Thailand News | Gay American

Thai surrogate attempts to block departure of gay couple with infant
  • A U.S.-Spanish binational couple has retreated to a secret location with their infant daughter after the surrogate they contracted through a Thai surrogacy agency refused to sign the papers for the child’s passport.
  • The woman alleges she was unaware the child was going to a gay couple and is not obligated to turn over her rights to the couple, despite contracts regulating the process and her lack of biological connection to the child.
  • After the present situation’s process had already begun, surrogacy was banned in Thailand following high-profile scandals that drew attention to the largely unregulated industry.

“She said she thought she was doing this for an ‘ordinary family’ and when she found out that it wasn’t an ordinary family she was worried for Carmen’s wellbeing.”

Read the full story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: Gordon Lake/Facebook, via the Guardian)

The Americas News | Indigenous Americans

Research: One major migration from Siberia led to American settlement no more than 23,000 years ago
  • The results of two studies appeared in Science and Nature, with the first indicating there was a single migration that brought anatomically modern humans to the American continents.
  • Researchers claim that the migrants inhabited the now-submerged area connecting Russia and Alaska until roughly 15,000 years ago, when ice melt led to population divergence as some migrated to the newly accessible American interior (American Indians) and others remained in the region (Native Alaskans).
  • The second study found closer ancestral connections of Amazonians to indigenous Australasians than to native Americans, spurring further questions about early American settlement.

Read the full AFP story at GlobalPost.

(Image Credit: Mario Tama/AFP/Getty Images, via GlobalPost)

U.S. News | Undocumented Immigrants

Immigrants file suit against Texas for denying birth certificates to their U.S.-born children
  • Texas has cracked down on the documentation required to obtain a birth certificate for U.S.-born children, accepting only a U.S. driver’s license, visa, or home-country voter identification.
  • State registrars are no longer allowed to accept the popularly held matriculas, or consular-issued identification cards, because of alleged verification concerns.
  • The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to children born on U.S. soil, which has formed the basis of the legal claim by immigrant parents.

“It says we need a U.S. license we don’t have; a [Mexican] passport we have, but with a visa we don’t have; voter ID card I have, but it expired. … It’s not fair. She has a right to her birth certificate. What are we supposed to do?”

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

(Image Credit: Molly Hennessy-Fiske/Los Angeles Times)

Pakistan News | Christian Women

Death sentence temporarily stayed for Pakistani Christian woman charged with blasphemy
  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court issued the decision as they prepare to hear an appeal against the conviction of Asia Bibi, a mother of four who became the first woman sentenced to death under the law.
  • Blasphemy laws are ill-defined in Pakistan and often connected to personal conflicts and extortion, making the rate of convictions high.
  • Two politicians who intervened on behalf of Bibi were murdered, inhibiting calls for legal reform.

Read the full story at Al Jazeera.

(Image Credit: EPA, via Al Jazeera)

Russia News | Advocates

MacArthur Foundation closes shop in Russia following placement on government watchlist
  • The US-based NGO supporting academic freedom and human rights has operated in Russia since 1992, but a new
  • The organization’s departure comes amidst an ongoing crackdown on “foreign agents” by the Russian government, which has seen academics fined and deported and human rights groups’ operation permits revoked.
  • The anti-NGO law passed in May claims to target international organizations operating against the sovereignty and national security of Russia.

“The recent passage and implementation of several laws in Russia make it all but impossible for international foundations to operate effectively and support worthy civil society organisations in that country.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.