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Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Photo: Isaac Brekken via Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary for President Barack Obama, is suspending his involvement advising Saudi Arabia on a proposed city mega-project until more information is made available regarding the disappearance — and possible assassination — of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: Moniz’s move shows how geopolitical disputes, and in this case a potentially tragic one, can have spillover effects into wholly unrelated issues like business and energy.

The details: Moniz said he was invited to join an international advisory board for the development of NEOM, whose cost is estimated to be around $500 billion.

  • The project is meant to be a smart city of the future, built from the ground up in Saudi Arabia, Moniz said in a statement.
  • Saudi Arabia, whose state-owned oil company pumps out far more oil than any other company, is seeking to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
  • “In particular, I have been asked to offer guidance on achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions. Success with this vision will have global implications for a low-carbon future,” Moniz said.
  • In awkward timing, the board was announced Tuesday, according to media reports in Saudi Arabia.
“I share the deep concerns of many about the disappearance and possible assassination of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. … The recent trend in many countries of targeting journalists for doing their jobs is a fundamental threat to freedom of the press, human rights and the rule of law.”
— Ernest Moniz, former Energy Secretary

Go Deeper: Khashoggi disappearance could impact Saudi Arabia's business deals

Go deeper

20 mins ago - Sports

Simone Biles pulls out of Olympic floor finals event

Photo: LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

Simone Biles will not be competing in the floor exercise event to prioritize her mental well-being, USA Gymnastics announced Sunday morning local time.

What's happening: "Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. "Either way, we’re all behind you, Simone."

29 mins ago - Sports

U.S. wins gold in men's 4x100-meter medley relay

USA's Ryan Murphy (L) and USA's Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA win the gold medal in the men's 4x100-meter medley relay, setting a new world record in the process on Sunday morning local time.

Driving the news: American Caeleb Dressel won his fifth Tokyo Games gold medal during the event.

2 hours ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel didn't take a breath while in the pool to win the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.