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4/30/1996 - Detroit Man Convicted of Woman’s Murder

The man who attacked Deletha Word after a minor auto accident and forced her to jump off a bridge to her death has been convicted of second-degree murder. On August 19, Martell Welch, Jr. pulled Word from her car after it stalled on a bridge over the Detroit River. He proceed to rip her clothes off and slam her head against his car. Word jumped off the bridge as Welch approached her with a car jack. A jury deliberated less than five hours before convicting Welch of the most serious charge against him, a verdict that could lead a sentence of life in prison.


4/30/1996 - Breast Cancer Research Setback

According to research to be published in the April 30 issue of Nature Genetics, there may be unknown genes that cause familial breast cancer in addition to the identified genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. In December 1995, scientists had estimated that BRCA2 would play a role in 45 percent of inherited cases of breast cancer. However, a recent study of 49 families in Canada expected to carry the gene found that BRCA2 was responsible for breast cancer in only eight of the families. Other articles in the journal show that different ethnic groups have different mutations of BRCA2 and suggest that the gene may cause other forms of cancer in addition to breast cancer and may act in conjunction with another gene


4/30/1996 - Togo Woman Speaks of U.S. Prison Conditions Upon Release

At a news briefing on Monday (4-29), Fauziya Kasinga said she would like the whole world to end the practice of female genital mutilation. The case of Kasinga, who fled her native Togo in 1994 at the age of 17 to escape FGM, will be heard by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals on Thursday, May 2. Kasinga is seeking political asylum in the U.S. because she says FGM amounts to persecution in Togo. Released from jail on April 24 after being detained for two years, Kasinga spoke softly and said, I thought the United States was a place of justice...Instead of receiving protection, I was punished by being put in jail.”

A year after Kasinga’s case was dismissed by a judge who called her claims unbelievable,” federal immigration lawyers now say her persecution claim may hold up, due to the deeply objectionable” nature of the tribal ritual which can result in severe health complications including death. According to an INS spokesperson, the agency will recommend that the case be used to set guidelines for immigration judges. Kasinga’s lawyer, Karen Musalo, said that the dehumanizing conditions” Kasinga endured in the U.S. immigration system could get worse if proposed immigration legislation passes Congress.


4/30/1996 - Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Against Parental Notification Law

On Monday (4-29), the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 against hearing an appeal by South Dakota to restrict abortions for minors. The South Dakota law, which had been found unconstitutional by a U.S. appeals court, would have required minors to notify their parents 48 hours before getting an abortion. It was the only such law in the country that did not allow girls to obtain permission from a judge in place of a parent. The court also let stand a ruling that said the state cannot enforce criminal and civil penalties against doctors who fail to comply with the law.

Dissenting Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas have records of voting to let states outlaw abortion. A review of the appeal would require dissenting votes from four justices. The Court’s refusal to hear the case was regarded as a sign that it is not ready to take up the issue of abortion again after the 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.


4/29/1996 - Women’s Party Gain Seats in California Student Government

Candidates from a coalition of the women’s party and other liberal parties won six of 20 senate seats in the Associated Students of the University of California. Renee Dall was the first women’s party candidate to win one of five executive office positions. The only remaining autonomous student government in the U.S., the ASUC represents 30,000 students and manages a budget of over $60 million. Both Dall and winning senator Courtney Powers, a former Feminist Majority intern, were inspired to run for the offices by discussion of politics and the importance of participation in student government at the Feminist Expo in February. They plan to mobilize students to defeat the anti-affirmative action initiative in California and to promote other feminist causes.


4/29/1996 - Women Go Public With Stories of Sexual Harassment at Mitsubishi

In an extensive series of articles in Monday’s Washington Post, women detailed some of their experiences with sexual harassment at the Mitsubishi Motor plant in Normal, Ill. Sandra Rushing said in addition to the daily jokes she endured, male co-workers fondled her breasts and crotch, drew pictures of her engaged in sex acts for the whole plant to see, and threatened to rape her. Rushing’s many complaints to her supervisor fell on deaf ears, she said. Rushing left her annual salary of $70,000 after one of the men who groped her was to become her supervisor. Rushing’s fiance and co-worker also quit.

The Post also reported on other women whose complaints of sexual harassment resulted in disciplinary actions against the women themselves. A related article described a situation in which the daughter of a woman plant worker was raped and murdered by a male co-worker after the mother refused his sexual advances. The case closed when the man committed suicide in his jail cell.

Mitsubishi is being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the alleged sexual harassment of at least 300 women since the plant’s opening in 1988.


4/29/1996 - White Middle- Aged Men Take Advantage of New Virginia Gun Law

Of the 4,854 applicants for a concealed weapons permit in Northern Virginia in February, 91 percent were men, almost 97 percent were white, and a majority were between the ages of 39 and 50. Only 84 of the applications were rejected due to lack of handgun safety certification or felony charges. Opponents of the law which took effect last summer favor an amendment which would allow judges more discretion to deny permits in other cases.


4/29/1996 - Women’s Party Gain Seats in California Student Government

Candidates from a coalition of the women’s party and other liberal parties won six of 20 senate seats in the Associated Students of the University of California. Renee Dall was the first women’s party candidate to win one of five executive office positions. The only remaining autonomous student government in the U.S., the ASUC represents 30,000 students and manages a budget of over $60 million. Both Dall and winning senator Courtney Powers, a former Feminist Majority intern, were inspired to run for the offices by discussion of politics and the importance of participation in student government at the Feminist Expo in February. They plan to mobilize students to defeat the anti-affirmative action initiative in California and to promote other feminist causes.


4/29/1996 - China Cracks Down on Abduction of Women

On Sunday (4-28), China launched a national campaign against crime which will aim to reduce gang-related prostitution and the abduction and sale of women and children. As part of a revival of Beijing’s war on crime, the campaign was prompted by public concern over criminal gangs and a deteriorating social order. According to Ministry of Public Security, Zou Chuanji, cases of rape, murder, and theft increased by more than 10 percent from January to March.


4/29/1996 - White Middle- Aged Men Take Advantage of New Virginia Gun Law

Of the 4,854 applicants for a concealed weapons permit in Northern Virginia in February, 91 percent were men, almost 97 percent were white, and a majority were between the ages of 39 and 50. Only 84 of the applications were rejected due to lack of handgun safety certification or felony charges. Opponents of the law which took effect last summer favor an amendment which would allow judges more discretion to deny permits in other cases.


4/29/1996 - GREAT CALIFORNIA CON GAME STARTS NATIONAL TOUR

HIGH-STAKES SHELL GAME BEING PLAYED OUT WITH UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA SEATS AS THE CHIPS


The great California Con Game announced the start of its national
tour. Ward Connerly and Pete Wilson, top spokespeople for the
deceptive "California Civil Rights Initiative", are
kicking-off the tour with an appearance in Washington, DC, testifying
before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Pete Wilson is fixing the game so nobody wins. Wilson is being
sued by a student newspaper for his under-handed attempts to circumvent
the open meetings act and pass a ban on affirmative action in
the UC System without due process. The suit claims that Wilson
lined-up support from regents before the vote took place, a direct
violation of the Bagley-Keene Act, which requires that such meetings
take place in public.


His long-time buddy Ward Connerly is in this game and knows which
shell to pick, and he's selling this information to the highest
bidder:


We have volunteers, everyday of this year who are out there
trying to use their 'connections' to raise money for this University
of California and they call up and say 'Will you give me some
special consideration on this', we have to be very careful we're
not a bunch of purists about this and that we don't cut off our
nose to spite our face so we should not be stampeded into doing
something that's harmful to the university. KFI-AM, 4/17/96


"The CCRI campaign is a disgusting attempt to trick the people
of California," said Pat Ewing, Campaign Manager. "Connerly
and Wilson are sacrificing the women and people of color in California
on the alter of big money and political paybacks."


4/26/1996 - Girls Gain Valuable Experience In The 4th Take Our Daughters To Work

Yesterday over 5 million girls in 14 different countries participated in the 1996 Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Sponsored by the Ms. Foundation, the event was a wonderful opportunity for girls to experience a career at some of the most prestigious in organizations in the world. Over 500 girls went to work at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where they visited the Security Council and the General Assembly during the debate on Lebanon. Two hundred and seventy five girls joined their parents at the Department of Labor and received a pep talk from the Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, who urged them to ignore the fact that some jobs have traditionally been dominated by men. The Department of Justice arranged for the girls to attend a news conference by Janet Reno, the first female U.S. attorney general. The White House sponsored a discussion on early career development and organized activities on the White House web page. Bill Clinton remarked that he thought the event was, "A wonderful thing." An organizer of the event at the Texas Instruments plant in Texas, in which over 1,000 girls visited, emphasized the importance of girls learning about careers in technology and engineering because they have traditionally been discouraged from math and science.

Related Story:

April 25, 1996


4/26/1996 - Death Threat Received By Plaintiff In Mitsubishi Case

A woman involved in the sexual harassment lawsuit against Mitsubishi Motors found a note attached to her locker yesterday saying, "Die B----. You'll be sorry!" The death threat is not the first act of intimidation surrounding the case. Ten days ago a fire destroyed the home of a U.S. official who is investigating the case. The female employees involved in the suit have asked Mitsubishi that they be provided with 24-hour protection. Yesterday a coalition of 10 congresswomen, lead by Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), wrote Mitsubishi a letter reminding them to treat the plaintiffs with dignity and respect because American women are watching. Mitsubishi has aggressively targeted women as potential car buyers in their advertising campaigns. If they lose the lawsuit, Mitsubishi could pay a settlement of up to $10 million, which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says is the nation's largest sexual harassment case ever.

Related Story:

April 25, 1996


4/26/1996 - Football Draft Pick Dropped For His Sex Offense Record

Christian Peter, a former University of Nebraska football star who has recently been recruited by the New England Patriots, a professional football team, has been dropped from the fifth round draft pick. The Patriots uncovered Peter's long history of sex offenses that included: being named in a federal sex discrimination suit for raping a Nebraska coed two separate times, being accused of threatening the life of a parking lot attendant, being convicted of the third degree assault of a former Miss Nebraska, and is facing a May 21 sentencing hearing on charges that he harassed and assaulted a woman in a bar last month. The Patriots concluded that his behavior is "incompatible with our organization's standards of acceptable conduct."


4/26/1996 - Lesbian and Gay Activism Expected in 1996 Conventions

Activists are planning a high level of Lesbian and Gay activity at the Republican Convention in San Diego this August. The group is hoping to retaliate against the "radical right, " who dominated the 1992 Republican convention with inflammatory rhetoric against Lesbians and Gays. The activists warned both Republicans and Democrats that Gays and Lesbians are a powerful voting block and will be watching the 1996 race closely. They site the research of John D'Emilio, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who found that Gays and Lesbians represented three out of ten votes cast in the 1992 elections.


4/26/1996 - Girls Gain Valuable Experience In The 4th Take Our Daughters To Work Day

Yesterday over 5 million girls in 14 different countries participated in the 1996 Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Sponsored by the Ms. Foundation, the event was a wonderful opportunity for girls to experience a career at some of the most prestigious in organizations in the world. Over 500 girls went to work at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where they visited the Security Council and the General Assembly during the debate on Lebanon. Two hundred and seventy five girls joined their parents at the Department of Labor and received a pep talk from the Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, who urged them to ignore the fact that some jobs have traditionally been dominated by men. The Department of Justice arranged for the girls to attend a news conference by Janet Reno, the first female U.S. attorney general. The White House sponsored a discussion on early career development and organized activities on the White House web page. Bill Clinton remarked that he thought the event was, "A wonderful thing." An organizer of the event at the Texas Instruments plant in Texas, in which over 1,000 girls visited, emphasized the importance of girls learning about careers in technology and engineering because they have traditionally been discouraged from math and science.

Related Story:

April 25, 1996


4/25/1996 - Fauziya Kasinga Released From Jail

The Immigration and Naturalization Service freed Fauziya Kasinga of Togo from jail and scheduled her precedent-setting request for U.S. political asylum on the grounds that she could face female genital mutilation (FGM) in her country to be heard in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest tribunal in the Immigration system, on May 2. Her release from prison is a temporary victory, but the final decision to grant asylum in the U.S. will not be made until May 2. Current grounds for asylum include escaping persecution based on religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a certain social group. Kasinga's lawyers are planning to argue that Kasinga and all other women who resist FGM are members of a endangered social group. Kasinga escaped Togo after learning that she was to marry a man, old enough to be her father, and to be forced to undergo genital mutilation. She served two years in prison in the U.S. while seeking political asylum here. Kasinga who was released from jail to a crowd of faithful supporters said, "There's nothing like freedom." Kasinga plans to go to college and later become an accountant. Kasinga's case drew strong support from several organizations who advocate human rights and women's rights, including the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Take Action: Help Fauziya Kasinga Escape Female Genital Mutilation!

April 24, 1996


4/25/1996 - High Participation Expected Today For "Take Our Daughters to Work Day"

Today is the Fourth annual Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and the founder of the event, The Ms. Foundation, hopes that the popularity of this years event will surpass the five million girls who took part in the 1995 event. The first Take Our Daughters To Work was launched in 1993 partly in response to highly publicized research that proved that girls were receiving less attention and encouragement in their schools and career training than their male peers. The event immediately became a success due to the overwhelming support from concerned educators and parents who had witnessed many young girls' confidence decrease and grades drop as they approached adolescence. The program focuses on young girls' aspirations, abilities, and interests before they fall victim to the violence, sexism, and teen pregnancy that prey on millions of young women The Ms. Foundation provides information and organizing tools for employers to get involved in the event. The Ford Motor Corporation, which participated last year, exemplifies the need for programs that recruit girls into typically male dominated fields; only one of their 34 vice presidents is a woman, and there are only two are among directors; unfortunately these statistics are common among other corporations and high paying executive jobs.


4/25/1996 - Mitsubishi Hopes For Out of Court Settlement

Mitsubishi, which is facing a massive sexual harassment suit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission two weeks ago brought on behalf of 29 female workers, has said that they hoped to settle out of court. Over 300 female employees at the only U.S. Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Ill, have alleged relentless sexual harassment that included constant demands for sex, degrading name-calling such as "whore", and strict retaliations against women who complained about the behavior. In his first interview since the allegations, the Mitsubishi CEO, Tsuneo Ohinouye, admitted that serious incidents did occur at the plant. He said that many changes have been made in response to the charges; 10 male employees have been fired, three have been demoted, and several have been given verbal or written warnings. The company recently found itself in further public scrutiny after sending 2,000 workers and mangers to protest the lawsuit at the EEOC office in Chicago. The travel costs were financed by the company, employees were given a free lunch and a day's pay. Employees who did not go to the protest had to submit a written statement giving a reason as to why they could not attend.

Related Stories: April 18,1996


4/25/1996 - New Study Shows One in Fifty Women Who Have Been Sterilized Become Pregnant

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the risk of pregnancy for women who have been sterilized is greater than previously thought. The CDC has discovered that women who were sterilized before the age of 28 are more likely to become pregnant than women who had the operation at later age. The CDC also found that the bipolar coagulation, a procedure chosen by women because it is less invasive, where a doctor makes a tiny incision in the woman's abdomen and plugs her fallopian tubes by either burning them with an electric current or applying a silicon rubber band to the tips, has a higher percentage of unexpected pregnancies. The conventional procedure, performed right after a woman gives birth commonly known as "having your tubes tied," is the procedure with the lowest rate of fertilization. Female Sterilization is the most common form of birth control for women in the U.S. Women who have been sterilized or plan to, should speak to their doctors about their individual cases what factors may increase their risk of unexpected pregnancy.


4/24/1996 - INS To Argue Female Genital Mutilation Grounds for Political Asylum

The Immigration and Naturalization Service has announced that it will argue in court that female genital mutilation is grounds for political asylum in the U.S. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a procedure where a woman's genitals are partly or totally removed -- sometimes without sterilized instruments or painkillers -- effects millions of women around the world. The INS declaration is in response to the case of a woman from Togo who was told by a Philadelphia judge that her story of FGM was unbelievable and was insufficient grounds for being granted political asylum. Fauziya Kasinga, 20, testified that she feared for her life when she learned that she would be forced to undergo the tribal custom. The INS stresses that the plea for asylum will only be granted if the woman proves that if she resists the procedure she would face persecution in her home country. Kasinga has been in jail since her 1994 arrival in the U.S. and is currently awaiting trial before an appeals board.

Take Action: Help Fauziya Kasinga Escape Female Genital Mutilation!

4-14-96: May 2nd Trial Set for Woman Seeking Asy


4/24/1996 - New Compound Shows Promise As Advanced Breast Cancer Treatment

Researchers have found positive results in the creation of a genetically engineered compound that attacks the protein in the gene HER-2/neu, which is present in a high number of breast cancer cases. The compound enhances the killing ability of chemotherapy by weakening the strength of the tumor-causing protein in HER-2/neu. Several women who were treated with the compound found that their tumors disappeared, shrank, and in one case actually disappeared. Over a hundred breast cancer centers around the world are testing the new compound. For more information call 1-800-821-8590.


4/24/1996 - New York Bill Seeks to Prevent Rape in Jail

A bill pending in the New York State Assembly would criminalize all sex, even consensual sex, between inmates and prison guards. Several reports of incidents in which female inmates who rebuffed guards' sexual advances or complained of sexual misconduct were cruelly disciplined have prompted law makers to expand the definition of rape in prisons. The relationship between the prisoner and guard, one that consists of dependence and psychological domination, would be classified as a situation in which women cannot safely say "no" to sexual advances. Women have reported being denied phone privileges, mail, and sanitary napkins, being put in isolation, or being brutally beaten by angry guards if they did not succumb to the pressure for sex. Fourteen other states have similar laws, which have been supported by social workers, prisoners, and the guards themselves.


4/24/1996 - Genes Show Breast and Ovarian Cancer Link

The two genes known to carry breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, may be linked to the gene that causes ovarian cancer. Researchers have found that in one in every 20 cases of ovarian cancer, BRCA2 -- the breast cancer gene discovered last year -- was present. This finding further strengthens the evidence that ovarian cancer is hereditary.

Ovarian Cancer will strike an estimated 26,700 women a year and 14,800 will die. Only 23 percent of cases are diagnosed early, but the survival rate for treating it early is 91 percent. The new findings provide hope that genetic screening will help women who have a hereditary predisposition to ovarian cancer. Evidence is still inconclusive as to why some family members with the mutated gene develop ovarian cancer but others do not.


News: April 15, 1996


4/24/1996 - New Jersey Court Allows Women to Request HIV Testing of Rapists

Following in the footsteps of several other states, the New Jersey Appellate Division Court upheld two state statutes that give sexual assault victims the right to request that their attackers be tested for the HIV virus. The higher court's decision rejected a Family Court's claim that compulsory HIV tests violates a defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. The Appellate Court stated that testing was not an unreasonable search or seizure, because testing does not endanger the criminal. Edward Martone of the New Jersey ACLU said that an appeal to the state Supreme Court is certain