Month: August 2018

7 Ways your first love is still affecting you now

We all remember the firsts in our lives. Our first day of school, our first day in college, and our first day at work — but out of all the firsts what really sticks in our head is our first love.​

But why is first love such a big deal after all?

 

According to Art Aron, the Psychology professor at the State University of New York, “Our first experience of something is going to be well remembered, more than later experiences. Presumably, there’d be more arousal and excitement, especially if it’s somewhat scary. And falling in love is somewhat scary — you’re afraid you’ll be rejected, you’re afraid you won’t live up to their expectations, afraid they won’t live up to yours. Anxiety is a big part of falling in love, especially the first time.”

First love experience is also magnified in our brain because our brain and bodies are flushed with all the chemicals and love hormones for the first time and the novelty of the experience sticks in our head.

“I think from a biochemical point of view, you are experiencing certain hormones you haven’t felt before. It’s like going through puberty; it’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s intellectual. It can even be spiritual for some people,” explains dating expert and psychologist Melanie Schilling.

Our first love relationship is also “formative” because it becomes a blueprint for how we define love. It becomes a sort of template against which all our successive relationships are measured.


Whether we get to spend the rest of our lives with our first love or not, these are the beautiful gems of wisdom we can take away from our first love experience:

1. It shows us what it feels like to deeply connect with someone.

Our first love experience shows us what it feels like to deeply connect with someone and what emotional support and intimacy feel like. Regardless of how the relationship ends, it gives us a chance to experience the entire spectrum of all the beautiful emotions that love entails.

2. We learn how to put others before ourselves.

Our first love teaches us to look beyond ourselves and extend ourselves for another. It teaches us what it feels like to love someone unconditionally. It teaches us how to put our ego aside and grow together. These are invaluable lessons that help us in any successive relationships that we form in life.

3. We learn how to communicate and work out our problems.

Our first love is the learning ground where we navigate how to communicate and work out our problems. We get to learn what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. It teaches us how to create a safe and loving space for healthy communication.

4. We realize what we want in a relationship and what our deal breakers are.

Our first relationship helps us to explore ourselves and increases our self-awareness. It helps us to discover our liking and preferences. It makes us realize what we want and value in a relationship and what our absolute deal breakers are. All these learning help us to choose our partners wisely next time.

5. It inspires us to be a better person.

First love has the intensity and a childlike innocence. The sheer magic of first love and companionship makes us want to believe in the goodness of the world. We want to become a better person and give back that love many folds.

6. We understand the difference between infatuation and mature love.

Our first love experience teaches us to differentiate between infatuation and mature love. We realize that love doesn’t mean spending every waking minute together or being co-dependent. It teaches us that the butterflies in the stomach fade away and real love requires work. We learn to embrace honesty, vulnerability, acceptance, companionship and working as a team. We learn that mature love is when two people come together and support each other to become their highest possible version without losing their individuality in the process.

7. We realize we can survive heartache and love again.

There is no denying the fact that the heartbreak after our first love relationship is excruciatingly painful. But we learn to survive the heartache and move on. It teaches us that if we can open up our hearts to love once, we can do it again and wisely next time around.

 

Eclipse of the heart

“Prepare for my mid-semester exams.”

It covers everything we have done. My duty is to give you the big picture so that young intellectuals like you will search for the rest.

 

I can’t give you everything here. We shall meet again on Monday.

Have a fruitful weekend.”

Those were the words of my Political Thought II lecturer, Mr Henry Yartey.

It was a hectic day; everyone in the lecture hall looked tired and the anxiety to leave the lecture hall was running apace.


As we made our steps out of the hall, the sound of the raindrops on the roof of the building could wake up a dead body.

Trust me; it was louder than the snoring of an old soldier from Anomabu.

It rained so heavily that no one dared to walk out of the building.

We were all stuck in the Central Classroom Block of KNUST and our dream of getting back to our hostels and halls came to naught.

I decided to walk to the entrance to check if the rain was stopping but it wasn’t.

As I stood there with my hands folded on my chest, she came to stand right beside me.

Did I hear you say who? Well, a pretty lady I had targeted since first year but never had the courage to approach her.

At that moment I told myself: ‘Felix there will be no other sterling opportunity to interact with this angelic damsel than today, so be bold and talk to her.’

As I made an attempt to approach her, I could feel my heart beat in my foot, my blood pressure if checked at that moment would have proven that I was living close to the margin of death.

But do I have to let this opportunity go away? No! I had been walking alone ever since I came to KNUST.

The only friends I had were those old friends from senior high school, and I went to a boys school, Presec-Legon.

So do the math.

Do I have to be walking alone always? Don’t I need a female friend?’ These and many other questions started racing in my head.

I started rehearsing what to tell her if I got to her.

I started poaching fleeting looks at her just to attract her attention.

Finally, I mastered the courage of Yaa Asantewaa. As I walk towards her, my legs started shaking, my bollocks shrunk and almost vanished but I never gave up.

‘Hello! My name is Ntenhene Felix. I fumbled and the Felix sounded like “Ferish”. I had to speak in tongues to regain my mind. Lordina was her name.

“Felix, how may I help you”? She asked me and I responded: “Oh nothing.”

Everything I had rehearsed vanished.

On opening my mouth, the only words that could come were: “Lordina, don’t you think it will be appropriate if the government of Ghana provides university students with umbrellas?”

She stared at me in an unusual way, which made me know that indeed I had asked a very silly question.
Like Kalybos would say,’ “me di nkwasia s3m”. I was totally off track.

The conversation proceeded and I kept asking silly questions and giving silly answers.

At the end we got to know each other and we exchanged contacts.

I got to know that she was my course mate and resided in Queens Hall.

As the conversation got deeper, a shuttle arrived and students started boarding it because the rain never showed any sign of stopping.

She requested that I should board the shuttle with her since I was also going to Republic Hall which was just a stone’s thrown from her hall.

I declined the request with the reason that I wanted to walk as a way of exercising my body but in reality, I had no pesewa in my pocket.

She insisted and I reluctantly agreed and boarded the shuttle.

As I sat in the car I almost felt I was travelling from Cape Three Points to Kulungugu – a journey between the Southern and Northern part of Ghana, how to handle the embarrassment should the driver ask me for my fare was what I was thinking about.

A few metres away from where I had to alight, I started searching through my pockets pretending I was about to pay for the fare.

After a thorough search, I just shouted “essssh my money is missing.”

Everyone in the shuttle turned to look at me. Lordina asked me “Felix, how much?” and I responded “oooh is actually a hundred dollar note.”

I told her not to worry and in a very kind way she paid for my fare.

I alighted at Republic Hall and as I walked to the entrance, I felt as if I was surrounded by 10 dwarfs.

In the morning, I received my first call from Lordina who said she just wanted to check up on me and would want me to assist her in studies.

I had to impress Lordina and so before we went to the library, I read through all my notes.

I was eager to show Lordina my mental prowess.

Memorisation of terms and formulas was the order of the day. As we were studying, she suddenly paused and asked me: “Felix what is the meaning of Rights to Euthanasia.”

I looked at her in dismay and said “Your honour, what is wrong with this girl?” I couldn’t even pronounce the word, to think about the meaning.

So I told her: “I don’t know please,” and she never asked me a question again till we closed from the library, not even a single question relating to the things I memorised.
I never gave up but continued to study with her. I almost felt like I was the best friend in the world. Within a space of time our friendship blossomed and we fell in love with each other. I always wanted to propose to her but inferiority complex was my greatest obstacle.
I decided to rather resort to expressing my love through actions instead of words. I began to flood her with precious gifts. I spent all my money on buying her pizza, ‘shawama’ and took her to lavish restaurants almost every weekend at a time when I couldn’t afford fish anytime I bought kenkey. I sometimes bought her expensive fruit juice and went to bed on an empty stomach.

It was a windy Saturday evening. We went to the library to study for our end of semester exams. As we were studying, dumsor visited us in a grand style.

The librarian ordered that we left the library because there was no assurance on the visiting hours of dumsor.

We were both unwilling to leave and sat in the dark at a very far end.

I turned and our eyes met; it was eye ball to eye ball. Our emotions hoisted and I held her hand. I became very emotional and unconsciously told her:
“Lordina I am in love with you” and in a very soft voice she replied, “Felix I love you too but hmmm…..the truth is that I am a mother of two children.”

My breath quickly dropped and my mind went shut.

So I asked her, “Pardon?” pretending I did not hear what she said.

You mean you are a ‘born two’?

I became frozen in my chair. The librarian told us to leave.

As I walk down the stairs, I missed almost every staircase.

We didn’t talk to each other till we departed at the Royal Parade Grounds.

I went to my room quietly; no amount of jokes could make me smile.

I couldn’t make it to church the following day and as I walked to my bed, I began to think about how to pay the GH¢1000 I borrowed from a friend to spend on Lordina.

The school fees I sacrificed to buy her an iPhone at a time when I was using a ‘Techiman Yam’ phone, I mean Nokia 3310N.

The more I thought about it the more I wanted the world to come to an abrupt end.

Do I have to let her go? Or it doesn’t matter if she had two kids already…these and many other questions bogged me down.

Durex recalls condoms over durability issues

British condom-manufacturer Durex has announced a recall of its products from shelves in Germany and Singapore over concerns they do not meet the required standards for protection.

In Germany, the recall of certain latex-free condoms was posted on the company’s website a week ago along with similar recalls in Britain and elsewhere.

If customers have experienced the condom failure the company refers them to the advice on the packaging to “seek doctor or pharmacist assistance as soon as possible.”

Durex says customers can send back unused condoms or return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund.

Information on identifying possibly defective condoms can be found on the Durex websites in Britain or Germany.

In Singapore, the company issued a recall for three batches of its Real Feel condoms here, after these condoms failed to pass its shelf-life durability tests.


The recall was initiated last Wednesday (Aug 1), said Durex in a statement on its Singapore website.

“Our internal testing has shown that a limited number of non-latex Real Feel condoms may not meet the international ISO standard throughout their shelf life,” said Durex.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you.”

The Real Feel condoms made earlier this year, with the batch numbers 1000433144, 1000438055, and 1000422259, are affected. The batch numbers can be found on the bottom of the packs or on the foil wrapping of individual condoms.

Durex said that there was no immediate safety concern for consumers and that those who used condoms from the affected batches have “no reason to be worried”.

How to help an introverted partner thrive in your relationship

After a long, stressful day at work, you’re ready for some quality time with your significant other. What you do doesn’t matter; you just want to be around someone who loves and understands you. And then, your partner walks in the door, visibly exasperated from an equally high-stress day at the office — and desperate for some time alone. What just happened?

It’s natural for emotional wires to get crossed in an extrovert-introvert relationship. Both parties have important, albeit different needs: One of you feels most comfortable around people, and the other craves time alone. When these needs aren’t consistently being met, both of you might begin to feel resentful, frustrated, or straight-up misunderstood. And as the one who longs for time together, you may not know what to do.

 

A successful extrovert-introvert relationship starts with understanding. When you know and accept what your significant other needs, you can make adjustments to your expectations and create space for them to feel like themselves — which you’ll both benefit from. Curious about what steps to take? Here are a few thoughtful ways to ensure your introverted partner flourishes in a relationship with you.

Give your partner designated, planned time away.

When life gets busy, a lack of free time can feel like an emotional pile-on for an introvert. Understandably, it can be hard to watch your introverted partner shut themselves in the bedroom alone when you’re hungry for QT and conversation. But the truth is, giving your significant other a chance to invest in things they’re passionate about — or simply room to breathe — will help them recharge, resulting in a deeper long-term connection between the two of you. To make your introverted S.O. feel extra loved, pencil in routine solo time for them on the calendar.

Give them space during conflicts.


While you might be more prone to hash things out in the heat of the moment, introverts typically need more time to identify their feelings and process what’s happening beneath the surface before they can communicate effectively. Next time a conflict arises, take a deep breath and offer your partner a chance to step away if they aren’t ready to communicate about the issue at hand. Not only will your significant other have a much-needed chance to think through their feelings, but this space will also give you the opportunity to cool off, which means that a smoother, more productive conversation is much more likely.

Do things by yourself when you don’t need a plus one. 

As an extrovert, it’s easy to unleash unspoken expectations on an introverted partner, who may not always speak up about their own wants or needs. To maximize your connection — and show that you’re paying attention — think through parts of your routine that might be exhausting for your significant other. Do you mindlessly expect your partner to tag along to your after-work happy hoursor group fitness classeswhen you’d be perfectly fine alone? Or do you always plan tons of errands at busy stores on the weekend? Next time you plot an adventure or schedule an event, think about the emotional and social demand on your partner, and plan accordingly.

Alternate date night planning.

It may seem obvious, but to make sure your introverted partner has an equal stake in the relationship, give them plenty of opportunities to plan your dates or other activities you do together. Of course, the primary benefit is to give your partner a break from the social-focused dates you might choose. But putting your partner at the helm of date-night planning has other perks. You might be surprised what your introverted S.O. will come up with — and you’ll probably learn or experience something new about them (and yourself) along the way.

Ask what they need.

Personality isn’t always black and white; it’s a spectrum. That means not allintrovertshave the same needs. The best way — the only way — to figure out how to adapt to your S.O.’s needs is to ask questions. How much space would they benefit from, and when? What kinds of social situations are stressful for them, and which ones are fun? Once you’re on the same page about expectations, you can mold your relationship appropriately.

Don’t take things personally.

The biggest favor you can do for your introverted loved one is to assume the best about their intentions. If your S.O. doesn’t always jump at the chance for some one-on-one time with you, remember that it might have nothing to do with how much they love or value you. As long as you’re both communicating openly, you’ll continue to grow together so your relationship can thrive.

Habits that are making you lose muscle, not fat

You know the routine: losing weight means chowing down on fewer calories than you’re burning. But if you’re not smart about it, even the best-intentioned plans can backfire.

That’s because dropping pounds always means shedding a mix of both fat and muscle. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, having less of it slows down your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds, says Albert Matheny, C.S.C.S., R.D., founder of the Soho Strength Lab.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimise muscle loss. To keep your body’s calorie-burning machine revved, steer clear of these six habits that make you more likely to lose muscle.

1. YOU’VE CUT TOO MANY CALORIES

Eating fewer calories than it takes to maintain your basal metabolism (i.e. the minimum energy your body needs at rest for things like breathing and keeping your organs going) puts your body into starvation mode, where it burns both fat and muscle for fuel.

‘Your body’s main goal is to keep you alive, so it’s going to make sure that you have enough energy for basic functions,’ says Matheny.


‘When you’re not taking in enough calories, your body takes from stored carbs (glycogen), stored fat, and protein from muscle,’ explains Nick Clayton, C.S.C.S., the personal training program manager for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Exactly how many calories is too few depends on your current weight, although no one should dip below 1,000 calories.

The solution: To maximise fat loss and minimise muscle loss, Clayton recommends a deficit of between 500 to 1,000 calories from your current daily intake, with about half coming from calories you’ve cut and half from exercise.

2. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN

Weight loss isn’t just about how much you eat – it’s about what you put in your mouth, too. A 2016 study found that when people went on a low-calorie diet for four weeks, those who ate more protein (2.4 vs. 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) lost 27 percent more fat (10.6 vs. 7.6 pounds) and gained eight times as much lean muscle mass (2.6 vs. 0.22 pounds).

That’s because the complete protein found in foods like eggs, poultry, dairy, and meats offers all nine of the essential amino acids your body uses to build and maintain muscle. ‘If you’re not getting enough protein, you’re not giving your body the building blocks to build muscle efficiently. If you’re losing weight, you’ll lose even more muscle,’ says Matheny.

The solution: For dieters, Clayton suggests 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 0.7 grams per pound). If you weigh 120 pounds, you’d aim for 80 to 90 grams of protein daily – that’s about one-third of your total daily calories, or 25 grams of protein per meal plus a protein-rich snack.

3. YOU’RE NOT LIFTING WEIGHTS

To maintain muscle, your body needs a push. ‘When you’re not stimulating your muscle, your body won’t build it,’ says Matheny. ‘If you’re on a really low-calorie diet and not resistance training, you definitely won’t add muscle, and you may lose some.’

Indeed, one small 2014 study found that when obese people went on a diet, those who resistance trained lost about the same amount of weight overall as those who weren’t lifting – and they lost half as much muscle (0.9 vs. 2 kg).

In fact, lifting weights might actually be a better long-term fat-blaster than cardio: a 2015 Harvard study of more than 10,500 people found that over 12 years, people who weight trained lost about twice as much belly fat (0.33 cm vs. 0.67 waist circumference) as those who just did cardio.

The solution: To see benefits, Clayton suggests fitting in one to two intense weight-lifting sessions per week incorporating mostly full-body moves like squats, lunges, and pushups. Use as much weight as you can handle and work to exhaustion for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each.

4. YOU’RE NOT REFUELLING POST-WORKOUT

Refuelling right after you work out is as important as the weights you lift. ‘If you’re not eating after workouts, there’s a higher chance you won’t recover. And if you’re not repairing the muscle you broke down, you’ll lose it,’ says Matheny. The longer you wait to munch, the less efficient and effective that repair process will be.

The solution: Matheny says if you’ve worked out moderately for at least 45 minutes, you should down about 20 grams of high-quality protein, like a protein shake or Greek yoghurt, within 15 to 30 minutes

5. YOU’RE DOING TOO MUCH CARDIO

You might think that sweating it out on the cross trainer for an hour every day is the way to churn through calories and body fat when you’re dieting, right? Wrong. Unlike weight lifting, which engages all of your muscle fibres, cardio doesn’t build muscle. In fact, it can burn it.

Although your body uses mostly stored fat to fuel low-intensity cardio like an hour of walking, if you’re on a calorie deficit and jog for 45 minutes your body taps into muscle for fuel. ‘Moderate-intensity exercise is most likely to lead to muscle wasting,’ says Clayton. A good sign that’s happening is when, a couple of sessions in, you can’t make it the full distance at the same intensity, says Matheny.

The solution: To avoid muscle loss, schedule low-intensity cardio, like walks, three to four days per week, suggests Clayton. Then, one to two times per week, blast through four minutes of high-intensity cardio intervals (alternating 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest). ‘It shocks your system and has a ton of health benefits, including protecting your muscle,’ says Clayton.

6. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

To shed pounds efficiently, your body needs enough rest. ‘If you’re not sleeping, your hormones aren’t functioning properly. You’ll have high cortisol levels, which increases the chance that you’ll store carbs as fat,’ says Matheny. What’s more, because you’re tired you won’t be able to work out as hard. That means you won’t build as much muscle and over time may even lose the bit you’ve got.

The solution: Don’t skimp on hitting the sack. Try to schedule in seven to nine hours every night.

MP dismantles community boreholes after losing election

A disgruntled politician who suffered a defeat in Uganda’s parliamentary elections has reacted by removing boreholes he commissioned while in office.

The boreholes have been a major source of water supply for residents in Nebbi Municipality, a district in northern Uganda, for over two decades, local media reported.

Patrick Okumu-Ringa was reported to have dismantled around 10 boreholes earlier in the week and told locals to find another source of water.

The politician told Uganda’s New Vision he believed locals abused “his generosity” and refused to support his bid for a re-election.

“Our people are not appreciative. All I wanted from them was votes. I have educated so many children, but all they tell me is I have done nothing,” Okumu-Ringa was reported as saying in the newspaper.


Okumu-Ringa (pictured above)

When CNN contacted Okumu-Ringa for a comment, his representative said he was not immediately available as he was unwell.

Water is not a readily available natural resource for many Ugandans. Around 24 million Ugandans cannot access suitable water for drinking and sanitation, according to estimates from the American

Okumu-Ringa accepted responsibility for the damage and boasted that his actions would be of no consequence since he funded the water project.

“I used my money to sink the boreholes, and in any case, even National Water and Sewerage Corporation doesn’t supply free water,” he said.

The former lawmaker was Uganda’s state minister for public service when he lost his seat in 2006 and has subsequently made several unsuccessful attempts to return to the parliament.

The politician ran as an independent candidate in the country’s July’s municipal by-elections after he lost the ruling party’s primaries.

Zimbabwe election crisis: MDC’s Tendai Biti in court

Zimbabwean opposition politician Tendai Biti has appeared in court in handcuffs on charges of inciting violence after he was deported from Zambia.

Zambia’s government rejected Mr Tendai Biti’s request for asylum on Wednesday.

 

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Mr Biti had been released on bail following his intervention.

Prosecutors accuse Mr Biti of fuelling illegal protests by rejecting Mr Mnangagwa’s victory in the fiercely contested elections on 30 July.

At least six people were killed two days after the vote in clashes between security forces and MDC Alliance supporters who alleged that their leader, Nelson Chamisa, had been robbed of victory.

There was great optimism that the elections would bring real change after the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule in November.


But the MDC Alliance says the security forces have launched a brutal crackdown on the opposition following the disputed poll.

Mr Biti is the first senior opposition politician to be detained since Mr Mnangagwa took over from Mr Mugabe.

A handcuffed Mr Biti was brought to court in the capital, Harare, under a strong police presence.

Prosecutors say he falsely declared Mr Chamisa the winner of the election, and encouraged his supporters to damage property during protests against the election results.

Mr Biti was freed on $5,000 (£4,300) bail, and ordered to surrender his passport.

“We will keep on fighting,” he told reporters.

In a tweet, Mr Mnangagwa said his intervention led to Mr Biti’s release.

“At such a crucial time in the history of the new Zimbabwe, nothing is more important than unity, peace and dialogue,” he added.

However, Mr Mnangagwa said that because of the “serious nature of the allegations” against Mr Biti, “due process will continue”.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said it was “gravely concerned” by reports that Mr Biti had been deported while trying to claim asylum in Zambia.

“Forcibly returning refugees and asylum-seekers to their country of origin is a serious violation of international refugee law,” the agency said in a statement.

Mr Biti’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri said Zambia’s High Court ruled on Wednesday night that Mr Biti should not be deported until a “judicial review” of the government’s decision to reject his asylum application.

However, Zambian immigration and police officers refused to accept the court papers, and surrendered him to Zimbabwean law enforcement officers at the Chirundu border post, about 350km (220 miles) north of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, Mr Phiri said.

Credit: BBC

Yemen war: Saudi-led air strike on bus kills 29 children

At least 29 children have been killed and 30 wounded in a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Yemen, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

The children were travelling on a bus that was hit at a market in Dahyan, in the northern province of Saada.

 

The health ministry run by the rebel Houthi movement put the death toll at 43, and said 61 people were wounded.

The coalition, which is backing Yemen’s government in a war with the Houthis, said its actions were “legitimate”.

It insists it never deliberately targets civilians, but human rights groups have accused it of bombing markets, schools, hospitals and residential areas.

Meanwhile the new UN special envoy to Yemen, former British diplomat Martin Griffiths, is planning to invite the warring parties to Geneva in September to discuss a framework for negotiations.


He told the BBC’s Lyse Doucet that if the conflict is left unresolved, Yemen could collapse and the international community could be looking at “Syria-plus” in the years to come.

“The war in Yemen will get more complicated the longer it goes on. There will be more international interest and polarisation in terms of the parties, it will fragment further, it will be more difficult to resolve – even more than it is now.”

What happened in Saada?

Yemeni tribal elders told the Associated Press that the bus was hit as it passed through Dahyan market and that it was transporting local civilians, including many school children.

The charity Save the Children said it had been told by its staff that the children were on their way back to school from a picnic when the driver of their bus stopped to get a drink.

The vehicle was stationary when the attack happened, it added.

The ICRC said a hospital it supported in Saada had received the bodies of 29 children, all of them under the age of 15, and 48 injured people, among them 30 children.

It sent additional supplies to the hospital to cope with the influx of patients.

Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV reported that 47 people were killed and 77 wounded, and broadcast graphic pictures showing the bodies of several young children, some of them wearing school uniform.

What has been the reaction?

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam accused the coalition of showing “clear disregard for civilian life” by targeting a crowded public place.

The ICRC stressed that “under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict”, while the secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland called it a “grotesque, shameful” attack that showed “blatant disregard for rules of war”.

Save the Children described the incident as “horrific”, and called for a full, immediate and independent investigation into recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

It was not immediately clear whether the bus was the target of the air strike, but coalition spokesman Col Turki al-Malki said the attack was “a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with international humanitarian law”.

He said it had hit “militants responsible for planning and targeting civilians” in the southern Saudi city of Jizan on Wednesday night, where one Yemeni resident was killed and 11 others were injured by fragments from an intercepted ballistic missile that was launched by the Houthis from neighbouring Amran province.

He accused the rebels of using children as “tools and covers for their terrorist acts”.

Later, air strikes were reported in the rebel-held Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

A week ago, at least 55 civilians were killed and 170 others wounded in a series of attacks on the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hudaydah. The coalition denied that it had carried out air strikes in the area, and blamed the deaths on rebel mortar fire.

Why is there a war in Yemen?

Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in early 2015, when the Houthis seized control of much of the west of the country and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee abroad.

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and seven other Arab states intervened in an attempt to restore the government.

Almost 10,000 people – two-thirds of them civilians – have been killed and 55,000 others injured in the fighting, according to the United Nations.

The fighting and a partial blockade by the coalition has also left 22 million people in need of humanitarian aid, created the world’s largest food security emergency, and led to a cholera outbreak that is thought to have affected a million people.

Credit: BBC

Argentina abortion: Senate defeats bill after polarising debate

Argentina’s senate has rejected a bill which would have legalised abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

After a marathon debate, 38 senators voted against it and 31 in favour. Its defeat means lawmakers must wait until next year to resubmit legislation.

Currently abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother’s health is in danger.

Demonstrators on both sides of the debate rallied outside parliament as voting took place.

Anti-abortion activists have been jubilant. “It’s a joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defence of the most defenceless, the child,” said one.

Pro-choice campaigners say they are not giving up. Some started fires and lobbed missiles at police after the vote.


How did we get here?

Pro-choice campaigners have for years tried to get bills passed in Argentina, where the population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

Their efforts gained new impetus when President Mauricio Macri – who opposes abortion – called on Congress to consider a vote on it, and it narrowly passed in the lower house.

However, with the Senate leaning conservative, the bill’s passage always looked difficult. Among the 30 women in the chamber, the vote was evenly split.

The debate lasted more than 16 hours in an often fraught session.

*Argentine Vice-President Gabriela Michetti, who also opposes abortion, was heard swearing at colleagues without realising her microphone was on.

*One pro-choice Senator, Pedro Guastavino, said he had been lobbied heavily by the Catholic Church, saying he had had to “dodge crucifixes”

*Senator Rodolfo Urtubey, who opposed the bill, sparked controversy by suggesting rape inside marriage did not conform to the “classic” definition of rape because – in his view – it did not always involve violence.

He later said he had been misinterpreted.

*Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is now a senator and who had refused to back the legalisation of abortion while president, supported the bill, saying her mind had been changed by the thousands who took to the streets.

Campaigners in their own words

“This law doesn’t obligate, nor does it recommend anyone have an abortion. The only thing this law does is defend the right to choose.” Norma Durango, from the opposition Peronist party

“The message that we wanted to put across is that abortion equals social failure. For a woman to resort to it, many other things need to have failed first.” Camila Duro of the anti-abortion non-governmental organisation Frente Joven

“Women perform abortions with criminalisation or without it.” Sabrina Cartabia Groba, pro-choice lawyer and campaigner

“Abortion always kills a child and it doesn’t solve the woman’s problem. We believe that this is never the solution. Faced with an unexpected pregnancy abortion is never the solution. There are always other solutions.” Maria Castillo, who campaigned outside parliament

Where does this leave Argentina?

For the bill’s advocates, legalising abortion is an urgent public health matter. Tens of thousands of women in Argentina are taken to hospital every year after illegal abortions. In 2016, 43 women died.

Those that can afford it use drugs to terminate their pregnancies while poorer women turn to far cruder methods.

Uruguay and Cuba are the only Latin American nations to have decriminalised abortion. It is largely prohibited across the region except in restricted cases.

El Salvador: Where women may be jailed for miscarrying
The Supreme Court in Latin America’s most populous country Brazil has begun hearing from both sides on whether abortion should be legalised up to 12 weeks.

In May, another largely Catholic country, the Republic of Ireland, voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to overturn a ban on abortion.

The global trend has been towards legalisation but the debate continues – in the US, for instance, changes to the Supreme Court has led to speculation abortion could be made illegal in some states.