In brief: Belgian euthanasia law to cover children under 18
Brussels – Belgian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to extend the country’s euthanasia law to children under 18.
The law empowers children with terminal ailments who are in great pain to ask to be put to death by their doctor if their parents agree and a psychiatrist or psychologist certifies they are conscious of what their choice signifies.
It has wide public support, but was opposed by some pediatricians and the country’s Roman Catholic clergy.
The 86-44 vote in the House, with 12 abstentions, followed approval by the Senate in December.
The law will go into effect when signed by King Philippe. The Belgian monarch is not expected to oppose the measure, said Jean-Jacques De Gucht, a co-sponsor.
Measure would permit sale of marijuana in Mexico City
Mexico City – Leftist lawmakers on Thursday proposed allowing the sale of marijuana within Mexico City, seeking to join Uruguay and the U.S. states of Washington and Colorado in creating legal markets for the drug.
The bill is vague on many key points and faces legal hurdles that may be impossible to overcome but it creates at least the possibility of an island of legalization of one drug in a nation that has been devastated by the fallout from the U.S.-backed fight to stop the northbound flow of recreational narcotics.
Most legislators in the Mexico City assembly haven’t said whether they back the proposal, but the local legislature controlled by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party is the most liberal in Mexico and has previously legalized abortion and gay marriage. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera supports the plan.
Approval could force a legal showdown with the federal government, which would have to decide whether to effectively override the local law by enforcing federal laws barring drug trafficking, challenging the city law in the courts, or both. President Enrique Pena Nieto has come out against drug legalization.
Britain warns Scotland pound won’t follow breakup
London – Escalating the fight against secession, the British government warned Thursday that Scotland would lose the right to continue using the pound as its currency if voters there say yes to a historic referendum on independence this fall.
“The pound isn’t an asset to be divided up between two countries after a breakup as if it were a CD collection,” Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said.
“The people of the rest of the U.K. (United Kingdom) wouldn’t accept it, and Parliament wouldn’t pass it. If Scotland walks away from the U.K., it walks away from the pound.”