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Federal Judge Overturns Colorado’s Ban on ‘Repeal of Abortion Pills’

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DENVER– A judge has temporarily suspended Colorado’s ban on what experts believe are unproven medical abortion treatments at a religious clinic that alleged in a lawsuit that a recently signed law violated her constitutional rights.

Judge Daniel Domenico, who noted that Colorado is the only state to ban the treatment, issued a temporary restraining order over the weekend after Bella Health and Wellness said barring them from prescribing the so-called “abortion pill withdrawal” treatment violated their First Amendment. the right to freedom of speech and religion.

The idea of ​​abolishing medical abortion became a flashpoint in the clash over reproductive rights across the country after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion up to the states. About a dozen states passed laws in previous years requiring abortion providers to inform their patients about “reverse” treatments.

A Republican proposal to do so in Colorado this year ran into a Democratic-controlled statehouse. This is partly because the treatment has drawn widespread condemnation from the medical community, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stating that it is “not based on science and (not) up to clinical standards.”

The new ban extends until at least October the deadline for Colorado’s medical boards to determine whether the treatment is “generally accepted standard of practice” and therefore allowed.

The ban was part of a package of three bills to secure abortion rights and transgender care in the state.

The specific bill that included the ban also targeted the so-called deceptive practice of anti-abortion centers, which are known to pose as abortion clinics but do not actually offer the procedure. Instead, they are trying to convince patients not to terminate the pregnancy.

The temporary restraining order, first reported by The Colorado Sun, covers the entire bill.

In Colorado, Bella Health and Wellness argued that banning them from treatment would “violate their genuinely religious beliefs” and that they had a patient whose current treatment would be interrupted if the new law went into effect.

One of the organization’s lawyers, Laura Volk Slavis of the Becket Foundation for Religious Freedom, wrote in a statement: “Colorado’s new law is the opposite of choice – it targets women who change their minds and forces them to get the abortions they want to stop. . This law violates the constitutional rights of these women and their doctors.”

Domenico, a district judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote in his ruling: “I believe that Plaintiffs are reasonably likely to succeed on the merits of one or more of their claims that short-term relief is warranted until defendants are heard in opposition.” “.

Domenico added that the restraining order only applies to Bella Health and Wellness. The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Medical abortion is performed by taking two drugs—mifepristone and then misoprostol—for several days. Bella Health and Wellness provides patients with a drug called progesterone that they claim reverses the effects of mifepristone.

The lawsuit comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone.

Representative of the Governor of Colorado. Jared Polis and another Democratic candidate in the Colorado Senate declined to comment, citing a pending lawsuit.

In the Colorado case, a hearing on a preliminary injunction — effectively an extension of the 14-day temporary restraining order — is set for April 24.

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Bedine is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues.

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Republicans reject Feinstein committee swap, embarrassing Democrats

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WASHINGTON — Key Senate Republicans on Monday opposed the interim replacement of Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on the Judiciary Committee, leaving Democrats in a quandary as several of President Joe Biden’s nominees are stuck on the panel in court.

Sen. John Cornyn, D-Tex., a senior committee member close to party leaders, said he and his colleagues oppose the idea because it would help Democrats promote judges along party lines.

“These are, by definition, the most controversial candidates,” Cornyn told NBC News, “and if the Democrats are strictly dependent on the votes of their own party line to get them out of the committee — I don’t think there is any appetite on our side. to help those we consider controversial or unqualified candidates get validated.”

Asked if there was a way to win the 10 Senate Republicans needed to break the filibuster and make the trade, he said, “I don’t think so.”

Feinstein, 89, was absent from the Senate for weeks after learning she was hospitalized with shingles. Amid calls to resign, Feinstein issued a statement asking to be replaced by another Democrat so the commission could promote judges until she could return.

Senator Tom Tillis, RN.C., also spoke out against Feinstein’s plan on Monday.

“I will vote against any attempt by Senate Democrats to temporarily replace Senator Feinstein on the Judiciary Committee. I have deep respect for Senator Feinstein, but this is an unprecedented request solely to appease those who insist on radical, activist judges,” Tillis, who also sits on the committee, wrote on Twitter.

Centrist Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she, too, opposed the swap. “She was an outstanding senator, she is my friend. For the past two years there has been a concerted campaign to force her out of the Judicial Committee. And I think it’s wrong and I won’t be a part of it,” Collins said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, on Monday urged Republicans to show “a little kindness and concern” to Feinstein and green-light the committee’s interim replacement, noting a similar situation could happen to them in the future.

“She is obviously sensitive to the fact that her absence is affecting the committee,” Durbin told reporters. “I’m not going to push her to any other decision. I think we can fix this problem, do it very quickly, and I hope we can find 10 Republicans to join us in this effort.”

Cornyn, Collins and Tillis are among the Senate Republicans who have been more cooperative with Democrats in recent years. Their abandonment of the idea is a bad sign for Democrats, who will need to defeat at least 10 Republicans in Feinstein’s absence to secure her replacement on the Judiciary Committee.

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What sparked the bitter fight for control of Sudan’s future?

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CAIRO (AP) – Tensions have been brewing for weeks between Sudan’s two most powerful generals, who just 18 months ago jointly organized military coup to disrupt the country’s transition to democracy.

Over the weekend, these frictions between the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah Burhanand head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalobroke into unprecedented battle for control of a resource-rich nation of over 46 million people.

Both men, each with tens of thousands of troops stationed in the capital Khartoum alone, vowed not to negotiate or cease fire despite growing global diplomatic pressure. This is a fatal setback for a country at the crossroads of the Arab world and Africa, which four years ago, the rule of a long-term dictator was brought to an end, largely due to peaceful popular protests.

Look how Sudan a country with a long history of coup d’étatreached this point and what is at stake.

What happened before the fight?

There have been talks in recent months to return to the democratic transition that was halted by the October 2021 coup.

Under growing international and regional pressure, the armed forces and the RSF have signed preliminary deal in December with pro-democracy and civic groups. But the agreement, brokered by the international community, provided only broad outlines, leaving the most pressing political issues unresolved.

During the harrowing negotiations to reach a final agreement, tensions between Burhan and Dagalo escalated. The key dispute is how the RSF will be integrated into the military and who will have ultimate control over the fighters and weapons.

The Dagalo, whose RSF engaged in violent repression during tribal riots and pro-democracy protests, also tried to portray himself as a pro-democracy transition. in March, Hey, Burhan slammedstating that the military leaders are unwilling to give up power.

Analysts say Dagalo is trying to whitewash the reputation of his militias, which began as brutal militias involved in atrocities in the Darfur conflict.

How has the situation worsened?

On Wednesday, the RSF began deploying forces around the small town of Merowe, north of the capital. The city is of strategic importance, with its large airport, central location and electric dam downstream of the Nile River. The next day, the RSF also sent additional forces to the capital and other areas of the country without the consent of the army leadership.

Fighting broke out Saturday morning at a military base south of Khartoum, with each side accusing the other of instigating the violence. Since then, the military and the RSF have fought each other with heavy weaponry, including armored vehicles and truck-mounted machine guns, in densely populated areas of the capital and the adjacent town of Omdurman. The military launched airstrikes on RSF bases.

By Monday, dozens of people had been killed and hundreds wounded in the fighting.

Clashes have spread to other parts of the country, including the strategic coastal city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea and eastern areas along the borders with Ethiopia and Eritrea. Fighting was also reported in the war-ravaged area of ​​Darfur, where UN installations were attacked and looted. The UN says three World Food Program workers were killed in clashes on Saturday.

What are the prospects for a ceasefire and a return to dialogue?

The prospects for an immediate ceasefire seem bleak. Burkhan and Dagalo dug in, demanding that the others surrender. The intense nature of the fighting may also make it difficult for the two generals to return to negotiations.

On the other hand, both the military and the RSF have foreign patrons who unanimously call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

The Muslim religious calendar may also play a role. Fighting broke out in the last week of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and at the end of that week, the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday marked the end of the month of fasting. The population is increasingly in need, many are forced to stay at home due to violence.

Smoke rises during ongoing clashes in Sudan’s capital April 16, 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Mahmoud Khjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Meanwhile, there was a flurry of diplomatic contacts. The UN Security Council is due to discuss Sudan on Monday.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he had discussed developments in Sudan with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi foreign minister said he spoke on the phone separately with Burhan and Dagalo and urged them to stop “all kinds of military escalation.”

The Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf are close allies of the armed forces as well as the RSF.

Cameron Hudson, a senior think-tank at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former U.S. diplomat, said the Biden administration must press its allies in the region to push for peace.

“Without such pressure, we might find conflict with the same model war in Tigray (in Ethiopia ),” He said.

Who are the foreign players and what resources are at stake?

During the years-long rule of dictator Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019, Russia was the dominant power. At some point, Moscow reached an initial agreement to build a Sudanese naval base on the Red Sea coast.

After al-Bashir was overthrown, the United States and European countries began to compete with Russia for influence in Sudan, rich in natural resources, including gold, but mired in civil strife and military coups. In recent years A Russian mercenary unit of Wagner even invaded in the country.

Burhan and Dagalo also developed close ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Sudanese troops drawn from the armed forces and the RSF have fought alongside the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s protracted civil war.

Egypt, another regional power, also has close ties to the Sudanese military. The two armies are holding regular military exercises, most recently this month. Egyptian troops were at the Sudanese military base for exercises when clashes erupted on Saturday. They were caught by the RSF who said they would be returned to Egypt.

The military controls most of the country’s economy, but the RSF controls large gold mining areas, a key source of income for the powerful faction.

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G7 promises more renewable energy efforts but doesn’t set coal phase-out deadline – POLITICO

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The richest group of seven countries have set higher targets for renewable energy production by 2030 amid the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine, but they have not set a deadline for phasing out coal-fired power plants.

At a meeting hosted by Japan, ministers from Japan, the US, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions by mid-century and stated that they intend to collectively increase solar power capacity by 1 terawatt and offshore wind 150 gigawatts by the end of this decade.

“The G7 is helping to expand the use of renewable energy worldwide and reduce costs through strengthening capacity, including through the collective increase in offshore wind farms… and the collective increase in solar energy…,” said the Ministers of Energy and the Environment at the 36th page statement. communiqué issued after two days meeting.

“In the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis, it is important to simultaneously take action to combat climate change and ensure energy security,” Japanese Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said at a press conference. Reuters.

The ministerial statement also condemned Russia’s “illegal, unjustified and unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine and its “devastating” environmental impact. Ministers voted in support of green recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine.

They also published a five-point plan to ensure access to critical raw materials that will be critical to the transition to a green economy.

Before the meeting, Japan faced criticism from green groups for its desire to keep the door open for further investment in natural gas, a fossil fuel. The final agreed text states that such investments “may be suitable” for dealing with the crisis if they are in line with climate goals.

The ministerial meeting in the northern city of Sapporo takes place just over a month before the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima.

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