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Tue, 03 Oct 2023
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France moves toward legalizing "assisted death"


Changes were necessary, said President François Hollande
France's medical ethics council moved a step closer to legalising euthanasia today by ruling that assisted suicide should exceptionally be allowed when ailing patients make "persistent, lucid and repeated requests" to end their life.

Using the term "assisted death" rather than euthanasia, the council invoked a "duty to humanity" to allow a patient "suffering from an ailment for which the treatment has become ineffective" to die.

A medical team, not a sole doctor, would take the decision.

The council's conclusions came after President François Hollande asked it to examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised, with a view to tabling draft legislation by June.

Changes were necessary, he said, as, "the existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill".

A 2005 law already authorises doctors to administer painkilling drugs at levels they know will, as a secondary effect, shorten a patient's life.

"However, the law can offer no solution to certain cases of prolonged agony or to psychological and/or physical pain that, despite the means employed, remain uncontrollable," said the council.


Runners and riders in Europe's horsemeat scandal

© AP Photo/Jacques Brinon
A checks on meat products in a bid to put a lid on a spreading scandal over horsemeat, while British authorities announced traces of horse had been found in school meals, restaurant dishes and hospital food, as well as supermarket products.

A rundown on a scandal that continues to spread:


In mid-January, Ireland's food safety watchdog announced that it had discovered traces of horse DNA in burger products sold by major British and Irish supermarkets.

The mislabeled products came from Irish processor Silvercrest Foods, which withdrew 10 million burgers from store shelves.

Irish officials first blamed an imported powdered beef-protein additive used to pad out cheap burgers, then frozen blocks of slaughterhouse leftovers imported from Poland - an indication of the complexity of the food-supply chain that was about to be revealed to an alarmed European public.

Heart - Black

FBI: Man slapped crying toddler on Delta flight

After demanding that the mother of a crying toddler "shut that nigger baby up," a male passenger allegedly slapped the 19-month-old across the face as a flight prepared to land in Atlanta last Friday evening, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The shocking February 8 incident aboard Delta Airlines Flight 721 resulted in Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, being charged with simple assault, according to a U.S. District Court affidavit. Hundley, seen at right, is president of an aircraft parts manufacturer headquartered in Hayden, Idaho.

In an interview, Hundley denied striking the toddler or using a racial slur, though he did acknowledge that he "asked the mother to quiet the child." Hundley, who said he was traveling to Atlanta to visit a hospitalized relative, described himself as "distraught" on the flight, during which he said he consumed a single alcoholic drink.


Pope says he will be 'hidden to the world' in retirement

© Tony Gentile/Reuters
Priests listened to Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Thursday. “I will always be close to all of you,” Benedict told them.
Saying he would soon be "hidden to the world," Pope Benedict XVI took his leave of parish priests and clergy members of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday as he offered personal, and incisive, recollections of the Second Vatican Council, the gathering of bishops 50 years ago that set the Roman Catholic Church's course for the future.

Benedict, who announced his resignation on Monday in a move that stunned the Roman Catholic world, also indicated that he would not hold a public role once his resignation became official on Feb. 28. Benedict is the first pope to step down in nearly 600 years.

"Though I am now retiring to a life of prayer, I will always be close to all of you, and I am sure all of you will be close to me, even though I remain hidden to the world," Benedict, 85, and increasingly frail, told the assembly of hundreds of priests, who had greeted him with a long standing ovation and some tears.

Heart - Black

RCMP officer faces multiple charges in child abuse investigation: Ottawa police

Ottawa - An RCMP officer and his wife are facing multiple abuse and sex-related charges following a child abuse investigation in Ottawa that police say involves more than one victim.

Police say the 41-year-old officer and 34-year-old wife are charged with several counts of aggravated assault, assault with weapon, aggravated sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to provide the necessaries of life.

In order to protect the identity of the victims, names of the couple have not been released, police say. Nor will they say how many children were involved.

"There is more than one but we're not (saying) how many," said Ottawa police acting Staff Sgt. François D'Aoust.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person isn't authorized to speak publicly, said the investigation was launched after an 11-year-old child was discovered wandering in a residential neighbourhood.


Georgia farmer trapped in silo waist-deep in soybeans

© photo: AP / Guillermo Gutierrez
Emergency responders in southeast Georgia are trying to free a trapped farmer who is partially buried in a grain silo full of soybeans.

Bulloch County public safety director Ted Wynn the farmer sank past his waist into the soybeans Wednesday afternoon and couldn't pull himself free. He says rescue workers have a harness around the trapped man so he won't sink any farther and are slowly draining the beans from the bottom of the silo.

Arrow Down

Fewer daughters for India's doctors, suggests shocking report

Fewer Daughters
Mumbai: It is a well-established fact that many doctors across the country have been caught promoting and pushing for gender-selection in favour of the male child. A lucrative, illegal and unethical business. But are they also practising this in their personal lives?

A new study published in the American Journal Demography and titled "Skewed Sex Ratios in India: Physician Heal Thyself" seems to suggest so. The survey was conducted by collecting data from 946 nuclear families with 1,624 children. Either one or both parents were doctors and students at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur between 1980 and 1985.

The survey revealed the following:
  • Child sex ratio amongst these families was 907 girls per 1,000 boys
  • This is below the national average of 914
  • Much lower than the regional (Vidarbha) average of 954
  • If the family had only one child, this figure dropped even further to 900
  • If the family had two children and the first one was girl, the ratio dropped to a shameful 519 - chances of the second child being female dropped by 38%
The analysis - done by a team of four doctors in Nagpur - clearly points out that "the heavily skewed ratios in the families of physicians are indicative of a deeply rooted social malady that could pose a critical challenge in correcting sex ratios in India."


Pit bull hailed hero, saves Oklahoma family from fire

Early Tuesday, smoke and flames filled the family's home near Wellston.

Rhonda Westenberger said she and her sister, Evelyn, were asleep, unaware of the danger, until their pit bull, named Baby, sprang to action.

The women said the dog would not stop barking and pouncing on them until the women woke up and when they did, they had just seconds to escape.

"There were flames shooting down the hallway," said Westenberger. "If Baby hadn't woken Evelyn up, I don't think either one of us would have come out of it."

The women escaped, but their other five dogs were scared and stuck inside, so once again, Baby came to the rescue.

"There was one hiding underneath the bed," said family member Charles Land. "Baby actually went in there grabbed it by the neck and drug it outside."


Seafood restaurant fines customers who leave food on their plate

© photos via Gold Rush
If you have a habit of not finishing your food, just step into this Japanese restaurant and they will fine you for wasting food.

The restaurant is called Hachikyo and is a three-minute walk from Susukino Station in Sapporo, Japan, reported RocketNews.

They are famous for their ikura -- salty salmon roe -- and the overflowing bowls that they serve. Order a 'tsukko meshi', a bowl of rice piled high with as much salmon roe as you want -- only if you agree to leave not even one grain of rice in your bowl.


Homeless man returns engagement ring worth thousands to woman after she accidentally dropped it in his change cup

A woman trying to help out a homeless man on The Plaza ended up giving away a lot more than a little change. She accidentally gave him her engagement ring, but the twist to the story is what the man did with it.

People hearing this story might think the homeless man's luck would similar to winning the lottery - you live under a bridge, then, the next thing you know, you end up with platinum and diamonds. For some, it could be a life changer.

Billy Ray Harris got that change and then some last Friday.

"The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive," Harris said.

He didn't notice it in his orange cup until almost an hour after its original owner unzipped her wallet and dumped her change into it.

"My rings were bothering me, so I put them in my coin purse," Sarah Darling explained.

Darling said she didn't realize what she'd done until the next day.

"I was so incredibly upset because, more than just the value of the ring, it had sentimental value," she said.