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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Seven Saudi activists who have advocated for lifting the ban on women driving and greater women's rights in the kingdom were arrested this week, according to Human Rights Watch.

Why it matters: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has worked hard to portray himself as modernizing the kingdom — including a whistle-stop tour of the United States — but, per Reuters, that reform has "been accompanied by an apparent crackdown on dissent against critics." This also comes after MBS arrested more than 200 prominent Saudis as part of a corruption crackdown that obtained billions for the country's coffers.

Go deeper

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).

Cuomo: "I am not going to resign"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday for acting in a way that made women feel "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he will not resign.

Driving the news: Cuomo reiterated in his first public appearance since sexual harassment allegations surfaced that he will fully cooperate with a team of independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, but suggested that demands for his resignation from were simply "politics."

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.