Plan for Riyadh’s Al-Aridh National Park approved

Updated 24 November 2016

Plan for Riyadh’s Al-Aridh National Park approved

RIYADH: The final plan for the setting up of Al-Aridh National Park was approved on Tuesday at a meeting of Riyadh Development Authority (ADA), chaired by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar.
Speaking to the press, the governor said that the 4,400 square km area will be transformed into a major national park to make it a destination for eco-tourism.
A committee, under the chairmanship of the Riyadh governor, has been appointed to oversee the implementation of the project.
A comprehensive plan for the park has been chalked out, Ibrahim bin Muhammad Al-Sultan, president of the ADA and member of the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh, said. The meeting also reviewed the road and rail projects in the region.
The Riyadh Downtown Development Program is the manifestation of a comprehensive development concept adopted by the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh since its establishment. The program aims to transform downtown Riyadh into a national historical, administrative and cultural center. The program was initially launched during the commission’s second meeting of 2012.
Its objectives are: the conservation of urban and cultural heritage; preservation of existing commercial activities; creation of more employment opportunities; diversification of housing patterns; achievement of social and demographic balance; and consolidation of urban security, in addition to improvement of the area’s road network and public utilities.
According to the plan, downtown Riyadh is bordered by Al-Washem Street and Omar bin Al-Khattab Street in the north; Al-Kharj Road in the east; Ammar bin Yasir Street and Al-A’sha Street in the south; and Imam Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Street in the west with a total area of 15 square km.
The plan added more space to local open areas and parks by providing additional public arenas and open spaces linked to the public transport stations via safe pedestrian walkways. More open spaces will be added to the area that extends from south of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center to the Qasr Al-Hukm district along the cultural and heritage route that will be a main component of the plan.
The plan also includes expansion of Salam Park eastward, establishment of public gardens and parks to serve the area and the city in general, and afforestation along the main roads and streets.

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 59 min 21 sec ago

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 

The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.

The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.

“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.