Entertainment Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has dreams for a $700 billion megacity. This woman wants to stop him
Caught in crossfire: ‘They fight and we die’
Civilians fled if they could as fighting erupted between the Taliban and Afghan troops in Helmand.The 25-year-old teacher is struggling to recall how he managed to dodge shellfire and save the 25 members of his family from fighting raging once more in Helmand in southern Afghanistan.
Alya Alhwaiti was Saudi Arabia's first female professional equestrian. For seven years she competed at a professional level.
But the determination she showed on horseback has seen her become an enemy to some powerful people in her beloved nation.
Now she's living in London and risking her life to speak out against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi Government.
After the, standing up against the Saudi Government is not for the faint-hearted.
Saudi foreign minister hints at resolving Qatar blockade
Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan says ‘we are committed to finding a solution’ to the Gulf dispute.In 2017, Saudi Arabia along with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha and imposed a sea, land and air blockade on the gas-rich nation.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never came out. His fiancee, accusing him of ordering the killing.
"I wonder sometimes if there is someone behind my back, but I can't be scared because I'd be scared to death," Alya told the ABC on a street in central London.
It's not far from the Saudi embassy in Mayfair, where she once worked before fleeing and becoming a thorn in the kingdom's side.
She says she receives almost daily death threats and intimidating messages, which she believes are from individuals aligned with the Saudi Government.
They're in Arabic, but she shared some of them to the ABC.
"One day we will come and we will cut you up piece by piece," reads one.
Lawmakers urge EU to downgrade presence at Saudi-hosted G20
Sixty-five European lawmakers have signed a letter calling for the EU to downgrade its attendance at next month's G20 summit in Riyadh over human rights concerns, according to a document released Monday. The letter signed by European Parliament members follows a wide-ranging resolution passed earlier this month that also appealed for the downgrade to "avoid legitimising impunity for human rights violations" in Saudi Arabia, the current G20 president.A downgrade would imply Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, do not take part in the virtual summit if they heed the call of lawmakers.
"We are going to throw acid in your face," says another and "you are a non-Muslim and you should be killed".
Alya recounts how some threats urge her not to trust her friends as they could instead be the enemy.
She knows they're designed not only to scare her, but to make her paranoid.
She refuses to succumb.
"I knew when I chose this path there would be sacrifices," she said.
After sustained intimidation for her strong views on human rights and social media posts, Alya left the embassy and cut her ties to Saudi Arabia in 2019.
She is now advocating on behalf of her traditional Saudi tribe, the Al-Huwaitat people, who have lived along the Red Sea coastline for hundreds of years.
The tribe standing in the way of a Prince's $700b dream
The Saudi Crown Prince wants.
As Mohammad bin Salman tries to build an economy less dependent on depleting supplies of oil, Neom is a $700 billion project designed to attract mass foreign investment and tourism.
Khashoggi fiancee sues Saudi crown prince
Hatice Cengiz files a lawsuit against Mohammed bin Salman over the journalist's murder in Istanbul.Hatice Cengiz and the rights group Khashoggi formed before his death are pursuing Mohammed bin Salman and more than 20 others for unspecified damages.
But the farms and homes of the Al-Huwaitat tribe are in the way.
Advertising for the city says it will have flying drone taxis, a Jurassic Park-like island, they'll be an artificial moon, glow in the dark beaches and it will have more Michelin star restaurants per capita than in any other city in the world.
And the propaganda says it's being built on "virgin" land.
But the Al-Huwaitat people dispute that and say they have lived in the area for centuries.
Alya says her tribespeople are being threatened, harassed and forcibly removed from their homes.
She began to speak out after the alleged murder of Abdul Rahim al-Huwati, a village leader who refused to move and spoke out against the project.
"This is my duty for the people. They're asking for help and that is why I became involved and I'll try to do my best to find the justice for the people of Neom," she said.
Saudi Arabia has told the press that security forces shot Abdul Rahim al-Huwati in retaliation after they were fired upon first.
But Alya insisted he would not have been armed, and since then at least 15 residents have allegedly disappeared and cannot be located.
Crown Resorts faces bad odds as it heads into annual general meeting amid AUSTRAC probe
As Crown Resorts holds its annual general meeting today, hanging over its head will be class actions for misleading investors and an AUSTRAC investigation into allegations it did not do enough to stop criminal gangs using its casinos to launder large sums of money.For the moment, it looks like Crown Resorts isn't winning.
Households in the 13 villages along the Red Sea where Neom will be built were initially promised they would benefit greatly from the development, the brain-child of the Crown Prince himself.
Instead, it is alleged they have been offered just $4,000 to leave, and those who refuse have found electricity cut and fires lit.
What next for Neom?
London-based lawyer Rodney Dixon QC has taken up the case and submitted it to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He wants an urgent investigation into the displacement of the Al-Huwaitat people.
"These violations affect hundreds of people, potentially thousands," Mr Dixon told the ABC.
"There is so much happening below the radar that we are not able to find out, but by bringing this application we want to make sure that it is exposed."
The submission to the UN notes the Al-Huwaitat tribe are a large and historically nomadic Bedouin tribe whose traditional homelands stretch across a portion of the Middle East, including Palestine, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
"The promotional video for the Neom Project wholly erroneously [asserts] that the area on which the megacity is to be built is virgin land," the document states.
"Remarkably, and chillingly, not a single reference to the presence of thousands of members of the Al-Huwaitat tribe is made within any of the promotional material."
Neom remains in the early stages of development. But while the Crown Prince had wanted the first residents to begin moving in in 2025, COVID-19 has delayed construction.
It is thought the murder of Jamal Khashoggi also damaged the international interest in the project.
But despite the hurdles, construction has not stopped.
Alya told the ABC she won't stop her campaign against the forced evictions of her people, regardless of the pressure to do so.
"People have placed their lives in my hands and they believe in me to deliver their voice," she said.
"I will never give up until the world listens."
The damning evidence that brought Crown Resorts to its knees .
The inquiry into allegations of criminal activity within Crown Resorts has concluded after months of public hearings. Here are some of the highlights of evidence that could bring the casino giant undone and usher-in sweeping changes to Australia’s gaming scene.The evidence laid out over the course of months painted a picture of an organisation fixated on doing whatever it could to rake in millions of high-roller dollars, sometimes at the risk of its own staff, while leaving the door open to criminal syndicates.