World News Update: What You May Have Missed

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BY VICTORIA MESCALL AND SABRINA GARONE

CO-NEWS EDITORS

Saudi Arabian Women Can Drive

   By way of Royal decree, Saudi Arabia’s Crowned Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Tuesday, Sept. 26 that the national ban on women driving will be coming to an end. Saudi Arabia was previously the only country in the world that barred women from driving.

   Under the new guidelines, all Saudi women will be allowed to drive by next summer and will not require the permission of a male relative to obtain a driver’s license. However, they will still need to be escorted from their homes by their husbands or a male relative. The transition period is said to give the country time to adjust. The ban is set to be fully lifted by June 2018.

   Reactions have been mixed in Saudi Arabia, as some believe this violates strict Islamic law. But women’s rights activists are thrilled with the progress. “I’m feeling a mix of joy and disbelief, but I’m also grateful that my grandchildren won’t have to go through what I went through,” said Dalal Kaaki, protestor and activist.

Las Vegas Shooting

   On the night of Oct. 1, gunman Stephen Paddock perched himself on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel tower and unleashed more than 1,000 bullets on an outdoor country music festival concert site. He killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more.

   The FBI director has since said that investigators haven’t yet determined a motive behind the mass shooting at the Las Vegas country music festival, but they’re still digging.

   “There’s a lot of effort being put into unraveling this horrific act,” Director Christopher Wray told reporters following a ribbon-cutting for the FBI’s new Atlanta building. “We don’t know yet what the motive is, but that’s not for lack of trying, and if you know anything about the bureau we don’t give up easy.”

   The FBI continues to search for  answers while the many wounded are recovering.

Catalonia Vote for Independence

   On Oct. 1, the vote on whether the Catalonia region should secede from the rest of Spain has deeply divided the country.

   Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations and fired rubber bullets in an attempt to halt the disputed independence referendum. Despite the hundreds of injuries among citizens and police, the voting continued and reached an overwhelming majority.

   Catalan officials say a majority voted Sunday in favor of independence, but the central government in Madrid has repeatedly condemned the referendum as illegal and invalid.

    Carles Puigdemont, a Catalonian leader, and Spanish President Mariano Rajoy exchanged letters, but ultimately failed to make progress in the conflict, one of the worst in the country since democracy was re-established four decades ago.

   “We must maintain the unity necessary to go all the way along this path towards a republic,” said Regional Vice-President of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras, who also leads the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya party.

California Wildfires

   Beginning on Oct. 8, raging wildfires swept across parts of Northern California, killing at least 40 people and destroying an estimated 217,000 acres of land. The initial cause of the fires has not yet been identified.

   “While we’ve had big fires in the past, this is one of the biggest and most serious, and it’s not over,” said California Gov. Jerry Brown in a press briefing. “That’s the way it is with a warming climate, dry weather and reduced moisture…we have to be prepared to do everything we can to mitigate.”

   About 8,000 local, state and federal firefighters are on the job containing the fires. They have made significant progress, and the evacuees of some state counties have been allowed to return home.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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