Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to discuss, among other issues, the future of Afghanistan if the Taliban is ousted as a result of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. While Powell openly condemned the Taliban, according to the Washington Post, he also suggested that aspects of the Taliban may be incorporated into a reconstructed Afghan government. “There are many people within the Taliban movement who will still be there,” Powell said. “They’re not all leaving the country, so I hope…the international community will be able to put together something that will appeal to all of the Afghan people.” Powell expects that the United Nations will play a leading role, and Richard Haass, State Department Director of Policy Planning, will meet with UN officials and U.S. allies to discuss the situation this week.
The Feminist Majority is concerned about the preservation of some of the Taliban and their inclusion in the decision-making process as it is necessary to establish a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan where women have equal rights such as they did under the Constitution of 1964. The Feminist Majority has been pushing for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and the inclusion of women in the formation of a new Afghan government. Women make up sixty to seventy percent of Afghanistan’s total population. Before the Taliban instituted its harsh rule of gender apartheid, women were the majority of teachers, healthcare workers, and students. According to Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, “If civil society is to be rebuilt in Afghanistan and the rogue state that has been sustained by drug trafficking is to be brought to an end, all citizens – especially those in the healthcare and education fields – must be utilized….The United States would be repeating a tragic mistake if it again turns to another set of extremists as it did to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and chooses a dictatorship as the most expedient strategy to replace the Taliban. The restoration of a broad-based democracy, representative of both ethnic minorities and women, with women at the table, is necessary to break the back of a terrorist and a war-torn existence.”
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .