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A protest at the Saudi Consulate in New York against the death penalty in Saudi Arabia last June. Photo: Atlgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia announced in a statement Sunday it has ended the death penalty for crimes committed by minors after "effectively" abolishing floggings. Minors convicted would instead "receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility," the statement said.

The big picture: The kingdom is trying to recast itself in a tourism push to the West as a more liberal destination as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Saudi Vision 2030 plan to reduce its economic dependence on oil. But it has been widely criticized for having one of the world's worst human rights records. Saudi Arabia executed a record 184 people last year, per rights group Amnesty International. The UN said it received reports that three children were executed in May 2019.

Go deeper: Where the death penalty survives around the world

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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