5 events that shook Saudi and rattled the world in the last 48 hours
From house raids, to oil revenue predictions, Saudi has been busy over the last 48 hours.
So much has happened that AMEinfo is bringing it all to you so that you don’t miss out on the action.
Corruption detainees freed?
Reuters reported that Saudi has released 23 of the 200-or-so powerful individuals detained since November on corruption charges after they reached deals with the government, quoting Saudi Okaz newspaper on Tuesday.
Whether Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was part of those let go was not mentioned, following a report he is negotiating his release with the offer to surrender control of his $9bn Kingdom holding to Saudi authorities who are asking a $6bn sum.
Okaz said more detainees would be released in the coming days and trial proceedings would begin soon for those who continue to deny the charges against them.
Video posted on social media showed a smiling Saoud al-Daweesh, the former chief executive of Saudi Telecom, telling well-wishers he had been treated decently.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that among those who have been released in the past week were Ibrahim al-Assaf, a former finance minister and board member of Saudi Aramco, former assistant minister of finance Mohammed bin Homoud Al Mazyed, Prince Turki bin Khalid, and businessman Mohy Saleh Kamel.
More raids, different detainees
On Monday, the Saudi joint field security campaign apprehended 264,245 violators of residence, labor and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency said.
The campaign resulted in the arrest of 142,869 violators of iqama (residence) regulations, 87,487 violators of labor regulations and 33,889 violators of border security regulations.
The number of those caught trying to cross the Kingdom’s borders stood at 3,321 persons, 73 percent of whom were Yemenis, 25 percent Ethiopians and 2 percent of different nationalities.
Meanwhile, 548 persons were arrested for being involved in harboring and transporting violators of residence, labor and border security regulations.
A total of 92 citizens were caught for being involved in transporting and sheltering expatriates violating regulations and the number of expatriates currently detained stands at 14,699, including 12,782 men and 1,917 women.
For the first time in the history of the Kingdom, women will be allowed to enjoy a football match in a stadium. It will happen at the tie between Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad clubs at Riyadh’s King Fahd Stadium on Jan. 12.
Riyadh’s King Fahd Stadium, Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City and Dammam’s Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium are the only stadiums that will be allowed to welcome family audiences.
Reuters reports Twitter being abuzz with excited female fans who cannot wait to experience cheering in person for their favorite teams for the very first time.
Meanwhile Many male fans displayed their displeasure at the prospect of sharing stadiums with families, believing football is a masculine sport.
Oil revenues to go up
Saudi Arabia expects oil revenue to jump about 80 percent by 2023 to help the kingdom record its first budget surplus in a decade, according to Bloomberg and OilPrice.com.
Under a six-year program to balance the budget, officials predict rising oil prices and output will push income from oil sales to 801.4 billion riyals ($214 billion) from 440 billion riyals ($117.5bn) this year.
It assumes the price of oil will reach $75 a barrel from a current $60 and oil production to increase from an average of 10 million barrels a day this year to 11 million barrels in 2023.
Non-oil revenue, excluding income from the Public Investment Fund, would increase 32 percent to 337 billion riyals ($90bn).
Bloomberg Saudi Arabia expects oil revenue to jump by 46 percent in 2018 after a deal between the kingdom and other producers to curb output drove up global prices.
Saudi has launched a landmark event giving a record $2 million prize pot to the winner of a chess for champions tournament
But Saudi refused to give Israeli players visas.
The King Salman Rapid and Blitz 2017 tournament opened on Monday, but just a day later Israel’s chess federation said it was seeking compensation from the World Chess Federation (FIDE) over the rejection, according to BBC news.
The news sites said that also players from Iran and Qatar were also a major doubt to show up at the event, for obvious political reasons.
FIDE insisted they could show up, even if they chose not to in the end.
The chess tournament has still drawn the game’s biggest names, including world number one Magnus Carlsen.