In brief: France recognizes opposition figure as Syria’s ambassador
Paris – France on Saturday welcomed a member of the Syrian opposition as the country’s ambassador, a bold bid to confer legitimacy on the week-old opposition coalition.
The new envoy, Mounzir Makhous, appeared before the press after talks at France’s presidential palace between President Francois Hollande and the head of the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition.
France has swiftly stepped out ahead of Western allies nearly since the start of the Syrian uprising 20 months ago. Saturday’s surprise announcement came even before the brand new coalition has named its provisional government and before a place in Paris to house the envoy has been found.
Vigil held for woman who died after being denied abortion
Dublin – About 10,000 people marched through Dublin and observed a minute’s silence Saturday in memory of the Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning in an Irish hospital after being denied an abortion.
Marchers, many of them mothers and daughters walking side by side, chanted “Never again!” and held pictures of Savita Halappanavar as they paraded across the city to stage a nighttime candlelit vigil.
The 31-year-old, who was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child, died Oct. 28 one week after being hospitalized with severe pain at the start of a miscarriage. Her death, made public by her husband this week, has highlighted Ireland’s long struggle to come to grips with abortion.
Doctors refused her requests to remove the fetus until its heartbeat stopped four days after her hospitalization. Hours later she became critically ill and her organs began to fail. She died three days later from blood poisoning.
The case illustrates a 20-year-old confusion in abortion law in Ireland, where the practice is outlawed in the constitution. A 1992 Supreme Court ruling decreed that abortions should be legal to save the life of the woman, including if she makes credible threats to commit suicide if denied one. But successive governments have refused to pass legislation spelling out the rules governing that general principle, leaving the decision up to individual doctors in an environment of secrecy.