Two female human rights activists are facing prison sentences in Saudi Arabia for delivering a food parcel to a woman who told them she was imprisoned in her house with her children and unable to get food.
Wajeha al-Huwaider, who has repeatedly defied Saudi laws by posting footage of herself driving on the internet, and Fawzia al-Oyouni, a women’s rights activist, face 10 months in prison and a two-year travel ban after being found guilty on a sharia law charge of takhbib – incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband.
…Campaigners argue the women have been targeted because of their human rights work, and fear that the sentences send out a chilling message to other activists who dare to criticise the repressive regime, under which women cannot drive and can only cycle in recreational areas when accompanied by a male guardian.
“These women are extremely brave and active in fighting for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and this is a way for the Saudi authorities to silence them,” said Suad Abu-Dayyeh, the Middle East and north Africa consultant for Equality Now, which is fighting for the women’s release. “If they are sent to jail it sends a very clear message to defenders of human rights that they should be silent and stop their activities – not just in Saudi Arabia, but across Arab countries. These women are innocent – they should be praised for trying to help a woman in need, not imprisoned.”
The women were arrested in June 2011 after going to the aid of the Canadian national Nathalie Morin, who contacted Huwaider and said her husband was away from their home in the eastern city of Dammam for a week and her supplies of food and water were running out. When they arrived they were immediately arrested and released a day later.
More than a year later, in July 2012, they were called in for further questioning. Huwaider previously said she was repeatedly asked about her involvement in the Women2Drive campaign, which lobbies for women to be allowed to drive in the kingdom. In May 2011 Huwaider and Manal al-Sharif defied Saudi law and gained international media attention by driving a car, posting widely viewed footage on YouTube. She was also asked about a women’s rights protest she organised in 2006 on the King Fahd causeway and her 2009 attempt to cross to Bahrain without the approval of a male guardian…
Following a trial which concluded last month the judge deemed the pair were guilty of “supporting a wife without her husband’s knowledge, thereby undermining the marriage“. Their appeal is to be heard on 12 July and they are asking the Saudi king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, for a pardon.
Life in a theocracy. Please don’t delude yourself into thinking there aren’t any Christians who would practice the same sort of sharia law in the United States – if they thought they could get away with it.
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday launched another battle to pass sweeping abortion restrictions after a marathon speech by a Democrat lawmaker briefly halted a bill critics say could shut most abortion clinics in one of the nation’s biggest states.
Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, once a teenage mother who went on to earn a Harvard Law degree, was propelled on to the national political stage when she spoke for more than 10 hours to block a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It proved a short-lived victory for women’s groups and abortion rights advocates fighting to stop abortion restrictions across several states. Perry called for another special legislative session to reconsider the proposal on July 1…
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Texas Republican. They respect the truth even less than they care for women’s rights.
Davis’ filibuster of the Republican supermajority in the Texas legislature was streamed live on some national media websites.
Republicans managed to stop her about two hours before the midnight end to the special legislative session, citing parliamentary procedures, but they were unable to complete voting on the abortion bill before the deadline…
If the measure ultimately passes, Texas would become the 13th state to impose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and by far the most populous. In addition, the legislation would set strict [phony] health standards for abortion clinics and restrict the use of drugs to end pregnancy.
Republican backers said blah, blah, blah…
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on abortions performed late in pregnancy.
The debate rages across the nation. Twelve states have passed 20-week bans, including two states where the bans take effect later this year, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Courts have alreaady blocked the bans in three of the 12 states – Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.
Folks outside the United States have to understand that the rule of law only means obedience to 19th Century ideology for what passes for Republicans, nowadays. Science, honesty, dialogue, consensus, democracy and respect for all citizens – are meaningless words leftover from some time warp when traditional American conservatism valued those standards.
There have been dramatic scenes in Texas after a bill that threatened to close every abortion clinic in the state was overturned just hours after it was passed.
The law was initially approved by the Republican-controlled senate after a day of extraordinary scenes during which Democrats were accused of attempting to filibuster the bill by embarking on a marathon speech to run the debate out of time.
But Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhust has now reversed his decision after acknowledging Republicans missed the deadline to pass the vote after protesters reportedly shouted them down during the final 15 minutes before the vote deadline.
Republicans insisted they had started voting before the midnight deadline and passed the bill in time. But computer records of the voting were checked and revealed they were out of time.
The new law would have banned abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregnancy and demanded that clinics upgrade their facilities and be reclassified as ‘ambulatory surgical centres’.
The bill also demanded doctors performing abortions must be granted the right to admit patients to their clinic first by a hospital within 30 miles of the premises…
Speaking before the vote, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said: “If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures.”
During the debate women’s rights supporters had screamed protests from the public gallery while in the hall outside the Senate chamber, hundreds more protesters wearing orange T-shirts queued for a seat.
In dramatic scenes Democrat Wendy Davis was accused of filibustering after she began speaking against the bill at 11:18am and was only halted at 10:03pm, less than two hours before the midnight deadline, after three complaints from Republicans.
Senate rules dictate speakers must stay on topic and remain standing without physical support or breaks for meals or to use the bathroom…
Governor Dewhust eventually halted the speech after determining Ms Davis had strayed off topic when she talked about a sonogram bill passed in 2011.
Texas’ miserable bible-thumping governor, Rick Perry, called this special session of the state legislature just to pass the latest attack by Republican political hacks on women’s rights. He didn’t count on women throughout Texas spontaneously marching upon the Republican-controlled state legislature to do everything they could to impede passage of the bill.
Republicans tried everything in their trick bag to stop Wendy Davis. They ruled she was out of order when one of her fellow Democrats helped her put on a back brace to ease the pain of standing, trying to school the ignoranuses before her.
Meanwhile the visitors’ gallery filled with women from all over the state. Lines snaked out to the street of women clamoring to get in to speak out against this reactionary and patriarchal law. And when Ms. Davis was finally forced to relinquish the podium, the mass of women began to shout out individually and collectively from the gallery.
The tumult forced delay after delay until the Republicans were finally defeated by the clock.
UPDATE: These rat-bastard Republicans actually tried to change the time stamp on the voting record printout to save their miserable anti-women law. They were confronted with a side-by-side comparison of the attempted fraud – posted on Twitter.
Women led eight of Washington’s 50 most politically active trade lobby groups and earned about $600,000 less than their male counterparts, according to salary data compiled by Bloomberg.
The female chief executive officers were paid an average of $1.31 million in 2011, compared with $1.93 million paid to the 42 male CEOs. That means they made about 68 cents for every dollar paid to a man — a bigger salary divergence than the 72 cents women earned against every $1 paid to a man in the wider economy, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau…
Washington is “the original boys’ club,” said Lisa Maatz, vice president of government relations for the American Association of University Women, a research group promoting female leadership. “Clearly there’s still a hurdle, a glass ceiling, a bias about leadership roles…”
The salary figures show how discrepancies in opportunities and compensation exist even for the women operating at the highest levels of business, said employment consultant John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas…
“It seems like men and women would have equal lobbying ability — I can’t see why there’d be any difference in pay,” Challenger said. “The most obvious answer is that it’s discrimination…”
The industry groups were ranked by the total amount spent lobbying in Washington during President Barack Obama’s first term, in a Bloomberg Government compilation of documents filed with the U.S. Senate. The 50 associations since 2009 have spent a cumulative $1.85 billion trying to influence legislation on issues including health care, energy independence and tax rates, the data showed.
Even though this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone experienced with how the United States economy is really run – the extra touch of just a bit more anti-woman discrimination in pay, say, compared to industrial workers, puts the icing on America’s corporate cake.
The flunkies out in front of our corporate masters make it clear they will resist change all the way down to the last drop of blood in our bodies.
Smoking may pose a bigger health threat to women than men, say researchers.
Women who smoke have a higher risk of cancer than men, Norwegian investigators found.
They looked at the medical records of 600,000 patients and discovered the bowel cancer risk linked to smoking was twice as high in women than men…Female smokers had a 19% increased risk of the disease while male smokers had a 9% increased risk…
In the study, nearly 4,000 of the participants developed bowel cancer. Women who started smoking when they were 16 or younger and those who had smoked for decades were at substantially increased risk of bowel cancer.
The findings suggest that women may be biologically more vulnerable to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke.
Experts already know that women who start smoking increase their risk of a heart attack by more than men who take up the habit, although it is not clear why…
Although smoking rates have been falling among both sexes, the decline has been less rapid in women…
According to research in more than one million women, those who give up smoking by the age of 30 will almost completely avoid the risks of dying early from tobacco-related diseases.
Sarah Williams of Cancer Research UK said…”For men and women, the evidence is clear – being a non-smoker means you’re less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, lung disease and many other serious illnesses.”
That last sentence says it all.
My sister and I started smoking when she was 10, I was 12. We wanted to be like our parents. I was the only one who quit. You have to break the cultural chain if you’re ever going to beat the thugs who profit from selling addiction.
Now that women are allowed to serve in combat roles, Kristen Tsetsi thinks it’s logical that women also be required to register for Selective Service just like men; and face the same consequences if they don’t.
The Connecticut writer and feminist recently logged onto the Selective Service website to enter her name onto the draft rolls. As soon as she clicked “female” though, she was redirected to a page explaining that women do not register for the draft.
Tsetsi does not accept that.
“Not only should we be equally obligated to defend the country if the need arises and we’re physically capable, but we should be so committed to our value in the military that we’re willing to accept the less glamorous side of our participation, which is registering for the draft,” she told Women’s eNews…
Tsetsi said that requiring women to register for the draft is more than symbolic, given the consequences that men face for not registering.
“It would be mere symbolism if registering for the draft were completely voluntary for men or if it didn’t threaten punishment for those who don’t register,” she said.
Jennifer Burke, a spokesperson for the Selective Service, said that more than 100,000 names and addresses of men suspected of dodging registration were reported to the Department of Justice last year.
The penalties for such men can be tangible, she added. “National headquarters and our data management center receive calls, emails, faxes and letters daily from men who are being denied financial aid, federal jobs, job training, security clearance and citizenship because they failed to register by law,” she said.
Men who fail to register can also be fined up to $250,000, though Burke said that hasn’t actually happened since the 1980s…
“For the existing law to include women in the Selective Service registration process, it would take a change in the law voted by Congress and approved by the president,” she said.
Way too logical for Selective Service or Congress to deal with.
Actually, I like Charlie Rangel’s approach to the whole question. Reinstate the draft. Specify no exemptions for politicians or their children. That alone should cut down on the number of wars our government seems to require.
The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated…It amounted to a significant victory for the president and Congressional Democrats, who have assailed Republicans for months for stalling the legislation.
The successful measure passed the Senate last month with 78 votes — including those of every woman, all Democrats and just over half of Republicans.
The alternative unveiled by the House last Friday immediately came under sharp criticism from Democrats and women’s and human rights groups for failing to include protections in the Senate bill for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse. The House bill also eliminated “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding American Indian women on reservations.
With House Republicans divided, the leadership agreed that it would allow a vote on the Senate bill if the House version could not attract sufficient votes, and it failed on a vote of 257 to 166. Sixty Republicans joined 197 Democrats in opposition; 164 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted for it.
The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land…
The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. House Republicans — even split at the leadership level — ultimately bowed to what they saw as the best interests of their party nationally, even if that meant overriding the will of the majority of rank-and-file Republicans.
“Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Today’s vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the L.G.B.T. community.”
“Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk,” Mr. Obama said…
Various flavors of House Republicans will now spend the next few weeks fabricating the next generation of lies about why they voted against the Senate bill, why they tried to pass a bill riddled with loopholes.
This has been a bill generating automatic bi-partisan support for decades. It has grown in breadth and concern as have the same qualities among American voters. But, now, the nutballs in charge of the Republican Party not only reject growing and learning, they reject bipartisan discussion and negotiation – and most of all – they reject any bill which appears to reflect the leadership of President Obama.
They have the stature that tiny minds deserve. An STD infecting Congress!
Israeli police detained 10 women at one of Judaism’s most sacred sites on Monday for wearing prayer shawls, which Orthodox tradition sees as solely for men, a spokesman said.
The incident at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City highlighted the divisions between the more liberal streams of Judaism and politically powerful Orthodox groups that traditionally limit the role of women in prayer.
Also a graphic illustration of Israel’s fealty to theocracy.
The Western Wall is administered under strict Orthodox ritual law, which bars women from wearing prayer shawls or publicly reading from the holy scriptures.
Among those held was Susan Silverman, a reform rabbi who is a sister of U.S. comedian Sarah Silverman. Two other American citizens and Israeli members of “Women of the Wall”, a group that campaigns for gender equality in religious practice, were also detained.
The group routinely convenes for monthly prayer sessions at the Western Wall, revered by Jews as a perimeter wall of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem. Some of its members have been detained by police in the past for wearing prayer shawls at the site and released without charge.
Susan Silverman…the rabbi said in a telephone interview from the police station where the group was held that they had been among more than 100 women attending the hour-long prayer session…
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for national police, said the women had acted “against regulations set by the High Court”, citing a decision of a decade ago upholding Orthodox rules at the site to avoid friction between worshippers.
‘Nuff said. Avoiding friction by placing the most backwards sects in the nation in charge of law and order is all that can be expected from a court constituted to rubber stamp reactionary politics.
A congresswoman who lost both of her legs while serving in the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq applauded the Pentagon’s decision to to lift combat restrictions on women.
“The decision to allow women to serve in combat will allow the best man or woman on the frontline to keep America safe,” U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said in a statement Wednesday. “As a combat veteran, I know the inclusion of women in combat roles will make America safer and provide inspiration to women throughout our country.”
Duckworth was the first woman injured in combat ever elected to national office, when she ousted former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh – a well known fool – this past November.
Duckworth operated a black hawk helicopter in the war in Iraq, one of the few combat roles open to women at the time, serving as a lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard. In 2004, during a mission north of Baghdad, the helicopter she was co-piloting was ambushed, struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. She lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm in the attack. Duckworth was awarded decorations for her military service, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
“There has always been some level of opposition to increasing the diversity in our military whether it has been minorities or women. It is clear that the inclusion of groups like African Americans and Asians has made our military stronger,” Duckworth added.
And why not women? By the time this is fully implemented in 2015 folks will be busy electing our military’s next commander-in-chief. Quite probably a woman. :)