(Staff) IN AN EFFORT to stop the continued spread of Ebola, the government of Sierra Leone has placed a temporary ban on female genital mutilation (FGM). While more than 9,500 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, more than 3.5 million women and girls in Sierra Leone have undergone FGM. So while the decision to ban it is a positive byproduct of Ebola – a silver lining of sorts – it’s only a temporary one, motivated not by the aim to protect females from FGM, but to protect the country from Ebola.
A RECENT STUDY has found that over one third of Dutch doctors will consider euthanizing a person who is either mentally ill, living with dementia or simply “tired of living.” The report was published Feb. 18th in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
An earlier study in the Lancet in 2010 found that 23% of the assisted deaths in the Netherlands were not reported and 310 assisted deaths were done without request.
These studies only reinforce the reasons for a Dutch ethicist’s u-turn on the issue of euthanasia.
Last July, Theo Boer, who was a member of a euthanasia review committee for nine years, addressed the British House of Lords on why he had changed his mind and now opposes euthanasia. Speaking in a personal capacity he explained how the Netherlands’ law has expanded its reasons for euthanasia and how the number of euthanasia deaths are constantly increasing making euthanasia “a right” rather than an exception.
(Staff) LORD FALCONER’S Assisted Dying Bill is set for its second reading in the British House of Lords on July 18th. The Bill would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients a lethal dose of drugs. Two doctors would have to agree the person was likely to have less than six months to live, was of sound mind and had a clear intention to die.
Last July the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, joined the leaders of all the major faiths in Britain in issuing an unprecedented attack on Lord Falconer’s Bill, condemning it as a “grave error” which would change British society forever.
Senior lawyer for ADF, Roger Kiska, commented: “People suffering from depression need compassion and love, not a prescription for death. The state has a duty to put the necessary safeguards in place so that suffering patients receive adequate care from doctors and an opportunity to consult with family members.”
Mortier, 37, had never paid much attention to the discussion about euthanasia. “I was like just about anyone else here in Belgium: I didn’t care at all,” he said. “If people want to die, it’s probably their choice. It didn’t concern me.”
But his mother’s death has transformed the university lecturer into a strong critic of the country’s euthanasia law. “This is suicide with the approval of society,” he said.
(Staff) BISHOP Mouneer Anis, Primate of Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East, offered specific prayer requests in response to the barbaric February murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, kidnapped while working in Libya. He wrote:
"...these 21 were specifically chosen for their Christian faith. The video of their beheading expressed the Islamic State’s intention to increasingly target the Copts of Egypt... Please join me in praying for peace in Libya, Egypt and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts... Please pray for us, that we may live lives worthy of his Name, and hold to the testimony exhibited by the brave Egyptians in Libya."
(Staff) ON AVERAGE, Canada resettles one out of 10 refugees globally, through private and government-assisted sponsorships.
In 1979-80 Canadian churches helped sponsor a massive influx of 60,000 Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian refugees, known as the “boat people,” most of whom had no family in Canada.
(Staff) THE MOST economically disparate region in the world, Latin America, is seeing some changes for the better. Journalist Stephanie Nolen of the Globe and Mail quotes Augusto de la Torre, from Ecuador, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean:
“We have seen 70 to 80 million people – out of a total population of 600 million in Latin America – move out of poverty in the last decade. The region has made unprecedented progress.”
(Staff) WHILE THERE is much horrific news coming out of Africa these days, there is also some good news on the medical scene that should not be overlooked.
Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically since 2000 and cases are falling steadily as more people are properly diagnosed and treated and more people are using insecticide-treated bed nets. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the malaria death rate fell by 47 per cent worldwide between 2000 and 2013 and by 54 per cent in Africa, where about 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occur. This reduction has saved the lives of 3.9 million children. This is all the more remarkable given that there has been a 43 per cent increase in the population of sub-Saharan Africa.
THE JAN. 24th edition of The Economist reported two very troubling stories out of Africa:
At least 43 churches were burned in Niamey, the capital of Niger, as protests against the publication of satirical images of Mohammed in [the French magazine] Charlie Hebdo turned violent…. Niger, a majority-Muslim former French colony sitting on the edge of the Sahara, has seen …. the deaths of at least ten people and the burning of 45 churches. Hotels and bars have been razed to the ground, prompting speculation that Islamist extremists were among those inciting the mobs.
(Staff) THE SOUTH CAROLINA Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina, the Trustees of the Diocese and 36 parish churches successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2012 taking with them all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The Episcopal Church has no legitimate claims to their property, names and symbols.