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Germany in push to resurrect Afghan talks with Taliban
Sun, 26 May 2019 07:00:38 -0400
Germany in push to resurrect Afghan talks with TalibanWhile the Taliban have been talking with U.S. officials since October about a withdrawal of international troops, they have so far refused formal talks with the Western-backed government, which they dismiss as a "puppet" regime. Berlin's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Markus Potzel, has visited Kabul for talks with the Afghan government and met Taliban officials in Doha at least twice this month. "The current chance for a process towards a more peaceful Afghanistan should not be missed.
51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts
Sat, 25 May 2019 14:58:13 -0400
51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,"  the attorneys general wrote.
Latin American abortion rights activists warn against draconian US laws: ‘I have seen what is it like to live with a total ban’
Sun, 26 May 2019 07:22:00 -0400
Latin American abortion rights activists warn against draconian US laws: ‘I have seen what is it like to live with a total ban’Activists in Latin America, home to some of the world’s toughest restrictions on abortion, have denounced draconian new laws in places such as Alabama, warning they could result in the deaths of women.Campaigners in Honduras, one of five nations in Latin America with complete bans on abortion, and which also prohibits emergency contraception, have urged the government of president Juan Orlando Hernández to make it legal for women to obtain “the day after pill”, and known by the acronym PAE.“The emergency contraceptive pill is essential to avoid a pregnancy when you have unprotected sex, when condoms fail or in cases of rape,” said Ana Fálope, a Honduran women’s rights activist and leader of “Hablemos lo que es”, the name of the legalisation campaign, and a commonly used phrase that translates as “let’s call it what it is”.“This emergency contraceptive is completely safe, has no side effects different from regular contraceptives, it does not affect women’s fertility and does not cause cancer. This has been indicated by the World Health Organisation, which also believes that PAE should be available to all women.”Activists say they have been dispirited by recent events in the US, where a succession of states have passed laws banning or restricting abortion, part of a campaign to try and force the Supreme Court to reconsider 1973’s Roe v Wade ruling that gave women the right to a safe and legal abortion.Emboldened by Donald Trump’s appointment to the top court of two conservative justices, Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and the president’s own statements that the issue of abortion should be left to individual states, activists in 15 states have pushed through laws restricting abortions after six weeks, what some refer to as “heartbeat laws”.In Alabama, meanwhile, legislators passed a near total ban on abortion earlier this month that only allows exceptions to “avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother” and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly”.Paula Avila Guillen, director of Latin America initiatives at the New York-based Women’s Equality Centre, told The Independent she had spent years working in countries with either total or partial bans on abortion. She said it was frustrating activists would now have to direct their fight for a woman’s right to choose to the US as well.“I used to live in a country that had a total ban,” she said. “I have visited the women who get sent to jail. I have met the relatives of those women who die as a result of an unsafe [illegal] abortions.”She added: “It’s frustrating. But it also gives me fire to carry on the fight. Women in the US will see what it’s like in El Salvador and Honduras. I think it will also create solidarity.”Campaigners say Honduras suffers from one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the hemisphere, and that half of sexually active young women face obstacles to obtaining modern contraceptives.“PAE is fundamental for all women, but it is especially important for those who have been victims of sexual violence,” said Julissa Rivas, another Honduran activist.“We should unmask the myths and unite so that the ministry of health revokes the agreement that prohibits the trade of the PAE in our country, so that it guarantees the reproductive rights of all women in Honduras and protects them from preventable traumas as victims of a rape.”Activists say PAE was available up until 2009, when the government of Manuel Zelaya was ousted in what he and his supporters termed a coup.It is still available on the black market, reinforcing a class divide between middle class urban women and poorer women in rural areas with reduced access to contraception.
US sanctions on Iran felt in Iraqi Shiite tourist districts
Sun, 26 May 2019 05:53:43 -0400
US sanctions on Iran felt in Iraqi Shiite tourist districtsBAGHDAD (AP) — For years, Karar Hussein has sold sweets in his shop near the entrance to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, accepting whatever currency was offered to him by his clients, many of them religious tourists from neighboring Iran. But lately, when Iranian pilgrims ask about prices, he tells them he can only sell if they pay in Iraqi currency. They often walk out, disappointed.
Amanda Eller, Missing Maui Yoga Instructor, Ate Berries and Drank From Waterfalls to Survive
Sat, 25 May 2019 11:24:16 -0400
Amanda Eller, Missing Maui Yoga Instructor, Ate Berries and Drank From Waterfalls to SurvivePhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/Maui Police Department/FacebookAmanda Eller, the 35-year-old yoga instructor and physical therapist who went missing on a hike in a Maui forest on May 8, ate plants and berries and drank from the base of waterfalls to survive, her rescuers say. Hours after rescuers in a helicopter plucked Eller from a ravine, she said that she had to make the choice to stay alive while lost for 16 days in the forest.“There were times of total fear and loss and wanting to give up, and it did come down to life and death, and I had to choose,” Eller said from her hospital bed on Saturday. “I chose life.”Eller also thanked the volunteers who tirelessly searched for her, the Maui community, and those who donated to help fund the search. “People that know me, that don't know me, just under the idea of helping one person make it out of the woods alive just warms my heart," she said in a video posted on the Facebook page “Find Amanda.”Chris Berquist, a friend who was fired from a part-time job for not returning to work until he found Eller, told Maui Now that she was “alive and well” and, despite cuts to her legs and severe sun exposure, was “walking and healthy.”“We found her in a stream bed, she was waving up at us while we were in the helicopter, and we got her out nice and safe,” Berquist told ABC News Radio. “She was not injured. She has a little bit of exposure from the sun, a little bit of sunburn. She lost her shoes a few days in. But no injuries."She was last seen buying a Mother’s Day present on the surveillance video of a local shop on May 8. Eller’s family reported her missing when she did not answer calls after going hiking. Her white SUV was found in the Makawao Forest Reserve parking lot with her cellphone and wallet inside, prompting fears that she might have been abducted. Her friends and family offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who could provide information about her disappearance. More than 60 volunteers worked tirelessly to comb the area where she was thought to have hiked, but her family now said she slipped into a deep ravine between two waterfalls, slightly twisting her leg, and could not climb out. Rescuers had to be air-lifted in and out of the ravine to carry out the rescue.Eller’s father John told a local news channel that he had been “bawling like a baby” since hearing the news. He said that she was “mentally 100%” but that she had skin damage to her feet and legs from sun exposure. Another friend involved in her rescue, Javier Cantellops, a former Special Operations Airborne Ranger with the 3rd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, told a local news station what it was like when they spotted her: “We all look to our right… and out of the woodwork, man, you see Amanda Eller, my friend, coming out, waving her hands,” he said. “It was unbelievable, dude.” Eller’s mother Julia said she had never given up hope on finding her daughter alive. “I felt in my heart she was alive,” she told KHON2. “I never gave up hope for a minute. Even though at times I would have those moments of despair, I stayed strong for her because I knew we would find her if we just stayed with the program, stayed persistent and that we would eventually find her.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial Navy
Sun, 26 May 2019 00:30:00 -0400
Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial NavyAfter the war, the Emergency Beriberi Investigative Committee investigated the disease’s devastation of Japanese ranks. Worried about the composition of the committee and fully aware of Takaki’s success, the emperor stepped in. “The army’s beriberi problem can be effectively prevented if the army provides a staple of barley and rice,” the emperor stated.In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula.On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese, but the hulls of the Japanese ships hid a deadly secret. Less than half of their crews could man their stations.The Korean peninsula erupted into conflict on July 23. A soldiers’ protest against ill treatment, unpaid wages and poor provisions turned into widespread mutiny. Ousted from power, the former regent of the king set the mutineers upon the government—and against the Japanese advisers working to modernize the Korean army.
Police hunt suspect after explosion in French city of Lyon
Sat, 25 May 2019 11:06:44 -0400
Police hunt suspect after explosion in French city of LyonLYON, France (AP) — French police on Saturday hunted a suspect believed to have deposited a paper bag containing a device that exploded Friday, wounding 13 people on a busy pedestrian street in the city of Lyon.
Huawei founder says he would oppose Chinese retaliation against Apple- Bloomberg
Sun, 26 May 2019 18:48:34 -0400
Huawei founder says he would oppose Chinese retaliation against Apple- BloombergHuawei Technologies' founder and Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei told Bloomberg that retaliation by Beijing against Apple Inc was unlikely and that he would oppose any such move from China against the iPhone maker. When asked about calls from some in China to retaliate against Apple, Ren said that he would "protest" against any such step if it were to be taken by Beijing.
Two journalists released in Libya: TV channel
Sat, 25 May 2019 06:48:36 -0400
Two journalists released in Libya: TV channelTwo Libyan journalists held by an armed group for more than three weeks have been released, the television channel they work for said Saturday. "We congratulate the press world for the release of our two colleagues, Mohamad al-Gurj and Mohamad al-Chibani, who were kidnapped by Haftar's forces on May 2 while they were covering the assault on Tripoli," said the private channel Libya al-Ahrar, which is based in Turkey. The capital's southern suburbs have been the target of an offensive launched April 4 by Khalifa Haftar, military strongman of an eastern administration aimed at seizing Tripoli from an internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India's Modi to congratulate him on election win
Sun, 26 May 2019 08:07:40 -0400
Pakistan PM Khan speaks with India's Modi to congratulate him on election winPakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to Narendra Modi and congratulated the Indian leader on the runaway election victory of his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), both countries said on Sunday. "Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his party's electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections in India," Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement.
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