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Saturday, March 26, 2005; Page A12

Court Ruling Adds To Ending Life Debate

TOKYO -- A Japanese court ruling handing a suspended sentence to a doctor who removed a comatose patient's breathing tube and injected him with muscle relaxant is raising questions on when to end life support.

Friday's ruling came as the United States was consumed with the case of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman at the center of a national debate over the right to die.

A court in Yokohama, near Tokyo, convicted Setsuko Soda, 50, of taking the life of a 58-year-old comatose man and neglecting her duties as a doctor. It sentenced her to three years in prison, suspended for five years.

Soda's defense team said she had acted in line with the family's wishes by removing the breathing tube several weeks after the man was admitted with cardiac and respiratory arrest following a severe asthma attack. The family denied asking her to remove the tube.


JERUSALEM -- The U.S. ambassador, Dan Kurtzer, reaffirmed Washington's support for Israel to retain major West Bank settlements under any Middle East peace deal just days after Israel announced plans to expand a settlement outside Jerusalem, angering Palestinians.

DOHA, Qatar -- Police found the house where a militant assembled the car bomb used in a suicide attack a week ago that killed a British resident at the Doha Players Theater and injured a dozen other people, an Interior Ministry official said.


SHANGHAI -- North Korea's premier, on a tour of sites highlighting China's economic reforms, did not respond to appeals from its closest ally for his government to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

Chinese officials have appealed throughout Premier Pak Pong Ju's visit for the North Korean government to commit to new talks on Washington's demand that it renounce nuclear ambitions.


LISBON, Portugal -- The death toll from an Ebola-like fever in the African nation of Angola rose to 112, with three deaths reported in the capital, Luanda.

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A radical Islamic leader on a U.S. terrorist list threatened a holy war if an African peacekeeping force enters Somalia to try to install a new government and stop more than a decade of clan warfare.

Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former Somali army colonel suspected of having ties to al Qaeda, told reporters that allowing foreign troops into Somalia was contrary to Islamic teachings.

ACCRA, Ghana -- Sparks from a welder's torch ignited a fuel leak on a Greek tanker, causing a fire that trapped at least 17 people, who were feared dead, and shutting the West African nation's sole oil refinery, officials and witnesses said.


PARIS -- A court ordered the imprisonment of Ridouane Khalid, 36, who was released this month from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, his attorney said. Khalid was caught three years ago trying to enter Afghanistan at the height of the U.S. war there.

-- From News Services

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