U.S. to Consider Humanitarian Aid to Afghan Refugees; Many Fear Worst Is Yet to Come
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans continue to attempt to flee Afghanistan in fear of US retaliation against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. However, the situation is being exacerbated by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan brought on by a 3-year drought, food shortage, border closings, and the Taliban’s repressive regime. The U.N. has confirmed pre-famine conditions in Afghanistan. Some 5.5 million single Afghan women are in need of food. Some have turned to eating grass and animal fodder. About one hundred thousand Afghan refugees are already waiting at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which has been closed since last weekend. Tens of thousands had already fled after September 11 before the borders closed. Some 3.5 million refugees were already in Pakistan with little food, clothing, and shelter. U.N officials estimate that about 75% of Afghan refugees are women and children. Senior official for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Yusuf Hassan declared, “The situation is far worse than it has ever been.”
During the next two weeks, the Senate Foreign Operations Committee will move to increase U.S. humanitarian aid, the world’s largest source, to Afghan refugees. To date the U.S. has contributed $131 million to the Afghan humanitarian crisis and is the largest donor. Other countries have also just announced aid packages for Afghan refugees. Japan pledged $40 million Friday, as well as Australia who has committed $14 million. All aid will be distributed through international human service agencies and international non-governmental organizations, such as the International Red Cross.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .