Saudi Arabia to allow movie theaters after decades of ban

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Saudi Arabia says it will allow movie theaters to open in the conservative kingdom next year, for the first time in more than 35 years. It’s the latest move as part of the young crown prince’s efforts to socially reform the country.

The kingdom says a resolution was passed on Monday paving way for licenses to be granted to commercial movie theaters. Movie theaters were shut down in the 1980’s during a wave of ultraconservatism in the country.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for greater social openings, including lifting a ban on women driving next year and bringing back concerts and other forms of entertainment to satiate the desires of the country’s majority young population.

The government says the first cinemas are expected to open in March 2018.

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