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Saudi Arabia to allow cinemas next year

Saudi Arabia will allow commercial cinemas to operate in the oil-rich kingdom as of March 2018, according to Saudi authorities on Monday.

In a statement, the Ministry of Culture and Information said permits would be given to movie theaters to operate in the kingdom.

“We expect the first movie theater to operate in March 2018," Information Minister Awwad al-Awwad said.

Saudi authorities shut down all cinemas in the country in the 1980s.

The new development comes as part of reforms introduced by Saudi King Salman, including the lifting of a decades-long ban on women driving cars in the country.