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Female Aid Worker in ISIS Capitvity for Past Year in Syria
 
Family members and U.S. officials say the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group has been holding an American woman hostage in Syria since last year, CBS News reported Aug. 26. The woman had been working for several humanitarian aid groups when she was kidnapped. The U.S. government and the woman's family request she not be named for fears of her safety.
 
 
Minnesota Home Care Workers Join Major Health Union 
 
 In Minnesota, nearly 27,000 home care workers chose to unite with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota, the union said in an Aug. 26 press statement. Earn a living wage and improving the quality of care for Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities were listed as prime reasons for joining the union.  Minnesota home care workers are primarily female, middle-aged and living near poverty, the SEIU said. 
 
U.S. Women's Suffrage Celebrated on Twitter 
 
Aug. 26 is the annual celebration of U.S. women's suffrage and the day is having a good run on Twitter via the hashtag #WomensEqualityDay. Check it out and add your voice. --Editors
 
 
L’Oréal USA Receives EDGE Gender Equality Certification
 
L’Oréal USA has become the first company in the U.S. to be certified with the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) global standard for workplace gender equality, the company announced Aug. 26 in a press statement. The EDGE assessment is the only business certification for gender equality in the workplace that is universally applicable across industries and countries. Since its launch at the World Economic Forum in January 2011, more than 60 companies in 29 countries use the EDGE assessment methodology and certification process to create an optimal, balanced workplace for men and women.   
 
 
Heidi Shierholz Named Labor Dept's Chief Economist
 
The Labor Department has chosen Heidi Shierholz, a well-known advocate for worker-friendly labor policies, as its next chief economist, a Wall Street Journal blogger reported Aug. 25. Shierholz is currently an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning Washington think tank, where she has conducted research on wealth inequality and long-term unemployment, among other topics. She replaces Jennifer Hunt, who earlier this year moved to a post in the Treasury Department. Shierholz recently testified at a congressional hearing where she advocated for a higher minimum wage, more overtime pay and new union protections in order to boost workers’ earning power.
 
Actress Put on Pedestal and Spun at Emmys 
 
At the Emmy Awards, Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, askedModern Family star Sofia Vergara to step onto a pedestal that then rotated 360 degrees, showing off the Latina star’s famous curves while he talked about the state of the television industry, Time reported Aug. 25. Vergara played along dutifully until a certain point. “Okay enough, enough,” Vargara eventually protested, climbing off the pedestal, “that’s why I stopped doing the car shows!” 
 
 
Lawyers Join Suit Against Louisiana Abortion Restriction  
 
The Center for Reproductive Rights has joined a federal lawsuit challenging a Louisiana law that would restrict abortion access set to take effect Sept. 1, Ms Magazine reported Aug. 25. The suit, filed on behalf of health care workers in Baton Rouge, seeks an injunction against Louisiana HB 388,which requires abortion providers in the state to obtain local hospital admitting privileges. Louisiana Gov.Bobby Jindal signed the law in June. In its complaint, the Center for Reproductive Rights argued that the law makes an impossible demand since hospitals will not be able to respond to providers about admitting privileges before the law takes effect.
 
 
Female Soldier Was 'Active Shooter' at Va. Army Base 
 
The "active shooter" alert at Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia was prompted when a female soldier entered a building this morning with a gun and fired once, injuring herself, authorities said, ABC News reported Aug. 25. The solder walked into the four-story Combined Arms Support Command Headquarters building at 9 a.m., according to a statement from Fort Lee's media office.
 
 
Beyonce's MTV VMAs Feminist Performance Spurs Mixed Twitter Reaction
 
During her 15 minute performance at MTV's VMAs award show earlier this week, the singer Beyonce used a sample from novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED speech “We should all be feminists” in her song “Flawless,” spurring mixed reaction, the U.K.'s The Independent reported Aug. 25. Many took to Twitter to praise Beyonce for promoting feminism through popular culture and for helping to break down the negative stigma surrounding the word. However, others were concerned that the singer’s version of feminism appeared to have been interpreted as overt objectification.
 
 
Boko Haram Announces Islamic State in Nigeria
 
Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in a video released to congratulate his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month, the BBC reports Aug. 25.  Gwoza is not far from Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.
 
 
Dress Code Controversy Ignites at Okla. High School 
 
A group of high school girls in Noble, Okla., were left crying and humiliated after they claim they were called out in front of the entire school for what they were wearing, KFOR.com reports Aug. 25. 
 
 
English Female Rugby Players Gain Chance to Go Pro
 
The female rugby stars have been given the chance to turn professional in an attempt to add Olympic sevens gold to their recent World Cup victory, The Times reports Aug. 25.
 
 
Photo Essay Exposes U.S. Military's Rape Problem 
 
Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist Mary Calvert, a former Washington Times staffer, has compiled a photo essay that attempts to expose the widespread sexual harassment of women in the U.S. military that is going unreported, the Mail Online reports Aug. 24 in an article carrying a large sampling of the haunting photographs. Calvert says an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year, however only 1-in-7 victims reported their attacks.
 

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