But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s dream project hit a new roadblock last month when a member of the local Huwaitat tribe was gunned down after he refused to give up his land for the project.Before the shootout, Abdulraheem al-Huwaiti posted a series of scathing videos in which he likened the forced displacement of his sprawling tribe, based in the northwestern Tabuk province for generations, to “state terrorism”.He presciently claimed his opposition would get him killed.Saudi Arabia’s state security agency said the “wanted” man died in an exchange of fire with state forces after he resisted arrest, adding that a cache of weapons had been recovered from his house. ‘Crown jewel’ “What happened in NEOM was the tragic death of a resident of a village that is being relocated,” Ali Shihabi, a member of the NEOM advisory board, said on Twitter.”Similar to the concept of ’eminent domain’ used in Western law, the government is taking ownership of private land to use for the project… This happens all the time, all over the world when roads, train tracks or dams are built.”But forced evictions could backfire as economic pressures grow, observers warn.”The combination of record-low oil prices and mounting demographic pressures poses significant challenges to Prince Mohammed’s (MBS) future plans in Saudi Arabia,” said the Soufan Center, a think tank.”The high-tech city in NEOM is the crown jewel of MBS’ future vision for Saudi Arabia, but it remains unclear how a prince’s pet project will help the kingdom deal with its youth bulge.”The government will have less cash to dispense as patronage to assuage Saudi citizens. The erosion of the social contract between the rulers and the ruled will lead to serious problems, especially in a tribal society.”But as part of his grand ambition to pivot the economy away from oil, Prince Mohammed looks set to press ahead with NEOM, billed as a regional Silicon Valley whose marketing slogan is a “bold and audacious dream”.”The economic fundamentals have turned further against this fantastical project, but I don’t expect MBS to give it up,” said Kristin Diwan of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.”It’s the touchstone for everything he wants to achieve.” ‘Deep cuts’ The government is preparing emergency plans to slash spending as crude prices drop, with Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan warning of “painful” measures and an “extremely long” list of affected budget items.He did not specify whether NEOM will be among them. Even before the crisis, the project — first announced in 2017 — has struggled to attract investment.”I will be surprised if cuts are not made — deep cuts in capital expenditure for NEOM,” a Saudi source associated with the project told AFP. “Given the sums required, it cannot but be delayed in many aspects.”The source added that the government is offering “generous compensation in cash” to those displaced by the project in addition to “new properties” within the kingdom.In a bid to placate the community, NEOM has also launched “social responsibility programs” including university scholarships and vocational training programs, the source said.Several Huwaitat tribesmen have rejected what they call “vague” compensation offers, activists told AFP, even as state-run media have published a pledge of loyalty by the tribe to Saudi rulers.The campaigners say NEOM is designed to be a liberal expat enclave in a conservative nation that is unlikely to benefit local residents. A rare revolt by a Saudi tribe has spelt fresh trouble for a planned Red Sea megacity, a linchpin of the crown prince’s economic vision already beset by low oil prices.The $500 billion NEOM project, set to be built from scratch along the kingdom’s picturesque western coast, is billed as a futuristic cityscape evocative of a sci-fi blockbuster — with everything from flying taxis to robot-maids.Economic analysts have long questioned its viability in the era of cheap oil. Many other members of the Bedouin tribe, who commonly own guns, were detained for spreading anti-displacement slogans and refusing to sign relocation documents, multiple activists said.It exposes a rare domestic clash with the government that has a reputation for crushing dissent, while it grapples with the twin economic blow of historic low crude prices and a coronavirus-led shutdown.NEOM has said 20,000 people would need to be relocated to clear room for construction as it presses ahead with its target to complete its first sites by 2023. Topics :
NORA SPRINGS — A Nora Springs man has pleaded guilty in federal court to child pornography charges. 36-year-old Aaron Olson made the guilty pleas to two counts of possession of child pornography, including depictions of pre-pubescent children. At a plea hearing in US Federal Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Olson admitted that between 2017 and 2018 that he knowingly possessed the porn on a computer and a memory card. As part of a plea agreement, Olson agreed to be sentenced to 40 years in prison, but a sentencing hearing will be held after a pre-sentence report is prepared. Olson remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.
Rooney was given a warm welcome at Old Trafford on his return to former club Manchester United on Sunday but it ended in disappointment with a 4-0 defeat for Everton.Everton manager Ronald Koeman said earlier this month the matter would be dealt with “internally”.Rooney made a successful start to his second Everton spell following his return to the club from United, scoring on his first two Premier League appearances.His form moved England manager Gareth Southgate to offer him an international recall, but he decided to call time on his England career.Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Former England captain Wayne Rooney arrived at court on Monday to face a drink-driving charge.The Everton striker, 31, made no comment as he was confronted by a media scrum outside Stockport Magistrates’ Court in the northwest of England.Wearing a blue suit with his hands in his pockets, he walked into the court building accompanied by a small entourage.Rooney was charged after being stopped by police while driving a black Volkswagen Beetle at 2:00 am on September 1. The car belonged to a woman he had met in a bar.He has been married to his high-school sweetheart Coleen since 2008 and they have three children together. The couple are expecting their fourth child.
By John Burton |The Borough Council will be asking wireless providers, “Can you hear me now?” as it looks to partner for a new communications tower that would also provide additional cell service.The council will be seeking requests for proposals from communications companies in an effort to partner with one of the companies to erect a new 90foot structure in the area of the existing outdated communications tower, located behind borough hall, 480 Prospect Ave., according to borough officials.“At the end of the day, this is something we’ve needed for some time,” Mayor Robert Neff Jr. said about replacing the existing tower to ensure public safety and provide needed additional cellphone coverage for the community.Borough Councilman Donald Galante said the existing 50-foot aging tower, which dates back to circa-1966, provides inadequate coverage for local police, fire, emergency management services, State Police and county hotline services, which rely on it for communications.There are cellphone coverage dead spots in some areas of the borough, creating a possible public safety concern and could “prevent as rapid a response as possible,” in the case of an emergency, Neff noted.The thought, officials said, would be to have a private carrier construct the tower on borough-owned property, for which it would receive a rent abatement for a yet to be determined period of time for the use of the property and save taxpayer money. The cost to construct a new 90-foot tower could be anywhere from $150,000-$200,000, according to officials.In addition, the site could be used by other wireless providers, increasing those companies’ coverage for area users and earning the municipality some revenue, they said.“Doing this makes financial sense and it certainly makes good safety response sense,” Neff said.“This is the perfect opportunity to bring everything together,” Galante said.State Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), is a borough resident (and former borough councilman) who has headed up FSD Enterprises for about 20 years. The Red Bank-based firm works with municipalities to negotiate with wireless communications providers for the placement of towers and other equipment. O’Scanlon is volunteering his services, working with local officials as they explore their options.These installations are a fact of life today and “We all have a voracious appetite for bandwidth,” O’Scanlon noted. “And if that is going to function the way we all want it to we’re going to need the infrastructure.”This discussion came about when the telecommunication company Verizon appeared before the borough planning board about three months ago seeking a variance to place a number of antennas on top of downtown commercial buildings to improve service. The borough has an ordinance that makes this equipment a permitted use only on municipal property, thus requiring a use variance to place it outside of the permitted zones.“I wasn’t really excited, aesthetically, about buildings down-town having these antennas,” Galante acknowledged. But that opened the door for discussions for a new tower, he said.The council voted on June 8 to authorize borough administrator Kimberly Jungfer to work with O’Scanlon to address specifications and advertise to begin the bidding process. No time frame has been established for a decision.– By John Burton
“This bonus ties together and strengthens the two most prestigious handicapping contests in the world,” said NTRA Chief Operating Officer Keith Chamblin. “Winning the BCBC in November and the NHC in January would be unprecedented and a feat worthy of the richest payday in handicapping contest history.” Qualifying for NHC 18 continues through January in scores of contests held on-site and online. Next weekend’s contest menu includes a Free-to-Play NHC online contest at NHCqualify.com offering four spots to the NHC. For more information on the NHC Tour and a complete contest schedule, visit NTRA.com/nhc. Now entering its eighth year, the $1 million-estimated BCBC has become one of the most sought after prizes on the tournament calendar. The BCBC, which offers 15 seats to the NHC in addition to cash prizes, is a highly lucrative and exclusive live bankroll handicapping contest with a $10,000 buy-in required to participate. Players enjoy first class access to the two best days of racing in the world with VIP seats that include buffet lunch each day and other amenities. Online and on-site qualifying tournaments, offering $10,000 berths into the BCBC as prizes, continue throughout the summer and fall leading to the November Breeders’ Cup. For more on the BCBC, visit www.breederscup.com/bcbc. In its 18th year, the NHC is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers and is the culmination of a year-long series of NTRA-sanctioned local tournaments conducted by racetracks, casino race books, off-track betting facilities and horse racing and handicapping websites, each of which sends its top qualifiers to the national finals. There are no bye-ins to the NHC. Each year, the NHC winner joins other human and equine champions as an honoree at the Eclipse Awards. In addition to the founding title sponsor, the NHC is presented by Racetrack Television Network and Treasure Island Las Vegas.Contact: Jim Mulvihill, NTRA Communications, (859) 422-2663, jmulvihill@NTRA.comAbout the NTRAThe NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, NTRA.com, the Eclipse Awards, the National Handicapping Championship, NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program, and Horse PAC, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA). About Breeders’ Cup The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 grade I races and purses and awards totaling $28 million, will be held November 4-5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube Last year’s BCBC winner earned more than $300,000 and first prize at the NHC is $800,000, meaning that successful completion of the NHC Tour Double would be worth more than $4.1 million. Players must be current members of the NHC Tour ($50) to be eligible to win the lucrative bonus. LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sunday, July 31, 2016) – A $3 million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Tour bonus – the largest prize ever offered in the handicapping contest world – will be awarded to any horseplayer who wins the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) November 4-5 and the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) next January 27-29, the NTRA and Breeders’ Cup announced today. The “NHC Tour $3,000,000 Double” starts with the $1 million-estimated BCBC, a lucrative live bankroll contest with a $10,000 buy-in, and continues with NHC 18, the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping contest, worth an estimated $2.8 million in cash and prizes. The bonus was first revealed during today’s NBC Sports broadcast of the $1 million Betfair.com Haskell Invitational from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.