Taliban Forces Take Control of Northwestern Faryab Province
Taliban forces have broken through opposition forces in Northwestern Afghanistan and have taken control of Mailman, the capital of the Northern Faryab province, the Afghan Islamic press reported last Sunday. A Taliban spokesperson said over 2,000 soldiers broke through Northern Alliance front lines, taking hundreds of war prisoners faithful to Usbeck leader General Rashid Dostum. According to the Afghan press the fundamentalist, religious group, which now controls over two-thirds of Afghanistan, swept the Faryab province and are further advancing on Dostum's remaining military strongholds. Up until now, Northern Alliance forces, racked with internal fighting among members, have managed to restrain Taliban soldiers from capturing the majority of the northern provinces.
The Taliban militia group is not recognized by the U.N., but rules 85 percent of Afghanistan. The group has issued decrees that amount to gender apartheid and the blatant eradication of women's human rights, including: prohibiting women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a husband, son or father, requiring women to wear a head-to-toe covering called a burqa, forbidding women and girls to attend school or to receive care from a male doctor that is not a relative.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .