The decision by the United States Supreme Court on Friday to end the right to abortion is “a huge blow to women’s rights and gender equality”, the United Nations Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, said.
“Access to safe, legal, and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human rights law and is at the core of women and girls’ autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives,” Bachelet said in a statement.
“This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the US, in particular, those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities.
“More than 50 countries with restrictive laws have relaxed their abortion laws in the past 25 years,” the former Chilean president said.
“With today’s ruling, the US is regrettably moving away from this progressive trend.”
The ruling does not make terminations illegal but returns the United States to the situation before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 when each state was free to allow them or not.
Several US states announced measures to ban abortions in their jurisdiction shortly after the court’s announcement.
UN human rights experts denounced the Supreme Court decision and urged US President Joe Biden to take all necessary measures to mitigate its consequences.
Describing the ruling as shocking and dangerous, the experts branded it “a monumental setback for the rule of law and for gender equality”, in a joint statement.
They said the move would increase the number of women and girls seeking clandestine and unsafe abortions and would fuel abortion stigma, creating “a nightmare scenario for those dealing with the uncertainty and trauma of an unplanned pregnancy.”
The statement was backed by eight special rapporteurs and the UN working group on discrimination against women and girls.
UN experts do not speak for the global body but report their findings to it.
Sweden To Help Consumers Facing High Electricity Costs
Sweden’s government on Wednesday vowed to compensate households and companies for soaring electricity costs in the wake of the Ukraine war, to the tune of up to 60 billion kronor ($5.76 billion).
At least half of the amount was to go to households who could expect to be compensated “this winter”, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters.
“We have electricity and gas prices at a level we’ve never seen before”, she said.
On Wednesday, electricity on the Nordpool market hit a record 5.69 kronor per kilowatt hour in southern Sweden. It was expected to fall back slightly to 5.50 kronor on Thursday.
Swedish electricity prices have soared after Russia drastically curtailed gas supplies to Europe following its invasion of Ukraine.
Gas prices have thereby soared, at a time when there is little wind energy being generated in northern Europe due to current weather conditions.
Svenska Kraftnat, the state-owned operator of the national grid, has therefore been raking in soaring so-called capacity fees, which have left it with a surplus despite massive investments in its grid, Andersson said.
That surplus should make its way back to consumers, Andersson said, adding: “The higher the electricity price goes, the higher the amounts we’re talking about”.
Hydropower for about half of the electricity generated in Sweden, which also relies on nuclear and wind power.
It is not yet known what form the compensation would take nor when it would be introduced, but the government said measures could include lower electricity prices as well as direct refunds to households and companies.
The government has tasked Svenska Kraftnat with drawing up a concrete proposal by November 15.
The Social Democratic government’s announcement comes just three weeks ahead of legislative elections, with opinion polls putting the left and right blocs neck-and-neck.
$418m Paris Club Refund: Malami’s Action Fraudulent, Self Serving – NGF
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has criticized the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, describing his recent claims and actions as fraudulent and self-serving over the $418m Paris Club refund.
The Chairman of the group, Kayode Fayemi, told the media after a meeting on Wednesday that the Forum would take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that the purported consultancies are fully litigated by the Supreme Court.
The Minister of Justice had days ago stated that the Governors had no basis to reject the proposed deductions of 418 million dollars from the Paris Club refund because they had been indemnified and conceded that such payments be made to the consultants.
The NGF Chairman insisted that there is no liability by the states and only the courts can determine if the NGF states are indeed liable. Mister Malami, according to him, is acting in his personal and public interest.
In a communique at the end of the meeting, it added: “The Forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Finance (HMF) to circumvent the law and a recent judgement of the Supreme Court to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to effect payment of the sum of US$418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultant in respect to the Paris Club refunds to the state and local governments.
“A committee was set up comprising the Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, and Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.”
War: China, India, Tajikistan, Others To Send Troops To Russia
China’s People’s Liberation Army will send troops to Russia to participate in the “East-2022” drills.
The East-2022 is also called the Vostok-2022 and this was disclosed by the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, according to CNN.
“China’s participation in the exercise is aimed at deepening practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries,” the ministry added.
It further explained that the Asian giants’ participation would enhance the level of strategic cooperation among countries involved.
The exercise would further strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats, according to the defense ministry.
It, however, added that the exercise is unrelated to the current international and regional situation.
Other nations to join in the exercise are India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries
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