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.


Efforts continue at Prophet's Mosque to serve worshippers during Ramadan

Updated 24 May 2018
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Efforts continue at Prophet's Mosque to serve worshippers during Ramadan

RIYADH: The General Directorate for the Affairs of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, or the Prophet's Mosque, is carrying on with plans during the month of Ramadan to serve visitors, the Saudi Press Agency has said.
The directorate has prepared the mosque to accommodate worshipers at the time of prayers, in addition to monitoring the Iftar meals offered at the mosque and its external courts.
It also said it has intensified its water services, cleaning efforts and air conditioning around the clock to provide worshipers with an atmosphere full of serenity and reverence.
SPA took pictures of the services offered at the mosque, beginning with guiding visitors and organizing their entry through the gates of the Prophet’s Mosque to the men and women sections. It also directs worshippers to the emptier courts to avoid crowding.
It also captured the preparations for setting the Iftar meals at the mosque, including the installing of water spray fans at the outside squares due to sustain high temperatures during summer, so that visitors pray with ease and comfort.