women

In Former Taliban Stronghold, Defiant Women Hit the Gym

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Homa Yusafzai felt terrible. Her weight was up, she had diabetes and high blood pressure, and at just 27 she felt lethargic and depressed.

Then she heard that Kandahar’s first health club for women had just opened — the miracle she had been waiting for, she thought. Her husband at first refused to let her join. Kandahar is a deeply conservative city, a former headquarters of the Taliban where men still dictate the most prosaic details of women’s lives.

But ultimately, he relented, and Ms. Yusafzai now works out six days a week, straining through hand-weight repetitions and pounding a treadmill. In six months, she said, she had shed almost 50 pounds, lowered her blood pressure and brought her diabetes under control.

“I feel so healthy and I have more energy — I’m so happy,” she said as she rested between workouts.

The health club was opened

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wedding

Defiant Maine pastor’s family planning wedding events across state line amid virus outbreaks

SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — The family of the defiant Baptist pastor linked to Maine’s largest COVID-19 outbreak after officiating a wedding near Millinocket in August will gather next month for another wedding and reception, just a few miles from virus hotspots in York County.

It is unclear whether Todd Bell, head of Sanford’s Calvary Baptist Church and a religious school, will conduct the ceremony between his son and a New Hampshire woman at an indoor service on Oct. 17 at South Church, a Unitarian Universalist church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. But a “family minister” will officiate the ceremony, said Jennifer Leyden, a spokesperson for the church.

About 50 are expected to attend the 20-minute wedding in a sanctuary designed to hold 525 people, Leyden said. It will be “an in-and-out service” that won’t include a choir. Attendees are expected to wear masks, provide names and phone numbers for contact tracing and

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