Zurich to vote on suicide tourism

Zurich is set to vote on whether to continue allowing foreigners to seek assisted suicide in the city.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, but the public has become increasingly concerned about the number of people coming to their country with the intention of killing themselves.

Two proposals are on the table: one to ban assisted suicide for everyone, the other to limit it to city residents.

While assisted suicide is banned in most nations, the Swiss emphasis on personal liberty has meant the practice has been legal in Switzerland for many years.

Opinion polls indicate that the majority of people want it to remain so, but are opposed to international travelers flying to their country to end it all.

What do you think about assisted suicide? Tell us what you think in the poll and comments section!

[Photo courtesy Vassil via Wikimedia Commons]


Flight attendants find dead Filipino passenger in Gulf Air lavatory

The cause of death – including suicide – still isn’t clear, but the facts are. Gulf Air flight attendants found a 36-year-old Filipino passenger dead in the plane lav today; he was flying home to Manila from Bahrain. Attempts to revive him using CPR were unsuccessful.

The event occurred on Gulf Air flight 154, and is the second strange lav event in as many months. In September, according to the Associated Press, an abandoned baby was found in the trash bin after a Filipino maid gave birth in the lav. This time, however, the outcome was life, as airport doctors were able to save the child.

The passenger‘s wife and relatives had traveled to the airport to meet him.

[photo by advencap via Flickr]

Man commits suicide in LAX bathroom, crime still down 6%

Can there be a worse way to go … not to mention a worse place?! Some guy, who isn’t being identified by the police, seems to have killed himself in a restroom at Los Angeles International Airport – Terminal 3, specifically. The unpleasantness happened just before 8 AM yesterday, and shortly after noon, the city’s police said it looked like a suicide.

The victim (and alleged perpetrator, it looks like) was found slumped in a stall with a bag covering his head and his hands bound, according to the LA Times.

The local law enforcement folks said they couldn’t remember a homicide ever taking place inside the LAX terminal, so it looks like the streak, at least, is still alive.

Fortunately, total crime is still down at LAX. For the first half of the year, it fell 6 percent year-over-year, to 1,146 incidents (from 1,222). Arrests fell from 674 for the first half of 2009 to 664 for the first half of 2010, a negligible change. But, there was an aggravated assault that became an arrest in the first six months of this year … and none for the same period in 2009. Meanwhile, 29 million travelers passed through LAX in the first two quarters of 2010, with an average of 236,000 doing so daily.

[photo by brewbooks via Flickr]

Toilet bomber fails in Denmark

A man has been detained in what’s being called a suicide bombing attempt. Injured in the blast, the suspect is believed to have tried to ignite the bomb in the Jorgensens Hotel in Copenhagen, with the toilet being the scene of the (alleged) crime. He sustained injuries on his face and arms. Police picked him up in a park, where he’s said to have run following the blast.

The low-cost hotel is on Israel’s Square, in the center of Copenhagen. It’s also located close to Norreport Station.

Little is known about the man’s identity, though he is said to have carried papers from two countries. Also, his intended target hasn’t been established conclusively yet, but the newspaper Ekstra Bladet, is believed to have been a possibility.

[photo by jemsweb via Flickr]

Could global warming solve Greenland’s problems?

Melting icecaps could turn Manhattan‘s streets and avenues into canals someday, but why focus on the negative? This could be a real perk for the 57,000 people who live in Greenland. For now, the Inuit are stuck hunting seals and freezing most of the year. As the permafrost recedes, though — thoroughly screwing up their environment — the locals are finding oil and mineral resources. So, the hunting trips are getting more dangerous, literally putting the Inuit on thin ice at times, but at least they can make some real cash!

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, more than 18 billion barrels of oil and natural gas can be found under the sea between Greenland and Canada, with another 31 billion barrels off the coast of Greenland itself. The same situation exists in the North Sea, and Norway hasn’t been shy about tapping into it to make a fortune.

For Greenland, which is at best quasi-independent from Denmark, finding some natural resources could help it sever the $680 million-a-year umbilical cord that connects it to the mother ship. But, we’re not there yet. So far, no oil has been found in the waters around Greenland, and the optimists don’t see that happening for at least another 10 years. It will take time to develop the infrastructure, but that’s only part of the problem.

Greenland still has to pierce the ice.

Eighty percent of Greenland is covered by a sheet of ice that can be up to 2 miles thick, effectively preventing oil and mineral exploration. This is where global warming comes into the equation. As we pump out our fossil fuels and change the climate, we’re helping Greenland melt that slick coat of ice and access its key to financial independence. Again, the heavily populated coastal cities of the United States may get screwed, but we’ll be able to access oil and minerals in Greenland.

In all seriousness, Greenland has struggled with economic growth. Mostly hunters and fishermen, they lack the skilled resources needed to kickstart just about any operation. Alcoa is thinking about building an aluminum smelter and two hydroelectric plants, but it would need to import construction workers from Europe or China, because Greenland lacks the appropriate labor. Engineers would have to come from other countries, as well.

Further, the small population is continually battered by a variety of social problems. It has the world’s highest suicide rate, according to the World Health Organization (100 per 100,000 residents). Residents over 15 years of age drink an average of 12 quarts of pure alcohol a year — a bar in Tasiilaq now sells only beer, since liquor was banned. The ban has helped, according to local officials.

Is global warming really the answer? That might be a stretch, but something has to give.