The U.S. House of Representatives voted 408-6 in favor of the Clean Diamond Trade Act, which would give the President the power to impose sanctions on countries that sell diamonds illegally to fund regional conflict and terrorist activities. The Act also prohibits countries from exporting diamonds to the United States unless they have implemented a system of controls to ensure that the diamonds are from a legitimate source. The diamonds at issue are so-called “blood diamonds” which have been traded to raise funds for rebel groups in Sierra Leone and Angola. The United States had been opposed to large-scale international efforts to curb the sale of blood diamonds until the Washington Post reported that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda may have made millions in profits from the illicit diamond trade to conduct its terrorist activities in Afghanistan and throughout the world.
The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone is perhaps the most well-known rebel group to use money from blood diamonds to fund its activities, which included massive human rights abuses and intimidation techniques such as the amputation of arms, legs, and fingers of children and others. The RUF denies that it has ever had links to bin Laden or al Qaeda. According to the Washington Post, the diamond trade produces an estimated $6 billion annually.
Media Resources: New York Times, 11/29/01; Thomas; Washington Post, 11/28/01; Agence-France Press, 11/3/01
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .