Afghan troops launch push against Taliban

An Afghan National Army (ANA) tank is parked at an outpost in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, in this April 18, 2016 photo. (Reuters)
Updated 30 April 2016
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Afghan troops launch push against Taliban

KABUL: Government forces have launched operations against the Taliban in 18 provinces of Afghanistan as fighting has intensified since the start of the insurgents’ spring offensive this month, the Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.
The operations, backed by air power and artillery have been concentrated in areas where the Taliban insurgents have been aggressively challenging government forces seeking to reassert control over key districts.
Eighty anti-government fighters, including nine from Daesh have been killed over the past 24 hours in the east, while six soldiers have been killed, a ministry statement said..
The Taliban, which has ruled out joining peace talks while foreign troops remain in Afghanistan, announced the start of its spring offensive on April 12, pledging large-scale attacks against government strongholds as well as suicide bombings and targeted assassinations.
Army chief of staff Qadam Shah Shaheem told reporters the Taliban was conducting “psychological warfare” designed to weaken morale and undermine confidence in the government but that it would not succeed.


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.