Three United Nations election workers, two women and a man, were freed unharmed this morning after being abducted from a United Nations vehicle last month in Afghanistan. Shqipe Hebibi from Kosova, Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, and Angelito Nayan, a Filipino diplomat, were kidnapped on a busy street in Kabul by armed men on October 28. They were the first foreigners abducted in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Their abductions raise fear that they could be the start of a string of deadly kidnappings that are similar to what has been occurring in Iraq.
Meanwhile, a Polish woman who was abducted in Iraq last month has also been freed. Teresa Borcz-Khalifa, a resident of Iraq for 30 years, was kidnapped from her home by the Abu Bakr al-Seddiq Salafist Brigades, reports Reuters. Last week, Margaret Hassan, a humanitarian aid worker with CARE International and long-time resident of Iraq, was killed. A mutilated body of a Western woman was found in Falluja that has still not been identified.
Several leading international aid organizations have suspended operations in Iraq as a result of the increased attacks against aid workers, including CARE International, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Rescue Committee.
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. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .