Saudi Arabia prepares for post-ban cinema screenings

Saudi and Bahraini Interior Ministers during an official session of talks. BNA

Saudi and Bahraini Interior Ministers during an official session of talks. BNA

Jeddah: A Saudi private company on Thursday opened the first auto showroom for women only just five months before a decision allowing females to drive takes effect.

On Friday evening, women will be able to attend a match of the country's popular professional soccer league.

The Saudi government allowed women to observe the game with other family members at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium, Al Arabiya local news reported on Friday. This will come into effect in June'18.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the throne in Saudi Arabia, has taken steps to modernize the country with a bold, progressive blueprint to change the country socially, economically and politically with Saudi Vision 2030.

In October, the Saudi General Sports Authority, a state agency, announced that three stadiums, up to now male-only facilities, would be prepared to be ready for families, including the allocation of special places for seating and entrances.

The perennial clash between Saudi Arabian soccer rivals Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad normally ranks low on the worldwide sporting calendar.

These efforts are part of broader reforms he is leading to restructure the Saudi economy away from its dependence on oil, temper the kingdom's religious rhetoric and provide new employment and entertainment options for the kingdom's large youth population, including women. Saudi women are getting rights presently than before in all aspects.

Saudi Arabia was the world's only country where women weren't allowed to drive. It prepared for the historic match by tweeting an image featuring a woman's face painted in gold, the club's colour. Most are Saudi nationals. The change in policy followed the historic decree in September 2017 allowing women to drive, beginning this summer.

Saudi Arabia will begin issuing tourist visas in the first quarter of 2018, its top tourism official said, a first for the kingdom as it undergoes major economic and social reforms.

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