Vermont Governor Signs
'Death With Dignity' Measure
The Los Angeles Times
With the strokes from three gubernatorial pens, Vermont on Monday became the fourth state in the country to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the measure in a state House ceremony in Montpelier, capping a decade-long effort on the issue in Vermont. Vermont is the first state to pass such a law through the legislative process. Oregon and Washington enacted their laws by referendum; in Montana, it was legalized by the courts. "This historic achievement is a political breakthrough that will boost support for death-with-dignity bills nationwide," said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee. The group describes itself as the nation's leading advocacy group for end-of-life decisions. The law, which went into effect Monday, allows for an end-of-life procedure with the consent of a patient's doctor.
John Edwards Re-Emerges,
Begins Public Comeback
The Washington Times
Disgraced former presidential candidate and North Carolina senator John Edwards is plotting his own comeback. The wealthy lawyer has reactivated his law license and also is hitting the speaking circuit. Mr. Edwards is scheduled to speak at a private retreat in Orlando, FL, on June 6, where he'll address fellow attorneys and marketing gurus. An itinerary for the event says the highly successful trial lawyer will speak as part of a program titled "Historic Trials of the Century." Meanwhile, his law license, dormant for more than a decade, has been resuscitated, AP reported. It's unclear whether he plans to return to the courtroom. Mr. Edwards has remained in the shadows for the past year following his acquittal on one charge of campaign finance fraud in May 2012. Other criminal counts were dismissed after a federal judge declared a mistrial in the case.
Muslim Brotherhood: Convention to
Protect Women is Anti-Islamic
The Muslim Brotherhood has published an article highlighting the comments of a senior Egyptian Islamist scholar criticizing the UN's Violence Against Women Convention for violating Islam and promoting Westernization. Dr. Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Mahdi, a member of Al-Azhar University's Council of Senior Scholars, was reacting to the endorsement of the UN convention by the leader of Egypt's National Council for Women. Dr. Al-Mahdi said that the UN convention is part of a war on Islam and that women are treated better under Sharia than Western law. He claimed "that Islam has given women a place of honor, and has allowed them to take part in the country's awakening, while in the West, the women have to search for employment and rely only on themselves. Islam, on the other hand, has given women partners or husbands to take care of them."
New Gaza Laws: Cutting Off
Thieves' Hands, Lashes for Drinking
Hamas is lobbying for a stricter enforcement of Islamic law in Gaza – including provisions to cut off the hands of thieves, and execution of individuals who cheat on their spouses. A report in the Al-Hayat daily newspaper said that Hamas expects the new regulations to take effect in the coming months, after introduction of the legislation in the PA parliament. Existing laws mete out the death penalty to individuals convicted of murder, spying, homosexuality, or selling land to Jews. The new legislation will expand the crimes for which individuals can be executed to include disloyalty to a spouse – having sexual relations outside the context of marriage. Other provisions of the law include chopping off the right hand of a thief, and lashes for a large number of “crimes,” including drinking alcoholic beverages and gambling. All the punishments are derived from sharia, Islamic law.
Analysis: Belgium Erasing Christianity for Islam
Wallonia, the French-speaking southern region of Belgium, has officially renamed the four major Christian holidays on the Belgian school calendar with secular names. Critics of the move say it reflects an ongoing effort by politicians in Belgium to remove Christianity from public life to accommodate a burgeoning Muslim population. The French Community of Belgium -- which has its own institutions, parliament and government, and has jurisdiction over the five provinces of Wallonia and over the Francophone population of Brussels in the areas of education and culture -- adopted a framework decree that formally establishes the new secularized names in the interests of "administrative simplification." The move to "de-Christianize" the Christian holidays has been roundly criticized by those opposed to the relentless spread of multiculturalism in Belgium.
Burma Proposes Family Planning
Regime to Control Muslims
The London Telegraph
Burma should place limits on the growth of Muslims by introducing a family planning program in areas where sectarian clashes organized by Buddhists have killed hundreds, says an official report. Recommendations of the report into the organized attacks and allegations of collusion by security forces sparked an outcry among activists and campaigners against the Burmese regime. Despite documented involvement of police in attacks on Muslim towns and villages, the inquiry said the number of security forces in faultline districts must be doubled. It also offered no hope for 125,000 displaced resident of Rakhine state who have looked to the state to ensure they could return home. Pres. Thein Sein appointed the 27-member panel last year to investigate the causes of the conflict and recommend measures to prevent further violence. Its findings had been delayed several times.
Weak GOP Candidate, High Black
Voter Eclipse Helped Obama in '12
America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home. Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press. Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year's heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president.
Army Removes Bible Reference from Scopes
FOX News Radio
The US Army is directing troops to remove a Bible inscription that a vendor etched into the serial numbers of weapon scopes. Soldiers at Fort Wainwright in Alaska said they received a directive to turn in their scopes so the Bible references could be removed. The scopes were made by Trijicon and referenced New Testament passages in John 8:12 and Second Corinthians 4:6. The verses appeared at the end of the scope serial numbers – "JN8:12" and "2COR4:6." "The biblical verse(s) must be removed utilizing a Dremel type tool and then painted black," read instructions on how to remedy the matter. "The vendor etched those inscriptions on scopes without the Army's approval," Army spokesman Matthew Bourke said in a written statement. Bourke said the vendor agreed to remove all Bible references on future deliveries.
Analysis: Israel Vanishing from Scotland Libraries
One of Scotland’s councils has just implemented a boycott of Israel after comparing the country to apartheid South Africa. The Clackmannanshire Council declared it would resist all economic and political support for Israel in order to “end suffering in Palestine”. In Scotland, once known as the only European country which has no history of state persecution of Jews, a region is officially dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish State as a malevolent, “settler” and foreign entity. Last year the Scottish University of Dundee banned water from Eden Springs on the campus, because -- it claimed -- “it steals water from the Salukia spring in the occupied Syrian Golan, where it is bottled in the illegal Israeli settlement of Katzrin”. Another Scottish provincial council near Glasgow in 2011 prohibited the purchase of English translations of Israeli books and the distribution of these books in public libraries.
Rape Victim, 10, Threatened with
Stoning Unless She Recants
The London Telegraph
The family of a ten-year-old girl who was detained after complaining she had been raped by a neighbor is under police protection amid claims that she will be stoned to death if they do not withdraw the allegation. The young Dalit girl's overnight detention, alone in a cell in a special women's police station, has caused growing anger throughout India as it seeks to improve security for women following the gang rape and murder of a Delhi student last December. Four officers from the Kotwali women's police station near Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh were suspended pending an investigation after an Indian television crew which happened to be in the station filmed the girl behind bars. She had gone to the police station with her mother who had found her unconscious in a field after, she said, a 35-year-old higher caste neighbor had raped her.
Afghan Women in Kabul
Prison Over 'Moral' Crimes
Lost and alone in a strange city Mariam called the only person she knew, her husband's cousin. She worried he wouldn't help her because she had left her home in Afghanistan's north, fleeing to the capital Kabul to escape his relentless and increasingly vicious beatings. But he promised to help. Too busy to come himself he sent a friend who took her to "some house", held a gun to her head and raped her. Finished with her he settled in front of a TV set, the gun on a table by his side. Choosing her moment, Mariam picked up the gun shot her assailant in the head and turned the gun on herself. "Three days later I woke up in the hospital," she said. From the hospital Mariam was sent to a police station and from there to Badam Bagh, Afghanistan's central women's prison. For the past three months Mariam has been waiting to find out why she is in jail, the charges and when she can leave.