In protest, New York City Commissioner of Criminal Justice Services Denise O’Donnell resigned from her position Feb. 25 after learning police and government officials intervened in a domestic violence case against the governor’s top aide, reported The New York Daily News.
O’Donnell said in a release on Thursday: "The behavior alleged here is the antithesis of what many of us have spent our entire careers working to build–a legal system that protects victims of domestic violence and brings offenders to justice."
Friday, New York Gov. David Patterson said at a 3 p.m. press conference that was dropping his plans to run for re-election this year. Patterson was appointed to replace Eliot Spitzer who resigned after his frequent use of prostitutes became known.
Paterson’s aide, David Johnson, was promoted from intern to policy advisor. He was accused of assault by his former partner Sherr-una Booker in November but was unable to obtain an order of protection without serving Johnson with the court papers. After being contacted by the governor and state police, Booker failed to appear in court and the case was dropped. In her two previous court appearances, Booker complained about being pressured by state police to drop the charges against the 6’7" Johnson.
Johnson is currently suspended without pay while State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo investigates the scandal. Cuomo is expected to imminently announce his intent to run for governor of New York.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Pakistani resident Roma Juma has created an energy-efficient way to cook that has started a regional shift in how Pakistani families heat their food, reported IPS on Feb. 25. Juma has created a stove made out of wood, animal dung and crop deposits. She now constructs stoves for her neighborhood. The non-government organization Indus Development Forum started training women to manufacture these stoves with a small grants program from the United Nations Development’s Global Environment Facility. Now more women are creating them and turning a profit.
- A new policy proposed by the U.S. Department of Defense will permit women to serve on submarines for the first time ever, reported the Los Angeles Times on Feb 23. The policy was announced by military and Congress officials on Feb. 22. The plan is to start allowing women on to larger submarines first, and then gradually move to having them serve on smaller submarines. The policy could be in place by mid-April, as long as Congress doesn’t object to the change by the end of March.
- Currently, Navy policy bans women from working on submarines due to a lack of separate sleeping and bathroom accommodations on smaller vessels. Many larger submarines have enough room to designate gender-specific areas.
- Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho was awarded the Tully Award for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication on Feb. 16, reported Cnylink. Despite numerous threats made against her, Cacho has exposed corruption and child pedophilia in Cancun, Mexico, reported Arabisto on Oct. 24, 2007. She published a book on her investigative work in 2005 called "Los Demonios del Eden" (Demons of Eden: The Power that Protects Child Pornography).
- For the first time in Saudi Arabia, the government is planning to draft a law that would permit women to try legal cases in court, reported the Associated Press on Feb. 20. Saudi Arabia’s Sheik Mohammed al-Issa reportedly said the historical change is a "plan to develop the justice system" and should be out soon.
"Under the new law, women would be allowed to argue cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues," the article reported.
- Dubai shut down the hub of its sex tourism industry, the Cyclone Club, on Feb. 21 in an effort to help curb human trafficking, reported The Epoch Times, based in New York. The nightclub at its prime was "one of the biggest brothels." Despite the Cyclone Club’s closure, several other smaller places have opened in Dubai and are visited by many clients.
- An Oklahoma County judge ruled on Feb. 19 that a law barring abortions on the basis of the fetus’s gender was unconstitutional the Associated Press reported. The law also requires women seeking abortions to fill out a survey about race, education and their reasons for seeking the procedure. Judge Daniel Owens said the measure dealt with multiple subjects and thus violated the state constitution’s ban on such legislation, the article reported.
- Graduating high school seniors who have or had a parent with breast cancer are eligible for a scholarship in Maryland, reported The Baltimore Sun on Feb. 21. The Joan Lauffer breast cancer scholarship fund will grant the winning college-bound senior with $1,000.
The scholarship is in honor of Joan Lauffer, who passed away in 2004 after battling breast cancer for six years.
A group of lawmakers is pushing to make Nebraska the first state to outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the argument that the fetus might feel pain during the procedure, the Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 25. Nebraska has passed two previous abortion laws regulating abortions that were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. One barring so-called "partial-birth abortion" was upheld.
The bill, introduced by Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, uses doctors’ testimony to assert that fetuses feel pain. It contends there is substantial evidence that by 20 weeks, fetuses seek to evade stimuli in a way that indicates they are experiencing pain, the article reported.
No other state has tried to restrict abortions based on the pain a fetus might feel, the article reported. If the bill were to pass, it would likely face a court challenge and could end up in front of the Supreme Court. Six states–Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah–require that pregnant women be told an abortion could cause pain for the fetus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Advocates have charted what they claim is the "systematic erosion" in the status of Canadian women since 2004, reported The Toronto Star Feb. 23.
A report, released Feb. 22 by Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress, was billed as a "reality check" on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government’s more flattering submission to the U.N. on the status of Canadian women.
The report, which cites backward progress in everything from pay equity to child care, says women have lost ground due to the elimination of funding for advocacy groups, the scrapping of a national child-care program and a widening wage gap between men and women.
- Hani Khan, a 19-year-old woman of Pakistani and Indian descent, filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for claiming she was fired on Feb. 22 by a Hollister Co. district manager for wearing her headscarf while working in the San Mateo location of the clothing store, The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Feb. 26.