Forced to accept abortions. Wisconsin’s attorney general is trying to force three Catholic hospitals in the state to grant admitting privileges to abortionists, something hospital officials say they cannot do under the tenets of their faith. Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law earlier this year that required abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Any abortionists that can’t get those privileges would be forced to close their facilities. According to a court brief filed by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen last week, U.S. law “provides that hospitals accepting federal funds may not discriminate against a physician because that physician has participated in or refused to participate in abortions.” But the question of admitting privileges is irrelevant, at least for now. Last week, a district judge put the law on hold until November, claiming it would cause “irreparable harm” to women by closing abortion centers. The state has appealed that decision.
Appeal for clemency. The family of a Christian missionary imprisoned in North Korea since November is speaking out for the first time since his arrest, pleading for his release. Kenneth Bae, 70, has diabetes and is suffering under the requirements of his sentence, his family said. North Korean officials sentenced Bae to 15 years of hard labor—working on a state-run farm—for plotting to overthrow the government. Analysts have speculated he was arrested purely for political reasons, giving the North Korean government a bargaining chip in dealings with the United States. Bae was born in South Korea but immigrated to the United States in 1985. He is the sixth American detained in the North since 2009. The government released others after high-profile appeals for clemency from prominent Americans, including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Acid attack. Attackers in Tanzania threw acid yesterday on two British teens volunteering at a Catholic primary school in the country. British officials have not released details about how badly the women were injured, although their families say they have burns on their faces, chests, and arms. Both women had recent run-ins with locals, including an argument with a shopkeeper. One of the women, who are both 18, also caused a stir for singing in public during Ramadan. A friend described both women as Jewish.
Snub via telegram. One day after President Barack Obama canceled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in part because of the country’s offer of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the Russian leader is engaging in some tit-for-tat. Putin sent a telegram on Wednesday to former U.S. President George W. Bush, wishing him a speedy recovery from his recent heart surgery. The telegram underscores the relationship Putin had with Bush and the lack of a similar connection between the two current leaders. Although the timing of the telegram could be coincidental, analysts say Russian politicians rarely leave anything to chance.