Saudi Arabia allows women into King Fahd stadium to join national day celebrations

King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
Updated 21 September 2017
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Saudi Arabia allows women into King Fahd stadium to join national day celebrations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has invited women to a sports stadium for the first time to attend annual national day celebrations with their families, state media said Wednesday, opening up a previously male-only venue.
Families will be allowed into the King Fahd stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, and seated separately from single men to mark the kingdom's 87th National Day this weekend.
"The stadium is ready to receive about 40,000 people divided between individuals and families to be seated separately," the official Saudi Press Agency said in a statement, citing the general authority of entertainment.
This marks a shift from previous celebrations in the kingdom where women are effectively barred from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the sexes in public.
This measure represents another step into relaxing some norms as part of its "Vision 2030" plan for economic and social reforms.
In July, rights campaigners welcomed an "overdue" reform by the education ministry to allow girls to take part in sports at state schools.


Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

Updated 18 min 51 sec ago
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Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

  • Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum
  • The crown prince presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation

RIYADH: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Friday during his visit to China.

Citing a 33 percent increase in bilateral trade last year, the crown prince added that high-level contacts were paying off in areas from commerce to security and defense.
"Saudi Arabia's relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told President Xi Jinping at their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of the Chinese capital.

Meanwhile, the Chinese president stressed his country's keenness on joint efforts with Saudi Arabia to support strategic relations between the two countries. He added that there has been coordination with Saudi Arabia on international and regional issues in recent years. 

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The crown prince earlier Friday presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation in fields ranging from petroleum and the chemical industry to investment, renewable energy and counter-terrorism. Saudi Arabia is one of China's top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.

Saudi Arabia and China also signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum. 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. Four licenses for Chinese companies were awarded at the forum.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also pledged Saudi Arabia's backing for China's gargantuan "belt and road" infrastructure project, saying he was willing to link it with the kingdom's Vision 2030 plans— a blueprint put forth by the crown prince to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil, particularly as sustainable sources of energy become cheaper and more popular.
The Crown Prince's visit follows trips to India and Pakistan, which send millions of laborers to Saudi Arabia and are seeking closer economic ties.