Afghan Law Revised; 80 Girls Kidnapped in China

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Cheers and Jeers

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

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Justice ministry officials in Afghanistan changed a controversial law on July 8 that had provided that husbands could rape their wives without fear of punishment. The law, which originally read “a woman must be ready to have sex with her husband every four days,” has been revised to “a woman is required to do any housework that the couple agreed to at the time of marriage,” the Associated Press reported on July 8.

The revision also removed a condition that required women to ask their husband’s permission in order to leave the house. The revisions must still be passed through Parliament.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The U.N. World Food Program, in conjunction with the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (Germany Development Bank), will distribute $8.4 million worth of food rations to 65,000 pregnant and lactating women in the areas of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kitui and Kisumu in Kenya, reported the Xinhua General News Service of China on July 7. These are areas in Kenya where the rates of malnutrition are high.
  • The arranged marriage of an 11-year-old girl to a 40-year-old man in Saudi Arabia has been annulled after pressure from child right’s advocates and the intervention of Saudi Arabia’s National Human Rights Society, Media Line reported July 9. The marriage was brought to the public’s attention by the young girl’s older siblings–two brothers, 18 and 19, and a 20-year-old sister–who claimed their father was “adamant in his decision,” the article reported. Despite numerous debates over a minimum age for marriage, one has not been implemented in Saudi Arabia.
  • The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre received $3.5 million from New Zealand Aid on July 8, the Fiji Times reported. The nonprofit will use the money to build a new center in the district of Rakiraki, as well as to improve services throughout the organization’s branches in the cities of Suva, Nadi and Ba. These branches respond to 1000 to 1500 cases each year, the article reported.
  • Marie Curie, a Polish nuclear physicist and chemist who lived from 1867 to 1934, was voted the most influential woman in science, L’Oreal and Newscientists.com announced on July 2. The poll, which was taken by 800 people, named the 10 most influential female scientists. Following Curie, who discovered the elements polonium and radium and received two Noble prizes, were Rosalind Franklin and Hypatia of Alexandria. To see the entire list of winners, visit http://www.womeninscience.co.uk/bios.php



Jeers

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About 80 newborn girls have been forcibly taken from the Guizhou Province of China since 2001 and sold to foreign adoptive parents for $3,000 each, the China Daily reported July 3. The selling of these baby girls is said to be the result of a policy in which farming families in China must pay fines if they have more than two children; if they cannot pay the fines, the government will take their children.

It is believed that the Chinese authorities forged documents saying that the girls were orphans, sold them to foreign adopters and split the profits between the orphanage and officials, the article reported.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A new Amnesty International report shows that poor and indigenous pregnant women in Peru are being denied the same health care that other women in the area receive. This is leading to high maternal mortality numbers among these women. The U.N. reports that 240 per every 100,000 women die during childbirth in Peru, one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Americas, CNN reported on July 9.
  • A study conducted by the University of Granada, Spain, found that men who listen to sexist jokes are more accepting of violence against women, Asian News International reported on July 3. The study, which looked at 109 men ages 18 to 26, found that those who listened to sexist jokes and were then shown scenes of battered women reacted much more tolerantly towards the violence than men who didn’t hear these jokes, reported Asian News International.
  • About 1 in 4 pregnant women on Medicaid who would prefer to end their pregnancy is compelled to continue their pregnancies because of state laws restricting Medicaid funding for abortion, according to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia allow Medicaid funds to be used for an abortion only in cases of rape and incest, or if a woman’s life is endangered; only 17 states have policies to use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions, reported Health News Digest on July 8.
  • Wimbledon event organizers admitted that they purposely scheduled only “pretty” female tennis players, as opposed to some top-ranked competitors, on the Center Court at this year’s 123 Wimbledon Championship at the All-England Club in London, reported the Examiner July 8. For example, Dinara Safina and Serena Williams, the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world, were placed on Court 2, while tall, slender, lower-ranked, blond athletes were assigned to the Center Court, the article reported.
  • An Egyptian woman was stabbed 18 times in a Germany court room last week, BBC reported July 6. Marwa Sherbini, 31, was attacked during a trial in which she was speaking out against “Alex W,” a man who called her a terrorist because she wears a headscarf. Prosecutors said Alex W. was known for having a deep hatred of Muslims, reported the BBC. The murder is being mourned throughout Egypt. Sherbini, who was pregnant with her second child, is being called the Headscarf Martyr, the article reported.
  • A new report by the British Medical Journal found that one-third of all women diagnosed with breast cancer in public screening programs in Britain are being treated unnecessarily with harmful treatments. The study says that in these cases, the tumor is growing so slowly, or is completely dormant, that it will not affect the patient. However, the treatments received for these tumors can be harmful, reported the Associated Press July 8.

Noted:

New research shows that taking pills by the mouth to induce abortion, instead of taking them vaginally, decreases the risk of infection, the New York Times reported July 8. The new study was conducted and paid for by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. The study also found that antibiotics administered during the abortion process reduced the already low rate of potential deadly infections. It is still unclear as to how these findings will impact medical practices, reported the article.

Kayla Hutzler, a Journalism major at Manhattan College, is an editorial intern with Women’s eNews.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.




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