World Briefs

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Egypt declares state of emergency after twin church bombings

(WNS)–Egypt’s president declared a three-month state of emergency after an Islamic State affiliate bombed two Coptic churches on April 9, killing at least 44 people. The attacks, among the deadliest against the minority Christian community, happened on Palm Sunday as the Coptic Church marked the start of Holy Week leading into Easter. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the nationwide state of emergency would come into effect once the legal steps are completed. He also announced the formation of the Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism and said the country would observe three days of national mourning.


German family continues fight to homeschool

(WNS)–A German family punished for homeschooling their children has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Dirk and Petra Wunderlich submitted a final appeal in early April asking the ECHR to protect their right to homeschool their four children. Home education has been banned in Germany since 1918 and carries criminal penalties. In August 2013, a police squad used a battering ram to break into the Wunderlich home as the family started their first day of homeschool classes for the year. A group of more than 20 police officers and social workers forcefully took the four Wunderlich children, ages 7 to 14, out of the home without letting their parents say goodbye. The parents’ only offense was homeschooling.


Canada is harvesting the organs of euthanasia patients

(WNS)–A recent push in Canada to encourage euthanasia patients to donate their organs is working. In Ontario, the first province to report data, 26 people who died by lethal injection decided to donate tissue or organs since the Medical Aid in Dying Act (MAID) came into effect last June, according to the National Post. A total of 388 people have chosen to die by lethal injection in Ontario, over half of the 744 total Canadians who have been euthanized. Canadian ethicists Julie Allard and Marie-Chantal Fortin encouraged the joining of euthanasia with organ harvesting in an article in December’s Journal of Medical Ethics. But even supporters acknowledge the potential unintended consequences. Allard and Fortin warned in their article that encouraging organ harvesting could put pressure on those diagnosed with terminal illness to consider assisted suicide as an alternative sense of purpose.


More than 20 million in Africa, Middle East at risk of starvation

 (WNS)–Aid groups and government officials in famine-hit parts of Africa and the Middle East are calling for more global attention to a crisis that has left more than 20 million people at risk of starvation. The United Nations earlier this month said the world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. More than 20 million people across conflict-hit regions in South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigeria, and Yemen are at risk of famine and starvation. The rising needs and worsening conditions have left several aid groups and government officials scrambling for resources.


Five WHO aid workers nabbed in Somalia

(WNS)–Somali-based extremist group al-Shabaab has abducted five World Health Organization (WHO) employees working in the country, security officials said. The report comes as aid workers responding to the humanitarian crisis in some parts of the continent battle security risks. Col. Deeq Abdi Khaliif, commander of the Somali army in the town of Luuq, told Voice of America (VOA) the extremists broke into the aid workers’ home early on April 2 and took them. The men lived in Maganey village, close to Luuq. “We are now pursuing them to free the abducted men,” Khaliif told VOA’s Somali Service.

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