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Famous anti-feminism lady leader Phyllis Schlafly who helped defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1970s, dies from cancer at 92

Schlafly told the Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972

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FILE - Missouri delegate Phyllis Schlafly watches during the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. Image source: VOA
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Sept 06, 2016: The renowned activist Phyllis Schlafly, who is known to be conservative activist and almost single-handedly helped defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and pushed the Republican Party to the right in ensuing decades. She has died at the age of 92.

On Monday cancer took over Schlafly and she at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said.

She was famously known as “the first lady of anti-feminism,” Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold 3 million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited with helping conservative Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona win the 1964 GOP nomination.

She had firm views on this regard. And also later helped the lead opposition to the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of gender. Schlafly argued that the measure would mean the end of the traditional family.

Supporters of the measure argued it would require that laws determining child support and job opportunities be designed without regard to gender roles.

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Schlafly told the Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members. “I’ve taught literally millions of people how to participate in self-government,” Schlafly said.

The Eagle Forum pushes for low taxes, a strong military, and English-only education. The group is against efforts it says are pushed by radical feminists or encroach on U.S. sovereignty, such as guest worker visas. The group’s website describes the Equal Rights Amendment as having had a “hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages.”

Saint Louis University history professor Donald Critchlow, who profiled Schlafly in his 2005 book, “Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade,” said the defeat of the amendment helped revive conservatism and pave the way for Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

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Schlafly remained active in conservative politics well into her 80s, when she was still writing a column that appeared in 100 newspapers, doing radio commentaries on more than 460 stations and published a monthly newsletter. With so many activities and conservating ways of work, she was an inspiration. (VOA)

 

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Parliament In Sri Lanka Gets Dissolved, President Calls For Election

The U.S. State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved

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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters during a rally outside the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

ri Lanka’s president dissolved Parliament and called for elections on Jan. 5 in a bid to stave off a deepening political crisis over his dismissal of the prime minister that opponents say is unconstitutional.

An official notification signed by President Maithripala Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday. It said the names of candidates will be called before Nov. 26 and the new Parliament is to convene Jan. 17.

Sri Lanka has been in a crisis since Oct. 26, when Sirisena fired his prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Both say they command a majority in Parliament and had been expected to face the 225-member house Wednesday after it was suspended for about 19 days.

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Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holds a copy of the constitution of Sri Lanka as he attends a media briefing at his official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama told The Associated Press Saturday that the reason for the president to dissolve Parliament was the need to go to the people to find a resolution to the crisis.

“On the 14th there was to be a lot of commotion and unparliamentary activities sponsored by the speaker,” Amunugama said. “The speaker was not planning to act according to the constitution and standing orders of Parliament.”

Sirisena’s supporters had been irked by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s announcement that he was going to call for a vote for either party to prove their support.

Miscalculation

“The dissolution clearly indicates that Mr. Sirisena has grossly misjudged and miscalculated the support that he might or could secure to demonstrate support in the Parliament,” said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director at U.S.-based analyst group Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. “At the end of the day, he is a victim of his own homegrown crisis.”

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Sri Lankan civil rights activists hold placards during a demonstration outside the official residence of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Wickremesinghe has insisted his firing is unconstitutional. He has refused to vacate his official residence and demanded that Parliament be summoned immediately to prove he had support among its members.

Tensions had been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied.

Sirisena was critical of investigations into military personnel accused of human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s long civil war against a Tamil separatist group, which ended in 2009. Rajapaksa, who ruled as president from 2005 to 2015, is credited as a hero by the ethnic Sinhalese majority for winning the conflict. But he lost a re-election bid in 2015 amid accusations of nepotism, corruption and wartime atrocities.

Constitutional question

Wickremesinghe’s camp is likely to contest Sirisena’s move because of constitutional provisions stating a Parliament can’t be dissolved until 4 ½ years after its election. The current Parliament was elected in August 2015.

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Sri Lankan former President Mahinda Rajapakse addresses journalists at his residence in Colombo, Sept. 22, 2018. Rajapakse has been appointed the Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. VOA

“It’s totally unconstitutional,” said Harsha de Silva, a member of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party and a former minister. “Sirisena has relegated the constitution to toilet paper. We will fight this dictator to the end.”

The party said in a Twitter message that it will meet the elections commissioner to discuss the constitutionality of Sirisena’s move.

US urges caution

The U.S. State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, “further deepening the political crisis.”

Also Read: Once a Hostage, Sri Lankan Sailor Now Helps Battle Somali Pirates

“As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity,” the statement said.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and two other lawmakers wrote to Sirisena warning that actions circumventing the democratic process could impact U.S. assistance, including a planned five-year aid package from the Millennium Challenge Corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars. (VOA)