France Hosts Diplomatic Talks With Brutal Taliban Regime
In a rare move in France diplomacy, senior French officials invited Taliban officials to diplomatic talks in Paris last week. The move has put France at odds with other NATO countries who have refused to acknowledge the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan. Senior French officials claim that the meeting was held to initiate peace discussions with the Taliban in an effort to stabilize Afghanistan. Yet France holds major oil and gas interests in the South Asian region whose productivity and ability to transport relies heavily upon Afghanistan. For example, French oil company TotalFinaEfl has a $2 billion (USD) deal for the largest gas reserve in Iran. Reports indicate that France is interested in building a gas pipeline from Iran to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan. Oil and gas interests have apparently superseded France's human rights agenda that has, until this point, refused to acknowledge the Taliban. Women's rights groups globally have urged that human rights abuses and the practice of gender apartheid imposed on the women and girls living in Afghanistan should remain a constant focal point of foreign policy matters and business in the refusal to officially recognize the Taliban. Only three countries in the world officially recognize the brutal regime: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates all of whom have questionable human rights practices.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .