On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the European Union expressed concern about violence in war-torn Afghanistan, saying "The EU appeals to the warring parties to immediately cease fighting and to return to the negotiating table."
The spokesperson also communicated the EU's concern about high numbers of displaced people in the region and "deteriorating humanitarian conditions." In a statement, the EU "called on those states who interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan to stop" and on "neighboring states to prevent the flow of arms and personnel from and through their countries."
Meanwhile, the United Nations continues to express similar concerns. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan made an appeal for peace last week to the countries bordering Afghanistan. He stated that he hoped they would remain neutral in Afghanistan's civil war because "even as a purely internal conflict, the Afghan crisis is a clear menace to regional peace and stability."
Annan also condemned Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime for expecting aid from the UN while, at the same time committing terrible human rights abuses. He commented, "The parties responsible for such disasters cannot, cynically, commit such criminal acts and then turn to the UN and the international community as a whole to help save their own people from disasters provoked by those who claim to be the country’s leaders."
The UN Security Council is requesting that peace negotiations resume under the auspices of the United Nations.
The Taliban recently reiterated its support for Osama bin Laden, whom the U.S. government has accused of masterminding the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year.
Media Resources: Agence France Press - August 6 and August 10, 1999
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. . . .