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Thursday
July 2018
1:22 AM IST
News Headlines
Bolt poised for surprise trial with Aussie football club        Iceland coach steps down after 7 years in charge        Govt doubles import duty on over 50 textile products        Walmart partners with Microsoft for cloud solutions        Official: 54 released from Taliban prison in Afghanistan        Putin: US-Russia ties should not be held hostage to Mueller probe        Two dead, 3,500 relocated as rains lash parts of Gujarat        LJP raises Dalit issues in all-party, NDA meetings        SC asks Parliament to consider new law to deal with mob lynching        Court's duty to strike down law if it violates fundamental right: SC        After Kohli, assistant coach Bangar comes to Dhoni's defence        France set for heroes' welcome after thrilling World Cup win        Niti Aayog working on proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy: Kumar        May announces new 2 bn pounds UK-Italian fighter jet project        Russia targeted by almost '25 million cyber-attacks' during World Cup: Putin        Afghan official: Taliban kill 7 police in eastern province        Trump and Putin open historic summit        From April next year, national database for gun licence holders        SC refuses to stay new rules on health warning for tobacco products        CBI chargesheets Farooq Abdullah, three others in JKCA scam        
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International News
Saudi Ritz reopens after stint as gilded prison of princes
 
(RIYADH, Feb 11, 2018):Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel reopened on Sunday, more than three months after it was converted into a gilded prison for members of Saudi Arabia’s business and political elite detained in an anti-corruption purge.

The gates of the luxury hotel, where U.S. President Donald Trump stayed during his state visit last year, had been shuttered and patrolled by black-uniformed royal guard units while dozens of princes, former ministers and business tycoons were interrogated inside.

The detainees were removed from the hotel two weeks ago, most released after cutting a deal with the authorities or being exonerated, an apparent sign that the corruption investigation, which sent shockwaves through the business community, was winding down.

A handful of smart-suited businessmen, forced to decamp to other hotels since November, returned to the Ritz on Sunday.

“It’s an honor (to be back),” said one foreign consultant as he waited for a luxury car to take him to work.

He said the purge had not left any trace on the 492-room hotel where the lowest rate is 2,439 riyals ($650) a night.

“You forget about it as soon as you’re in your room and you get lost in your own bubble.”

The hotel’s opulent lobby appeared normal. Uniformed waiters milled below crystal chandeliers as acoustic Arabic music filtered through speakers and incense wafted from a gilt burner.

Managers declined an interview request, but the company confirmed in a statement that the hotel had “resumed normal business operations as of today”.

Among the most high-profile occupants during the anti-corruption campaign were global investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender for the throne.

Prince Miteb was freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion, a Saudi official told Reuters.

Prince Alwaleed maintained his innocence of any corruption in a Reuters interview hours before his release. A senior Saudi official later said he was freed after reaching a financial settlement, without detailing the terms.

The attorney general has said the government had arranged to seize more than $106 billion through such agreements, an assertion Reuters has been unable to verify.

Critics decried the campaign as a shakedown and power play by 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is aiming to overhaul the way the deeply conservative kingdom is run and wean it off dependence on oil revenues.

Ten days before the purge began, the Ritz hosted an international business conference where Prince Mohammed spoke onstage and snapped selfies with admirers. Some participants later ended up as detainees.

In the absence of more information, speculation ran wild about what was happening inside the Ritz. The authorities denied rumors of torture and attempted suicides.

The attorney general has said 56 people remain in custody. They are believed to have been moved to prison after refusing to admit wrongdoing and may end up in court.

Ahmed al-Safer, a Yemeni-American businessman who regularly stays at the Ritz, stopped in on Sunday to have tea with friends.

Asked if the purge had affected the hotel’s reputation, he said: “Right now it’s famous. Everyone will visit just to take a picture.”


Official: 54 released from Taliban prison in Afghanistan
Putin: US-Russia ties should not be held hostage to Mueller probe
Russia targeted by almost '25 million cyber-attacks' during World Cup: Putin
Afghan official: Taliban kill 7 police in eastern province
Trump and Putin open historic summit
Trump asked me to sue EU over Brexit, says Theresa May
Haiti prime minister resigns after deadly unrest
Former PM Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam arrested for corruption in Lahore
After UK-US spats, Trump flies in to turmoil in Britain
Buddha of Swat smiles nearly 11 years after Taliban dynamited it
Turkey jails mine bosses over 2014 disaster that killed 301
Merkel fires back at Trump: Germany makes 'independent decisions'
Panama, China open talks on free trade agreement
Trump names Kavanaugh as nominee for next supreme court justice
Turkey's Erdogan begins new term with expanded powers
Sharif, his daughter will be arrested on their arrival at any airport in Pak: Minister
N Korea slams 'gangster-like' US in nuclear talks
'Race against time' to rescue Japan flood victims: PM
Iran says Trump 'destabilising' oil market
Toll from deadly Thai tourist boat sinking rises to 41
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
I am a big flop actor: Karan Johar
 (Mumbai, May 5, 2018): Filmmaker Karan Johar is in mood to take up full-fledged acting jobs.  
Bittersweet moment for us: Akshaye on Vinod Khanna's Dadasaheb Phalke honour
Happy Sonam is getting married, Anand a great guy: Harshvardhan Kapoor
Auctioning 'Rustom' costume for good cause: Akshay Kumar
KERALA NEWS
Kerala among 13 states on thunderstorm alert
 (New Delhi, May 7, 2018): Thunderstorms accompanied by squall, hail and heavy rains are likel
Kerala Karshaka Jadha Opens to a Great Beginning / Video
Malappuram press club attack: RSS workers nabbed
Workers injured in mudslide at construction site
NATIONAL NEWS
Two dead, 3,500 relocated as rains lash parts of Gujarat
 Rajkot/Ahmedabad, Jul 17 (PTI) Two persons, including a school boy, drowned as incessant rains lashe
LJP raises Dalit issues in all-party, NDA meetings
SC asks Parliament to consider new law to deal with mob lynching
From April next year, national database for gun licence holders
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