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For 3rd day, Russia delivers S-400 system parts to Turkey
Sun, July 14, 2019 03:27 EDT
ISTANBUL (AP) — For the third straight day, Russia has delivered components of its S-400 air defense system to Turkey.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry tweeted Sunday about the landing of a fifth and sixth Russian cargo planes at Murted Air Base, near the capital, Ankara. It said two more planes were expected within hours.
The deliveries for the Russian-made defense system, which is driving a rift between Turkey and the United States, began Friday.
The United States has repeatedly warned it will impose economic sanctions and kick Turkey out of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program if Ankara does not drop its S-400 purchase.
Turkey, a fellow NATO nation, has refused to bow to U.S. pressure, saying its defense purchase is a matter of national sovereignty.
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Salvadoran accused of abortion faces retrial, hefty sentence
By MARCOS ALEMAN | Mon, July 15, 2019 12:02 EDT
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A young woman who birthed a baby into a toilet in El Salvador faces a second trial for murder Monday in a case that has drawn international attention because of the country’s highly restrictive abortion laws.
Evelyn Beatriz Hernández had already served 33 months of her 30-year sentence when the Supreme Court overturned the ruling against her in February and ordered a new trial, with a new judge. This is the first retrial of an abortion case in a country that aggressively pursues legal cases against women who have experienced miscarriages and obstetric emergencies, accusing them of murder.
Women’s rights advocates hope the new government of President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June, will soften the country’s stance on women’s reproductive rights — starting with an acquittal for Hernández. Dozens of women have been jailed in El Salvador with similar convictions.
“What Evelyn is living is the nightmare of many women in El Salvador,” said her lawyer, Elizabeth Deras.
Hernández says she had no idea she was pregnant, as a result of a rape. She recalls making her way to an outhouse in a poor, rural community one day in 2016 with strong abdominal pains. She squatted to defecate, she says, and the baby must have slid to the bottom of the septic tank. Evelyn’s mother says she found her daughter passed out next to the makeshift toilet and hailed a pickup truck to transport her to a hospital 30 minutes away.
The fetus was 32 weeks old — nearly full term — and forensic examiners weren’t able to determine whether the death occurred in the womb, or in the feces. The cause of death remains unclear.
Both women insist they didn’t know there was a baby in the septic tank. But prosecutors don’t believe them.
The Associated Press only identifies victims of alleged sexual assault by name if the victims themselves go public with the allegations.
The trial of Hernández, 21, is set to begin Monday in what looks to be the first test for women’s reproductive rights under Bukele, who is young and has expressed disdain for all forms of discrimination.
Bukele has said he believes abortion is only acceptable when the mother’s life is at risk but that he’s “completely against” criminalizing women who have miscarriages.
“If a poor woman has a miscarriage, she’s immediately suspected of having had an abortion,” Bukele said in 2018. “We can’t assume guilt when what a woman needs is immediate assistance.”
Women who turn up at public hospitals following a miscarriage are sometimes accused of having killed the fetus.
Recent public opinion polls in El Salvador show broad support for more lenient abortion laws, such as allowing medical interventions when a mother’s life is in danger or the fetus is not viable. However, many Salvadorans still believe rape victims should be obligated to carry out their pregnancies.
An intervention on behalf of Hernández would show that Bukele is “interested in the lives of women,” said Deras. Morena Herrera, who fights for women’s reproductive rights in El Salvador, also urged Bukele to raise his voice “in favor of Evelyn” so that the young woman can get on with her life.
Bukele has not spoken publicly about the Hernández case.
El Salvador is one of three countries in Central America with total bans on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger.
Salvadoran law dictates up to eight years in prison for women who intentionally terminate a pregnancy, and for medical practitioners who might assist them. However, aggressive prosecutors frequently upgrade the charges to aggravated homicide, which carries a maximum 40-year sentence.
The Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador has tracked 146 prosecutions against women for abortion since 2014. Of those cases, 60 women were sentenced to jail, with 24 convicted of aggravated homicide. Some insist they suffered miscarriages and did not intentionally terminate their pregnancies.
The punishments often fall on poor, young women and victims of rape.
El Salvador is a deeply religious country, with 80% identifying as either Catholic or Evangelical Christian.
But it’s also a country plagued by gang violence and macho attitudes about the roles of women. Every year, an estimated 25,000 women are impregnated after rapes in the country of just over 6 million inhabitants. It’s believed that thousands of clandestine abortions are carried out each year in El Salvador.
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Guatemala cancels meeting between Morales and Trump
By SONIA D. PEREZ | Sun, July 14, 2019 07:46 EDT
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A meeting in Washington between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Guatemalan counterpart Jimmy Morales purportedly over a potential “safe third country” agreement for asylum seekers has been canceled, Guatemala’s office of the presidency said Sunday.
The presidency said that the meeting would be rescheduled because the Constitutional Court has not yet ruled on legal appeals aimed at preventing Morales from acceding to Trump’s requests. The meeting had been set to take place Monday.
“Due to speculation and legal proceedings admitted for processing to the Constitutional Court, a decision was made to reschedule the bilateral meeting until we know what was resolved by said court,” a statement said. “The government of the republic reiterates that at no moment has it contemplated signing an agreement to convert Guatemala into a safe third country.”
It added that other bilateral issues in the public interest would continue to be discussed.
A “safe third country” agreement would mean that Salvadorans, Hondurans and people from elsewhere who cross into Guatemala would have to apply for asylum there instead of doing so at the U.S. border — potentially easing the immigration crush that the United States is dealing with and handing Trump a concession he could tout as a win.
Critics have said that the Guatemalan government does not have the resources to help migrants and asylum seekers trying to get to the U.S. when tens of thousands of its own citizens have fled just this year.
U.S. officials said that “safe third country” is on the table though not finalized, but the Guatemalan government said it was not intending to make such a deal.
The Constitutional Court was scheduled to convene on Sunday to discuss the legal basis for prohibiting Morales, Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel and Interior Minister Enrique Degenhart from signing an agreement.
Alfredo Brito, secretary for presidential communication, told The Associated Press there is no scheduled date for a new meeting between Morales and Trump.
EarthLink – News
2 killed, 4 hurt in suspected Oklahoma road rage attack
Sun, July 14, 2019 04:00 EDT
DURANT, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say a drunken driver who was on probation for a previous DUI conviction deliberately forced another vehicle into oncoming traffic on an Oklahoma highway, causing a head-on collision that killed two people and injured four others.
The suspected road rage attack happened at around 5 p.m. Saturday west of Durant, which is about 120 miles (193 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
Authorities identified the driver as 52-year-old Ralph F. McEnnerney, of Kingston.
Patrol spokeswoman Sarah Stewart said McEnnerney left the scene of the collision but was later arrested and booked into the Bryan County Jail on two counts of second-degree murder, leaving the scene of a fatal collision and felony DUI. Court records don’t indicate if McEnnerney has an attorney and a listed number couldn’t be found for him.
Court records indicate that McEnnerney pleaded guilty in May to DUI, resisting an officer and other charges in Marshall County. He received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a $500 fine, and he was placed on unsupervised probation.
Stewart said McEnnerney was driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 70 when “for some reason” began to drive recklessly next to another vehicle. McEnnerney allegedly struck the passenger side of that vehicle, causing it to veer into oncoming traffic and to hit the other vehicle.
Everyone who were killed or injured was either in the vehicle that was pushed or the one that it struck. One passenger in each vehicle was killed. They were identified as Randy Kinyon, 47, of Henderson, Texas, and Shelley Lynn Mayo, 46, of Caddo, Oklahoma.
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In Iran, some take off their hijabs as hard-liners push back
By KARIN LAUB and MOHAMMAD NASIRI | Mon, July 15, 2019 02:11 EDT
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The simple act of walking has become a display of defiance for a young Iranian woman who often moves in Tehran’s streets without a compulsory headscarf, or hijab.
With every step, she risks harassment or even arrest by Iran’s morality police whose job it is to enforce the strict dress code imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“I have to confess it is really, really scary,” the 30-year-old fire-safety consultant said in a WhatsApp audio message, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.
But she is also hopeful, saying she believes the authorities find it increasingly difficult to suppress protests as more women join in. “They are running after us, but cannot catch us,” she said. “This is why we believe change is going to be made.”
The hijab debate has further polarized Iranians at a time when the country is buckling under unprecedented U.S. sanctions imposed since the Trump administration pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year. It’s unclear to what extent the government can enforce hijab compliance amid an economic malaise, including a currency collapse and rising housing prices.
There’s anecdotal evidence that more women are pushing back against the dress code, trying to redefine red lines as they test the response of the ruling Shiite Muslim clergy and their security agencies.
An Associated Press reporter spotted about two dozen women in the streets without a hijab over the course of nine days, mainly in well-to-do areas of Tehran — a mall, a lakeside park, a hotel lobby.
Many other women, while stopping short of outright defiance, opted for loosely draped colorful scarves that show as much hair as they cover. Even in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, frequented by many traditional women, most female shoppers wore these casual hijabs. Still, a sizeable minority of women was covered head-to-toe in black robes and tightly pulled headscarves, the so-called chador.
The struggle against compulsory headscarves first made headlines in December 2017 when a woman climbed atop a utility box in Tehran’s Revolution Street, waving her hijab on a stick. More than three dozen protesters have been detained since, including nine who are currently in detention, said Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist who now lives in New York.
Despite attempts to silence protesters, public debate has intensified, amplified by social media.
Last month, a widely watched online video showed a security agent grab an unveiled teenage girl and violently push her into the back of a police car, prompting widespread criticism.
President Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have supported a softer attitude toward women who don’t comply with the official dress code. However, hard-liners opposed to such easing have become more influential as the nuclear deal is faltering.
They have called for harsh punishment, even lashes, arguing that allowing women to show their hair leads to moral decay and the disintegration of families. The judiciary recently urged Iranians to inform on women without hijabs by sending photos and videos to designated social media accounts.
“The more women dress in an openly sexual way, the less we’ll have social peace, while facing a higher crime rate,” Minoo Aslani, head of the women’s branch of the paramilitary Basij group, told a rally last week.
Another gathering was attended by several thousand women in chadors. One held up a sign reading, “The voluntary hijab is a plot by the enemy.”
Reformist lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshouri said coercion does not work. “What we see is that the morality police have been a failure,” said Salahshouri, who wears a headscarf out of religious belief.
Changing hijab rules through legislation is unlikely because of the constraints on parliament, she said.
Instead, women should engage in non-violent civil disobedience, Salahshouri said. She cautioned that it’s a slow, difficult road, but that “Iranian women have not given up their efforts.”
The hijab controversy goes back to the mid-1930s when police forced women to take off their hijabs, part of a Westernization policy by then-Shah Reza Pahlavi. Under his son and successor, women could choose. Western apparel was common among the elite.
A 2018 survey by a parliament research center indicates that most women wear a casual hijab and only 13% opt for a chador.
Attitudes have changed. In 1980, two-thirds believed women should wear hijabs. Today, fewer than 45% approve of government intervention in the issue, the research said.
Iran has seen waves of anti-government protests, including an outcry after a 2009 election many contended was stolen by hard-liners. Those with economic grievances frequently protest.
Alinejad, the activist, argued the campaign against forced hijabs carries symbolic weight, saying that mandatory headscarves were “the symbol that the Iranian government used to take the whole society hostage.”
In recent years, she has posted videos and photos of activists, including of women filming themselves as they walk in the streets without a headscarf. Alinejad said she receives more than 20 images a day, but posts only some.
The activists in Iran take risks.
In March, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has represented female protesters, was sentenced to 38.5 years in prison, of which she must serve 12, according to her husband.
In April, activists Yasaman Aryani, her mother Monireh Arabshahi and Mojgan Keshavarz were arrested after posting a video showing them without headscarves in the Tehran metro. In the video, they distributed flowers to female passengers and spoke of a day when women have the freedom to choose.
Others have pushed boundaries more gradually.
The 30-year-old fire-safety consultant said she tries to avoid policemen when she walks the streets without a hijab. She said she grudgingly complies with the dress code when she delivers lectures or sings in a mixed choir — activities she would otherwise be barred from.
At the high-end Palladium Mall in northern Tehran, several shoppers casually ignored a sign reminding customers that the hijab is mandatory. One woman only pulled up her scarf, which was draped around her shoulders, when she stepped into an elevator and found herself next to a security guard.
Nearby, 20-year-old Paniz Masoumi sat on the stone steps of a plaza. She had dyed some of her hair blue, but kept that funky patch hidden under a loose scarf.
She said police recently impounded her car for two weeks, fining her amid claims that a traffic camera snapped her with a below-standard hijab.
If hijabs were voluntary, she’d throw off hers, Masoumi said. But for now, “I am not looking for trouble.”