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.
Tourists will soon be able to visit Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa, although no clear starting date has been announced. The English language daily Arab News and the semi-official Okaz reported that citizens of 50 countries, among them the Schengen countries and the USA, will be granted visa upon their arrival. Where to, is not clear either.
Okaz reported that the government is planning a showcase exhibition of Saudi tourist attractions at the end of September, but this has not been officially confirmed. The aim is to introduce attractive touristic sites in Saudi Arabia to an international audience.
Entertainment in Saudi Arabia has changed. For the last year and a half, the government has been offering a variety of entertainment programmes to its citizens, filling the previous void of empty, boring and dark days.
Shows, concerts by international and Arabian stars, summer festivals with bazars, posh restaurants or street food were available this summer, in and outdoor activities. It’s happening all over the country, giving many people from all parts of Saudi Arabia a chance to find what they like. Have a look into the entertainment calendar for 2019/2020 above. I raised my eyebrows to above my forehead when I read it.
This week, English-speaking newspaper, Saudi Gazette, published an article reporting that Saudi Passport Authority Jawazat will not send messages to the guardian informing him about the trace of a female/s under his guardianship as it was part of their service so far.
In the past, the service I was that the guardian would receive a full and in-details message of the woman’s travel information (time, day, flight, destination, etc) issued by Absher (an electronic system dealing with governmental and social affairs. Abshir was set up by the government for citizens to handle their affairs much quicker and more efficient.
One would think this a great entertainment opportunity for those who opt to stay in Saudi over summer. But in fact, the summer season might turn out to be a costly affair. “I need about €3000 to attend all the concerts and visit all the restaurants I would like,” says Amal M, housewife, 38 years old. But she adds it’s worth experiencing this in Saudi Arabia. And while such events did not use to be well organised, surprisingly this year all information was easily accessible on social media. The organisers are keeping the public well-informed both in Arabic and English about the programs and ticket sale.
Like anywhere in the Arab world, soap operas and drama series of all sorts have been a window to the world and major entertainment for most Saudis in the past decade. All these productions take them into a world that they may never visit, express ideas that they cannot articulate, and show emotions that they may have but must suppress. There is a list of reasons for why someone is watching one series or follows a cookery programme.