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Global news highlights
  1. Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Barry Pless, 434 Lansdowne, Westmount H3Y2V2, Canada; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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From the USA: Florida considers bizarre pro-gun bill

A bill is being introduced in Florida that is truly bizarre. Its intenst is to penalise paediatricians (fines in the millions!) who ask about gun ownership as part of their anticipatory guidance. It also criminalises entering firearms information in the patient's record. The bill states that asking about firearm ownership “violates the privacy of the patient”, and seeks to criminalise “condition[ing] receipt of medical treatment or medical care on a person's willingness or refusal to disclose personal and private information”. Although it is doubtful any physician would actually withhold care if a parent refused to provide this information, if it were enacted it is very likely to deter physicians from asking potentially helpful questions about firearms and storage practices.

Ed note: The NRA must be dancing with glee.

From Japan: suicide initiatives failing

In Japan in 2010, according to police reports more than 30 000 people died from suicide. Since 1998 that number has been this high or higher. Suicide deaths started to rapidly increase in the late 1990s, perhaps as a consequence of the economic recession but also because of changes in the social structure. These include a shift from lifetime employment to a more fluid system and from seniority-based pay to a performance-based system. The Japanese government enacted a Suicide Prevention Act in 2006 and developed a comprehensive suicide prevention plan in 2007. This specifies a 20% reduction by 2016 compared with that of 2005. So far, however, as indicated in the statistics, the effects of the plan are not evident.

From Canada: New consumer product safety act becomes law

After almost five years …

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