No Supply Route Might Mean Disaster for Afghan Refugees
The United Nations relief coordinator for Afghanistan predicts disaster this winter unless the Taliban agrees to provide a safe route to deliver food, fuel, and shelter supplies to the northern Panjshir Valley. Military operations are being carried out in this region of Afghanistan, as a coalition of forces resists the Taliban's control of the war-torn nation.
According to Eric De Mul, U.N. offical, the Taliban has terrorized the Panjshir Valley with executions, forced displacements, and the abduction of women. The Taliban now controls most of the nation, enforcing brutal laws that literally imprison women in their own homes.
In the Panjshir Valley, the 145,000 permanent residents struggle to support the 65,000 refugees who have poured into the region. With only two passes into the valley, and those closed in the snowy season, aid is crucial in this region. De Mul added that the Security Council's recent decision to impose commercial sanctions against the Taliban should not affect humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Media Resources: New York Times - November 4, 1999
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .