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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.

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.

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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.

[Reporting by Sharon Bernstein]


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WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview

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A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.

The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.

St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.

But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.

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US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’

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Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.

Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.

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‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic

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President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."

Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.

"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.

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