As the controversy swarms around the Talibanís refusal to release 24 humanitarian aid workers from custody, new reports of human rights abuses are emerging from one of the countryís poorest and most remote regions. According to refugee accounts, Taliban militants have set fire to businesses and villages in Yakawlang, Bamiyin, and the surrounding areas as recently as this June. The Taliban is also believed to have killed at least 170 men and teenage boys in January, after opposing forces took control of Yakawlang. Additional reports of mass murder and burnings have surfaced in recent weeks indicating that the fundamentalist militant group shot as many as 130 men, women, and children in recent military maneuvers, including several men who were trying to get back to their homes to tend their crops.
Given that Afghans are facing their fourth year of severe drought, those crops, along with continuing humanitarian aid, will be critical to civilian survival in the upcoming winter. However, as tension mounts between relief workers and Taliban officials, fear is growing that aid agencies may soon decide to leave. More than $300 million from countries and relief agencies around the world is currently provided to Afghan civilians.
Media Resources: BBC, 8/20/01; New York Times, 8/23/01
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .