Afghanistan slow to enforce law on women
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP):
The United Nations (UN) complained yesterday that Afghan authorities have been slow in enforcing a law protecting women against forced marriages, domestic violence and rape.
A report issued by the UN mission in Afghanistan found that although Afghan authorities registered more reports of violence against women under the four-year-old law, prosecutions and convictions remained low.
In a statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, described the law as a "landmark" and said it "was a huge achievement for all Afghans."
"But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law," she said.
Afghanistan enacted its Elimination of Violence Against Women law in August 2009. It criminalises child marriage, selling and buying women to settle disputes, assault and more than a dozen other acts of violence and abuse against women.
Iran nuclear deal 50-50 chance
WASHINGTON, United States (AP):
President Barack Obama said on Saturday he believed the chances for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran are 50-50 or worse, yet defended diplomacy as the best way to prevent Tehran from acquiring atomic weapons.
During a question-and-answer session with a pro-Israel audience, Obama said he wasn't na´ve about the odds for a successful final agreement between world powers and Iran next year, building on the recent six-month interim deal.
"If you ask me what is the likelihood that we're able to arrive at the end state ... . I wouldn't say that it's more than 50-50," Obama said. "But we have to try."
The president's remark was somewhat startling. Obama has tried to allay the fears of many Israelis and some Americans that his administration last month promised to ease economic pressure too much in return for too few Iranian concessions.
The comment nevertheless pointed to the difficult talks that await as the United States and its negotiating partners Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia work towards a final pact next year. The goal is to eliminate the possibility of Iran assembling a nuclear arsenal, even if any deal might let Iran continue enriching uranium at lower levels not easily convertible into weapons-grade material.