Taliban Offers to Cut Opium Production in Exchange for U.N. Recognition
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has agreed to eliminate opium production in Afghanistan in exchange for U.N. recognition.
Taliban's Shariat radio reported that Omar told United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brami, "If the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) is accorded recognition without condition by the U.N., the Emirate will seriously ban unconditionally cultivation of poppy throughout the country."
The United Nations Drugs Control program reported that Afghanistan produced approximately 3,269 tons of opium in 1988 and 2,800 tons in 1997. The Taliban imposes a death penalty for citizens who use drugs, yet openly allow the export of opium.
According to the AFP, a U.N. report released on Tuesday said that production of the poppies used to make opium was down 25% this year, but the decrease was not intentional. Bad weather takes the credit for this year's reduced yields.
Media Resources: AFP and Reuters - October 6, 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. . . .