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September 29, 2017

1. Northeastern Nigeria averts famine: UN

Worse hasn’t come to worst, for now. This week the United Nations said northeastern Nigeria has avoided famine, in large part due to international assistance. This doesn’t mean food crises are ending, though. More than five million people in the region are facing extreme hunger, along with people in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. In these four countries, ongoing violence linked to Boko Haram and extreme weather linked to climate change are two major factors in perpetuating and exacerbating food insecurity.

Meanwhile, people in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somaliland continue to face food crisis and severe drought.

2. Saudi Arabia lifts driving ban on women

She’s taking the wheel. As of June 2018, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to drive without getting arrested, going to jail, or losing their jobs. Prior to King Salman’s announcement on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had been the only country in the world to ban women from driving. People around the world are seeing this as a step towards increased mobility for Saudi women, but in Saudi’s heavily patriarchal society, the pace at which change happens is yet to be seen.

3. New app monitors deforestation in real time

No WiFi? No problem. A new mobile app allows users to monitor deforestation with “real-time satellite maps and data”, regardless of connectivity. Targeted at people in remote areas in 17 countries across the tropics, the app also lets users draw land boundaries and report encroachments. These features may be key for indigenous communities fighting to protect their lands and land rights.