google
Apple, Google Both Hosting Saudi Government App That Lets Men Track Women, Restrict Their Travel

Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store both continue to host a Saudi government app, Absher, that allows men in the country to track their female relatives’ movements and restrict their travel. Read More >>

news
Report: Citizen Lab Targeted in Botched Sting After Researching Israeli Firm’s Ties to Saudi Arabia

“International undercover operatives” have been hounding members of the internet watchdog Citizen Lab, whose researchers helped reveal that an Israeli cyber-intelligence firm named NSO Group may have played a role in dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the hands of state-employed goons, the Associated Press reported Friday. Read More >>

saudi arabia
Saudi Arabia Will Now Notify Women by Text If They’ve Been Divorced

Women in Saudi Arabia – who have long been subjected to a litany of misogynistic restrictions on their behaviour, including totalitarian male guardianship laws – will soon receive text messages to inform them of changes to their marital status as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “reforms” of the country’s monarchic government, CNN reported on Sunday. Read More >>

surveillance
Legal Threat Looms Over Israeli Cyber Firm Accused of Helping Saudi Spies

Amnesty International said today that it had submitted a formal request to Israeli authorities two weeks ago asking that the export license of a Herzliya-based hacking firm be revoked over reported efforts to sell Saudi Arabia sophisticated surveillance software. Read More >>

google
Google Pulls Out of Saudi Conference as the World Still Wonders What Happened to Jamal Khashoggi

Google has become the latest tech company to pull out of a high-profile conference in Saudi Arabia commonly referred to as Davos in the Desert. Google didn’t give a reason for the decision but other companies have pulled out while citing the 2 October disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Read More >>

fake news
Saudi Arabia Threatens Anyone Spreading ‘Fake News’ Online with 5 Years in Prison, Heavy Fines

Saudi Arabia is threatening to give 5-year prison terms and heavy fines to anyone caught spreading “fake news” online, a warning to those discussing the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The threat, published over the weekend in the Saudi Gazette, echoes one of President Trump’s favourite phrases to demean any journalism that he finds unfavourable to his regime. Read More >>

Tesla
Report: Saudi Arabia May Be Planning a Major Bid for Tesla’s Leveraged Buyout

The official sovereign wealth fund of the Saudi Arabian government may be considering a major investment in Elon Musk’s electric car giant Tesla, and sources say it is “in talks” to do so after Musk let slip via Twitter that he is considering taking the company private in a $60-billion-plus (£47-billion-plus) deal at $420 (£330) a share, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. Read More >>

science
88,000-Year-Old Finger Found in Saudi Arabia Could Rewrite Human History

It’s just a lone, boney middle finger, but the scientists who found it say it’s the oldest directly dated fossil of our species to ever be found outside of Africa and the Levant, a region that today comprises Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. But the new discovery is not without its critics, who say older evidence of human habitation outside of this region exists elsewhere, and that the finger might not even be human. Read More >>

technology
One of Silicon Valley’s Fanciest Hotels Is Closed This Week, Likely For Saudi Crown Prince’s Tech Tour

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his entourage are likely the reason one of Silicon Valley’s highest-tier hotels is closed to the public this week, Recode reported, as the prince continues to make the rounds in a marathon spree of meetings with some of the United States’ most powerful people. Read More >>

archaeology
Amazing Life-Sized Sculptures of Camels and Horses Discovered in Saudi Arabia

Archaeologists in Saudi Arabia have discovered a series of rock reliefs dating back some 2,000 years. The life-sized sculptures show realistic impressions of several animals, though they have been badly damaged by years of erosion and rough treatment by humans. Read More >>

science
Why Saudi Arabia is Pushing Premarital Genetic Screening

In Saudi Arabia, if you’re planning to tie the knot, there’s a step you must go through that doesn’t happen anywhere else: you have to get a test for genetic disease. Hereditary blood diseases like sickle cell and beta thalassemia are prevalent in this part of the world, where marriage between cousins is common. A new awareness campaign around genetic disorders aims to reduce the spread of these illnesses. Read More >>

archaeology
Ancient Cave Art Depicts Oldest Evidence of Dogs Wearing Leashes

A new analysis of ancient rock art demonstrates that humans hunted with dogs on the Arabian Peninsula over 8,000 years ago—and it looks like those dogs wore leashes. Read More >>

security
Pilgrims Travelling to Mecca Will Soon Have Electronic ID Bracelets

Beginning this year, Saudi Arabia will provide electronic identification bracelets for all pilgrims travelling to Mecca. The bracelets, which are designed to promote safety, will include personal details and medical information. Read More >>