News of the World – May


Saudia to open up to the world, a movie at a time

Saudi Arabia is set to open its first public cinema in 35 years with the Hollywood Blockbuster Black Panther in line to be screened first at an AMC entertainment theatre in Riyadh. AMC, America’s biggest movie theatre chain has signed a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Information ministry; together they plan to open 40 cinemas in 15 cities over the next 5 years. In return, Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a stand at the Cannes film festival to showcase short Saudi films. This is all a part of the Kingdom’s effort to move into an era of social and economic reforms amidst a growing need to diversify the economy and cut down on its overreliance on oil.

It remains to be seen, however, how the move will be received by conservative Saudis who were at the forefront of the closure of cinemas in the 1970s. Already there is disquiet with some conservative  Saudis.


New beginning in Havana?

Cuba President Raul Castro is expected to hand over power to a non-family member – the first time in six decades – to someone who did not participate in the 1959 revolution he helped to bring to power. While Fidel Castro is still revered in Cuba as the supreme leader of the revolution, it is his brother, the less conservative, Raul that will be remembered for introducing the long awaited reforms to the communist system in the decade that he has been at the helm. Unfortunately, even for him, multipartysim has remained out of question. Many Cubans are desperate for a change.

But even as 57 year old Miguel Diaz Canel prepares to take over, many sense that there won’t be a significant shift from the communist principles that have defined the country for so long.


Daring robbery at Nigeria Senate

The stolen mace, symbol of power and authority of Nigeria’s Senate, was recovered by police after it was seized by thugs during a recent invasion of the Senate.

Police said the mace was abandoned under a bridge in the capital Abuja. A suspended Senator alleged to have masterminded the act, Ovie Omo-Agege, was also arrested.

The actions of the thugs have been roundly condemned by senators even though some Nigerians on social media maintain that it serves them right. (



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