A man dreses as Captain America during the Saudi Comic Con. (AP Photo)
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Saudi Arabia in 2017 laid the groundwork for momentous change next year, defying its conservative reputation for slow, cautious reforms by announcing plans to let women drive, allow movie theaters to return and to issue tourist visas. The kingdom could even get a new king. King Salman and his ambitious 32-year-old son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, have upended decades of royal family protocol, social norms and traditional ways of doing business. They bet instead on a young generation of Saudis hungry for change and a Saudi public fed up with corruption and government bureaucracy.After more than 35 years, movie theaters are returning to the kingdom.This past year, rapper Nelly and two Games of Thrones stars came to Saudi Arabia for the first time.The singer had not performed in Saudi Arabia since the late 1980s.President Donald Trump chose Saudi Arabia as the first stop in his first overseas tour as president.Saudi Arabia worked to dazzle and impress Trump, literally rolling out a red carpet for his arrival.The president was treated to numerous state banquets, oversaw the signing of $110 billion in arms deals with the kingdom and even joined in a traditional Saudi sword dance with the king and his son, the crown prince.
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