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Death Penalty Voided for 13 on Alabama’s Death Row
On March 1 the US Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that executing
juveniles was unconstitutionally cruel and that the death penalty must
be reserved for the worst offenders, a category that cannot include
people who have not reached adulthood. The ruling established the age
of 18 as the point where society draws the line between childhood and
adulthood. Thirteen inmates on Alabama’s Death Row who committed crimes
when they were under 18 will have their death sentence commuted to life
Poll Finds Americans Ready for Woman President
The White House Project by Roper ASW found that 76% of Americans
surveyed were comfortable with the idea of a woman as president and 82%
comfortable with the idea of a woman vice president. At least 38 women
have run for president. The first female candidate was Victoria Chaflin
Woodhull, who campaigned for the office in 1872 and 1892, decades
before women received the right to vote.
Birmingham Council Supports Voting Rights Restoration
On March 1 the Birmingham City Council voted to support the proposed
Alabama Restoration of Voting Rights Act, which would automatically
restore voting rights to people who have been convicted of felonies
when they are released from prison. The bill was introduced to the
State Legislature by Representative Alvin Holmes and is currently
pending committee action.
Latrines Bring Equality to Ethiopia
A Carter Center program to fight disease by promoting latrines was
unexpectedly successful in Ethiopia. The center hoped for 10,000 new
latrines, but villagers built more than 90,000 last year. Use of
latrines helps fight trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable
blindness. Latrines reduce the amount of human waste in the open,
taking away breeding grounds for flies that transmit the disease. Women
recognized another, more immediate, advantage to building latrines.
Ethiopian tradition allows men to defecate in the open during the day.
Women, however, are expected to wait until dark so that no one will
see. One woman told a center representative, “With the latrine, we are
equal with the men.” Having a latrine has become a status symbol in