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MDs need to prepare for eventual legalized assisted suicide, some doctors argue

TORONTO - Doctors need to move beyond the "yes or no" debate about physician-assisted death and begin preparing policies and guidelines in the event the act is legalized in Canada, a group of palliative-care specialists argues. In a commentary in Monday's Canadian Medical Association Journal, the doctors say the debate about assisted suicide has become mired in for-and-against arguments. "And we felt this focus of the debate was rapidly becoming obsolete," co-author Dr. James Downar said in an interview.

Sebelius at conference: Health is 'great global connector,' nations cannot ignore disease

BOULDER, Colo. - Health is the "great global connector" and ignoring disease in other nations will punish people everywhere as the world increasingly is connected by air travel and food transported across the globe, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday. Speaking at the opening of the University of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs, Sebelius said nations not only have a practical and economic reason but also a humanitarian one to work together to innovate and share knowledge about advances in fighting disease, whether it's cancer or cholera.

Tunisia seeks tougher sentences for rapist policemen

Tunisia's public prosecutor appealed a seven-year jail term on Monday for two policemen jailed for rape, and demanded a retrial with a view to seeking tougher sentences. The prosecution insists on characterising the facts as "sex under duress with the threat of violence, under Paragraph 227 of the Penal Code, Article 1," his spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP. The article provides for capital punishment but Sliti did not indicate whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty.

Walk marks death of Rehtaeh Parsons, father seeks more changes in justice system

HALIFAX - The father of Rehtaeh Parsons says there have been positive changes in the year since his daughter's death, but more must be done to change the treatment of sexual assault victims in the justice system. Glen Canning said Rehtaeh's story has sparked a global conversation about cyberbullying and sexual assault and has triggered societal changes, including the Nova Scotia government's Cyber-Safety Act, which allows people to try to restrict the cyberbully and sue if they or their children are cyberbullied.

Children born of rape: forgotten victims of Rwanda's genocide

When David, a 19-year-old Rwandan, is asked about his parents, he prefers to conceal being one of thousands of children born from a rape during the 1994 genocide. "I say I don't have a father," he explained. It is impossible to say exactly how many women were raped during the genocide -- the majority of them were subsequently killed and many survivors prefer not to talk about it.

Salvadoran sea survivor passes polygraph

The Salvadoran fisherman who says he survived 13 months adrift in the Pacific has passed a lie detector test proving his tale is true, his lawyer said Friday. A US-based law firm representing Jose Salvador Alvarenga said a psychological exam and the polygraph test showed that the 37-year-old Salvadoran man was telling the truth. Alvarenga made global headlines after his small open boat washed ashore in the Marshall Islands in January, more than a year after he disappeared off the southwestern coast of Mexico, where he lived for many years.

Ottawa new digital strategy panned by critics as too late and too slow

Ottawa has unveiled a digital strategy it says will keep pace with Canadians' use of technology, but some critics say it's too little and too late. Industry Minister James Moore said Friday he will table the the Digital Privacy Act next week with updated measures to improve protection for Canadians' online privacy and security.

India court orders first death sentences for multiple rapes

An Indian judge on Friday ordered three men to hang after they were convicted of two gang-rapes, the first death sentences to be handed down for multiple sex attacks since the law was toughened last year. The sentences were announced at a court in Mumbai on the same day that a judge jailed 24 men in the southern state of Kerala over the gang-rape of a schoolgirl who was repeatedly sexually assaulted over a 40-day period in 1996.

Senate panel votes to release CIA interrogation report

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 Thursday to release hundreds of pages of its classified report on "brutal" CIA interrogations which details one of the most unsavory periods in the agency's history. The move allows Senator Dianne Feinstein, the panel's chair, to send the 400-page executive summary -- which sharply criticizes the CIA's controversial Bush-era interrogation program -- to the White House for review.

Five things to know about the Conservatives' proposed new Victims Bill of Rights

OTTAWA - The Conservative government unveiled its long-awaited victims' rights bill on Thursday. Here are five things to take away from the legislation: 1. People could be compelled to testify in court against a spouse. The Canada Evidence Act currently gives spouses the right to refuse to testify, except in certain specific cases such as sexual assault or crimes against youngsters. The provision is based on the notion that a married couple is one person in the eyes of the law.
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