Robots to roam $500 billion Saudi city

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Updated 24 October 2017
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Robots to roam $500 billion Saudi city

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday unveiled ambitious plans for a new city state that would also straddle Jordan and Egypt in the kingdom’s northwest with up to $500bn in investments.
Called Neom, the city will be powered by solar and wind energy, and is likely to have more robots than people living there.
The business zone, spanning 26,500 square kilometers, would be a showcase for modernity, Saudi ingenuity and new technologies, the Crown Prince told a panel discussion at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh.
 



The forum that has attracted business and financial leaders from around the world is being sponsored by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). He said: “We will build the city from scratch, it will be drone-friendly and a center for the development of robotics. We want to create something different. Neom is a place for dreamers who want to create something new in the world, something extraordinary.”
Klaus Kleinfeld, former head of aluminum giant Alcoa has been appointed CEO of NEOM. In response to a question, he told the panel’s audience: “Saudi Arabia hasn’t only been blessed with oil and gas, but with sun and wind as well. We can use technology to accelerate economic development.
The plans are part of the Crown Prince’s vision to overhaul the country’s economy and decrease its reliance on oil. The Neom project will focus on nine different investment sectors including energy, water, biotech and robotics.
Masayoshi Son, chairman of Japan’s Softbank, disclosed the bank would be making an investment in Saudi Electric as part of a push to develop green energy in the Kingdom. Son said robots could outnumber people in Neom.
Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics told the conference: “Robots could perform a variety of functions – covering areas such as security, logistics, home deliveries and even looking after the elderly and infirm.


US denies ‘final conclusion’ reached on Khashoggi case

Updated 18 November 2018
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US denies ‘final conclusion’ reached on Khashoggi case

  • A US newspaper published what it claimed were details of an intelligence report on the case
  • ‘The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts’

JEDDAH: The US government denied on Saturday it had reached a final conclusion over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi after a US newspaper published what it claimed were details of an intelligence report on the case. 
“Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
“There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts,” she said.
“In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”

But President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that his administration would get “a very full report,” including who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, on Monday or Tuesday.
The Washington Post published an article citing anonymous sources, who it says are close to the CIA which suggests the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing — something Saudi Arabia vehemently denies.
The Kingdom’s public prosecutor on Thursday released details of its investigation, saying the decision to kill the journalist was made by the head of a rogue mission during an attempt to repatriate him. The prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five of the suspects. 
On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Air Force One, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. 
Trump praised US relations with Saudi Arabia when he was asked about the case. Saudi Arabia is “a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development,” the US president said.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman, strongly denied the Washington Post story, and said he did not tell Khashoggi to go to Turkey, as the report claimed. 
“I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim,” Prince Khalid said
Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, was a columnist for the Post.
He was killed on Oct. 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul after he went to get marriage documents.