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Saudi Arabia appears to be leaving behind the stream of negative coverage the killing of Jamal Khashoggi elicited since 2018. Once again enthusiastically welcomed back into polite and powerful society, it is no longer as frowned upon to seek their investments and accept their favor. Saudi Arabia’s busy week of triumphs included brokering a prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia, holding a highbrow summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, marking the country’s national day, hosting the German chancellor and discussing energy supply with top White House officials. The pivot is drawing focus back to the crown prince’s ambitious re-branding of Saudi Arabia and its place in the world.
Robert Sarver says he has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes only eight days after he was suspended by the NBA over workplace misconduct including racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees. Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the best course of action.” He has owned the teams since 2004, when he purchased it for about $400 million. He is not the lone owner, but the primary one. Forbes recently estimated the value of the Suns at $1.8 billion.
Qatar’s ambassador to Germany has been urged to abolish his country’s penalties for homosexuality at a human rights congress hosted by the German soccer federation two months before the Middle East country hosts the World Cup. Fan representative Dario Minden switched to English to directly address ambassador Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani at the congress in Frankfurt. Minden says “football is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re lesbian, if you’re gay. It’s for everyone. For the boys. For the girls. And for everyone in between. ... Abolish all of the penalties regarding sexual and gender identity."
Reports that up to 100 staff at King Charles III’s former residence could lose their jobs have drawn criticism of the British monarchy, within days of his accession to the throne. The Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday that dozens of staff at Clarence House, Charles’ former official residence, were given notice that their jobs were on the line. Clarence House said some job losses are “unavoidable” during the transition. But a union called the royals’ decision to cut jobs during a period of mourning “nothing short of heartless.” The criticism added to negative press for Charles after two videos showing him visibly irritated by a leaky pen and a pen holder went viral on social media in recent days.
A package has exploded on the campus of Northeastern University in Boston, and the college says a staff member suffered minor injuries. Authorities say another suspicious package was found near a prominent art museum Tuesday evening, and the FBI was assisting with the investigation. Boston’s bomb squad is at the scene of the second package near the city’s prestigious Museum of Fine Arts, on the outskirts of the Northeastern campus. NBC Boston reports that the package that exploded went off as it was being opened near the university’s Holmes Hall, which is home to the university’s creative writing program. The FBI is assisting the investigation.
Players on the Single-A Tampa Tarpons have been talking individually about efforts to unionize minor league players and the idea is gaining momentum. Centerfielder Spencer Jones says it is something that definitely interests him. Tampa reliever Ryan Anderson says it makes a lot of sense because it could lead to better benefits down the line. Signed cards from 30% of minor leaguers in the bargaining unit would allow filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking for a union authorization election, which would be decided by majority vote.
Microsoft’s plan to buy video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion could have major effects on the gaming industry, transforming the Xbox maker into something like a Netflix for video games by giving it control of many more popular titles. But to get to the next level, Microsoft must first survive a barrage of government inquiries from New Zealand to Brazil, and from U.S. regulators emboldened by President Joe Biden to strengthen their enforcement of antitrust laws. In the United Kingdom, regulators on Thursday threatened to escalate their investigation unless both companies come up with proposals soon to ease competition concerns.
The World Health Organization’s top director in the Western Pacific, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, has been indefinitely removed from his post, according to internal correspondence. Kasai’s removal comes months after an AP investigation revealed that dozens of staffers accused him of racist, abusive and unethical behavior that undermined the U.N. agency’s efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic in Asia. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told staff in an email on Friday that Kasai was “on leave” and the agency said it was unknown how long Kasai would be away. In January, the AP reported that staffers sent a confidential complaint to senior WHO leadership alleging that Kasai had created a “toxic atmosphere” and used racist language. Kasai has denied the claims.