Haiti

Special mission authorized

The threat of instability in Haiti prompted the Organization of American States on Wednesday to authorize a special mission to help the troubled nation find a way out of a simmering political crisis. In Washington, the OAS permanent council reached consensus on sending the mission to Haiti to assist with resolving a stalemate now that elections have been postponed indefinitely and the country’s president is due to leave office in 10 days. The regional body, which Haiti belongs to, took up the measure after receiving an urgent request from outgoing President Michel Martelly.

France

Bill stops short of euthanasia

France’s Parliament has approved a bill that will let doctors keep terminally ill patients sedated until death comes but stops short of legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide. After years of tense debate over the issue and a long journey through Parliament, the bill was passed by the country’s lower house and Senate Wednesday. The text is the result of a consensus of Socialist and conservative lawmakers. The new law will allow patients to request “deep, continuous sedation altering consciousness until death” but only when their condition is likely to lead to a quick death.

Austria

American woman found dead

Austrian police say the body of a 25-year-old woman from Colorado has been found in her Vienna apartment, and the cause of her death is under investigation. Police spokesman Thomas Keiblinger said Wednesday the woman’s body was found after she did not show up at the home where she worked as an au pair and her employer called police. Niles Cole, a spokesman with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, identified her as Lauren Mann. Police and firefighters who forced open her door Tuesday found the half-naked body on a mattress in the bedroom. An autopsy is being conducted.

Norway

Carnival canceled at school

A preschool in egalitarian Norway has canceled its traditional carnival celebration saying it encourages gender stereotypes, with boys dressing up in macho superhero costumes and girls in frilly princess dresses. Renate Kvivesen, the principal of the Vikaasen preschool near Trondheim, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that “we don’t think it fits our values to host an event where children feel it’s important to fit into specific gender roles.”

Compiled from wire reports