Women Around the World this Week ..

Editorial by Alexandra Kinias

1. LAOS: One Woman’s Mission to Free Laos From Millions of Unexploded Bombs

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Channapha Khamvongsa . Photo Credit Adam Dean for The New York Times

Thanks to Lao-American Channapha Khamvong’s efforts, the United States will be spending $12 million to get rid of millions of unexploded ordnance in Laos, up from $2.5 million ten years ago. From her little office in Washington D.C., Khamvongsa has been able to raise money and awareness about the contaminated country. Laos is littered with live, hidden cluster bombs from 580,000 American bombing missions half a century ago. They are forgotten leftovers from “the Secret War,” one of the most severe air campaigns in history. Over the past five decades, the explosives have killed 8,000 people and wounded 12,000, who have mistakenly detonated the bombs. With this increased budget for clearing teams, Khamvong hopes that with continuous efforts and hard work, the Laos countryside maybe cleared of these bombs over the next few decades.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/world/asia/laos-campaign-to-clear-millions-of-unexploded-bombs.html?_r=1&smid=nytimesphoto

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2. IRAN: My Stealthy Freedom: Women in Iran Step Up Hijab Campaign by Filming themselves Walking in Public with their Heads Uncovered

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When Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad started the Facebook page, My Stealthy Freedom, to give Iranian women an opportunity to share their photos without the hijab (head veil), she had not anticipated that it would become a women’s movement. In a country where the Islamic law forces women to wear the veil in public, the social media gave the Iranian women a voice to express how they truly view the hijab.

And with the momentum that My Stealthy Freedom campaign has gained, women in Iran are not just sharing their photos without the hijab, but the campaign is expanding as women, in defiance to the laws of the land,  are now filming themselves walking in the streets of Tehran in broad daylight without their hijab, according to a report in the The Independent. Watch video below or click here to view it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/my-stealthy-freedom-women-in-iran-step-up-hijab-campaign-by-filming-themselves-walking-in-public-with-their-heads-uncovered-10149226.html

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3. CANADA: Woman Recounts Being Attacked on Montreal Subway ‘For Wearing Hijab’

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Hanan Mehdi. Photo credit : Le Journal de Montreal

MONTREAL — Hanane Mehdi was taking the subway to work in downtown Montreal on Tuesday, as she does every day, when she says she was the victim of a racist attack as reported by  Montreal, Canada-based Le Journal de Montreal reported.

Hanane Mehdi, who was taking the subway to go to work, was aggressed for wearing the Islamic veil by another woman. She was told to “return to your country” by a woman who later hit her in the face.“She started hitting me in the face, which got all red. I felt her hitting me from behind until people got involved,” Mehdi said.Talking about the incident, Mehdi’s daughter Marwa said: “I was so scared I was sick.“I didn’t know it could happen to my mother and I almost cried because I love my mom and I don’t want that to happen to her.”Following the incident, Mehdi, who did not return to work since the attack, filed a complaint against the woman.An investigation is under way as police review surveillance camera footage.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/04/04/Woman-recounts-being-attacked-on-Montreal-subway-for-wearing-hijab-.html

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4. JAPAN: Japanese Police Make Arrest Amid String of Acid Attacks on Women

Shoppers at the entrance of Hankyu department store in Osaka, Japan.

Photo: KO SASAKI/THE NEW YORK TIMES

In four separate incidents in the city of Takasaki, Japan, four women who went shopping in the center of the city became victims of acid attacks. They all reported that that they felt a burning sensation on their legs and feet before realizing that acid was thrown on their bodies. Five days after the attacks, the Japanese police arrested a suspect in connection to the crime. The arrest came two years after Tatsujiro Fukazawa, 40, was accused of filling his female co-worker’s shoes with hydrofluoric acid. The victim had denied Fukazawa’s romance and as a result she lost the tips of her toes. Fukazawa was sentenced to seven years in jail.

Acid attack on women worldwide is on the rise. Women are targeted mainly by jealous perpetrators in revenge to denying or refusing their romantic approaches.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/07/japanese-police-make-arrest-amid-string-of-acid-attacks-on-women/

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5. ISRAEL: Israeli  Robi Damelin and Palestinian Bushra Awad have A Plan for Peace

http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/04/07/israeli-robi-damelin-and-palestinian-bushra-awad-have-a-plan-for-peace/

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Robi Damelin and Bushra Awad

Robi Damelin and Bushra Awad are two mothers living on opposite sides of a bitter conflict. Both women have lost sons to the fighting between Israel and Palestine. And both are determined to channel their grief into a force for change.

When they first met, they exchanged hostilities, but when they showed each other the photos of their sons, they bonded immediately, as they cried together realizing that neither of them was responsible for the death of the other’s son.

Damelin and Awad hope to repair the strife between Israel and Palestine—not through peace negotiations, but through compassion.

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