Turkish authorities can search consulate for missing journalist, Saudi crown prince says 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia is ready for Turkey to search the consulate in Istanbul. (AP)
Updated 06 October 2018
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Turkish authorities can search consulate for missing journalist, Saudi crown prince says 

  • Crown prince said his understanding is that Khashoggi entered the diplomatic mission and got out after an hour
  • On the Saudi-Canada diplomatic row, the crown prince said Ottawa was pressuring Riyadh to release a number of detainees facing charges of spying for a foreign country

JEDDAH: Turkish authorities can search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul for journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been reported missing after visiting the diplomatic mission three days ago, Saudi Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said.
"We are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises. The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do. If they ask for that, of course, we will allow them. We have nothing to hide," Prince Mohammed said in an interview released by Bloomberg on Friday.
Earlier reports said Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen residing in the US, visited the consulate in Istanbul earlier this week to secure divorce documents so that he could marry his Turkish fiancee. His fiancee and a friend have been quoted as saying he never came out after that.
The crown prince said his understanding is that Khashoggi entered the diplomatic mission and got out after an hour. 
"I’m not sure. We are investigating this through the foreign ministry to see exactly what happened at that time," he said.
In the wide-ranging interview, he was asked about Saudi Arabia's diplomatic row with Canada, which has seen the Kingdom expelling Ottawa's ambassador, stopping new trade, and pulling out Saudi scholarship students from Canada.
Prince Mohammed said the rift was sparked by the Canadian government's attempt to order Saudi Arabia to release a number of detainees facing charges of spying for a foreign country.
He said the case of the detainees has nothing to do with press freedom or women's rights.
"It had nothing to do with that rumor spreading around. They have connections with agencies of other countries. They have a network, connection with government people, leaking information for the sake these other governments," he said.
He said the Saudi government has videos of the suspects talking with foreign secret service. "We can show it to you. Tomorrow we will show you the videos," he told Bloomberg.
Pressed for further details, Prince Mohammed said: "Qatar is one of those countries that recruited some of those people. And some agencies indirectly working with Iran. Those are the two main countries that were really recruiting these people." 
"Some of the people on this list, they were part of that but they didn’t know that they were part of an intelligence operation, we’ve released them. But the other people, the evidence and the investigations proved that they did know it was intelligence work against Saudi Arabia," he added.

 

 


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.