Karzai backing for rape law splits donors
Jeremy Page; 18/8/09
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has approved a law that critics say condones marital rape, opening a rift among the country’s international backers as they debate how to respond without disrupting Thursday’s presidential election. The split emerged when donor countries met to discuss the new law after learning it had come into effect last month despite the condemnation of a draft of the legislation by Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Canada and several European countries want to make a public protest against the new Shia Personal Status Law, which permits Shia men to refuse to give food to their wives if they do not have sex with them. But the US and Britain are opposed to any strong public protest because they fear speaking out could disrupt Thursday’s election, according to two sources familiar with the donors’ meeting.
Woman admits torching wedding
The former wife of the groom at a Kuwait wedding party that turned into tragedy when a fierce fire engulfed a tent, killing 43 women and children, has confessed to starting the blaze, local newspapers reported yesterday. The Al-Qabas newspaper said the 23-year-old woman had told police she used petrol to torch the packed wedding tent to avenge her former husband’s “bad treatment” of her before their divorce. Kuwaiti Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Saber said the fire was a criminal act committed by a perpetrator motivated by personal reasons. Colonel Saber said the woman had confessed but did not elaborate. The Saturday night tragedy in the tribal area of al-Jahra, west of Kuwait City, was the deadliest civilian disaster in the modern history of the Gulf state.