Breaking News -- European Union
|Belgium: Senate Approves Measure Allowing Doctors to Euthanize
by Steven Ertelt
The Belgian Senate voted today 50-17 to extend euthanasia to children with disabilities, in a move pro-life advocates worldwide had been fearing would come and expand an already much-abused euthanasia law even further.
The vote today in the full Senate comes after a Senate committee voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions and the measure also would extend the right to request euthanasia to adults with dementia. There is still a chance to stop the bill in the House of Representatives, though pro-life campaigners fear it will become law.
“Currently the Belgian euthanasia law limits euthanasia to people who are at least 18 years old. This unprecedented bill would extend euthanasia to children with disabilities,” says Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. “The Belgian Socialist government is adamant that the euthanasia law needs to extend to minors and people with dementia even though there is significant examples of how the current law is being abused and the bracket creep of acceptable reasons for euthanasia continues to grow. The current practice of euthanasia in Belgium appears to have become an easy way to cover-up medical errors.”
“Regardless of disability, life should be valued. To pass legislation that allows termination of life for people with disabilities who are minors is unacceptable,” he added. “Instead we must make every effort to use the research provided to us to provide attentive care to relieve their physical suffering in a moral way.”
Dr Paul Saba of Physicians for Social Justice, is very concerned about the situation in Belgium.
“They are already euthanising people who are depressed or tired of life because they have taken the interpretations of saying physical and/or psychological suffering – you don’t have to have both, if you have one, why is that not enough? If you are suffering, it’s a personal experience and it would be discriminatory for someone to judge what a person is suffering,” he says. “What this teaches us is that despite the government’s assurances that they will set very strict criteria, that won’t work.”
Meanwhile, according to Schadenberg:
The number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium is skyrocketing with an increase of 25% in 2012. Recent studies indicate that up to 47% of all assisted deaths are not being reported, 32% of all assisted deaths are being done without request and nurses are killing their patients, even though the law restricts euthanasia to doctors.
Some Belgian experts are supporting the extension of euthanasia to children with disabilities because they say that it is being done already. The same medical experts suggest that the extension of euthanasia will result in an increase of 10 to 100 euthanasia deaths each year.
The Belgian euthanasia law appears out-of-control. The Belgian Euthanasia Control and Evaluation Commission appear to be in a conflict of interest. The Commission supported the euthanasia deaths of: Nathan Verhelst (44) who was born as Nancy, Ann G who had Anorexia Nervosa and was sexually exploited by her psychiatrist, Mark & Eddy Verbessem, and at least one depressed woman. These are only the cases that we know about.
Dr Wim Distelmans, who is the leading euthanasia doctor in Belgium has also been the chairman of the Belgium euthanasia commission for more than 10 years, and the commission has been stacked with supporters of the euthanasia lobby.
The Netherlands already allows children over the age of 12 to request euthanasia with the consent of their parents.
EU-approved 'safe' air pollution levels causing early deaths - study
Air pollution in the European Union is causing premature deaths even when levels meet quality guidelines, a report has shown. Even in areas where pollution was much lower than the limit, scientists found there is a higher-than-normal risk of death.
The study, published the British Medical Association’s journal The Lancet, found that Europeans who have had prolonged exposure to pollution from industrial activities or road traffic have a higher chance of premature death. The increased risk to a person’s health is linked to tiny particles of soot and dust than can get lodged in the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses.
The study, carried out by Utrecht University in the Netherlands, found the particles measure 2.5 microns or 2.5 millionth of a meter. Exposure for “up to a few months” to particles of 2.5 microns can increase the risk of premature death.
"Although this does not seem to be much, you have to keep in mind that everybody is exposed to some level of air pollution and that it is not a voluntary exposure, in contrast to, for example, smoking," scientist Rob Beelen, who led the study, told AFP.
The findings of the study echo the results of similar investigations carried out in North America and China.
“Our findings support health impact assessments of fine particles in Europe which were previously based almost entirely on North American studies,” Beelen said.
As part of the study the researchers drew on 22 previously published studies that documented the health of 367,000 people in 13 countries in Western Europe over 14 years. Beelen and his team then traveled to the areas where the participants lived and took traffic pollution readings that they used to calculate how much pollution local residents were exposed to.
During the investigation, 29,000 of the 367,000 participants recruited in 1990 died. In order to increase accuracy, investigations also took into account such factors as physical exercise, body mass, education and smoking habits.
European Union guidelines set the maximum exposure to particles of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Beelen says the results of this study are evidence the EU needs to reset its safety limits to 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
"Despite major improvements in air quality in the past 50 years, the data from Beelen and his colleagues' report draw attention to the continuing effects of air pollution on health,” Jeremy Langrish and Nicholas Mills, of the University of Edinburgh, told the Medical Press.
In China a red alert was issued for poor air quality was issued Thursday after pollution reached hazardous levels. The coastal city of Qingdao recorded PM2.5 Air Quality Index levels of over 300, while Nanjing saw a reading of 354 on Wednesday, according to local news portal news.longhoo.net.
In light of the dangerous levels of pollution the Chinese government is considering the practice of ‘cloud seeding’ to clear toxic fog in the country. According to a document released by the China Meteorological Administration, from 2015 local meteorological authorities will be permitted to use cloud seeding to disperse pollution.
The World Health Organization has classified outdoor pollution as one of the principal causes of cancer and estimates around 3.2 million people die every year globally as a result of prolonged exposure.
FBI Chief Travels to Spain for High-Level Talks
Latin American Herald Tribune
MADRID – The director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived on Monday for talks with senior Spanish officials.
James Comey met on Monday with Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz to exchange information on terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime and he also met with the director general of the police, Ignacio Cosido.
On Tuesday, he is scheduled to meet with Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, Spanish intelligence chief Felix Sanz Roldan and Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce.
Although nothing much has emerged so far from the Spanish side regarding this visit, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid announced that the purpose of the trip is to deal with different issues within the “extensive and positive agenda of cooperation in security between the United States and Spain.”
Spanish sources told Efe that Comey showed interest when during the Torres-Dulce meeting several prosecutors involved with the preliminary probe of the U.S. National Security Agency’s collection of Spaniards’ communications data also attended the meeting.
The Spanish AG’s office is checking to determine if, as a result of what has become known, there is any criminal aspect to the matter and, if an investigation was to be opened, whether this would Spain’s responsibility.
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