Browsing: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s first cinema in 35 years to open on April 18

The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information has signed an agreement with AMC, a US-based movie theater chain, to open around 40 cinemas in 15 cities in Saudi Arabia over the next five years. The license, the first of its kind, will allow one of the world’s largest film companies, to operate cinemas in the Kingdom, Arab News reported. Under the license, AMC plans to open its first new movie theater in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on April 18. The cinemas will not require men and women to sit separately, a source told Reuters on Wednesday. In November 2017, AMC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Public Investment Fund to discuss potential trade cooperation opportunities. Last December, the Ministry of Culture and Information announced that commercial cinemas would be allowed to operate in the Kingdom starting from 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years. Saudi Arabia,…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia bans expats from working in 12 jobs

Expats in Saudi Arabia shall no more be allowed to work in 12 areas of work, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development has stated. According to the Saudi Gazette, Minister of Labor and Social Development Dr. Ali Al-Ghafees issued a ministerial decision restricting work in outlets of 12 activities and occupations to Saudis starting from the beginning of the next Hijri year. These are the areas where expats will be restricted from working: Watch shops Optical stores Medical equipment stores Electrical and electronics shops Outlets selling car spare parts Building material shops Outlets selling all types of carpets Automobile and bike shops Outlets selling home furniture and ready-made office material Outlets selling ready-made garments, children clothes and men’s supplies Outlets selling household utensils Pastry shops Ministry spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail also said that the shop feminization will continue as planned. The third phase of the feminization of women accessory shops…

Saudi Arabia
No VAT on expat remittances in Saudi Arabia, say bankers

Senior bankers in Saudi Arabic clarified on Sunday that money sent home by expatriate workers will not be taxed under the value-added tax (VAT) reform initiative to be launched by the Saudi government on Jan. 1 next year. “Money remittance outflows will be exempted,” Arab News quoted Abdullah Ali Nasser Alfuraiji, chief of the Tahweel Al-Rajhi as having said. Alfuraiji made it clear that “the 5 percent VAT tax would be levied on the remittance service fees, rather than the remittances themselves. He emphasized that “Tahweel will be charging 5 percent of SR18, which we charge as remittance fee for sending funds to India. Hence, the rise will be nominal with customers required to pay 9 halalas extra for remitting money to India.” The Tahweel chief added that this will be negligible, but will differ from country to country. Referring to the implementation of the VAT and the levies imposed…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia to allow cinemas in kingdom after 35-year ban

Saudi Arabia has lifted a decades-long ban on cinemas, part of a series of social reforms by the powerful crown prince that are shaking up the ultra-conservative kingdom. The government said it would begin licensing cinemas immediately and the first movie theatres are expected to open next March, in a decision that could boost the kingdom’s nascent film industry. Reviving cinemas would represent a paradigm shift in the kingdom, which is promoting entertainment as part of a sweeping reform plan for a post-oil era, despite opposition from conservatives who have long vilified movie theatres as vulgar and sinful. “Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years,” the culture and information ministry said in a statement. Like most public spaces in the kingdom, cinema halls are expected to be segregated by gender or have a separate…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi King issues historical decree allowing women to drive

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the conservative kingdom. According to the official Saudi Press Agency, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has issued a royal decree allowing women to drive. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Twitter. Saudi Arabia allows women to drive— وزارة الخارجية 🇸🇦 (@KSAMOFA) September 26, 2017 “Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a historic royal decree granting driving licenses for women in the kingdom,” Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel reported. However, the new rule will not take effect immediately. The royal decree issued on Tuesday also ordered the establishment of a high-level committee of ministries of interior, finance, labor and social development. They will be tasked with studying the arrangements to enforce the new law.…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia lifts ban on internet calling applications

Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications on Wednesday, authorities said, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship. Voice and video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype will be ‘widely available to users’, a government statement said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at improving business confidence as the kingdom transitions into a post-oil era. “Access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will reduce operational costs and spur digital entrepreneurship,” the statement said, citing a directive from the communications and technology ministry. “Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivise the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries.” Alongside the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia imposed a blockade on Qatar in June, in the worst diplomatic crisis to roil the Gulf in years. “The recent cooperation…

Saudi Arabia
Eleven Indians killed, six injured in Saudi Arabia fire

Eleven Indians were killed and five others injured on Wednesday when a major fire ripped through a windowless house in Saudi Arabia. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi said officials of Indian consulate in Jeddah are rushing to Najran following the incident. “I am aware of the fire tragedy in Najran in which we have lost 10 Indian nationals and six injured are in the hospital,” she said in a tweet. I am aware of the fire tragedy in Najran in which we have lost 10 Indian nationals and six injured are in the hospital. /1 https://t.co/feOTqPnn2E — Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 12, 2017 Her response came after a woman, Vidya S, sought the external affairs minister’s help to bring back the mortal remains of one of those killed in the incident. “I have spoken to Consul General Jeddah. Najran is 900 Kms from Jeddah. Our staff is…

Saudi Arabia
Expats in Saudi Arabia hit with new fees as they leave for vacation

Expats in Saudi Arabia going on vacation with their families in this peak holiday season felt the pinch of the new dependent fee, which came into force on Saturday, when they tried to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for family members. Those who wanted to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for their family members were prompted by the online payment system to first clear the dependent fee for the remaining months of the validity of their iqamas (residence permits), Saudi Gazette has reported. From Saturday evening till Sunday morning, the online payment system was displaying only exit-reentry fees. But hours later it started displaying complete and accurately calculated amount of dependent fee based on the validity of iqama against each dependent. The payment of dependent fee is not only directly linked with the renewal of iqama but also the issuance of exit-reentry visa, whichever comes first. The exit-reentry process can…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi King appoints Mohammad Bin Salman as Crown Prince

Saudi king Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has named his 31-year-old son Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud as the Crown Prince, replacing his cousin in a sudden announcement that confirms him as next ruler of the kingdom. According to a royal decree issued by the official Saudi Press Agency, Mohammed bin Salman was also named deputy prime minister, and maintains his post as minister of defence. The appointment of Mohammed bin Salman caps a tumultuous two years since Salman, 81, ascended the throne and named Mohammed bin Salman deputy crown prince, or second in line to the throne. Mohammad Bin Nayef pledges allegience to new crown prince Former Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, 57, has pledged allegiance to the newly-appointed Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Mohammed bin Nayef, a veteran law enforcer well-regarded in the west for his efforts to combat Al-Qaeda,…

Saudi Arabia
Indian expat set to return home after 24 years in Saudi desert

A 52-year-old Indian national, who has been living in the deserts of Saudi Arabia illegally for 23 years, will soon return to India after the government announced a 90-day amnesty period, according to a media report. Gana Prakasam Rajamariyan came to Saudi Arabia in August 1994 to work as a farm-hand in a remote village in Hail province. Rajamariyan, hailing from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, said he was paid only 100 Saudi Riyal a month for six months by his first employer. He was then “transferred” to another employer and a third a few months later. He spent 23 years in the desert, without going home once, a Saudi Gazette report said. “Of the three employers, I was not sure which one was my sponsor. Above all, I did not receive any salary from them, so I decided to abscond and live illegally out of compulsion,” the newspaper quoted Rajamariyan…

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