UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held talks last week with the Taliban militia in an attempt to ease the tension between Afghanistan and Iran. The build-up of troops along the Iranian-Afghan border has continued to increase since August, when members of the Taliban killed eight Iranian diplomats while taking control of Mazar-i Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Brahimi reported that the tension between the two countries began to defuse when the Taliban agreed to release all of the Iranian prisoners held in Afghanistan. Although both countries continue to stock their common border with military personnel, the possibility of a face-to-face talk between Iran and the Taliban looks hopeful.
Fighting within Afghanistan shows no sign of ceasing. The ongoing fighting between the Taliban and its opponents has prevented humanitarian groups, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, from entering the country and administering aid which is desperately needed during such heightened conflict.
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. . . .