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Stewart’s representative confirmed his departure to BuzzFeed News.

Stewart first spoke publicly about his departure during the filming of Tuesday’s show, which aired later that night. He said that “in my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.” He could be seen fighting back tears while he spoke.

Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless issued a statement Tuesday about Stewart’s departure:

For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart. His comedic brilliance is second to none. Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision, The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.

News of Stewart’s departure leaked following Tuesday’s taping, and The Daily Show later encouraged viewers to watch:

Stewart took over The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn in 1999. Over the next 16 years, he grew the show into a trusted source of news for younger Americans that won a total of 20 Emmys.

Over the years, Stewart conducted interviews with an array of high-profile and influential figures, including President Obama.

Last year, Stewart directed his first feature film, Rosewater, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.

The Daily Show also spawned a spin-off, The Colbert Report, during Stewart’s time as host. The Colbert Report ended in December, about nine months after host Stephen Colbert was chosen to replace David Letterman as host of the Late Show.

Though Comedy Central has not specifically said when Stewart will actually leave The Daily Show, his departure is apparently not imminent and, if The Colbert Report is any indication, could take months. And whenever Stewart does leave, Comedy Central will have an entirely new hour-long block of TV that was formerly filled by two of its biggest stars.

In an interview last year with NPR’s Terry Gross, Stewart discussed the possibility of leaving The Daily Show.

When Gross asked about doing something other than hosting, Stewart said people can’t just stay in one place “because it feels like you’ve built a nice house there.”

“You know there are other considerations of family or even in the sense of just not wanting to be on television all the time,” he said.

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A former U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and wounded a Mexican man intentionally used excessive force and was not justified in opening fire, a federal judge said as he awarded the victim half a million dollars in a lawsuit.

Gunfire hit Jesus Castro-Romo of Nogales, Sonora, in the stomach on Nov. 16, 2010, after he was caught crossing illegally from Mexico into the Arizona desert.

Former agent Abel Canales did not face criminal charges after the shooting was deemed justified by Colorado prosecutors, who reviewed the case because federal prosecutors in Arizona had a conflict of interest.

Neither the Border Patrol nor Canales' public defender have responded to requests for comment.

In a ruling issued Feb. 5 in the civil case, Judge James A. Soto awarded Castro-Romo nearly $500,000 in damages and said that Canales lacked credibility.

"Canales was given every opportunity to describe in detail the encounter with Castro — with counsel present — the day after the shooting occurred," Soto wrote. "Then, after significant time had passed and in preparation for trial, details of his testimony changed and new details were added."

The government said in a court response filed following the civil trial last year that Canales had not changed his story but merely answered different questions on different occasions.

"A witness's version of events is not inconsistent or inaccurate simply because he provides additional information in response to different questions," the response says.

The defense also said the shooting was justified under Arizona law, which says an agent can open fire if he believes it necessary to protect himself and others.

In an unrelated case, Canales pleaded guilty to taking a bribe and allowing a truckload of drugs and contraband to pass through a border checkpoint near Tucson.

The shooting took place near Walker Canyon, when Canales spotted Castro-Romo and a half-dozen other migrants walking through the desert. Canales, who was on a horse, stopped the group and told them to stay on the ground while other agents arrived to help.

Canales told investigators that Castro-Romo picked up a rock but then dropped it when ordered to do so. Canales believes Castro-Romo then made a motion indicating he was going to pick up the rock again, but the agent did not actually see Castro-Romo with a rock in his hand, according to a letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona.

The letter, signed by former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, explained why prosecutors were declining to charge Castro-Romo with assault on a federal officer.

The Border Patrol has been accused of using excessive force, especially when agents encounter rock-throwing. A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona on behalf of the mother of a Mexican teen who was shot and killed by an agent in Mexico alleges that agents indiscriminately fire at suspected rock-throwers.

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462303404

Given America’s obsession with lists, and President Obama’s lifting of travel restrictions to Cuba, I thought it would be useful to offer my “top ten” reasons on why you should visit Cuba now:

10. You support President Obama and his policy of throwing lifelines to crumbling dictatorships…and you hope to visit Tehran next.

9. You enjoy a bargain. As the average Cuban worker is required to work for the government, at about $20 a month, your tropical tan will come cheaply.

8. You like visiting countries with little tourist infrastructure and where basic sanitation is frequently tested by outbreaks of cholera. You also look forward to possible infection by the debilitating Chikingunya virus, now officially confirmed on the island.

7. You’re tired of ready access to the Internet and the free flow of unfiltered news, information and entertainment. Cuba will make sure that you only see what they want you to see … and when they want you to see it.

6. You enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out what your dollar is really worth as the government sets the exchange rate for the tourist-oriented Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC$) at 1:1 (plus a currency exchange fee of 3 percent). If you try to exchange U.S. dollar bank notes for CUC$ you’ll be clipped another 10 percent. The rest of the country uses the deeply discounted Cuban Peso (at about 25 to the dollar). Got that?

5. You’re into sexual tourism ... but you’re on a tight budget. Sadly, the island's poverty forces thousands of young people to sell their bodies cheaply in order to support themselves.

4. You’re a history buff and want to see what a failed experiment in Cold War communism and building a “workers’ paradise” looks like.

3. You’re a huge fan of dystopian science fiction and want to see what a dark, decaying future might look like. Havana’s crumbling architecture is straight out of the Life After People television series, albeit with people still in the picture.

2. You’re dying to post pictures of yourself on Facebook standing next to 1950s era automobiles. You also want to bring home mediocre cigars, cheap rum and a Che Guevara t-shirt to impress your friends with your avant-garde adventuring.

1. You don’t really care about human rights or democracy and the fact that your dollars will prolong the survival of a brutal regime responsible for murdering thousands of its citizens, imprisoning tens of thousands more and tearing a society apart. It’s much more important to be a shallow – but trendy – hipster visiting the latest buzzworthy destination.


RAUL MAS PIC

Raúl Mas Canosa is a healthcare executive and a frequent commentator on radio, television and digital media. The opinions expressed are strictly his own. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

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AA9b6NGAP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File FILE - In this July 30, 2007 file photo, the HSBC building is seen in the docklands, London. The chair of parliaments Public Accounts Committee says the former chief of HS…

LONDON — A trove of leaked documents shows that HSBC's Swiss private bank turned a blind eye to illegal activities of arms dealers and blood diamond traders while helping rich people evade taxes, according to a report based on the documents that was published Monday.

The data relate to accounts worth $100 billion held by more than 100,000 people and legal entities around the world.

WHAT HAPPENED

A former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower, Herve Falciani, gave the data to French tax authorities in 2008. France shared it with other governments and launched investigations.

The French newspaper Le Monde obtained a version of the data and shared the material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which analyzed the material together with The Guardian and the BBC in Britain.

WHAT THE FILES SHOW

The leaked documents mainly cover the years 2005 to 2007.

HSBC, which is based in London but has operations globally, served those close to the regimes of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian leader Ben Ali and Syria's Bashar Assad.

The consortium said clients include former and current politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Kenya, India, Mexico, Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, and Algeria.

Switzerland had the greatest number of clients of the data examined, followed by France, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Italy. In terms of ranking by value, Switzerland was first with $31.2 billion, followed by the United Kingdom with $21.7 billion; Venezuela with $14.8 billion; the U.S. with $13.4 billion; and France with $12.5 billion.

WHY IT MATTERS

Though some of the details of such operations were disclosed previously, when HSBC was fined in 2012 by the U.S. for allowing criminals to use its branches for money laundering, Monday's information suggests HSBC took an active role in assisting the wealthy in hiding their money from authorities.

"The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities, even if evidence suggested that the accounts were undeclared to tax authorities in the client's home country," the consortium said. "Bank employees also discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries."

Crawford Spence, a professor of accounting at the University of Warwick, said this case was different than other recent tax scandals.

"HSBC has been complicit in clear tax evasion and law breaking rather than legitimate tax avoidance," he said.

POTENTIAL FALLOUT

The disclosures could see governments step up their efforts to prosecute tax evaders and the bank itself.

Governments are looking to crack down on tax evasion to bolster their coffers depleted by the financial crisis and amid criticism that the rich aren't paying their fair share.

In Britain, the report sparked criticism of tax authorities. The national tax agency clawed back 135 million pounds ($236 million) from some of the 3,600 Britons identified as using the Geneva branch of HSBC, but only one person has been prosecuted. France, by contrast, launched 103 legal actions.

"You are left wondering, as you see the enormity of what has been going on, what it actually takes to bring a tax cheat to court," Margaret Hodge, chair of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, told the BBC.

Hodge said the former chairman of HSBC, Stephen Green, must face questions about whether he was "asleep at the wheel, or he did know and he was therefore involved in dodgy tax practices."

In Belgium, an investigating judge is considering arrest warrants against some former and current officials of the HSBC bank if cooperation in an investigation on the Swiss operations does not improve.

WHAT HSBC SAYS

HSBC stressed that the documents were from eight years ago and said it has since implemented initiatives designed to prevent its banking services from being used to evade taxes or launder money.

Franco Morra, CEO of HSBC's Swiss subsidiary, said the new management had shut down accounts from clients who "did not meet our high standards."

"These disclosures about historical business practices are a reminder that the old business model of Swiss private banking is no longer acceptable," he said in a statement.

Frank Jordans in Berlin and Greg Keller in Paris contributed to this story.

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ecuador superbowl 2

So government officials decided to make it a reality, they decided to reach out to Americans through the most popular sporting event in the United States – the Super Bowl.

On Sunday, Ecuador will become the first foreign country to buy a commercial spot during the Super Bowl beckoning viewers to visit the South American nation of 15 million people.

The 30-second spot, which will air during half-time (move over, Katy Perry), is part of a nearly $4 million tourism campaign Ecuador has launched around the sporting event during which commercials are themselves stars, and make headlines.

“They decided to make a big investment on the Super Bowl because they have goals for American tourism and how they want to increase it in the next few years,” said Maritza Huerta, assistant media director for BLJ Worldwide, the public relations firm that has worked on the Ecuador tourism campaign. “And they knew the Super Bowl could put them on a global platform.”

Indeed, the Super Bowl is viewed in more than 200 countries.

The campaign, titled “All You Need Is Ecuador,” spins off the Beatles hit “All You Need Is Love.” The Beatles’ tune serves as the backdrop for the ad, which promotes Ecuador as a traveler’s nirvana, with its many beaches, biodiversity, colonial architecture, and tropical forests.

The “All You Need Is Love” idea fits perfectly, actually.

The founder and head of the BLJ Worldwide public relations promoting the Ecuador ad campaign is Peter Brown, a former manager of The Beatles.

The idea to use the Beatles tune first was raised by former Ecuador Minister of Tourism Vinicio Alvarado and his team.

"Using the Beatles song was a great idea because the Beatles were so big worldwide and it was such a well-recognized," Huerta said.

Some 260,000 Americans visited Ecuador last year, Huerta said. The United States is the second largest source of travelers to Ecuador. Colombia is the first. Ecuador snatched the No. 1 slot in a ranking of best countries in the world to retire to.

International Living’s Annual Global Index 2015, released this month, said: “Expats are drawn by the low cost of living, perfect climate, the beautiful and diverse landscapes and the favorable retiree benefits. The country gets top scores in the Buying and Renting and Climate categories and scores high across-the-board in all other categories.”

The Super Bowl ad will air in 13 U.S. markets – New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Washington.

“We believe we offer tourists a very unique experience,” said Ambassador of Ecuador Nathalie Cely in a statement. “Our small country offers travelers a large array of outdoor adventures – from beautiful beaches on the Pacific Coast, to the Andes Mountains, to the Amazon Rainforest, to the Galapagos Islands. It’s everything you need and all in one place.”

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Elizabeth Llorente can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on https://twitter.com/Liz_Llorente

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The same loopy weather patterns directing California's ongoing drought and last year's deep freeze across the East Coast may also change how often tornadoes strike the southeastern United States, a new modeling study finds.

Researchers examined how global warming will affect severe weather during the heart of tornado season — March, April and May. They found that while the yearly tornado total will climb by 2080, the number of tornadoes will also vary wildly from year to year. That's because sometimes, the weather will get stuck in a pattern that favors tornadoes, and sometimes, conditions will stymie stormy weather, according to the report, published Jan. 15 in the journal Climatic Change.

"We see this trend in a lot of extreme weather," said lead study author Victor Gensini, a severe storms climatologist at the College of DuPage in Illinois. "Changes in the jet stream are causing the jet to break down and get stuck in these blocking patterns," Gensini said. "It just so happens it could be in a favorable pattern for tornadoes or a really bad pattern [for tornadoes]." [The Top 5 Deadliest Tornado Years in U.S. History]

In the future, tornado season will also peak earlier, in March instead of May, the study reported. The number of tornadoes in April will rise slightly, while May's total twister count will stay the same.

"Because of increasing temperatures, we'll have more [atmospheric] instability earlier in the year, and instability is the fuel for tornadoes," Gensini said.

Typically, climate models can't predict how global warming will affect tornadoes because the storms are smaller than the resolution of climate models. But Gensini's approach relies on a relatively new weather forecasting model that can recreate the hazardous storms that generate tornadoes, hail and damaging winds.

"This is a model that can see thunderstorms, and climate models don't know anything about thunderstorms," said Harold Brooks, a senior scientist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, who was not involved in the research.

Two major factors control the birth of a tornado: convective available potential energy, or CAPE, and vertical wind shear. The available potential energy relates to warm, moist air at low altitude and cold, drier air above. Combined with wind shear — big changes in wind direction and speed with height — these conditions can spawn rotating air that triggers a tornado.

The new model predicts that these severe weather conditions are more likely to occur in the future, at least during the months of March, April and May. The increases are seen primarily across the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio River valleys. Only northern Florida will see a drop in severe weather, the study reported.

"It will be really unlikely to get a tornado in Florida in March, April or May," Gensini said.

At this time, the researchers don't know if the total number of tornadoes will shift during other months, Gensini said. Tornadoes can strike at any time during the year.

The variability from year to year is "a really intriguing result," Brooks said. A study published last year by Brooks found that tornado years are more variable than they used to be, and tornadoes cluster together more often.

In 2011, there were 1,894 tornados — many of them deadly, including the Joplin, Missouri, twister that killed 161 people. That tornado total was followed by a sharp decline, with 1,119 tornadoes in 2012; 943 in 2013; and 1,057 in 2014, according to the National Weather Service.

Follow Becky Oskin @beckyoskin. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

Fishy Rain to Fire Whirlwinds: The World's Weirdest Weather
Infographic: Tornado! How, When & Where Twisters Form
Natural Disasters: Top 10 U.S. Threats

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NM

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – A 3-year-old boy found a handgun in his mother’s purse and fired just one shot that wounded both his parents at an Albuquerque motel on Saturday, police said.

According to investigators, the toddler apparently reached for an iPod but found the loaded weapon. Police believe the shooting to be accidental.

The bullet first struck his father in the buttock and then hit the right shoulder of his mother, who is eight months pregnant, police said. His 2-year-old sister was present but unhurt.

Both injuries are nonlife-threatening, authorities said.

Justin Reynolds told KOB-TV that he and his girlfriend, Monique Villescas, were getting ready to order pizza when the toddler fired the shot.

“It was like if I was to get up, shake your hand and sat back down. That’s how fast it happened,” Reynolds said.” All of a sudden we heard a gun go off and the next minute I realized my girlfriend was bleeding. Then, I sat down and realized I was shot, too.”

Reynolds said he called the emergency dispatcher and grabbed some towels to try to stop her bleeding.

“I was more worried about my girlfriend than myself and anything else that was going on. And my son because I didn’t know if he had shot himself or not,” said Reynolds. “He was shocked and crying. It was traumatizing.”

Police said in a statement that the father was treated and released, while the mother was hospitalized in stable condition.

“This case will be forwarded to the DA’s office and pending charges of felony criminal negligence will be reviewed on both parents,” Albuquerque police spokesman Simon Drobik said.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the family was living in a room at the America’s Best Value Inn where the shooting occurred.

Police said child care officials are taking care of the children.

Jonathan Hutson, a spokesman for the Washington-based Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the shooting should serve as a reminder to all parents to keep guns locked away securely.

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Brian Williams in 2014.CreditAndrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Brian Williams, acknowledging that the scrutiny and criticism he was attracting was becoming a distraction for his network, said on Saturday that he was stepping aside as anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News” for the next several days.

In a memo to the NBC News staff, Mr. Williams said that Lester Holt, the anchor for “Dateline,” would step in as the network dealt with the crisis caused by Mr. Williams’s admission that he had misled the public with an account of a helicopter incident in Iraq.

“In the midst of a career spent covering and consuming news, it has become painfully apparent to me that I am presently too much a part of the news, due to my actions,” Mr. Williams said in the two-paragraph memo.

Mr. Williams is both anchor and managing editor for “NBC Nightly News.”

Mr. Williams did not say exactly when he expected to return to the anchor chair. “Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us,” he said.

Richard F. Hanley, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University, said Mr. Williams’s decision would help avert an awkward situation in which his newscast was overshadowed by the attention on his own problems. “It would be impossible for him to be as confident a reader of news with this over his head,” Mr. Hanley said. “The audience would be thinking of that and not the news he was reporting on.”

The move will also give NBC more time to sort out the issue and also to assemble a contingency plan should Mr. Williams be forced to resign, Mr. Hanley said.

“One of the interesting things about this is there is no set date for return,” he said. “It is ambiguous, which suggests that NBC executives are going to undertake a full investigation and not let him back on the air until that investigation is complete.”

The news came a day after it was revealed that NBC was starting an internal “fact-checking” investigation into Mr. Williams that would review the Iraq incident, which occurred in 2003, as well as other examples of his reporting, including during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The investigation will be led by Richard Esposito, the head of NBC’s investigative unit.

Since Wednesday, when Mr. Williams acknowledged his error during his newscast and apologized for it, he has been the target of a wave of criticism, with some military veterans, media critics and viewers calling for his resignation. Indeed, not only has Mr. Williams’s reputation taken a hit but the broader credibility of NBC’s news division has also been questioned, media analysts said.

“It may be just one bad apple, but he came out of the system,” said Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland who previously worked at NBC News.

In his newscast on Wednesday, Mr. Williams said he had embellished an account of an incident in 2003; over the years he came to say that he was in a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire, an assertion he now says is not true. He now says he was in a trailing helicopter, and that he “conflated” the two aircraft. He made no mention of the matter during his newscasts on Thursday and Friday.

The attention on the Iraq mistake has brought the rest of Mr. Williams’s career under a microscope. Some blogs and media outlets questioned Mr. Williams’s description of what he saw while reporting on Hurricane Katrina. Should Mr. Williams be forced out of the anchor chair, it would be a major setback for NBC’s news division, which is in a fierce competition for viewers. So far this season, NBC has averaged 9.3 million total viewers for its nightly broadcast, compared with 8.7 million for ABC and 7.3 million for CBS, according to Nielsen.

The evening broadcast has remained a stable block for NBC even as its “Today” and “Meet the Press” shows have faced challenges. As such, top executives have not focused on succession planning for the “NBC Nightly News” because it did not appear necessary. In December, the network extended Mr. Williams’s contract. The terms were reported to be as much as $10 million per year for five years.

“There is really nobody on the NBC news bench who can replace Williams in terms of his projection and presence on the nightly broadcast,” Mr. Hanley said. “Just look at the problems the ‘Today’ show had in trying to assemble a team that could reverse its fortunes there.”

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MISSBSheislane Hayalla accused Carol Toledo (above) of having "bought" the crown. (Carol Toledo/Facebook) 

A beauty contest to pick the next Miss Amazonas in Brazil turned ugly suddenly when Sheislane Hayalla refused to be second best.

In the coronation ceremony, on Friday night, runner-up Hayalla hugged winner Carol Toledo when she was first announced as queen, but a few seconds after the crown was gracefully placed on her rival's head, Hayalla snatched it, threw it to the stage floor and left in a rage.

She accused Toledo of having bought the title.

Pictures and videos of the incident spread quickly on social media over the weekend. Users created all kinds of memes mocking the unexpected grand finale.

The winner of Miss Amazonas represents the state in the national Miss Brazil contest. It was not immediately known if Hayalla would retain its position as “first princess.” Event organizers did not comment.

"I wanted to express my disapproval of the actions in the preparations for Miss Amazonas 2015." I do not regret having protested," she said on her Facebook page on Saturday night." I wanted something clean and honest."

Hayalla has participated in other beauty contests. In 2013 she represented Brazil in Miss Globe International, held in September in Baku, Azerbaijan, where she was first princess and seemed to accept the title gladly.

"I apologize if someone does not like my attitude, but I did what my heart told me to do," Hayalla said in a video released after the contest.

Sheislane HayallaSheislane Hayalla

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end life

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that it will be legal for doctors to help their patients die who suffer intolerably from an incurable condition, and gave authorities a year to create rules for implementing the measure.

The decision reversed the ruling made by the same court in 1993, when it dismissed a suit by Sue Rodriguez, a woman in a terminal state and who demanded the right to assisted suicide.

The nine judges on Canada's highest court voted unanimously to reverse the 1993 decision and all signed the new ruling as co-authors, something that legal experts say is unusual and intended to boost its institutional strength.

The judges said in their ruling that "we do not agree that the existential formulation of the right to life requires an absolute prohibition on assistance in dying, or that individuals cannot 'waive' their right to life."

"This would create a 'duty to live,' rather than a 'right to life,' and would call into question the legality of any consent to the withdrawal or refusal of lifesaving or life-sustaining treatment," the Supreme Court wrote.

The reversal of the ban on physician-assisted suicide is the result of court cases entered by two women, Kathleen Carty and Gloria Taylor, who were suffering from chronic degenerative illnesses.

Carter died in 2010 at a Swiss clinic that practices assisted suicide, while Taylor died in 2012 of an infection.

But before dying, both took their cases to court, which launched the judicial process that ended Friday. EFE

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scan mummy

Museum officials in Ohio hope medical scans will reveal more about the mummified remains of a child that may have lived over 500 years ago in Peru.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and hospital staff donated time and equipment to help in the collaborative effort with the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Museum officials hope 3D scans performed this week at the hospital will provide information including gender, age and cause of death. The mummy is part of "Mummies of the World: The Exhibition" currently on display at the museum.

A museum official says the body wasn't intended to be mummified but it was found in an extraordinarily dry, high-altitude location.

The museum hopes to know results of the scan before the exhibit closes in April.

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