Registration to Run in Afghanistan Elections Closed This Week
Registration wrapped up on October 6 for both the Afghanistan presidential and provincial council elections. Twenty-seven candidates have registered for the presidential race, and 2,327 candidates registered to run for the provincial council, including 240 women. Every one of the country's 34 provinces has one or more women candidates running in that election.
Of the presidential candidates, one is a woman, Khadija Ghaznawi. Each presidential candidate is running with two vice presidents, at least seven of whom are women. Most of the presidential candidates discussed peace talks and good governance as the focus of their platforms, but policy priorities will become clearer when campaigning officially begins on February 2.
Included in the slate of contenders is Abdullah Abdullah, former Afghanistan Foreign Minister from 2001 until 2005, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, former Finance Minister from 2002 until 2004. Qayum Karzai, the brother of current president Hamid Karzai, is also running. President Karzai, who has run the country since the 2001 invasion that ousted the Taliban, is not entitled to run for a third term.
Also registered to run for president is Gul Agha Sherzai, a former warlord and provincial governor, who, NPR reports, is accused of drug trafficking and pedophilia. Adbul Rabb Rasul Sayyaf, credited with bringing Al-Qaeda to Afghanistan, has also registered. Sayyaf has long been suspected of human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch reported in 2003 that Sayyaf was known for his sometimes violent political intimidation tactics. The report noted that many Afghan women in the southeast, where Sayyaf is based, believe that Sayyaf opposes women's rights and supports further restrictions on Afghan women.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .