Deborah Amos

When 31 governors called for a ban on Syrian refugees coming into the U.S. after last November's terrorist attacks in Paris, it united faith-based communities across the country. They are challenging the wave of opposition to these refugees by taking a leading role in resettling them.

The Obama administration is on track to make its goal of admitting and resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of September, despite concerns that Islamic militants could enter with them.

"The current pace of arrivals will continue thru the end of this fiscal year so we may exceed 10,000," said Anne Richard, assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "For next year, we will continue to welcome large numbers of Syrians."

Here's something that never used to happen in Saudi Arabia:

In the wake of the crisis with Iran, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's deputy crown prince and defense minister, as well as King Salman's favored son, gave a five-hour interview to a reporter from The Economist, and the British news magazine published the entire transcript.

I first saw Saudi Arabian women "pushing normal" before I knew this concept had a name. I was walking down Tahlia Street in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It's a trendy weekend hangout spot, a strip of fast food burger and brand name coffee shops popular with young Saudi men.

It was striking to see three young women stride down this all-male domain defying the kingdom's conservative social codes enforced by the religious police and the judgments of family and neighbors.

The first Saudi Arabian women to vote celebrated with hugs and selfies and lingered at the polls to share the moment on Saturday. Women won only 20 seats out of more than 2,000 in local councils across the country, but it was more than the candidates expected.

In the western coastal city of Jeddah, one winner was Lama al-Suleiman, a prominent businesswoman and British-trained biochemist. She says the toughest campaign battle was fighting tradition in a male-dominated society.

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