The 42nd Dakar Rally Saudi Arabia route was announced this month. After 30 years of adventures in Africa and 10 years of excitement in South America, the rally will take place for the first time in Asia. Among the drivers, are 13 women on the challenging route to drive. This week, Burj Khalifa in Dubai displayed images of the Dakar Rally, Saudi Arabia. Of the 7,500 km route, 5000 km will be driving against the clock.
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This month, the Saudi government has canceled the rule for the segregation of single men and women in restaurants. For many years it was claimed that the rule was in place to protect women, which recently sparked a fierce discussion on social media – like many such recent rule changes. http://www.dailyjournal.net/2019/12/08/ml-saudi-sex-segregation/ .
Last month, US rapper Russ performed in Riyadh alongside hip-hop group Migos, making it his second concert in Saudi Arabia. His shows are part of the evolving entertainment strategy which the Saudi government is implementing as part of Vision 2030.
People in Saudi Arabia are delighted by these positive developments and are slowly getting used to the wide range of entertainment that is on offer throughout the country.
A member of the Saudi Scholars’ Council Sheikh Abdullah Al Manea, has issued a Fatwa confirming that women may stipulate as a condition in their marriage contracts that they have the power to divorce their husbands. Al Manea said that, if the woman stipulates the condition, it is legally valid.
In Islam, a man can divorce his wife by saying 3 times “I divorce you.” It does not have to be in one go; it can expand over a period of years according to the Islamic ruling. Once it is said for the third time, the divorce has happened and it cannot be reversed. In the Sunni sect, there are 4 different schools for interpretation of Islamic law – differing in the details of the divorce matter.
Argentina and Brazil will play their second friendly game in a year next month. The game will be held at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 15th. The stadium which is the home stadium for Riyadh Al Hilal Club has a capacity for 25,000. The stadium was the venue of WWE event in 2018.
The Saudi Ministry of Defence will allow women to join the Saudi armed forces in combat capacities. Several Saudi and Gulf newspapers issued the announcement, which was made this month.
Women can be enlisted for military jobs with ranks from private soldiers to sergeants in the army’s branches of ground, air, air defense and missile forces, and medical services. The way was paved in 2018 when women were allowed to enroll in the military. However, their jobs did not involve combat but instead gave them the opportunity to work in security and passport control.
This week, the Saudi Council of Ministers announced that, for industrial companies, it will waive the fees that the companies have to pay in respect of their foreign employees.
The expatriate levy was introduced in 2018 in conjunction with a series of other regulations aimed at creating jobs for Saudis and moving the economy away from oil dependency. The levy is SAR 3,600 ($962) per expatriate employee for 2018, SAR 6,000 ($1,604) for 2019, and SAR 8,400 ($2,245) for 2020, payable by the employer. In addition, an employee who has dependents in Saudi Arabia is responsible for paying the levy as follows: SAR 1,200 ($374) per dependent in 2018, SAR 2,400 ($ 642) in 2019, and SAR 3,600 ($962) in 2020.
Saudi Arabia relaxes the dress code for female tourists in an attempt to make the country more attractive for international audience. This could be the first step to relax the dress code generally. However, it must be borne in mind that this is unlikely to affect or happen in small town and villages where traditions still rules supreme.
Until 2000, the opportunities for foreign investment in Saudi Arabia were extremely restricted, essentially limited to foreign minority shareholdings in industrial development projects involving technology transfer to Saudi Arabia. Foreign participation in service or trading businesses was not possible. At the time, the economy was dominated by state-owned monopolies, many of whom provided extremely poor services to the population, as anyone who tried to get a telephone line in those days will remember. Meanwhile, the economy was going from bad to worse, with the price of Arabian crude oil having dropped from $34 per barrel in 1981 to $12 per barrel in 1998.