Afghanistan celebrated International Youth Day on Thursday with a large, free outdoor concert in Bamyan. Over 7,000 people of all ages came together to listen to over a dozen acts by Afghan musicians from around the globe and speeches from provincial leaders. The event was organized by UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Missions in Afghanistan, and last about four hours.
Bamyan's Deputy Governor, Asif Mubaligh, focused on education in his speech to the crowd. "Focus more on education to garner medals and other accomplishments," he said. Habiba Sarabi, provincial Governor, spoke about the importance of youth engagement, emphasizing that "young people today belong to the largest generation of youtrh the world has known." In Afghanistan, two-thirds of the estimated population of 27 million are young people.
"I call on the government, the private sector, civil society, and academia," said UNAMA's head for western Afghanistan, Andrew McGregor, "to keep the doors wide open for young people." He expressed hopes that young people would grow to be democratic leaders and productive Afghan citizens.
The UN General Assembly declared August 12 International "Youth Day in 1999. It was first observed in 2002.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .