News Briefs

June 14, 1996
Web posted at: 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT)

Canada bill bans sex selection, surrogate motherhood

OTTAWA (CNN) -- Canadian health minister David Dingwall introduced legislation Friday that would ban several controversial genetic and reproductive practices, including: the buying and selling of human eggs, sperm, and embryos; genetically selecting the sex of a fetus for non-medical reasons; and creating embryos for medical research.

The bill would also ban surrogate motherhood, in which a woman is impregnated either with an embryo from another woman's egg or by artificial insemination using her own egg, and then gives the baby up.

A statement from Dingwall's ministry said some of the practices pose "serious risks to human health and safety," and "are contrary to the principles of human dignity, respect for life, and protection of the vulnerable." A large Liberal Party majority in Parliament makes passage of the bill a near-certainty.


Protesters chain themselves to Norwegian whaling boats

KRISTIANSAND, Norway (CNN) -- Greenpeace environmental activists chained themselves to four whaling boats Friday in protest against Norway's commercial whale hunt. It was the first protest since hunting season began in May.

The boats were unloading five minke whales killed with harpoons. Norway, which maintains that minke whales are not a threatened species, resumed commercial catches of minke whales in 1993, despite a global moratorium by the International Whaling Commission.

Russians, NATO agree to post officers at one another's posts


BRUSSELS, Belgium (CNN) -- Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and NATO's defense ministers reached an agreement Friday to post senior Russian officers at major NATO commands and allied generals at Russia's military headquarters.

A Russian general has been stationed at NATO military headquarters in Mons, Belgium, as a condition of Russia's participation in the Bosnia peacekeeping mission. The new agreement will put Russian officers at NATO's three regional command centers as well.

NATO Supreme Commander Gen. George Joulwan will work out details with Russian officers.

U.N. conferees jostle over women's reproductive rights

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- Final signing of a "blueprint" for solving urban problems was slowed Friday as representatives to the U.N. conference on cities disagreed over the issue of women's reproductive rights.

The Vatican and some Catholic and Muslim countries object to use of language from the 1995 women's conference in Beijing giving women the right to control their own sexuality and access to sexual health care. Some of those countries would accept language from a 1994 population conference giving women the right to control their own reproduction and access to family planning.

Japanese approve North Korean aid plan

North Korea

TOKYO (CNN) -- The Japanese government has given final approval to a plan to send $6 million in food aid to North Korea. The measure is designed to help ease the severe food shortage in North Korea, caused by last year's devastating floods.

The United Nations has said it needs more than $43 million to end the famine-like conditions. The U.S. has also pledged $6 million in aid.

Colombian president blames 'foreign elements' for drug problem


BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- Colombian President Ernesto Samper blamed the worldwide problem of illegal drugs on "foreign elements" that do nothing to combat drug use in their own countries.

In a televised speech, Samper acknowledged that Colombia has not done enough to rid itself of drug lords and corruption, but said that that "drug-consuming countries" posed the more serious problem.

The lower house of Colombia's parliament voted Thursday to absolve Samper of charges that he used drug money to finance his 1994 campaign.

Legislator bites colleague in Taiwan's parliament

TAIPEI, Taiwan (CNN) -- A battle over the legitimacy of Taiwan's new cabinet turned rough Friday, as an opposition legislator kneed and bit a ruling party deputy in a dispute over an attendance record.

New Party deputy whip Fu Kung-cheng bit Sheng Chih-hui of the Nationalist Party and kneed her in the groin, according to witnesses to the scuffle. Fu apologized for biting Sheng, but denied kneeing her.

The New Party, which has been battling the Nationalists over an opposition demand that President Lee Teng-hui submit his choice as premier to a confirmation vote, said it would strip Fu of his position as deputy whip.


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