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The Historic Place Where Literary, Political Worlds Intersect

A relatively modest, independently owned bookstore in Washington has become a standout on the cultural scene in the U.S. capital. It’s called Politics and Prose. Since opening in 1984, it’s managed to survive the age of online book buying and thrive as a magnet for some of the world’s highest profile authors, from former Presidents Clinton and Obama, to J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie and photographer Annie Leibovitz. Ani Chkhikvadze stopped by Politics and Prose to learn more about its success.

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Fate of Kansas Ban on Telemedicine Abortions Uncertain

Kansas clinics still don’t know whether it will be legal for them to offer telemedicine abortions in January. Meanwhile a state-court judge Friday derided the upcoming ban as an “air ball” that can’t stop doctors from providing pregnancy-ending pills to patients they don’t see in person.

An abortion rights group seeking an order to block the ban found its request enmeshed in larger legal battles over abortion. Attorneys for the state raised the question of whether other state laws might block telemedicine abortions, and District Judge Franklin Theis held off on issuing an order.

​Suit: Ban unconstitutional

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of Trust Women of Wichita, which operates a clinic there that performs abortions. Since October, some patients seeking abortion pills have consulted with offsite doctors through teleconferencing, and the clinic hopes to start providing abortion pills to women in rural areas without having them come to Wichita.

The center argues that the new law violates the state constitution by placing an undue burden on women seeking abortion and singling out abortion for special treatment as part of broader policies otherwise meant to encourage telemedicine.

“The use of telemedicine right now for medication abortions is extremely important,” said Leah Wiederhorn, an attorney for the center. “It’s a way for women to access this type of health care during a time when there are a lot of hostile laws that are meant to shut down clinics across the country.”

Seventeen other states have telemedicine abortion bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a group that advocates for abortion rights. The new Kansas law says that in policies promoting telemedicine, “nothing” authorizes “any abortion procedure via telemedicine.”

But Theis said the law doesn’t give a prosecutor any avenue for pursuing a criminal case. While the state medical board could act against the clinic’s doctors, the judge added, “There’s no jeopardy yet.”

Few clinics

Kansas has no clinics providing abortions outside Wichita and the Kansas City area. The Republican-controlled Legislature has strong anti-abortion majorities, and the state has tightened restrictions over the past decade.

Lawmakers have tried three times to ban telemedicine abortions. In 2011, a ban was part of legislation imposing special regulations on abortion clinics that critics said were meant to shut them down. Providers sued and Theis blocked all of the regulations. The case is still pending.

Legislators passed a law in 2015 requiring a doctor to be in the same room when a woman takes the first of two abortion pills. The Center for Reproductive Rights argues that it’s covered by the 2011 lawsuit over clinic regulations and has been blocked by Theis. Though the judge said he’s inclined to agree, state attorneys argued that it is in effect, even if it hasn’t been enforced.

The anti-abortion group Kansans for Life filed a complaint Friday against the Wichita clinic with the state medical board, asking it to investigate its “illegal” telemedicine abortions. Jeanne Gawdun, the group’s senior lobbyist, called them “dangerous.”

“Where’s that important physician-patient relationship?” Gawdun said. “It’s not there.”

​Few complications

A study of abortions in California, published in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ journal in 2015, said less than one-third of 1 percent of medication abortions resulted in major complications.

The Kansas health department has reported that in 2017, nearly 4,000 medication abortions were reported, or 58 percent of the state’s total, all in the first trimester. It’s not clear if any were telemedicine abortions.

Wiederhorn said banning telemedicine abortion would be a hardship for the clinic’s patients because its doctors, while licensed in Kansas, are outside the state and can spend only two days a week in Wichita. Also, many women in rural areas would face hardships in getting medication abortions without telemedicine, she said.

But Assistant Attorney General Shon Qualseth said: “We’re just theorizing on what could happen.”


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Late Guatemalan Girl Dreamed of Sending Money to Family

The 7-year-old Guatemalan migrant girl who died in U.S. custody this month was inseparable from her father and had looked forward to being able to send money home to support her impoverished family, relatives said  Saturday. 

Nery Caal, 29, and his daughter Jakelin Caal Maquin were in a group of more than 160 migrants who turned themselves in to U.S. border agents in New Mexico on Dec. 6. Jakelin developed a high fever and died two days later while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. 


“The girl said when she was grown up she was going to work and send dough back to her mom and grandma,” said her mother, Claudia Maquin, who has three remaining children, speaking in the Mayan language Q’eqchi’ and betraying little outward emotion. 

“Because she’d never seen a big country, she was really happy that she was going to go,” she added, explaining how her husband had gone to the United States to find a way out of the “extreme poverty” that dictated their lives. 


Corn stood behind her palm-thatched wooden house, and there were a few chickens and pigs in the yard. The mother was dressed in a traditional blouse and held a 6-month-old baby in her arms. 

A family photograph at the house showed Jakelin smiling and looking up at the camera, wearing a pink T-shirt with characters from the cartoon series Masha and the Bear. 

Hard lives


Deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations has made subsistence farming increasingly hard for the 40,000 inhabitants of Raxruha municipality, where the family’s agricultural hamlet of San Antonio de Cortez lies in central Guatemala, local officials said. That has spurred an exodus of migrants.  

Setting out on Dec. 1, Caal and his daughter traveled more than 2,000 miles (3,220 km) so Jakelin’s father could look for work in the United States, said her mother, who learned of the girl’s death from consular officials. 


Almost 80 percent of Guatemala’s indigenous population is poor, with half of those people living in extreme poverty. The mayor of San Antonio de Cortez described the Caal family as among the worst off in the village. 


Mayor Cesar Castro said in recent months that more and more families were uprooting to try to reach the United States, often selling what little land they owned to pay people traffickers thousands of dollars for the trip.

“It’s not just the Caal family. There are endless people who are leaving,” Castro said. “I see them drive past in pickups, cars and buses.” He said most of them came back in the end, often penniless after being dropped off by traffickers, caught by authorities and deported. 


Jakelin’s death has added to criticism of U.S. of President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies from migrant advocates and Democrats in the U.S. Congress. 


The U.S. government defended Jakelin’s treatment, and said there was no indication she had any medical problems until several hours after she and her father were taken into custody. 




Domingo Caal, Jakelin’s grandfather, said she had gone on the journey because she did not want to leave her father. 


“The girl really stuck to him. It was very difficult to separate them,” said Domingo, 61, wearing muddy boots and a faded and torn blue shirt.  

Jakelin’s uncle, Jose Manuel Caal, said he had heard she was ill before she died, but he had expected her to recover. “The girl’s death left us in shock,” he said. 


The family hopes the girl’s father can remain in the United States. 


“What I want now is for Nery to stay and work in the United States. That’s what I want,” said his wife. 


A Guatemalan consular official told Reuters on Friday that Caal told him he had crossed the border planning to turn himself in to U.S. authorities, and would try to stay. 


Record numbers of parents traveling with children are being apprehended trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico. In November, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers detained 25,172 members of “family units,” the highest monthly number ever recorded, the agency said. 


Parents with children are more likely to be released by U.S. authorities while their cases are processed because of legal restrictions on keeping children in detention. 


Caal remains in the El Paso, Texas, area, where his daughter died after being flown by helicopter to a hospital there for emergency treatment when she stopped breathing. 


A brain scan revealed swelling and Jakelin was diagnosed with liver failure. She died early in the morning on Dec. 8, with her father at the hospital, a CBP official said. 


U.S. authorities are investigating the death.  

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Архієпископ Климент (Кущ) остерігається «помсти за томос» у Криму

Архієпископ Климент також зазначив, що має намір боротися за свою паству, в тому числі і через суд

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Адвокат відвідав у СІЗО Москви полоненого українського моряка Лісового – Полозов

Один з захисників військовополонених українських моряків відвідав члена екіпажу рейдового буксира «Яни-Капу» Володимира Лісового, повідомив у Facebook адвокат Микола Полозов.

За його словами, зустріч відбулася 14 грудня в кабінеті слідчого у Слідчому управлінні ФСБ РФ до початку слідчих дій.

«Володимир почуває себе добре, ніяких скарг або прохань не висловлював. Передачу йому віддали. За його словами, він на даний момент не має потреби ні в чому. Як і інші моряки, яких раніше змогли відвідати адвокати нашої команди, Лісовий заявив, що вважає себе військовополоненим», – написав Полозов.

Він прогнозує, що захисники інших українських моряків зможуть з ними побачитися протягом двох наступних тижнів.

«Через об’єктивні причини (зокрема, особливості організації роботи ізолятора), у СІЗО «Лефортово» ускладнений доступ адвокатів. Зустрічі адвокатів з військовополоненими українськими моряками, принаймні до Нового року, будуть обумовлені графіком слідчих дій», – зазначив Полозов.

Раніше сьогодні він повідомив, що адвокат Еміль Курбедінов відвідав у московському СІЗО захопленого в полон українського моряка, командира бронетанкового катера «Нікополь» Богдана Небилицю.

Читайте також: «Лефортово – в’язниця ФСБ». Розповіді тих, хто відвідав українських моряків

25 листопада російські силовики у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по українських кораблях, захопили їх і 24 членів їхніх екіпажів. Троє моряків при цьому були поранені. Усіх захоплених українців утримують у СІЗО в Москві. Українська влада визнає їх військовополоненими.

Дії Росії в районі Керченської протоки критикують у низці європейських країн і США. У НАТО заявили, що уважно стежать за розвитком подій у Керченській протоці і закликали до стриманості й деескалації напруги.

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Євстратій: офіційна назва об’єднаної церкви – Православна церква України

А титул предстоятеля цієї церкви – «митрополит Київський і всієї України»

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Собор йде за планом, розраховували закінчити його сьогодні – Говорун 

Планувалося, що Об’єднавчий собор закінчиться сьогодні, наразі він проходить за планом, заявив в ефірі Радіо Свобода Кирило Говорун, професор університету Лойола Мерімаунт, архімандрит Української православної церкви (Московського патріархату). 

«Не виключено, що дискусія може затягнутися. Зокрема, найбільш таке складне питання, яке вимагає навіть більше часу, ніж обрання предстоятеля, – це обговорення статуту», – пояснив він. 

Він також додав, що Собор проходить за планом, обговорюються два найважливіші питання – це статут і предстоятеля церкви. 

Говорун пояснив важливість статуту тим, що таким чином учасники Собору закладають фундамент існування нової церкви на десятки і, можливо, сотні років наперед.

Об’єднавчий собор почався 15 грудня вранці в Софії Київській. Українські православні церкви мають обрати предстоятеля нової об’єднаної церкви та затвердити її статут і назву. Лише після цього глава нової церкви отримає у Константинополі томос про автокефалію від Вселенського патріархату.

Дивіться спеціальний ефір Радіо Свобода з коментарям експертів та трансляціює з-під Софії:





У Києві триває Об’єднавчий собор українського православ’я (трансляція)

Томос для України. Об’єднавчий собор. Живий блог

Нарівні зі здобуттям Незалежності: Об’єднавчий собор у Святій Софії створить нову помісну церкву

Об’єднавчий собор. Майбутнє України та її церкви створюється у Києві, а не в Москві

УПЦ (МП) допомагала Гіркіну готувати анексію Криму – СБУ

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Після отримання томосу українські церкви Криму та ОРДЛО можуть бути захоплені – Коцюба

15 грудня у Києві в Софійському соборі триває Об’єднавчий собор зі створення помісної праославної церкви

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Українська біатлоністка стала третьою в спринті на Кубку IBU

Українська біатлоністка Надія Бєлкіна 15 грудня здобула бронзову нагороду на етапі Кубка Міжнародного союзу біатлоністів (IBU), що триває в італійському Ріднау. Завдяки вдалій стрільбі на обох вогневих рубежах і достатньо швидкому ходу Бєлкіна змогла випередити інших конкуренток на подіум.

Попереду Надії фінішували росіянка Анастасія Морозова та шведка Інґела Андерсон.

Шостою в спринті у Ріднау стала Юлія Журавок, показати вищий результат їй завадило одне штрафне коло.

А от на головному змаганні світового біатлону, Кубку світу, українські жінки в суботу виступили невдало. Сестер Валю й Віту Семеренко тренери вирішили поберегти для недільної естафети, а Олена Підгрушна, яка в гонці переслідування стартувала 27-ю, фінішувати за рішенням наставників не стала. Припустившись п’яти промахів, капітан збірної вже не претендувала на місця в заліковій зоні.

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California Court Blocks Pardon for Refugee Who Killed at 14

In a rare step, the California Supreme Court has blocked Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to issue a pardon to a 37-year-old Cambodian refugee who killed a woman when he was 14 years old.

The court gave no reason for the rejection, but earlier noted it only had the authority to do so in the case of an “abuse of power.” Brown’s pardon would have effectively stopped Borey Ai’s deportation to Cambodia, a nation where his mother was born but he has never seen.

Pardons, threat of deportation

The governor in the last 10 months has pardoned seven ex-convicts who otherwise faced the threat of deportation to Cambodia, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, whose administration has stepped up efforts to deport immigrants with criminal convictions.

It takes at least four votes of the seven justices to block pardons. The unsigned ruling Wednesday didn’t say how many justices voted to block the pardon. The governor is required to obtain the court’s approval for pardons and sentence commutations for twice-convicted felons.

Appellate lawyer David Ettinger said it appears the last time the court rejected a governor’s pardon was in 1930.

A spokesman for the governor, Brian Ferguson, declined comment.

19 years served

Ai was charged as an adult and convicted in Santa Clara County 1997 of second-degree murder and also of a separate robbery. He was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison.

He spent 19 years in prison before parole officials decided he had turned his life around. He walked out of San Quentin prison in November 2016 and into the custody of waiting federal immigration agents who are trying to deport him to Cambodia. After prison, he spent 18 months in federal detention but was freed in May after Cambodia refused to accept him — for now.

Ai was represented by lawyers at the nonprofit legal aid organization Asian Law Caucus.

“It is definitely a disappointment and definitely a surprise,” said Anoop Prasad, one of Ai’s lawyers.

Prasad said the court didn’t provide an explanation to Ai or his legal team. Prasad said lawyers are “considering other legal avenues” to reverse the state Supreme Court’s decision. Prasad also said Ai is fighting his deportation in a federal appeals court.

Parole officials recommended a pardon for Ai in October and dozens of advocates turned in more than 36,000 signatures asking Brown to pardon Ai. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Aaron West objected to the pardon, arguing that Ai has been free for only months and has no track record of being a benefit to the community.

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