Feb 26, 2018

Saudi women to be allowed to join military for first time

Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year-old ban on cinemas last month, one of several progressive reforms the country has recently undergone. Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images.

Women in seven regions will be permitted to serve in the security division of the Saudi Arabian military for the first time, Al Arabiya reports.

Why it matters: They appear to be non-combat positions and applicants must pass a series of tests and meet prerequisites in order to be eligible. Nonetheless, this is yet another reform ushered in by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to return his country to "moderate Islam."

Go deeper: Big reforms are coming to Saudi Arabia this year

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WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 25 mins ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow44 mins ago - World