By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter
Saudi Arabia lifts driving ban for all women
On Sept. 26, the Saudi Arabian government announced it would allow women to drive for the first time in the country’s history. The government announced that the law will take effect. by June 2018.
As The Guardian reports, women will be able to obtain driving licenses without having to ask permission from their male guardians and will be able to drive freely, without the requirementof a male guardian in their car.
Saudi women played a huge role in fighting to end this ban. According to ABC News, the first protest againstthe “no female” driving policy was organized by Saudi women in 1990 in the capital city of Riyadh.
It ended in women being arrested and released only when their male guardians signed a pledge that would prevent the women from driving. Many similar protests and demonstrations soon followed.
In 2011, Manal al Sharif, an activist and engineer drove through the streets of Khobar, Saudi Arabia with fellow activist Wajeha al-Huwaider filming her. The video was posted on social media platforms like Youtube and Facebook. Sharif was arrested and imprisoned for nine days.
However, the video sparked a movement across Saudi Arabia, leading to several women driving and posting their own videos online. In 2014, another Saudi woman named Loujain al-Hathloul attempted to drive while crossing the border from theUnited Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia. Saudi police imprisoned her for 73 days.
While the lifting of the driving ban is a long awaited victory for Saudi women, Saudi Arabia still has a long way in paving the road for equality. Many hope the ending of the driving ban is a stepping stone and a catalyst for more reforms for equality.
Shooting at Las Vegas country concert leaves 58 dead and hundreds wounded
Gunfire broke out on Sunday, Oct. 1 at a Las Vegas outdoor music festival in what the Washington Postreported as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with 58 people dead and 489 wounded.
The gunman, Stephen Paddock, was found dead with 23 firearms in his hotel room as well as 18 firearms, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at his home.
Across the country, vigils are being held for the victims who lost their lives. Landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Vegas Strip went dark in respect to the victims. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France also went dark in remembrance of the Las Vegas shooting and the stabbing in Marseilles, France.
The Las Vegas tragedy reignites the age long debate in American policy regarding gun control and gun legislation.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed a bill that would ban bump stocks, or devices that can be bought online to alter semiautomatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons. The Washington Post also reports some Republican Senators such as Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stand with the idea of banning bump stocks.
Senator Lindsey O. Grahamof South Carolina said she would be interested in a ban “to see if a law change would matter” and affect things while Senator Jeff Duncan, an avid gun rights supporter also said he would be open to hearing more about bump stocks, something he said “didn’t know existed.” But others such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “it’s completely inappropriate to politicize an event like this.”
President Donald Trump issued out a statement on Monday morning, calling the act of the Las Vegas shooting “pure evil.” In response to a question asked about gun legislation at a press conference at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, he said he will talk about gun laws “as time goes”.
Hurricane Maria makes landfall, devastates Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, creating destruction and devastation in its path. A Category 5 hurricane, Maria wiped out Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure, affecting almost 3.4 million people. As of now, the death toll is at 34, according to a report by the New York Times.
According to The Intercept, the island was already $74 billion in debt to the U.S. before the hurricane and in its aftermath, it is still struggling. Hospitals have taken a dire hit and are in critical need, especially because 91 percent of Puerto Rico still does not have power, as stated by Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló in a press conference onWednesday, Oct. 4.
Many hospitals and medical centers are reported to be running only on emergency generators and lack supplies such as oxygen gases and IV solutions.
Carmen Yulin Cruz, mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan, made a direct appealto President Donald Trump, “I am begging you to take charge and save lives.”