Knocking on the UN’s Door
- Afghanistan’s representative at the U.N. General Assembly this week is Ghulam Isaczai, an appointee of the country’s former democratic government. According to a statement by the U.N. Secretary-General’s spokesman, “The Secretary-General received a communication with the letterhead ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ dated 20 September 2021, signed by ‘Ameer Khan Muttaqi’ as ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs,’ requesting to participate in the ’76th session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 21-27 2021.'”
- The letter said Isaczai no longer represents Afghanistan, and that Mohammad Suhail Shaheen is the Taliban regime’s nominee for permanent representative in New York. The letter also noted that Afghanistan’s former President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani has been “ousted and [countries across the world] no longer recognize him as president.”
- The U.N.’s Credentials Committee, which includes the U.S., has taken the Taliban’s communication under consideration, but a decision isn’t expected before the end of the General Assembly high level week. (CNN)
Definitely Atypical for the UN
- Before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could speak Wednesday at the General Assembly meeting in New York, an assassination attempt was made on his top adviser and closest confidant, Serhiy Shedir, who was being driven in his car outside Kyiv. Shedir escaped injury, but the driver was shot three times. A visibly upset Zelensky began by saying his speech would be “atypical for the U.N.” but definitely useful.
- “It’s time to wake up,” the 57-year-old told assembled diplomats. “Here is the price of change in the state, here is the price of reforms.” While not specifically accusing Moscow, he denounced the attack and Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky assailed his pugilistic neighbor for supporting the separatists and seizing the Crimean peninsula, aggression that has cost thousands of lives over the past eight years.He ruefully reminded his audience how the allied victors in WWII, who would help create the United Nations, met in the Crimean peninsula.
- Now, he said, “the very cradle of the place the U.N. was born remains occupied by a permanent member of the Security Council.” Zelensky said Shedir’s driver was recovering, then ended his speech and flew home. (NYT)
Additional World News
- President Biden pledges 500m more vaccine doses to developing world (BBC)
- More microplastics in babies’ faeces than in adults’ – study (Guardian)
- Aukus pact: France to send ambassador back to US after Macron-Biden call (Guardian)
- India Opens Its Highest Military Ranks to Women After Lengthy Fight (NYT, $)
- Every season except summer is getting shorter, a sign of trouble for people and the environment (WaPo, $)
- Angela Merkel: Four expert verdicts on a contested legacy (BBC)
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Wait, No, Not Like That Please
(Tamir Kalifa via Getty Images)
- Texas’ new fetal heartbeat law, which prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, gives citizens the right to sue providers or anyone else thought to be “aiding or abetting” an abortion. A successful plaintiff can be awarded at least $10,000.
- Last weekend a 76-year-old Texan, Dr. Alan Braid, wrote an op-ed about why he’d chosen to violate the new law by providing the medically-safe procedure to a woman still in her first trimester of pregnancy, but beyond the state’s new limit. He’d learned in medical school that abortion was an integral part of a woman’s health care, but the procedure was illegal in 1972 when he began his OB/GYN residency at a San Antonio hospital. That year, he saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions; one death was so horrific it’s never left his memory.
- On September 1, when the Texas law went into effect, it was like 1972 all over again. Despite legal exposure, he felt compelled to make sure this blatantly unconstitutional law was tested. Braid’s now been sued by two disbarred, out-of-state lawyers, and Texas anti-abortion leaders are surprised. One naively said the idea behind the bill was that just threatening liability would cause providers to comply. She added: “These out-of-state suits are not what the bill is intended for.” (WaPo, NYT)
A Vast Trump Family Conspiracy
- Donald Trump filed suit in a New York state court Tuesday against his niece Mary and three NYT journalists claiming they were “engaged in an insidious plot” to obtain confidential tax documents.
- The suit alleges Mary breached a decades-old settlement agreement barring her from disclosing the documents. Mary revealed in a 2020 tell-all memoir that she supplied the documents to the journalists who were investigating Trump’s dubious tax schemes in the 1990s. Mary said her uncle’s lawsuit filed Tuesday was a sign of “desperation.” She added “The walls are closing in …” and as always with Donald “he’ll try and change the subject.”
- Perhaps this suit will be consolidated with Mary’s 2020 lawsuit filed against her uncle and two family members for defrauding her out of a sizable inheritance. (BBC, documentcloud.org)
Additional USA News
- A Governor’s High School Basketball Dreams Are Blocked. And He Is Crying Foul. (NYT, $)
- Florida Makes Quarantine Optional For Students Exposed To COVID Cases (NPR)
- Vape makers struggle to stay in business after FDA bans flavored e-cigs (Politico)
- Before off-duty police shooting, Chicago officer had long complaint record. Should the city pay? (WaPo, $)
- Betty Soskin, Oldest National Park Ranger, Turns 100 Years Old (NPR)
- Federal Reserve Signals a Shift Away From Pandemic Support (NYT, $)
Gorgeous in Gray
- There was a time in the not-too-terribly-distant past when no self-respecting (or self-conscious) woman would step out of her house with a gray hair showing. Men get gray hair too, but they looked “distinguished”. Women just thought they looked old.
- Enter the pandemic, which made salons shut down, or unsafe at the very least. During that time, lots of women found themselves confronting their ‘natural’ hair color, or more specifically, lack of hair color. At first it could be shocking — looking in the mirror and seeing a face surrounded with hair becoming grandma-gray where once it stayed a youthful brunette. There wasn’t much to do but sigh and say “I had no choice” or “Nobody sees me anyway” to excuse away the overgrown roots and faded hues and creeping, well, grayness.
- But then something happened. More and more women began appearing in public, their heads adorned with hair in various shades of gray and silver and white and combinations thereof. Actresses in commercials, celebrities on red carpets, you name it. It seemed that steering clear of a colorist’s chair had less to do with health and homebody status and everything to do with embracing what was once an excuse. It’s like gray grief got a full makeover and became gray joy.
- Jack Martin is the Southern California guru of gray. His clients include Jane Fonda, Sharon Osbourne and Andie McDowell, not to mention 640,000 Instagram followers. He’s been helping women return to their natural hair color since 2018. He’s a colorist who’s working to help women get to the stage when they no longer need him. And, funny thing, in the last 18 months, his business has actually tripled. He has clients who’ve flown in from faraway places for six to 14 hours in his chair. Jack says during the pandemic one really awesome thing happened: “a lot of women found out how beautiful the pattern of their silver was.” (NYT)
- Genetics reveal how humans island-hopped to settle remote Pacific (Guardian)
- Would Plato tweet? The Ancient Greek guide to social media (BBC)
- Mathematicians discover music really can be infectious – like a virus (Guardian)
- Giraffes Prefer a Fair Fight (NYT, $)
- How a Chef Feeds the Phillies Baseball Team (Eater)