Afghanistan News | Women

Afghan president appoints second female governor despite vocal opposition
  • President Ashraf Ghani appointed Seema Joyenda to the governorship of the Ghor Province in central Afghanistan, the second of three female governor appointments promised by the administration.
  • The first, Massoma Muradi, has been marooned in Kabul, unable to take her post in the Daikundi Province due to demonstrations against her appointment.
  • Provincial leaders and community members opposed to the appointments claim a woman will be unable to navigate the complex security terrains of the provinces, which see continuing conflict between tribal groups, including the Taliban.

“This is not new to me. As their former representative, I traveled the province, I know my people’s pain.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Global News | International Visitors

Global “voluntourism” industry sparks concerns among researchers, humanitarian organizations for lack of regulation and sustainability-mindedness
  • One researcher indicates as many as 10 million are spending $2 billion each year to participate in service-oriented travel programs.
  • With no regulatory agency setting quality standards for organizations, there is limited accountability for projects undertaken, which can include quality-sensitive work like construction projects, childcare, and education.
  • Critics warn that the focus on altruism rather than skill can have negative economic impacts on destinations despite good intentions, with short-term, profit-driven solutions displacing long-term strategies for sustainable development.

“There’s this idea that is in-built in voluntourism that we in the West have the knowledge and the skills to make a difference, we have a right to make a difference. … It doesn’t even matter if we’re unskilled, it’s just the good will that matters because we’re somehow bonding anyway.”

Read the full story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(Image Credit: Aly Song/Reuters)

Kenya News | Girls

Kenyan mother sues government for denying safe access to abortion following daughter’s botched backstreet procedure
  • The 15-year-old girl sought the abortion following her rape by an older man, but complications arose that have led to ongoing health complications.
  • While abortion is permitted in cases of emergencies involving maternal health under Kenya’s 2010 constitution, the state has banned training for government healthcare providers and harassed and charged other doctors.
  • Unsafe abortions account for 35% of maternal deaths in Kenya (well above the 13% global average), with around 2,600 women per year dying in hospitals after having attempted to get an abortion elsewhere.

“The Kenyan government is allowing thousands of women in Kenya to needlessly die or suffer severe complications every year due to unsafe abortion, and it must be held accountable.”

Read the full story at Reuters.

U.S. & India News | Indian

First Indian-born player drafted into the NBA by Dallas Mavericks
  • Satnam Singh Bhamara, 19, was introduced to basketball by his father while growing up in Ballo Ke, a Punjab village.
  • An early standout due to his extraordinary size (7’2″ and 290 lbs), Bhamara trained at the Indian government-funded Ludhiana Basketball Academy before traveling from India to Florida on scholarship at the age of 14 to the renowned IMG Academy, a player development program.
  • In a league that has 85 international players from 39 countries, Canadian Sim Bullhar became the first player of Indian descent to play earlier in the year when he played in three games for the Sacramento Kings.

“I feel good about it because in India there are a lot of Indian players who could have a chance to come here and play in college and high schools. … I think I can open the door for everyone to come here and play. So it’s good for India and all the players. It’s good for me and my country.”

Read the full story at the Hindustan Times.

(Image Credit: NBA/Twitter photo, via the Hindustan Times)

U.S. News | Immigrants

Majority of California counties now extend healthcare coverage to undocumented population
  • The County Medical Services Program, which pools resources for health service provision in California’s rural and sparsely populated areas, announced the agreement, which affects 35 counties throughout the state.
  • Officials hope that extending the coverage, which includes doctor visits and up to $1,000 in prescription drugs, will deter the spread of communicable diseases and limit the use of emergency facilities for routine healthcare.
  • 47 of California’s 58 counties now extend coverage to the state’s 2.7 million undocumented immigrants, including L.A. County.

“Frankly, it’s just the right thing to do. … For us to have an underclass that is left out is unconscionable.”

Read the full AP story at CBS Los Angeles.

Singapore News | Women

Colonel Gan Siow Huang promoted to become first female general in Singapore Armed Forces
  • On July 1, Huang, 40, will assume the rank of Brigadier-General after 22 years in the army.
  • She was one of four women to receive the first SAF merit scholarship in 1993 when the military first began actively recruiting women.
  • A graduate of the London School of Economics and mother of three, she credits the SAF’s family-friendly policies with allowing for some of the flexibility needed for her to balance her demanding work with starting a family.

“I think women entered this game late. It was only in 1993 that the SAF seriously started to look at and bring in talent, and to develop woman leaders. Back then, the SAF also did not know how far women could go.  In the 1990s, we didn’t have many woman COs in the Army, Navy and Air Force. Over time, when women in different jobs and vocations did well, confidence was gradually built.”

Read the full story at AsiaOne.

(Image Credit: via AsiaOne)

U.S. Research | Hispanics/Latinos

U.S. Hispanic population grows by 1.2 million over one-year period
  • According to figures recently released by the Census Bureau, Hispanics now number 55.4 million, with the greatest growth in the states that have been the traditional homes of most U.S. Hispanics: California, Texas, and Florida.
  • Non-white majority states and federal districts are California, New Mexico, Texas, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., with New Mexico containing the highest proportion of Hispanics at 47.7%.
  • The total U.S. population grew 2.5 million over the same period to 318.9 million.

Read the full story at the Latin American Herald Tribune.