Deputy crown prince backs women driving

Updated 24 April 2016
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Deputy crown prince backs women driving

JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview to Bloomberg's Peter Waldman, has signaled he would support more freedom for women. “We believe women have rights in Islam that they’ve yet to obtain,” he said on Thursday at Rawdat Khuraim.
He said he has no problem with the official religious authority on the issue of women driving. The problem he’s “working to resolve is with those who distort the facts of the religious establishment so that women don’t get their complete rights granted to them by Islam.”
In an earlier interview, the deputy crown prince said: “I just want to remind the world that American women had to wait long to get their right to vote. So we need time.” He explained: “We look at citizens in general and women are half of this society and we want it to be a productive half.”
He also talked about his bond with the late King Abdullah who, after some initial differences, became his best mentor.
Bloomberg quoted the deputy crown prince as saying that King Abdullah once banned him, when he was 26, from entering the Defense Ministry after rumors reached the royal court that the prince was disruptive. Later, they grew close, bound by a shared belief that Saudi Arabia must fundamentally change, or else face ruin in a world that is trying to leave oil behind.
For two years, encouraged by the king, the prince had been quietly planning a major restructuring of Saudi Arabia’s government and economy, aiming to fulfill what he calls his generation’s “different dreams” for a post-carbon future.
He also revealed the fact that last year there was near-panic among his advisers as they discovered Saudi Arabia was burning through its foreign reserves faster than anyone knew, with insolvency only two years away.
Plummeting oil revenue had resulted in an almost $200 billion budget shortfall— a preview of a future in which the Saudis’ only viable export can no longer pay the bills, whether because of shale oil flooding the market or climate change policies.
Western diplomats in Riyadh call him Mr. Everything, Bloomberg said.


Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience. (SPA)
Updated 20 January 2019
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Saudi ministry: More than 3 million Umrah visas issued so far

  • Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,024,272, of which 2,561,541 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj and Umrah Ministry.
There are 399,479 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 277,372 in Makkah and 122,107 in Madinah.
Most pilgrims — 2,288,789 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 257,266 entered by land and 15,486 arrived by sea.
The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (681,392) followed by Indonesia (447,450), India (306,470), Yemen (146,067), Malaysia (142,290), Algeria (92,752), Turkey (86,925), Egypt (85,438), Bangladesh (53,131) and the UAE (62,927).
The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 9,983 Saudis including 8,259 males and 1,724 females.
Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.
The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.