At a two-day conference this week in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told international donors his country’s reconstruction may now cost as much as US$15 billion to US$20 billion, according to new estimates. Citing agricultural devastation, decrepit infrastructure, and widespread fighting throughout the region, Karzai told attendees, “The needs of Afghanistan as we know it today are much greater than what was estimated for us in the Tokyo conference,” reported the Associated Press. UN envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi agreed, adding, ”Security must improve this year. Failing this, the recovery and reconstruction process…risks being undermined.” To date, international donors have given US$2 billion of US$4.5 billion promised over five years.
Amnesty International (AI) released a report yesterday urging overhaul of the country’s police force. Citing documented instances of police brutality, arbitrary arrest and bribery, AI reported a critical need for police supplies and equipment as well as “in service” training. Germany has assisted with policing training, but only for the academy in Kabul, according to the New York Times.
With winter in Afghanistan coming to an end, hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees are returning home from Pakistan, according the UN High Commissioner for Refugees earlier this week. The agency expects roughly 600,000 refugees to return this year, down from 1.5 million last. However, the outlook in Afghanistan remains bleak. According to the Times, student enrollment at madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, are anticipating growth, recruiting children refugees—many of whom have resorted to collecting recyclables in garbage. The Times reports that roughly 60 percent of an estimated 10,000 madrasas are operated by the radical sect Deobandi that created the Taliban.
12/18/2014 American Apparel Hired Its First-Ever Woman Chief Executive to Replace Dov Charney - Six months after retail store American Apparel fired its chief executive and founder Dov Charney, the company has hired retail executive Paula Schneider as a replacement.
Schneider, who will become American Apparel's first female chief executive, will take over the position as of January 5.
Charney had led American Apparel since 1998 and became well-known from American Apparel's sexist advertising and from several sexual harassment lawsuits and sexual assault accusations against him by former employees. . . .
12/18/2014 Obama's Judicial Appointments Most Diverse in History - Congress came to a close on Tuesday night with the Senate confirmation of 12 new federal judges and 12 executive appointments - including Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General, Sarah Saldana as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Tony Blinken as deputy Secretary of State. . . .