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Aging, indebted Japan debates right to ‘die with dignity’

By Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) – Retired Japanese airline employee Tarou Tanzawa said he hadn't thought much about his own death until his 84-year-old mother was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma and decided against costly and invasive life-prolonging treatment. Soon after, Tanzawa made his own “living will”, stipulating he did not want life-prolonging treatment if he became terminally ill or was in a vegetative state. “I felt it was too soon (for my mother to die) but I also thought 'Ah, there is this way of dying,” Tanzawa, now 68, told Reuters.

Poverty drives Myanmar girls into underage sex work

By Htet Khaung Lin YANGON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Teenager Wut Yee was devastated when her mother, a sex worker, told her that she had just agreed to sell her daughter’s virginity to a businessman for $3,000. Wut Yee, then 14, had quit school to handle household chores and look after her brother but had no other source of income. The monsoon was coming and their thatch-roofed house in Yangon’s Hlaingthaya Township required urgent repairs.

Fears over abandoned Ebola orphans allayed: UNICEF

Almost every child who has lost parents to Ebola is being cared for in their community, UNICEF said on Friday — allaying fears that thousands would be shunned by relatives and neighbours. “Since overcoming their initial fears and misconceptions about Ebola, families have been showing incredible support, providing care and protection for children whose parents have died,” UNICEF regional director Manuel Fontaine said in a statement. UNICEF said the outlook was particularly good in Guinea, where all 773 children who lost both parents had been placed with their extended families. The outbreak has claimed almost 9,000 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, leaving a similar number of children with just a single parent and some 3,600 orphaned.