Abu Dhabi's new Louvre Museum was inaugurated on Wednesday by French president Emmanuel Macron. The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum embodies the Gulf Emirate's aspiration to leave its mark on the cultural universe.
The emirate, whose sovereign wealth fund is the biggest in the world, paid the French hundreds of millions of dollars for rights to use the Louvre name for 30 years. The marvellous structure took several more millions in the making.
Here's the Atlantic's report on the new culture tourism designation in the Arab world. Amazing photographs reveal the scale and grandeur of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
"Just as the Louvre is the crown jewel of Paris, so the Louvre Abu Dhabi is destined for such distinction," UAE Culture Minister Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan said back in September when he announced dates for the official opening of the museum.
The Independent, however, noted that the elite guest list for the inauguration ceremony showed the "limited adoption of liberal ideals in the Middle East since the 2011 Arab Spring".
"Mr Macron was joined by only one other democratically-elected leader at the event, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani," the report said.
Saudi Arabia testing waters with MBS succession news?
Did Saudi Arabia announce dates for the crowning of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman as the next king? In the chaotic aftermath of the arrest of dozens of high-ranking ministers and royals over the weekend, 'news' of the Saudi decision to anoint MBS as king emerged.
Of course it originated, not so curiously, from Iran. Official Iranian channel Press TV carried a news item saying 'Saudi channel retracts Twitter posting on Salman rise to throne.
"A Saudi-owned television news channel has retracted a message on Twitter that had said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be appointed as the king during a planned ceremony," the intro of the story.
It said Saudi state television Al-Arabiya said on Twitter that it would soon release or broadcast further details about the scheduled ceremony. "However, the channel deleted the tweet hours later," the report said.
That said, Press TV is the only site that has carried this potentially explosive news. It hasn't carried any screenshot in support of the claim.
Former Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Nayef is in news again and his assets have been frozen
Mohammad Bin Naif, who was overthrown as Saudi Crown Prince in June, suffered another rude jolt on Wednesday. Bank accounts linked to Mohammed bin Nayef and some of his immediate relatives were frozen by Saudi authorities, Doha's Al Jazeera reported, citing Reuters and Wall Street Journal.
The crackdown on the all powerful former Interior Minister came a day after he was spotted in public for the first time since June.
Nayef was rumoured to be in house arrest but was spotted at the funeral of Prince Mansour bin Muqrin Al Saud, deputy governor of Asir province, who died in a mysterious helicopter crash.
There's still no news about the whereabouts of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced in Riyadh last Saturday he was stepping down as the leader of the strife-torn country, plunging it into a fresh round of chaos. Five days later, there's still no definitive account of his whereabouts. The Lebanese government has no clue and there are conflicting reports in the media. According to Hezbollah-leaning newspaper Al Akhbar, Hariri is a "hostage" in Saudi Arabia, the New York Times reported.
Hariri, the son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri who was killed in an all too familiar car bombing in Beirut in 2005, "was placed under house arrest hours after arriving in Riyadh last Friday" the report said.
Saudi Arabia, which is getting ever more aggressively involved in regional power games, rebuffed the house arrest theory as nonsense, adding that Hariri left for UAE.
Meanwhile, Hezbolla leader Hassan Hassan Nasrallah said the Saudis ordered Hariri to resign. "The resignation was a Saudi order, forced upon him and was not his wish or his desire ... We know how Prime Minister Hariri talks and his political phrases, this was unlike him."