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A 13 June cabinet meeting, chaired by King Salman, finally approved the Undeveloped Land Fees Regulation, a tax on undeveloped urban land, popularly known as ‘white land’. The 2.5% tax on the value of undeveloped land designated for residential or commercial use will be applied in stages to owners of plots bigger than 5,000m2. The Ministry of Housing will collect the levy and fine owners who don’t pay the tax. The long-awaited tax, intended to ease the severe shortage of housing by encouraging landowners to develop their assets, has been expected for some weeks.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 940 - 07 February 2013

Ahmadinejad in Cairo

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Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, arriving in Cairo on 5 February ahead of an Organisation of Islamic Co-operation summit.

Iran
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The situation in Qatif has deteriorated sharply since 2011. Historically, the Saudi government has given the predominantly Shiite population a relatively unfettered existence, at least by the Kingdom’s strict standards. Though almost unrepresented in the security forces or local government, Shia from Qatif have been allowed to establish Shiite cemeteries and husseiniyas, undertake open-air sermonising and the sale of Shia religious materials, and even publicly celebrate Ashura.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 934 - 25 October 2012

Royals Watch: Saudi Arabia

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Abdelrahman Bin Nasir returns from US; Salman Bin Abdelaziz: Still on holiday; Mishaal Bin Abdelaziz returns home; Khalid Bin Abdullah's Frankel victory

Saudi Arabia
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The award of £15m in November 2015 to Janan Harb, a widow of King Fahd, in a London court is set for a retrial following a decision by the Court of Appeal. Harb had sued the late king’s son Prince Abdelaziz Bin Fahd for breach of contract after he failed to pay her a lump sum and transfer to her the title of two properties on Cheyne Walk – assets (she claims) were promised to her under an agreement made between Harb and the prince during a meeting at The Dorchester hotel in 2003. Lawyers for Prince Abdelaziz had always denied her version of events, saying Harb accosted him in the hotel lobby but he did not speak to her.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 864 - 06 November 2009

UAE: Khalifa Bin Zayed

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Re-elected

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 888 - 29 October 2010

Al Saud, Prince Khalid

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Anti-corruption committee, Marriages

Saudi Arabia
Issue 943 - 21 March 2013

Saudi Arabia: ‘Spy ring’

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Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people it accuses of spying for a foreign country, including one Iranian, one Lebanese and 16 Saudis. On 19 March, the interior ministry said that the suspects had “gathered information on vital installations which they provided to the country” they had been working for, and that they would be handed over to judicial authorities.

Iran | Saudi Arabia
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When Saudi-watchers get together, conversation will soon turn to questions that can become an obsession: who will be the next Saudi monarch, who will succeed him and when will this happen? The onset of illness associated with old age cannot help the

Saudi Arabia
Issue 848 - 27 February 2009

Dubai, feeling down but not out

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Central Bank of the UAE’s initial $10bn investment in Dubai’s $20bn five-year refinancing package confirms that Abu Dhabi has no intention of cutting adrift the commercial emirate; the senior emirate will gain from maintaining stability in the federation

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 861 - 26 September 2009

UAE arrests suspected RAK terror cell

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When a 'terror plot' emerges everyone is quick to rush in with their interpretation of the (usually shadowy) events. "An armed cell related to a regional government" was reportedly uncovered over the summer in the northern emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK). Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida,

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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A special performance model Boeing 747 used by the Qatari ruling family for two decades is up for sale. Sales agency Book a Jet describes it as a “head of state configured aircraft”, with luxury en-suite bathrooms, offices and dining areas. Originally designed for PanAm in 1979 – when the since defunct US carrier wanted a model capable of flying non-stop from New York to Tokyo – only 12 are left flying of 45 originally built. It was leased from Worldwide Aircraft Holding in 1995 by the Al-Thani family. Book a Jet says interested parties will be “very surprised what superb value this aircraft is considering its pedigree, condition and available extras.”

Qatar
Issue 1021 - 09 September 2016

UAE: Abu Dhabi takes first LNG imports

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A 500 mcf/d floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) chartered from US-based Excelerate Energy was delivered to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) in August, in a move to ensure gas-to-power supply by state utility Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company (Adwec) during the peak summer season for electricity demand. The UAE’s second LNG import facility was moored off Ruwais, after it was filled at the Das Island plant operated by Adnoc’s Adgas subsidiary – which for years had sought not to divert LNG cargoes to meet domestic demand.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 932 - 20 September 2012

Iran: Rafsanjani’s children arrested

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Iran has imprisoned the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and arrested his son. According to news wires, Faezeh Hashemi was arrested on 22 September and sent to jail for a six-month term, imposed earlier this year, for “spreading propaganda against the regime”.

Iran
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As the summer heat rises, the state of politics in Baghdad and the provinces is causing alarm in Washington and Tehran, according to sources canvassed by GSN. But in the long game that is Iraqi politics, Prime Minister Maliki is playing a steady hand, outflanking opponents and imposing policy even if the necessary laws aren’t in place

Iraq