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EarthLink – News

18 years later, America vows to ‘never forget’ 9/11
By KAREN MATTHEWS and JENNIFER PELTZ | Wed, September 11, 2019 12:03 EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — People who were too young on 9/11 to even remember their lost loved ones, and others for whom the grief is still raw, paid tribute with wreath-layings and the solemn roll call of the dead Wednesday as America marked the 18th anniversary of the worst terror attack on U.S. soil.
“As long as the city will gift us this moment, I will be here,” Margie Miller, who lost her husband, Joel, said as she attended the ground zero anniversary ceremony, as she has every year. “I want people to remember.”
President Donald Trump laid a wreath at the Pentagon, telling victims’ relatives there: “This is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss.”
“It’s the day that has replayed in your memory a thousand times over. The last kiss. The last phone call. The last time hearing those precious words, ‘I love you,'” the president said.
Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, the third site where planes crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, Vice President Mike Pence credited the crew and passengers who fought back against the hijackers with protecting him and others in the U.S. Capitol that day.
“I will always believe that I and many others in our nation’s capital were able to go home that day and hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of your families,” said Pence, who was an Indiana congressman at the time. Officials concluded the attackers had been aiming the plane toward Washington.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when terrorist-piloted planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.
For families like Mary Ann Marino’s, “18 years has not lessened our loss,” she told those gathered at ground zero after she read part of the long list of victims’ names. She lost her son, firefighter Kenneth Marino.
Parboti Parbhu choked up as she spoke from the podium about her slain sister, Hardai. Even after nearly two decades, “There’s no easy way to say goodbye,” she said.
By now, the heritage of grief has been handed down to a new generation, including children and young adults who knew their lost relatives barely or not at all.
Jacob Campbell was 10 months old when his mother, Jill Maurer-Campbell, died on 9/11.
“It’s interesting growing up in a generation that doesn’t really remember it. I feel a connection that no one I go to school with can really understand,” Campbell, a University of Michigan sophomore, said as he attended the ceremony.
Like the families, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath of Sept. 11. The effects are visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where the post-9/11 U.S. invasion has become America’s longest war. The aim was to dislodge Afghanistan’s then-ruling Taliban militants for harboring al-Qaida leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Earlier this week, Trump called off a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan government leaders and declared the peace talks “dead.” As the Sept. 11 anniversary began in Afghanistan, a rocket exploded at the U.S. Embassy just after midnight, with no injuries reported.
The politics of 9/11 flowed into the ground zero ceremony, too.
After reading victims’ names, Nicholas Haros Jr. used his turn at the podium to tear into Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota over her recent “Some people did something” reference to 9/11.
“Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done,” Haros, who lost his mother, Frances, said as he reminded the audience of the al-Qaida attackers.
“Our constitutional freedoms were attacked, and our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian values was attacked. That’s what ‘some people’ did. Got that now?” he said to applause.
Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has said she didn’t intend to minimize what happened on Sept. 11, and accused critics of taking her words out of context. She tweeted Wednesday that “September 11th was an attack on all of us.”
The dead included Muslims, as Zaheda Rahman underscored after reading names at ground zero. She called her uncle, Abul Chowdhury, a “proud Muslim-American man who lived his life with a carefree nature, a zeal for adventure and a tenacity which I emulate every single day.”
Others made a point of spotlighting the suffering of firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after being exposed to the smoke and dust at ground zero.
A compensation fund for people with potentially Sept. 11-related health problems has paid out more than $5.5 billion so far. More than 51,000 people have applied. Over the summer, Congress made sure the fund won’t run dry. The sick also gained new recognition this year at the World Trade Center site, where a memorial glade was dedicated this spring.
Sept. 11 has become known also as a day of service. People around the country volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other community events around the anniversary.
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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed.

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Merkel: Germany must engage in rights dialogue with China
03:43 EDT
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s important for her country to engage in dialogue with China, including on issues such as human rights.
Speaking to lawmakers during parliament’s annual budget debate Wednesday, Merkel said China has a “growing responsibility for the global multilateral order.”
Merkel said that during her visit to China last week she noted the importance of respecting human rights, adding: “that’s true also with a view toward Hong Kong.”
Beijing rebuked Germany on Tuesday for allowing prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong to visit Berlin, where he met at a private function with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and is due to hold a news conference later Wednesday.
Merkel stressed that Germany believes in the principle of “one country, two systems” for China and Hong Kong.

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Dutch court clears doctor in landmark euthanasia trial
By MIKE CORDER and MARIA CHENG | 09:10 EDT
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch doctor was acquitted Wednesday in a landmark trial that prosecutors and physicians hope will help clarify how the country’s 2002 euthanasia law can be applied to people with severe dementia.
The doctor, who was not named in court, was cleared of any wrongdoing in carrying out euthanasia three years ago on a 74-year-old woman. The patient was given fatal doses of drugs despite some indications she might have changed her mind since declaring in writing that she wanted euthanasia.
The court ruled that in rare cases of euthanasia that were being performed on patients with severe dementia — and who had earlier made a written request for euthanasia — the doctor “did not have to verify the current desire to die.”
Judges at The Hague District Court ruled that the doctor met all criteria for carrying out euthanasia under the Dutch law legalizing mercy killing by physicians. Applause broke out among the dozens of people who attended the hearing.
The doctor was accused of not acting with due care because, prosecutors alleged, she made insufficient efforts to find out whether the patient still wanted to die. To carry out the euthanasia, the physician drugged the patient’s coffee without her knowledge and then had family members restrain the woman while delivering the fatal injection.
Prosecution spokeswoman Sanne van der Harg said prosecutors would carefully study the judgment before deciding whether to appeal.
Steven Pleiter of the Euthanasia Expertise Center welcomed the verdict.
“It feels good for people in the Netherlands that this is a clear view of the judges and court that it is possible to give euthanasia to a person who is not mentally competent any longer,” he said.
Under Dutch law, people are eligible for euthanasia if they make a considered, voluntary request for it and if their suffering is hopelessly “unbearable.” Patients can draw up a written request for euthanasia to be performed sometime in the future, in an advance directive, which should specify the conditions determining when they want to be euthanized. Doctors must also seek the advice of at least one other independent physician before killing the patient.
Euthanasia cases among people with advanced dementia are extremely rare; there have been fewer than 20 cases since the procedure was legalized in 2002.
“The most important issue we have to judge as doctors is whether there’s unbearable suffering for the patient,” said Dr. Rene Heman, president of the Royal Dutch Medical Association.
He said the organization is working on guidelines for how doctors should handle euthanasia cases in people with advanced dementia.
“As a doctor, you need to make sure people don’t change their minds,” he said.
Dutch investigators began scrutinizing the case last September, marking the first time a doctor was criminally investigated for euthanasia.
The 74-year-old woman had renewed her living will about a year before she died, writing that she wanted to be euthanized “whenever I think the time is right.” Later, the patient said several times in response to being asked if she wanted to die: “But not just now, it’s not so bad yet!” according to a report from the Dutch regional euthanasia review committee.
In announcing the verdict, the court said the patient no longer recognized her own reflection in the mirror.
Suzanne van de Vathorst, an associate professor who specializes in ethics and end-of-life issues at Erasmus University, said euthanizing patients with severe dementia puts a considerable burden on doctors.
“There’s a living, breathing person in front of you who is not aware that you’re performing euthanasia,” she said. “This is a very difficult thing to do and we cannot oblige doctors to do this.”
The Netherlands is one of five countries that allow doctors to kill patients at their request, and one of two, along with Belgium, that grant the procedure for people with mental illness.
The trial of a Belgian psychiatrist charged with improperly euthanizing a woman with autism is set to be heard later this year.
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Cheng reported from London.

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Tentative list of the missing in Bahamas has 2,500 names
08:35 EDT
FREEPORT, Bahamas (AP) — An estimated 2,500 people are listed as missing in the Bahamas in Hurricane Dorian’s aftermath, the government said Wednesday. But it cautioned that the names had yet to be checked against the rosters of people evacuated from the devastated islands or staying in shelters.
Carl Smith, a spokesman for the country’s National Emergency Management Agency, said he expected the list to shrink as the names are checked.
More than a week after Dorian smashed thousands of homes on the country’s Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, the death toll stood at 50 and was expected to rise, with search-and-rescue crews still making their way through the ruins.
“The number of deaths is expected to significantly increase,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Wednesday night.
He said the Bahamas would hold a national day of prayer, and named hurricane response coordinators for the two most-affected islands.
While power has returned to much of Grand Bahama, Smith said the electrical infrastructure around Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s largest city, was destroyed.
In Freeport, the largest city on Grand Bahama, rental car company driver Clifton Williams said he was driving home Monday when he saw an illuminated streetlight for the first time since the hurricane.
“I was happy to see that. I didn’t expect that so quickly,” he said. “First thing I do, I cut on the fan and cool off myself,” he added, saying he slept well for the first time in more than a week thanks to the fan.
Others in Freeport didn’t have power yet.
“It’s the same as it was a week ago. It’s very hot,” said Samuel Antonio.

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The Latest: Italy’s new pro-Europe govt wins confidence vote
Tue, September 10, 2019 01:11 EDT
ROME (AP) — The Latest on Italy’s new pro-European government (all times local):
7:10 p.m.
Italy’s new pro-Europe government has won its final mandatory confidence vote in Parliament.
Premier Giuseppe Conte’s coalition of rival parties clinched the Senate vote on Tuesday with 169 in favor, 133 against. Had Conte lost, he would have been forced to resign.
The new coalition is made up of former archrivals, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democrats.
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3 p.m.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s new government faces a second confidence vote, needed for his uneasy left-leaning coalition to remain in power, as it prepares to approve a painful budget law that risks splitting the already shaky alliance.
After easily surviving a first confidence vote in the lower house Monday, Conte is also expected to win the confidence vote Tuesday in the upper house, where his fragile coalition, however, holds a slimmer majority.
The new coalition is made up of former archrivals, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the center-left Democrats.
The new government will face its most pressing challenge after the Senate vote Tuesday evening. It needs to draft a painful budget law, which must be approved by Parliament by the end of the year, and avert a 23 billion euro sales tax hike that would prove very unpopular with voters and would further hit Italy’s weak economic growth.

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