Saudi Staycations Lay Bare Obstacles to Kingdom’s Tourism Drive

Lavern Vogel

UMLUJ, Saudi Arabia—Ahmad Hamid normally spends his summers partying in London nightclubs. Stranded at dwelling in Jeddah this year due to the fact of the coronavirus pandemic, he and his friends opted as a substitute to holiday a shorter drive away in this historical village on the Red Sea coast.

“We spent our days island hopping and snorkeling, and at night time we experienced barbecues and played tunes all-around a campfire,” claimed Mr. Hamid, a 30-year-previous logistics operator.

He hardly ever strayed from the pop-up campsite due to the fact the bordering area made available little in conditions of diversions: Umluj has just one dive shop, couple restaurants or cafes and zero nightlife.

“It would be great to go out and wander all-around and meet men and women like when we journey overseas,” he claimed.

The only substantial tourism in Saudi Arabia has lengthy been pilgrimage to Muslim holy web

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Putin Loses His Footing in Russia’s Backyard

Lavern Vogel

MOSCOW—A sequence of crises in Russia’s neighbors is upending the Kremlin’s options for further economic and defense ties with the former Soviet republics, leaving a vacuum for regional rivals this sort of as China and Turkey to exploit.

Russian President

Vladimir Putin

has lengthy tried out to strengthen economic and defense relations across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, from Belarus in the west to Kyrgyzstan in the east. Russia continue to has military services bases in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, and there are potent professional and cultural ties with those people locations.

But the chaos encircling Russia—including an upsurge in fighting involving Armenia and Azerbaijan—together with subtle diplomatic and economic shifts is eroding Moscow’s monopoly on electricity in the region. Although China has leveraged its economic clout to make influence and Europe has fed democratic aspirations, Russia has clung to tough-electricity politics.

A lady waiting Tuesday for a

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Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, a Paragon of Persian Music, Dies at 80

Lavern Vogel

When Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Iran’s most celebrated modern singer, threw his common popularity behind pro-democracy protesters in 2009, he was neither arrested nor pressured to flee the nation like numerous of his countrymen.

Rather, these was his stature in the Islamic Republic that it was Mr. Shajarian who instructed state media to stop broadcasting his voice.

Mr. Shajaraian died Thursday at a hospital in Tehran at the age of eighty, in accordance to his son Homayoun, immediately after battling kidney most cancers for almost two many years.

“He is the most significant Iranian cultural figure of the previous 3 many years,” claimed Nahid Siamdoust, author of “Soundtrack of the Revolution: The Politics of Songs in Iran.” “He was a chic figure that inhabited his artwork. He was also exceptionally respected for talking real truth to power,” Ms. Siamdoust claimed.

Fans of Mr. Shajarian gathered Thursday outdoors the hospital in Tehran where

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