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A total of 172 “suicide tourists” travelled to Switzerland in 2012, double the 2009 number, to die with medical assistance — a practice prohibited in many countries, a study said Thursday.
German and UK citizens were the bulk of visitors, and the reasons most often cited were neurological conditions like paralysis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
There are four right-to-die organisations in Switzerland that allow nationals from other countries to use their services, according to a study published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
It is a phenomenon unique to Switzerland.
Records showed that 611 people from 31 countries had come to Switzerland as “suicide tourists” from 2008 to 2012 — all but four of whom had visited the Dignitas clinic.
“Their ages ranged from 23 to 97, with the average being 69,” said a press statement.
Nearly 60 percent were women.
Of the total, the top ten were from Germany with 268 and the UK with 126, 66 French, 44 Italians, 21 Americans, 14 Austrians, 12 Canadians, and eight each from Spain and Israel.
Most of the deaths were caused by the drug sodium pentobarbital, known as the “peaceful pill”.
Four people inhaled helium in 2008, and died deaths that were described as “excruciating” in the media — possibly the reason for a dip in visitors from 123 in 2008 to 86 the following year, the researchers said.
Suicide was plunged in the spotlight when Hollywood actor Robin Williams took his life last week after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Few countries regulate assisted suicide, or euthanasia, and in many it is a punishable crime to help someone end their life, even if they are suffering severe and incurable pain.
In Switzerland, assisted suicide is not clearly regulated by law, said the study authors.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights urged the country to clarify the guidelines after an octogenarian who wanted to end her life failed to convince doctors to assist her because she was not ill enough.
The topic is hotly debated in the UK and France, among other countries.
Last month, South Africa’s Nobel Peace laureate, archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, said he supported assisted dying for the terminally ill.
Paul Murunga charges beat Fiji 17-12 to make the semis but the pacific islanders turned tables in their rematch.
However, the country’s medal prospects turn to a familiar source when the track and field programme continues Thursday.
World Juniors 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist, Rosefline Chepng’etich seeks to qualify for the 2,000m steeplechase final while Amos Kirui will battle it out in the corresponding men’s event.
Gilbert Kwemoi will also be in action in the men’s 1,500m.
In the rugby 7s bronze play-off, Fiji were awarded a penalty following a knock on to convert for the opener, before grounding two tries to earn revenge against Chipus.
“I’m proud of the boys’ display. They held their own against better prepared opponents and this team has shown what Kenya is capable of and if this group of players is maintained, nurtured and exposed, they can definitely attain great heights,” Murunga said after the match.
Kenya earlier lost 19-12 to Argentina in the semi-final while France beat the young Pumas 45-22 to win gold.
Jackline Chepkoech sailed to Sunday’s women 3,000m final to get the country to a promising start on the track.
Chepkoech who set her personal best of 9:08.54 qualified automatically after finishing fourth in a race that was dominated by Baharanian Fatuma Chebsi in 9:06.87.
In the men’s race, Moses Koech also made the medal event after crossing the line second in 8:06.50, behind Ethiopian Atomsa Yomif as Torrents Jordi from Spain qualified third.
Ian Mutuku romp Saturday’s 400m men final after finishing second in 47.56 in a race won by Botswana’s Sibanda Karabo while Brazilian Cordeiro Lima finished third.
The disappointment of the day was on Agnes Mulee who did not make it to the women’s 800m medal bracket despite finishing second in the heats in 2:10.26.
Italian Bello Elena won the race in 2:08.99 to see Mulee compete in final B.
The Germany international was a target for new Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal, who worked with Muller during his time in charge of Bayern between 2009 to 2011.
Muller recently committed his long-term future to the Bavarian giants by signing a contract extension at the Allianz Arena until June 2019.
And the 24-year-old, who helped Pep Guardiola’s troops retain the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal titles last season, insists a transfer was never on the cards for him.
He told Bild: “I can just say: a transfer for me was never an option. FC Bayern is my club.
“I knew that I would have earned more money,” added Muller on the bid from United. “The sums from other clubs which circulated had been astronomical.”
The Bayern youth product helped the German national team claim a fourth World Cup trophy last month, scoring five goals in the tournament as Joachim Low’s side went on to beat Argentina 1-0 in the final.
The Bosnian international’s current deal had only 10 months to run and manager Manuel Pellegrini’s determination to keep the striker was fully justified by his performance as City beat Newcastle 2-0 on Sunday.
“I’m really happy here at City — it’s a second home to me so it was an easy decision to stay for the long-term,” Dzeko told the City website.
“I knew from the beginning when I started here that I wanted to stay for a long time — I can’t see any place better than here.”
“I’m settled perfectly to life here, I know my team-mates, the club, the team, very well and I feel like I can improve even more.
“Over the last three-and-a-half years we’ve made history together but I feel like we are only at the start of something really special.
“There are still so many objectives and goals that I want to reach from my career in the game and I believe I am in the perfect place to achieve them all.”
Dzeko has scored 66 goals for City including the equaliser against QPR on the last day of the 2011/12 season which paved the way for Sergio Aguero to hit the injury-time championship-winning goal.
Pellegrini had been full of praise for the 28-year-old — who joined City from Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg for £27 million (33.78 million euros) in 2011 — after his crucial role at St James’ Park at the weekend.
Dzeko created the opening goal for David Silva and the second came in stoppage time from one of his rivals for a place in the City forward line, substitute Aguero.
“It’s not strange for me to see him play like that because he finished last season playing very well. He has grown. He’s a team player,” said Pellegrini.
“I’m very happy for him. That’s why he is renewing his contract here — he has a very important duty in our team.”
MANCHESTER, August 21 – Manchester United completed the 20 million euro signing of Argentina World Cup defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday with Old Trafford boss Louis van Gaal hailing the 24-year-old as a “gifted” player.
Rojo signed a five-year contract after impressing during the World Cup where he helped Argentina to reach the final.
Winger Nani has gone in the other direction, rejoining Sporting on a season-long loan, seven years after he left the Portuguese club.
“It is such an honour to say that I now play for Manchester United. The Premier League is the most exciting league in the world and to have the chance to play in it for the world’s biggest club is a dream for me,” said Rojo.
“I am young and am very keen to continue to learn the game, so playing for such an experienced technical coach as Louis van Gaal is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have joined United to work hard with my team-mates to win trophies and I know that the manager shares that ambition.”
Rojo, who started his career with Estudiantes de la Plata, spent the past two seasons at Sporting having joined from Spartak Moscow in July 2012.
“Marcos is a very gifted defender. He has played at the highest level in world football and can play either as a central defender or left-back,” said Van Gaal.
“He has ability, physical strength and a willingness to learn that means he has a very bright future ahead of him. He had a very strong World Cup and has been playing in Europe for a couple of years now. He is a very good addition to the team.”
Rojo has won 28 caps for Argentina and will bring much-needed versatility to United’s backline.
He becomes the club’s latest major signing of the Van Gaal era after Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw and will be a crucial part of the Old Trafford jigsaw after United lost centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic alongside left-back Patrice Evra in the summer.
United’s defensive shortcomings were brutally highlighted at the weekend when they lost their season opener 2-1 to Swansea at the weekend.
The 27-year-old Nani made 228 appearances in all competitions for United, scoring 40 goals.
Meanwhile, Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini looks set to be sidelined after sustaining an injury in training.
United have not commented on the extent of the injury, but pictures in The Sun on Wednesday showed the 26-year-old on crutches with his left foot in a protective cast.