By Astrid Zweynert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In Yemen women give birth in caves to avoid air strikes, in war-torn Syria child marriages are increasing, while in eastern Ukraine, where conflict has been raging for two years, domestic violence is rising, aid agencies have been reporting. Even though these scenarios are typical of the hardships faced by women in conflict zones or disasters, too little is being done to address their needs beyond providing them with the most basic humanitarian aid, said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). "The focus is on water, food and shelter and that's crucial and life-saving but life does go on in conflicts and disasters, including sex and births," Osotimehin told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview in London. Numerous studies have shown women in need of aid because of conflict or disaster are more vulnerable to sexual violence, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, he said. An UNFPA report last December said more than 500 women a day die from complications arising from pregnancy and child birth in countries facing conflict or disaster. "Even in peaceful times, it can be difficult to become a mother. But in a war zone, on a boat with smugglers, or in a refugee camp, being pregnant is truly daunting," Osotimehin, a physician and former Nigerian minister of health, said. As humanitarian crises have multiplied in recent years and more than 100 million people now being in need of assistance, women's health and reproductive rights are often an afterthought, he said. URGENT NEED UNFPA said in February it is seeking $107 million to meet the needs of women and girls affected by the war in Syria, the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Four million people out of around 13.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria are women and girls of childbearing age, U.N. data shows. Among those who have taken refuge in neighboring countries, 1.2 million are of childbearing age. Osotimehin said child marriage is now being used by desperate parents in Syria, who fear for the safety of their daughters and marry them off in the hope that they will be protected and provided with food and other necessities. In other war-torn countries the needs of women and girls are equally pressing. In Yemen, where war has been raging for more than a year, Medecins Sans Frontiers said in February that pregnant women had been seeking shelter in caves to give birth rather than risk going to a hospital. Osotimehin urged world leaders and aid agencies gathering for the first humanitarian summit in Istanbul, Turkey, later this month to make women's and girls needs a key part of the humanitarian response as standard. "It is crucial to direct humanitarian aid to protect women of childbearing age, both to lessen present suffering and reduce it in the future, but current resources are insufficient," he said. TALK BUT LITTLE ACTION Global leaders launched a new women, peace and security program last March, including workshops, training and guidelines to ensure that gender equality and the needs of women and girls are an integral part of the humanitarian response. While there has been no lack of talk about the needs of women in conflict zones, too little is being done to translate words into concrete and coordinated action, said Osotimehin. The U.N. adopted a resolution on women, peace and security in 2000 and a call to action saw donors and international agencies commit in 2013 to reducing violence against women in emergencies, while a London summit in 2014 agreed steps to tackle impunity for the use of rape as weapon of war. Despite those efforts it is unclear how much money is being invested on these issues because there is no uniform way of reporting funding and what it is spent on, said Osotimehin. (Reporting by Astrid Zweynert; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories)
- Yahoo News
These are the issues the Biden administration will be dealing with on the foreign policy front.
- The Telegraph
A Republican congresswoman is facing calls to resign over reports that she helped to spread falsehoods about the Parkland school shooting. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly agreed with a conspiracy theory about the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. Facebook screenshots showed a discussion about why a police officer had not rushed into the building, and someone claimed that the mass shooting was a "false flag planned shooting." Greene replied: “Exactly!" The social media giant later removed the posts after they were reported to them. Cameron Kasky, a former Parkland pupil who co-founded the group Never Again MSD, said: "She should resign. She can apologise. I don’t think anybody will accept it.” The congresswoman was elected in Georgia in November, backed Donald Trump's claims of election fraud, and has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Fred Guttenberg, who's 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in the Parkland shooting, said: "Your feelings on gun laws are irrelevant to your claim that Parkland never happened. You are a fraud who must resign. Be prepared to meet me directly in person to explain your conspiracy theory, and soon." The comments by the politician were first reported by Media Matters for America. In a statement Ms Greene accused Media Matters for America of being "communists' and "fake news". Meanwhile, US Capitol Police were investigating an incident in which a Republican congressman was found carrying a concealed gun while trying to enter the floor of the House of Representatives. Andy Harris, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off a metal detector going through security on his way to the House floor . Metal detectors were installed outside the chamber to beef up security in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan 6.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
The master tenant of a cluttered, dilapidated San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a late night fire in 2016 is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to the deaths, avoiding a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury.
- Yahoo News
Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
Germany on Friday rejected a claim by Argentina that a request by airline Lufthansa to fly over Argentina en route to the Falkland Islands implied a recognition of them as Argentine territory. Argentina and Britain have long disputed ownership of the Falklands, with Argentina claiming sovereignty over the British-run islands it calls the Malvinas.
- NBC News
A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th
America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.
- The Week
In the wake of this month's deadly attack on the Capitol building, the White House is pledging to confront the "serious and growing" threat of "domestic violent extremism."White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday that President Biden is requesting a "comprehensive threat assessment" from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on domestic violent extremism, which will be conducted in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security."The January 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we have long known: the rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat," Psaki said. "The Biden administration will confront this threat with the necessary resources and resolve."Psaki said the threat assessment Biden has ordered is the "first step" toward doing so, and it will provide "fact-based analysis upon which we can shape policy."Additionally, Psaki said the National Security Council will launch a "policy review effort" focused on "how the government can share information better about this threat" and "support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more." Finally, she said, the Biden administration will work to coordinate "relevant parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address" domestic violent extremism. A mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 while Congress was meeting to certify Biden's election win, leaving five people dead. Biden condemned the rioters as "domestic terrorists," and CNN previously reported that his administration plans to "make domestic terrorism a significant focus of the National Security Council." > NEW: Press Sec. Psaki announces Biden admin. efforts to combat domestic violent extremism: > > • DNI to oversee a "comprehensive threat assessment"> > • "Build NSC capability" to counter extremism, disrupt extremist networks> > • Coordination among federal depts. on evolving threats pic.twitter.com/dmwpd9z0D2> > -- NBC News (@NBCNews) January 22, 2021More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
The number of people fleeing violence in West Africa's Sahel region has quadrupled in the past two years, with 2 million now displaced in their own countries, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday. Militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their reach in the semi-arid region on the edge of the Sahara, stoking ethnic conflict in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and forcing whole communities to flee their homes. More than half of those displaced within their own country are in Burkina Faso, where many are forced to sleep outside and do not have enough water, UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov said at a briefing in Geneva.
With the dawn of the Biden administration comes Cholleti Vinay Reddy, the country’s first Indian American presidential speechwriter. Reddy’s roots originate from Pothireddypeta, a rural village in the Indian state of Telangana, whose residents have been celebrating his latest milestone: Biden’s inaugural address. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Reddy is believed to have acquired his political acumen from his grandfather, Tirupathi, who served as the village sarpanch (head) for 30 years.
- Associated Press
A Colombian businessman was carrying a letter from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accrediting him to Iran's supreme leader when he was arrested on a U.S. warrant last year, according to a new court filing in a politically charged corruption case ratcheting up tensions with the South American nation. Attorneys for Alex Saab made the filing in Miami federal court Thursday just hours after prosecutors in the African nation of Cape Verde said they granted the 49-year-old Colombian house arrest as he fights extradition to the U.S. to face money laundering charges. U.S. officials believe Saab holds numerous secrets about how Maduro, his family and top aides allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in government contracts amid widespread hunger in the oil-rich nation.
- The Independent
‘There was a protocol breach when the front doors were not held open’
- NBC News
Arunay Pruthi was pulled into the ocean at Cowell Ranch Beach in the city of Half Moon Bay on Monday.
- The Independent
Sean Hannity denounces Biden’s first week as ‘disastrous’ before the president completed a full day of work
‘The Biden administration is off to a very rocky start,’ Fox News host says
- Associated Press
The latest jackpot-winning Powerball ticket, worth $731.1 million, was sold in a struggling coal mining town whose biggest previous claim to fame was being the hometown of baseball legend Lefty Grove. The store will get a $100,000 bonus for selling the ticket to the fifth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. An even larger Mega Millions jackpot will be up for grabs Friday night.
- The Week
Majority of House GOP reportedly supports removing Liz Cheney from leadership after impeachment vote
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is facing an internal resistance after splitting from her party on former President Donald Trump's impeachment.Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, was one of only a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol riot. More than a majority of GOP House members have since indicated they'd support ousting Cheney from her leadership spot, while at least two other Republicans have lined up to replace her, Politico reports.At least 107 House members — more than half the caucus — privately support removing Cheney from power, multiple GOP sources involved in the effort told Politico. Meanwhile New York Reps. Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin, who defended Trump during both of his impeachments, are reportedly looking to replace her.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have said they don't intend to remove Cheney. But McCarthy also echoed Republicans' reported anger that Cheney voiced her support of impeachment the day before the House vote, giving Democrats time to use her views in their own arguments. "Questions need to be answered," such as the "style in which things were delivered," McCarthy told reporters Thursday.Many other Republicans, including some who voted against impeachment, meanwhile don't want Cheney removed just for "vot[ing] her conscience," as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) put it. Others argue removing Cheney would fly in the face of the party's unification message in the post-Trump era — something Cheney herself is trying to counter by making "making calls to all corners of the conference to hear lawmakers out," Politico reports.More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job
The European Parliament called on EU governments to recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president in a resolution on Thursday, after a downgrade of his status by the bloc earlier this month. The EU's 27 states said on Jan. 6 they can no longer legally recognise Guaido as the country's legitimate head of state after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. The European Parliament "calls on ... the member states to unequivocally recognise the constitutional continuation of the legitimate National Assembly of Venezuela elected in 2015 and the legitimate interim President of Venezuela Juan Guaido", it said.