Assisted dying

Two main stories dominate today’s papers.

The first is the Assisted Dying Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

The Telegraph describes the House of Lords ‘baring its soul’

It is known as a “house of experts”, filled with the country’s pre-eminent authorities in fields as diverse as medicine, science, the arts and the law.

But this was the day members the House of Lords bared their souls.

In a marathon debate, in which Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill was given its first parliamentary airing, peers set aside their expertise and sought to make sense of the darkest moments in their own lives.

In the Mail, Lord Tebbit is reported speaking against the Bill.

Right to die will send us on a road to hell, says Lord Tebbit during marathon 10-hour House of Lords debate on assisted suicide

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left paralysed by an IRA bomb, made a moving intervention against assisted dying yesterday, warning that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.

The Tory former cabinet minister was addressing a marathon 10-hour debate in the House of Lords on whether terminally ill patients should be helped to die if they wish.

And the Guardian claims the House was split down the middle on the question

House of Lords debate evenly split over assisted dying legislation

Assisted dying bill would allow doctors to prescribe lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live

The House of Lords was split on Friday night over whether to back assisted dying, as supporters argued it would end the excruciating suffering of the terminally ill and opponents warned it was “a whisker away” from euthanasia.

The Independent reports on the moving words of Baroness Campbell.

Baroness Campbell’s intervention was far from alone in being deeply personal

As she spoke, sitting in an electric wheelchair, with a ventilator to help her breathe, Baroness Campbell’s voice quivered with emotion.

“I have a very important interest to declare,” she told the uncharacteristically full House of Lords chamber. “This Bill is about me. I did not ask for it and I do not want it but it is about me nevertheless.”

Uniquely among the 120 or so peers who spoke in the assisted-dying debate today, Baroness Campbell knows what it is like to live a life under the cloud of your own mortality. Born with degenerative spinal muscular atrophy, she has spent her life championing the rights of the disabled to live normal lives – and not, as she made very clear, to die prematurely.

Downed passenger plane

The second is the continuing concern over flight MH17 downed over the Ukraine, and its implications for the politics of the area, with various media taking a wide variety of lines.

The Times reports the possibility that whoever shot down the jet mistook it for a military aircraft.

MH17 lost after rebels shot down wrong jet

The 298 passengers and crew on board Flight MH17 were killed because a Ukrainian rebel unit was operating a Russian-made missile system without a radar that would have identified the aircraft as a passenger jet.

It emerged yesterday that the catastrophe may have involved the pro-Russian separatists trying to hit a Ukrainian military transport plane that was in the skies at the same time.

The Mail reports that the Ukraine is blaming President Putin squarely for the incident.

Ukraine launched an extraordinary verbal attack on Vladimir Putin (pictured left) tonight by accusing the Russian president of having the blood of one of the infant victims of flight MH17 on his hands as it published a harrowing picture of the dead baby. A senior government advisor to Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenkothe (inset left) stepped up the rhetorical attack on the Kremlin by posting the picture with a message to Mr Putin saying: ‘This baby’s death is on your conscience’, before adding ‘Damn you for centuries!’

The escalating rhetoric fuelled fears that both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict are using the crash to further their own agendas rather than as an opportunity to make peace. In the West there is increasing concern that a full investigation is already being hampered by the Kremlin.

And there is a similar story in the Telegraph

The families of some of the 10 British victims of flight MH17 angrily accused “Russian gangsters” of killing their loved ones in an “act of war”, as evidence mounted that a missile supplied by Moscow brought down the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Grieving relations also demanded that the airline and the aviation authorities explain why the Boeing 777, with 298 people on board, was allowed to fly over a war zone where three military aircraft had been shot down in the previous four days.

Among the Britons killed in Thursday’s disaster in Ukraine were two undergraduates on their way to Australia, two Newcastle United fans travelling to watch the team play in New Zealand, a United Nations worker and a former RAF technician.

Whereas the Independent reports a comment by President Obama

Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: US President Barack Obama – ‘We’re going to make sure that truth gets out’

The UN Security Council earlier issued a joint statement calling for an ‘independent, international investigation’ of the crash

The United States told an emergency session of the UN Security Council today that it had early indications that the missile that destroyed Malaysian Airlines 17 on Thursday originated from inside territory controlled by separatists in eastern Ukraine and that it couldn’t rule out that Russian personnel had assisted in its firing.

And Sky News says the Prime Minister has called together his Cabinet Ministers for a meeting.

Cobra Ministers Convene Over Plane Crisis

Newly promoted Cabinet Ministers grapple with a full-blown major international crisis after the loss of the Malaysian airliner.

Bedroom tax

In other news, Sky News reports that the LibDems have withdrawn their support for the so called ‘bedroom tax’.

The Liberal Democrats have withdrawn support for the so-called “bedroom tax” setting up a showdown with the Conservatives and sparking questions over credibility.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was clear the policy was unfair and was not working, saying: “I think when something isn’t working, you fix it.”

Cameron defies Europe – again

And following the opposition of the Prime Minister to the appointment of Jean-Claude Junckers, The Times reports that Cameron has also opposed the appointment of another European.

Britain’s relations with Poland have worsened after it emerged that David Cameron has opposed the appointment of Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minister, to a key Brussels job.

Mr Tusk was a contender for president of the European Council, a role currently held by Herman van Rompuy, and which will play a big role determining Britain’s renegotiation with the European Union. There were already growing strains on the relationship between Poland and Britain in recent months over the number of  Poles who have entered Britain.

Euro exchange rate

In good news in the Express, Britons going on holiday to Europe can expect more Euros for their pounds.

Britons travelling abroad on holiday can expect their money to go further thanks to the soaring pound.

Sterling has rocketed nine per cent against the euro in the past 12 months.

Holidaymakers can expect to get a conversion of 619 euros for £500, compared to just 562 euros this time last year, according to Travelex.

It means they will pocket an extra £46 or 57 euros for every £500 exchanged as rising inflation pushes up the value of the pound.

And finally …

Sky News claims MPs are to campaign for comedians… seriously!

A group of MPs have formed a committee to campaign on behalf of Britain’s comedians.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the UK Comedy Industry held its first meeting in the Commons this week and elected Scottish Labour MP Michael McCann as chairman.

But it is not just a bunch of MPs sitting around telling jokes. The deadly serious purpose of the group is to support and promote the UK comedy industry.

 

 

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