Welcome to the Lunchtime Reader, where we assemble important stories to keep your eyes on.
- Russia has the highest rate of abortions in the world at 53.7 per 100 women. But now lawmakers are considering a bill to reduce the number of abortions. If the bill became law there would no longer be free abortions at government-run clinics and the so-called ‘morning-after’ pill would only be available with a prescription. Additionally, married woman would also require the permission of her spouse to obtain an abortion, while teenage girls would need their parents’ consent. The legislation would also require a week-long waiting period. The bill has heavy backing from the Russian Orthodox Church, which is playing a larger role in society. “I hope that very soon we will live in a Russia without abortions,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin.
- Sad news from the Catholic island nation of Malta, which is 95% Catholic and 70% still go to Church every Sunday. Yet, on Saturday 54% voted yes to legalize divorce. Malta was the last European country to approve divorce. America magazine reports: “The divorce law will be far stricter than the ‘no-fault’ divorce which prevails in the rest of Europe. The Referendum question asked whether divorce should be available to ‘a married couple who has been separated or has been living apart for at least four years’, where there is ‘no reasonable hope for reconciliation between the spouses’, and once ‘adequate maintenance is guaranteed and the welfare of the children is safeguarded.’”
- Big GOP donors from Iowa are travelling to New Jersey in hopes of convincing Gov. Chris Christie to run for president. “We want to encourage him from an Iowa perspective and a national perspective. We need a candidate like him in the race,” Bruce Rastetter, an ethanol company executive and one of six Iowans who will meet with Christie, told CNN. Christie said: “I am not running for president. Everyone remain calm. All is well.”
- President Obama has nominated business executive John Bryson to serve as Commerce Secretary. If approved by the Senate, Bryson would replace Gary Locke, who has been nominated to serve as ambassador to China. Locke would replace Jon Huntsman, who resigned from the post to consider a run for president.