Cheers and Jeers

Anti-Union Law Struck Down; Saudi Driver Detained

Thursday, May 26, 2011



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In yet another twist in Wisconsin's bitter fight over unions, a judge May 26 struck down the Republican-sponsored law that sparked massive protests. The challenged law strips most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, reported the Los Angeles Times. Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that the legislature violated the state's open meetings law in approving the bill championed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to decide June 6 whether to hear the case, which could overturn Sumi's decision and reinstate the law.

For background on this issue, read WeNews' "Wisconsin Hits Labor, Repro Rights in Single Blow" and" Scott Walker Undoes Decades of Women's History."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Students at John Hopkins School of Engineering won $10,000 from a maternal health challenge by ABC News: Be the Change: Save a Life to market their pen test that screens pregnant women and newborns for life-threatening conditions. It costs half a cent per test and has the potential to vastly improve maternal death rates in developing, rural areas. The students will present their idea in November before global health experts at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference.

  • In western New York, County Clerk Kathy Hochul won a House special election May 24, a Democratic victory in what had been a solid Republican district, The Washington Post reported. The win came after a heated campaign that focused on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal and Republican efforts to privatize Medicare.

  • The new Indiana law that cuts state and federal money to Planned Parenthood clinics is receiving criticism and could face removal from the Obama administration, reported The New York Times May 22. Planned Parenthood clinics provide a wide range of reproductive health care to Medicaid patients.

  • New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called on New York state to"lead the American journey forward" by legalizing same-sex marriage this year, The New York Times reported May 27.

  • The U.N.'s Secretary General Ban-Ki moon announced May 26 the launch of its Global Partnership for Girls' and Women's Education, focused on reaching illiterate or semi-literate adolescent girls and scaling up women's literacy programs.

  • The New Jersey state Senate passed--but fell short by one vote of a veto-proof majority--a bill to restore $7.4 million in women's health care funding to New Jersey's budget, according to the New Jersey Daily Record.


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A Saudi woman detained for defying the kingdom's ban on female drivers will be held in detention for at least 10 more days, a lawyer and rights activist said May 26. Manal al-Sherif, a 32-year-old technology expert, was arrested at dawn on May 22 and accused of"violating public order," The Associated Press reported.

Al-Sherif started a Facebook campaign urging Saudi women to get behind the wheel to protest the longtime driving ban and did so herself, posting the video on the Internet. She also launched an online campaign urging Saudi women to stage a mass driving protest on June 17.

A counter-campaign on Facebook is calling for Saudi men to beat women who plan to drive cars in protest next month, Fox News reported."The Iqal Campaign: June 17 for preventing women from driving" advocates a cord be used to beat women who plan to drive. So far 6,000 Facebook users have shown approval for the beating strategy.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women--both Saudi and foreign-- from driving, according to The Associated Press. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers; those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Missouri bill requiring drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is on its way to the governor's desk after the House approved the Senate's stricter bill revision, reported For background on this bill, read WeNews'" Missouri Welfare Drug-Testing Bill Moves to Senate."

  • Police are assaulting women from almost 70 of Nepal's 75 districts who have been holding peaceful meetings in front of parliament protesting a proposed constitution that the protestors claim does not adequately protect their rights, Inter Press Service reported May 26.

  • The House Committee on Rules rejected an amendment May 24 that would end a ban on insurance coverage of abortion care in cases of rape and incest for military women and dependents, reported American Civil Liberties Union.

  • In an attempt to revive interest in women's badminton, the Badminton World Federation decided that its female athletes need to appear more feminine and appealing to fans by wearing skirts or dresses to play at the elite level, reported The New York Times May 26.

  • As literacy and wealth rise in India, the sex ratio widens as more families with first-born girls are aborting second girls, reported the Hindustan Times, according to new research published May 25 in the journal Lancet.

  • Former Minnesota governor and current presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty shows a history of anti-choice activism, according to a May 24 report by The Nation.

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