Sudan Reporter Beats Rap; Lawmaker Tells of Trysts

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Cheers and Jeers

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

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Outspoken Sudanese journalist and former United Nations worker, Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein was released September 8 after being convicted the night before and facing up to a month in prison. It is unclear why she was released. Al-Hussein had been jailed for refusing to pay a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds, the equivalent of $200.

Hussein was arrested on July 3 for wearing pants in a cafe in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. According to the country’s penal code, Hussein violated Article 152, which states that a person can be fined and receive up to 40 lashes for the offense. She resigned from the U.N. so that she could stand trial and draw attention to women’s rights in Sudan.

The journalist wore the very same green pants she wore the day of her arrest to her hearing on September 7. She told the Associated Press, “I will not pay a penny.” On the day of her hearing, Sudanese security forces had to fight back al-Hussein supporters; they injured some of the supporters and detained 47 women, CNN reported.

Al-Hussein said that she will continue to wear pants and plans to appeal the conviction. Mohieddin Titawi, chairman of the journalists’ union, said that his organization had paid the fine because it is their responsibility to “protect journalists when they are in prison,” Reuters reported.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Starting next year, Taiwanese women over the age of 40 may be eligible to receive free breast cancer screenings, announced Chao Li-yun on September 6. She is a legislator with the Taiwanese political party Kuomintang. Currently free screenings are available to women starting at age 50, but increasingly younger women develop the disease. In fact, women between the ages of 40 to 49 are the most susceptible, reported Taiwan News. This change will funded with the equivalent of $7.27 million U.S. dollars allocated by The Bureau of Health Promotion’s 2010 budget, according to Li-yun. However, the age for free screenings will only be lowered to 40 if the central government’s overall budget plan is passed by legislature, reported the China Post. “Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the fourth leading cause of death among Taiwanese women,” said Li-yun.



Jeers

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California Assemblyman Michael Duvall resigned September 9 after a video surfaced in which he was “storytelling” about extramarital affairs he was having with a female lobbyist and another woman. The Republican lawmaker made the comments to fellow Assemblyman Jeff Miller during a committee hearing break at the Capitol on July 8.

The two men’s conversation was caught on Duvall’s microphone and he became a YouTube hit after his comments were aired by KCAL-TV, a Los Angeles television station. The station reported that the two women were married and that one of the women, the lobbyist, worked for the company Sempra Energy. Duvall’s remarks are raising questions about the relations between lawmakers and lobbyists, since he was vice chair of the Utilities and Commerce Committee and Sempra Energy has interests before the committee, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Duvall denied on September 10 that he’d had any affairs, stating he was only guilty of “engaging in inappropriate storytelling.” He says that his resignation is not an admission to any foul play, but that he made the move to be fair to his wife, two adult children, constituents and friends, reported the Associated Press.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • In Britain, women working in the financial sector receive bonuses that are, on average, 80 percent less than those given their male counterparts, a new survey by the country’s Equality and Human Rights Commission indicates. Women typically earn £2,875 in bonuses compared to the £14,554 earned by to their male counterparts. This disparity was discovered after Equality Minister Harriet Harman commissioned a survey of 44 leading companies. The gap in earnings was partially attributed to the fact that few women rank high in financial firms in Britain. In terms of basic salaries, women earn 39 percent less than men.
  • Nine women were held captive in an Istanbul villa after they were recruited for a television reality show. The Turkish military police said September 10 that they had rescued the women, whose scantily clad images were posted online, reported the Associated Press. The women said they thought they were being filmed for a television show but instead pictures of the women posing in bathing suits and exercising were distributed on a Turkish-language Web site. The site allowed users to vote for their favorite woman and to see more images. The women say they were told they could not leave the show unless they paid a fine and those who insisted on leaving were threatened. A lawyer representing the show’s organizers said that the show was legitimate and was broadcast on the Internet to paying subscribers, the article reported.

Noted:

  • Anti-abortion activist James Pouillion, 63, was shot to death on September 11 near Owosso High School in Michigan, reported RH Reality Check. Police said they do not know if Pouillion’s murder, which resulted in a lock down of the school, was connected to his activism. Susan Wooden, interim superintendent of the Owosso schools, said that Pouillion was a regular protestor at the school. A second homicide was also discovered shortly after Pouillion’s murder, the article reported, and police have confirmed the two homicides are connected and that they have a suspect in custody.
  • Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women’s eNews and is currently studying journalism at Ohio-Wesleyan University.

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




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