King Starts Massive Building Projects In Mecca And Medina
...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face...
is embarking on two ambitious projects in Islam's holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, including plans to build one of the world's largest mosques.
King Abdullah, Saudi's 88-year-old monarch, laid the foundation stone this week to mark the expansion of the Prophet's mosque in Medina from a current capacity of 200,000 worshipers to 1.8 million, the state news agency reported.
While the total cost of the project has not been disclosed, Saudi officials estimate that the state may have to pay out as much as $6.6 billion in compensation alone for the expropriation of lands, which will reportedly include the demolition of 23 hotels.
| That's an awfully large pool of disease carriers...|
But officials hope that the grandiose expansion project, which will take place in three stages starting next month, will pay off, attracting thousands more tourists, an increasingly important source of revenue, to the kingdom.
At the same time, the
| Building toward the day when the oil ceases to flow. Smart king.|temporarily oil-rich state has ambitious plans for Mecca, which attracts millions of Mohammedan pilgrims every year. The government is inviting bids there to build a large renewable energy plant, with a key component dedicated to solar energy, a first step towards achieving its stated ambition of becoming a solar powerhouse.
With a fast-growing population's demand for electricity threatening its status as the world's largest oil exporter, Saudi is seeking to meet the country's energy needs with alternative fuels, particularly solar energy, to allow it to export more oil and gas.
| Even if it's only enough to power domestic air conditioning and seawater desalinization, that will be enough to keep Saudi Arabia liveable -- and hopefully Saudi -- after the oil runs out in the next few decades. And if they can train enough women as doctors and shopkeepers, there's a hope the economy won't collapse completely afterward as well.|
Currently, domestic consumers use some 25 per cent of Saudi's crude output, with oil accounting for roughly 50 per cent of the country's electricity production.
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