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'Genocide' speech law draws Turkey's ire

PARIS (AP) -- French lawmakers easily passed a measure Thursday making it a crime to deny that the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide. Turkey swiftly retaliated, ordering its ambassador home and halting official contacts, including some military cooperation.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a series of retaliatory measures, recalling the country's ambassador to France, suspending joint military maneuvers and restricting French military flights. Turkey, a NATO member, is a strategic ally of France and a valued trading partner.

Turkey vehemently rejects the term "genocide" for the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians, saying the issue should be left to historians.


Government alleges 2,000 military deaths

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria said Thursday that more than 2,000 of its soldiers and security forces have been killed during a nine-month uprising, on the day an Arab League delegation prepared to post foreign monitors, part of a plan to end the crisis.

The Arab League delegates arrive amid a new international uproar over activist reports that government troops killed more than 200 people in two days. Neighboring Turkey condemned President Bashar Assad over the "bloodbath."

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed as Syria has sought to put down the uprising.

In its first official comment on U.N. human rights reports alleging a brutal government crackdown, the Syrian government sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council and Human Rights Council Thursday saying more than 2,000 soldiers and members of the security forces have been killed. It offered no documentation to back up the claim.


Bury 'Giant's' remains, medical authors argue

LONDON (AP) -- The skeleton of an 18th-century celebrity nicknamed the "Irish Giant" should be removed from a museum and buried at sea in keeping with his last wishes, two experts have argued, reviving a debate about the ethics of handling human remains.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, medical ethicist Len Doyal and legal researcher Thomas Muinzer said there is no good scientific reason to display the skeleton of Charles Byrne, who died in 1783, and a strong moral case against it.

"What has been done cannot be undone, but it can be morally rectified," the two men wrote. "Surely it is time to respect the memory and reputation of Byrne." Byrne stood about 7 feet, 7 inches tall as a result of acromegaly, a condition caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland. He became a celebrity in 18th-century London as the star in a museum of curiosities, but he died at just 22.

For two centuries Byrne's skeleton has been on display at the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum in London.