Over the last year, one million people have fled their homes in Afghanistan to escape the brutal terrorism of the Taliban regime and to seek refuge from the worst drought to hit the country in 20 years. As many as 800,000 internal refugees seek relief within Afghanistan; thousands have crossed the border to neighboring Pakistan in search of relief, only to find death and starvation in this unsympathetic country. The government of Pakistan is using one refugee camp, Jalozai—where 80,000 starving people watch at least one child die daily—as a warning to the throngs of refugees still trying to cross the border, that Pakistan will not support them.
United Nations officials assert millions of dollars are set aside to aid new refugees from Afghanistan and that refusing to accept UN aid makes Pakistan complicit in the death and starvation Afghan refugees endure everyday. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that if the drought in Afghanistan ended tomorrow, food assistance to refugees would need to continue until July 2002.
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. . . .