S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Females in the news-

One of the most powerful women in the U. S., Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, was the focus of my post a couple of days ago (see title link).

There are several more females in the news upon whom I now focus:

Kenya - (The photo is of Wangari Maathai of, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004).

Tidbits about females -

U. S. - The gender of dolphins can now be selected. Here is an exerpt from that story:

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - SeaWorld San Diego said on Friday it succeeded in selecting the gender of a baby dolphin -- a first that could improve the population of captive sea mammals and reduce the need for new captures. SeaWorld announced the breakthrough the same day the 2-month old female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, who does not yet have a name, was introduced to the media. The mother dolphin, a 26-year-old named Sandy, was artificially inseminated 14 months ago and the calf was born in October. . . . The calf was bred using a sperm-sorting technology . . . Gender-selecting techniques are already used with horses, sheep, cattle and other land animals.

Women make the news in countries around the world -

France - The world's first partial face transplant was in the news for several days. Here's a Reuters quote describing the patient's amazed reaction:

The 38-year-old woman underwent the operation to give her a new nose, chin and
mouth at a hospital in the northern French city of Amiens last month. "When I
looked at my new face, I knew straight away that it was me," the paper quoted the woman, who was disfigured after her dog mauled her, as saying. "It was simply amazing to see a nose and mouth on my face."

Ecuador - According to Reuters, the world's oldest person is "a 116-year-old Ecuadorean woman (who) was declared the oldest person in the world on Friday, lifting the title from a U.S. woman previously thought to be the oldest person alive, Guinness World Records said."

Several powerful women are currently making the news -

United Kingdom - Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher,

the "Iron Lady" who dominated British politics for more than a decade, left hospital on Thursday after being admitted a day earlier for feeling faint. Thatcher, 80, smiled and waved as she walked from the hospital and was driven away. . . . Thatcher held office from 1979 to 1990 as Britain's first female prime minister.

Guatemala - A statue of an early powerful Mayan woman was discovered by Canadians recently in Central America. To quote Reuters:

Archeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed a monument with the earliest-known depiction of a woman of authority in ancient Mayan culture, the Canadian leader of the research team said on Monday. The 2-meter high (6-1/2 foot high) limestone monument, called a stela, has a portrait of a female who could be either a ruler or a mythical goddess, said Kathryn Reese-Taylor, a University of Calgary archeologist. . . . Archeologists found the stela -- the likes of which normally describe events in the lives of kings -- at the site of Naachtun, a Mayan city 90 km (55 miles) north of the more famous site of Tikal.

Chile - The next possible Chilean president may be a woman. According to Reuters,

SANTIAGO, Chile - Whether strumming a romantic ballad on a guitar or
brainstorming on social questions with supporters in a remote fishing town, presidential front-runner Michelle Bachelet has a talent for connecting directly with Chilean voters. Pegged to become her country's first woman president, Bachelet, a former defense minister and health minister, has captured the imagination of Chilean women and the confidence of business leaders. Her brief imprisonment and torture during Chile's 17-year dictatorship also helped Bachelet catch the interest of many Chileans. . . . If she wins she'll be the second woman ever elected president in South America, after Guyana's Janet Jagan in 1997.

Liberia - There is a new woman elected as African president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She is currently visiting the United States. Reuters reports on her election last month:

Liberia's "Iron Lady," former Finance Minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, became Africa's first elected female head of state on Wednesday when she was declared the winner of a presidential run-off. Liberia's electoral commission said official results from the November 8 run-off showed the Harvard-trained World Bank economist beat soccer millionaire George Weah by winning 59.4 percent of the valid votes, compared to Weah's 40.6 percent. Hundreds of cheering, singing and dancing supporters of the woman Liberians call "Iron Lady" and "Mama Ellen" celebrated outside Johnson-Sirleaf's home and the headquarters of her Unity Party (UP), bringing traffic to a standstill. . . . Liberia's electoral authorities confirmed Johnson-Sirleaf's win by a wide margin even though they were still investigating a formal complaint from Weah that the polls were fraudulent.

Germany - A woman was recently elected as Chancellor of Germany. Her name is Angela Merkel. She figured prominantly in stories about Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice's visit to Europe (see my previous blog post). To quote from this Reuters article about the election,

November 22, 2005. Angela Merkel was elected Germany's first woman chancellor on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote that ends months of uncertainty and ushers in a
fragile new government that must prove it can revive Europe's top economy. Merkel, the 51-year-old leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), won 397 votes in the 614-seat Bundestag, easily securing the majority she needed to become Germany's eighth postwar chancellor and first to have grown up in the ex-communist east.

New York City - Our UN Ambassador John Bolton, however, recently attacked an important woman official Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights. To quote again from Reuters,

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan defended his high commissioner for human rights on Thursday after U.S. ambassador John Bolton rebuked her for criticizing the U.S. stance on torture, a U.N. spokesman said. Annan wants to take up the matter with Bolton as soon as possible, the spokesman said, revealing a rare public expression of displeasure with a U.N. ambassador. High Commissioner Louise Arbour on Wednesday said the U.S.-led war on terror undermined the global ban on torture, a criticism Bolton called "inappropriate and illegitimate." . . . (he) regretted that Arbour had marked Human Rights Day by focusing on the United States and not countries like Myanmar and Cuba.

It goes without saying that the world can be dangerous for women.

Brazil - A small bit of justice may come for a U.S. nun in Brazil who was murdered. Reuters reports that,
Two men are expected to plead guilty on Friday to killing a 73-year-old American
nun who defended the poor in Brazil's Amazon rain forest in a landmark case that
challenges the power of ranchers and loggers advancing on the jungle. Ten
months after Dorothy Stang was shot in a dispute over hardwood rain forest,
gunmen accused of having been hired by landholders to kill her faced a judge in
the Amazon city of Belem, Para state. Inside a faded yellow court house, Stang's relatives joined with U.N. and federal government officials to call for an end to impunity in hundreds of contract killings on Brazil's lawless eastern Amazon frontier.

North Korea - It is reported that women and girls at risk of enslavement when they travel to China are in danger. To quote,
BEIJING (Reuters) - Many North Korean refugees who flee to China every year end up as sex slaves and China often sends them back for punishment, the U.S. ambassador for fighting international slavery said in Beijing on Friday. John Miller said he discussed North Korea in two days of talks with Chinese officials about the modern-day slave trade -- many of its victims women and girls forced into prostitution and marriage. A June report by Miller's office said "thousands" of North Koreans were subject to "debt bondage, commercial sexual exploitation, and/or forced labor" when they flee, most often to China. . . "If they are caught by the
Chinese authorities they are sent back to North Korea and punished."


No comments: