Saudi Arabia said Monday that it will enforce a law that allows only females to work in women's lingerie and apparel stores, despite disapproval from the country's top cleric.
The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly because of the views of hard-liners in the religious establishment, who oppose the whole idea of women working in places where men and women congregate, such as malls.
Veteran war correspondent Anthony Shadid spent much of the past decade in Baghdad covering the Iraq war, first for The Washington Post and then for The New York Times. Last December, Shadid left Baghdad for his home in Beirut, Lebanon, where he's been based for more than a decade.
In two interviews, today, NPR's Robert Siegel got reaction from Hamas and the Israeli government over a prisoner swap deal that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.
When Robert asked Osama Hamdan, a senior official from the Hamas international relations department, what the deal meant for future relations between Hamas and Israel, Hamdan said it "depends on the Israeli side."
A newly minted peace deal between rival Palestinian factions is already fraying. Fatah, which rules the West Bank, and the militant group Hamas, which holds sway in Gaza, have been at odds since a civil war broke out in Gaza in 2007.
Last month, the groups signed a reconciliation agreement. The two factions were supposed to announce the composition of a unity government in Cairo this week, but the meeting was postponed following disagreements over who should assume the post of prime minister.
Fridays in Riyadh are usually slow and lazy, as the sprawling city only begins to wake up after the noon prayers. But this past Friday, a women's rights issue that's been brewing for decades spilled onto the streets.