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Bioethics international
Bioethics international
Pierre Labainville

From abortion to euthanasia, chimps' rights to legal marijuana, here are some bioethical controversies currently making headlines around the world:

FRANCE: THE RIGHT TO DIE

A video uploaded on the Internet this month has sparked a new controversy in the case of Vincent Lambert, a 38-year-old French man in a neuro-vegetative state since a 2008 car accident. Though awake, he is unable to communicate with the people around him, reports to Le Monde. The video, which shows him listening to his mother on the phone, is the latest (and perhaps, last) attempt by his parents' to keep their son alive after a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Lambert's wife, several siblings and his doctors who believe medical assistance should be removed. The right-to-die debate in France also surfaced in March with the case of terminally-ill French twins demanding the possibility of assisted suicide.

PARAGUAY: PRE-TEEN ABORTION

The case of a 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who was raped by her stepfather and who is now six months into her pregnancy has stirred this historically Roman Catholic country. Her mother has been put in jail for "failing in her duty of care," while the girl has been denied abortion as it is illegal except in case of the threat to the life of the mother. The Ultima Hora newspaper reports that the Paraguayan government and the girl's physicians declared her health not to be imminently in danger. Denying the possibility of abortion for the young girl has sparked criticism from women's and children's rights group both inside and outside of Paraguay.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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