End of the Age News
By Jim Stigleman
U.N. Official Settlement Violate Palestinian Human Rights
United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner, Navi Pillay says that the building of settlements and attacks on Palestinians by the settlers is a major abuse of human rights. Pillay is also troubled by the recent rise in violence in the area triggered by local groups and Israeli forces.
In speaking to the U.N.’s Human Rights Council Pillay said, “Israeli settlement-related activities and settler violence are at the core of many of the violations of human rights in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” She also implied that the current violence infringes on the Palestinians “social, culture, civil and political rights.”
Pillay, who is a former judge of the International Criminal Court, also stated that, “Despite repeated calls for Israel to cease settlement activity, ongoing settlement construction and acts of settler violence continue with devastating consequences for Palestinian civilians.”
Israeli settlements in the West Bank have come under much criticism with many countries calling them illegal and a roadblock to peace. Palestinians say the settlements prevent them from establishing a Palestinian State in the region, while Israel says the settlements are a security barrier and their “biblical birthright”.
Supreme Court May Allow Religious Exemptions for Corporations
In U.S. News…
The United States’ Supreme Court spent 90 minutes on Tuesday hearing arguments concerning whether or not religious companies have the same rights as an individual does to object to governmental mandates because of religious convictions.
The court hinted that it may allow certain for-profit corporations to object on religious grounds to such mandates. Such an act would open the door for companies to declare an exemption from paying for employee’s birth control methods as required under The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
If upheld, liberal justices feel that a Pandora’s box of protests against government regulations would be opened, effecting everything from “Social Security to health coverage for immunizations.” However, Chief Justice, John Roberts, said the ruling could be worded to include only closely held companies thus “avoid(ing) all the problems.” Other conservative Justices agreed with that point-of-view.
One of the owners of Hobby Lobby, which opposes the birth control mandate, Barbara Green, told reporters, “We believe that Americans don’t lose their religious freedoms when they open a family business…We were encouraged by today’s arguments.”
The case has drawn much attention from both sides, as evident form the filled-to-capacity courtroom to the hundreds of demonstrators chanting outside.
Obama Declares Russia Not Our Biggest Security Threat
In other world news…
U.S. President Barak Obama and his allies have agreed not to place further economic sanctions on Russia as long as the takeover of Crimea is Moscow’s last show of aggression. While attending a nuclear security summit in The Hague Obama said “It is up to Russia to act responsibly and show itself once again to be willing to abide by international norms and … if it fails to do so, there will be some costs.”
Stating that Russia was “not the biggest national security threat to the United States”, he emphasized that Russian forces would not be removed from Crimea. Obama further stated, “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness…We (the United States) have considerable influence on our neighbors. We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them.”
He further implored Putin to allow the Ukraine to follow her own destiny without provocation.
I’m Jim Stigleman and this has been today’s ETA News.