Spain Passes Last Major Hurdle To Legalize Euthanasia
Other global news is from the United Kingdom, European Union, Africa and the West Bank.
Spain's Parliament Votes To Legalize Euthanasia
Spain’s parliament voted Thursday to approve a bill that will allow physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia for long-suffering patients of incurable diseases or unbearable permanent conditions. The bill, which was backed by Spain’s left-wing coalition government and several other parties, passed in a 198-138 vote. The conservative Popular Party and the far-right Vox party voted “No.” The bill will now continue its legislative journey, facing a vote in the Senate where it is also expected to pass. According to the draft of the law approved by the lower house, it won’t go into effect until three months after being published in the government gazette. (12/17)
The Washington Post:
How To Convince Coronavirus Vaccine Skeptics? U.K. Considers Influencers And Cash Incentives.
In the first week in the first mass coronavirus vaccine campaign in the West, Britain's National Health Service gave the Pfizer-BioNTech shot to 137,897 people. British officials say they want everyone to have the jab. So that means 66 million more to go. How do you persuade a nation to take a vaccine — especially brand-new vaccines, granted emergency authorization — at a time of soaring distrust in leaders and institutions, when a third of the people tell survey takers they will either decline the vaccine or wait and see? Public health experts don’t have a surefire answer. And that worries them. (Adam and Booth, 12/16)
'I Feel Fine' - Beatles Legend McCartney Gives COVID Vaccine A Shot In The Arm
Beatles legend Paul McCartney, 78, gave Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout a big shot in the arm by vowing to be among the first global superstars to be inoculated, The Sun newspaper reported on Friday. (12/18)
EU Clears Google's $2.1B Takeover Of Fitbit, With Conditions
The European Union on Thursday approved Google’s plan to buy fitness gadget maker Fitbit for $2.1 billion after it promised to restrict user data and ensure Android phones work with other wearable devices for at least 10 years. Human rights and consumer groups, which had called on authorities to block the deal over privacy and antitrust concerns, were unhappy with the decision. The deal also attracted scrutiny in Australia, where competition regulators are mulling a similar offer from Google. (Chan, 12/17)
The Washington Post:
Across Much Of Africa, Coronavirus Vaccines Are Still Months Away
In the pandemic's early days, scientists across Africa were certain: They did not want to rely on vaccines from abroad. Richer countries could hoard supplies, they feared, leaving nations with tighter research budgets behind. ... Distribution campaigns across Africa are not likely to begin until April, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated. Even then, far fewer doses will be sent to African countries than are being shipped to the United States and Europe. “It will be extremely terrible to see,” said John Nkengasong, the Africa CDC director. (Paquette and Bearak, 12/17)
Lockdown Looms Over Christmas In Bethlehem
The mayor of Bethlehem on Thursday said Christmas celebrations in the birthplace of Jesus will be limited to just a handful of people this year as Palestinian officials announced a strict new lockdown across the West Bank due to a soaring coronavirus outbreak. In an interview, Mayor Anton Salman said his town would hold its traditional welcoming ceremony for the Latin Patriarch, who is usually greeted by children’s marching bands as he arrives from nearby Jerusalem. But he said the scout bands would be limited only to local residents because of the new lockdown restrictions. (12/17)