News in Brief: New Texas Bill Will Force Women to Take Sonogram Before Abortion, and More …

New Texas Bill Will Force Women to Take Sonogram Before Abortion

Women seeking an abortion in Texas will be forced to first get a sonogram, mandates a new bill passed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry. The legislation, signed into law by Perry this week, was designated on the emergency legislative track and was given priority above other legislation. Under the new law, reported The Huffington Post, women will have to wait 24 hours after a sonogram, which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the fetus, before having an abortion. Women will also be offered the option of hearing the heartbeat and seeing a sonogram image, which they may decline. Texas is one of several states that have proposed restrictive abortion measures in the past year.

IMF Has Culture of Harassment, Say Police Reports

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, awaiting trial on charges of sexual assault, may not be the exception to the rule at the IMF. According to a 2008 internal review obtained by The New York Times, the IMF has a reputation for sexually aggressive scandals between supervisors and the people, often women, who are their subordinates. Another internal document obtained by The New York Times said: “Intimate personal relationships between supervisors and subordinates do not, in themselves, constitute harassment.” IMF officials declined to investigate charges in 2007 that a supervisor had pressured an administrative assistant into sleeping with him because the supervisor was close to retirement, and in 2009, officials took no action after a woman employee said she was receiving sexually aggressive emails.

Qaddafi Pitches Peace Plan

A spokesman for the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has said that if NATO drops its intensifying bombing campaign, Qaddafi will pull Libya's troops from cities where they are laying seige to rebel forces. Though Qaddafi has put forward cease-fire promises in the past, American political leaders think this one may hold more water. “The pressure on the Qaddafi regime has increased,” Hillary Clinton said Thursday, just days after Qaddafi's wife and daughter fled the country and NATO crippled the capital's seaport with airstrikes, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Spain Bans Protests Ahead of Elections

As tens of thousands continued to protest austerity and youth unemployment in Spain by camping out in Madrid and dozens of other Spanish cities, the country's electoral authorities are ordering the government to dissolve the protests ahead of upcoming elections. According to the committee, the protests contravene the part of Spain's election law which bans campaigning the day before a vote; municipal and regional government elections are scheduled for Saturday. Unemployment in Spain is at 21 percent, reported The Guardian UK.

Torture Widespread in Syrian Prisons

A campaign of mass arrests to clamp down on protests in Syria has seen at least 8,000 people thrown into jail, where they are being tortured, though a leading Syrian human rights organization puts the number of detainees as high as 11,000. This figure is nearly triple the number of people the Syrian Human Rights Committee estimated were being confined in 2006, reported Global Post.

Housing Boom for India's Middle Class Drives Poor From Villages

Land disputes in India have led to some deaths and injuries when authorities tried to remove people from land that had been newly slated for development, reported The Independent UK. The pace of industrialization coupled with private developers increasing push to develop property for a growing upper middle class on agricultural lands. Farmers have complained that they are forced to sell their land for a modest sum to the government, which then sells it for ten or 15 times the original amount to private developers.