U.S. Oil Company Has Largest Stake in Afghan Pipeline
U.S. oil company Unocal reportedly has the largest stake -- 36.5% -- in a consortium of multinational companies just formed to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan.
The consortium also includes Saudi Arabia's Delta, Russia's Gazprom, Japan's Itochu Corp and Inpex, Pakistan's Crescent Group, and South Korea's Hyundai. The consortium says it wants to start building the pipeline next year and have it completed by the year 2000. The major roadblock is the continued fighting in northern Afghanistan, through which the pipeline will run. The extremist group the Taliban, which has banned women from working and girls from going to school, is battling for control of northern Afghanistan. In the Taliban-occupied territories, women cannot leave their homes unless they are covered from head to toe and escorted by a close male relative. The Taliban recently restricted women's medical care by prohibiting women from being treated in the same hospitals as men, or by male doctors. Women must now go to a hospital building with no running water, no operating room, and staffed by only a few women who have been permitted to work.
Robert Todor, head of Unocal's transport projects in the ex-Soviet states, has said the pipeline construction will not start until Afghanistan has an internationally-recognized government. The Taliban, which controls 2/3 of the country, is attempting to gain international recognition and a United Nations seat. The Feminist Majority and other women's groups are asking the United States government and the United Nations not to recognize the Taliban as long as it continues its gender apartheid.
So far the Taliban has appeared immune to international pressure regarding its treatment of women, and none of the factions fighting in Afghanistan have shown interest in a diplomatic settlement despite the efforts of the head of the U.N. special mission in Afghanistan, Norbert Holl of Germany.
Media Resources: TIME October 13, Reuters - October 23, 25, 26, 1997
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. . . .