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It’s like a historical event that happened here.

Mana

An usher at the movie theater

The Cabinet also

approved the

establishment of more

fast-track courts to deal

with rape cases, the

appointment of more

public prosecutors, and

ordered police stations to

be equipped with special

forensic kits, among

other steps

WENGER’S LEGACY SOURED

>>

P13

P4 <<

IRAN PROTESTS MOUNT

WWW.

SAUDIGAZETTE

.COM.SA

Issue No: 147999 ISSN (1320-0326 )

I

Saudi Riyal 2

SUNDAY 22.4. 18 SHABAN 6 1439

Expat students start leaving as exams are over

By Saeed Haider

Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM —

International

community schools in the King-

dom have received requests from

a large number of students for

transfer certificates (or school

leaving certificates) as their first

step in leaving the Kingdom for

good.

“Applications for transfer cer-

tificates are in alarming propor-

tions,” said the principal of an

international school.

According to the manage-

ment of the International Indian

School in Dammam (IISD), every

year 800 to 1,000 students apply

for school leaving certificates af-

ter completing their senior higher

secondary education. However

this year, more than 3,000 stu-

dents have sought transfer or

school leaving certificates.

“More than 2,000 students are

those who are leaving the school

without completing senior higher

secondary. They are leaving the

school due to the extra burden

of dependent’s fees on their par-

ents,” said a member of the school

managing committee who spoke

on condition of anonymity.

Indian schools in Jeddah, Ri-

yadh and Jubail have also received

requests from a large number of

students for school leaving cer-

tificates.

Similar is the case at Pakistani

international schools and Philip-

pines schools.

The dropout rate is so high

that schools which had closed ad-

missions had to re-open them.

IISD which in the past used a

lottery system to accommodate

students because of a huge rush

had to re-open admissions this

year because of vacant seats. It ac-

commodated 600 students from

Sunshine School which closed

early this month. To bring in more

students, the school even lowered

the minimum age set for admis-

sion to kindergarten.

Parents of departing students

say they are facing the worst di-

lemma of their life.

“If I send my children back

home for studies then obviously

I will have to send their mother

too. That means I need to estab-

lish another home in India. It cre-

ates a huge economic burden for

me,” said a frustrated Ghulam Ali,

a father of four.

The exodus of expatriates be-

cause of the dependent’s fee has

affected supermarkets, shopping

malls, grocery stores, restaurants,

garment stores and jewelry shops.

“There has been a sharp de-

cline in shoppers in the last six

months,” said the manager of a

hyper store in Dammam, who

claimed a drop of nearly 20 per-

cent in sales.

House rents have also come

down as many buildings have put

up ‘ijaar’ (to-let) signs.

A thin crowd of parents was seen at the International Indian School Jeddah for admissions this year as com-

pared to previous years.

Family of missing Saudi pilot

questions Spanish police report

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH —

The family of Saudi

pilot Omar Al-Mutairi, who went

missing more than 17 days ago

on a cruise in Barcelona, did not

agree with the Spanish police re-

port which found no criminal mo-

tive behind his disappearance.

The Saudi Embassy in Madrid

in a statement released recently

said they received a report from

the Spanish Coast Guard on April

4 regarding the disappearance of

the Saudi pilot aboard the ship on

its way back to Barcelona after a

two-week trip.

The Saudi Embassy asked the

Spanish authorities to intensify

their search for the missing pilot.

It said they are following up

on the case and continuing to fol-

low up with the Spanish authori-

ties, which announced on Friday

the conclusion of the investiga-

tion.

They handed over copies of

the report to the Saudi Embassy

and to the family of the victim.

According to the report, the

incident took place on April 3. Ac-

cording to eyewitnesses on board

the ship, Al-Mutairi was in a bad

emotional state and crying before

he jumped off the ship.

The report concluded that

there was no criminal motive be-

hind the incident.

The Saudi Embassy said they

will assign a lawyer to follow up

on the case based on the desire

of the family who were not con-

vinced by the police report.

Speaking to the Makkah Ara-

bic newspaper, the brother of the

victim, Ahmad Al-Mutairi, said

that his brother worked in Aram-

co in Dhahran.

Omar Al-Mutairi

Saudis flock to ‘Black Panther’

as first public cinema premieres

RIYADH —

Dozens of Saudi

families flocked to the movies on

Friday for the first time in almost

40 years, two days after US mov-

ie giant AMC unveiled the King-

dom’s debut theater in Riyadh.

Tickets for the Ameri-

can superhero movie “Black

Panther”went on sale online at

midnight for SR75 ($20) and sold

out within minutes. Excited cin-

emagoers posed for selfies in the

foyer and stood in line for pop-

corn.

“It’s like a historical event

that happened here,”said Mana,

an usher at the movie theater

in the King Abdullah Financial

District, a new development in

northern Riyadh.

Before the main feature, the

A woman walks at Saudi Arabia’s first commercial movie theater in Riyadh.

— Reuters

India OK’s

death for

rape of girls

under 12

NEW DELHI —

India’s Cabinet

on Saturday approved the death

penalty for rapists of girls below

the age of 12, after Prime Minis-

ter Narendra Modi held an emer-

gency meeting in response to na-

tionwide outrage in the wake of a

series of cases.

The executive order, or or-

dinance, amends the criminal

law to also include more drastic

punishment for convicted rapists

of girls below the age of 16, gov-

ernment officials said. The order

will come into effect once it is

signed by India’s president.

India launched fast-track

courts and a tougher rape law

that included the death penalty

after a gruesome assault on a

young woman shocked the coun-

try in 2012, but India’s rape epi-

demic has shown no sign of dy-

ing down.

There were 40,000 rapes re-

ported in 2016. The victims were

children in 40 percent of those

cases. Every day, newspapers car-

ry fresh stories of sexual violence

against women.

The latest outpouring of na-

tional revulsion came after de-

tails emerged of the gang rape of

an eight-year-old girl in Jammu

and Kashmir state. Local leaders

of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party

had appeared to offer support to

the men accused, adding to the

public disgust.

Protests around the country

were also prompted by the arrest

of a lawmaker from the BJP last

week in connection with the rape

of a teenager in Uttar Pradesh, a

populous northern state that is

governed by the party.

More recently, a sexual at-

tack on an 11-year-old girl was

Swati Maliwal, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, speaks

to the media in New Delhi on Saturday during her hunger strike protest

in which she is demanding the immediate implementation of a stringent

law to punish convicted rapists.

— AFP

reported in Gujarat. The post-

mortem revealed the girl had

been tortured, raped, strangled

and smothered.

Modi’s failure to speak out

soon enough during the latest

bout of public anger fueled criti-

cism that his government was not

doing enough to protect women.

With a general election due

next year, Modi moved swiftly

to remedy that negative percep-

tion by holding the emergency

Cabinet meeting as soon as he

returned on Saturday morning

from an official visit to Europe.

The Cabinet also prescribed

measures for stronger punish-

ment and faster trials in rape

cases.

In cases of the rape of a girl

below the age of 16, the Cabinet

increased the minimum punish-

ment to 20 years from 10 years.

The penalty for the rape of wom-

en was raised to 10 years from

seven years.

— Reuters

audience watched a short on the

history of film, a clip from a US

television interview with Crown

Prince Muhammad Bin Salman,

and an advertisement for Coca-

Cola featuring women driving.

The choice of movie was not

random.

“It is the story of a young

prince who transforms a great

nation,”Adam Aron, chief execu-

tive of the theater operator AMC

Entertainment Holding said at

a VIP screening on Wednesday.

“That might sound familiar to a

few of you.”

To serve a population of more

than 32 million, most of whom

are under the age of 30, the au-

thorities plan to set up around

350 cinemas with over 2,500

screens by 2030, which they hope

will attract nearly $1 billion in an-

nual ticket sales.

An AMC official said the

movie chain could possibly re-

lease the much-anticipated thrill-

er “Avengers: Infinity War” at the

cinema next week, around the

same time as its global release.

International theater chains

have long eyed Saudi Arabia with

its more than 30 million people

as the Middle East’s last un-

tapped mass market, the majority

of whom are under 25.

AMC will face stiff compe-

tition from heavyweights such

as Dubai-based VOX Cinemas,

which on Thursday announced

it had also secured a government

license to operate in Saudi Arabia

and would open the Kingdom’s

first IMAX theater in the coming

days.

— Agencies