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Military's Gay Ban Ends; Saudis Jail Omani Drivers

Saturday, July 23, 2011

(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

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President Barack Obama formally repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the military, reported The Associated Press. Obama signed a certification ending the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy on July 22, said administration officials.

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Meanwhile a group of U.S. service members marched in a San Diego gay pride parade on July 16 in an unprecedented step for gay and lesbian military personnel, reported Reuters.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • RS Barcelona, a company based in Spain, has released the first female foosball figurine, reported The Huffington Post July 20. The doll, known as Ella, is described as being just as powerful as her male counterparts. View her debut in the commercial "Now It's Her Turn".
  • The White House announced President Barack Obama's endorsement of a bill repealing the law limiting the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman, reported The New York Times July 20.
  • The Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, recommended contraceptives be considered preventive medicine by the Department of Health and Human Services and would therefore be covered by insurance plans included in the Affordable Care Act, reported The New York Times July 19.
  • The Foreign Office in Pakistan announced Hina Rabbani Khar would begin her post this week as not only Pakistan's first female foreign minister, but also its youngest, reported the Huffington Post July 19.
  • Since the Sierra Leone government eliminated fees last year for pregnant women and children there have been improvements in women's and children's health indicators, reported The New York Times July 18. Sierra Leone has seen a 214 percent increase in the number of children under 5 getting care at health facilities, a 61 percent decrease in mortality rates in difficult pregnancy cases at health clinics and an 85 percent drop in the malaria fatality rate for children treated in hospitals.
  • In a move to combat an increasing number of domestic violence cases across Turkey, men who are found to be violent towards women and have been ordered to stay away from their victim's home will be monitored through electronic wrist cuffs, the Turkish daily, Today's Zaman, reported July 19.

Jeers

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Two Omani women were detained July 17 for driving in Saudi Arabia and a Saudi woman will be tried for driving during what she said was a medical emergency, reported Saudi media. Although Saudi Arabia has no written law preventing women from driving, religious edicts ban women from driving and are enforced by religious police.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive and women typically rely on male family members or hired chauffeurs for transportation. Since May of this year, Saudi Arabia has seen strong campaigning and organizing to obtain women's right to drive. Five Saudi women were detained in late June for getting behind the wheel.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A group of five current and former students sued Minnesota's biggest school district, arguing that a policy limiting staff discussions about gay and lesbian issues left them open to slurs, threats and attacks, reported Reuters July 21.
  • In a fresh effort to reverse the Obama administration's policy, a House panel endorsed a ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information, reported The Associated Press July 21.
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law banning abortions after 12 weeks, marking one of several anti-abortion measures passed this year by Republican-controlled state legislatures, reported Reuters July 21.
  • Kate Baker and Ming Linsley will sue the Wildflower Inn in Vermont for refusing to host their wedding reception at the location because of their sexual orientation, reported The New York Times July 19.
  • Of the 733 medical students in the U.K. who were surveyed by the Journal of Medical Ethics, almost half of them said doctors should be allowed to refuse to perform any procedure to which they object on moral, cultural or religious grounds, reported the Guardian July 18. The survey, which also found almost a third of the students would not perform an abortion for a congenitally malformed fetus after 24 weeks, raised concerns about the future of women's access to abortion services.

Noted:

  • Bishops leading the six Episcopal dioceses in New York state are left to decide what priests may do when legalization of same-sex marriage takes effect, reported The New York Times July 18. So far they are split: two bishops have given the green light for priests to officiate at same-sex marriages; one has said no; two are undecided; and one has staked out a middle ground, allowing priests to bless, but not officiate same-sex weddings.
  • A study found that HIV-infected women in Africa are more likely to spread the AIDS virus if they use hormone-based birth control, reported The Associated Press July 21. Information from the study found that women on the pill or taking a hormone shot like Depo-Provera were more likely to transmit HIV, compared to those who were not.
  • When a British comedian rushed Rupert Murdoch in his parliamentary hearing, attempting to throw a shaving cream pie in his face, Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng quickly swiveled around to punch the attacker before security had even crossed the room, reported the Associated Press July 20.
  • A new study of 19 states found rates of Cesarean section deliveries in the United States climbed to 34 percent in 2009, hitting an all time high, reported MSNBC July 20. Florida, New Jersey and Texas had the highest rates, while Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado had the lowest.
  • J. Paul Oetken, a former Clinton administration lawyer, became the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge on July 17, reported The Wall Street Journal.
  • The U.S. women's soccer team lost to Japan on July 17 in the championship game of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. The second Japanese goal, which came in the 117th minute, tied the score 2-2 and forced the game into penalty kicks, which resulted in Japan's favor, according to espnW.com.

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