New Zealand’s parliament has voted in favor of legalizing euthanasia, paving the way for a national referendum on the issue next year. The law would allow terminally ill people with less than six months to live the opportunity to choose assisted dying if approved by two doctors. The bill was passed with a vote of 69-51, ending years of heated parliamentary debate on the topic.
Testimony from a career diplomat at the first public hearings of the impeachment inquiry opened new questions about what President Trump knew about the campaign to pressure Ukraine and when he knew it. Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, relayed an account by a member of his staff, who said he overheard the president asking about “the investigations” one day after the now-infamous July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky.
Official weather forecasts for Australia out on Thursday showed no substantial rains for at least three months, providing grim news as firefighters battle to get more than 100 bushfires raging across the east coast under control. Wildfires in New South Wales and Queensland states have killed four people, destroyed hundreds of homes and wiped out 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush over the past week.
Israel and the militant group Islamic Jihad have begun a ceasefire after at least 34 Palestinians were killed in the heaviest fighting in months. Almost half of the dead were civilians, including eight children and three women, medical officials in Gaza said. Eight members of one Gaza family were killed by an Israeli missile strike shortly before the truce came into effect, officials and residents said.
Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, has already seen 10 million sign-ups since launching Tuesday, the company announced Wednesday. At $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, Disney+ is significantly cheaper than competitors such as Netflix, which charges $12.99 for its most popular standard HD plan. Disney is offering a seven-day free trial, so likely not all of the sign-ups represent customers who will continue to pay for the service.
Two people have reportedly died as Venice was hit by its highest tide in more than 50 years, leaving much of the Italian city underwater. The flooding was the second highest in the city’s history, and the mayor blamed climate change. Officials said the tide peaked at 187cm (6.14ft) at 10.50 pm on Tuesday, just short of the 194cm seen in 1966.
The head of Bolivia’s Senate, Jeanine Anez, took office as interim president on Tuesday as former leader Evo Morales pledged to keep up his political fight from exile in Mexico after resigning in what he has alleged was a coup. A parliamentary session scheduled to formally appoint her was boycotted by lawmakers from Morales’ leftist MAS party, who said it would be illegitimate.
Cardinal George Pell will have a final chance to overturn his conviction on historical child sexual abuse offenses after the high court in Canberra agreed to hear appeal arguments in a special full court sitting. Led by the high-profile silk Bret Walker SC, Pell’s legal team will argue that the majority of judges in Victoria’s court of appeal erred by finding in August that jurors were not unreasonable to believe the testimony of Pell’s victim.
Record-breaking cold and snowfall is numbing many parts of the U.S. from the Great Plains to the East Coast and north through New England. By Wednesday the cold snap is expected to spread farther south to the upper Texas coast in what is being described as an “arctic outbreak” by the National Weather Service. The dead-of-winter temperatures come with roughly five weeks of fall remaining on the calendar.
The daytime speed limit on Dutch roads is to be cut to 100km/h (62mph) in a bid to tackle a nitrogen oxide pollution crisis, according to cabinet sources widely quoted by Dutch media. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was a “rotten measure” but necessary. The existing limit of up to 130km/h will still be permitted at night.