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]
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. . . .