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Riots on the streets of Buenos Aires after Argentina votes against legalising abortion

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The streets of Buenos Aires transformed into a fire-filled riot after Argentina’s Senate voted against the legalisation of abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. 

After a 15-hour debate, 31 senators voted in favour and 38 voted against a bill legalising abortion in the overwhelmingly Catholic countryPer the New York Times, “under current Argentine law, in place since 1921, abortion is legal only in cases of rape or if the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s health.”

It’s believed pressure from the Catholic church and Pope Francis are behind the decision not to stray from the strict abortion ban.  Read more…

More about Abortion, Reproductive Rights, Social Good, Activism, and Health

Source: https://mashable.com/2018/08/09/argentina-abortion-vote/

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Rubio warns of possible civil war in Nicaragua

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Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday blasted the Nicaraguan government for its lethal crackdown on protests, cautioning that “the possibility of a civil war in Nicaragua is real.”

The Florida Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that an escalation of the country’s months-long crisis “would trigger a migratory crisis. It would undermine our anti-drug efforts in the region. There is a direct national security interest for the United States in seeing democracy and stability in Nicaragua.”

Tens of thousands of protesters have convulsed the Central American nation since April. Led by students, protests have railed against social security overhauls and President Daniel Ortega’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Nearly 300 people have died.

The U.N. warned last week of human rights violations by the paramilitary forces Ortega has used against protesters.

The onetime leftist Sandinista revolutionary led Nicaragua in the 1980s after the toppling of the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. Since returning to power in 2007, Ortega has consolidated power, done away with term limits and elevated his widely reviled wife, Rosario Murillo, to the vice presidency as a possible successor.

Rubio said the U.S. is working on standing up sanctions against Nicaraguan entities and individuals as punishment for the unrest.

He also blasted Ortega as “a dying man” and Murillo as “a lunatic,” saying that “there’s no future for them in power.”

And he castigated Nicaragua’s leaders for not staving off the protests with democratic concessions.

“All of this could have been avoided weeks ago,” he said Sunday. “The message to the Nicaraguan regime under Ortega was very clear, and that is: You call early elections, you allow legitimate elections, and this thing can move forward and everyone’s going to be fine. But if you soak your hands in blood, all of that’s off the table. They decided to soak their hands in blood. …

“That opportunity’s now gone for Ortega.”

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/22/rubio-warns-of-possible-civil-war-in-nicaragua-735560

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Arrests and intimidation fuel growing fears of ‘dirty’ election in Pakistan

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Human rights activists claim military are trying to swing Wednesday’s vote in favour of Imran Khan

Widespread allegations that the military is working behind the scenes to swing Pakistan’s election this week in favour of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan are threatening to sully only the country’s second democratic transition of power.

The vote on Wednesday is expected to be a two-way race between Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), the party headed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is now in jail and has for decades had tense relations with the army. “The military has little desire to see the PMLN return to power,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert at the Wilson Center in Washington DC, “and it is willing to engineer actions behind the scenes that undercut the PMLN’s electoral prospects in a big way.”

Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/21/pakistan-imran-khan-elections-arrests-intimidation

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Russia sanctions bill gains bipartisan traction in Senate

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Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are stepping up a push for action on their bipartisan proposal to hit Russia with automatic new sanctions if it interferes in future U.S. elections.

Rubio and Van Hollen have asked bipartisan leaders of the Banking and Foreign Relations committees, which share jurisdiction over sanctions legislation, to hold a hearing on and mark up their plan to impose new penalties on Moscow within 10 days after the director of national intelligence determines that further electoral meddling has occurred.

Introduced in January, the Rubio-Van Hollen bill picked up eight new cosponsors on Thursday, evenly divided between both parties. The bill’s momentum has grown steadily since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) mentioned it on Tuesday as one option on the table for the Senate to respond to President Donald Trump’s warm posture toward Vladimir Putin’s government, although some senators have raised concerns that its broad reach may hit U.S. allies.

McConnell on Thursday asked the Banking and Foreign Relations panels to hold new hearings into the implementation of last year’s bipartisan Russia sanctions bill and to suggest possible further steps that lawmakers can take to counter Russian malfeasance ahead of November’s midterm elections. In the meantime, Trump announced later on Thursday that he would extend an invitation for Putin to visit Washington this fall.

“The Senate has the opportunity to highlight to the American public the real threats that foreign interference in our future elections pose, and to act to deter future foreign interference and defend our country,” Rubio and Van Hollen wrote to the Banking and Foreign Relations panels leaders’ in a letter sent Thursday, a copy of which was shared with POLITICO.

“We are just 110 days away from our elections in November. The time to come together and act is now.”

Source: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/20/senate-russia-sanctions-bill-rubio-van-hollen-734904