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California legislature approves bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide

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The California legislature on Friday approved a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients despite opposition from religious and disability rights groups, sending it to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown for his approval or veto.

The bill would allow mentally competent patients to request a prescription that would end their lives if two doctors agree the patients have only six months to live.

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The measure, based on a similar law in Oregon, passed the state Senate on Friday on a vote of 23-14, after passing the Assembly on Thursday.

“We are here today on the precipice of granting a wish that I was not able to give my mother,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who said her mother died in agony from a form of leukemia.

It was the subject of weeks of debate, as supporters argued that the measure would allow people in the last stages of terminal illness to die peacefully, while advocates for seniors and the disabled argued it could make people vulnerable to greedy relatives or others who wished to avoid taking care of them or inherit their money.

Some religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, also opposed the bill.

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The measure allows physicians to prescribe medication to end a person’s life if two doctors agree the person has only six months to live. The person also must be deemed mentally competent by a mental health professional.

Tricking or coercing patients to end their lives would be a felony under the measure.

Brown, a former Catholic seminarian, has not said whether he will sign it.

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[Reporting by Sharon Bernstein]


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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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