Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering met recently with the chief representative of Afghanistan's Taliban militia, Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, to demand the expulsion of Saudi millionaire, Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, who has resided in Afghanistan since his 1996 expulsion from the Sudan, is suspected in the August bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Although the Taliban claim to discourage bin Laden's presence in Afghanistan, many Afghans admire him as a heroic warrior who fought against the former Soviet Union during their occuption of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.
The Taliban have offered to put bin Laden on trial in Afghanistan if the U.S. can present them with compelling evidence of his terrorist activities, but they refuse to release him into the custody of any country.
Such an offer appears to be an attempt by the Taliban to put forth a more flexible image in order to gain international acceptance. However, acceptance will not come until the Taliban begin to move toward creating a broad-based government that is accepting of various minorities and remove their harsh restrictions on women.
Media Resources: Reuters - October 21, 1998 and AP - October 22, 1998]
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. . . .