International news: Shiite rebels, ban on assisted suicide lifted, NATO in Ukraine


Shiite rebels grasp control of Yemen government

After a lengthy power struggle, Shiite rebels in Yemen announced a complete takeover of the country’s parliament Friday, Feb. 6. The move is the most dramatic yet after several months of civil conflict between Shiites and Sunnis, two main branches of Islam. Sunnis previously held control of parliament as the country’s majority. Recent attacks led to the resignation of the nation’s president and his cabinet members, leaving control to the rebel Shiites. There is concern that the already impoverished country is pushing itself into further dysfunction, potentially creating an advantage for the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

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Canadian Supreme Court lifts ban on medically assisted suicide

A unanimous decision by Canada’s highest court made assisted suicide a viable option for individuals with a terminal illness. The ruling said, “The ban infringes on the life, liberty and security of individuals under Canada’s constitution.” Proponents of cases of citizens with significant suffering due to ailments pushed a response from the courts. They made the case that a person should be able to choose to die without prolonged suffering. Opponents worry the decision leaves too much power in the hands of physicians.

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NATO establishes presence in Ukraine in response to Russian threats

Increased fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the government in eastern Ukraine prompted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to take action. Despite accusations, Russia continues to deny involvement with the attacks. The Ukraine and countries in the West are NATO allies and they remain convinced that Russia is supplying the rebels with weapons. NATO issued plans to re-establish the Ukrainian army on a purely defensive level, but tensions have tightened on Russia’s end. Current plans will bring reinforcements into six bases in surrounding countries and establish a training center in the country of Georgia. More than 5,000 individuals have died in the conflict.

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