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Saudi Arabia begins screening films after decades-long ban lifted

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia began screening feature-length animated children’s films this weekend in a makeshift theater, after a 35-year-old ban on cinemas was lifted in the conservative Islamic kingdom. The first permanent theaters could open as early as March, part of a liberalizing reform drive that has already opened the door to concerts, comedy shows and women drivers over the past year. For now, the authorities are sponsoring temporary settings, like the state-run cultural hall in the Red Sea city of Jeddah equipped…

Historic Indian mosque agrees to lift ban on women

NEW DELHI: An historic mosque in India agreed Monday to scrap a ban on women entering its inner sanctum, after a bitter legal battle about the restriction in the country. The Haji Ali Dargah trust has since 2011 barred women from the landmark mausoleum off the coast of Mumbai, insisting the presence of women near the tomb of a revered saint is a "grievous sin" in Islam. The trustees had appealed to the Supreme Court against a lower court's order in August to overturn the ban, a ruling made on the grounds that the…