Many Afghan women pushing back against Taliban orders to cover up

Many Afghan women pushing back against Taliban orders to cover up
About a dozen women chanting “burqa is not my hijab” protested in the Afghan capital on Tuesday against the Taliban’s order for women to cover fully in public, including their faces. (AFP)
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Updated 11 May 2022

Many Afghan women pushing back against Taliban orders to cover up

Many Afghan women pushing back against Taliban orders to cover up
  • The consequences of disobedience are aimed at a woman's closest male family member, ranging from a warning to imprisonment
  • The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the order and the US said it would increase pressure on the Taliban administration

KABUL: Many women in the Afghan capital are delaying a return to fully covering their faces in public in defiance of orders from Islamist Taliban rulers.
Others are staying at home and some have been wearing COVID-19 face masks anyway.
The Taliban, who swept back to power as the government collapsed, on Saturday ordered women to cover their faces in public, a return to their past hard-line rule and an escalation of restrictions on girls and women that are causing anger at home and abroad.
The consequences of disobedience are aimed at a woman’s closest male family member, ranging from a warning to imprisonment.
The UN Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss the order and the United States said it would increase pressure on the Taliban administration.
It was not clear whether any men had yet faced consequences by Wednesday and Taliban authorities said they would first focus on “encouraging” adherence.
In Kabul, one of the more liberal areas of Afghanistan, there were indications that women were pushing back.
At least two protests took place this week, as demonstrators criticized growing attempts to limit women from public life.
“We want to be known as living creatures, we want to be known as human beings, not slaves imprisoned in the corner of the house,” one protester said.
A seller of all-enveloping burqas in Kabul told Reuters in the days after the announcement sellers had lifted prices around 30 percent, but they had since come back to around 1,300 Afghanis ($15) as there was no increased demand.
“Most women prefer to buy a hijab (a headscarf), not a burqa. A burqa is good according to the Taliban, but it is the women’s last choice,” he said.
Reuters spoke to two female doctors and a teacher — the few formal jobs still available to women — who said that covering faces and wearing loose garments would interfere with their work.
“We are doctors, we do operations and we have to wash our hands up to our elbows,” said a doctor, who declined to be identified for security reasons.
Outside the capital there were some signs that Saturday’s announcement was fueling stricter oversight of women’s dress.
A doctor in southeastern Afghanistan said Taliban officials had told her not to treat female patients who did not have a male chaperone and were not fully covered.
A university student in northern Afghanistan said university officials since Saturday were becoming much stricter on dress code, telling her on Monday that her colorful headscarf was unacceptable and she must wear all black.
Fahima, a woman living in the western province of Herat, ran a business before the Taliban took over but now must wait for her teenage son to come home from school so she can leave the house with him just to buy groceries.
“I can barely leave home,” she said.

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Updated 14 August 2022

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UN-chartered ship in Ukraine readying for journey to Africa
  • The ship will sail to Ethiopia via a grain corridor through the Black Sea
  • It will be the first humanitarian food aid cargo bound for Africa since Russia’s invasion

ODESA, Ukraine: The United Nations-chartered ship MV Brave Commander will depart Ukraine for Africa in coming days after it finishes loading more than 23,0000 tons of wheat in the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi, a UN official said.
The ship, which arrived in the port near Odesa, will sail to Ethiopia via a grain corridor through the Black Sea brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in late July.
It will be the first humanitarian food aid cargo bound for Africa since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. under the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The cargo was funded with donations from the United Nations World Food Programme, US Agency for International Development and several private donors.
A total 16 ships have now departed from Ukraine following the deal with Russia to allow a resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, after they were stalled for five months due to the war.
The agreement was reached last month amid fears that the loss of Ukrainian grain supplies would lead to severe food shortages and even outbreaks of famine in parts of the world.
Ukraine has some 20 million tons of grain left over from last year’s crop, while this year’s wheat harvest is also estimated at 20 million tons.
So far most of the cargoes under the deal have carried grain for animal feed or for fuel.
As part of the UN deal, all ships are inspected in Istanbul by the Joint Coordination Center, where Russia, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN personnel work.


River torrent kills 7 in China amid widespread heavy rains

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Updated 14 August 2022

River torrent kills 7 in China amid widespread heavy rains

River torrent kills 7 in China amid widespread heavy rains

BEIJING: Seven people were killed by a torrent of water that came rushing down a river in a popular recreational spot following mountain rains in southwestern China, authorities said Sunday.
Workers and volunteers mobilized to urge people to leave the area after receiving an imminent heavy rain warning about 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, the emergency management bureau in Pengzhou city said.
People could be seen scrambling to flee in videos posted on social media, but some were caught when the torrent hit about 50 minutes later at 3:30 p.m.
One man at the scene said several people were washed away, including some children, when the water flow in the lower reaches of the river suddenly increased in just 10 to 20 seconds, the state-owned China National Radio reported.
The Chengdu city government said Sunday that seven people had died and three others were hospitalized with minor injuries. Pengzhou is a tourist spot about 70 kilometers (45 miles) north of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.
A video showed a helicopter rescuing a person stranded on a small outcropping by descending to just above the water and opening a door so the person could climb in.
Elsewhere in China, heavy rain flooded streets in the northwestern city of Xining on Saturday night. Heavy to torrential rain was forecast for the northeast from Sunday to Monday afternoon, with 10 to 18 centimeters (4 to 7 inches) of rainfall expected in parts of Liaoning and Jilin provinces.
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Police detain gunman in Canberra airport shooting

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Police detain gunman in Canberra airport shooting

Police detain gunman in Canberra airport shooting
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SYDNEY:  A gunman fired about five shots inside Canberra’s main airport Sunday, sending passengers fleeing but injuring no-one before he was detained by Australian police.
The airport was evacuated and locked down, leading to the suspension of flights.
Images posted on social media showed a police officer restraining a man on the ground inside the terminal as the emergency alarm sounded in the capital’s main airport.
“A male has entered Canberra Airport in the departures area. He has sat in one of the areas adjacent to the glass windows,” detective acting superintendent Dave Craft told reporters outside the airport building.
“After approximately five minutes, this male has removed a firearm from his possession and let off approximately five rounds,” he added.
Craft said the crime scene indicated that the man had fired shots at the glass inside the terminal.
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Updated 14 August 2022

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Rushdie attack a ‘wake-up call’ on Iran, says Britain’s PM candidate Sunak
  • Iran’s reaction to the attack strengthens the case for proscribing the IRGC, the former finance minister told the Sunday Telegraph

LONDON: Rishi Sunak, one of two candidates seeking to become Britain’s next prime minister, said Friday’s attack on author Salman Rushdie should serve as a wake-up call to the West over Iran, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Indian-born author Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after Iran urged Muslims to kill him over his novel “The Satanic Verses,” was stabbed in the neck and torso on stage at a lecture in New York state. After hours of surgery, Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak as of Friday evening.
There has been no official government reaction in Iran to the attack on Rushdie, but several hard-line Iranian newspapers praised his assailant.


ALSO READ: Background of Rushdie attacker sheds light on Khomeini sympathizers in US


“The brutal stabbing of Salman Rushdie should be a wake-up call for the West, and Iran’s reaction to the attack strengthens the case for proscribing the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps),” Sunak, the former finance minister, said, according to the paper.
The IRGC controls Iran’s elite armed and intelligence forces.
Sunak, referring to stuttering talks between Iran and the West to revive a nuclear deal, said, “We urgently need a new, strengthened deal and much tougher sanctions, and if we can’t get results then we have to start asking whether the JCPOA is at a dead end.”
The JCPOA, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the 2015 agreement under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.
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N.Korea criticizes UN chief’s support for the North’s denuclearization

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Updated 14 August 2022

N.Korea criticizes UN chief’s support for the North’s denuclearization

N.Korea criticizes UN chief’s support for the North’s denuclearization
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SEOUL: North Korea’s foreign ministry on Sunday criticized the United Nations Secretary-General’s recent comment on his supports for the North’s complete denuclearization, calling the remarks lack impartiality and fairness.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA released a statement from the foreign ministry after UN chief Antonio Guterres on Friday said he fully supports efforts to completely denuclearise North Korea when he met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.
“I cannot but express deep regret over the said remarks of the UN secretary-general that grossly lack impartiality and fairness and go against the obligations of his duty, specified in the UN Charter, as regards the issue of the Korean peninsula,” Kim Son Gyong, vice minister for international organizations of North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Kim added that the UN secretary-general should not request or accept orders from the government of a specific country but refrain from doing any act that may impair his or her position as an international official who is liable only to the UN.
Kim said the North’s “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” (CVID) was “an infringement upon the sovereignty of the DPRK,” referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“It demands the unilateral disarmament, and Secretary-General Guterres perhaps knows well that the DPRK has totally rejected it without any toleration,” said Kim, adding that Guterres should be careful when uttering “dangerous words” amid the extremely acute situation on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea has test fired a record number of missiles this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington say that it appears to be preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017, amid stalled denuclearization talks.