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Merkel’s party suffers rout in Berlin in migrant policy backlash

By Michael Nienaber and Madeline Chambers BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party suffered its second electoral blow in two weeks on Sunday, slumping to its lowest level since 1990 in a Berlin state vote that rejected her open-door refugee policy. Voters turned to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD), which with 12.9 percent of the vote will enter its 10th regional assembly among the country's 16 states. Merkel's Christian Democrats were routed in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern two weeks ago, triggering calls from the CSU for her to toughen up her migrant policy.

Belgium reports first case of euthanasia for a minor

By Francesco Guarascio BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A 17-year-old has been euthanized in Belgium in what is the first application of rules adopted by the country in 2014 allowing doctor-assisted death for minors of all ages, the head of the national committee for euthanasia said on Saturday. Wim Distelmans, who chairs Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, said in an emailed statement that the first case was reported to his committee by a local doctor last week. Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, and two years ago amended the rules to permit doctor-assisted death for minors in a hopeless medical situation and with their explicit consent.

Chinese guide stabs, kills tourist in Kenya’s Maasai Mara

A Chinese tour guide stabbed and killed a tourist who was visiting Kenya's famed Maasai Mara Game Reserve after an argument over the seating arrangement for dinner, police and a lodge manager said on Tuesday. John Kiruti, manager of Keekorok Lodge, which is within the park, said the woman, also a Chinese citizen, sustained serious chest injuries in the incident late on Monday and died as she was being transferred to another tourist camp for treatment. “The tour guide who had brought three clients from his country for two nights differed with the couple … over the sitting arrangement at dinner time,” Kiruti said.

Paraguay reports first cases of microcephaly associated with Zika

ASUNCION (Reuters) – Paraguay’s health ministry reported the country’s first two cases of microcephaly on Wednesday, associated with the Zika virus that is present in much of South America. U.S. health officials have concluded that Zika infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies. (Reporting by Daniela Desantis, writing by Hugh Bronstein)

Congo doctor Denis Mukwege named among TIME 100 most influential people

By Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nobel-prize nominated Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, who treats war rape victims, was named by TIME magazine on Thursday as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The 61-year-old doctor founded the Panzi Hospital in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1999 to help women and girls who had been raped during the conflict then raging in the country. “The people on the list, each in their own way, have lessons to teach,” TIME editor Nancy Gibbs said in a statement accompanying the release of the 2016 TIME 100.

Drug resistance adds to India’s tuberculosis menace

After three years of battling tuberculosis, a disease that claimed the lives of his father and younger brother, Sonu Verma, a patient in northern India, hopes a cure for his illness may be within reach. “Only a few more months and my nightmare will end… it will be my rebirth, free from tuberculosis,” the 25-year-old scrap dealer, who has been left visibly lean and weak by the disease, told AFP. As India marks World TB Day on Thursday, it faces an estimated 2.2 million new cases of the disease a year, more than any other country, according to the World Health Organisation.

Indonesia’s mentally ill languish in shackles

In a small faith healing centre in rural Indonesia, Sulaiman chanted in a confused fashion, tugged at a chain attached to his ankle, and shifted restlessly on a hard, wooden bench. The emaciated man has been chained up for the past two years, and is one of thousands of Indonesians with a mental illness currently shackled, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released Monday. Chaining up the mentally ill has been illegal in Indonesia for nearly 40 years but remains rife across the country, especially in rural areas where health services are limited and belief in evil spirits prevails, according to HRW.

Colombia reports more than 47,700 Zika cases

Colombia has seen more than 47,700 cases of Zika, including thousands of pregnant women infected with the mosquito-borne virus, the country's National Health Institute reported Saturday. A total of 8,890 pregnant women have come down with the disease, which has been tentatively linked to a serious birth defect known as microcephaly affecting babies born to women who became infected while pregnant. Among those, 1,237 cases were pregnant women.