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Saudi Arabia to launch gaming tournament with $15 million prize pool

Saudi Arabia will launch one of the world’s biggest esports tournaments in July with a total prize pool of $15 million.

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The Gamers8 tournament will be held in the capital Riyadh over eight weeks beginning on July 14.

A purpose-built venue in the entertainment district Boulevard Riyadh City will host competitions in six different video games, as well as a series of music concerts and other performances.

Eight international artists have confirmed their appearances at Gamers8, organizers said in a statement, although the full lineup has not yet been released.

The event will also include a number of local performers, with magicians, comedians, and musicians.

There will also be a gaming summit featuring international experts from the industry.

“With an estimated 23.5 million gamers across the country, almost every home in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has someone with a deep passion for gaming,” said Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation.

“This passion for gaming has long been a source of pride for Saudis.”

The tournament was organized by the Saudi Esports Federation and Gamers Without Borders, a charity organization that donates to causes including COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts.

Gamers8 will be broadcast live online, and the full lineup of entertainers is due to be announced on its official website.

The gaming industry in Saudi Arabia has ballooned in recent years, with significant government support as part of a wider effort to diversify the oil-dependent economy.

The Kingdom’s gaming market reached $1 billion in 2021, the highest value among Gulf countries, AFP reported citing market researcher Niko Partners.

In January, the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) launched the Savvy Gaming Group, which has acquired ESL Gaming and FACEIT, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The Saudi Esports Federation was founded in 2017 and has organized several national and international gaming tournaments.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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