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News Briefs, part 1

Kevorkian Present at Another Assisted Suicide

Los Angeles Times

Only weeks after being briefly jailed on charges of violating Michigan's law banning assisted suicide, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was present Monday when a 61-year-old cancer patient took his own life by inhaling carbon monoxide.

Dr. Ali Khalili, a retired doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, was found by police on a couch in an apartment rented by Kevorkian in Royal Oak, Mich. Kevorkian, whose own apartment is next door, was standing in the hallway outside when police arrived.

It was the 20th suicide at which Kevorkian has been present since 1990 and the fourth since Michigan passed the law prohibiting assistance at suicides.

Kevorkian was taken to the police station for questioning but refused to answer questions and was released.

A statement released by Kevorkian's attorney said that Khalili of Oak Brook, Ill., was in unremitting pain caused by multiple myeloma, a bone cancer.

Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. L.J. Dragovic listed Khalili's death as a homicide, saying his vital organs were in good shape, and that he would have been in "no immediate danger of dying within months, maybe even years."

Kevorkian, 65, already faces two charges of illegally assisting a suicide but those are pending in neighboring Wayne County. He is free on bail in those cases and is challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Campaign Reform Passed by House

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

The House Monday overcame a yearlong case of nerves about revising campaign finance laws and approved a Democratic bill designed to restrain the rising cost of congressional campaigns and make them more competitive.

The House's 255-175 vote, largely along party lines, sent the campaign finance legislation to a difficult conference next year with the Senate, which passed a different overhaul in June.

The House bill would establish a basic voluntary spending limit of $600,000 and authorize partial public funding of House campaigns. Candidates who accepted spending limits could cover a third of their campaign costs with publicly funded vouchers for advertising, postage and other materials used to contact voters. But the House deferred the issue of how to pay for the benefits, because so many members threatened to vote against federal financing for their campaigns.

The Senate version would give vouchers only to a candidate who accepted limits and faced a non-complying opponent. The Senate bill attempts to ban contributions from political action committees (PACs) and would tax an opponent's contributions to finance the vouchers. Many legal scholars have questioned the constitutionality of the financing provision.