The United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail failed to persuade Burma's military junta to release detained pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi. Suu Kyi was recently placed under house arrest after being discharged from the hospital after undergoing major surgery. According to the Washington Post, Suu Kyi was held for three months in an undisclosed location before her surgery and has been under house arrest since returning from the hospital.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged Burma's junta to free Suu Kyi. According to the Washington Post, Annan stated, "The three-year-old home-grown process of national reconciliation, as understood by the United Nations, has come to a complete halt" due to Suu Kyi's arrest and "unless the parties concerned are able to engage in substantive dialogue, the international community will have to conclude that the home-grown national reconciliation process no longer exists."
Suu Kyi also endured house arrest from 1989 to 1995 after she emerged as a leader of the pro-democracy opposition movement. The military regime refused to honor the results of the 1990 election during which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) garnered an overwhelming majority of the popular vote.
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. . . .