Cheers and Jeers

The Pope Blinks; Afghan Police Harass Women

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pope Francis announces Catholic Church should have less focus on abortion and gay marriage; three women in Pakistan slain in honor killing.




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Credit: By JustOneMoreBook! Children's Book Podcast on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

Pope Francis said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown "obsessed" with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics, reported . The Pope also said he wishes to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a "home for all" and not a "small chapel" focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.

Coca-Cola launched a plan to empower 5 million female entrepreneurs by 2020 called 5by20, reported, . A new report by the Harvard Kennedy Business School called the plan "ambitious," and showed that since its inception, the Coca-Cola Corporation has reached out to 300 thousand female producers, distributors, retailers, suppliers, recyclers and artisans. In partnership with UN Women, the initiative has set up various startup business programs for women businesses to boost their incomes.

Home care workers, 90 percent of whom are women, are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Sept. 17. The Department of Labor ruling, which goes into effect on January 2015, makes home health aides eligible for minimum wage and overtime protections. "This is a tremendous victory for home care aides, a workforce earning near-poverty wages while providing vital personal care and health-related services to America's elders and people living with disabilities," Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI National, a group advocating for home health aides, .

More News to Cheer This Week:

Robert Gene Garza, 30-year-old former South Texas street gang member, was executed Thursday evening, Sept. 17, for his involvement in a gang ambush in which four women were gunned down 11 years ago, reported, . Garza became the 12th condemned inmate executed this year in Texas, which carries out capital punishment more than any other state.

After a decade, the maternal mortality rate for Republic of Congo has dropped by 50 percent, with the most significant fall occurring over the last two years, reported . Doctors suggest that the improvements made in the Republic of Congo are a direct result of a presidential decree in 2011 that made cesarean procedures, previously costing upwards of $500, free of charge.

Following a recent release of data by the Department of Defense on the epidemic of sexual assault, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she wants to remove the reporting and prosecution of rape, sexual assault, and other serious crimes from the chain of command--a change she and victims' advocates say will encourage more victims to come forward--and is meeting fierce resistance by military leaders, reported, .

A U.S. appeals court ruled Sept. 17 that a for-profit manufacturing corporation must cover birth control in its employee health plan despite the religious beliefs of the company's owners, reported. The decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals represents a victory for the Obama administration in a series of ongoing fights over the contraception policy, which critics see as a violation of religious freedom.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot by the Taliban for championing girls' education, has been nominated for the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize, Singapore's reported . Malala, who has become emblematic of the fight against the most radical forms of Islam, is backed by the three main political groups in Parliament, making her a favorite.

Human Rights lawyer and a former winner of the Sakharov human rights prize, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was released from an Iranian prison, France's reported . The announcement was posted by her husband on Facebook.

Australian women aged over 65 have been starting their own businesses at a rate higher than any other age group over the last decade, Australia's reported . Over the last year, the number of over-65 female business owners jumped by about 15 percent, compared to 1 percent growth by men in the same age bracket. Bankwest business banking general manager Sinead Taylor said the figures showed older Australian women were looking for ways to boost their retirement incomes.

McKesson Medical-Surgical began nationwide distribution of MASCT device, a non-invasive breast cancer detector kit, reported . The device enables a collection of breast fluid that can be sent for analysis to the National Reference Laboratory for Breast Health. The MASCT device may reduce the high rates of breast cancer via early detection screening without the risk of invasive procedures, akin to the Pap smear that dramatically cut cervical cancer rates.

In an attempt to prevent premature sexualization of young girls, the French senate ruled beauty pageants for 16-year-olds and younger illegal, reported .

Sushma Verma, 13, from a poor family in northern India, has enrolled in a master's-degree program in microbiology, reported . Verma graduated high school at age 7, finished college by 13, and is set to begin her post-grad studies at Lucknow's B.R. Ambedkar Central University next week. Her father has sold his land to pay for the tuition; one of the family's many sacrifices that Verma says made it possible for her to attend school.

Time Magazine named Nancy Gibbs as the top editor for the newsweekly, reported . Gibbs is the first women to have the job in Time's 90-year history. Her tenure began with the Aug. 5 issue. In January, Time Inc. named Martha Nelson as editor in chief of the magazine division. She is Time Inc.'s seventh Editor-in-Chief and the first woman to hold the role.

Shirin Gerami became the first Iranian female triathlete to compete at the world championship in London, the Middle East's reported . Organizers had set up a makeshift tent for Gerami to change into her running and cycling clothes after swimming. By maintaining Islamic dress code, Gerami was allowed to compete. President of Iran,
Hassan Rouhani
, tweeted his congratulations.

"Wajda," directed by Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker, Haifaa al Mansour, is the Kingdom's Oscar entry, reported . The film is about a young girl in pursuit of a bicycle who enters a Quran reciting competition in hopes of using the monetary award to make the purchase.

Jeers

Female Afghan police officers say sex harassment by male colleagues is rife, a U.N. report finds, reported . About 90 percent of the policewomen interviewed described sexual harassment and sexual violence as a serious problem. About 70 percent said that they had personally suffered from sexual harassment or sexual violence themselves.

In related news, a 45-year-old Afghan officer, Second Lieutenant Negara, was fatally shot in the neck by unknown assailants on her way home from work, reported on . Negara's superior, Third Lieutenant Islam Bibi, was gunned down in July 2013. While female officers have suffered high degrees of violence in the past two years, the integration of women into the police force has helped lower domestic violence.

More News to Jeer This Week:

With one vote on Friday, the Republican-led House launched the latest spending battle in Congress, reported, . The House passed a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for Obamacare. The measure now goes to the Democratic-led Senate, which is certain to reject the provision that defunds President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement of his first term.

After two senior female Ukip members joked that they did not clean behind the fridge, as Politician Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom said it was where women belonged, he joyfully shouted: "This place is full of sluts.", reported, . Confronted by journalists outside the event at the Ukip conference in Westminster, Bloom defended his comment as "a joke", and insisted all the women at the event had taken it in good humor.

Relatives shot dead three women in the tribal area of Northwest Pakistan after one of them left her husband, the reported . A 22-year-old woman from Karachi who married a shopkeeper about two years ago was accused of fleeing her husband's house and marrying another man in the Swat valley. Her aunt and cousin were accused of helping her. The local tribal council intervened and decided that the women should be killed.

Census data show the gap between men's and women's wages remaining the same since 2002, the reported . The ratio of pay for women and men who work full-time jobs is 77 cents to $1, resulting in women's annual income loss of $11,500.

Venezuelan women are dying from silicone injections administered in the buttocks, reported .

More than 2 million men registered as "sugar daddies" on the dating website , are seeking cash-strapped female college students to pay their tuition fees or pay off their loans in return for sexual favors, reported . The founder and CEO of the website, Brandon Wade, said these students account for 44 percent of the site's so-called sugar babies who receive an average of $3,000 a month from their "sugar daddies."

A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy will be on the Albuquerque, N.M., ballot in November, reported . If passed it would be the first municipal abortion ban in the country.

Noted:

The first private human egg bank in England opened its doors, reported . The bank will pay women $1,200 for their eggs.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he will take personal responsible for women's policies with assistance from Michaelia Cash, the West Australian senator. While Abbott said he made the move to show the high priority he places on women's issues, a commentator for Australia's on Sept. 19 said she saw a move to restrict women's rights.

A Chinese hospital spearheading a study on human papilloma virus (HPV), advertised a need for young women between the ages of 18 and 24 and who never engaged in sexual intercourse, the reported . A public outcry ensued. The call for women and not men stirred suspicions of sacrificial virgin worship. The hospital spokeswoman said women who have not had sex are ideal control subjects because they have less of a chance at contracting the virus than do men.

A Canadian study revealed that aboriginal women with a modest educational background are four times more likely to suffer from domestic abuse than non-aboriginal women, reported .

In a London courthouse Judge Peter Murphy ruled that a 22-year-old woman must unveil her face if she is to give evidence, reported . Should the defendant not remove her niqab, a fabric covering the face that only reveals one's eyes, she is liable to be charged with contempt of court.

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