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Saudi Arabia eases travel restrictions on women

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Saudi Arabia on Tuesday began implementing a landmark reform allowing women over the age of 21 to receive passports and travel abroad without permission from a male “guardian”, authorities said.

The reform, announced earlier this month, weakens the restrictive guardianship system that has long been a symbol of repression against women.

“The passport department has started receiving applications for women aged 21 and above to issue or renew passports and to travel outside the kingdom without permission,” the department said on Twitter.

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Women in the kingdom have long required permission from their male “guardians” — husband, father and other male relatives — for these tasks, a restriction that drew international censure.

The reform comes after high-profile attempts by women to escape alleged guardianship abuse despite a string of reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including a landmark decree last year that overturned the world’s only ban on women drivers.

In other changes unveiled earlier this month, Saudi women were also granted the right to officially register childbirth, marriage or divorce and to be recognised as a guardian to children who are minors ?- same as men.

The reforms were widely celebrated in the kingdom, but they also drew backlash from arch-conservatives, many of whom shared old video sermons on social media by Saudi clerics advocating guardianship laws.

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Some also denounced the change as “unIslamic” in a society that traditionally sees men as protectors of women.

The reform comes as the OPEC petroleum producer reels from low oil prices and seeks to boost employment opportunities for women ?- currently facing chronic joblessness.


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WATCH: Corey Lewandowski fumes after Sheila Jackson rips him apart for hiding the truth about Trump

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As part of its investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the House Judiciary Committee called Corey Lewandowski — a key witness in the probe’s report — for a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

But Lewandowski — the president’s former campaign manager known for aggressively manhandling a reporter in 2016 — was committed to making a mockery of the proceedings. The White House had said, on highly dubious legal grounds, that it was exerting privilege over Lewandowski’s communications with Trump and that he would only directly address matters already revealed in the Mueller report. He decided to follow this direction.

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US Justice Department sues Snowden over new book

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The US Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Edward Snowden seeking to prevent the former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor from profiting from his new book.

The civil lawsuit against Snowden, who is living in Russia after leaking information about the US government's mass surveillance program, accuses him of violating non-disclosure agreements he signed with the CIA and NSA.

The lawsuit says Snowden published his book, "Permanent Record," which went on sale on Tuesday, without submitting it to the agencies first for pre-publication review.

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Committee laughs out loud as Lewandowski claims he didn’t follow Trump order because he was on ‘vacation’

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Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski faced laughter from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday after he claimed that he decided not to follow the president's orders because he was on "vacation."

At the Tuesday hearing, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked Lewandowski why he "chickened out" and refused to deliver a secret message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions from President Donald Trump. According to the Mueller report, Trump wanted Sessions to publicly declare that the Russia investigation was "very unfair" to him.

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