Saudi Arabia seeks to expand entertainment landscape

Gustaf Skarsgard of television drama, ‘Vikings,’ at the closing ceremony of the Saudi Comic Con 2018 in Jeddah. (AN photo)
Updated 28 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia seeks to expand entertainment landscape

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) is to host a summit at a Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles to attract events to the Kingdom.
The summit will explore the role of entertainment in enhancing the quality of life and providing investment and employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
It will be opened with an address from GEA Chairman Ahmed Al-Khatib.
GEA CEO Faisal Bafarat said: “The summit is designed to educate and advance creative industry opportunities. We’re committed to expanding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment landscape, supported with private/public partnerships while attracting local and international investors to help foster exciting new partnerships to benefit our growing millennial population.”
More than two-thirds of the country’s 32 million population are under the age of 30.
In his interview last week on 60 Minutes, the CBS television network’s flagship current-affairs program, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman detailed Vision 2030 plans to re-introduce all forms of entertainment to the Kingdom after decades of austerity imposed by extreme religious conservatism.
After the opening keynote address, the importance of entertainment to society and the economy will be discussed. Those taking part include government leaders from the delegation accompanying the crown prince on his seven-city official tour of the US, as well as business investors.
The summit will take place on April 4 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills.
The GEA was established by a royal decree in May 2016 to define a new entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia and oversee its growth, while also safeguarding customs and traditions.
Saudis currently spend $22 billion a year on tourism and entertainment — all of it outside the country.
Since the GEA was created, it has been announced that cinemas are to open after a ban lasting more than three decades and deals are being discussed to open amusement parks and stage hit shows such as Cirque du Soleil and The Lion King.
The crown prince’s visit to the US, which runs until April 7, has brought American companies to the table to discuss working with their Saudi counterparts.


Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

Updated 40 min 19 sec ago

Pompeo meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks on Aramco attacks

  • Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an 'Iranian attack'
  • Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf. 

JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday described strikes on key Saudi oil installations as an “act of war” as he landed in Jeddah to meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo described the drone and cruise missile strikes on Saturday as an “Iranian attack”.

He said it had not come from Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants and that there was no evidence the attacks had been launched from Iraq.

"This is an attack of a scale we've just not seen before," he added.

Pompeo was met at Jeddah airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf.

Pompeo's visit comes as President Donald Trump said on Wednesday there were many options short of war with Iran after Saudi Arabia's display of remnants of drones and missiles it said were used in the I that was "unquestionably sponsored" by Tehran.

"There are many options. There's the ultimate option and there are options that are a lot less than that. And we'll see," Trump told reporters in Los Angeles. "I'm saying the ultimate option meaning go in — war."

Trump, who earlier said on Twitter that he had ordered the US Treasury to "substantially increase" sanctions on Iran, told reporters the unspecified, punitive economic measures would be unveiled within 48 hours.

Trump's tweet followed repeated US assertions that the Islamic Republic was behind Saturday's attack on Aramco facilities and came hours after Saudi Arabia said the strike was a "test of global will."

Earlier on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had spoken with US President Donald Trump about the Aramco attack, and agreed that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Also on Wednesday, Kuwait's army released a statement announcing it was raising its preparedness level for some units, given the tensions in the Middle East region.