New abortion law sought
Pressure mounted Thursday for the Irish government to draft a law spelling out when life-saving abortions can be performed — a demand that came after a pregnant woman who was denied an abortion died. Activists protested Thursday night in Belfast a day after thousands rallied in London, Dublin, Cork and Galway in memory of Savita Halappanavar, 31, a dentist who died a week after doctors said she was starting to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus. Despite her rising pain, doctors refused her request for an abortion for three days because the fetus had a heartbeat. She died in the hospital from blood poisoning three days after the fetus died and was surgically removed.
Syria embargo debated
France raised the possibility Thursday of sending “defensive weapons” to Syria’s rebels, but Russia warned that such a move would violate international law. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country will ask the European Union to consider lifting the Syrian arms embargo, which prevents weapons from being sent to either side. “We must not militarize the conflict ... but it’s obviously unacceptable that there are liberated zones and they’re bombed” by President Bashar Assad’s regime, Fabius said in an interview with RTL radio. “We have to find a good balance.”
Parliament to dissolve
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was poised to dissolve Japan’s Parliament today, setting the stage for elections next month that will likely end the ruling Democrats’ three years in power. Polls suggest that the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, which led Japan for most of the post-World War II era, would win the most seats in the 480-seat lower house but far short of a majority. It is likely that no party will emerge as a clear winner in the lower house election that media reports say is set for Dec. 16, and polls show that nearly half of the electorate are undecided on which party to support. Analysts predict that the most likely result will be a coalition government made up of parties with differing policies and priorities.
Compiled from wire reports.