Europe Rejects Bush's Abstinence-Only Plan
IN THE COURTS
Alito abortion memo stirs more controversy - Reuters
A prominent Senate Democrat on Thursday demanded Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito explain why he did not mention a controversial 1985 memo on abortion in a lengthy questionnaire tracing his legal career. "It is puzzling that one of the most significant cases that Judge Alito had a hand working on was omitted," New York Democrat Charles Schumer said. "The American people are entitled to know his views on all constitutional matters, not just the ones that the administration cherry-picks."
Europeans reject abstinence message in split with US on Aids - Guardian
Europe, led by the UK, signalled a major split with the United States over curbing the Aids pandemic in a statement that tacitly urged African governments not to heed the abstinence-focused agenda of the Bush administration. The statement, released for World Aids Day, emphasises the fundamental importance of condoms, sex education and access to reproductive health services. "We are profoundly concerned about the resurgence of partial or incomplete messages on HIV prevention which are not grounded in evidence and have limited effectiveness," it says.
Survey calls for end to female carpet weavers' misery - IRIN
Thousands of women and girls who toil in appalling conditions to make Afghan carpets for export are treated as unpaid slaves and suffer from routine exhaustion, long hours and health problems, according to a survey conducted by a local rights body released on Thursday. The world famous handmade carpets, woven mainly in northern and central Afghanistan, are one of the poverty-stricken country's few exports and can fetch thousands of dollars abroad. According to the Ministry of Commerce, there are around 1 million small carpet workshops across the country, in which around 6 million people, mainly women and children, are employed. The Rabia Balkhi Advocacy and Skill building Agency (RASA) conducted the survey over seven months in three northern provinces: Balkh; Kunduz; and Jawzjan, and spoke to more than 300 weavers.
"Most of the weavers spend up to 18 hours a day working in poor conditions, with many becoming ill and taking opium to relieve their pain," Nilofar Sayar, regional director of RASA, said. Afghanistan's 2003 constitution limits the normal working day to eight hours.
Indian PM: 'Talk about safe sex' - BBC
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged Indians to start talking more openly about safe sex to check the spread of the HIV virus that causes Aids. This follows growing alarm among Indian health officials about the spread of the virus to rural areas where health care is poor. Aids workers dispute official figures that say the rate of HIV infection has fallen sharply in India. More than five million people in India are HIV positive. Only South Africa has more people with the virus.
Pay women not to have abortions, say Italian MPs - Guardian
A proposal to pay women in Italy not to have abortions was rapidly gaining momentum yesterday as politicians of right and left alike gave it their endorsement. The scheme - put forward by the left - came against a background of mounting pressure from the Roman Catholic church for a rethink of the country's 1978 abortion law. With a general election due in four months, both sides are keen to woo the decisive Catholic vote. Under the scheme women in straitened economic circumstances would get between $250 and $350 a month for up to six months before giving birth. The plan is outlined in a proposed amendment to next year's budget sponsored by a group of MPs that includes two former women ministers - one an ex-Communist and the other from the centre-left.