Afghan Parliamentary Elections Delayed Until September; Bomb Blast Kills Five
Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that the parliamentary elections that were scheduled to take place in May will be postponed until September, citing technical problems for the delay. The parliamentary vote has been delayed several times over the past year due to security and logistical concerns.
According to the Associated Press, minutes before US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President Karzai held a joint press conference announcing the delay, a bomb exploded in the southern city of Kandahar, killing at least five people and injuring 32. The Afghan police are blaming Taliban-led militants for the attack.
At the press conference, Secretary Rice stated that the US “will stand by the Afghan people as they go through the next state in their democratic development, the parliamentary elections that will take place this fall.” However, Rice did not mention that security continues to be a major obstacle to the rebuilding of democracy and reconstruction of the country. Winter weather in Afghanistan has claimed more than 600 lives, mainly children, due to a lack of roads for aid workers and military units to reach remote villages in the western and north-eastern parts of the country, reports . Reports have also been received that 1.5 million Afghans in Kabul are without shelter, with many dying from the brutal cold this winter.
Media Resources: The Associated Press 3/17/05; CNN 3/17/05; Reuters 3/16, 3/17/05; BBC News 3/14/05
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. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .