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.

U.S. News | Black Christians

Arsonists strike predominantly black churches across southern U.S.
  • Four churches were burned in the last week in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, with at least three suspected to be the result of arson.
  • Investigators have not ruled any of them as being a hate crime yet, although investigations are ongoing.
  • The fires have occurred less than a week after the massacre at the historic black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine dead.

“The most important thing is people. … We’re going to build it back better than ever.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.

(Image Credit: Larry Wood/Twitter photo, via BuzzFeed)

Turkey News | Syrian Youth

Syrian university student population in Turkey experiences nearly eight-fold increase over four-year period
  • The total number of Syrian students in Turkish higher education has increased from 608 to 4,597 since 2011, according to Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK).
  • The board has allowed for seven Turkish universities to accept Syrian students as “special students,” waiving the need for the documentation usually necessary for admission, and later allowing for students with full documentation to transfer as undergraduates.
  • Education Minister Nabi Avci announced in May the creation of a university in the Gaziantep province that would primarily accept Syrian students.

Read the full story at Sunday’s Zaman.

(Image Credit: Cihan/Sunday’s Zaman)

Turkey News | LGBT

Istanbul Pride attendees dispersed by police with water cannon and rubber bullets as governor calls off event
  • Plans to march along Istanbul’s Istikal Avenue near Taksim Square quickly evaporated as police swarmed the marchers preparing for the Sunday evening parade, leading to several detentions.
  • The governor denied permission for the event citing Ramadan, despite the parade having taken place in the past.
  • The event has grown from 30 participants in 2003 to around 50,000 in 2013, considered to be the largest of its kind in the Muslim world.

“These people do not hurl stones and they never would. They do not throw petrol bombs. They just ask for a legal recognition. … This summarizes what has been happening in Turkey. Any request for rights is met like this.”

Read the full stories at Hurriyet News Daily and Reuters.

(Image Credit: Kemal Aslan/Reuters)

Netherlands Research | Immigrants

Amsterdam finds a quarter of immigrant residents dissatisfied with bilingual education in the city
  • The city council conducted a survey on the education of international workers’ children, finding the students distributed amongst traditional Dutch schools (45%), international schools (40%), and bilingual-stream schools (15%).
  • The city’s international schools were found to have significant barriers to entry including long waiting lists and high fees, with only 20% of employers providing financial assistance.
  • Primary schools will soon be able to offer 15% of lessons in English, French, or German in an effort to promote mutilingualism among young children.

Read the full story at DutchNews.

(Image Credit: File photo/DutchNews)

Canada News | LGBT

Toronto-based Rainbow Railroad facilitates rescue of persecuted individuals from LGBT-unfriendly countries
  • Founded in 2006, the charity focuses on identifying endangered individuals and raising the money necessary to cover the logistics of moving them to safer countries.
  • Despite managing 30-50 cases at any given time, the organization was volunteer-based until 2013, when a grant from TD Bank allowed for the signing on of one full-time employee.
  • With the grant expiring at the end of the year, Rainbow Railroad is raising funds to ensure that it will be able to maintain its current level of work.

Read the full story at the Toronto Star.

(Image Credit: Rainbow Railroad, via the Toronto Star)

Caribbean News | Afro-Latinas

Inaugural Latin American Afrodescendent Women Leaders’ Summit brings Afro-Latina leaders together to address community security
  • The summit convened in Managua, Nicaragua, bringing leaders together to address such issues as black women’s rights and protections, health, education, the environment, poverty reduction, and public services access.
  • Organizers aimed to use the discussions to adopt a shared political platform for Afro-Latinas throughout Latin America to combat the disproportionate impact of poverty and other socioeconomic barriers on black women.
  • Afro-Latinos make up between 20 and 30% of the population in Latin America, with complex histories of colonization, slavery, and migration making identification uneven.

Read the full story at teleSUR.

(Image Credit: Network of Afroamerican, Afrocaribbean, and Diasporic Women; via teleSUR)

Thailand News | Montangard Christians

Thailand’s military government bans Human Rights Watch event in Bangkok discussing Vietnamese persecution of ethnic Montagnards
  • Having stepped up censorship and public assembly bans since its 2014 coup, the junta justified the shutdown by claiming such an event would damage relations with Vietnam.
  • The event is the third to be shut down in the last month at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.
  • The predominantly Christian Montagnards have fled religious and political persecution in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, seeking asylum in neighboring countries like Cambodia.
“Thailand is choosing to side with dictatorships in ASEAN while further stepping up repression at home.”
Read the full AFP story at AsiaOne.

U.A.E. News | Diabetic Muslims

Dubai health experts caution those afflicted with diabetes against unregulated Ramadan fasting
  • A panel of doctors issued the guidance measures through the Dubai Health Authority’s Twitter Clinic (@DHA_Dubai).
  • Advice included consultation with physicians about the health effects of fasting, whether the state of an individual’s condition allows for them to fast, and what precautions to take to avoid negative health impacts.
  • With health conditions triggering religious exemptions from Ramadan practices, children in particular were singled out as being exempt from fasting as most suffer from high-risk type 1 diabetes.

“Diabetics who are insulin dependent, primarily, type 1 diabetics are advised not to fast — permissible by the religion — because they are at a higher risk of developing hyper or hypoglycaemia. Yet, we find that there are some patients who insist on fasting. We advise them to work very closely with their health professionals to avoid major health problems, that may lead to a diabetic coma. Type 2 diabetics can fast after adjusting their medication in consultation with doctor.”

Read the full story at the Khaleej Times.

(Image Credit: via the Khaleej Times)