Saudi Arabia enforces new law after unauthorized drone shot down in restricted area

A remote-controlled drone was shot down by police on Saturday night after it was detected flying over a restricted area in Riyadh without a security clearance. (Shutterstock)
Updated 22 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia enforces new law after unauthorized drone shot down in restricted area

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said on Sunday that drone-flying enthusiasts must obtain permission to fly the devices until regulations were finalized.
Amateur online videos of heavy gunfire in the capital's Khozama district on Saturday sparked fears of possible political unrest in the world's top oil exporter. A senior Saudi official told Reuters there were no casualties when the drone was shot down and that King Salman was not in the palace at the time.
A security screening point had noticed the flying of a small unauthorized recreational drone, leading security forces to deal with it "according to their orders and instructions", state news agency SPA had said.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said a law for the use of drones was in its final stage and called on users to obtain the necessary police clearance to use the devices "for particular reasons in permitted locations", state news agency SPA reported.

A remote-controlled drone was shot down by police on Saturday night after it was detected flying over a restricted area in Riyadh without a security clearance.

The drone, believed to be a toy, was intercepted by officers at Al Khuzama police station, a spokesperson for the Riyadh Police Department said. The police unit acted immediately and in accordance with relevant security instructions, and the authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, the spokesperson said.

(With Reuters)


Saudi Red Sea project to offer visa on arrival for tourists

Updated 49 min 48 sec ago
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Saudi Red Sea project to offer visa on arrival for tourists

  • Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project has been registered as a standalone company
  • The venture will be will be headed by John Pagano, former director of London’s Canary Wharf business zone

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea project will offer visas on arrival for overseas visitors following the creation of a company to deliver the ambitious project.
The project marked a milestone on Sunday with its incorporation as a standalone closed joint-stock company, The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), wholly owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The company, which in October announced Virgin Group founder Richard Branson as one of its board members, on Sunday said it had recruited John Pagano, the former managing director of development for the UK’s Canary Wharf Group as its chief executive.
The newly-incorporated company will now move forward with the creation of its Special Economic Zone, with its own regulatory framework, it said in a statement.
The framework will be separate from the base economy, with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability, and will offering visa on entry, relaxed social norms, and improved business regulations.
“The destination will provide a unique sense of place for visitors and offer nature lovers, adventurers, cultural explorers and guests looking to escape and rejuvenate, a wide range of exclusive experiences, combining luxury, tranquillity, adventure and beautiful landscapes,” said Pagano.
The first phase of The Red Sea Project — which will occupy an area greater than the size of Belgium between the cities of Al-Wajh and Umluj — will include hotels and residential units, along with a new costal town, an airport and a marina, and is due for completion by late 2022, the company said.
Authorities hope the project will create as many as 35,000 jobs and contribute SR15 billion ($3.99 billion) to the local economy.
The project, unveiled last July by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the key developments in Saudi Arabia’s strategy to develop its tourism sector, alongside Qiddiya, an entertainment resort near Riyadh that will be two-and-a-half times the size of Disney World.
The country’s Vision 2030 economic development plan is targeting the creation of 1.2 million new jobs in the Saudi tourism sector by 2030.