Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Iran’s Government Must End the Violence and Allow Peaceful Protest

By Center for Human Rights in Iran

The Iranian government and state security forces should immediately end their violent crackdown on the nationwide protests that have so far led to the deaths of at least 21 people, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement yesterday.

The government must respect the Iranian people’s right to freedom of assembly and expression guaranteed under the Iranian Constitution and honor its responsibility to protect any and all of its citizens who are exercising those rights, CHRI said.

On January 2, 2018, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the current unrest in Iran on foreign “enemies.”

“The people of Iran who are peacefully protesting are not the ‘enemy.’ Khamenei’s dismissal of the unrest as the work of ‘foreign enemies’ is a boilerplate response that ignores legitimate domestic grievances,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI’s executive director.

“The rapid spread of the unrest shows just how combustible conditions have become,” added Ghaemi, “and the potential for further bloodshed is extremely worrisome.”

Since the start of the protests in the city of Mashhad on December 28, 2017, the unrest has quickly spread throughout the country. The security forces have responded with increasingly deadly violence and on January 1, 2018, Iran’s deputy interior minister for security affairs, Hossein Zolfaghari, said 400 protestors had been arrested in Tehran alone. “Ninety percent of detainees are under the age of 25 and the majority do not have any previous judicial or arrest records,” he added.

CHRI is greatly concerned about the conditions of hundreds of protestors detained throughout the country and calls for their immediate release. Iranian security forces have a longstanding history of subjecting political detainees to torture and ill-treatment.

Economic grievances, political repression and corruption are propelling an entirely new generation of protestors onto the streets, but there have been rumblings of discontent and labor protests building for many months.

“Rouhani talks of the people’s right to protest, but for years has refused to permit students, women, workers and others to voice their demands,” said Ghaemi. “It is under Rouhani’s authority to issue these permits and it is clear that patience with empty rhetoric is running out.”

CHRI urges the international community to forcefully call upon the Iranian government to guarantee the security of the protestors and their right to peaceful protest.

Veterans Learn Digital Photography Fundamentals With Wounded Warrior Project

By Wounded Warrior Project

London, OH - January 3, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Before digital photography, people had to wait forever for their photos to come back from the lab, if they came back at all. But injured veterans recently learned how to be the artist, editor, photo lab, and publisher, as they discovered the liberating creativity of digital photography.

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and the Thomas Media Group recently hosted a two-day program, empowering warriors to understand the advantages of digital photography and feel the power of connecting with art to help cope with the physical and mental wounds of war.

"During our second day of Project Snap class, we walked around downtown and took photos, applying what we learned about camera functions, lighting, and composing," said Angela Ross, wife of Army veteran Albert Ross. "I love taking photos, and now I have the knowledge to hone my skills."

"Our instructor gave us each a word and asked us to take photos to show our visual interpretation of the word," said Army veteran Stacey Wells. "My word was freedom."

A highlight of Project Snap for Marine Corps veteran Lindsay Linkes was connecting with other veterans. "It was interesting to see how each person viewed the outside world — capturing little moments in time through photography to tell a story. The class definitely helped me become a better photographer." Lindsay plans on using her new skills to document work projects for the custom hotrod and motorcycle business she and her husband own.

WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to experience firsthand what is possible at social gatherings that get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.

"Wounded Warrior Project gives veterans the tools and resources they need to re-enter the civilian world," Lindsay said. "We have opportunities to engage with other veterans who share similar interests, but come from different branches of the military and all different walks of life."

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Help Raise Awareness for Clinical Trials

by Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Washington, D.C. - January 3, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- January is National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month. Thanks to the community’s participation last year, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) provided over 2,200 clinical trials searches in January – giving valuable treatment information to patients and their families. Please join us again to Demand Better. For Patients. For Survival.

Pancreatic cancer patients who participate in clinical research have better outcomes, and every treatment available today was approved through a clinical trial. This is why PanCAN strongly recommends clinical trials at diagnosis and during every treatment decision.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

Pres. Donald Trump Named Operation Rescue’s 2017 Pro-Life Person of the Year

By Operation Rescue

Washington, D.C. - January 3, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Operation Rescue is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2017 Pro-Life Person of the Year Malachi Award is Pres. Donald J. Trump.

The Malachi Award is given by Operation Rescue every year to recognize individuals who sacrificially work to advance the cause of protecting the pre-born.

“Operation Rescue is grateful Pres. Trump for having the courage to keep promises made during the campaign that provide greater protections for the pre-born and deny Federal funds from those who commit abortions,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “He has proven to be the most pro-life president we have had in modern history and has backed up his pro-life rhetoric with action like no other before him.”

Since Trump took office, he has accomplished more for the pro-life agenda than any other president.

• Trump appointed conservative, pro-life Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S, Supreme Court.
• He has effectively denied public money to those who commit and promote abortions around the world.
• The Trump Administration Department of Justice has launched a formal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s illegal baby parts trafficking scheme.
• He has actively supported pro-life legislation, such as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is currently held up in the U.S. Senate.
• He supports legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the U.S., and removed an Obama-era mandate that forced states to continue funding Planned Parenthood.
• He has worked to fill his administration with pro-life people and put them in places where they can do the most good.
• Trump’s administration has taken active steps within the Health and Human Services and other agencies to establish pro-life policies that protect the pre-born.
• He has provided protections for those of religious and moral convictions from paying for abortifacient drugs through Obamacare, and continues to work to repeal and replace it.

“We are proud of President Trump and his bold willingness to advance the cause of life. There are more battles ahead, but under the Trump administration, we can now finally see progress within our government toward restoring the sanctity of life and the protections of personhood to the pre-born,” said Newman. “This makes Pres. Trump a deserving recipient of the 2017 Pro-Life Person of the Year Malachi Award.”

See more headlines at The Ponder News Web Site