Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

A Saudi woman drives her car along a street in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah, in this September 27, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2017
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Saudi women traffic wardens awaits final confirmation

JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Traffic has completed all preparations to employ women on the country’s traffic police force. The directorate is now waiting for the leadership’s green light to go ahead with the decision.

This was announced by the chief of the General Directorate of Traffic, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, who said that women would soon be employed at different traffic checkpoints, as well as field inspectors.

The traffic director general told local media that they had submitted a related recommendation to higher authorities in the Kingdom for final approval.

Concerned parties expect the leadership to ink the recommendation before Saudi women can be seen behind the wheel beginning in June 2018, the date ordered by a royal degree to enable women to drive.

Al-Bassami said that women have long been working at both the General Directorate of Passports and that of Prisons. “We have women police working at both passports and prisons directorates, and, when needed, we can also employ women at our traffic departments around the country,” he said.

The top traffic executive denied any leniency toward drivers who break the country’s traffic laws. Besides, gender, he added, has nothing to do with punishment. “All drivers are equal in the eyes of the law, which will be dispassionately enforced on both male and female motorists,” said Al-Bassami.

Al-Bassami last month said in a press conference that they are negotiating with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to use their care centers for detaining women drivers whose violations require detention.

On the sidelines of the recently concluded three-day 4th Traffic Safety Forum and Exhibition, held from Dec. 11 to 13 in Dammam, Al-Bassami pointed out that the directorate and the ministry have reached an agreement to benefit from care centers in detaining aggressive women drivers.

He had earlier noted that Article 37 of the Saudi Traffic Regulations allows women with valid international driving licenses to drive on Kingdom’s roads without the need to attend the local driving schools. However, Al-Bassami added that women with licenses from GCC states can get Saudi licenses without taking a driving test.


Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

Updated 21 March 2019
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Sharqiah Season: What to expect this weekend?

RIYADH: A bumper program of entertainment is being lined up in the Eastern Province for the biggest weekend yet of Sharqiah Season.

Concerts, a film festival, and a spectacular air race are just some of the events due to take place in the region as part of attractions for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The action gets underway with the fifth annual Saudi Film Festival taking place from March 21 to 26 at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in Dammam, in partnership with Ithra, the movie fest will honor Saudi and Gulf cinema figures and include 10 training workshops and 10 seminars.

The festival aims to promote opportunities for Saudi talent in the film industry and flicks from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will be included among screenings.

All participating films will be shown during the event, and there will be a Golden Palm award for best documentary about a Saudi city and best poster (based on audience voting). A winners’ presentation will take place at the closing ceremony, after which the films will be screened at the Ithra center.

Tickets can be purchased via Ithra’s website, with options for single-day, four-day, and VIP passes.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Red Bull Air Race demo comes to Dammam from March 21 to 23. The event, organized along with the General Sports Authority, will provide spectators with a warm-up taster for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship 2019 season finale, to be held in Saudi Arabia in November.

The air-racing competition, developed in 2003 and accredited by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is billed as “the most advanced aerial challenge in existence.”

Using the fastest, most agile, high-performance race planes, pilots fly just meters from the ground and against the clock to complete an obstacle course full of twists and turns. The air spectacular takes off at Dammam Corniche between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Saturday will also see the highly anticipated Color Run come to the South Alkhobar Corniche. The 5-km dash involves participants being doused with colored powder at the end of every kilometer. Runners start dressed all in white and emerge at the end of the run covered in the colors of the General Entertainment Authority’s logo.

The untimed run takes place between 5 a.m. and noon and rest areas offering refreshments and entertainment will be available between stops.

For concert fans the Asharqiah Music Festival will feature performances by major names at Dammam’s Life Park. US rapper Pitbull and Canadian DJ Deadmau5 will take to the stage on March 21, and March 22 will witness performances by Egyptian vocalist Amr Diab, US-Moroccan rapper French Montana, and American singer Akon.

Lovers of regional music are not left out, with appearances by Assala Nasri and Mutrif Al-Mutrif on March 22, and Nabil Shuail and Hatem Al-Iraqi on March 23, all at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Center in Al-Qatif.

Sharqiah Season, the first of 11 Saudi seasons of entertainment planned for 2019, will run until the end of the month with more than 83 different events scheduled across nine cities in the region.