Afghanistan Women’s Rights Abuses Prevail Despite New Law, U.N. Says


KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan women are frequent victims of abuse, despite some success by authorities in prosecuting rape cases, forced marriages and domestic violence under a 3-year-old law, according to a report issued Tuesday by the United Nations.

The report came out a day after gunmen shot and killed the head of the women’s affairs department for eastern Laghman province. Afghan officials said Najia Sediqi, who took the job after her predecessor was killed in a bomb attack in July, was on her way to her office when she was shot dead.

Afghanistan enacted its Elimination of Violence Against Women law in August 2009. It criminalizes child marriage, selling and buying women to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women.

The U.N. collected information from 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces during a 12-month period ending in September to find out how well the law was being implemented.

“Although prosecutors and courts were increasingly applying the law in a growing number of reported incidents, the overall use of the law remained low, indicating there is still a long way to go before women and girls in Afghanistan are fully protected from violence through the law,” the report said.

Incidents of violence against women remain largely under-reported because of cultural restraints, social norms and religious beliefs, according to the report.

It was filled with anecdotal evidence of abuse.

A prosecutor in a district of northern Kunduz province told the U.N. researchers, “A woman by the name of Storay was strangled and killed by her husband because of domestic violence and giving birth to female children and not male children.”

A married 15-year-old girl from western Heart province said, “My husband and my father-in-law beat me without any reason several times. The repeated mistreatment had forced me to complain, but (it was) all in vain as the prosecutor overlooked my petition and warned me to either withdraw the complaint or face imprisonment.”

A 10-year-old third grader from eastern Baghlan province was quoted in the report as saying, “My uncle intends to marry me with his son for my property that I inherited from my late father, but I don’t want a husband. Rather I want to pursue my education and live with my mother.”

Widespread discrimination and women’s fears of social stigma or threats to their lives discourage them from seeking to prosecute their offenders.

“We are calling on the Afghan authorities to take, of course, much greater steps to both facilitate reporting of incidents of violence against women and actually open investigations and take on prosecutions,” Georgette Gagnon, human rights director for the U.N. in Afghanistan, told reporters at a news conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A rising number of incidents of violence against women are being reported, and courts are issuing more convictions based on the law, but they represent only a fraction of the problem.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights commission recorded more than 4,000 cases of violence against women from March 21 to October 21, but most were not reported to police. In contrast, during the 12-month period that the U.N. reviewed, police and prosecutors in the provinces recorded only 470 incidents.

Indictments were filed in 163 of the cases, or about 35 percent, the report said. Only 72 of the indictments were based on violations of the Elimination of Violence Against Women law. But of those, more than 70 percent resulted in convictions, the report said.

“While advances in using the law are welcome, progress in addressing violence against women will be limited until the law is applied more widely,” Gagnon said.

Though Afghan girls and women continue to suffer, there are signs that views on women’s rights could be slowly changing, at least in the capital.

In July, dozens of women – and men – took to the streets of Kabul to protest the public killing of an Afghan woman accused of adultery. A video of her gruesome, execution-style killing showed the woman being shot multiple times in Parwan province, north of the Afghan capital, as people stood nearby, smiling and cheering.

The protesters marched from the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs to a traffic circle near a U.N. compound, and some shouted, “Death to those who did this act!”


Hairy Monkey Store Hilo, Hawaii Grand Re-Opening December 15

Hairy Monkey Store gets Bigger and Better
Big Island Weekly
(When you are on the Big Island of Hawaii this is a MUST VISIT STORE)
When the doors of Hairy Monkey Books closed earlier this year after only two years in business, those who supported the engaging and diverse shop knew it was only a matter of time until a new location was secured and the doors were reopened. That day has finally arrived.  Owners Lawrie Provost and her partner Janno Scheer will be celebrating the grand re-opening in their newly-renovated Keauhaka location on December 15.
Follow the Monkey on Twitter @HairyMonkeystor
Lawrie Provost shares that she and partner Janno had “a concept to produce an eclectic shopping experience for locals and visitors featuring a mix of beach reads and collectibles as well as hard to find Hawaiiana and antique literature such as Don Blanding and Mark Twain. The addition of books pertaining to women’s studies and GLBT created a unique and inviting atmosphere for hard-to-find references.”  The previous location also featured book signings from local authors including Roseanne Barr’s biography, “Roseannearchy.” Provost says that event “put us on the map as having produced the largest book signing in the history of Hilo, Hawaii. Ms. Barr continues to support and contribute to the community at large and may be featuring homegrown items for purchase at the new Hairy Monkey Store.”
After their lease ended in June, Provost says they felt the store deserved a better location, which includes a more accessible storefront and ample parking. The new 4,000 sq. ft. space, complete with a revamped name, The Hairy Monkey Store, is located at 92 Kalanianaole, directly across from the ice pond and Seaside Hotel. Provost says, “The combination of foot traffic from both Banyan drive hotels, the cruise line and bus line along with unlimited parking assures a larger flow of customer traffic.”
After stepping foot into the previous store, it was apparent to any customer that Provost and Scheer offered much more to the community than books and knick-knacks. “During the two years we have been in business, we are proud of our accomplishments including a safe environment for GLBT youth and a diverse ohana looking for reference books and referral services such as free HIV testing, and PFLAG  (parents and friends of Lesbians and gays). We support local non-profits and sell tickets for these kinds of events at no charge, supporting the Palace Theater, local charter school programs, and other non-profits,” shares Provost. The new location will still support the community, but with more space, they will be able to do even more. “The new space will feature a meeting space available for both profit and non-profits such as Zen Drawing Classes, writing clinics, a children’s story time, and women’s book club.”
The crew has been hard at work preparing for the mid-December opening.  Provost adds, “We are making every effort to open by the December date due to all the requests from locals wanting to purchase hard to find Christmas items such as diverse GLBT Christmas cards, ornaments, and rainbow pride items. The collectibles range from mid-century retro to antique 18th century from Hawaii, and abroad.” The special opening day will be marked by an after-hours VIP celebration at 5 p.m., which will include wine, music and delicious treats by Trish Owens of Pineapples.
Though this location may be new, Provost and Scheer are long-time community contributors and business owners in full support of the “buy local” movement. “We are not new to the community in East Hawaii as owners of the downtown watersports store, Sun and Sea Hawaii. We are active in community fundraising and appreciate the endeavors of our neighbors, entrepreneurs and mom and pop stores. Without us little guys the scene here would be different. Old practices such as honesty and integrity, kindness and diversity make Sun and Sea a success. We don’t cater to any one specific group such as scuba diving, spearfishing or surfers, but offer a bit of everything. In the New Hairy Monkey we are excited to offer the same type of diversity in our products, services and good old-fashioned customer service.”
For more information about space availability, hours of operation or the special VIP opening which will feature some exciting guests, call 808-969-2071, e-mail or like them on Facebook to get regular updates.

Help Protect Marijuana Legalization

Even as the drug policy reform movement celebrates our historic victories legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington, we still have to ensure that the states can implement their laws without federal interference.

Several U.S. representatives from Colorado recently introduced a bipartisan bill to help protect our victories by giving the states room to implement the new laws.

Although Colorado and Washington voted to regulate and tax marijuana, these ballot initiatives are not going to implement themselves. We need to do everything we can to ensure the federal government plays a constructive  rather than destructive  role.

So I did something about it, and I hope you’ll join me. Tell your legislators to support the bill that would enable the states to make their own marijuana laws. Click here to take action:

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:
If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.

If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please follow the link below:


$3.4B Indian lawsuit ends, disbursements to begin



HELENA, Mont. (AP) — After nearly 17 years of courtroom arguments, congressional negotiations and Indian Country bickering, hundreds of thousands of Native Americans could see the first payments of a $3.4 billion U.S. government settlement by the end of the year, plaintiffs’ attorneys said Monday.

The settlement between American Indians across the nation and the government over more than a century’s worth of squandered and mismanaged land trust royalties became final on Friday, when the appeal period expired.

One of the largest U.S. government settlements in history began with a lawsuit filed in 1996 by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont. The Blackfeet leader observed that those who leased Indian land made money from its natural resources, while the Indians themselves remained in poverty with no accounting of the royalties from that land that were held in trust for them by the government

Cobell herself led the fight against the government for more than 15 years before she died of cancer last year.

“We all are happy that this settlement can finally be implemented,” lead attorney Dennis Gingold said in a statement Monday. “We deeply regret that Ms. Cobell did not live to see this day.”

Approximately 350,000 beneficiaries could start receiving $1,000 checks by Christmas as the first part of the settlement goes forward, plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar released a statement that said the settlement marks a step forward in reconciliation and a new era in how the government administers its trusts.

“With the settlement now final, we can put years of discord behind us and start a new chapter in our nation-to-nation relationship,” Salazar said.

The agreement will pay out $1.5 billion to two classes of beneficiaries. Each member of the first class would be paid $1,000. Each member of the second class would be paid $800 plus a share of the balance of the settlement funds as calculated by a formula based on the activity in their trust accounts.

Another $1.9 billion would be used by the government to purchase fractionated land allotments from willing individuals and turn those consolidated allotments over to the tribe. An education scholarship for young Indians also would be established under the agreement.

Congress approved the deal in December 2010 and U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan approved it after a June 2011 hearing. Hogan said that while the settlement may not be as much as some wished, the deal ended the legal deadlock and provided some certainty for the beneficiaries.

Cobell traveled across Indian Country to explain the deal, but there was opposition. One opponent, Kimberly Craven of Boulder, Colo., took her objections to the Supreme Court, saying the settlement did not include an actual accounting for how much money the government lost and that the deal would overcompensate a select few beneficiaries.

The Supreme Court declined to take up her petition.

Click here for Link to Article


Roseanne Barr Joins Slew of ‘Portlandia’ Season 3 Guests

Click here for Link to Hollywood Reporter


Rose Byrne, Juliette Lewis and Bill Hader are also among those heading to the IFC series when it returns in January.


Ahead of the series Jan. 4 premiere (and the Dec. 14 holiday special), the IFC comedy has announced more than a dozen guest stars who will be dropping by the third season.

VIDEO: ‘Portlandia’ Announces Return Date With New Short

Perhaps most notably, Roseanne Barr is slated to appear on the Portland-loving sketch comedy show. She’ll join Rose Byrne (Damages) Jim Gaffigan (Bored to Death), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Juliette Lewis (Conviction), Matt Lucas (Little Britain), J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live), Martina Navratilova, Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), George Wendt (Cheers) and Dirty Projectors.

That group joins the previously announced addition of Chloë Sevigny. The American Horror Story actress is set for several episodes, playing Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein‘s new roommate, Alexandra.

Previous guests Jeff Goldblum, Kyle MacLachlan and Kumail Nanjiani are also on board to return.


Heading to Vegas in 2013

Heading to Vegas in 2013!


My Speech at Oaksterdam

YouTube Preview Image

Roseanne’s appearance was threefold: She pushed for total legalization of the marijuana plant as well as donations and voters for her newly adopted political party (a push to be a Green Party candidate didn’t go so well).

“Marijuana should be totally legal,” she said. “We live in a free country, so it should be legal to smoke marijuana and drink.”

Barr is running on a ticket with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who Bay Area voters may remember from her 2008 bid to unseat then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Her appearance in Oakland was initially scheduled to be a fundraiser at a private home, but when Oaksterdam officials found out she’d be in town, they invited her to the downtown campus of the marijuana school, one of the federal goverment’s victims in the recent crackdown on state-legal weed.

Read the rest of “Roseanne Barr And Marijuana: Former TV Star Campaigns In Oakland” on The Huffington Post…