September 29, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Anti-abortion law narrowly upheld

 

Mexico City – Abortion foes in Mexico scored a victory Wednesday when the Supreme Court narrowly upheld a provision of Baja California’s state constitution saying life begins at conception.

Although seven of the court’s 11 justices deemed the measure unconstitutional, they were short of the eight votes needed to overturn it.

Advocates for reproductive rights called the close ruling a temporary setback in the country’s abortion debate.

Pakistan remarks spook officials

Washington – The Obama administration on Wednesday toned down harsh criticism of Pakistan leveled by the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but made clear that it expects more counterterrorism cooperation from Islamabad.

The softening in rhetoric came as some in Pakistan reacted angrily to Adm. Mike Mullen’s remarks claiming formal concrete links between the Haqqani insurgent network and Pakistan’s main intelligence service, which have triggered a nationalist backlash and whipped up media fears of an American invasion.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department carefully refused to endorse comments from Adm. Mike Mullen that the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI.

“I have no argument with anyone who says this is a very difficult and complex relationship because it is,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the State Department. “But I also believe strongly that we have to work together despite the difficulties.”

Crackdown haunts Bolivian president

La Paz, Bolivia – Tens of thousands of Bolivians took to the streets in major cities Wednesday to heap reproach on President Evo Morales over a police crackdown on indigenous protesters that badly damaged the leftist leader’s credibility.

The marchers decried the perceived betrayal by Bolivia’s first Indian president of constituencies whose banners Morales had long waved: native groups and environmentalists.

“Evo was a very strong symbol for many people. He embodied principles of justice, of human rights. But now these people are disenchanted,” said Jim Shultz, an analyst with the Democracy Center think tank, which works closely with Bolivian issues.

The president issued a statement Wednesday night saying the protests have been a “profound wake-up call” for his government following the weekend police action that broke up a march by Indians protesting a proposed highway through their protected reserve.

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