first Israeli aircraft to transit Oman’s airspace! The journey, which previously took over 10 hours, lasted just under 8 hours.
Hajj Ministry: Pilgrims can perform any number of Umrah
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah confirmed that pilgrims are not limited to a specific number of times to perform Umrah. The ministry stated that those who arrived in the Kingdom on a visit, tourist, or work visa can perform Umrah. The pilgrim can also change the means of transportation that he had used for his arrival during his departure from the Kingdom. The ministry pointed out that the holder of the Umrah visa can travel between Makkah and Madinah as well as among all the cities of the Kingdom during the permitted period of his stay. The Umrah pilgrims can enter and leave Saudi Arabia from any international or regional airport in the Kingdom.
Andy Warhol Exhibition Opens in the Saudi Desert
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s first exhibition on Andy Warhol opened at the Maraya, a mirrored building in the desert. Titled “FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla,” the show is part of the second annual AlUla Arts Festival, a government-funded initiative to help bolster the country’s reputation as an arts destination. The show zeros in on Warhol’s fascination with celebrity through some 70 carefully selected pieces of the late Pop Art icon’s work. One section includes portraits of celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan and Salvador Dalí. Another houses Warhol’s Silver Clouds, a room of large metallic balloons.
LIV GOLF fails to match PGA ratings. And that’s ok…
An average of 286,000 and 291,000 viewers tuned in Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to watch LIV GOLF's first event of the season. Phil Mickelson and former number one Dustin Johnson lead an all-star cast at LIV's season opener in Mayakoba, Mexico, but ratings were far below that of the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour's Honda Classic brought in 1.61 million viewers Saturday and 2.38 million on Sunday, by comparison, on NBC.