Kenya News | Deaf & Hearing-Impaired

Uber program provides economic opportunities for hearing-impaired drivers in Nairobi
  • Deaf and hearing-impaired citizens are finding new income opportunities through a new pilot program from Uber and the Kenya National Association for the Deaf targeting the population.
  • The program makes it easier for Deaf individuals to bypass the strict licensing requirements that often inhibit community members from providing personal-service transportation in the country.
  • According to one professional association, there are more than 600,000 hearing-impaired people in Kenya.

Watch the Africa 54/VOA News report on YouTube.

Azerbaijan News | Dissident Seniors

Senior Azerbaijani rights activists sentenced to prison terms despite ailing health
  • Leyla Yunus, 59, and her husband Arif, 60, were sentenced to eight-and-a-half and seven-year prison terms, respectively, after on charges including tax fraud, illegal entrepreneurship, and treason.
  • Rights advocates argue that the couple were targeted for their human rights advocacy, with numerous other activists and journalists having been recently imprisoned as well.
  • The Yunuses suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and kidney problems, worrying family and friends about their health prospects while incarcerated.

“If there were irregularities in [the] way Yunus ran her groups, the government could have pursued them through noncriminal measures. … But instead the authorities arrested them and went directly to criminal charges, despite their age and ill health.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)

Costa Rica News | LGB

Costa Rican president submits bill to legalize same-sex common-law marriages
  • The bill would amend the Costa Rican family code to allow for cohabitating same-sex couples who have been partnered for at least three years to meet with a lawyer or judge to apply for a common-law marriage.
  • Under common law status, the unions would purportedly provide all of the legal protections of regular marriage, with the residency and duration requirements being the point of difference.
  • In June, a judge granted the first common-law marriage to a couple in Goicoechea after slow legislative progress following a 2006 Supreme Court ruling declaring the Constitution does not prohibit same-sex marriage.

Read the full story at the Tico Times.

(Image Credit: Alberto Font/The Tico Times)

Nicaragua Feature | Special-Needs Youth

Empowerment, One Step at a Time

Nicaraguan families with children with special needs including autism and physical disabilities have discovered in psicoballet (“psychoballet”) an empowering form of therapy focused on developing children’s confidence and physical and emotional control. TeleSUR explores the impact of the therapeutic model that has migrated to Nicaragua since its inception in Cuba in the 1970s.

Watch the teleSUR feature on YouTube (in Spanish).

Nigeria News | Women

Women’s rights groups in Lagos continue to combat discrimination and gender-based violence
  • One activist cited more than 500 cases of gender-based discrimination that her organization has handled so far in 2015.
  • Advocates have zeroed in on workplace discrimination as a key area for improvement, with women-unfriendly policies in recruitment and human resource policies like maternity leave erecting barriers to equal opportunity.
  • Women’s rights groups have also secured a pledge from newly inaugurated President Muhammadu Buhari to see women in at least 35% of government roles in his administration, which they plan to take action on should he renege on his campaign promise.

Watch the CCTV report on YouTube.

Israel News | Migrants & Refugees

Protests erupt in Tel Aviv following Supreme Court decision limiting migrant detentions to 12 months
  • After the court ruling that calls for the immediate release of around 1,200 migrants detained without charge, some Tel Aviv residents took to the streets in outrage.
  • Demonstrators claimed asylum seekers bring down their quality of life with crime and open-air living.
  • Protesters confronted some migrants around Lewinsky Park, yelling insults and condemning the Supreme Court.

“What’s going to happen in reality is that thousands of infiltrators are going to come here and make our lives hell, even more than they are now. … We are going to fight this with all our strength.”

Read the full story at Ynet News.

Israel News | Refugees & Migrants

Israel Supreme Court limits detention of migrants without charge to a year
  • The ruling struck down a portion of the Infiltration Prevention Act that allowed for migrants to be detained for up to 20 months.
  • Among the more than 2,500 migrants detained at the Holot detention facility in the Negev, those who have been detained without charge for 12 months or more are to be released in the next 15 days.
  • Israel refers to illegal migrants as “infiltrators” and since 2009 has granted asylum requests–mostly from Eritreans, Sudanese, and Congolese–to fewer than 0.15% of those who applied.

“The court made it clear that a policy whose purpose is to break asylum-seekers’ spirit to coerce them to leave Israel is unconstitutional. The judges also criticized the slow pace of examining asylum claims and the abysmally low recognition rate of refugees in Israel.”

Read the full story at the Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: Flash90, via The Times of Israel)