Collegiate Reporting

Collegiate Reporting

Israel elections spark debate on Palestine negotiations


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After Likud party candidate Binyamin Netanyahu was re-elected as prime minister in Israel, there are mixed feelings on how this will affect negotiations with the Palestinians.

Yasmeen Hamdoun is a member of Suffolk’s Students for Justice in Palestine, and found it unbelievable that Netanyahu was re-elected after the foreign policies he is pushing toward the Palestinians.

“I think he has been too aggressive with his foreign policy and his treatment of Palestinians,” said Hamdoun. “And by foreign policy, I mean Gaza and on occupation.”

Netanyahu had been behind in the polls against the “soft-spoken leftist” candidate Isaac Herzog in the Zionist Union party, according to multiple news sources.

He warned his supporters about the “droves of Arab voters,” being bused in the left-wing, which he later apologized for, according to the New York Times.

University Chaplain Rev. Amy Fisher in the interfaith center has overseen the Suffolk Hillel and Suffolk Hillel Director, and has also studied and worked in Israel.

“I’m not a political scientist, but it seems to me that this election will be followed by him building his coalition,” said Fisher. “I think that is going to ‘tell the tale’ how this is going to be perceived on the world stage. Who will he build his coalition with? Maybe with some right-wing elements, maybe with some left-wing elements.”

Professor Susan Sered of the Sociology Department explained Netanyahu’s party has a history of economic inequality for Israeli citizens and compared them to a former U.S. president’s economic policies.

“I have been living outside of Israel for the past 16 years so do not have as full a sense of popular sentiment or of security issues as do people living in Israel,” said Sered, who lived in Israel from 1978 to 1998. “From my perspective, the Zionist Union party was, and is, a better direction for Israel.”

Sered who has a master’s and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, moved to Israel from the U.S. and became a professor at Bar‑Ilan University. Sered has researched religion and culture and was one of the editorial board members for Social Issues in Israel. She started teaching at Suffolk in 2005.

“During the time of Likud, Netanyahu’s party, governments in Israel there have seen an unprecedented increase in economic inequality among Israeli citizens,” said Sered. “In many respects, Likud social and economic policies are similar to ‘Reaganomics’ and have allowed the well-to-do to become very rich while gaps between rich and poor have grown wider and wider.”

In terms of peace agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, opinions vary on how influential the Israel’s prime minister will be to end the conflict.

“His behavior has never hinted he wants peace or a two-state solution, and he even said himself in the quote that went viral ‘there will never be a Palestinian state,’” said Hamdoun. “Also, I heard about problems with inflation and general concerns about the way he’s running things.”

Professor Sered, however, believes that it is going to take more than just Israel to strive for peace.

“I do not believe that the future of peace with Palestine, or with any states in the region, are solely — or even mostly — in the hands of the Israeli prime minister,” said Sered. “It takes two sides, or in the case of the Middle East — dozens of sides, to commit to peace. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”

Even some Israelis are shocked by the outcome of the election as the right-wing party barely won seats, but they are “playing it safe” with the choice to re-elect, according to the Huffington Post.

“I think that the person who is already incumbent is going to have a better chance,” said Fisher. “People don’t want to try something new.”

For Palestinians and their supporters, this will mean matters with Palestine could become worse.

“As the years go by, the Israeli military strikes Gaza harder, the occupation deepens, and the settlements grow as more Palestinians are left displaced and homeless,” said Hamdoun. “Netanyahu makes it clearer by the day that he does not want a two-state solution. He wants an exclusively Jewish state that steps over the basic human rights of anyone who is not a European Jew.”

The Zionist Union party received the second most votes in the election last week and  support a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians and repairing ties with the U.S. However, Sered does not think the results from the election would immediately create peace.

“Does the hardline bluster of Netanyahu advance the cause of peace? My sense is that it does not,” said Sered. “But I am also sufficiently level-headed enough to know that the choice of a coalition led by the Zionist Union would not with any certainty lead to peace. There simply are too many variables.”

Obama has expressed his efforts on protecting the security of the Israeli people while working with Netanyahu to reach an agreement, as reported by the Huffington Post.

“I think there’s always going to be in the back of our minds the question of how is this going to affect President Obama in American politics,” said Fisher. “I really think it’s going to depend on who he builds his coalition with.”

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Collegiate Reporting

#NotAReligiousConflict: Faith community discusses Israel and Palestine


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During a panel discussing Islamic belief, Christianity, and Judaism, the Palestinian and Israeli conflict was analyzed by three prominent individuals of the religious community of the Boston area.

Hosted by Boston University’s Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace, and the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism, physician Dr. Othman Mohammad, Rev. Karlene Griffiths Sekou, and Rabbi Joseph Berman spoke on how their religions are impacted by the conflict, human rights, and why Palestinians have the support of Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

As the BU and Students for Justice in Palestine member host began the talk session, more than 80 seats were filled in the College of Communication’s small auditorium.

Dr. Othman Mohammad is a Palestinian physician, but was born and raised as a refugee in Lebanon. He has recently joined the Harvard Medical School Adult Psychiatry training programs in 2009 and specialized in Child Adolescent Psychiatry.

He began the session with speaking of his religion with traditional sayings of the Islamic belief, such as, “You cannot be a firm believer when you can fall asleep at night with your neighbor hungry.”

Rev. Karlene Griffiths Sekou is a pastor, an international women’s and human rights advocate global health strategist, and public speaker.

“I am extremely passionate about human rights. It is the heart of Christianity,” she said. “What is not as prevalent is that Jesus Christ is a symbol of a revolution. But religion can be a tool in the hands of the wrong people.”

Rabbi Joseph Berman has spent years organizing equality for Israelis and Palestinians in the community for years and will soon be a part of the Jewish Voice for Peace in April as the Federal Policy Organizer in Washington D.C.

When asked what he believed to be considered human rights, he brought up a story about his grandmother, who was a survivor of the Holocaust.

“I would not be here without the people that helped my grandmother,” said Berman. “They put their lives at risk, Jews and non Jews. Risking their lives for humanity. To me, that is Judaism.”

Dr. Othman was clear in that people did not need to identify with a religion in order to believe in human rights or support peace in Palestine.

“You do not need to be religious to be supportive of humanity,” said Othman. “But I find it sad that there are thriving neighborhoods right across the way from poverty-stricken ghettos who lack clean drinking water. Take Gaza for instance, the kids are underweight, 40 percent of children suffer from anemia, and their access to food is limited.”

Rev. Sekou has visited Palestine for the past two consecutive summers, and she describes the people as “boring a resistance.”

“You first see bodies– colors, hues, and stereotypes. We have to get rid of that,” said Sekou. “We cannot give someone their humanity; they are human.”

Othman mentioned the recent elections in Israel where the Likud party had made a shocking win over the Zionist Union party last week and how some political officials use the conflict as a gain in political debates and speeches.

“It sickens me that Prime Minister Netanyahu uses the suffrage of people for political gain,” said Othman when speaking of how Netanyahu spoke of a two-party state.

Berman ended on a note that initiated several questions from the audience.

“Our liberation is all bound up with one another. Israeli Jews will only be free when Palestinians are free,” he said. “This is not a fundamentally religious conflict. Religion is mixed in, but it is not the source.”

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Putin critic murdered in Moscow


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The couple was walking in Moscow when a car pulled up to them on the sidewalk and shot Nemtsov four times in the back before fleeing the scene, according to BBC.

Freshman Diane Dussouchet, a native from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, and her family are not supporters of Putin’s agenda. She and her family were upset to hear of Nemtsov’s death, and will miss the impact he made in Russia.

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“All my friends, my parents and their friends, and myself would say that Nemtsov did a lot of good things in the past,” said Doussacouchet. “He used to be a good politician and a business magnate.”

But emotions over the scientist’s death vary across the country.

“I think the answer to this question will depend on whom you ask,” Dussouchet said. “ It turned out that the majority of the Russian people are actually supporting Putin and his policies. However, just like I am not his biggest fan, neither are my friends, family, and family friends.”

Conspiracy theories regarding the incident have developed throughout Russia, some even constructed by authorities, according to the New York Times. One report claims Nemtsov may have been killed by political allies in an attempt to make him a martyr.

 

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Turkish troops protecting 13th century tomb in Syria


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Entering war-torn Syria, armored vehicles holding hundreds of Turkish forces moved in to evacuate troops who were protecting the historic tomb of Suleyman Shah and take them to another location, according to BBC.

Suleyman Shah was a tribal fighter and leader and the grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire. Shah died in the 13th century, and according to a phrase on his mausoleum, he “drowned in the Euphrates along with two of his men, in search for a home for himself and his people,” according to BBC.

Robert E. Hannigan, a scholar in residence in the history department, believes Turkey had the right to go into Syria to protect the ancient history and remains.

“I think this was done principally so that Turkey could maintain control over its policy toward events unfolding in Syria,” Hannigan said. “Violence in the area of the site might have been seen by Ankara as requiring action along lines not of its own choosing.”

The tomb stands now ruined in a football field size area of land in Syria, but belongs to the Turks. The troops took the remains of the tomb closer to the border, which is now under control of the Turkish government. The exact location is a hill north of the village of Esmesi, according to Al Jazeera.

One of the reasons for the move was because the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, also called ISIS, threatened to attack the historic land, according to reports by BBC.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has lost control over most of northern Syria during the continuous civil war, had said the incursion was “flagrant aggression,” according to BBC.

The Turkish military told the Syrian government of their planned actions, but did not wait for agreement or approval of the Syrian president, said Al Jazeera.

“Turkey goes beyond supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist gangs to launch a blatant aggression on Syrian territory,” Sana News said.

Hannigan believes the control by Turkey has something to do with the interest the Turkish government had in the ancient empire, and that the historic background was worth the risk in the eyes of the Turkish president.

“It is simultaneously of interest because Turkey’s current president has shown great interest in reviving the country’s Ottoman legacy,” Hannigan said. “It had been eclipsed in the aftermath of World War I and the founding of the republic under Ataturk”

The Turkish government explained to Al Jazeera reporters there were no clashes during the removal, but Al Jazeera reported that one soldier was killed in an accident.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told BBC that he hoped the remains would be able to go back to the old location eventually.

“These relics will temporarily be preserved in Turkey for the next couple of days and God willing, will be sent to Eshme, the area of the new tomb secured by our soldiers, as is our right by international law,” the prime minister said to Al Jazeera.

The Turkish government said late last year to Al Jazeera that ISIS had been advancing onto the mausoleum, even though it has been guarded by dozens of Turkish soldiers.

The operation began late Sunday night and ended the following morning, with 572 Turkish soldiers, 100 military vehicles and 39 tanks, according to Al Jazeera.

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Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveller from the East comes to Adams Gallery


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Walking into the Adams Gallery, images of tourist attractions around Boston with a Chinese-cultural flair decorate the walls of the first floor of the law school. The gallery is currently presenting an exhibit from the 20th century Chinese artist and author, Chiang Yee, in the self-titled exhibit, “Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveller from the East.”

The artist called himself as a “silent traveler,” had moved from China to the U.S.  as a poet, author, painter, and calligrapher. He was born in Jiujiang, China, in May 1903.

In 1924, he married Tseng Yun, and the couple had four children. He graduated from Nanjing University in 1925, and then started a variety of jobs, including teaching chemistry in middle schools, lecturing at universities throughout China, and then working as an assistant editor of the Hangzhou newspaper. At the time, he was disgusted by China and the government and shipped himself off, according to Johns Hopkins University.

He was 30 when he left his family behind in China and moved to England, only knowing a handful of words in English, in order to study at the London School of Economics in 1933.

He began to teach in England when he started his “The Silent Traveller in…” series which continued throughout his life. The books varied in locations throughout the United Kingdom, Japan, and major cities in the U.S., including Boston.

Commentaries suggest the books pictured images of a “sideways look” in a peaceful way to places that may seem strange to a Chinese national. He depicted images he might have been unfamiliar with, such as beards and large outdoor concerts in Boston.

The exhibit was brought to campus after English Professor and Director of the Asian Studies Program Da Zheng published a cultural biography with the same title of “The Silent Traveller.” The two have similar backgrounds, as the author-artist and Zheng both moved from China to the West in order to pursue a higher education.

Zheng had first learned of Yee when he read his English-language book on calligraphy. Afterwards, Zheng, who was then studying in Shanghai at the time, started working toward translating the book into Chinese.

“I became in interested in Chiang Yee after my arrival in the U.S. in the mid-1980s,” said Zheng. “When I was in China, I co-translated Chiang Yee’s Chinese Calligraphy, without knowing that he was a travel writer and best known for his Silent Traveller series.”

Zheng moved to the United States and realized that Yee was also a travel writer.

“I happened to see a copy of The Silent Traveller in Boston at an American friend’s home after I came to Boston. The book had a beautiful painting of Park Street Church on its cover,” he said. “It is a very beautiful painting and it is in the Chinese manner, that is, painted with a Chinese brush, in Chinese style, on Chinese rice paper. In fact, the book itself is a Chinese American’s observation of Boston, and it offers many refreshing comments and comparisons between China and the U.S. So I became very interested in this writer at once.”

Zheng has always focused his research on Chinese literature and recently began to also research Yee, who had worked on art, travel, children’s stories, and memoir. Yee added a “fascinating subject” in Zheng’s project, he said, especially after learning about his life accomplishments and life story.

“He is the one who translated Coca-Cola into Chinese: Ke-Kou-ke-le, meaning ‘Pleasing to the mouth, pleasurable to the heart,’ which is considered a classic translation in China,” Zheng said. “He is the first artist to paint pandas in the worlds. Since the 1930s, he painted over 1,000 panda paintings, and he was called ‘Mr. Panda.’”

Zheng’s book is about a cultural study of a man who had studied and travelled around the world after leaving China from a point of view of an outsider looking in.

“He aimed to promote mutual understanding and appreciation among peoples all over the world through his writing,” Zheng said. “He underlined commonalities between the East and West, hoping to bridge the gap and bring about peace.”

Since its publication in 2010, the book has been printed in English, and later in Chinese.

“My biography, I hope, is a way for me to pay tribute to this wonderful writer and artist, and to bring about a good appreciation of his literary and cultural accomplishments,” said Zheng.

Because Yee was a close friend of Boston Athenæum, the museum allowed Gallery Director Nancy Kelleher to reproduce the images and display them here at Suffolk.

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Student asked by resident director to remove Facebook photo of insect in Miller dining hall


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After uploading a picture of a bug near food in the Miller Hall cafeteria to Facebook, a Suffolk freshman was asked by the university to remove the photo from the Internet.

The picture was uploaded Feb. 3 by Maya Smith to the Class of 2018 Facebook page. Just an hour later, however, Smith said the Resident Director of Miller Hall, John Rodriguez, asked Smith’s Resident Assistant Liza Hurley to have Smith take the photo down. Hurley relayed the request to Smith via text message.

“My RA texted me and said the RD said it was ‘unpleasant’ and said that I need to take it down,” said Smith. “The exact words in the message were, ‘make sure that you remove the picture from social media as it is upsetting to see.’ I would have fought her on it, but I have a lot of respect for her.”

Rodriguez declined to be interviewed for this article.

Smith said she felt “disgusted” by the fact there was a bug near the food she ate, and she felt that it was even worse that the school was trying to cover it up.

When Smith told a Sodexo worker that she saw the bug near the food, she said the worker responded sarcastically, saying “oh, great.”

“I was disgusted that the bug was near the food that I eat and disturbed that Sodexo didn’t care,” said Smith. “I thought making me take the picture down was reckless and proved that the school cares more about their name than the students’ well being.”

Freshman Kelly Mitchell took a screenshot of the picture before Smith removed it from the Facebook page and sent a tweet out of the screenshot, tagging the Department of Residence Life and Housing’s Twitter with the caption, “Are you going to take care of this or am I going to have to write an article?”

The next day, the tweet was deleted after Mitchell was also asked to remove it from social media, according to Smith.

Mitchell did not respond to a request to be interviewed for this article.

Multiple students told a Suffolk Journal reporter they have seen bugs in the Miller Hall café before. Sophomore Cecilia Osimanti said she has seen bugs in the dining hall and other parts of the school.

“I have seen the bugs before, but they’re all over the city. I’m not going to give a bias Sodexo is gross even if it is a health concern,” Osimanti said. “On the day that they had the Thanksgiving dinner in the fall, I saw a bug on the counter and I told the manager. He took care of it, but you can’t solve the problem by just killing one.”

Greg Gatlin, a university spokesman, said Sodexo and Suffolk’s facilities department collaborate in order to maintain the cleanliness of dining facilities, and that all Sodexo managers are certified by ServSafe, a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the National Restaurant Association. The training includes protocols for pest control, he said.

“Sodexo works closely with Suffolk’s facilities department with respect to pest control, inspections, and preventive maintenance,” said Gatlin. “The university’s facilities department has a frequent and strong pest control program. Facilities contracts with a pest control firm, Alamo Pest Control.  Alamo inspects for pests in dining areas once a week.  Immediate service is performed when a pest sighting is reported.”

Some of the students living in Miller are finding alternatives to the food that’s prepared in their residence hall. Freshman Sara Maloney said she refuses to eat the food Sodexo provides. She said she was appalled to hear that Smith was told to take the picture down.

“I think it is completely inappropriate they wanted her to take it down in order to avoid resident upset, but what is the point in that besides to cover themselves up,” said Maloney. “If there is a problem, the more people that know the better, because numbers is what makes change not shoving things under the rug.”

Maloney said she thought the residence hall could have informed students about the incident in an appropriate manner, like hall did via email in November when the dorm’s hot water turned off.

“In November when the hot water stopped working they sent out an email, kept us updated, and solved the problem,” Maloney said. “My question is why can you thoroughly inform residents about minor issues and not major ones like health violations? I pay far too much money, and care far too much about my well-being to be deceived about health violations in my very own cafeteria.”

Gatlin said Sodexo managers will continue to report pest sightings after they happen.

“Dining Services team members will perform heightened maintenance with a focus on pest prevention,” said Gatlin. “Managers will continue to report any pest sighting immediately, and Sodexo will follow up with Suffolk facilities and Alamo Pest Control.”

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Aftermath of violence disrupts Gaza Strip further


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It has been six months since hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza have ceased, but the Gaza Strip has grown worse as thousands remain displaced and  violence has increased.

After “Operation Protective Edge,” where Israel launched a military operation, Hamas was severely weakened and achieved none of its demands, according to a statement Palestinian President Abbas said to the Washington Post.

The Gaza Strip has been occupied by Israel since 1967. In the U.S., many think the media is biased in favor of Israel to have the right to occupy the country. However, Yasmeen Hamdoun, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine on campus, thinks otherwise.

“I’m not Palestinian, but I’m an Arab who stands for human rights for anyone,” Hamdoun said. “After learning about the reality in Palestine, I began to research more and had the passion to spread awareness of the side you don’t hear in the news because of the U.S.’s political interests and lobbies that pressure news companies to suppress the truth.”

Hamdoun resorted to independent news outlets to receive information on the aftermath of the bombings in Palestine.

Reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes that have been destroyed in the war have barely begun. According to predictions by The Washington Post, at the rate the country has been going so far, it will take decades to rebuild what was destroyed six months ago.

One of the problems lies in the country’s economy. Billions of dollars in aid have yet to be honored that were donated from countries across the world, including the U.S., according to the Post.

Many Palestinian sympathizers believe the Israeli government is holding onto the donations, as they have Hamas security forces still exerting control on their side of the three trade and travel crossings, which are between Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Israel, according to the Post.

“Israel is choosing to withhold at least 127 million dollars worth of tax revenues that they collect on behalf of Palestine,” said Hamdoun. “Israel is doing so in response to Palestine’s decision to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which investigates war crimes in situations where states are unable or unwilling to do so. Israel does not want this to happen, which only exposes their guilt and fear. Israel HaYom said Israel will continue to withhold the tax money until the ‘completion’ of Israel’s punishment on Palestine for calling on the ICC.”

Throughout Gaza City, banks have been repeatedly hit by explosives by an unknown source of attackers, according to multiple news sources.

Abbas said to the Post that he and his government see the strip as “a dirty diaper. No one wants to touch it.”

Palestinian sympathizers, such as members of Students for Justice in Palestine, say it is not the first time Israel has held certain donations from Gaza.

“The U.S. backs Israel’s decision, which isn’t a surprise given their historical support for Israel in the form of financial aid and political backing,” Hamdoun said. “The U.S.’s reason for supporting Israel’s condemnation of the ICC move [is that] Palestine is not a state and only states can ask for investigation from the ICC. The idea that Israel is not allowing donations or building materials into Palestine needs to be taken into context. This is not a one time occurrence.”

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El Salvador woman receives pardon for miscarriage


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When Carmen Guadalupe Vásquez Aldana had a miscarriage from a pregnancy after being raped in El Salvador, she was charged with aggravated homicide. She was 18 at the time, and sentenced to 30 years in prison, according to Jurist, which is supported by the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Last month, she received a pardon.

The U.N. has supported going through some of the sentences of women who needed an abortion due to certain situations. El Salvador has one of the strictest laws on abortion in the world. Even if the mother’s life is at risk, it is illegal.

Paula Avila, a lawyer who serves as an advocacy advisor for the nonprofit organization Center for Reproductive Rights, has been trying to ease the total ban on abortions in El Salvador.

“This is the most significant news that we have received from Salvador in the 15 years of work we have been doing there,” Avila said to NPR. “This is the first window of hope that some of the other women will be released. It’s a huge victory for all the women and girls who suffer as a result of this law.”

Professor Celeste Kostopulos- Cooperman, who works in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was impressed with the breakthrough that the government in El Salvador gave Guadalupe when she received the Pardon.

“Carmen Guadalupe’s release from prison is quite extraordinary. Even more remarkable is the fact that women in El Salvador and in many other parts of the developing world have no reproductive rights or access to adequate health care,” said Kostopulos- Cooperman. “Carmen’s case is particularly disturbing because there was no forensic evidence that she had intentionally aborted her child.”

Under the extreme ban on abortion in El Salvador, 17 women in 2014 have been criminalized and imprisoned. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit which defends reproductive rights for women worldwide, the country prohibits women from receiving an abortion no matter the circumstances — including rape, incest, or even if it is to save her own life under the 1956 Penal Code. Under El Salvador’s constitution, the right to life is recognized at the moment of conception.

According to NPR, the women all come from different backgrounds, from small villages, cities, and rural farm areas. They are all different ages, and all have different social statuses and jobs. Yet collectively, they have served more than 130 years together, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The one thing they are said to have in common is they were tried and imprisoned after experiencing traumatic pregnancy complications, which is due to why they had the abortions, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Many of the 17 women had the abortion had been convicted under murder and had been sentenced for up to 40 years, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

According to several reports from the U.N. Population Division, many young girls seek to have an abortion in El Salvador as young as 10 years old. A group of U.N. human rights experts had urged El Salvador to lift the sentence on all of the women jailed for their abortions which were a result of rape or pregnancy complications.

In May 2013, the Supreme Court of El Salvador refused to reconsider their harsh laws on abortion, despite the international encouragement. According to the court’s official site, they would not allow doctors to perform abortions to women who were developing a fetus with problematic circumstances, such as fetuses without a brain, if the woman’s life was threatened by kidney failure, or lupus symptoms that would be aggravating to the pregnancy had been created.

Professor Kostopulos- Cooperman explained the struggles of how women in El Salvador do not have the reproductive freedoms they deserve.

“One wonders how many countless other women are still behind bars because the legal mechanisms do not recognize their basic human right to dignity and self-determination,” said Kostopulos-Cooperman. “Reproductive health and freedom are at the heart of this issue and it is quite clear that a great deal needs to be done to ensure that these fundamental human rights be respected worldwide.”

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French weighing options to prevent future attacks


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The attack in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters is now classified as textbook case of radicalization, according to NPR. The two brothers responsible for the shooting had gone from outlaws to violent radicals, as described by BBC.

Sylvain Gaulier, recent graduate and former Journal staff member who lives in France shared his observations and how people are feeling after days on unrest in Paris.

“The opinions are still divided about what happened and how it happened,” Gaulier said. “The government announced some measures to have classes on religions on one side and classes on civism on the other side. This is not new, so it doesn’t really convince people. Some politicians are calling for stricter measures such as ‘nationality loss’ when people go to Syria or other similar countries where there is a fertile ground for terrorists.”

Gaulier said that for Muslims in France, things have almost gone back to normal. Unfortunately though, during and right after the attacks, there was a lot of hatred exposed on the Internet, including several blogs.

“I feel like everything is going back to ‘normal’ or how it was before the attack,” he said. “But I don’t agree with everything that has been said after the attack, such as the support of Charlie Hebdo for all. A real debate might be opened on respect and tolerance. Can we make fun and insult some religion? If yes, is it still fine to make a living out of it and target the same people over and over again? But those are other things that would deserve to be considered in greater detail.”

According to the Independent, a British national newspaper, the anti-Charlie Hebdo protests are still occurring around the world, including the burning of the French flag.

Recently, Pope Francis shocked journalists across the world when he commented on Charlie Hebdo’s activity and freedom of speech. He said that people who “provoke” or “offend” others, whether it be for religious affiliations, we should not be “surprised” when such acts are avenged, according to The Daily Beast.

The brothers that committed the attack, Said and Cherif Kouachi, had an extensive record with criminal activity.

Said had traveled to Yemen in 2011 and showed support for al Qaeda when he trained with the extremist group. He was introduced to the radical ideology by his preacher at the Mosque that he belonged to in France.

Cherif has also had an extensive criminal record, according to The Wall Street Journal, as he was on the no-fly list in the U.S. and the suspected terrorists list. He had moved back to Paris in 2011, but did not commit any crimes during that time until the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo building this year, according to BBC.

The government of France is looking into ways attacks like these may be prevented in the future.

“Such opinions of nationality loss are generally expressed by the opposition, meaning right-wing politicians,” Gaulier said. “There are still many debates about what we should do to avoid another tragedy through sentences, religious radicalism, and terrorist ties.”

Protests are still seen happening across France in the defense of free speech.

“A small group of high schoolers decided to walk from Bordeaux to Paris,” Gaulier said. “It took them about 10 days to make it to Paris.”

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Manhunts in France end


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Two suspects in the attacking of the Charlie Hebdo building were killed Friday after several hours in a standoff with French police.

The suspects, identified as Cherif and Said Kouachi, emerged from a printing company building in Dammartin-en-Goele, a small town about 20 miles from Paris, and began firing at police before being fatally shot themselves, multiple news outlets reported. They held one hostage captive in the building, and two police officers were injured in the incident, BBC said.

Sylvain Gaulier, a Suffolk University graduate and former Journal staff writer who now lives in Lille, France, said emotions regarding the death of the brothers are mixed across the country.

“I heard on the radio a Charlie Hebdo journalist regretting the fact there won’t be a trial. However, another Charlie columnist and Doctor Patrick Pelloux disagreed and did not think a trial would have given explanations to people and they could have convinced other people in jail,” Gaulier said. “I agree with Pelloux, I don’t feel much empathy for the killers and I don’t believe a trial would have been important.”

While the two Charlie Hebdo attackers were cornered by police, another situation erupted in Paris when a gunman entered a Jewish kosher supermarket, according to multiple news sources. Hours later, several hostages were freed from the supermarket after five small explosions went off, but four hostages and the gunman were killed, BBC said.

The gunman, who BBC identified as Amedy Coulibaly, 32, had gone into the supermarket with two automatic weapons. Coulibaly is also believed to be the man who killed a policewoman on Thursday.

Police have also issued a warrant for Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, for aiding Coulibaly, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to BBC, Boumeddiene is still on the run.

According to CBS News, one worker for the printing company was hiding inside the building throughout the standoff, unknown to the brothers. Throughout the standoff, the man was on the phone with police feeding them information.

“The media said the brothers who killed the journalists have been in the American blacklist of terrorists for a long time,” Gaulier said. “So of course, the people here are asking themselves questions, such as, why didn’t the government try to do something like this before with this kind of record?”

The Kouachi brothers are linked to militant groups, according to USA Today, as they shouted Islamist slogans throughout the attack on Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, only one of the Kouachi brothers possess an extensive criminal record.

In 2011, Said trained under al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He returned to France later that year. According to French officials who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, there is no evidence al Qaeda ordered or directed the attack.

Cherif, who is the younger of the two brothers, appeared on the U.S. list of suspected terrorists and was listed on the U.S. government’s no-fly list, according to the Wall Street Journal.

BBC reported both of the brothers grew up in an orphanage in Brittany, France, and Cherif did not convert into a radical Islam until al Qaeda ideology was introduced to him at a Mosque by a preacher.  The Wall Street Journal said he was preparing to join others in 2004 who were preparing to fight U.S. troops in Iraq, but was stopped by the French government.

In 2008, Cherif was sentenced to prison for belonging to a terror group, yet he never actually went to prison, according to BBC. Two years later , he was suspected of plotting a convicted terrorist escape from prison. He went to court, but because of the lack of evidence, he was set free. Since then, there hasn’t been any record of criminal activity until Wednesday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Next week’s magazine will print one million copies, rather than its usual circulation of 60,000, Richard Malka, a lawyer for Charlie Hebdo, told BBC.