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Saudi end to girls' sports 'welcome'

Human Rights Watch welcomed Saturday a recommendation by Saudi Arabia's consultative Shura Council to lift the ban on sports in girls' state schools. On Tuesday, the council recommended that the longstanding ban, relaxed in private schools last year, be ended altogether, state media in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom reported. It is now up to the education ministry to decide whether to lift the ban, as the council is only advisory.

Saudi end to girls' sports ban welcome

Human Rights Watch welcomed Saturday a recommendation by Saudi Arabia's consultative Shura Council to lift the ban on sports in girls' state schools. On Tuesday, the council recommended that the longstanding ban, relaxed in private schools last year, be ended altogether, state media in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom reported. It is now up to the education ministry to decide whether to lift the ban, as the council is only advisory.

Saudi court upholds death sentence for child rapist

Saudi Arabia's supreme court has upheld a death sentence handed down against a teacher convicted of kidnapping and raping eight young girls, a local daily reported on Sunday. A lower court in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah had found the man guilty last year of kidnapping girls aged between six and 11 from public areas and taking them to his home to rape them, the Makkah newspaper reported without giving his name.

Indonesian 'blood money' saves maid from Saudi execution

Indonesia has agreed to pay $1.9 million to stop the impending execution of an Indonesian maid on death row in Saudi Arabia for murder, a minister said Thursday. Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad was sentenced to death in 2011 for murdering her employer's wife and stealing money. She was due to be beheaded in the coming days. Her case has attracted huge media attention in Indonesia and there was a campaign in recent weeks to stop the execution from going ahead.

Saudi dynasty moves to forestall succession crisis

By Angus McDowall RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's appointment of Prince Muqrin as deputy crown prince is a first step towards addressing its biggest dynastic challenge for 50 years and forestalling a possible succession crisis in the world's top oil exporter. The ruling al-Saud family is fast approaching the moment when it must decide how to jump down a generation from a line of brothers born to the country's founder King Abdulaziz to their sons and nephews, a process fraught with difficulty.

Obama tells Saudi Arabia will not make a bad Iran deal: U.S.

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama told Saudi king Abdullah he would not agree to a bad deal with Iran on its nuclear program, a senior American official said, on a visit aimed at allaying the kingdom's concerns that their decades-old alliance is faltering.

Obama in Saudi for talks overshadowed by mistrust

US President Barack Obama sought Friday to allay Riyadh's criticism of his policies on Syria and Iran, telling the Saudi king their two countries remain in lockstep on their strategic interests. He also assured King Abdullah that the US "won't accept a bad deal" with Iran, as global powers negotiate a treaty reining in Tehran's controversial nuclear programme. "The president underscored how much he values this strategic relationship", a senior US administration official said, after Obama met for some two hours with the king on a royal estate outside Riyadh.

Obama to meet woman activist on Saudi visit

US President Barack Obama will meet a woman activist in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, when women have pledged to defy a driving ban, a US official said. He will meet Dr Maha Al Muneef, who was among 10 women honoured by the US State Department for bravery, a senior US official said Friday on the first day of Obama's visit to the kingdom, requesting anonymity. Muneef, a recipient of this year's women of courage awards, works to halt domestic violence and child abuse in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom.

Obama seeks to allay Saudi fears on Iran, Syria

US President Barack Obama sought Friday to allay Riyadh's criticism of his policies on Syria and Iran, telling the Saudi king their two countries remain in lockstep on their strategic interests. He also assured King Abdullah that the US "won't accept a bad deal" with Iran, as global powers negotiate a treaty reining in Tehran's controversial nuclear programme. "The president underscored how much he values this strategic relationship", a senior US administration official said, after Obama met for some two hours with the king on a royal estate outside Riyadh.

Arming Syria rebels top topic as Obama, Saudi king meet

US President Barack Obama was holding talks with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh Friday on arming Syria's moderate opposition, as the long-time allies seek to bridge their differences over Iran and Syria. Obama arrived from Italy for an evening meeting with the monarch on a royal estate outside Riyadh. Discussions would focus on ways to "empower" Syria's moderate opposition, including militarily, a senior White House official said.
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