Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sponsors military graduation ceremony

Makkah’s Deputy Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar attends the 15th graduation ceremony of the King Abdullah Air Defense College. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sponsors military graduation ceremony

JEDDAH: Makkah’s Deputy Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz on Monday sponsored the 15th graduation ceremony of the King Abdullah Air Defense College on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It was attended by Air Defense Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro. Maj. Gen. Abdullah bin Mohammed Mishary, commander of the college, welcomed Prince Abdullah and the other attendees.
“The crown prince’s sponsorship is a clear indication of his support to the graduates as he shares their joy of graduating and joining the fields of pride, dignity and honor as part of the Saudi Armed Forces,” Mishary said in his speech.
“In particular, they will be taking part in the Air Defense Forces and the Strategic Missile Force, which has become a source of pride for Saudis and a force armed with knowledge, faith and modern weapons under the generous support of King Salman and his crown prince,” Mishary added.
“This year’s graduates include a number of students from fraternal and friendly states… They grew in education and knowledge through the latest education and training techniques under the supervision of distinguished Saudi teachers and trainers,” he said.
“The excellent training helped the graduates acquire the skills that qualify them to be leaders armed with education and faith, so they can defend the homeland and gain this great honor.”
Mishary congratulated the graduates and wished them good luck in their professional life, telling them that “the journey of giving goes on as long as one is faithful to his religion, leadership and homeland.”
The graduates presented a military parade, after which they took the oath. At the end of the ceremony, Prince Abdullah honored outstanding students and received a gift.


Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

Updated 33 min 59 sec ago
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Saudi female bikers ready to chart a new course

  • Saudi Arabia’s female motorcyclists await clarification on licenses
  • The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women

JEDDAH: Almost seven months since Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on female drivers, women hoping to be granted a license to ride a motorcycle are still waiting. According to Wael Huraib, founder of Bikers Skills Institute (BSI) — which he claims is the only motorcycle training school for female riders in the Kingdom — no motorbike licenses are currently being issued for women.
“For ladies, as of now, they’re not able to get a license yet, and we don’t really know why,” said Huraib. “We heard that women have received tractor-trailer licenses, but we know for a fact that no motorcycle license applications are being processed. We are assuming the traffic police are very focused on cars, but whatever the problem is, we hope it is resolved soon.”
The royal decree in September 2017 that gave women the right to drive in the Kingdom from June 2018 stipulated that the laws on driving would be equal for men and women. But it appears that is not yet the case, despite assurances from the Saudi Directorate of Traffic a year ago that women would be permitted to drive motorcycles and trucks.

Elena Bukaryeva, an instructor at BSI, said she suspects there is some confusion or miscommunication between the traffic police administration and the licensing division.
“My husband spoke to one of the highest-ranking traffic police officials in Riyadh,” she told Arab News. “He said that there was nothing at all to stop women being issued motorcycle licenses.
“But the following day, one of the ladies who finished our course went to the traffic police and she was told there are no motorcycle licenses for women, only for men. The same thing happened when I applied for my license and when other women did.”
The General Directorate of Traffic did not respond to Arab News’ request for comment.
Bukaryeva said that she has heard of women with licenses issued abroad riding motorcycles in the Kingdom, although added that they are “semi-disguised as men” when doing so.
“When you are wearing loose clothing and a full-face helmet, no one can tell if you are a man or a woman,” she said, adding that she has not tried it herself as her husband told her it was not worth the risk.
BSI began training female riders as soon as the driving ban was lifted.
The company has graduated 18 women so far, including Reem Al-Megbel, a 30-year-old Saudi financial operations manager.
Al-Megbel was at the motorcycle school on Wednesday evening to practice riding, because she cannot, yet, do so on the roads.
“My dream is to wake up one day and have a car and a motorcycle in my garage and be free to choose what to drive,” she said. “It would probably be the motorcycle.”
Al-Megbel added that her “ultimate” dream, though, would be to take a road trip across the Kingdom with a group of fellow female bikers.
“That,” she said, “would be freedom.”