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Immigrant in federal custody in Texas has abortion

A teenage immigrant at the center of a legal fight over her choice to have an abortion was released from federal custody under a court order and had the procedure Wednesday morning, her lawyers announced.

>> Read more trending news

Identified in court documents as Jane Doe, the Central American teenager also issued a statement through her lawyers that criticized federal officials for putting her through a month-long legal fight to get the abortion.

“They made me see a doctor that tried to convince me not to abort and to look at sonograms,” the 17-year-old said. “People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind. I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind.

“No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves. I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone,” she said.

>> Related: Appeals court clears way for immigrant teen's abortion

Doe’s lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union vowed to continue fighting the federal policy that had blocked Doe from getting an abortion for more than a month. Under a policy adopted in March, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees minors detained after illegally crossing the border without a parent, does not allow those teens to leave custody to have an abortion.

“Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane,” ACLU lawyer Brigitte Amiri said. “With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administration will go to block women from abortion care. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every woman like Jane.”

>> See the latest from the Austin American-Statesman

The Trump administration argued that it had a legitimate interest in promoting childbirth over abortion. Doe’s lawyers said the government’s actions placed an improper obstacle to a constitutionally protected procedure.

Last week, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., ordered officials to let Doe leave her government-funded shelter in Texas for the abortion.

Administration lawyers appealed, and a three-judge panel blocked the order and gave federal officials until Oct. 31 to find an adult sponsor to take custody of Doe, which could have allowed her to get an abortion without requiring federal officials to violate administration rules against taking action to “facilitate” an abortion.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overruled the panel Tuesday, clearing the way for Doe’s abortion.

Who are the Rohingya Muslims? 7 things to know about the 'world’s most persecuted minority'

Updated Oct. 23, 2017

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled a brutal military crackdown in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and reportedly face an array of human rights abuses, to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

>> Read more trending news

But many other Rohingya refugees have been turned away, leaving thousands stranded at sea.

Almost 40 percent of all Rohingya villages were empty last month, a Myanmar government spokesperson confirmed.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, has called what's happening to Rohingya in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

A report published by global rights group Amnesty International detailed evidence of mass killings, torture, rape and forcible transfers of the Rohingya,  Al-Jazeera reported.

Who are the Rohingya and where do they live?

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group living primarily in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar (or Burma). There are approximately 1.1 million Rohingya living in the country.

According to Al Jazeera, the Rohingya have been described as the “world’s most persecuted minority,” and have faced systematic persecution since Myanmar’s independence in the late 1940s.

Most Rohingya in Myanmar reside in the Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.

Rakhine State is regarded as one of the country’s poorest areas and lacks basic services in education and health care.

The Rohingya’s history in Myanmar

According to historians, the group has been residing in Arakan (now Rakhine State) since as early as the 12th century, Al Jazeera reported.

When the British ruled between 1824 and 1948, they administered Myanmar as a province of India and, thus, any migration of laborers between Myanmar and other South Asian countries (like Bangladesh) was considered internal. The majority of the native Myanmar population did not like that.

After gaining independence in 1948, the Burmese government still frowned upon any migration that occurred during the period of British rule, claiming it all to be illegal.

In fact, many Buddhists in Myanmar consider the Ronhingya to be Bengali, or people from Bangladesh.

The discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law officially prevented them from obtaining citizenship.

And according to a Human Rights Watch report from 2000, this is the basis the Myanmar government uses to deny Rohingya citizenship in the country.

Over the years, military crackdowns on the Rohingya have forced hundreds of thousands to escape.

According to the HRW report, Rohingya refugees reported that the Burmese army had forcibly evicted them. Many also alleged widespread army brutality, rape and murder.

Between 1991 and 1992, more than 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled to southeastern Bangladesh. But with the influx of refugees, the Bangladeshi government insisted the refugees return to Arakan (Rakhine State).

By 1997, according to the HRW report, some 230,000 refugees returned.

That same year, the Burmese government said it would not accept any more returning refugees after Aug. 15, 1997, leading to a series of disturbances in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

The Human Rights Watch has called the crisis a deadly game of “human ping-pong.”

What’s happening to the Rohingya now?

Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, continues to deny the Rohingya citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and the group still faces harsh systematic persecution.

In October 2016, the Burmese government blamed members of the Rohingya for the killings of nine border police, leading to a crackdown on Rakhine State villages in which troops were accused of rape, extrajudicial killing and other human rights abuses — all allegations they denied.

Satellite images have also shown Rohingya villages burning — at least 288 villages so far.

And most recently in August, violence erupted after a Rohingya armed rebel group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvatian Army (ARSA) attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine, Al Jazeera reported.

ARSA has reportedly killed a dozen Burmese security personnel in the past. And according to the Washington Post, it’s unclear how much support the rebel group, which seeks an autonomous Muslim state for the Rohingya, actually has among the Rohingya.

Following the August event, civilians began paying the price for ARSA’s small insurgency as Burma’s military launched a “clearance operation,” which U.N. commisioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the Washington Post reported.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape the aforementioned allegations of human rights abuses such as rape, murder and arson, according to the United Nations.

Women, children and the elderly made up the bulk of that group.

Approximately 40,000 have also settled in India and 16,000 of which have obtained official refugee documentation.

But severe flooding in Bangladesh and India have made conditions in refugee camps even worse and according to National Geographic, there have been reports of cholera outbreaks, water shortages and malnutrition.

Over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have tried to escape by boat to neighboring countries that refuse to let them in.

Approximately 8,000 migrants have been stranded at sea.

Why won’t other countries take them in?

Many of Myanmar’s neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and Thailand, refuse to take them in.

The Thai navy has actually turned them away.

Lex Rieffel, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Brookings Institution, told NPR in 2015 that the Buddhist-majority nation of Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims.

“Where will the budget come from? That money will need to come from Thai people's taxes, right?” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters in 2015.

Malaysia and Indonesia, despite being Muslim-majority nations, have also prevented Rohingya from entering their countries, citing “social unrest.” And Indonesia worries about “an uncontrolled influx.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar told The Guardian in 2015. “We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this.”

What is Aung San Suu Kyi saying?

The crisis has drawn worldwide criticism of Myanmar's government and its leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi

Most human rights activists have denounced Suu Kyi for not publicly condemning the Myanmar military’s treatment of the Rohingya.

According to the BBC, Suu Kyi said “a huge iceberg of misinformation” was distorting the crisis.

“We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection,” she is quoted as saying to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent statement. “So, we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as ... not just political but social and humanitarian defence.”

But the misinformation or “fake news” is possibly generated by the Burmese government’s decision to deny media access to its troubled areas, BBC’s Tn Htar Swe said.

"If they allowed the UN or human rights bodies to go to the place to find out what is happening then ... misinformation is not going to take place.”

Condemnation of Suu Kyi’s inaction and response have led to calls for the rescindment of her Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991 as a result of her long fight for democracy in Burma. According to the Washington Post, the Nobel Committee said that will not happen.

How is the world reacting to the Rohingya crisis?

Bangladesh, which is facing the largest influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene.

International aid to much of Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been suspended, leaving more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims without medical care, food and other vital humanitarian assistance, the Human Rights Watch reported last month.

“The United Nations, ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation need to ramp up the pressure on Burma, and provide more assistance to Bangladesh, to promptly help Rohingya and other displaced people,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy diretor for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch.

The U.S. State Department also announced plans last month to dispense about $32 million in humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya ethnic minority facing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“Through this support, the United States will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to over 400,000 displaced persons in Burma and in Bangladesh,” according to the press release.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest Muslim body, also issued a statement urging Muslim countries to work together to help the Rohingya refugees.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved an investigative mission, but was denied entry into Myanmar in June. And when an envoy entered in July, the visit was met with protests.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council condemned the violence, its first unified statement on Myanmar in nine years, the New York Times reported.

But, according to the New York Times, the U.N. is unlikely to act against Myanmar.

China also blocked Egypt’s efforts to add language for Rohingya refugees to be guaranteed the right to return to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

Both China and Russie hold veto power in the U.N. Security Council and can block efforts to sanction Myanmar.

More at NYTimes.com

Who is helping the Rohingya?

Aid groups continue efforts to reach Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and send aid to refugee camps.

The United Nations has pledged roughly $340 million and according to Mark Lowcock of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.N. and its partners are seeking $434 million to help the Rohingya Muslims through February.

According to the Indian Express, India sent an aircraft with the first shipment of humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees last month.

Bangladeshi citizens themselves are also among those providing aid and shelter to the many starving Rohingya refugees in their country.

Jordan’s queen, Queen Rania, said last week after visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh that she was shocked by the refugees’ limited access to basic support and health care, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

“It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding, largely ignored by the international community," she said. "The world response has been muted. I urge the U.N. and the international community to do more to ensure we can bring peace to this conflict.”

According to the Human Rights Watch, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team announced a military-led investigation of security forces in the Rakhine State.

“We want to go home and we want peace. But I believe the world is watching our crisis and that they are trying to help us,” Rahimol Mustafa, a 22-year-old Rohingya Muslim told Al Jazeera in an interview.

Read Mustafa’s story on AlJazeera.com   

Mustafa fled Rakhine State a few weeks ago and is currently safe at a refugee camp in Bangladesh, but with “no shelter and no future.”

Donate to help the Rohingya Muslims at donate.unhcr.org

UK restaurant leaves bags of food for homeless

A restaurant in the United Kingdom wants the homeless people in its area to be left holding the bag.

>> Read more trending news

At the end of each day, the Bosu Body Bar in Manchester leaves brown paper bags of leftover food outside its location for the homeless people in the area.

“When we close the doors for the day, we promise to leave bags outside full of tasty food,” restaurant officials said. “If you see anyone on the streets of Manchester or Didsbury who look hungry, let them know where they can find a meal in a bag.”

The bar now plans to expand its project by teaming up with local charities in Manchester to distribute the food each night.

They are also encouraging customers to fill a small bag with winter clothes they no longer need and drop it off at one of their restaurants

Easybeats songwriter, AC/DC producer George Young dead at 70

George Young, an Australian songwriter who co-wrote the 1965 hit “Friday on My Mind” for the Easybeats and later was a producer for AC/DC, has died, The Guardian reported. He was 70.

>> Read more trending news

Young’s death was reported on Facebook by the music publishing company Alberts, which has both the Easybeats and AC/DC in its musical catalog.

Young was the brother of AC/DC’s Angus and Malcolm Young. 

With the Easybeats, he and fellow band member Harry Vanda produced songs like “Yesterday’s Hero” and “Love Is in the Air” for John Paul Young and “Evie” for Stevie Wright.

George Young played bass with his younger brothers during the early years of AC/DC, and then produced several of the band’s more successful releases, including “High Voltage,” “T.N.T.,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Let There Be Rock,” and “Powerage,” The Guardian reported.

“Without his help and guidance, there would not have been an AC/DC,” the band wrote on its website. “As a musician, songwriter, producer, adviser and much, much more, you could not ask for a more dedicated and professional man.”

Young was born in Scotland in 1946 and migrated to Australia with his family as a teenager, The Guardian reported. The Easybeats formed after Young met Vanda in Sydney.

The Easybeats broke up in 1969. Young and Vanda were inducted into the inaugural Aria hall of fame in 1988; the Easybeats were inducted in 2005.

A-ha's stripped down version of ‘Take On Me’ is hauntingly beautiful

“Take On Me” by A-ha is one of the 1980s’ most remembered songs, not only for its fast-paced beat but also because of that iconic video, which featured a pencil-sketch animation theme (called rotoscoping) and live action featuring lead singer Morten Harket and his then-girlfriend, actress Bunty Bailey.

>> Read more trending news

It reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in October 1985 and won six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

But take away the fast tempo and the synthesizers and that catchy riff and what do you get? A stripped-down, acoustic version of the hit that the Norwegian-based group played earlier this month on an “MTV Unplugged” show at Giske Harbour Hall in Norway.

On “MTV Unplugged,” the song is slow and performed in a style vaguely reminiscent of the 1960s rock ’n’ roll band Vanilla Fudge, which took fast-paced songs and sang them at an excruciatingly slow tempo. The Ah-ha acoustic version is less psychedelic and is sung quietly -- almost reverently.

Many purists will prefer the version that bubbled through the radio and television during the 1980s, but the new arrangement is certainly haunting.

‘Game of Thrones’ actor Peter Dinklage, wife Erica Schmidt celebrate birth of 2nd child

“Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage and his wife, Erica Schmidt, welcomed their second child, Us Weekly reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news

It is the second child for the couple. Their daughter was born in 2011, Us Weekly reported.

The couple did not publicly confirm the second pregnancy, but Us Weekly confirmed they were spotted with their newborn at a concert in September.

Dinkage plays the part of Tyrion Lannister on “Game of Thrones,” which ended its seventh season in August.

Australia receives ‘unprecedented’ letter from North Korea

In an unusual step, North Korea has sent an open letter addressed to parliaments in several countries, declaring itself a “full-fledged nuclear power” and accusing President Donald Trump of “trying to drive the world into a horrible nuclear disaster,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called the letter, dated Sept. 28, “unprecedented” and posted a copy of the cover letter on her verified Facebook page.

Her office confirmed to CNN that the letter, which was published by The Sydney Morning Herald, was genuine.

The letter appears to have been distributed a week after Trump’s address to the United Nations Security Council, after the president said that if the United States was forced to defend itself or its allies, it would have no choice “but to totally destroy North Korea.”

In the letter, North Korea condemned Trump’s statement and reiterated that it was tantamount to a declaration of war, CNN reported.

In the letter, North Korea condemned that statement as tantamount to a declaration of war, something North Korean officials said shortly after the speech. The United States denied that Trump had declared war on North Korea, which is also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

“If Trump thinks that he would bring the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), a nuclear power, to its knees through nuclear war threat, it will be a big miscalculation and an expression of ignorance,” the letter said, according to CNN.

"I see (the letter) it as evidence that the collective strategy of imposing maximum diplomatic and economic pressure through sanctions on North Korea is working," Bishop said.

National anthem protests: Jaguars apologize for 'not comprehending effect' of demonstration

The president of the Jacksonville Jaguars sent a letter this month to city officials, apologizing for the team’s kneeling during the national anthem during their Sept. 24 game in London. 

>> Read more trending news

The letter, dated Oct. 6, said the team was "remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration on foreign soil has on the men and women who continue to serve our country." 

Written by Mark Lamping and addressed to Bill Spann, the director of military affairs for Jacksonville, the letter goes on to say, "Today, we can understand how the events in London could have been viewed or misinterpreted. We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it."

>> Read the letter the Jaguars sent to the city of Jacksonville

Before their game against the Baltimore Ravens last month, about a dozen Jaguars players kneeled during the national anthem. The move came days after President Donald Trump suggested that players who knelt during the national anthem should be cut from the team.

Some Jaguars fans were angered over the move, with one fan man destroying his Jaguars gear and another flying a plane above EverBank Field asking fans to boycott the Jaguars and the NFL. 

The Jaguars, 3-3 on the season, have a game at division rival Indianapolis on Sunday. Their next home game is Nov. 5 vs. Cincinnati.

Prince William, Kate Middleton expect 3rd child in spring

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday announced that the couple is expecting their third child in April.

>> Read more trending news

Kensington Palace officials shared the announcement in a post on Twitter.

The duke and duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, announced last month that they were expecting. The couple has two children, 4-year-old Prince George and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte.

Kensington Palace officials said in a statement that Queen Elizabeth and other family members were "delighted with the news."

The duchess, 35, suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness, during her first two pregnancies, and Kensington Palace officials said last month that she was again dealing with the illness through her third pregnancy.

Hyperemesis gravidarum affects about one in every 200 pregnancies, BBC News reported. Symptoms include severe and constant nausea, dehydration and reduced appetite, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Taliban hostage rescued after 5 years in captivity didn't believe Trump was president

A Canadian man who had been held in Afghanistan for five years by Taliban-tied kidnappers revealed that he thought his kidnapper was joking when he said Donald Trump was president of the United States.

Joshua Boyle said one of his captors told him Trump was president just before he was forced to film a “proof-of-life” video, according to the Toronto Star.

>> Read more trending news

“It didn’t enter my mind that he was being serious,” Boyle said.

The Boyle family, including Joshua, his American-born wife, Caitlan Coleman, and their three young children, who were all born in captivity, were rescued by Pakistani forces after U.S. intelligence informed them of the of the family’s location.

The family was in the trunk of a car being transferred to another location when their kidnappers engaged in a shootout with Pakistani forces. Some of their kidnappers died in the fight while others fled, but the entire family made it to safety.

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