epa06734238 A woman tests a car during a car show only for women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 13 May 2018. Women are expected to be allowed to drive cars in Saudi-Arabia starting in mid June 2018.  EPA/STR
A woman tests a car during a car show only for women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 13 May 2018. Women are expected to be allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia starting in mid June 2018. EPA/STR

Saudi Arabia arrests activists accused of ‘subversive behaviour’

The National

Saudi authorities have arrested seven women's rights activists before the kingdom implements its driving ban lift for women next month.

A security source at the Saudi State Security Presidency announced that the authorities had "monitored an orchestrated activity of a group of persons who dared to violate the country's religious and national pillars through making suspected contacts in support of the activities of foreign circles," according to the official Saudi news agency.

The charges include "recruiting some persons in charge of sensitive government positions, providing the foreign circles with money with the aim to destabilize the Kingdom and breach its social structure and mar the national consistency". No further details were given by Saudi authorities.

Among those detained are at least three women, who have long campaigned against the driving ban, since May 15. They have been identified by rights groups as Loujain Al Hathloul, Aziza Al Yousef and Eman Al Nafjan.

That ban is to be lifted on June 24 after King Salman announced a royal decree last year. The women had campaigned for its lifting before the royal family decided to do so in September 2017.


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The requirements for the driving ban lift to begin have been established and five driving schools for women have been created, according to the country's General Department of Traffic.

"In order to obtain a private driver’s license, applicants must be at least 18 years old while those applying for a public driver’s license must be at least 20 years old", said Major General Mohammed Al Bassami.

"Applicants are required to pass a medical exam, theoretical and practical driving tests and complete the required hours of training in accredited driving schools".

Mr Al Bassami said women in the kingdom will be able to work as taxi drivers and in other traffic security-related facilities.

The decision to allow women to drive is in line with Bin Salman's Vision 2030 modernization project that seeks to diversify the kingdom's economy and provide entertainment to a population in which more than half are aged 25-years-old and younger.


Director: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera
Rating: 4/5


Western Region Asia Cup Qualifier, Al Amerat, Oman

The two finalists advance to the next stage of qualifying, in Malaysia in August


UAE beat Iran by 10 wickets

Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia by eight wickets

Oman beat Bahrain by nine wickets

Qatar beat Maldives by 106 runs

Monday fixtures

UAE v Kuwait, Iran v Saudi Arabia, Oman v Qatar, Maldives v Bahrain

Started: December 2011
Co-founders: Elie Habib, Eddy Maroun
Based: Beirut and Dubai
Sector: Entertainment
Size: 85 employees
Stage: Series C
Investors: MEVP, du, Mobily, MBC, Samena Capital

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Where to buy art books in the UAE

There are a number of speciality art bookshops in the UAE.

In Dubai, The Lighthouse at Dubai Design District has a wonderfully curated selection of art and design books. Alserkal Avenue runs a pop-up shop at their A4 space, and host the art-book fair Fully Booked during Art Week in March. The Third Line, also in Alserkal Avenue, has a strong book-publishing arm and sells copies at its gallery. Kinokuniya, at Dubai Mall, has some good offerings within its broad selection, and you never know what you will find at the House of Prose in Jumeirah. Finally, all of Gulf Photo Plus’s photo books are available for sale at their show. 

In Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi has a beautiful selection of catalogues and art books, and Magrudy’s – across the Emirates, but particularly at their NYU Abu Dhabi site – has a great selection in art, fiction and cultural theory.

In Sharjah, the Sharjah Art Museum sells catalogues and art books at its museum shop, and the Sharjah Art Foundation has a bookshop that offers reads on art, theory and cultural history.

How tumultuous protests grew
  • A fuel tax protest by French drivers appealed to wider anti-government sentiment
  • Unlike previous French demonstrations there was no trade union or organised movement involved 
  • Demonstrators responded to online petitions and flooded squares to block traffic
  • At its height there were almost 300,000 on the streets in support
  • Named after the high visibility jackets that drivers must keep in cars 
  • Clashes soon turned violent as thousands fought with police at cordons
  • An estimated two dozen people lost eyes and many others were admitted to hospital 

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Match info

Who: India v Afghanistan
What: One-off Test match, Bengaluru
When: June 14 to 18
TV: OSN Sports Cricket HD, 8am starts
Online: OSN Play (subscribers only)