17
Monday
December 2018
2:11 AM IST
News Headlines
Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media        Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback        Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"        Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award        Supreme Court sees no wrongdoing in Rafale deal, rules out probe        India bowled a little bit short, Australia pacers could benefit: Border        ISL: FC Goa thrash NorthEast United 5-1        BWF World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu, Sameer Verma Register Easy Wins To Enter Semifinals        Diving legend says HIV-contracted friend inspired him to Olympic gold        India beat Pakistan to reach final of Emerging Teams Asia Cup        Boosting exports key to make India $5-tn economy by 2025: Kant        Prabhu, US Commerce Secretary to discuss trade issues on Feb 14        Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN        Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU        Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha        Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace        Rahul tweets pic with Kamal Nath, Scindia as race for CM moves to Bhopal        Aussies will fight back, but India has upper hand: Ghavri        World Tour Finals: Tough road ahead for Sindhu; Sameer too eyes knockout berth        Govt should consider 100% FDI in multi-brand retail trade: CII report        
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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.”


Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media
Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback
Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN
Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU
Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'
May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal
Trump's potential next chief of staff pick leaving White House
UK PM faces fight for her political life in Brexit deal
Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police
Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes
Merkel gets boost with ally's party win
Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking
Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports
Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees
Singer Mika Singh Detained in Dubai for Sending Obscene Messages to 17-year-old: Reports
Conditions Met for Assange to Leave Embassy in London, Says Ecuador President
Pakistan slashes non-salary budget by 10%
Moscow dismisses 'groundless' US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel brought to India
Don't be like Hitler: sacked Lankan PM tells President Sirisena
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
 Vaikom: Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalekshmi has tied knot with Anoop N. at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.  
Mohanlal's Odiyan: Official trailer launched
Mammootty narrates Odiyan's intro?
Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
Good news for Keralite Nurses: IELTS cut-off reduced to 6.5
BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"
 (New Delhi, Dec 14, 2018):Hours after the Supreme Court's clean chit to the government on the
Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award
Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha
Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace
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