Arriving in the evening of December 20 in this hot, desert kingdom, laden with a train of boxes bearing some 280 kg of camera equipment, and some vague notions of a "schedule" to be adhered to, your ideals are dispelled as soon as you set foot in the arrivals lounge at King Abdul-Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
A report that Osama bin Laden is dead has set off a flurry of denials from U.S., French and Pakistani officials, who say the newspaper report citing French intelligence cannot be independently confirmed.
Rescuers who plucked more than 340 people from the chilly Red Sea were continuing to search the water Saturday for hundreds of other people feared dead after an Egyptian ferry sank with about 1,400 people on board.
The U.S. State Department closed its embassy and consulates in Saudi Arabia for two days after receiving "specific and credible" threats against its facilities in the kingdom, State Department officials told CNN.
Messages on several Islamist Web sites Tuesday claimed that a Saudi al Qaeda-linked group was responsible for a terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that killed at least five employees.