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The World’s Most Powerful Women: December 12

The problem of expensive child care is endemic in the U.S. A new study from Child Care Aware of America found that the cost of center-based infant care exceeds 7% of family income—the U.S. government’s cutoff for affordability—in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

But there is one exception: Louisiana.

What’s the state’s secret? The so-called School Readiness Tax Credits the state rolled out in 2007. The set of tax credits urges parents, providers, and employers to invest in high-quality child care.

Michelle McCready, policy chief at Child Care Aware of America, told me that Louisiana is a standout nationwide and should serve as an example for other states. Even if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promise to deduct child care expenses from working parents’ income taxes and introduce tax-free dependent care savings accounts, that will just scratch the surface of what’s needed to reduce the exorbitant cost of care. On this issue, she says, the U.S. needs “all hands on deck.”

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Lobbying for women’s livesNadia Murad Basee Taha, a UN goodwill ambassador and survivor of sexual enslavement by the Islamic State, says Britain could save the lives of thousands of women and girls if it replicates Germany’s approach to accepting refugees from the Yazidi community. Murad has welcomed the efforts of British MPs in lobbying Home Secretary Amber Rudd on the issue. The MPs want a resettlement program that will admit 20,000 vulnerable people fleeing conflict in Syria by 2020 to be extended to Yazidis.Guardian

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See you in court
International Monetary Fund MD Christine Lagarde heads to court today in a case in which she’s accused of failing to prevent a massive government payout to businessman Bernard Tapie eight years ago when she was finance minister of France. Lagarde has denied the negligence charges and, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of $16,000. The IMF’s member countries appointed Lagarde in 2011 despite the charges so the outcome is unlikely to impact her role as MD.
Bloomberg
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Speaking out
Last week, U.K. MP Michelle Thomson, from Edinburgh, moved colleagues in the House of Commons to tears when she told of being raped at age 14. She made her remarks during a debate on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Police in Scotland now say they will contact Thomson and potentially investigate her claims. 
Guardian

THE AMERICAS

Pay up
Catcalling is now a finable offense in Buenos Aires. The Argentine city passed a bill outlawing street harassment last week that allows women to report such abuse as a crime and requires police to take the situation seriously (which has not always been the case in the country). The legislation creates educational campaigns against catcalling, and those who commit street harassment could be slammed with small fines or court-mandated public service. 
Broadly
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Her own orbit
On the occasion of astronaut John Glenn’s death, the Washington Post has a profile of his wife Annie, who once had a stutter that caused her to stumble over 85% of her words. She overcame her speech impediment with intense training and went on to be an advocate for the disabled as her husband entered politics.
Washington Post
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Not-so-odd couple
Based on Madonna’s impassioned speech about sexism in the music industry, two New York Times reporters assess whether the pop star and Hillary Clinton are sisters in arms. Here‘s one take: “Like Madonna, [Clinton] answered the haters with a strong work ethic. Mrs. Clinton put in 18-hour days, thought deeply about policy, and was a tireless campaigner even if she wasn’t the world’s most natural politician. Madonna is no Adele: She wasn’t born with a once-in-a-generation talent and voice. But she succeeded through work, grit and guts.“
New York Times

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Let’s be frank
At the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards last week, protesters dressed in sausage costumes crashed the red carpet to demand the nation’s film industry end its “sausage party.” They were forcibly dragged away. Of the 28 feature films pre-selected for the academy’s screening tour, just two were directed by women. 
BBC
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Is Ip up?
C.Y. Leung, the chief executive of Hong Kong whose close ties to Beijing divided the city and prompted street protests, made the surprise announcement on Friday that he will not seek reelection. One of Leung’s cabinet members Regina Ip is considered a contender to take his place.
Financial Times

There’s the beef
Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart and her business partner, a Chinese developer, have gained approval to purchase the nation’s largest pastoral portfolio, the Kidman estate. Kidman’s plot encompasses 1.3% of Australia’s land. Rinehart’s company Hancock Beef and the developer bid $288 million for the Kidman assets; the sale of which was halted several times due to concerns about foreign interests.
The Australian

IN BRIEF

40 minutes with Kellyanne Conway
New York Times

Will Christian Siriano dress Melania Trump? ‘I need to see how it goes’
People

Melissa Harris-Perry launches mentorship program for female journalists
Motto

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacked a teenage girl on Twitter
Washington Post

At 93, Diana Kennedy still reigns as Mexico’s feistiest food expert
NPR

Actress Emmy Rossum demands equal pay with ‘Shameless’ male co-star
Hollywood Reporter

PARTING WORDS

“I feel like the world has gone slightly mental. Change is going to come and change has to come and I don’t know in the form of what right now.”
--Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey on the launch her project with the International Rescue Committee that features a photo series and video about Greek migrants