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Expert Voices

Uncertainty looms after Saudi crown prince’s purge

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, May 2017. Photo: Pavel Golovkin / AP

With the arrests of eleven princes and some 200 tycoons in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made clear that he will resort to any means necessary to solidify his ascent to power upon the death or abdication of his 81-year-old father, King Salman.

In the short term, this crackdown — especially the arrest of prince al-Waleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia's richest businessman with a net worth of nearly $19 billion — could dampen foreign investment interest in the crown prince's Vision 2030 initiative. The much-heralded program aims to to deliver economic growth by strengthening private companies outside the oil sector. Key to its success is the forthcoming sale on world stock exchanges of 5% of the gigantic state oil company, Aramco, which the crown prince hopes will produce $100 billion.

Other ripple effects could well threaten the House of Saud's stability for years to come. The arrest of Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, commander of the Saudi National Guard, signals further strain on the already enormous tensions and resentments within the royal family.

The bottom line:

There is no precedent in Saudi Arabia's history for the crown prince's sweeping purge, and other surprises will await the kingdom under a 32-year-old upstart prince of still unproven abilities.

Steve LeVine 1 hour ago
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Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

Stef W. Kight 21 mins ago
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Mississippi now has the nation's most restrictive abortion laws

Crowd on the floor at RNC with blue lighting
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on the floor at Republican National Convention Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant just signed a law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to the AP.

Why it matters: This is now the most restrictive abortion law in the country, and the state's one abortion clinic is preparing to challenge the move in court, according to CBS.